Local Development Challenges through Dynamic Partnerships with Civil Society Actors

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Maria PETRAKI, University of Athens, Greece
During the economic crisis, which has severely affected Greek society since the end of the decade, the stakes of the Welfare State the reform have gained special interest. However, apart from central government interventions in the critical areas of employment, health, social security and social welfare, the role of local government in exercising social protection policies has been defined as a major challenge. On the other hand, despite the strong regional and local variations of poverty and social exclusion, the research debate on social protection policies at the level of Local Authorities remains limited.

The paper investigates the social and economic factors that affect the exercise of social protection policies by the Local Authorities, while at the same time highlights the (potential) role of "local” in designing and implementing the respective initiatives.

It also makes an overview of community empowerment policies through international, national and local civil society actors.

In cases where communities are empowered through civil society actors we would expect to see a range of benefits: local democratic participation boosted; increased confidence and skills among local people; higher numbers of people volunteering in their communities; and more satisfaction with quality of life in a local neighborhood.

The possibilities and challenges of developing a model of a Local Welfare State in Greece, which is part of the general framework of the debate on an Active Welfare State, are being systematically explored, as it is geared to linking public social interventions to development policies and promoting employment, opportunities and personal choices for people in need.