Grants for implementation of six-month projects have been awarded to 10 civil society organizations from six countries: Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will address urgent local and national issues in the upcoming period in order to advance good governance and the rule of law.
These grants are dedicated to local civil society organizations, and have been awarded within the ACTION SEE – Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in SEE project, which is implemented by Metamorphosis Foundation from Macedonia, Westminster Foundation for Democracy from Great Britain, CRTA – Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability from Serbia, Citizens Association Why not? from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Center for Democratic Transition from Montenegro, Open Data Kosovo – ODK and Levizja Mjaft! from Albania, with financial support of the European Union.
The awarded organizations from the second cycle of the grant scheme component are:
1. The organization “Youth Association for Human Rights” – shall be focused towards strengthening and supporting local media through the formation of operational mechanisms with direct impact on the transparency and accountability of local institutions in the municipalities of Lipjan and Shtime. This project will provide a monitoring by local media on transparency and accountability to local institutions.
2. The Organization „Children’s center Zaječar”, “ZA Media portal” and “T1 Television” will implement the project “Youth vs. Corruption” in the period April-July 2018. The overall goal of the project is developing an anti corruption culture, the strengthening of civic awareness and anticorruption activism, through the improvement of personal competences (knowledge, skills and values) of 20 secondary school students that they need for their wider social engagement. Students will be trained to recognize and define corruptive behavior in their surroundings, practically participate in the design of the questionnaire, conduct research and analyze the results, practically implement 16 workshops in 2 schools, select topics and write scenarios for for 5 anti corruption spots and acting in the same videos, participate in debates and television shows. Anti corruption videos, news, reports, footage, photos, will be found in „Za Media Portal“, „T1 TV“ programme, in FB pages of the „Children’s Center“ and „Za Media“, in schools and interested civil society organizations web sites.
3. The organization “Učitelj neznalica i njegovi komiteti” implements the project Citizen control of the employment in the public sector” – The project aims to inform the public about decreasing labour rights in public institutions and enterprises in Serbia as a result of the implementation of the Ban of employment in the public sector. The goal of the project is a online database of the type of employment in 20 public enterprises and institutions and 10 articles about violations of labour rights.”
4. The organization JEF Macedonia implements the project “Nothing else matters? Cases of corruption in the civil servants’ employment in the local governments in Macedonia” that will address the issue of irregularities with regard to civil servants’ employment and advancement. Thereafter, the implementation of this project would: (1) help local governments in increasing the transparency regarding employment and advancement of civil servants; (2) cooperate with state institutions on increasing the monitoring of employment and advancement of civil servants in local governments. With conducting qualitative and quantitative research in three statistically selected municipalities the project aims to contribute towards a dynamic and just working environment in local governments, where employments and advancements of civil servants are performed according to merit.”
Bosnia and Hercegovina
5. The organization UAMPI BUM (Udruženje za alternativnu muzičku produkciju i izdavaštvo BUM – Association for Alternative Music Production and Publishing BOOM) shall implement the “Preglasaj” project, created as a collaboration with UNSA Geto (Udruženje nezavisnih stvaralaca i aktivista GETO – Association for Independent Creators and Activists GETO) and Impuls Portal, as a necessity to reach new content on our media and journalism scene. In our country, this year is an election year and every election year here is overcrowded and overstuffed with useless information and negative campaigns of political opponents. The real problems voters actually face remain hidden under the surface, yet again. Preglasaj is a project that will produce textual works and video reports which will speak about real problems young people face and their lives. The content will be created by students and activists under the guidance of experienced journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina and our region.
6. The organization Association for Media and Civil Society Development (Udruženje za razvoj medija i civilnog društva – URMCD) and its media partner web portal Perspektiva.plus have the „Faktograf“ project idea. The need for this project is a result of lacking accountability of political stakeholders and growing presence of false information and „fake news“. Regular use of dishonest campaigning and misleading promises by the country’s politicians helps them gain voter sympathy but also presents a manipulative tactic that has not been called out by the media that often. Thus, news are rarely fast checked and usually a form of spreading misinformation. Since there is no video format that tackles this topic URMCD and Perspektiva.plus decided to create one. By producing 5 episode miniseries to identify misleading narratives in popular media and politics, map financial and political motivations for their existence and to find key actors in their production this project aims to help make political accountability a key expectation of the general public in the electoral process of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to raise general public’s expectation toward media platforms in terms of quality and reliability of the cited sources. Also its objective is to initialize and provide a starting audience for a grassroots online based video platform to be oriented exclusively towards fast-checking news sources and politician’s credibility in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7. The organization Centre for Policy and Governance shall implement “Consistency of the budget with reforms” (Budžet u ogledalu)
The overall objective of this project is to enhance the role of civil society and media during the pre-election period by providing objective information on the commitment of authorities to the socioeconomic reforms. This overall objective will be achieved through: advocacy for fiscal policies in line with the goals of the socioeconomic reforms, advocacy for accountability of the authorities in relation to distribution of public funds and targeting of those in need and reaching out to citizens and getting them interested in socioeconomic topics during the pre-election period. Concrete activities include: research on the consistency of budgets with reforms (identifying the most important weak spots of 2018 budgets which are not in line with the socioeconomic reforms), advocacy campaign (writing analytical articles in partnership with one of the leading online news portals in the country – BUKA and managing a social media campaign) and an event during the peak of the pre-election campaigns (to inform citizens about the importance of looking beyond the populist topics into the socioeconomic policies of the parties which are competing in elections).
8. The NGO – New order – implements “Citizens for better Local community” is the project that aims to provide the higher level of involvement of the citizens in the policy making process on local level as well as to increase reliability and accountability of the officials during electoral campaign as well as during their whole mandate. Rising awareness of the citizens about the importance of their involvement in the functioning of the local government and decision making process is one of the key goals of this project, strongly related to the increasing of interest of citizens for the important topics and problems on the local level, based on their needs and obtained information about functioning of the municipal administration. Also, establishing of the transparent and swift method of generating the needs of the citizens through public campaign is equally important, hence not less than to increase level of accountability of local officials in their regular and electoral activities. Furthermore, increasing of reliability and responsibility of political parties for their actions during electoral campaign and after the elections and establishing of direct communication between citizens and officials, based on the mutual interest for the improvement of the local community is crucial for aiming the main goal of this project. Finally, not less important is promotion of the importance of the NGOs and local media in the creating of policies on local level. At the end of the project we will have more informed citizens about functioning of local government and its competence and responsibility toward community, widely educated citizens about methods of the involvement in the policy making and functioning of the local government, public officials that are aware of the importance of their accountability for their statements and actions, open and reliable promise making of the officials based of the registered citizens’ needs and interest of the local community, reinforced direct communication between citizens and officials and raised public awareness of the importance of involvement of local NGOs and media in the functioning of the local community.
9. The organization Biciklo.me implements “Project “Better Traffic – Better City” aims to analyze problems arising in Podgorica as a result of inadequate and outdated public policies that regulate traffic. Through online, desk and field research we will show how these problems impact the people and the space in the city, and propose solutions that could improve the current situation. Public debate about the present challenges and future plans for better and more efficient traffic system is significant part of the project, which is envisioned as an effort to help local institutions in tailoring better traffic policy.”
10. The organization Social Contract Institute (SCI) implements a project which aims to expand access for citizens to decision-making at the municipal level in Albania. The scope of this project is to reach the following objectives:
(1) Assist five municipalities to put in place and/or improve their transparency and mechanisms for interacting with citizens; and
(2) Equip citizens in the five municipalities with knowledge and skills that enable them to engage effectively with municipalities and participate in decision-making at the local level.