Rebuttal addressed to Ivana Stoimenovska, President of the Commission for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Council of the Karposh Municipality
HERA – The Health Education and Research Association sends out a strong reaction addressing the statement of Ivana Stoimenovska, President of the Commission for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Council of the Karposh Municipality, posted on Facebook Social Network on December 28th 2021, which contains a public outcry for excluding NGOs – where she makes explicit reference to our organization – from future cooperation with the municipality with the end goal of ’avoiding any unnecessary spending of resources for activities which only exist on paper.’ We perceive this statement of the council member as an attempt to ruin the reputation and work of HERA as a partner of the municipality, but also as an attack on democracy by attempting to ban the participation of civil society organisations from the creation of local policies. Furthermore, without citing any facts, this council member is manipulating the public and publicly discredits and belittles our organization.
(Screenshot) Post by Ivana Stoimenovska (December 28 at 7:44 PM)
Title: LEVICA HAS MANAGED TO REMOVE HERA FROM KARPOSH, INSTEAD FOCUSING ON CONCRETE ACTIVITIES WITH SPECIAL ACCENT ON VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
As a President of the Commission for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Council of the Karposh Municipality, and within this short time that I have had in my new office, for the upcoming year I managed to win two main priority tasks which are fully in line with the program of Levica.
- Finally, NGOs and, specifically, Hera, will no longer participate in municipal activities, with the aim of avoiding unnecessary spending of resources on activities which only exist on paper.
- Priority activity for next year will be in the area of domestic violence, more specifically, opening the possibility for reviving the Shelter Centre for victims of domestic violence on the territory of Karposh Municipality, which according to municipal employees, used to be in a very good shape in the past. The idea is to attempt that municipal resources be used in a most efficient and earmarked purpose in order to help directly those who are in most dire need.
# LevicaforKarposh (end of screenshot)
Ever since 2019, HERA has actively cooperated and partnered with the Municipality of Karposh with only one objective in mind – to improve local policies and opportunities for employment of Roma women at the local level. For years back, HERA has technically supported the drafting of the Local Action Plans for employment of Roma Women, which consist of activities aimed at stimulating and increasing access of Roma women to the labour market. In light of this, the facts are as follow:
- At its 51st Council session held 28.12.2020, the Municipality of Karposh adopted the Local Action Plan for employment of Roma Women for year 2021;
- The previous mayor of the Karposh Municipality Stefan Bogoev on 09.06.2021 adopted a conclusion for promulgation of the Local Action Plan for Employment of Roma Women for year 2021;
- HERA was the mediator in the cooperation between the Municipality of Karposh and the Ministry of Local Self-Management, with the objective that the Ministry allocates for the Municipality funding in the amount of 126,760.00 MKD, which the Municipality could dispose of within the frameworks of the program for implementing the Strategy for Roma and the grants approved to municipalities which are programming activities for inclusion of the Roma community.
We wish to point out, nevertheless, that HERA has never been the beneficiary of funds from the municipality of Karposh, not in the past nor in the present, earmarked for any activity or project. Quite the opposite, HERA, owing to its expertise and together with our Roma women activists has made a substantial contribution and helped accumulate additional funds for the municipality in order to implement activities envisaged in the Local Action Plan for Employment of Roma Women.
We therefore demand a public apology from the member of Karposh Municipal Council for the stated lies and defamation against us, but also against the other civil society organizations which are presently partners of the Municipality.
HERA remains firmly of the belief and readiness to cooperate with any interested municipalities in the city, wishing to improve social and health policies, especially to the benefit of the vulnerable and marginalized groups.