Citizen participation is the cornerstone of democracy, especially at the local level. By actively engaging their citizens in the decision making process, local governments gain credibility and trust, but also become better equipped to implement policies whose importance might otherwise be overlooked. One example of this can be seen in the work done to improve the accessibility of Ohrid’s municipal building to people with disabilities.
With the support of the Swiss Embassy’s programme “Empowering Municipal Councils”, implemented by UNDP, citizens of Ohrid selected a project to install a new lift specially designed for the needs of people with disabilities in Ohrid’s municipal building. The stairs that lead to the main hall were also reconstructed so that those with limited mobility can access municipal services and meetings more easily. The main hall itself was also renovated to provide better working conditions for all.
By the end of 2021, the “Empowering Municipal Councils” programme will support 24 municipalities with a total of 1.200.000 CHF to implement projects prioritized by the citizens through the Community Forums.