BCSDN Members and Partners Learning from Each Other

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In the period 2004-7, BCSDN organized and supported a series of capacity-building and information activities in networking, fundraising, lobbying and advocacy among them trainings/seminars, study visits, workshops, publications and Weekly e-mail funding alerts. Moreover, in a survey of BCSDN members on needed follow-up activities such as sharing of un-/successful experience on EU projects and actions, information and know-how on lobbying vis-à-vis the EU and national governments have been identified as one of priorities for the network. The CfP builds on these capacity-building efforts with a special focus on exchange of practical knowledge and know-how in these areas between BCSDN members and other organizations.

Under the CfP six projects by six CSOs were supported:

  • Albanian Civil Society Foundation and Diakonia Agapes (Albania), Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization and Center for Development Services (Serbia), and DROM and Megjashi (Macedonia).
  • ACSF implemented the project “Sharing of successful experience on EU projects and actions related to Resource Mobilization” in cooperation with SEECRAN, Slovenia;
  • DA’s project was titled “Learning from each other” in cooperation with Philanthropy, Serbia;
  • EHO’s project was “Development of Volunteer Work in Montenegro and Serbia” in cooperation with FORUM SYD BALKANS, CAZAS, SOS telephone for women and children victims of violence Podgorica, ADP – Zid, OKC JUVENTAS, CRNVO, UMHCG, SVETIONIK, Montenegrin Association of Political Science Students – MAPSS, Center for Civic Education – Podgorica, ELSA;
  • CDS’s project was “Exchange of practical knowledge and experiences among BCSDN member organizations and CDS branches in networking and increased project impact” in cooperation with Centre for Development Initiatives, Gacko BiH, Balkan Centre for Migrations, Belgrade, Khetane-Zajedno, Novi Sad and International Catholic Migration Commission, Serbia/Kosovo;
  • DROM’s project was “Study visit” in cooperation with EOS-Croatia and Roma NGO;
  • and Megjashi’s project was “Study visit to the Miramida Centre, Croatia” in cooperation with Miramida Centre, Croatia.

Development of Volunteer Work in Montenegro and Serbia (EHO)

In September 2006, a two-day exchange visit was organized by two EHO representatives and the Coordinator of the IZVOR Initiative and Montenegrin organization who are involved with volunteer engagement. The training was implemented in the premises of the Center for Civic Education (Podgorica, Montenegro), the participating organization in BCSDN Training on Networking and Partnership Building. Program of the seminar was divided into two parts. The first part implemented on the first day was geared toward encouraging representatives of Montenegrin organizations to initiate the process for legislation on the volunteer status in Montenegro. The second part was designed to offer basic knowledge and skills for managing organized volunteer programs to participants without previous knowledge, and to offer new subject topics to participants with some previous knowledge.

Through comparative analysis of volunteer statuses in Serbia and in Montenegro, the participants have concluded that there is an array of similarities between volunteer statuses in Serbia and in Montenegro – i.e. lack of awareness in the broader community, prejudices, lack of legislative framework, etc. Also, through an analysis of exhibition of realized projects – i.e. individual work, exhibition of products, analyses and discussions, etc, it was evident that there are many different forms of cooperation between organizations and volunteer engagements in various projects. It was concluded that attitudes and relations toward volunteers in Serbia and those in Montenegro are remarkably similar.

Lessons learned and suggestions for future

In their Evaluation Sheets, seminar participants have listed a remarkable body of organizations and institutions, who should, in their opinion, attend a similar training – Roma organizations, social welfare institutions and some youth organizations. This affirms successfulness of this seminar/project, and that organizing of such trainings for other organizations in Montenegro would be highly significant in the near future. The trainer’s recommendation and the result of seminar evaluation both confirm that the future seminars of type should be organized in duration of (at least) 16 – 18 (optimally) working hours.

Exchange of Practical Knowledge and Experiences among BCSDN Member Organizations and CDS Branches in Networking and Increased Project Impact (CDS)

The main objective of this project was to increase cooperation among the participating organizations (BCSDN and CDS members/partners) that would result in creation of the joint project on networking and capacity building. In line with this aim raising awareness on importance of cross-border cooperation and regional approach in solving problems would be achieved. A total of 14 staff members from participating organizations were direct beneficiaries of the project. In the framework of this projecta practical workshop on good practices was delivered by examples of ICMC, Centre for Development Initiatives, Balkan Centre for Migrations and Khetane-Zajedno, together with workshop on developing networking platform for participating organizationsThe two activites took place between 24-26 October, 2006.

Lessons learned and suggestions for future

Participants expressed high interest in these topics as a way to increase their knowledge of sustainability of their respective CSOs. Secondly, the planning of participation should be emphasised for some organizations in order to avoid over lapping with day to day activities. This would give more time for additional selection of other potential participants in a more structured way. Overall the success of the project largely relied on good primary selection of the participants, quality material available to all trainees and selection of trainers/lecturers.

Sharing of Successful Experience on EU Projects and Actions Related to Resource Mobilization (ACSF)

The aim of the exchange visit was to strengthen coordination, cooperation and capacity-building efforts of ACSF with SEECRAN National Network -Slovenia based organization. CNVOS was also included in the list of visited organizations with great experience as an umbrella organization in Slovenia. The issues covered with the visit were EU integration process and resource mobilization. Practicsal experience of visited organizations and best experiences in EU projects. The visit took place between 6-11 December in Ljubljana.

The main activities of the project consisted of presentations from all organizations which were organized in the first and the second day. The third and the fourth day was organized as a join ACSF-SEECRAN staff workshop. CNVOS experience was disseminated through presentation and written documents.

Lessons learned and suggestions for future:

More similar visits should be organize in the future. Exchange of visits and information is of very great importance for joint efforts and future cooperation in the field. Advanced preparation is necessary for the implementation of project in due time.

Learning from Each Other (DA)

The project consisted of two visits or main activities. First activity was the visit of Philanthropy’s senior management team to Diakonia Agapes, for a week, in September 2006. The aim was the Philanthropy’s team to assist colleagues from Diakonia Agapes to draft their strategic plan. Second was the visit of educational team of Diakonia Agapes to Philanthropy. This activity lasted for four days and consisted of presentation of activities, programs, field visits and meetings with relevant associates. This activity took place in the November 2006 in Serbia (Belgrade, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Nis). The project served both organizations to better know each other and exchange their experience and ideas in the respective areas of work. The people involved in the project were able to get new ideas related to the work of both organizations which need to be developed in the future. Based on the exchanged knowledge the organizations hope to be able to submit joint project in respective field.

Lessons learned and suggestions for future

DA staff came back with new ideas that will be taken into consideration in its project proposals. One of the experiences that were emphasized is the moral support for the people in need. The exchange visits have helped the organizations to learn about each other better and at the same time to benefit from their experience. In the future, they will work on the opportunity to develop common projects in certain areas, provided financial possibilities.

Study Visit to Croatia (DROM)

The visit took place in the period of 10-15 August, 2006. In the first part of the visit, CRZ “DROM”-Kumanovo visited NGO EOS from Croatia. The members of EOS held a short workshop for access to information, criterions and conditions for financing projects from EU to DROM representatives, including a one-day visit to NGOs, which are EOS project partners.

The second part of the visit was devoted to meeting Roma NGOs, which work on decreasing the Roma problems from the area of education, human rights, women rights and health in Croatia. Roma settlements were also visited. The purpose of this visit was to receive knowledge about the life and problems of Roma outside of Macedonia. This helped in experiencing situation of other groups coming from different ethnic background and their comparison to situation with Roma situation in Macedonia.

Lessons learned and suggestions for future

One of the opportunities to follow-up this project is to develop further relations between NGOs and work on several ideas and initiatives for mutual projects from the visit. Thsi will hopefully result in joint applications to EU funds.

Study Visit to the Miramida Centre, Croatia (Megjashi)

Last visit was realized between representative of QPSW/MC,PDAS Ms. Goran Bozicevic and Megjashi. It took place in Croatia in the period between 04-14 September, 2006. First day was largely devoted to exchanging experiences between each organization. The second day was devoted too specific training in games and exercises dealing with issues of blame, resentment, anger, and stereotyping. Also the visit included specific help in mediation, particularly in issues with an element of ethnic conflict, and an exercise called “Finding common ground“. The third day included a presentation by Sezam on Marshall Rosenberg`s methods of teaching non– violent communication, and a presentation by Megjashi of their work. On the last day there was a visit to two nearby schools to see the education provided for the Italian – speaking minority in the area. The provision by the Croatian Ministry of Education greatly impressed the visitors from the other two countries.

Lessons learned and suggestions for future

The participation in this study visit showed how important it is for one person or a group of people to go out of their own country and to gain knowledge on the topics of their work. For the participants, it was interesting to see the work of the professors from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of non-violent conflict management and to exchange experiences, and also to return to their own country even more motivated for continuing their mission. In the end of this study visit the participants came to the conclusion that such cooperation should continue next year in Macedonia, respectively Bosnia and Herzegovina. The trainers responded positively to their request to organize a course for mediating the educational staff in their schools next year.

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