Bistra Kumbaroska at the ACT Community Days

Bistra Kumbaroska was a guest of the ACT project and a lecturer at the introductory session of the ACT Community Days conference. An activist, entrepreneur and poet, Bistra supports individuals, organizations and companies in combining innovative tools to increase their positive social and environmental impact. She is one of the key initiators of the movement in Northern Macedonia behind, currently the most popular youth portal in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. She works as a manager at Heartbeats Innovation & Communication where her work focuses on innovation in community management, activism and regenerative design (for businesses, organizations and events).

At the ACT Community Days Bistra spoke about global trends in community management and the strength and importance of individual initiatives in bringing change in the community. Through an interactive workshop with CSO representatives, she talked and shared her experiences of working in the community. After the lecture, we had a brief conversation with Bistro on several important issues for the development of civic initiatives, both globally and in the Western Balkans region. We asked her how she sees the current situation in terms of improving the lives of citizens in the fast-paced modern world that is changing on a daily basis.

In her opinion, the last two years have brought unexpected changes at the global level in the field of protection and defense of human rights and civil participation, and as such require adjustments and new practices.

According to her, the development of telecommunications and the Internet environment represent a great potential for organizing people into movements, initiatives and communities that, united not only in the limited physical space of the city and state, but also in the online environment, get a completely new form and open some new perspectives.

The online environment is a phenomenon that should be paid attention to in the coming period in the field of community building, and where, she believes, some new processes will take place.

When asked about regional cooperation and the situation in the Western Balkans in terms of the strength of individuals, communities and citizens, Bistra pointed out the need to respect similarities, but even more to respect differences.

She believes that civil society in the Western Balkans region has a role to play in its role in the entire system, in the interest of citizens, the community and society as a whole, and to establish cooperation with all stakeholders.

According to her, civil society has the potential of regional networking because, as she says, it has already proven in the previous period that it has the capacity for that, but that there are even more reasons for that. In that regard, she concludes, we have an obligation to continue with regional connections and the creation of structures that will systematically influence governments and decision-makers in the region.