Two representatives of the European-based Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) spent six intensive days visiting SHATIL last week, marking the beginning of the collaboration between ALDA and SHATIL as well as other Israeli civil society organizations. ALDA focuses on active citizenship, equal opportunities and sustainable economic development throughout Europe, and are now expanding their activities to the Mediterranean area. They felt SHATIL was the perfect match to initiate this expansion – an organization with which they could collaborate and which could serve as a networking force to other bodies.
A SHATIL-organized workshop on ways of building collaborations between Israeli and European NGOs and local authorities was so oversubscribed that a larger venue had to be found. More than 40 NGO and local authority representatives learned how, together, they could make a stronger impact.
Srdjan Cvijic, ALDA's Policy Officer for European Affairs and Field Operations
"Opportunities opened up for cooperation on projects within Israel and beyond," said one workshop participant. "We will definitely try to implement some of the ideas suggested."
In addition to the workshop, SHATIL set up and participated in meetings for ALDA with the Haifa and Akko municipalities. The ALDA representatives suggested the development of joint dialogue projects between local civil society and area authorities, based on a model used throughout Europe. They also met with SHATIL staff, including the Conflict Transformation and Management Center (CTMC), members of the steering committee of SHATIL's Joint Living Project in Haifa, and SHATIL director Rachel Liel.
"We hope this will be the beginning of a very fruitful cooperation" said Srdjan Cvijic, ALDA's Policy Officer for European Affairs and Field Operations. SHATIL is looking forward to further cooperation with ALDA.
ALDA is an international NGO founded in 1999 as a small initiative of the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to coordinate a network of Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs.) The LDAs are local NGOs that foster human rights and local democracy, usually based in periphery towns in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus regions, and work as partnerships between local civil society, authorities and municipalities or partner organizations in other European Union countries.