Local self-government is a crucial part of democracy. Citizens’ participation at the local level is a practical way of exercising democracy, since the responsibilities of local authorities include the organization of everyday life of the community members. In Armenia the modern way of local self-government in an independent democracy is relatively new. The system of local self-government is being developed in parallel with other elements of the governmental system. Because of many reasons, last but not least the Soviet traditions of restricting the independence of individuals and communities, the system of local self-government in Armenia develops often within the top down logic. This contradicts the main idea of modern local self-government.
That is why informed and active participation of citizens at the local level is of crucial importance not only for the system of local self-government but also for the state building in general.
Forming traditions of bottom up participatory decision making; involving community resources in community development; multiplying positive precedents; promoting local decision making and inter-community cooperation without direct involvement of central authorities; all these directions are crucial for democratization; effective fight against corruption; and social, cultural and economic development.
This is the conceptual approach of the Civic Engagement in Local Governance (CELoG) project, which is being implemented by a consortium of six Armenia-based civil society organizations and is led by Community Finance Officers’ Association, with the financial support of the USAID.
Below is the brief presentation of the project, its activities and first year highlights; as well as links to some of the project’s textual and audiovisual products: