Child rights

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Beginning of the Project “Tomorrow Starts Today”

 

NGO Praxis, in partnership with the organization Music Art Project, is implementing a two-year project “Tomorrow Starts Today”, which started on December 21, 2019. The project is funded by the European Union within the Civil Society Facility Programme 2018 for the Republic of Serbia.

The project’s overall objective is to increase participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) and citizens, particularly children and youth in policy-making, and to increase accountability and transparency of local self-governments in Serbia. The Project is being implemented in five towns in Serbia: Kraljevo, Leskovac, Bujanovac, Surdulica and Zemun.

Being at the very heart of EU accession process, implementation of good governance principles, as part of the public administration reform, and respect of human rights, including protection against discrimination and social inclusion, require strong cohort of civil society organizations, citizens and the media able to understand their own role in the process and to demand accountability from LSGs to instill human rights and good governance principles in their work. The project aims to address the general problem of insufficient citizen participation in policy development, especially at the local level. In order to tackle this problem, a set of activities will be implemented, including: a baseline research on the work of 5 selected LSGs to collect information on their accountability and transparency; trainings for civil society and grass-root organizations to increase their capacity and effectiveness to influence policy-making at the local level; meetings with local media representatives to raise awareness about their role in ensuring transparency of the reform process and accountability of the LSGs; community meetings to bring together all relevant stakeholders at the local level, including representatives of the authorities, the media and civil society, to strengthen their cooperation, raise awareness of the importance of citizen participation in policy making and improve consultation mechanisms at the local level in the field of reform processes to contribute to creation of evidence-based, inclusive local policies, especially those referring to child rights. Advocacy activities will also be implemented throughout the Project to challenge any identified violations of good governance principles, discrimination and violation of basic human rights, especially those affecting children.

At the same time, the Project aims to address the issue of social exclusion of marginalized children through innovative activities, to challenge prejudices and discrimination at an early age and create environment that is open to and nurturing diversity, while at the same time empowering children/youth to get involved in development of policies that concern them and have effect on their lives. This will be achieved through implementation of El Sistema model with teachers and children in schools/cultural centres in the selected municipalities, as a recognized example of good practice promoting diversity, equal opportunities and social activation, by organizing seminars for teachers to upgrade teachers’ knowledge and skills for innovative techniques tailored to needs and capacities of children from various groups, and expand network of public schools implementing ES method. Furthermore, classes/master classes/music camp will be organized for children from both marginalized and non-marginalized groups in the selected schools/cultural centres. In addition, public events/concerts of children’s orchestras and choirs will be organized in each municipality, turning concert venues into meeting places of various groups, thus reducing prejudices, combating discrimination and enhancing social inclusion of children, especially those from marginalized groups. Finally, workshops with children will be organized in the selected schools about child rights, non-discrimination and active participation in influencing policy-making in their communities via available mechanisms.

Final publication will sum up the project findings which will be presented at a final conference at the end of the project together with general recommendations to policy-makers and the CSOs/GOs on how to improve citizen participation in the development of local policies and mainstream child rights into local policies.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action