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“LGAP – A PRECONDITION FOR GENDER EQUALITY”: A DOCUMENT THAT WILL HELP BRATUNAC WOMEN ACHIEVE THEIR RIGHTS AND CREATE AN OBLIGATION FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY TO DISTRIBUTE RESOURCES EVENLY

The Local Gender Action Plan – Prerequisite for Gender Equality also contains the main goal of the project with which the Women’s Association “Nature” (Priroda) from Bratunac and the Women’s Association “MAJA” from Kravica applied for and received support through the program “Enable and Embrace Beneficial Civil Society Environment” (EMBRACE) financed by the Government of the Kingdom of Norway and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

“Every NGO by its nature has a mandate to be a corrective force and a help the governmental institutions in the implementation or change of legal solutions, related to their group of users. Therefore, our two organizations decided to apply for this project in order to develop and adopt the Local Gender Action Plan (LGAP), an important document and plan for achieving gender equality at the local level together with the relevant municipal organizations and institutions,” said Ms. Željana Pjevalica from the Women’s Association “Nature” from Bratunac, thus underlining that it is important that the local community recognized the importance of such a document:

“At the 10th regular session of the Assembly of the Municipality of Bratunac, the LGAP of the Municipality of Bratunac was adopted unanimously,” pointed out Željana Pjevalica with satisfaction, and added that like any plan, this one provides guidance and concrete activities within a certain period of time, which facilitates the work of the stakeholders involved:

She said: “Given that it is a matter of gender equality, every organization and institution at the local level should align its plans with this plan, because this issue is not only related to equal opportunities, but it is also a question of democracy, economy, culture, sport and society as a whole and equal development in general,” and explained that, in accordance with the findings of the analysis of the situation, the plan envisaged using the period up to 2027 to place a special focus on work on women’s economic empowerment, prevention of domestic violence and on increasing women’s social engagement in particular in the smallest units of the local self-governing community:

“Priority activities are related to extremely marginalized groups of women such as rural women, women at risk of violence and women who are victims of any form of violence, and women in socially vulnerable families and families with persons with disabilities.”

She added that during the implementation of the project they had had the full support of all relevant stakeholders in the local community:

“First, the municipal mayor appointed a working group for the development of the LGAP, consisting of representatives of organizations and institutions. The response to further activities was good, the members of the working group contributed through their participation to the collection of data necessary for the analysis of the situation, as a basis for further work and the creation of goals, measures and activities”.

Speaking about the specific activities, Željana Pjevalica pointed out a series of workshops that primarily improved the knowledge and skills of the members of the group working on this document, and then participatory work on its creation.

“Advocacy activities ensued, i.e., meetings with Assembly members, a round table, media promotion, production and distribution of promotional materials. All this resulted in the adoption of this document at the session of the Assembly and its further realization”, she said, highlighting the assistance of the Gender Center of the Government of Republika Srpska in the training of the working group and the creation of the document in accordance with the prescribed methodology.

Representative of the Association “Forum of Women” (Forum žena) and member of the Municipal Gender Commission, Ms. Dragana Djurić said that after learning that the associations “MAJA” and “Nature” had launched the initiative of drafting and adopting of the LGAP, as a member of the lobby group of the Gender Equality Commission and activists of the Women’s Forum Association, she recognized that she could contribute:

“What motivated me to participate in the activities was the long-standing work on improving the position of women in local communities, where I realized that women do not have equal opportunities compared to men in access to rights and resources and are less represented in decision-making positions. The existence of laws, action plans and strategies defining gender equality, which are adopted at the state or entity level, do not guarantee their application at the local level, which is evident in all spheres of life and work at the local level,” said Ms. Dragana Djuric, underlining that the existence of LGAP as a formal-legal document enables women and local NGOs to invoke it in order for women to exercise their rights, and to highlight it to local authorities and that the document creates an obligation for local authorities to distribute resources evenly.

The head of the Department for Social Activities in the Municipality of Bratunac, Ms. Olivera Čučić, said that she had been working on cooperation with NGOs for more than 20 years, and thus was appointed to participate together with colleagues in the document development process:

“By participating in the work of the working group and in several meetings and trainings, where we had full participation of other representatives of the public, private and non-governmental sectors, we have prepared a document which provides useful information and guidelines for future work in one place. With the adoption of the LGAP, the Municipality of Bratunac confirms its commitment to create a modern and developed local community. The document itself will be of great use to me when determining the program areas when creating for public calls for project funding for NGOs. Literally, it will be one of my guidelines in future work. “

Acting head of the Finance Department in Bratunac Municipality and a member of the working group for the LGAP development, Ms. Snežana Marilović, said that she was happy to attend all meetings and workshops organized during the realization of the project:

“As for the experience in dealing with gender equality issues, I must point out that, like most people whose work may not be directly related to this topic, I did not have the opportunity to deal with this issue seriously, although I had encountered it through various life situations. Through all the activities, I realized the complexity of this issue, how much women are really at an unequal position in various segments of society, and in a way it “made me aware” of seeing things differently”, she said, adding that she believed that “the adoption of LGAP and the continuous implementation of activities on improving gender equality that LGAP has envisaged for the next five years and later is important for everyone, and especially for the female population whose position will be improved in various segments of society – through incentives for agriculture, entrepreneurship and other areas”.

She concluded: “It will also be important for the local government because, in addition to all the advantages for the population, it will also have importance when the municipality is competing for various projects that contribute to the development of the municipality. Many of the activities listed in the LGAP will be carried out by the local government together with non-governmental organizations with which it has always had good cooperation,”.

Ms. Nada Simić, who was the director of the Center for Social Work in Bratunac at the time of the project realization, worked on the preparation of the analysis necessary for the preparation of the LGAP:

“The analysis showed, that in the short term, women will continue to be victims of gender-based violence in large numbers, and that women are more represented in socially disadvantaged categories compared to men. I hope that the adoption of the LGAP will strengthen and improve the position of women in those areas in which they are excluded as a separate group, as well as improve and facilitate cooperation between stakeholders in the public, private and civil sectors through the implementation of activities for improving the state of gender equality in the Bratunac municipality, ”said Nada Simić, adding that, according to her many years of experience, the activities in which she had participated during the implementation of the project had a positive impact on further improvement of knowledge and obtaining a broader picture of the position of both genders in the Bratunac municipality.

The project “Enable and Embrace Beneficial Civil Society Environment” (EMBRACE) was financed by the Government of the Kingdom of Norway in the amount of USD 880,000 and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the aim of strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to improve the quality of services provided to citizens in local communities.

Resource: “LGAP – a precondition for gender equality”: a document that will help Bratunac women achieve their rights and create an obligation for the local community to distribute resources evenly | United Nations Development Programme (undp.org)

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