Citizens of Elbasan - active participants in development

students in computer lab
Students of Elbasan get to know E-participation project. Credit: UNDP Albania

For the first time in her life Anila, feels her voice is heard. She can now influence decision making when it comes to the development of her town. She and other members of her community had a wish: to build a new playground for children.

 

Today her children and their friends can spend hours playing on the newly inaugurated playground. They so much needed and deserved one.

 

One day, through the local TV, she learned of a portal that the Municipality of Elbasan had created where community members were encouraged to go on line and give their suggestions and ideas on budget allocations regarding development works to be implemented in Elbasan. One day Anila went to the nearest internet point and visited the municipality portal.  On the site she could read a note by the city Mayor Qazimi Sejdiu, highlighting efforts being made by the municipality and UNDP to encourage e: participation at the local level. The Mayor called on people to be part of the decision making process at the municipality by voicing their concerns and expressing their views for the development of the city. Anila had long waited for this. She further navigated through the site and to her surprise she found out that many other people had the same opinion “a play ground for children was required in their neighbourhood”. Various suggestions were made by various people.

 

Encouraging citizens to participate in decisions that affect their lives is only part of the Municipality and UNDP intervention called: E participation.

 

Speaking about this intervention, the mayor of Elbasan Mr. Qazim Sejdiu says: "Thanks to this initiative, today the municipality has its e: portal which has enabled us to offer several services on line thus responding faster and more effectively to citizen’s needs. Also—this initiative is enhancing the interaction between the municipality and the citizens by enabling them to take part in decisions that affect their daily lives. We are pleased to see that this intervention is introducing a new mechanism to attract citizen opinions in the decision making process”.

 

Arben Rama, UNDP Cluster Manager for Economic Governance points out: “Enhancing and modernizing municipalities’ business processes and service delivery by utilizing ICT tools is cost effective and brings fast results, influencing directly the performance of local governments and the quality of life of citizens in the municipalities. E-governance and the appropriate use of ICT advances economic and social development, empowers officials and municipal representatives, ensure linkages and facilitates networking.  E-local governance initiative is utilizing the power of ICT to transform the accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of public service and to help revitalize the relationship between customers and citizens and the public bodies who work for their benefit”.

 

Aurela—a student from Economic Faculty   amongst other says:” What I appreciate most is the opportunity to be better able to voice our concerns through the technology and to be part of the development of our own city”.

 

UNDP Albania and the municipalities of Kamez and Elbasan implemented a project called “E participation” which provided support to increasing the capacities of local administrations to better deliver their services to the citizens and to enhance the interaction between the local governments and citizens to increase involvement and participation of citizens in decision making.

 

The project supported outcomes promoting transparency and accountability through the development of more effective and streamlined business processes. This can result in better and more equal access to services by citizens, thus benefiting the most disadvantaged groups.  The project also supported the development of Electronic Document Management System and E-portals for Municipalities of Elbasan and Kamez with the aim to involve citizens more in processes concerning administration, policymaking, decision-making, service delivery, information provision and consultation.

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