Promoting Local Democracy through Community Liaison

Duration:  1 February, 2006 to 31 January, 2007

Donor: Westminster Foundation for Democracy, UK

Project Description: Surrounded by non-believers in the efficiency of the community liaison as a structure that would stand between local government and the community of citizens, IDM with the support of WFD developed a national program to enhance visibility, share the vision, and improve procedures towards a new role of community liaison that would fill in a huge gap and mediate between citizens and governing local structures. The role of the community liasion is determined in support of the activity of the elected governing structures and respective administration and as a missionary for the community in connection to:

  • Organization and mobilization of community,
  • Partnership in law implementation,
  • Fulfillment of the tasks delegated by competent structures.

Based on the existing experience in Tirana and Shkodra where community liaison has been operating (in a rudimentary form) as a part-time facilitator of the local government for the least ten years, IDM’s programs was designed with national objectives. The project accomplished the drafting of the institutional duties to be performed by the community liaison and opened a national discussion among central and local institutions on the best possible ways to institutionalize and effectively put in use this structure as a mediator between grass-root communities and local government. An important component of the work done which counts much for a successful accomplishment of the mission of the Community Liaisons is improvement of their selection and appointment criteria. A process of citizens’ consulting and approving of Community Liaison remains crucial for all parties and for its success. Although the second half of project duration was developed in a problematic local government pre-election period, reports show that a good number of other municipalities such as Lushnja, Berat, Kucove, Lac, Fier, Peshkopi, Pogradec are institutionalizing this structure.

Leaders of the governmental national Expert Group on Decentralization have agreed to put this idea into agenda for 2007. While, the publication “Role of Community Liaison in Local Democracy” has been officially recognized and referred to by international program team to fight extra legality, working close to Prime Minister’s office, IDM is fully committed to build on the success stories and to work with central governmental reform structures and local governments all over the country until this structures properly functions to serve citizens participation and partnerships to improve law enforcement, build social cohesion at the grass-root level, develop effective schemes of accountability and transparency of local government and improve quality of life at the community level.