USAID Provides Civic Initiatives a Grant to Empower Youth in South and Southwest Serbia

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 25, 2013
Harry Lipper, Senior Development Outreach and Communications Specialist

Belgrade, October 2013 – Civic Initiatives and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched a 15-month project, $248,800 project to improve the status of youth and reduce their marginalization in south and southwest Serbia. 

The "Empowered Youth for Positive Changes in South Serbia and Sandzak" campaign will build the capacity of young people, youth groups and civil society organizations and increase the employability and activism of youths in the target regions.

"With our partner Civic Initiatives, USAID will help young people in south and southwest Serbia develop personal and professional skills; become more active citizens and community leaders; and prepare to launch their own successful businesses," said USAID's Susan Kutor at the project's launch in Bujanovac.  "By strengthening institutions and creating the conditions for economic growth – in south and southwest Serbia, and elsewhere – we are supporting Serbia’s development and accelerating its progress towards European integration."

The Empowered Youth for Positive Changes campaign will focus on poor, socially marginalized, unemployed youth from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.  A core group of 80 young people will undergo training to give them personal and professional skills to increase their employability and activism.  The program will develop their capacity to identify problems and advocate for changes in their communities. 

"We need to focus on the great potential these regions have: young people eager to engage and find their place in the community, brave people who improve their and other people's lives through civic and political engagement," said Civic Initiatives Program Director Maja Stojanovic.

The project's objectives are to build the capacity of youth to become civic leaders and strengthen partnerships between civic organizations, the private sector and government.  The campaign will also support the growth of a more dynamic civil society and improve communication and cooperation between the private sector, local governments and civil society.

USAID is increasing direct support to Serbian organizations like Civic Initiatives as part of a broader effort to change the way USAID delivers assistance.  Direct assistance to organizations strengthens their capacity and uses USAID funds more efficiently.