Enhancing Interethnic Dialogue in the Municipalities

Project Goal:

Enhancing democratic participation in the municipalities for improving the inter-ethnic cooperation in the primary schools and within the local communities.

Project Strategic Objectives:

  • To improve multi-ethnic dialogue in the primary schools of 5 municipalities  through providing proficient support and mentorship through the implementation of extra-curricular activities of the students in the ethnically mixed schools;
  • To strengthen the communication and cooperation in the primary schools for improvement of the inter-ethnic dialogue and cooperation;
  • To increase participants’ ability to live and work in a multicultural environment through their participation in the project activities.

Timeframe:
Start Date: 4 February 2010 / Completion Date: 28 February 2011

Funding: Center for Institutional Development and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Skopje (SDC)
http://civicamobilitas.org.mk/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=1

Project Stakeholders:
9 primary schools (students, teachers, parents, principals) in the 5 municipalities: Kumanovo, Mavrovo & Rostuse, Struga, Strumica and Tetovo.

Project Summary:
The project was focused on direct cooperation between the municipalities with the multiethnic population in order to enabling them to directly cooperate with the teachers and students at the higher grades of primary education (as being very important due to the “transfer” of the students further in the secondary education, where the inter-ethnic tensions are emphasized). Students with different ethnical background had opportunities to interact, gain knowledge about their different cultures and improve interethnic relationships in the schools and within the local community generally. This project activities involved: role-plays, discussions and recreational activities, with various topics included from the multiethnic society, through which they tackled the root of the issues and increased the possibilities of preventing eventual further conflicts.

Activities:

  • MCEC visited the five multiethnic municipalities and held informative-planning meetings with the educational officials to introduce the project goals, objectives and activities within given timeframe. Each municipality formed a team for the project activities consisted of: one educational official and two teachers from the two ethnically mixed schools. Each team had responsibility of coordinating the project activities on the municipal level according to their previously prepared action plan. MCEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with five municipalities in: Kumanovo, Mavrovo & Rostuse, Struga, Strumica and Tetovo.
  • MCEC organized three-day workshop for providing guidelines for the teams’ members who were introduced in more detailed way with the content and activities of the concept for inter-cultural education and dialogue in the schools with students of multicultural backgrounds. They gained knowledge and skills on the methods of extra-curricular activities in the schools and on the Communication and cooperation with local media through the sessions guided from MCEC experts and consultants.
  • Based on what teachers and officials acquired on the workshop, the teams of each municipality prepared an action plan and implemented successfully the extra-curricular activities for improving the inter-ethnic communication and cooperation in the ethnically mixed schools in two periods: from March to June and from September to December 2010. The students, teaching staff and educational officials had an opportunity to become aware of the need for integrating the students through extracurricular activities intended for increasing their mutual cooperation and dialogue. Students in the five municipalities identified the problems they mutually agreed to work on, introduced their proposals for solving them in front of the local communities’ auditoriums. A group of students by their initiative gathered clothes, funds and donated them to the Roma families who live in deepest poverty (in the Municipality of Kumanovo). Totall number of participating students was 1568; with gender balanced involvement (47% female – 53% male), 105 teaching staff, and involvement of all ethnical communities’ representatives: Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Roma, Macedonian Muslims, Bosnians’, Egyptians etc.
  • On the two-day workshop the five municipalities’ teams shared their experiences; lessons learned, exchanged the success stories and created their action plans for extra-curricular activities in the first semester of the academic 2010/2011.The teams’ representatives were introduced to the content and methods of incorporating the concept of extra-curricular activities for improving the multicultural education and dialogue into the Annual Plans of the schools.
  • Publication “Improvement of the Interethnic Dialogue in the Municipalities – Theoretical and Practical Aspects” was printed in 1,200 copies into 3 languages of instruction: Macedonian Albanian and Turkish.
  • MCEC organized the Final forum in order the achieved results of the project results to be shared, as well as to enable the educational stakeholders in t he municipalities to exchange band share amongst them about the sustainability of the extra-curricular activities implementation for interethnic improvement as a part of Annual plans of the ethnically mixed schools.
  • The teams of all municipalities provided update on the project achievements, during its implementation. Strumica activities of the students were shown via 16 TV and 4 radio broadcasts; Kumanovo, Mavrovo & Rostusa, Struga and Tetovo activities were shown at totally 8 TV and 8 radio broadcasts. MCEC shared the achievements via Macedonian Radio and Deutsche Welle radio broadcast.