Toolkit of GOOD PRACTICES on Citizen Participation!


Commission for Disabled Persons


Country: Croatia

Context

The Commission for Disabled Persons of the town of Sisak was established on 7th October 2013, following the recommendations of the “National Strategy of Equalization of Possibilities for Persons with Disabilities 2007-2015”[1] and of other related national and international documents. The purpose of the Commission is to create a local strategy providing opportunities for the implementation of the National Strategy at the local level, to monitor it, and to advocate for the rights of disabled people in Sisak.

The Commission created the local strategy for 2015-2019, adopted by Sisak’s Council in December 2014[2].

Measure

The Commission for Disabled Persons of the town of Sisak is composed of representatives of public institutions and CSOs dealing with wide a range of disabilities. Due to different needs and problems of particular groups of disabled persons, the Commission formed three working groups that follow, collect, analyze and recommend concrete measures for specific groups of people with disabilities.

The aim of the Strategy of Equalization of Possibilities for Persons with Disabilities of Sisak 2015-2019 is to improve, protect and ensure a full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by disabled people, respecting their dignity. Moreover, ensuring the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of public, political and cultural life, including education and employment.

Target Group

People with disabilities living in Sisak’s area, members of their families and social environment as whole.

Particularly addressed to:

-       Children with disabilities in development

-       Disabled women and young girls

-       Disabled young people

-       Disabled elderly people

Methodology

The establishment of the Commission was made based on the decision of the mayor of Sisak, prior to which the members of the Commission was selected based on their applications to an open call.

The Commission meets in the premises of the town of Sisak minimum once every three months, but very often every month. The first and main objective is to create a strategy following an agreed methodology, and afterwards to monitor its implementation and to recommend the needed improvements, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.

Associations of disabled persons are a key component in the Commission’s work due to their daily contact with the target groups. Informing and communication with them is crucial for both gathering relevant data and raising awareness of disabled people’s challenges in the wider community. Recommendations by disabled persons are continuously gathered using different tools such as interviews, focus groups, round tables, CSOs reports, desk research and similar.

Stakeholders

Association of disabled persons in Sisak – suggesting measures, recommendations and improvements
Associations for the improvement of different areas of life in Sisak – support in suggesting measures
Town of Sisak – adopting decisions and implementing them
Public institutions and companies in Sisak – partners in the Strategy’ implementation.

Assessment

The Strategy of Equalization of Possibilities for Persons with Disabilities of Sisak 2015-2019 has been recently adopted and it is therefore hard to assess the achievements in the big picture. Until now there have been great achievements in awareness raising, especially in public institutions and companies; for example, the agreement with Sisak Hospital to educate nurses and technical staff on how to handle and behave with disabled persons during different tests and check-ups, the agreement with some public companies to short waiting time in services, the organization of lectures on disability in high school for nurses, and other similar initiatives.

Impact

The Strategy includes:

-       Improve life quality
-       Make specific services more available
-       Contribute to safer life in community
-       Removing mobility obstacles
-       Raise awareness on particular needs, possibilities and functioning of disabled people associations
-       Promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity
-       Promote early intervention measures
-       Promote inclusion in pre-school and elementary school
-       Promote inclusion in any further educational level
-       Promote inclusion in employment
-       Contribute to creation of society of equal opportunities

Swot

1. Strengths (characteristics of the measure that give it an advantage over others):
-       Joint action of experts and disabled persons’ associations
-       Political support of the town of Sisak, and especially the mayor
-       Secured place of work for the Commission
-       Adopted the Strategy of Equalization of Possibilities for Persons with Disabilities of Sisak 2015-2019

2. Weaknesses (characteristics that place the measure at a disadvantage relative to others)
-       Not adequate level of interest for participation and implementation by the main target groups
-       Low level of motivation by some members of the Commission
-       Low quantity of information for citizens on the Commission’s work in the media

3. Opportunities (elements that the measure could exploit to its advantage):
-       Knowledge, experience and motivation of the larger part of the Commission’s members to create change and concrete actions
-       Strategy as a base for further Commission’s work

4. Threats (elements in the environment that could cause trouble to the measure):
-       Political lobbying for particular associations of disabled persons
-       Lack of continuum in work
-       Participation in the Commission’s work on voluntary basis
-       Work of the Commission not well recognized in the community

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