Only active citizens who are informed and know all the legal procedures for exercising their civil rights and duties are government correctors. This was one of the main topics discussed at the Civic Society Resource Centre (CSRC) workshop on the principles and concepts of citizens’ participation held on October 28 and 29. At the workshop, 21 CSOs became familiar with the practical aspects of citizens’ participation in decision making on local level.

The participants were introduced to the concept of local self-government, competences and decision-making so that they could direct their initiatives appropriately. Working in groups, they developed several action plans for initiatives that they will submit to municipalities in the up-coming period.

The trainer, Zage Filiposki, has repeatedly emphasised that the communities that use their full human potential have the advantage and turn those differences into comparative advantages. “In this workshop, the participants were particularly interested in the functioning of local communities, outsourced responsibilities and other practical specifics of the planning and budgeting process. Now is the time for next year’s plans and budgets and it is the best time to lobby and give proposals and ideas”, he added.

One of the conclusions of the discussion was that those local communities, in this case municipalities, that will create synergy and utilize the expertise, experience and knowledge of their fellow citizens, will always be a step ahead and more successful in creating added value, and better conditions for living and development.

In the context of the current situation in our country, one of the topics that caused the most interest was the selection of candidates for the next elections. The participants concluded that it is not enough just to vote for councilors, mayors and MPs, but the greatest challenge is to identify, encourage and support the most capable candidates in the community in order to make the best decisions, regardless of the political party that they belong to.