ICLD supports rights-based work of Eastern European municipalities with vulnerable groups

ICLD’s programme “Human Rights Based Approach” for municipal officials, politicians and civil society representatives in Eastern Europe focuses on enhancing municipal service and living conditions for the most vulnerable citizens by empowering them and realizing human rights principles in municipal practice.

This programme is a wonderful investment for a better future, says Tekla Khachidze, one of the youth participants in the project of Team Gori, Georgia.

Last month, Jim Enström, programme officer at ICLD, visited the teams in Ukraine, Georgia and Albania with the team mentors Anna Kebadze and Mariia Tyshchenko. The aim of the visit was to learn more about the rights-based projects that the teams are working on.

Team Reni, Ukraine

The first visit took place in Reni, a small city in southwest of Ukraine, close to the borders of Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria. The team project in Reni aims to enhance political leadership and municipal service by strengthening awareness and knowledge about human rights in public service. Their main objective is that all municipal decisions and services should be characterised by a rights-based approach, with a particular emphasis on gender mainstreaming and citizen participation.

The team will also establish an advisory council, that will enhance citizen participation in local democracy. Recently, the team organised a workshop for specialists of the council and civil society organisations to highlight the principles of a human rights-based approach in local government where the participating organisations got to learn how a gender approach can contribute to a more sustainable social and economic development.

“I find the opportunity to participate in this programme very valuable, as it increases our capacity to support a rights-based development in our community. Especially important is the work with vulnerable groups, gender equality and public participation,” says Svitlana Hud, Regional Analytical center, Reni.

Team Reni from Ukraine together with mentor Mariia Tyshchenko. Photo: Jim Enström ICLD

Team Gori, Georgia

The next visit was in Gori, a city in Eastern Georgia that was strongly affected by the conflict with Russia in 2008 and is still suffering the consequences. Jim and the national mentor Anna Kebadze met Team Gori to learn more about how their rights-based project is proceeding. The aim of the project is to increase awareness and knowledge among young Gorians, especially from vulnerable groups, about their Human Rights. The overarching goal is to empower these young citizens with the necessary tools to influence political decisions and improve their future living conditions.

During the fall, the team have held several workshops, trainings, and debates about the importance of youth participation in local democracy, partly as preparation for the local elections in October 2021 where many of the participating youth could vote for the first time. At the Welfare and Development Center in Gori we met with people participating in the project, as well as those affected by it. 

The young people agree that it is crucial for the them to get knowledge and capacity to form their lives and improve their future livelihood, or as Rusudan Buziashvili, one of the participating Georgian youth, says:

“Being an active young person is the main force to build a successful and happy society. This project has showed us our rights, responsibilities, and opportunities. This project has shown us that we have great power! It is so important that our friends from Sweden are interested in development of Georgian youth. We are very thankful for this support!

Team Tirana, Albania

The Albanian team is based in the capital Tirana. Team Tirana is working on a project that will increase participation of women and girls, especially from vulnerable groups, in political decision processes. There are already action plans and strategies to increase citizens’ participation in political decisions and processes, but the team will add a rights-based approach to them. The aim is to empower girls and women from vulnerable groups to have greater influence over their own lives and living conditions.

“The important project Team Tirana is implementing significantly seeks to support the participation of women in decision-making in rural Tirana by means of training activities designed to encourage their participation and by awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of the active involvement of women in decision-making processes” says Glindxhet Madhi, councillor in Tirana.

Councillor Glindxhet Madhi, Tirana municipality. Photo collage

About the programme

The overall goal of ICLD’s international training programme “Human Rights Based Approach” is to strengthen the municipalities’ capacity and contribute to the ongoing and new change management processes designed to achieve socioeconomic development. The goal is also to strengthen the institutional capacity and the integration of a rights based thinking at local level and in the municipal service.