Democracy, active citizenship, good and transparent public administration
Trust in public institutions is constantly low in the Czech Republic. The roots of this situation can be found in the high level of bribery, low efficiency of public administration and a lack of long-term visions. Politicians often and on the long-term basis discourage citizens’ activity by claiming they can take care of everyone. All these things have a significant impact on citizens’ engagement and interest in public affairs. Active citizenship is a key element of democracy. From local activities supporting community relations, citizens’ participation in municipal politics and development to active defence of public interest, monitoring of authorities and transparency.
We are a part of what is happening around us. We want to influence the public life and participate in it – and it is our right to do so. We constitute civil society. We are a part of decision-making on how good our lives will be and what kind of conditions we will have. If we disagree with something, it is up to us to transform it. Let us participate actively in the public life. Let us improve relationships in our neighbourhoods. Let us organize community activities and improve public space. Let us participate in decision making and public policies. Let us be active and defend public interests together. Let us share our experience, explain and discuss why citizens’ participation matters and which results it brings. Let us get connected, share and collaborate.
(Programme result 1. Increased citizens’ participation)
Civil society is facing a crisis of political parties as well as attacks on democratic values. We often witness a minimal interest in citizens ́ needs in political sphere as well as in the governance. It is necessary to defend public interest and show dissatisfaction with non-trans- parent and untrustworthy governance to the executive branch of the government. It is vital to support watchdog activities and give feedback to the executive power and their governance.
To be able to pursue the watchdog role, it is essential to strengthen monitoring of politicians and public institutions decision-ma- king processes on every level of the governance. Civil society organizations need to proceed together to defend public interest, share good practice and to support effective exercise of human rights. All to be able to contribute to systemic change in Czech society.
Members of vulnerable groups are often on the edge of mainstream society. Those people are more likely to become a target of hate speech and are often excluded from discussions about their own needs. Vulnerable groups include minority ethnicities, refugees, migrants, LGBTQ people, socially and culturally excluded groups, people with lower education or income, poor families or people with disabilities.
To be able to improve their situation, it is crucial to empower them to communicate needs of their communities and advocate for their rights. Vulnerable groups need to be engaged in the process of their own empowerment and their ability to exercise their rights needs to be strengthened.
Focus should be put into increasing awareness of their needs, including them into mainstream society, sharing good practices and including vulnerable communities when designing long term solutions.
Insufficient and irregular financing in the civil sector paralyses NGOs in their activities. In such conditions, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to focus on the organization’s growth and sustainability. In this sector, we often lack methodical and efficient relations with our supporters – with those who would help us explain and promote the importance of our activities and defend democratic principles. Let us boost our professional skills, build our capacities and sustainability so that civil society truly constitutes a stable cornerstone of democracy. Let us interconnect and build a strong and confident non-profit sector.