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News / Success Stories

Improving women's participation in the decision-making process at the local level

  • Kruševac, 8 March 2022

With the support of the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss PRO Programme, the City of Kruševac has increased the interest of women in more active involvement in the work of local communities and decision-making at the local level. In addition, through training for forming associations and starting their own business, the project empowered women from rural areas for greater participation in the business sector.

Through the project "Get Involved and Improve the Local Community", representatives of the local self-government held meetings with citizens from 54 local communities in Kruševac. The topics of the meetings, as well as of the brochures distributed to citizens, were the competencies and the procedures for applying for participation in local community bodies.

“The support of the Government of Switzerland and cooperation with the Swiss PRO Programme is very important to us, primarily because we have trained a large number of people on the topic of gender equality. Through this project, we have empowered women from rural areas, and the success of this project has given us the wings to continue working not only with women in the countryside, but also in the city. By educating and empowering women, we can influence their economic position, which is very important, as it gives us a more stable society”, points out the mayor of Kruševac, Jasmina Palurović.

As a result, in December 2021 and January this year, after the elections for local communities in Kruševac, the participation of women increased by 49% in urban local communities, while at the level of rural local communities the percentage increased from eight to 14 percent.

“This is a visible progress, but also an indicator that in order to continue this trend, it is necessary to continue with such activities, especially in rural areas. We have implemented activities important for raising the awareness of citizens about the possibilities for inclusion in the work of local communities and local self-government. We managed to reach out and talk to citizens in the most remote villages, and it was interesting that men also attended the meetings, which was important as an additional form of support. We have also gained new knowledge and experience for the implementation of future projects”, says the Secretary of the Assembly of the City of Kruševac, Maja Cuckić.

The second part of the project was implemented in cooperation with the Rasina District Regional Development Agency in support of the self-employment of rural women related to capacity building. As a result of this activity, six training workshops were held for 33 participants, six project proposals were prepared, the procedure for forming an association of women from the Roma settlement "Marko Orlović" was initiated, and 33 business plans for applying for employment subsidies of the National Employment Service were written.

In addition to the project, the City of Kruševac received support from the Swiss PRO Programme through training for councilors and representatives of local women's councilor networks, as well as training for female mayors. How even better cooperation with UNOPS and other UN agencies can improve the role and position of women at the local level was the topic of the visit of the UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Francois Jacob and a meeting with the Mayor of Krusevac Jasmina Palurovic, organized the Swiss PRO Programme on the occasion of International Women's Day.

The project of the City of Kruševac is one of 26 projects supported within the public call under the slogan "To Make Equality a Reality" by which the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss PRO Programme supported local self-governments to strengthen local mechanisms for gender equality.

More information on the impact of all 26 projects, as well as the Programme overall support in the area of gender equality, can be found in the Fact Sheet available on the Swiss PRO website.