Regional capacity building event for grassroots organizations held in Novi Sad

Photo: NSSJ

Representatives of the sub-grantees awarded within the Resilience project gathered in Serbia, to exchange their experiences and share information on the projects they implement across the Western Balkans.

The regional event held in Novi Sad on 30 November – 3 December, provided a platform for the representatives of 21 organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia to present their work and project activities implemented within the Resilience sub-granting scheme. The meeting offered an unique opportunity for grassroots organizations from small cities and rural areas to network for potential cross-border cooperation and learn about the media and information literacy oriented projects across the region.

Photo: NSSJ

One of the awarded organizations within the Resilience sub-granting scheme is Initiative of Youth with Disabilities of Boka (IMIBoke). The main aim of their project “For Equality of the Persons with Disabilities in the Media” is to enable the resistance of citizens to the impact of misinformation and hate speech towards people with disabilities and to provide people with disabilities with access to information disseminated through the media in an accessible form. Irena Rasovic, media associate from this organization, explains that IMIBoke conducted the research among 50 local media outlets to determine the quantity and quality of the media reporting about people with disabilities.

“Most of the information these media publish are press-releases coming from PWDs’ organizations, statements, and republishing of the items from other media. It is less common to have self-initiative for this issue”, said Rasovic and explained that one of the most important achievements of this project was the creation of the IMIBoke website that is designed and developed so that people with disabilities can easily use it.

Another awarded project is “Responsible reporting on gender equality” implemented by Citizen association FemPlatz from Pancevo. The purpose of the project is to build capacities of local stakeholders (CSOs, educational institutions, media) to understand and react to gender-based stereotypes, sexism, and gender-based discrimination in media reporting, as well as to form local partnerships to advocate for gender equality and media literacy at the local level. Kina Trnjakovic, project associate from FemPlatz, explains that the analysis of the media reporting was conducted in four cities/municipalities – Pancevo, Kovacica, Bela Crkva and Vrsac.

“After that, we wrote the recommendations on how these media can improve their reporting. We specifically dealt with the analysis of the reports on violence against women and femicide, gender-equality, gender-sensitive language and how often women organizations are presented in the local media.”

Photo: NSSJ

Brankica Petkovic, regional sub-granting coordinator for the Resilience projects, says that the call for proposal was for CSO’s in small cities/rural areas and those organizations whose work is oriented toward small communities. The currently visible results and projects’ achievements are very positive, says Petkovic and adds that it is important that citizens with different backgrounds are involved in these projects.

“In coordination and implementation of the projects in small communities are involved citizens – from students to university professors. That is a signal that these small grants should be done in future as well.”

The Resilience sub-granting scheme was launched in May 2021. 141 concept notes were evaluated and 75 selected for the next step – preparation of full proposals. Out of 72 full proposals that were evaluated, 22 were selected for sub-granting. The final list of sub-grantees with brief information about their approved projects can be found here.

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Funded by the European Union

The regional program RESILIENCE: Civil society action to reaffirm media freedom and counter disinformation and hateful propaganda in Western Balkans and Turkey’ is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by partner organizations SEENPMAlbanian Media InstituteMediacentar Sarajevo, Kosovo 2.0Montenegrin Media InstituteMacedonian Institute for MediaNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace Institute and Bianet.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of SEENPM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.