Focusing on human rights

Most of the participants are local level administrative officials in their home countries of Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia. The training weeks in Sweden are, as with all of the ICLD programmes, part of an 18-month training programme designed not only to help the participants further their understanding of the above-mentioned areas, but to enable them to conduct change management projects in their home municipalities and to build up their networks within the fields of local democracy and human rights.

The teaching methods used within the programme vary, but the emphasis throughout is on different forms of interactive learning. The weeks in Sweden also include numerous study visits, both individually and in groups. Örebro municipality has an ambitious programme of human rights work, so some of the training was provided there, including group visits to a centre for disabled people in the municipality.

The change management project being conducted by the participants from the ?air municipality in Macedonia concerns the rights of disabled persons, and participants from the group told us that this particular study visit was especially important for them, which we were obviously delighted to hear.  

The participants also had two days’ work experience during their time in Sweden. Eight municipalities, from Hörby in the south to Skellefteå in the north have hosted our participants this year. The municipal work experience was very popular with our course participants and we hope that at least one of the municipality visits will result in further collaboration between the Swedish municipality in question and the visiting participants’ home municipality.

The training in Sweden ended with a dinner in Stockholm to which the ambassadors from the participants’ countries were also invited. Many of the group became good friends during the training period, and said fond farewells when it was time to return home. The group will meet up again in the spring of 2017, until when they will continue to work on their change management projects at home. It is our hope that they will have taken with them a number of good ideas for the further development of their projects focusing on human rights.