Gender Responsive budget in Përmet Municipality

Milieukontakt International, Albania

 

On March 4th, 2015 Milieukontakt Albania in cooperation with Përmet municipality organized a public debate/meeting titled “Words don’t bring change, budgets yes” focused on gender mainstreaming into budgeting participation process. Gender responsive budget it is a new method applied during drafting of the budget and helps municipality in planning of the services on gender basis and in implementation of the future policies and programs that stimulate gender responsive budgeting. This process is going on in 7 different municipalities in Albania.

The meeting was organized at the premises of the multifunctional center in Përmet in the presence of around 70 citizens, women, men and youth.

The meeting was moderated by the mayor Mr. Gilberto Jace. In his speech he underlined that this meeting has been initiated by a process of more than two months on gender mainstreaming into social services, respectively into municipality budget. This is only one of the aspects of the work in municipality. Budget, itself incorporates many elements starting from fiscal package continuing with distribution according to the needs. In the past the situation in Përmet municipality has been difficult and it is reflected in the business as usual activities of the municipality and of the city council, even in the communication activities with citizens. But now the municipality is differently presented at its citizens.  This initiative shows that even in difficult conditions with limited resources, by changing way of thinking, way of organization and by adding a worthy sacrifice, better results can be achieved. This process is the start and will be continuing not only as a cause of the project intervention but also as a new initiative that should be routine in the work of the municipality for ensuring transparency to citizens.

In the meeting were present representatives of the international organizations that support the project.

Mr. Rezart Xhelo, representative of UN Women in his speech thanked the municipality that became part of the process together with UN Women and Milieukontakt Albania for revitalizing participative budgeting processes. The philosophy of the cooperation is to build planning and budgeting processes to equally address women and men needs.

Mr. Heinz Habertheuer, representative of Austrian Development Agency shared with participants his impressions about the beauty of the city that he visited for the first time. Presentation of the budget to citizens is a very good initiative that in parallel with the family budget it is very important and it is related with some of the social services that are offered to citizens.

Later Mrs. Valbona Mazreku, director of Milieukontakt Albania underlined that during three months it has been conducted analyze of the social services in Përmet based on gender.  

Municipality of Përmet has made positive progress in implementing gender equality legal framework at local level: both genders are represented in public administration beyond the minimum quota of 30%, but not adequately in decision-making and financial retribution. Gender Equality Officer is employed as of 2012 and has established coordinated community response mechanism against domestic violence along with multidisciplinary services.

Meanwhile the budgeting process is top-down approach and there is no institutional mechanism for consulting community and other actors. There are positive initiatives for supporting vulnerable groups through donor projects. The aiming targets groups supported are victims of domestic violence through referral mechanism, unemployed youth and women through support of new entrepreneurship, cultural minorities. In these initiatives are applied gender criteria in selecting the beneficiaries. This should become practice in the future work of the municipality.

In the meeting citizens discussed, raised questions and gave suggestions for the municipality work in the future. Among suggested ideas, later on committed by the mayor were:

-          The municipality should support the opening and running of a community centre for third age group in Përmet;

-          Provision of aid package and premises for sheltering domestic violated people.

-          Continuation of the multidisciplinary service (psychological and legal assistance) for domestic violated people. The lawyer of the municipality will offer legal service and a MoU will be signed with Educational Directorate to coordinate the psychologist for both institutions.  

 -      Full functioning of the kindergarten (with alimentary) to provide more employment opportunities for  young mothers

-          Construction of a children play ground as a part of municipality projects. 

The project that is implemented in Përmet is supported by UN Women in the frame of the program on Promotion of gender responsive policies, financed by Austrian Development Agency and facilitated by Milieukontakt Albania. The aim of the campaign is to increase public and municipality staff awareness on improvement of the social services for achieving gender equity in local level.

 

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