Enhancing local activism

Active citizens who fight for their rights, monitor how government representatives perform their functions or build on shortcomings in the provision of institutional services, are a prerequisite for a healthy and democratic society. Therefore, strengthening social activism is one of the main goals of the Center for Affirmative Social Actions – CASA, which bases its work on the active participation of citizens and its priorities on their genuine needs. In order to ensure effective practical implementation of this strategic approach, NGO CASA formed an internal mechanism for consultation and coordination with citizens. The Consultative Council of Organizations (CASA Council) consists of 12 young social leaders from all non-majority communities in Kosovo. Their role is to define local needs and actively participate in finding solutions to the problems they face. Such an active attitude is not only a question of motivation but also has its own rules to follow and skills to learn, that are necessary for the process to achieve the desired results.

This is exactly what was discussed these days in Prizren, at the first training session of the CASA Council (Training on the basics of civil activism). The training was held from 28–30. October in Centrum hotel. Experienced individuals from the community and experienced civil leaders gathered in the NGO CASA shared with the young members of the Council their own experiences in a civil actions and discussed the basic values, principles, and methodologies available to citizens who want to actively participate in the life of their community.

Methods of identifying needs were discussed. The first part of the training was reserved for explaining the advantages of participation in decision-making processes and the responsibilities of citizens and governments regarding this process. The second part of the training contained strategies for citizens’ participation in decision-making processes. At the same time, successful examples of citizen participation in our region were discussed.

Training on the basics of civil activism is part of the project “Organizational Development Grant” with the support of Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) within the program Engagement for joint action – EJA Kosovo and is the first in a series of activities to build the capacity of the CASA Council, all with the aim of promoting a new generation of young and active leaders in the Serbian community in Kosovo.