Sisak after the earthquake: portrait of a new reality

The whole Sisak County was shaken that Tuesday morning, December 29th, 2020, few minutes past midday. While the epicentre was only 5 Km from Petrinja, the earthquake hit the whole area, namely the towns of Glina and Sisak.

In a different way, also ALDA itself was shaken that day: this shocking news left all of us astonished and helpless in front of the catastrophe which was taking place in one of the very cities where ALDA was born: in Sisak.

Sisak actually hosts the third ever-established Local Democracy Agency, opened in 1996, even before the creation of ALDA. The LDA Sisak was initially led by Antonella Valmorbida, now ALDA Secretary General, who then passed the lead to Paula Rauzan, the actual delegate.

The LDA Sisak, since its beginnings, has been a valuable resource for the local population thanks to its constant activities carried out in partnership with the Municipality of Sisak, member of ALDA since 2009 and other civil society organisations of the territory.

Today, the LDA is a renowned institution in the city and in the County, as well as a key stakeholder for the development of the region, whose premises host (or better say hosted) the Sisak Volunteer Centre.

Paula, despite all the news on the mass and local media, how is the situation in the city, how would you describe it?

Here in Sisak, things are slowly, but constantly, moving ahead. Nevertheless, there is a general feeling of confusionand chaos. What happened was totally unpredictable and caught us in the middle of the Christmas holidays, a period of the year when people who live and work abroad are coming back home and the city is very crowded.

What keeps me shocking every day when I walk through the city, is to realise that almost no building has “survived” the earthquake. At this very moment, Sisak is a city completely deprived of any institutions and services, physically speaking, the majority of constructions, from the Municipality to supermarkets, shops, houses and even schools underwent major structural damages and are not safe to be used.

Today, Sisak is a city where just a few public institutions still have their premises, and the daily life routine of ordinary people is extremely challenged considering basic services. We live in a place where nothing can be given for granted anymore. Yesterday, I found myself wondering if in Sisak there are any dry cleaner left.

Moreover, in some part of the town buildings seem to be in good conditions, at a first sight; instead, the more you get closer, the more structural damages are visible.

But the biggest loss of all is, surely, the loss of human lives. Until now, the earthquake caused the death of 7 people.

Walking through the city, I realise that almost no building has “survived” the earthquake

How is the crisis management working? How is the aid being managed?

I must say that the solidarity demonstrated by individuals, associations, companies is huge. Institutions are doing their part as well, but it is really astonishing the number of organisations and non-formal initiatives which took the field to help us.

Among all the problems, the biggest one is probably the large number of people left without a house, and a place to sleep. Adding up to that, this winter has been particularly cold, and the snow started falling just the day after the earthquake occurred. Most of the efforts now focus both on mapping people in distress, many of which are in remote places of the county, and on finding temporary solutions to help those people survive the season.

 

Which are the conditions of the LDA Sisak?

Unfortunately, the LDA Sisak does not have its premises anymore. The building is stills standing but has major damages in all its parts and it is not recommended for usage.

However, the situation is the same for large number of CSOs: I can recall just few associations which still has its premises. Despite this, all organisations keep working. People are actually having business meeting outside, in the snow.

Back to the LDA Sisak, in line with our mission which is the support of local democratic processes, we are reorienting our work and the volunteers’ to be as helpful as possible to the citizens.

Our staff is now active on two fronts: we are trying to finish all the ongoing activities and to finish all projects’ reports (a classic task during this time of the year). We are then mapping the needs of the community to bring specific help: the LDA Sisak has a strong volunteering component, thus we are channelling energies and forces according to the situation.

In turn, I must really thank the Croatian Volunteer Development Center which is giving us great support. In fact, all our networks are very supportive, ALDA and South East European Youth Network.

Paula, being the Delegate of the LDA Sisak, how your daily routine has changed?

My new daily routine…  actually, I am almost the whole day on the phone!

Making plans for the day is impossible and the situation and priorities are changing every hour. For this reason, I am always trying to be in contact with colleagues, volunteers and with other organisations. As CSOs, we are trying to cooperate and help each other as much as possible.

What is going to happen next?

The situation is highly unpredictable, firstly because the Earth hasn’t stopped shaking yet. Everyday there are new, minor, tremors which keep worsening the situation and the buildings’ conditions.

The only certain thing is that this area will need help for a long time, from an economic and social points of view. Indeed, considering the situation from a broader perspective, all this adds up to the already existing covid-19 pandemic and the growing risk and uncertainty is worsening people’s mental conditions.

To conclude, there is another threat to the city and its population: the exodus of people and commercial activities. Many are the people who left the area after the earthquake: regular citizens and businesspeople, considering that several hundred companies lost their premises.

This situation represents a threat for the whole region, which may find itself empty and drained of an important part of its social and economic component in the period to come.

 

See more pictures from Sisak

The whole Sisak County was shaken that Tuesday morning, December 29th, 2020, few minutes past midday. While the epicentre was only 5 Km from Petrinja, the earthquake hit the whole area, namely the towns of Glina and Sisak.

In a different way, also ALDA itself was shaken that day: this shocking news left all of us astonished and helpless in front of the catastrophe which was taking place in one of the very cities where ALDA was born: in Sisak.

Sisak actually hosts the third ever-established Local Democracy Agency, opened in 1996, even before the creation of ALDA. The LDA Sisak was initially led by Antonella Valmorbida, now ALDA Secretary General, who then passed the lead to Paula Rauzan, the actual delegate.

The LDA Sisak, since its beginnings, has been a valuable resource for the local population thanks to its constant activities carried out in partnership with the Municipality of Sisak, member of ALDA since 2009 and other civil society organisations of the territory.

Today, the LDA is a renowned institution in the city and in the County, as well as a key stakeholder for the development of the region, whose premises host (or better say hosted) the Sisak Volunteer Centre.

Paula, despite all the news on the mass and local media, how is the situation in the city, how would you describe it?

Here in Sisak, things are slowly, but constantly, moving ahead. Nevertheless, there is a general feeling of confusionand chaos. What happened was totally unpredictable and caught us in the middle of the Christmas holidays, a period of the year when people who live and work abroad are coming back home and the city is very crowded.

What keeps me shocking every day when I walk through the city, is to realise that almost no building has “survived” the earthquake. At this very moment, Sisak is a city completely deprived of any institutions and services, physically speaking, the majority of constructions, from the Municipality to supermarkets, shops, houses and even schools underwent major structural damages and are not safe to be used.

Today, Sisak is a city where just a few public institutions still have their premises, and the daily life routine of ordinary people is extremely challenged considering basic services. We live in a place where nothing can be given for granted anymore. Yesterday, I found myself wondering if in Sisak there are any dry cleaner left.

Moreover, in some part of the town buildings seem to be in good conditions, at a first sight; instead, the more you get closer, the more structural damages are visible.

But the biggest loss of all is, surely, the loss of human lives. Until now, the earthquake caused the death of 7 people.

Walking through the city, I realise that almost no building has “survived” the earthquake

How is the crisis management working? How is the aid being managed?

I must say that the solidarity demonstrated by individuals, associations, companies is huge. Institutions are doing their part as well, but it is really astonishing the number of organisations and non-formal initiatives which took the field to help us.

Among all the problems, the biggest one is probably the large number of people left without a house, and a place to sleep. Adding up to that, this winter has been particularly cold, and the snow started falling just the day after the earthquake occurred. Most of the efforts now focus both on mapping people in distress, many of which are in remote places of the county, and on finding temporary solutions to help those people survive the season.

 

Which are the conditions of the LDA Sisak?

Unfortunately, the LDA Sisak does not have its premises anymore. The building is stills standing but has major damages in all its parts and it is not recommended for usage.

However, the situation is the same for large number of CSOs: I can recall just few associations which still has its premises. Despite this, all organisations keep working. People are actually having business meeting outside, in the snow.

Back to the LDA Sisak, in line with our mission which is the support of local democratic processes, we are reorienting our work and the volunteers’ to be as helpful as possible to the citizens.

Our staff is now active on two fronts: we are trying to finish all the ongoing activities and to finish all projects’ reports (a classic task during this time of the year). We are then mapping the needs of the community to bring specific help: the LDA Sisak has a strong volunteering component, thus we are channelling energies and forces according to the situation.

In turn, I must really thank the Croatian Volunteer Development Center which is giving us great support. In fact, all our networks are very supportive, ALDA and South East European Youth Network.

Paula, being the Delegate of the LDA Sisak, how your daily routine has changed?

My new daily routine…  actually, I am almost the whole day on the phone!

Making plans for the day is impossible and the situation and priorities are changing every hour. For this reason, I am always trying to be in contact with colleagues, volunteers and with other organisations. As CSOs, we are trying to cooperate and help each other as much as possible.

What is going to happen next?

The situation is highly unpredictable, firstly because the Earth hasn’t stopped shaking yet. Everyday there are new, minor, tremors which keep worsening the situation and the buildings’ conditions.

The only certain thing is that this area will need help for a long time, from an economic and social points of view. Indeed, considering the situation from a broader perspective, all this adds up to the already existing covid-19 pandemic and the growing risk and uncertainty is worsening people’s mental conditions.

To conclude, there is another threat to the city and its population: the exodus of people and commercial activities. Many are the people who left the area after the earthquake: regular citizens and businesspeople, considering that several hundred companies lost their premises.

This situation represents a threat for the whole region, which may find itself empty and drained of an important part of its social and economic component in the period to come.

 

See more pictures from Sisak


Going deeper into the local dimension

As a “community of community” and an active network of stakeholders engaged locally, at ALDA we need and we want to strengthen our presence at the local level, thus reaching an ever-increasing number of citizens in order to be able to support both them and the local authorities involved in the planning and implementation of new initiatives.

In that light, ALDA has been developing its social media activity with a more regional approach: adding to the already-existing social profiles ALDA Skopje (Facebook and Instagram) and ALDA France (Facebook and Instagram), we are very excited for the brand-new Facebook pages ALDA Belgium – België – Belgique and ALDA Tunisie.

“A strong social media activity to increasing our presence and visibility in local community”

Far from being “simple” social media pages, they represent the growth of ALDA’s presence in terms of members, partners, and local projects, as well as an acknowledgment of the overall impact of ALDA’s activities and an impulse to do more with and for the citizens!

In Belgium and Tunisia, thanks to ALDA’s offices located respectively in Brussels and Tunis (without forgetting the LDA Kairouan!), we have been developing strong relationships with local actors which led to a consistent number of on-going projects in the country and consequently the potential of involving citizens in the numerous events!

All in all, we encourage you to check out our new Facebook Pages and to join us locally!!

As a “community of community” and an active network of stakeholders engaged locally, at ALDA we need and we want to strengthen our presence at the local level, thus reaching an ever-increasing number of citizens in order to be able to support both them and the local authorities involved in the planning and implementation of new initiatives.

In that light, ALDA has been developing its social media activity with a more regional approach: adding to the already-existing social profiles ALDA Skopje (Facebook and Instagram) and ALDA France (Facebook and Instagram), we are very excited for the brand-new Facebook pages ALDA Belgium – België – Belgique and ALDA Tunisie.

“A strong social media activity to increasing our presence and visibility in local community”

ALDA Governing Board expresses concern about the “decision of the EU not to start yet the negotiation talks with North Macedonia and not adopting the proposed negotiating framework” and all its “openness and willingness to contribute at the establishment of decentralized dialogue between communities and people to people actions that will increase tolerance and intercultural dialogue in the region.”

Far from being “simple” social media pages, they represent the growth of ALDA’s presence in terms of members, partners, and local projects, as well as an acknowledgment of the overall impact of ALDA’s activities and an impulse to do more with and for the citizens!

In Belgium and Tunisia, thanks to ALDA’s offices located respectively in Brussels and Tunis (without forgetting the LDA Kairouan!), we have been developing strong relationships with local actors which led to a consistent number of on-going projects in the country and consequently the potential of involving citizens in the numerous events!

All in all, we encourage you to check out our new Facebook Pages and to join us locally!!


Food Wave call launch: let’s lead the change!

Are you a youth-led small Civil Society Organization promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns to fight climate change?

 

We are looking for you!

Lead the change and participate to our call for proposals with your project idea!

 

The first call for proposals of the Food Wave Project has been launched and it is directed to youth-led small Civil Society Organizations promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns to fight climate change.

 

What is the objective of the call for proposals?

The Food Wave Project – co-funded by the EU under the Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme (DEAR) and promoted by the Municipality of Milan together with ActionAid Italia, ACRA, Mani Tese and 25 project partners in 17 countries, including ALDA – will support grass-root initiatives in the field of climate-friendly food consumption behaviors and involve smaller youth organizations interested in joining the action but lacking the necessary means to do so.

 

How much is the grant for the projects?

More than 20 project ideas will receive a contribution of up to 3000 € each to support the fight against climate change and create a fair and sustainable global food system!

"Lead the change: participate to the Food Wave call for proposals"

Which is the thematic focus?

The proposed projects must address at least one of the following thematic axes:

  • Sustainable diets to reduce the impact on the planet and protect human rights.
  • Local alternative food systems, local producers and territorial markets.
  • Fight against food waste.
  • Sustainable food education and knowledge sharing dissemination.
  • Fight against climate change and equal access to healthy, sustainable and fair food.

 

Where can the project be implemented?

Activities must take place in one of the following EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.

 

The activities which will take place in the territories directly involved in the FOOD WAVE project will be privileged.

Please note that the cities directly concerned are: Almere, Brasov, Bruges, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Malmö, Manchester, Maribor, Molenbeek, Milan, Murcia, NeaSmyrni, Pest, Sofia, Strasbourg, Turin, Warsaw and Zagreb.

 

How to apply?

Read the full call for proposals, upload your budget, and fill in the full text of the application form to be completed online by the 28th February 2021.

In case you need further information please contact us at this email address: catchthewave@alda-europe.eu

#CatchTheWave and Lead the Change!

***

USEFUL RESOURCES:

SAVE THE DATE: In order to learn more about the call requirements and hear some tips to improve your application, an online informative session will take place on February 10th at 18.00 on the Food Wave’s Facebook page!

Are you a youth-led small Civil Society Organization promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns to fight climate change?

 

We are looking for you!

Lead the change and participate to our call for proposals with your project idea!

 

The first call for proposals of the Food Wave Project has been launched and it is directed to youth-led small Civil Society Organizations promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns to fight climate change.

 

What is the objective of the call for proposals?

The Food Wave Project – co-funded by the EU under the Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme (DEAR) and promoted by the Municipality of Milan together with ActionAid Italia, ACRA, Mani Tese and 25 project partners in 17 countries, including ALDA – will support grass-root initiatives in the field of climate-friendly food consumption behaviors and involve smaller youth organizations interested in joining the action but lacking the necessary means to do so.

 

How much is the grant for the projects?

More than 20 project ideas will receive a contribution of up to 3000 € each to support the fight against climate change and create a fair and sustainable global food system!

"Lead the change: participate to the Food Wave call for proposals"

Which is the thematic focus?

The proposed projects must address at least one of the following thematic axes:

  • Sustainable diets to reduce the impact on the planet and protect human rights.
  • Local alternative food systems, local producers and territorial markets.
  • Fight against food waste.
  • Sustainable food education and knowledge sharing dissemination.
  • Fight against climate change and equal access to healthy, sustainable and fair food.

 

Where can the project be implemented?

Activities must take place in one of the following EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.

 

The activities which will take place in the territories directly involved in the FOOD WAVE project will be privileged.

Please note that the cities directly concerned are: Almere, Brasov, Bruges, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Malmö, Manchester, Maribor, Molenbeek, Milan, Murcia, NeaSmyrni, Pest, Sofia, Strasbourg, Turin, Warsaw and Zagreb.

 

How to apply?

Read the full call for proposals, upload your budget, and fill in the full text of the application form to be completed online by the 28th February 2021.

In case you need further information please contact us at this email address: catchthewave@alda-europe.eu

#CatchTheWave and Lead the Change!

***

USEFUL RESOURCES:

SAVE THE DATE: In order to learn more about the call requirements and hear some tips to improve your application, an online informative session will take place on February 10th at 18.00 on the Food Wave’s Facebook page!


International day of education: learning by playing video games or how video game can be at the service of education?

Since the beginning of the COVID19 crisis, a lot of sacrifices were made to ensure and guarantee the health of the population. Unfortunately, education was one of the fields to make sacrifices. The closure of schools, universities and other learning institutions, as well as the interruption of many literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries, as highlighted by the United Nation report “Recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 generation” . Nevertheless, there is hope, as emphasized by Sun Tzu in The Art of War, active 6th century B.C. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” The Art of War from Sun Tzu is still relevant in our current time. By seeing opportunities, innovation can emerge and be developed. This crisis is also the opportunity to rebuild a better world where inclusive and equitable quality education is accessible to everyone.

If the future of education is digital and especially if video games can be used to be in the service of education. Instead of learning by doing, we go to learning by playing video games. It’s the bet of 2 European projects, The Rude Awakening and P-CUBE, started during the health crisis. They put digital tools at the heart of their strategy to highlight and make the topics closer to the younger generation. How can video games support the education of the younger generation?

 

Teaching a common history by playing or how to speak about WW1

War is not an easy topic to talk about and the consequences of it are not easy to explain. Nevertheless, there is a need to speak about it, to teach it and to raise awareness of it. The European project The Rude Awakening made the choice to use digital tools to teach the younger generation war and peace. A video game enables to recreate the atmosphere of WW1, to teach the common cultural and European history the countries are sharing and most of all, it enables to play a game and to put you in the shoes of a WW1 soldier. Learning via playing a game needs to make sure that the information and content are accurate. The project makes it a point of honour to make sure that players learn true and accurate information. That is why the narration is based on accurate documentation, real testimonials, memories, letters, pictures,… But the identification with fictional character(s) is the innovative frame through which the player discovers the everyday life of a soldier at war, everyday struggles for food, water, fights against the cold, the hot, the tiredness, the death. By developing this video game, the project wants to make the players, especially the younger generation more connected to European historical and cultural heritage.

Learning by playing. Learning by feeling and experiencing. Learning solidarity and citizenship!

Teaching public policy making or how to foster civic engagement

Citizenship is at the heart of our society and the youth need to understand how it works. They will be the ones leading and taking the key decision in the near future and they need to have the knowledge to understand how such decisions should be taken: What is a public policy? How are the decisions taken? How can these decisions have an impact on our society and our life? The European project P-CUBE wants to develop an educational game for teaching public policy theory. The project aims to go from a game board to a video game, from offline to online. The purpose is to contribute towards dispelling misconceptions around the way innovations in public policies are taken by presenting the process through an interesting and realistic model, through a video game. The game will help players to become more familiar with the complexities of public policy making, and show that there are several different ways to overcome the obstacles that prevent current governance systems from tackling collective problems.

 

Learning by doing. Learning by playing public policy. Learning to grow up as a citizen. Learning and be sure that the next generation is ready to lead!

 

Education & Digital

Digital can be a real pillar to help in the fight against inequalities and increase inclusion. Digital tools can provide wider access to education for everyone. But the education system needs to be ready for this change and implicate that the internet, phone, computer and other digital tools have to be accessible to every citizen. Being equal in the face of digital access. The pandemic is providing us a unique opportunity to have a new vision on the education system, on the use of digital tools to learn and teach and to find new innovative ways to make have an inclusive and accessible education.

This crisis is pushing every citizen, government, and international institutions to make sacrifices and is changing our way of living. Nevertheless and on the occasion of the International Day of Education, we should remember how education is the key to the development of a country and to build and rebuild our societies. As video games, any form of educational methodology should be considered to rebuild and redefine our world and especially make sure to not forget this statement: Education is a human right.

Since the beginning of the COVID19 crisis, a lot of sacrifices were made to ensure and guarantee the health of the population. Unfortunately, education was one of the fields to make sacrifices. The closure of schools, universities and other learning institutions, as well as the interruption of many literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries. Nevertheless, there is hope. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” The Art of War from Sun Tzu is still relevant in our current time. By seeing opportunities, innovation can emerge and be developed. This crisis is also the opportunity to rebuild a better world where inclusive and equitable quality education is accessible to everyone.

If the future of education is digital and especially if video games can be used to be in the service of education. Instead of learning by doing, we go to learning by playing video games. It’s the bet of 2 European projects, The Rude Awakening and P-CUBE, started during the health crisis. They put digital tools at the heart of their strategy to highlight and make the topics closer to the younger generation. How can video games support the education of the younger generation?

 

Teaching a common history by playing or how to speak about WW1

War is not an easy topic to talk about and the consequences of it are not easy to explain. Nevertheless, there is a need to speak about it, to teach it and to raise awareness of it. The European project “The Rude Awakening” made the choice to use digital tools to teach the younger generation war and peace. A video game enables to recreate the atmosphere of WW1, to teach the common cultural and European history the countries are sharing and most of all, it enables to play a game and to put you in the shoes of a WW1 soldier. Learning via playing a game needs to make sure that the information and content are accurate. The project makes it a point of honour to make sure that players learn true and accurate information. That is why the narration is based on accurate documentation, real testimonials, memories, letters, pictures,… But the identification with fictional character(s) is the innovative frame through which the player discovers the everyday life of a soldier at war, everyday struggles for food, water, fights against the cold, the hot, the tiredness, the death. By developing this video game, the project wants to make the players, especially the younger generation more connected to European historical and cultural heritage.

Learning by playing. Learning by feeling and experiencing. Learning solidarity and citizenship!

Teaching public policy making or how to foster civic engagement

Citizenship is at the heart of our society and the youth need to understand how it works. They will be the ones leading and taking the key decision in the near future and they need to have the knowledge to understand how such decisions should be taken: What is a public policy? How are the decisions taken? How can these decisions have an impact on our society and our life? The European project P-CUBE wants to develop an educational game for teaching public policy theory. The project aims to go from a game board to a video game, from offline to online. The purpose is to contribute towards dispelling misconceptions around the way innovations in public policies are taken by presenting the process through an interesting and realistic model, through a video game. The game will help players to become more familiar with the complexities of public policy making, and show that there are several different ways to overcome the obstacles that prevent current governance systems from tackling collective problems.

Learning by doing. Learning by playing public policy. Learning to grow up as a citizen. Learning and be sure that the next generation is ready to lead!

 

Education & Digital

Digital can be a real pillar to help in the fight against inequalities and increase inclusion. Digital tools can provide wider access to education for everyone. But the education system needs to be ready for this change and implicate that the internet, phone, computer and other digital tools have to be accessible to every citizen. Being equal in the face of digital access. The pandemic is providing us a unique opportunity to have a new vision on the education system, on the use of digital tools to learn and teach and to find new innovative ways to make have an inclusive and accessible education.

This crisis is pushing every citizen, government, and international institutions to make sacrifices and is changing our way of living. Nevertheless and on the occasion of the International Day of Education, we should remember how education is the key to the development of a country and to build and rebuild our societies. As video games, any form of educational methodology should be considered to rebuild and redefine our world and especially make sure to not forget this statement: Education is a human right.


Sasa Marinkov, Delegate of the LDA Central and Southern Serbia passed away today

It’s with deepest regret and profound sadness we inform you that our Sasa Marinkov has passed away today, Saturday 23rd of January 2021.
As delegate of the Local Democracy Agency Central and Southern Serbia, Sasa has been part of ALDA and the Balkan Network for Local Democracy – BNLD for more than a decade.
Today, we have lost a valuable member of our family. He was modest and visionary, committed worker, a fighter for positive changes in the community.
Most importantly, today we lost a true friend that was alongside with us in all our ups and downs. Friend that we would truly remember and adore till the end of days.
Sasa, we thank you for everything you have done for us and your community. We will continue fighting for your cause: it’s the only thing we can do to reach your vision.
We’ll miss him immensely now and so it will be in the future.
 
Farwell, Sasa
From Oriano Otocan, President of ALDA; Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA; the Staff of ALDA; the Governing Board of ALDA and the colleagues Delegates

It’s with deepest regret and profound sadness we inform you that our Sasa Marinkov has passed away today, Saturday 23rd of January 2021.
As delegate of the Local Democracy Agency Central and Southern Serbia, Sasa has been part of ALDA and the Balkan Network for Local Democracy – BNLD for more than a decade.
Today, we have lost a valuable member of our family. He was modest and visionary, committed worker, a fighter for positive changes in the community.
Most importantly, today we lost a true friend that was alongside with us in all our ups and downs. Friend that we would truly remember and adore till the end of days.
Sasa, we thank you for everything you have done for us and your community. We will continue fighting for your cause: it’s the only thing we can do to reach your vision.
We’ll miss him immensely now and so it will be in the future.
 
Farwell, Sasa
From Oriano Otocan, President of ALDA; Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA; the Staff of ALDA; the Governing Board of ALDA and the colleagues Delegates


EU goes local in Western Balkans: meeting with DG NEAR

On 21 January ALDA and the Balkan Network for Local Democracy (BNLD) held a meeting with representatives from the European Commission. The staff of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) working on Western Balkans had the chance to get to know better the Projects ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) are implementing in the Region as well as the feedbacks from the activities we have been carrying on at the local level.

Mrs. Stanka Parac, the President of the Balkan Network for Local Democracy, introduced the BNLD and our approach to support regional cooperation while emphasising the efforts BNLD and the LDAs are doing to promote EU integration processes. The creation of the BNLD itself was the result of EC support for networking and partnership building. When comes to EU accession, our main focus is the Public Administration Reform, economic and democratic governance, social questions and the rule of law. We are known in the Region for our work on peace and reconciliation in the last 20 years, especially with young people. 

Mr. Colin Wolfe, Head of Unit for Regional cooperation and Programmes confirmed the importance for the local level to be part of the EU integration process. The local authorities are significant stakeholders responsible for the implementation of many EU policies in the respective countries. Democratic processes start from the local level and should be nurtured there. The European Commission is supporting the cooperation of civil society and local authorities with the regional programme RELOAD whose second phase has just started.

Moreover, during the meeting, the LDAs delegates had the chance to take the floor and share their views on the main issue of each Country, from the situation of democratic processes, to the status of democracy in the post-election period in Montenegro, the results from thelong-awaited local elections in Mostar, to bilateral issues and key reforms in North Macedonia…

Democratic processes start from the local level and should be nurtured there

The DG NEAR staff working on the different Western Balkan countries confirmed that the European Union is doing significant efforts in making EU accession processes more visible on local level, in every community. Indeed, in the next programming period the EU will put more emphasis on projects with local authorities.

The European Commissions, DG NEAR and the Delegations in all countries are making significant efforts to include civil society in policy making and programming. In that respect, ALDA and the BNLD took active part in the consultations for planning of the Instruments of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) and the drafting of Guidelines for civil society in Enlargement Region 2021-2027.

This meeting, attended by more than 30 representatives from European Commission and ALDA, the BNLD and the LDAs delegates has proven how inclusive policy making should be and how important dialogue is. ALDA and the BNLD continue following attentively the European Commission policies in the Western Balkans and support the EU accession processes in the Region.

On 21 January ALDA and the Balkan Network for Local Democracy (BNLD) held a meeting with representatives from the European Commission. The staff of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) working on Western Balkans had the chance to get to know better the Projects ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) are implementing in the Region as well as the feedbacks from the activities we have been carrying on at the local level.

Mrs. Stanka Parac, the President of the Balkan Network for Local Democracy, introduced the BNLD and our approach to support regional cooperation while emphasising the efforts BNLD and the LDAs are doing to promote EU integration processes. The creation of the BNLD itself was the result of EC support for networking and partnership building. When comes to EU accession, our main focus is the Public Administration Reform, economic and democratic governance, social questions and the rule of law. We are known in the Region for our work on peace and reconciliation in the last 20 years, especially with young people. 

Mr. Colin Wolfe, Head of Unit for Regional cooperation and Programmes confirmed the importance for the local level to be part of the EU integration process. The local authorities are significant stakeholders responsible for the implementation of many EU policies in the respective countries. Democratic processes start from the local level and should be nurtured there. The European Commission is supporting the cooperation of civil society and local authorities with the regional programme RELOAD whose second phase has just started.

Moreover, during the meeting, the LDAs delegates had the chance to take the floor and share their views on the main issue of each Country, from the situation of democratic processes, to the status of democracy in the post-election period in Montenegro, the results from thelong-awaited local elections in Mostar, to bilateral issues and key reforms in North Macedonia…

Democratic processes start from the local level and should be nurtured there

The DG NEAR staff working on the different Western Balkan countries confirmed that the European Union is doing significant efforts in making EU accession processes more visible on local level, in every community. Indeed, in the next programming period the EU will put more emphasis on projects with local authorities.

The European Commissions, DG NEAR and the Delegations in all countries are making significant efforts to include civil society in policy making and programming. In that respect, ALDA and the BNLD took active part in the consultations for planning of the Instruments of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) and the drafting of Guidelines for civil society in Enlargement Region 2021-2027.

This meeting, attended by more than 30 representatives from European Commission and ALDA, the BNLD and the LDAs delegates has proven how inclusive policy making should be and how important dialogue is. ALDA and the BNLD continue following attentively the European Commission policies in the Western Balkans and support the EU accession processes in the Region.


Service Development Officer (Italy)

ALDA+ is looking for a Service Development Officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the CEO, will be in charge of the development of commercial services (training, consultancy, technical assistance, etc.) and tenders (consultancy and full tenders).
He/she will also be invited to collaborate, together with the CEO, to support the design of new and innovative services and programmes.

Candidates of both sexes (D.Lgs 903/77) who meet the requirements and are interested in applying for the position, can send their Curriculum Vitae with photo and cover letter by email to job@aldaintranet.org indicating in the subject line “Service Development Officer – ALDA +”, by 10 February 2021.

ALDA+ is looking for a Service Development Officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the CEO, will be in charge of the development of commercial services (training, consultancy, technical assistance, etc.) and tenders (consultancy and full tenders).
He/she will also be invited to collaborate, together with the CEO, to support the design of new and innovative services and programmes.

Candidates of both sexes (D.Lgs 903/77) who meet the requirements and are interested in applying for the position, can send their Curriculum Vitae with photo and cover letter by email to job@aldaintranet.org indicating in the subject line “Service Development Officer – ALDA +”, by 10 February 2021.


PCPA training in Hammamet: three days of hard work

Within the framework of the coordination of the Local and Participative Democracy Pole of the PCPA project, set up with the Tunisian scouts, ALDA organised a training course taking place from 11 to 13 December 2020 in Hammamet, Tunisia.

The PCPA project – Programme concerté pluri-actifs/active multi-actors is the largest network of Franco-Tunisian associations. The Local and Participative Democracy cluster covers 15 Governorates and mobilises 30 Tunisian associations as well as 7 between associations and French departments.

A unique training of empowerment on communication techniques and principles of andragogy

The training in question was part of a cycle of three training sessions for candidates from the cluster’s member associations. This first session was dedicated to “Initiation to training engineering“.

Our trainer Sihem Sehli masterfully led the course, which was held in a pleasant atmosphere of trustworthy and friendly relations between the various participants, most of whom already knew each other. The contributions of the participants showed a real interest in the content delivered by Ms. Sehli, which focused on the following themes: introduction to the training session, communication techniques and the concept of andragogy.

During three days of work, the twenty participants were able to master the theoretical tools of the training course as well as perform oral speeches exercises which were continuously monitored and evaluated by the trainer.

Please note that this training cycle has only just begun, given that the two remaining sessions will be implemented over the next few months!

Following these capacity building sessions, ALDA is planning to organise on-site training sessions in town halls for administrative staff, as well as for elected officials and civil society actors from a range of selected municipalities.

Within the framework of the coordination of the Local and Participative Democracy Pole of the PCPA project, set up with the Tunisian scouts, ALDA organised a training course taking place from 11 to 13 December 2020 in Hammamet, Tunisia.

The PCPA project – Programme concerté pluri-actifs/active multi-actors is the largest network of Franco-Tunisian associations. The Local and Participative Democracy cluster covers 15 Governorates and mobilises 30 Tunisian associations as well as 7 between associations and French departments.

A unique training of empowerment on communication techniques and principles of andragogy

The training in question was part of a cycle of three training sessions for candidates from the cluster’s member associations. This first session was dedicated to “Initiation to training engineering“.

Our trainer Sihem Sehli masterfully led the course, which was held in a pleasant atmosphere of trustworthy and friendly relations between the various participants, most of whom already knew each other. The contributions of the participants showed a real interest in the content delivered by Ms. Sehli, which focused on the following themes: introduction to the training session, communication techniques and the concept of andragogy.

During three days of work, the twenty participants were able to master the theoretical tools of the training course as well as perform oral speeches exercises which were continuously monitored and evaluated by the trainer.

Please note that this training cycle has only just begun, given that the two remaining sessions will be implemented over the next few months!

Following these capacity building sessions, ALDA is planning to organise on-site training sessions in town halls for administrative staff, as well as for elected officials and civil society actors from a range of selected municipalities.


Starting 2021: let’s keep calm and take care of each other

The beginning of the year is usually dedicated to take stock of the past and to plan the future. This January 2021 is full of uncertainties and we have to look at the upcoming months in a different way. However, the seriousness of the situation implies a different reaction than just panic and appalling reactions to whatever new happens in the World, from the mob assaulting the Capitol to the plane sinking in the waters of Indonesia.

The first thing to do is to act for stopping the diffusion of the pandemic with a careful behavior and understanding. At the moment, the vaccine has been identified thanks to an unprecedent cooperation of the whole scientific community. From a European perspective, the Union has not collapsed – as some could have expected, but on the contrary, it proved to be a fortress of coordination and unity.

Moreover, during its annual speech, the Italian President Mr Sergio Mattarella, repeatedly mentioned, for the first time, the key importance of a European unitySuch a global threat requires a global answer. Indeed, the European Union made a quantum leap in its own reaction and  in its way of functioning, with policies and funding programmes going far beyond what was thought to be possible before the pandemics. That is a good sign: if we want, we can do more. Democracies can manage crises and find solutions. We are expecting a lot from our European unity and we need to look at it as an added value of this global tragic situation. Our lives and businesses need to adopt a new rhythm and different ways of working and we are all required to cope with it, for the necessary time needed.

Everybody is longing for getting closer; nevertheless, for the time being, the only possible chance we have to get in touch with one another is through Zoom and other communication technologies, enabling us to stay in contact by maintaining social distancing and being cautious. We all might be tired, but we owe our sense of civic responsibility to all the people who lost their loved ones because of the virus and the incautious behavior of some. More, we owe this to all of those who are currently fighting in hospitals and intensive care units. We should not dare to complain about “another Zoom conference”.

"If we want, we can do more. Democracies can manage crises and find solutions"

The second aspect today is solidarity and care. Some of us are less well off than others. Economy and social difficulties are challenged and worsened by the situation and those who suffered before are even in deeper distress today. We need to emphasis social attention and take care of each other. As an example, the dramatic situation in the United States, in many ways, has a large importance in the global scene; nevertheless, the macroscopic attention which has ben given by our media may act as a sort of anesthetic, distracting us to what’s going on in our local dimension, namely our yard, building and in our city. It is another movie series proposed on the news. Let’s take care of our communities and find any way possible to remain a social community, working with local authorities, offering our contribution to volunteer centers, to what is the feasible extent to ensure and protect everyone’s health.

This amazingly serious situation is a wakeup call for Europeans and in general for the Western population, which is brutally realizing to be part of a wider dimension, understanding for maybe the first time how intrincsically connected is the whole globe in all its parts and that from a moment to another we are at the mercy of disasters and uncertainty, as it is the case for many people in the world.

ALDA and I have been working for more than 20 years now with those who saw their live turning upside down overnight, losing everything and waking up in a completely different World without knowing how the next day may look like. We have to learn from them now, from the Balkans, from Eastern Europe, from Africa, and learn how to be resilient and, basically, go on.

Happy new year to all and… join ALDA, working together with local communities for local communities.

 

Antonella Valmorbida

Secretary General of ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy

[Picture shot during ALDA General Assembly 2019 in Caen, France]

The beginning of the year is usually dedicated to take stock of the past and to plan the future. This January 2021 is full of uncertainties and we have to look at the upcoming months in a different way. However, the seriousness of the situation implies a different reaction than just panic and appalling reactions to whatever new happens in the World, from the mob assaulting the Capitol to the plane sinking in the waters of Indonesia.

The first thing to do is to act for stopping the diffusion of the pandemic with a careful behavior and understanding. At the moment, the vaccine has been identified thanks to an unprecedent cooperation of the whole scientific community. From a European perspective, the Union has not collapsed – as some could have expected, but on the contrary, it proved to be a fortress of coordination and unity.

Moreover, during its annual speech, the Italian President Mr Sergio Mattarella, repeatedly mentioned, for the first time, the key importance of a European unitySuch a global threat requires a global answer. Indeed, the European Union made a quantum leap in its own reaction and  in its way of functioning, with policies and funding programmes going far beyond what was thought to be possible before the pandemics. That is a good sign: if we want, we can do more. Democracies can manage crises and find solutions. We are expecting a lot from our European unity and we need to look at it as an added value of this global tragic situation. Our lives and businesses need to adopt a new rhythm and different ways of working and we are all required to cope with it, for the necessary time needed.

Everybody is longing for getting closer; nevertheless, for the time being, the only possible chance we have to get in touch with one another is through Zoom and other communication technologies, enabling us to stay in contact by maintaining social distancing and being cautious. We all might be tired, but we owe our sense of civic responsibility to all the people who lost their loved ones because of the virus and the incautious behavior of some. More, we owe this to all of those who are currently fighting in hospitals and intensive care units. We should not dare to complain about “another Zoom conference”.

"If we want, we can do more. Democracies can manage crises and find solutions"

The second aspect today is solidarity and care. Some of us are less well off than others. Economy and social difficulties are challenged and worsened by the situation and those who suffered before are even in deeper distress today. We need to emphasis social attention and take care of each other. As an example, the dramatic situation in the United States, in many ways, has a large importance in the global scene; nevertheless, the macroscopic attention which has ben given by our media may act as a sort of anesthetic, distracting us to what’s going on in our local dimension, namely our yard, building and in our city. It is another movie series proposed on the news. Let’s take care of our communities and find any way possible to remain a social community, working with local authorities, offering our contribution to volunteer centers, to what is the feasible extent to ensure and protect everyone’s health.

This amazingly serious situation is a wakeup call for Europeans and in general for the Western population, which is brutally realizing to be part of a wider dimension, understanding for maybe the first time how intrincsically connected is the whole globe in all its parts and that from a moment to another we are at the mercy of disasters and uncertainty, as it is the case for many people in the world.

ALDA and I have been working for more than 20 years now with those who saw their live turning upside down overnight, losing everything and waking up in a completely different World without knowing how the next day may look like. We have to learn from them now, from the Balkans, from Eastern Europe, from Africa, and learn how to be resilient and, basically, go on.

Happy new year to all and… join ALDA, working together with local communities for local communities.

 

Antonella Valmorbida

Secretary General of ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy

 

[Picture shot during ALDA General Assembly 2019 in Caen, France]