Hiiumaa is a famous municipal community in western archipelago of Estonia. Hiiumaa island together with a group of smaller islands forms one Hiiumaa county with more than 9000 inhabitants. Besides a town and two parishes, there’s 182 villages and the diverse landscape and local traditions set high demands for citizen engagement. We had an opportunity to interview Mirjam Savioja from Hiiumaa to understand how Hiiumaa municipality exercises citizen engagement and listens to its stakeholders.
When a municipality is trying to connect with its citizens and to understand their preferences, what are the biggest challenges?
When communicating outwards, the main challenge is to get the flow going two-ways – as the effective communication is always reciprocal. Our mission is to reach as many citizens as possible and not to lose the message in the information overflow. In understanding citizens preferences, the biggest challenge is to gather all the feedback from numerous sources.
Hiiumaa vald launched a mobile application called Hiiumaa just recently. What is it built for?
This app Hiiumaa is not only for the people living in the municipality but for all the frequent guests and visitors as well. The app is built to be a communication platform that unites the Hiiumaa community and helps all the friends of Hiiumaa give feedback to the municipality, take part in the local decision making, be updated with the news and events and much more.
What kind of expectations do you have for the application, what are the objectives set for it?
We hope the app becomes a useful everyday communication tool that helps the municipality to unite Hiiumaa community. The main goals are to gather constructive feedback from Hiiumaa islanders and friends as well as to be able to inform the app users quickly and conveniently about local news. Additionally, we see the application as a good marketing tool for Hiiumaa, to make visiting Hiiumaa more convenient for the tourists and to stimulate the local economy through that.
Due to that, it is crucial that the software of the application is in constant development and up to date with the current possibilities in communication.
How will Hiiumaa react to the feedback collected with the application?
We will certainly encourage people to use this opportunity to share both positive and negative experiences as well as ask questions from the local officials. The feedback section will be open and transparent so everyone can see and comment on every post.
If you wanna know more about our community platforms, just book a meeting!