My Municipality – A Super Tool for Local Development Initiatives

06 Feb 2015

Over 6,500 citizens have already taken up a new opportunity to communicate their top priorities for local development to decision-makers through an innovative data-gathering system called My Municipality.

Through the installation of highly user-friendly touchscreens and an interactive website (www.moja-opstina.mk) the My Municipality project has enabled citizens in the four pilot municipalities of Tetovo, Kumanovo, Prilep and Shuto Orizari to identify—with just a few clicks—the three local development issues and policies most important to themselves and their families.

The tool has helped the municipalities and UNDP to gather valuable and accurate data about people’s needs and priorities, including the changing trends in the needs of the different groups in the population.

All this data provides an excellent basis for policy-makers to make better informed decisions at local level, and in this way local government actions and development projects will truly reflect the needs of local people.

In December last year, only six months after the project started, we began funding and helping to implement small-scale projects based on the priorities identified in the pilot municipalities.

·       In Kumanovo, citizens have prioritized the need to improve opportunities for entrepreneurship and business. A new project has enabled twenty Roma men and women to complete a training programme aimed at building their personal and professional skills. With these new skills, they can now take advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities offered by the Self Employment Programme and other Active Labour Market Measures. Implemented by a local civil society organization in partnership with the Employment Centre, the project has already mapped all private sector companies interested in employing Roma and other disadvantaged groups in 2015.

·       In Prilep, citizens have prioritized the need to increase internship opportunities for unemployed youth. A local civil society organization, working in partnership with the Municipality of Prilep, has already succeeded in gathering more than 250 representatives from universities, technical high schools and private companies to participate in events aimed at raising awareness about internship opportunities and the benefits of such opportunities for students and young unemployed people, as well as for educational institutions and local businesses. As a result, six young people have been enrolled in a three-month internship programme.

·       In Tetovo, citizens have prioritized the need to improve education for pupils from socially disadvantaged families. A local civil society organization in partnership with the multi-ethnic Lirija Primary School has developed a special programme for supporting educational activities for children in grades 5-9 who come from socially disadvantaged families. The programme has engaged three tutors to help these pupils improve their knowledge in mathematics and languages (Macedonian, Albanian and English).

·       In Suto Orizari, citizens have prioritized the need to improve channels for sharing information about employment opportunities. New channels for sharing information were swiftly set up, including informative meetings with representatives of the Employment Service Agency, citizens’ gatherings with the support of local Roma civil society organizations and better access to employment coaches and mentors in the municipality’s Roma Info Center.

Many more results coming soon, so stay tuned!

Introduced in May 2014, the My Municipality system was designed and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the four pilot municipalities and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The project is part of a regional project on Roma inclusion funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation. The municipalities were selected on account of the high proportion of Roma in their population. 

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