The background for PEP International
The establishment of PEP International as an independent organisation was basically initiated and encouraged by Sida Stockholm, Department for Eastern Europe and Sida Balkan Representative during the early days of reconstruction in Kosovo 1999-2000. The main intention by establishing the organisation was to explore the experience of the current Director of PEP and to develop and implement a strategy to strengthen the democratic process on the Balkans and beyond. Particular focus was to be placed on the involvement of citizens and their relationship with their local authorities. Thus the concept idea has been developed over the last decade mainly by early experiment with a “community base approach”, the AMPEP Project in Albania and Macedonia 2001-2004 where few basic ideas were tested and later only as AMPEP in Macedonia until end of 2007 where the basics for the PERA project in Bosnia & Herzegovina 2008-2011 were formed. Current members of PEP originate, in addition to Iceland, from a number of different countries including Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Macedonia, Sweden and UK.
The basic philosophy for the PEP approach is; that by strengthening the social capital within a number of villages they will become capable of; organising themselves, identifying their common community problems, prioritising issues to be solved, organising and planning a solution to their problems and presenting their demands on the local authorities to help solving their problems. This would increase the pressure on the local governments to pay more attention to the needs and preferences of their citizens and ultimately lead to increased democratic involvement of citizens in the decision makings. This would directly provide a stronger base for improved policies, more strategic orientations and better governance in the countries targeted by PEP.
The PERA project:
PEP International in cooperation with Sida launched the PERA project in Bosnia & Herzegovina in September 2008 with the aim to establish procedures and practices that would strengthen the democratic communication between villages and their local governments.
The official opening of PERA was launched by formally handing over to Sida the inception report for PERA in December 2008. This picture shows Audunn Bjarni Olafsson the Regional Director of PEP formally handing over the Inception Report to Anders Hedlund, the Country Representative of Sida. This completed the documentation guiding the implementation of PERA for the project period.