USAID and UN Women Promote Best Practices in Civic Engagement

Local government official speaks on the importance of civic engagement
Mayors, officials and interested citizens from various Albanian municipalities and members of NGOs and the donor community attended the conference.
USAID's Planning and Local Governance Project

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Today, USAID and UN Women held a national conference on Civic Engagement: “Civic Engagement at the Local Level - “Strengthening Citizens’ Voices through Local Civic Mechanisms.” The Conference promoted the importance of building local civic engagement as a tool for supporting good governance and local democracy and community empowerment through participation, accountability, responsiveness, and informed decision-making. The conference focused on two specific civic engagement tools:  Citizen Advisory Panels (CAPs) and Community-Based Scorecards (CBSs), both of which are used to enable the voices of citizens in their local communities. Minister of Local Issues Bledi Çuçi; USAID/Albania Country Representative Catherine Johnson; UN Women Representative, Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden, Brigitta Jansson, Mayor of Shkodra, Voltana Ademi, and Mayor of Korça, Sotiraq Filo, delivered remarks. Attendees included mayors, officials and interested citizens from various Albanian municipalities, representatives from Albania’s associations of municipalities and members of NGOs and the donor community working in local governance.

USAID and UN Women, in collaboration with local NGOs and CAPs conducted the Community-Based Scorecard project in 10 Albanian LGUs (Berat, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokastra, Kamza, Korça, Kuçova, Lushnje, Vlore and Shkodra). The scorecards, which are used to crystalize the needs and priorities of citizens and assess the performance of municipalities in meeting those needs, were developed based on the citizen input from these communities. During the Conference, participants heard about the opportunities and challenges of using both the CAP and CBS approaches and representatives from local municipalities presented specific case studies on the use of these tools in practice.

In her remarks, USAID/Albania Country Representative Catherine Johnson cited CBS and CAPs as effective tools that foster dialogue among local government officials and citizens. “Civic engagement – the responsibility to be a good citizen – does not begin or end with voting.  Citizens must be continuously involved in decisions that affect their daily lives. For Albania’s 61 municipalities to effectively serve their constituents there must be a broader and deeper level of civic engagement. Together we must work to heighten the awareness and engagement of civil society and citizens in local governance.”

# # #