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Local Elections as Lever for Change

25 April 2013 By Sumi Fleming

Local Elections as Lever for Change

Ahead of the municipal elections scheduled for October in 250 localities, SHATIL is training activists around the country to promote social, environmental, and economic justice and build a truly shared society. SHATIL is also providing guidance and consulting to local activist groups and organizations that want to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the elections to influence their towns’ agenda.

The upcoming local elections provide a special opportunity to advance the environmental agenda. In two six-day trainings, participants will learn how to shape a strategy to promote an environmental agenda and how to effectively influence national and local decision makers. They will also gain practical lobby experience.

Seven-session trainings across the country began in mid-April and will include leadership training; information about municipal processes; skill-building in advocacy, media, communications and other skills needed for work within and vis-a-vis municipal bodies. Fifty-five participants applied for the training in Israel’s central region, and from that pool 18 top notch participants were selected.

Fourteen additional local trainings in other parts of Israel will promote religious pluralism; sustainability; how to become involved in local budget decisions; activism among Ethiopian immigrants; affordable housing; employment; and education.

The trainings in the north, south and center are conducted in collaboration with Shaharit, a new, progressive think tank, the Social Economic Academy, the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, the Local Social Guard, and the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev.

Avi Dabush, SHATIL programs director said: "The first local elections after the social protest of 2011 provide an opportunity for activists who want to instigate change on their street, in their neighborhood, and in the cities they call home. Our motto here is an old African proverb: 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'"

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