ENIL staff got enriched with one more member in October 2016. This is Natasa Kokic – a human rights activist with vast experience and knowledge. Below you can read more about her interests, past work and present duties within ENIL.
I believe that independent living helps rebuilding people’s self-respect and confidence but it also brings the feeling of equality. Giving a possibility to choose and decide on its own way of life is a basic human right. This is the way to empower people and help them to live as equal citizens. Showing the importance of equality and respect towards other people should be the main driver of the society.
This is why I joined ENIL as a Campaign Coordinator in October 2016. I am happy that I have the opportunity to coordinate the Campaign “EU Funds For Our Rights” that is asking for a better monitoring and complaints system for the use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in relation to the transition from institutional to community based care for disabled people in the EU Member States.
I have been working in the social inclusion and employment policies field for the past 8 years (in Croatia and in Belgium) and I have managed several projects/programmes in the Western Balkan Region. I managed EU programmes for pre-accession assistance in the field of social inclusion, employment and education. My job at the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) as a Policy Officer/Programme Manager gave me the opportunity to monitor and asses the employment and social inclusion policies in Western Balkan countries with a view to enhancing the complementarity of policy and funding goals in DG EMPL’s enlargement activities.
As for my academic background, I have University degree in French and Italian language and literature, Master’s degree in European studies and Advanced Master’s degree in Human Rights.
I spent the past 20 years campaigning in favour of human rights (within Amnesty International or as a freelance volunteer). I volunteer in the NGO “We Exist” since September 2016. The objective of the NGO is to facilitate the integration of asylum seekers and refugees into the labour market.
Being “EU Funds for Our Rights” Campaign Coordinator, I continued meeting with MEPs to raise their awareness about the need for a better monitoring and complaints system for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). We have recently met with Mr Adam Kosa, a member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and President of the Intergroup on Disability.
We have also met with the assistant of Ms Mairead McGuinness, Vice President and a substitute member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
They expressed their interest in the campaign and also willingness to follow the activities and
to raise awareness among other MEPs.
Preparations for the upcoming regional events, as part of the campaign, are under way. The Brussels event will take place on 2nd and 3rd March, the Vilnius event – on 14th and 15th March and the one in Bucharest – on 27th and 28th April.