With the ongoing process of decentralization in the Republic of Macedonia, local authorities have very responsible role in process of improvement of current living conditions of vulnerable groups at the local level, including persons with disability. That implies that decisions made by local authorities will influence upon everyday life of persons with disability. Therefore, local authorities should include aspects of disability in their decisions i.e. how each decision will affect the citizens with disability. In order to realize these responsibilities they need to hear problems that persons with disabilities are facing in their everyday life. Establishing close and strong cooperation between local authorities and the organizations of and for persons with disability is a basic precondition for creation of inclusive local policy regarding the rights of persons with disability.
That is the starting point why the Republic center for support of persons with intellectual disability – PORAKA started with implementation of concrete actions for creation of local disability action plans in 3 pilot – municipalities in the Republic of Macedonia: Ohrid, Vinica and Kumanovo.
Local disability action plan is an instrument for development, realization and improvement of the disability policy on local level. It is a strategic document, which consists of identified needs, solutions, goals and priorities, agreed between the local authorities and organizations of persons with disabilities. The goal of local disability action is improvement of quality of life for persons with disability. It includes issues that are of utmost importance for persons with disability and proposes actions in accordance with the resources of the local community.
The proposed activities within the program are consisted of creation and training of working groups in each municipality. Working groups will have mandate to work on the issues of designing and drafting local disability action plan and will be consisted of the identified representatives of local self-government, organizations of people with disabilities, local institutions, business sector and other local stakeholders that have experience in local planning. The working group will use the model of stakeholder cooperation based on participatory principles as a core value of its functioning. Training of the working groups will be realized through 3 training seminars in each municipality. Process of creation of the local disability action plan will be carried out through 3 workshops in each municipality. The Councils of the municipalities will adopt local disability action plans, as an official strategic document of the local self – governments. Afterwards, each local action plan will be published and promoted on local and national level.
So far, PORAKA has implemented the first phase of the program including:
- Separate preliminary meetings held with Mr. Zoran Damjanovski – Mayor of municipality Kumanovo, Mr. Emil Donchev – Mayor of municipality Vinica and Mr. Aleksandar Petreski – Mayor of municipality Ohrid.
- Established Working groups in the 3 municipalities,
- Signed Memorandums for cooperation between PORAKA, local self-governments, and all stakeholders involved in the process (local institutions and organizations of persons with disability).
Implementation of this process for creation of local disability action plans is conducted by PORAKA in partnership with Handicap International – South East Europe, supported by the Small Grants Program of the US Embassy in Macedonia.