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Internationalization and Local Chapters

Why this document

Once upon a time, Decidim was a tool used only by the city of Barcelona. Soon, Decidim spread around Spain and Europe to be the strongest participation civic tech in the market. We see now Decidim emerging all around the world: Mexico, Japan, African Continent, United States, Canada and now Brazil. These contexts are completely different, feeling ownership beyond Europe is a shared concern (and a valid one!).


The purpose of this proposal is not about the language: Countries must find their way to be sovereign in the digital common Decidim. The necessity of sovereignty is urgent: how can they collectively finance their roadmaps, transfer Decidim technologies to locals, adapt to specific and local use cases. How can other countries have this feeling of belongings regarding Decidim?


This proposal aims to create ways to enable sovereignty, without dictating how to be sovereign. We try here to design the most minimal and yet sustainable rules to keep our Social Contract safe and enact collaboration at large scale.


Local Chapter handles different contexts, inviting Decidim product to solidify its core and modularity.


Local Chapters will be able to raise money: focusing on their own needs, they can raise money from their local place, and retro-feed Decidim products. Giving an opportunity of a new money-flow for the community.
Local Chapter will be able to better represent Decidim abroad, making showcases that echoes present situations.


Behind local chapters some concerns must be raised around “local sovereignty”, these concerns are anticipated and did not happen yet in our community. Still it’s important to name them:

Privatization of Decidim:

A concern would be to have a take over Decidim’s Local Chapter. Governments, big tech, rich private companies could claim the Decidim Local chapter for themselves, and then create an oppressive system.

No retro-feed:

Capitalism is everywhere, and forget about Decidim “core” as a strong dependency could happen: use Decidim to raise funds and do not retro-feed the “core” that is at the foundation of the system. This concern is particularly present in all open-source software.

Breaks of the social contract:

That’s not because you are doing participation, that you are respecting the social contract. Decidim is a tecno political project, protected by its social contract. Local chapters may use Decidim and still break the social contract.

Local Chapter
Local Chapter concept is Decidim practicing decolonization:

Local Chapter takes sovereignty for promoting Decidim locally and organizing their community. Under certain conditions, a Local Chapter will be recognized by the Decidim Coordination Committee publically and will evolve through a regenerative autonomous Local Chapter.

A local chapter is a local Decidim community that promotes Decidim, discuss new features in their own languages, exchange knowledge on Decidim usages, organize themselves to improve Decidim products. It’s a bridge between local and global Decidim community.


The main purposes of a Local Chapter are:
- To generate a digital space for help (ideally a Decidim instance).
- Create a space for sharing experiences
- Advise and help people who are new to the community.
- Disseminate the values of the project and ensure compliance with the social contract.
- Encourage a good use of Decidim to guarantee the democratic quality of the processes.
- Promote the adoption of Decidim and Open Source Software
- Organise events to share experiences and network (it could be a Decidim Day organised by the local chapter).


As soon as the following agreements are respected, you have full autonomy to evolve your gouvernance in your Local Chapter over time; The Decidim Association trusts you to find ways to experiment and adapt to your local situations.

Decidim for Decidim

Local Chapters MUST use Decidim as a way to organize themselves. They can use other tools together with Decidim, but Decidim will be the common tool for publishing information and providing transparency.

Meta-Decidim Debates

Local Chapters MAY translate and conduct meta-Decidim debates in their own languages. In case a Local Chapter runs debates around Decidim, Ambassadors MUST summarize and reference Local Chapter Debates.

Financial Restrictions

Local Chapters MAY contribute to the global fund of the Decidim Association. This fund is governed by the Decidim Association and will be used to support the maintenance of a robust and reliable Decidim Software. Local Chapters MUST NOT promote or start any commercial services.


Local Chapter MAY select one ambassador. An local chapter ambassador's purpose is to remove all the constraints from the Local Chapter, talking with the Decidim Association. Her/His accountabilities are:
- Contact the Decidim Coordination Committee with proposals to help the Local Chapter
- Answer transparently about Local Chapter situations.
- Gives regular actualisations to the Decidim Association.
- Summarize and reference local chapter debates around Decidim


Ambassador MAY asks for help to fulfill his/her accountabilities and will still stay accountable for these items.


Local Chapters MUST NOT have their own list of companies and non-profit. Companies and non-profit SHOULD partner with the Decidim Association directly if they want to be partners.


The Decidim trademark belongs to the Decidim Association. Local chapters should consult with the Association about the uses of the trademark. Local chapters will not be constituted as a legal entity.

Decidim Association as the last guardian of the Social Contract

If a conflict arises in a Local Chapter, the Ambassador MAY ask the Decidim Association to decide on a Local Chapter matter. In this case, the Decidim Association will listen to the persons involved in a conflictual position and will take a final decision to protect the Social Contract.

Decidim Association will not be a conflict mediator, and encourages Local Chapters to define their own conflict resolution processes.


Local Chapter MUST provide yearly updated with:
- Participatory Process proofs that elect the ambassador
- Local roadmaps
- Money raised for the Local Chapter

Fundamental Agreement

Local Chapter governance MUST be democratic and open to everyone. Requesting something from someone is only valid when it is based on a described and consented agreement by all parties involved, allowing this agreement to be accessible and modifiable by any party whenever necessary, through new mutual consent.

WHEN I expect someone to do something OR I wish to prevent someone from doing something;

THEN I propose it in the form of a written agreement among the individuals involved, so they can understand and consent to this proposal.

AND THEN, only when all the individuals involved consent, we will have a valid agreement.


If the Local Chapter breaks the Decidim Social Contract and after notice doesn’t immediately react, the Decidim Association MAY resiliate any previous agreements made with the Local Chapter.


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