On 31 May 2017 a kick-off meeting on the start-up of the project "Promoting civil society participation in decision making processes on social inclusion in Belarus" was held in Minsk.
The specific objective of the project is to promote enabling environments for civil society participation in decision making processes through enhanced participatory CSO-LA dialogue and cooperation in targeted districts of Minsk (Barysaŭ, Miadziel, Smaliavičy, Salihorsk) regions and Hrodna (Hrodna, Vaŭkavysk, Lida, Astraviec) regions.
The project will contribute to the capacity development of civil society organizations and local authorities through joint trainings, experience exchange, local communities engagement to the implementation of volunteer initiatives and through humanitarian diplomacy addressing the most acute problems of vulnerable citizens.
The project is funded in the framework of the annual EU call for proposals "Local authorities and civil society organizations in development" and is being implemented by the Belarus Red Cross Society with the support of the Danish Red Cross and in cooperation with local authorities.
The project budget is about five hundred thousand euros. During a four-year period of project implementation the following activities are to be carried out:
· Training and joint conduction of CSO/LA needs assessment;
· Recruitment, training and support of volunteers and staff of the BRCS and territorial social centers;
· Implementation of community-based initiatives by BRCS volunteer groups with the support of local authorities;
· Round tables on the results of community-based volunteer initiatives implementation and their impact;
· Capacity building of the existing district and regional coordination mechanisms;
· Creation of volunteer groups and family support groups on the base of the territorial social centers;
· National and regional experience exchange visits to study best practices;
· Study visits to EU / CIS countries for NGOs and local authorities;
· Collection, publication and dissemination of best practices among stakeholders;
· Town hall meetings at the national level to raise awareness through humanitarian diplomacy;
· Development and implementation of communication strategy.
- The new project contributes to the implementation of the Belarussian National Strategy for Sustainable Development for the period to 2020 and supports one of its main objectives that is to create the conditions under which every citizen, a social group and an organization will have the opportunity to participate in the state decision making processes, to receive complete information on the consequences of taken decisions implementation and to assess their impact on the structures of civil society, "said Sergei Boltrushevich, the representative of the Danish Red Cross in Belarus
"The support to social inclusion is a strategic priority for Belarus-European Union cooperation, and we are pleased that in this project special attention will be paid to the real participation of citizens in decision-making processes in relation to the development at the local level and further strengthening of the volunteer movement in Belarus," said Alexei Vavokhin, the project manager, the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of all stakeholders, including the Belarus Red Cross Society and its branches from the target districts, the Danish Red Cross, the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, the UNICEF Office in Belarus, the Committees on Labor, Employment and Social Protection of Grodno and Minsk regional executive committees, NGO "Belarusian Republican Youth Union".