Step Closer to Understanding EU Funding System

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The training was delivered by a training team from experienced networking organization – European Citizens’ Action Service (ECAS) from Brussels. The training team consisted of trainer Cecilia Liljegren (ECAS) and Jana Malovicova (Open Society Foundation Slovakia). On request by ECAS, EHO identified a skilled local trainer (Branka Kaselj, the executive director of the Centre for piece, non-violence and human rights from Osijek/Croatia) which was involved in the first day of training about IPA and CARDS programmes in Serbia. The Novi Sad training was hosted by Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization (EHO) and Tirana training by Albanian Civil Society Foundation (ACSF), both BCSDN members and partners. The training was attended by 28 participants from Albania, BiH, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, and Montenegro.

The three day training agenda was divided into three parts. The first day of the training (delivered by Cecilia Liljgren, ECAS) provided information about EU funding and programmes, particularly to increase the knowledge about the structure of EU financial assistance and the opportunities coming from the pre-accession policy. In particular, it helped participants understand the structure of EU funds and what is available to NGOs in Western Balkans; the application process and how to find information; and explain some best practice for their European project. The second and the third day (delivered by Jana Maloviceva, OSF) built the confidence and skills required by EU to prepare, develop and manage a European project. It was designed for both, those experienced in project management who wanted to learn a new method, and those who have never managed projects before and were looking for ways to design, implement and evaluate projects. In particular, the 2nd and 3rd day helped participants understand how to use the PCM to design and implement projects; explain how to build and use a logical framework; put all the main elements into a simple plan; and explain some best practice techniques for project management. Quiz was organized in order to practice the knowledge and information gained during the previous sessions open discussion and exchange information and practices among participants. Work in groups as also conducted to discuss and exchange opinion on topics of the training.

Some participants were more knowledgeable and active than others, however, as a whole the group was very motivated. The trainer believes that it would be value-added to have the time and the tools to show the participants how to find the information on the Europa homepage of the European Commission. The trainer got the impression that the knowledge about EU funds and programmes is quite elementary and that the main focus of the NGOs have been on programmes such as CARDS. More information about the EU structure in general is needed, i.e. the role and the structure of the European Institutions, as well as to understand how EU funds and programmes are connected to the policies of the EU. With regard to the pre-accession process and the opening-up of Community Action Programmes this information was new to the participants and further information actions would be needed in order to increase their knowledge and the understanding of the process and its procedures, in particular the role of the NGOs in this process and the state of Play of the candidate and the potential candidate countries. According to the feedback from participants (each filled-in an evaluation form at the end of the training) they were satisfied both with the level of expertise and organization of both trainings. In Albania, some participants expressed the need for more interactive sessions (a lot of information input was made) and amore balanced agenda (1st day vs. 2nd and 3rd day).

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