PROMOTING GOOD GOVERNANCE AND EMPOWERING ROMA COMMUNITY AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
The City of Nis has joined the ROMACTED Programme Promoting Good Governance and Roma Empowerment at Local Level, which, with the support of the European Union in Serbia, is implemented by the Council of Europe, on the basis of the agreement between the European Union and the Council of Europe. ROMACTED results from the experience of the ROMED and ROMACT programmes and will reflect upon the adaptation of these methodologies and activities to each beneficiary and selected location, in order to fit into the policy cycle and the dynamics and reality of each municipality, and thus bringing an additional input to existing policies and practices for an effective and more inclusive functioning. One of the leading guidelines in the methodology of the programme is that participation in local governance can only be effective if it is context-appropriate. Thus, a preliminary mapping, assessment, baseline survey and research are done in each selected municipality so as to facilitate the adaptation of the programme and its support and monitoring of the process. In addition to the Strasbourg-based team, the programme will have project officers in the Council of Europe offices in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey and a national support team from Roma civil society in each of the beneficiary countries. The aims of the programme are to: strengthen political will and support local development through capacity-building of local authorities and effective participation of Roma citizens in local plans and projects; empower the Roma citizens- on the individual level (assisting people to practice their basic rights and to expand their capacity and skills), as well as on the community level (assisting people to get organized to voice their interests around community problem-solving); improve and expand the institutions’ commitment, capacities, knowledge and skills in working for Roma inclusion, putting into practice the concepts of good governance.
So far, in cooperation with the Roma community and local self-government, the following actions have been successfully carried out: cleaning the railway crossing in the settlement Beograd Mala in cooperation with the Serbian Railways, water supply at the Roma cemetery, as well as the connection of the chapel to the water supply network in cooperation with City Municipality Crveni Krst and PUC Naissus, clearing the wild landfills in cooperation with PUC Medijana. Further plans related to the Roma population will be directed to solving many problems in various areas: water supply, sewerage infrastructure in Roma settlements, traffic signs and safety, systematic solution of wild landfills in settlements, assistance in renovating several residential buildings for the most vulnerable Roma population, cleaning and maintenance of railway crossroads around settlements, education, scholarships, prevention of drug addiction, assistance in securing the equipment for the collectors of raw materials which could be found at the landfill. “Local self-government is ready to answer with its all the available capacities to the problems of our citizens with the obligatory active participation of members of the Roma community”, said Nis City Council Member Tijana Djordjevic Ilic, and announced that in addition to the above Program, a Protocol on Cooperation was signed aimed at improving living conditions of the Roma population in settlements.