â€œActive Citizenship for inter-ethnic cooperationâ€- overcoming barriers together
For six months already Center for Intercultural Dialogue is implementing the project “Active Citizenship for inter-ethnic cooperation” supported by UNDP as part of the UN Joint Programme “Enhancing inter-ethnic dialogue and communication among communities”. The project aims to create ground for sustainable inter-ethnic dialogue by fostering cross-sector networking among all stakeholders (public entities and civil society) and develop their capacities to work together in identifying problems and possible solutions.
The project includes several aspects in initiating different stakeholders to take active part in creating local youth policies for enhancing inter-ethnic communication. Their role was to work on needs assessments on local level and identify common points where collaboration can be based. With it we tried to establish ground for identifying and motivating the stakeholders for active work on overcoming obstacles and weaknesses that negatively influence the inter-ethnic relations within Kumanovo. It is a great success that stakeholders and civil society got together in a very friendly and neutral environment, feeling the same need to discuss on issues equally important for every citizen in Kumanovo. Our experience shows that the local culture of the community does not have established practices of common need assessment process, so this was great contribution toward not only establishing positive practices, but also being a stepping stone for active citizenship.
Essential part of the project was development of different working groups aiming to support the work of “Commission for Inter-ethnic dialogue among communities”- body for monitoring of the inter-ethnic relations in FYROM/Macedonia. In total we developed 4 thematic working groups, covering the following areas: Culture issues; Employment and social issues; Education, Youth and Sport; and Religion. The working groups worked on local mapping and needs assessment in the focus of inter-ethnic issues and developing recommendation to improve it. Practically they were supporting the work of the above mention commission
Members of the working groups included the relevant stakeholders like Municipality Officials, Members of the Commission for Inter-ethnic dialogue among communities, NGO representatives, Councilors, Youth Workers, Citizens -creating a list of 40 participants.
Once the need assessment was implemented, the members of the working groups initiated local campaign “Week of Active Citizenship” aiming to promote and initiate active citizenship in developing inter-ethnic communication among communities. It is important to point out that the event as such contributed to activate the local community and create framework for cooperation and mutual support.
The “Week of Active Citizenship” included the following events:
- • Training “Active participation for Self-employment” exploring measurements for self employability;
- • Conference “Multicultural Triangle, Municipality-Schools-NGO” aiming to establish ground for integrated education within the formal education curricula;
- • Poetry Reading “Good Thoughts” tackling inter-ethnic sensitivity;
- • Multicultural Postcards – promoting inter-religious dialogue and visiting religious temples;
It is great successes that all the ideas and initiatives proposed were implemented by the members of the working group and their facilitators as a great contribution to the sustainable community development. In a period of a week 21-25 February, the campaign involved hundreds of beneficiaries, putting together diverse cultures, opponent political parties, different religions, open and closed minds, teachers and students, youngsters and adults to shake up the community, raising awareness about the need to act together and promoting active citizenship for building common future as being equal responsibility to everyone.
President of CID