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Interview: MaTra Rule of Law Training Programme Alumna Natasha Metodijeva

22 February 2021

We are looking for civil servants to apply for the upcoming Public Finance and Procurement training as part of this years’ MaTra Rule of Law Training programme. All civil servants from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine, with responsibilities in public finance management and public procurement are eligible to apply.

Please read the interview with Natasha Metodijeva, alumna of the MaTra RoLT 2020 cycle. Natasha Metodijeva currently works as an Associate in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in the Republic of North Macedonia and she recently participated in the online Rule of Law training on Human Rights and Minorities.

Interviewer: Ms Metodijeva, many thanks for agreeing to speak to us about your participation in the RoLT programme on Human Rights and Minorities. What motivated you to take part in the programme? Do you feel your expectations were met?

Natasha Metodijeva: Before applying to this programme, I had heard great appraisals about it, which further motivated me to apply. I still remember the last interview of the selection process, and in that moment I knew that my expectations would be met. And they were. The programme took place under different circumstances – during the COVID19 pandemic – and I can freely say that enough efforts have been made to successfully implement the programme.

Interviewer: Could you tell us what aspects of the course you found most motivating and beneficial to your work?

Natasha Metodijeva: The benefit of the course is that it adds value to my professional work. If I must point out one positive, in particular, it would be the lectures on project management and change management. I must also mention the case studies, where I individually dealt with human rights issues and situations. If we know that human rights are rights that we acquire from our birth and that they mainly have three main key elements, namely, the holder of the rights, the content of the right – what the right holder has as a right to demand, and the holder of duty. We were challenged with individual and group assignments that asked us to respect human rights and uphold public service at the same time. Those were some of the assignments of this course that I found most motivating and beneficial for my professional work.

Interviewer: This, of course, was the first time a Rule of Law Training module took place entirely online. What did you find different or surprising about following a training online in contrast to in person?

Natasha Metodijeva: It was a challenge for all of us! Lectures and materials were published on the platform at the very beginning of each week. Lecturers were recorded in high quality videos and their lectures reflected the essence of the lessons. Furthermore, all the lecturers were high-ranking officials and professional representatives from the Netherlands. Often after the lectures, I took part in an online working group where we had to finish assignments to a deadline. What surprised us the most was the way we managed to work successfully in groups online, bearing in mind that we were all from different countries. The useful online platform, made by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, was reachable at any time and from any place. As a participant, the online platform gave me a feeling of safety during the course and all modules were implemented without any serious obstacles.

Interviewer: If you had to choose one – what would you say was your biggest takeaway or most positive experience from the training?

Natasha Metodijeva: My biggest takeaway is the implementation of the Action Plan that I created and that I had to present at the end of the programme. My expectation is that with the implementation of an Action Plan I can contribute even more to the improvement of human rights.

My most positive experience of the training was the assignment in which I had to advise the Mayor of the Amsterdam on whether to allow the “Black Lives Matter” protests to take place during COVID19 pandemic. In this case I can proudly say that I got positive feedback and was part of an excellent debate. One of my pieces of advice was taken into consideration to be a part of Amsterdam’s future operating procedures. This motivates me even further! I am a keen proponent of innovation in general, as I believe it drives the progress.

Are you, like Natasha, also interested in being challenged, expanding your network and exchanging ideas? Then join us for our next training on Public Procurement and Finance, apply here!

The Matra Rule of Law Training Programme is designed and delivered by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Leiden Law School and The Hague Academy for Local Governance. It is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, for the period 2017- 2021. For questions relating to the Matra Rule of Law Training Programme or application process please email: Matrarolt (AT) nhc (DOT) nl.