USAID's Civil Society Forward Announces Partners and Objectives

USAID's Civil Society Forward Announces Partners and Objectives
USAID Mission Director Susan K. Fritz (far left) and Civil Society Forward partners and directors.

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 6, 2013

BELGRADE, June 2013 – USAID's Civil Society Forward named nine core partners and introduced two preselected grantees to build long-term democratic and social reforms in Serbia by strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs).

Civil Society Forward, USAID's follow-up to its successful Civil Society Advocacy Initiative, will provide the skills, tools and strategies needed to advocate for issues of long-term importance to Serbian citizens.  The program will also work with CSOs to cultivate local philanthropy and to support the development of strategic, multi-sector partnerships that promote networking and shared learning.

The goal of Civil Society Forward is to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of the civil society sector by:

·        Supporting advocacy to advance Serbia’s democratic development and progressing on a path toward European Union (EU) accession;

·        Promoting local advocacy and civic engagement at the grassroots level across Serbia;

·        Strengthening the organizational and technical capacities and effectiveness of a core group of CSOs and their networks;

·        Improving civil society's ability to increase local philanthropy.  


The two pre-selected Civil Society Forward grantees are the Balkan Community Initiative Fund (BCIF) and the Zaječar Initiative.

BCIF is one of a few independent, nonprofit Serbian foundations.  It will serve as role model and mentor to other CSOs, as a re-granting organization, and as trainer. 

The Zaječar Initiative will develop and upgrade its grant-making program targeting grassroots advocacy to increase citizen activism in the Timok region.  The Zaječar Initiative will also build capacities of the recently established Step Forward Community Foundation in the Timok region to develop grant-making skills and improve its organizational capacities. 

The nine core partners, chosen following an extensive evaluation process involving the Institute for Sustainable Communities and USAID, are the:

1.     Belgrade Center for Security Policy;

2.     Autonomous Women's Center, Belgrade;

3.     Association for Development of Children and Youth, the Open Club, Niš;

4.     Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA), Belgrade;

5.     SHARE Foundation, Novi Sad;

6.     SMART Kolektiv, Belgrade;

7.     National Coalition for Decentralization, Niš;

8.     Divac Foundation; Belgrade

9.     Center for Democracy Foundation, Belgrade


The Belgrade Center for Security Policy will work to protect citizens from excessive use of investigative measures by security institutions.

The Autonomous Women's Center will strive to establish a comprehensive legal and policy framework to ensure efficient and systemic protection from gender-based violence. 

The Association for Development of Children and Youth, the Open Club, is an association of 72 CSOs working to support young people in Serbia.  It will work to reduce social exclusion and improve prospects for young people, as well as include youth in local decision-making processes. 

The Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability will continue its efforts to monitor Parliament's activities and provide public disclosure of parliamentary information, advocate for the adoption and implementation of the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness, and draft a Public Online Information Bill and advocate for its adoption. 

SHARE Foundation will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet.  Its advocacy campaign will focus on transparency; open data; e-government; privacy and personal data protection; security and surveillance; freedom of speech and information; digital censorship; copyright and fair use; national and international telecommunication policies; and Internet and social media regulation.

The National Coalition for Decentralization will strengthen and increase the effectiveness of grassroots groups, informal associations, and local and regional CSO coalitions.  It will work to empower local communities to help them develop, directly influencing Serbia’s decentralization process.

The Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation will continue efforts to establish public-private partnerships to improve the quality of life for youth in Serbia.  It is working to establish at least five municipal-level Youth Banks to support youth-led projects and initiatives.

The Center for Democracy Foundation will advocate for worker’s rights and fair labor standards in Serbia.  Its goals include: the strengthening of civil society in policy advocacy and monitoring for socio-economic development; incorporating citizen’s concerns into specific policies through better communication; and establishing efficient mechanisms for implementation of worker’s rights.