Civil held a seminar on coordination and training of a hundred members of the working groups for prevention of electoral violence, thereby formally engaging its members and associates of the project
The three-day seminar for all participants of the Free and Nonviolent Elections 2013 project was held last weekend, from 1-3 of February, in Ohrid, whereby Civil - Center for Freedom formally included its members and associates from the entire territory of the Republic of Macedonia in the extensive operation for ensuring free, democratic and completely nonviolent elections.
Before around a hundred participants in the seminar – nearly all those who are included in the project, the President of Civil Xhabir Deralla, first of all addressed the current political situation in the country and the inter-party relations, as a context in which the local elections scheduled for 24 March this year will be held.
“Due to the political atmosphere we witness everyday in this country, unfortunately, we can reasonably expect a lot of irregularities in these elections as well, and we are here to prevent those irregularities as much as possible”, Deralla said.
The President of Civil, at separate sessions also addressed the language of violence, as a form of violence and the pressure over citizens, and also spoke on the subject of Arms Control, Safety and Security, emphasising that with this activity, in which Civil is engaged from its foundation 14 years ago, it has become recognisable not only in the country but also worldwide.
The project, its objectives and methods, i.e. the main components of which it consists, were presented to the participants by Natasha Donevska – project manager, Ilir Ajdini, public relations manager and Albulena Karaga, coordinator of the Prevention Working Groups.
The project participants – the nine regional prevention working groups, composed of three permanent and, on average, six associative members – were thoroughly familiarised by the project team of Civil with the project tasks, protocols, lines of communication and activity plans in the municipalities. In addition, special emphasis was placed on the need of establishing communication and cooperation with all relevant factors in the election process, principally with the citizens, but also with the political parties, citizens' associations, mayors and municipal councils, police and others.
The representative of the donor Ibrahim Mehmeti of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation also delivered a speech at the seminar, as well as the representatives of Civil's partner organisations in this project, Kirsten Schönefeld of the Forum Civil Peace Service (Forum ZFD) and Sreten Kocevski of the Community Development Institute – Tetovo, who stressed the need for realization of such a project.
Within the seminar, Civil also signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Forum for Development of the Local Community of Shtip, and it is soon expected that memoranda and cooperation agreements are to be signed with other organisations and institutions as well.
Besides the familiarisation with their tasks and obligations, the participants in the seminar attended a range of other lectures and trainings.
Experts hired by Civil's partner in this project, Forum ZFD, held lectures on the subjects of “Communication and Nonviolent Communication”, “Stereotypes and Prejudices” and “Conflict and Mediation”. In addition, they also conducted a session on team building. The representatives of the Citizen Association MOST held a lecture on the subject of "Electoral Systems".
Risto Popovski, editor in the organizational unit of Civil, Civil – Media, held a brief training to the participants in the seminar for the basics of journalistic writing and critical perception of the media. He also addressed the current situation with the media in Macedonia, saying that most of them are corrupted and under constant strong pressure by the government. A sufficient illustration that the current situation with the media is worse than it has ever been before can be seen in the last report of the organisation “Reporters Without Borders” in which Macedonia according to the freedom of speech and the media is on the 116th place, i.e. it is one of the least free countries in the world.
ACTIVE CITIZENS FOR STRENGTHENING THE DEMOCRACY
The seminar was very successful particularly because at one point I got a feeling that this is a unique rally of citizens reflecting the needs, views, feelings and aspirations of every region separately and the entire country as a whole. The seminar united representatives of all ethnic communities, all ages and the most diverse professional and educational profiles, but in that diversity one common idea could be drawn, and that is that these citizens are determined to help this society recover, honestly, honourably and fervently. As in fact one democratic society should be – the citizens to be active stakeholders in the society, responsible for the processes and holders of the reforms.
I am especially happy with the fact that in this old and new structure that Civil and the partner organizations are forming, the men are not majority in the least, but the proportion is around fifty-fifty. Thus we are giving an example to the other institutions and particularly to the politicians where the majority are men.
As to the tasks of the prevention working group network, they are complex and delicate. But, I believe that the energy of the people composing this network will respond to all challenges and they will contribute towards strengthening the democracy and observance of human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Macedonia.
President of Civil
Xhabir Deralla and the PR official and online administrator of Civil Arian Mehmeti familiarized the participants with the online activism about this project and their tasks for a more successful implementation of this significant media segment of the project. They emphasised that the new media and social networks are becoming increasingly important in the world and in our country and that capacity should be used to the maximum.
This is a fourth subsequent election cycle in which Civil implements a project for raising the public awareness about the need of free elections and elections without violence and armed violence.
Civil - Center for Freedom is the holder of the Free and Nonviolent Elections 2013 project and is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
This post is also available in: Macedonian