Influencing Local Government through Online Participation
The SMILE project in cooperation with its partners EC Ma Ndryshe from Prizren introduced a new module to increase public participation in local decision-making in Prizren.
Around 70 young people from high schools, as well as representatives from civil society and municipality gathered to discuss using online tools for civic engagement and influencing policy-making. The Deputy Mayor of Prizren, Lulzim Kabashi, encouraged young people to use the www.merrpjese.org platform to voice their concerns. “Because your concerns are documented on the platform, you will then have an argument to hold us (the municipality) accountable,” he said in his address.
Arian Pulaj, who initiated a petition to build a new library in the Municipality of Prizren, explained how he initially gathered the support of his friends. “After publishing the petition, I noticed that many citizens were also supporting the idea and I realized how important it is to have a channel through which we can voice our ideas,” said Arian.
Through the new module, which won the contest for citizen-driven innovation, citizens can comment on municipal draft legislation. This module comes in addition to three existing ones: participatory budgeting, report your concern and e-petition . With the purpose of increasing transparency in the municipalities of Prizren and Gjilan/Gnjilane, the platform also has a map which visualizes investments in these two municipalities. The mobile application for the platform is available for both iOS and Android.