STRENGTHENING DEMOCRATIC STRUCTURES
USAID is helping Serbia make its governance institutions stronger and more accountable to the people. USAID assists civil society organizations across Serbia so that they can mobilize citizens to understand, develop and support necessary reforms, while also conducting oversight at the national and local levels. Support provided to democratic political parties helps parties develop modern policies that respond better to the electorate’s interests. Programming supports enhanced governmental checks and balances, and improved judicial and parliamentary operations by improvements in court management and building the professional capacities of parliamentary staff and the judicial budget and planning office. Activities also help strengthen Serbia’s rule of law by improving the transparency and efficiency of the courts, including a focus on misdemeanor and administrative courts, and by assisting independent oversight agencies and civil society in their efforts to make government more open and accountable. USAID initiatives strengthen parliamentary oversight capabilities as well as the participation of young politicians, minorities and women in parliament.
Current programs that contribute to this process include:
Judicial Reform and Government Accountability Program
USAID strengthens Serbia’s rule of law by improving the transparency and efficiency of the judiciary, in particular the misdemeanor and administrative courts. It improves the integrity and openness of government operations by supporting independent agencies' and civil society's efforts to make government open and accountable.
For more information, please see: http://www.jrga.org/
Civil Society Enabling Environment Project
The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society (OCCS) was established in 2011 to support dialogue between the Serbian Government and civil society organizations (CSOs). OCCS supports the creation of relevant legislative frameworks and CSO engagement in decision making processes, especially those related to EU accession. In addition, it promotes transparent funding of CSOs at the local and national levels and leads overall coordination efforts between the Government and civil society.
In February 2014, USAID signed a government-to-government agreement with OCCS, launching the Civil Society Enabling Environment (CSEE) Project.USAID has provided over $200,000 to the Government of Serbia’s Office for Cooperation with Civil Society. Over 18 months, steps will be taken to improve the enabling environment of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Serbia by developing a National Strategy on civil society, improving communications between CSOs and the government, sharing best practices in engaging CSOs in the EU accession process, and training government officials on how to best work with CSOs.
For more information, please see: www.civilnodrustvo.gov.rs
Divac Youth Funds project
Divac Youth Funds 2.0 is a two-year project implemented in partnership with the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation. The program empowers youth to advocate for local resource mobilization and youth participation in local policy development. This project builds on the success of the initial USAID-supported Divac Youth Fund project.
Enhancing Accountability and Responsiveness of Elected Officials in Serbia
Enhancing Accountability and Responsiveness of Elected Officials in Serbia is a two-year direct grant implemented by the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID). The project brings citizens throughout Serbia in direct contact with their elected representatives at both the national and local levels and it creates opportunities to discuss issues of public importance.
For more information, please see: http://www.cesid.org
Matter of Choice project
Matter of Choice is a two-year direct grant implemented by the National Coalition for Decentralization (NCD), a local network of sixteen civil society organizations based in the south of Serbia. The project supports increased public participation in democratic electoral processes and advocates for better and closer interaction between Serbian citizens and their elected representatives. It also raises public awareness of the importance of citizens’ representation in a democratic society and supports citizens’ participation and activism in government.
For more information, please see: http://www.decentralizacija.org.rs
Open Parliament Initiative
For legislative bodies to be effective, they must be comprised of legislators connected to their constituents. Furthermore, their constituents must have the means and channels to make their positions known to their elected representatives. The Open Parliament Initiative (OPI) is a two-year direct grant implemented by the Center for Research Transparency and Accountability (CRTA). OPI’s purpose is to establish and enhance links among the Serbian Parliament, Serbian citizens, and Serbian civil society organizations (CSOs). By increasing transparency and outreach of the Parliament, this activity will ensure that there are more opportunities for government policies and decisions to be debated, scrutinized, and subjected to public opinion.
For more information, please see: http://www.crta.rs/
Philantrophy for Local Communities
Building on previously successful initiatives, Philanthropy for Local Communities is a two-year direct grant implemented by the Trag Foundation, a Serbian civil society organization (CSO). The project’s goals are to increase civic participation in local communities and promote local philanthropy across Serbia. To achieve these goals, the project helps Serbian CSOs increase direct contact with their local constituencies, diversify their funding sources, and contribute to the development of local philanthropy—an issue of great importance to ensure CSO sustainability in in the country.
For more information, please see: www.tragfondacija.org
Towards a More Sustainable and Innovative Civil Society in Serbia
Towards a More Sustainable and Innovative Civil Society in Serbia is a two-year direct grant implemented by Smart Kolektiv, a Serbian civil society organization (CSO). This project increases the capacities of CSOs to establish cross-sectoral partnerships, engage in social entrepreneurship, and diversify their funding resources. At the same time, the project works with the business community to increase its engagement with CSOs and promote innovative philanthropy mechanisms and corporate social responsibility (CRS).
For more information, please see: www.smartkolektiv.org
Women’s Leadership Academy
The Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) is a two-year direct partnership with the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE). WLA supports women leaders in increasing the participation of women in local governments and advancing gender equality agendas.
For more information, please see http://www.bfpe.org/en/
Last updated: January 29, 2016