Contributing to an active civil society

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WHAT WE DO


ACT addresses the challenges of civil society activism in Serbia by:
Providing Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with tailor-made support to improve their organisational management and financial sustainability, strengthen their constituency base and networking capacities. This will enable them to effectively advocate and deliver quality services in line with citizens’ needs.
Providing formal and informal CSO networks with capacity building and spaces to meet, formulate advocacy strategies and implement advocacy actions with broad mobilisation of citizens, leading to an enhanced influence of citizens on public policy and decision-making processes.
Supporting CSOs and LGs (Local Self-Government) to establish effective local partnerships for improved services to citizens.
Through these efforts, ACT aims to increase trust by citizens in CSOs and LGs. It also aims to strengthen the link between CSOs and their constituencies. This plan will lead to increased citizens' engagement in decision-making and policy-setting and, ultimately, to an active civil society.

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CONSTITUENCY BUILDING


According to the data from the CSO assessment study , 5%-6% of Serbia’s population (i.e., somewhat more than 300,000 citizens) is involved in activities of the civil sector.
Many analyses of the civil society in Serbia show that current and future opportunities for building constituencies are greater than anticipated since citizens do engage but not in the way civil society would expect. The citizens engage if the issues are concrete, presented in a way that looks urgent, and have the potential for success.
Constituency-building within ACT will be based on tapping into the daily life and habits of citizens and modeling support to their needs and expectations. ACT’s approach will be based on the Engagement Pyramid methodology that starts from the point that the majority of citizens are “Observers,” i.e., the ones that may see the issue but not do anything about it. In order to engage citizens, CSOs need to build up a strategy for making an individual citizen “climb the pyramid,” transforming observers into active citizens.
This methodology gives the framework for building a group of people who gather around a specific issue and act on it. In order to have a constituency, CSOs and informal groups need to build up around communities that feel that they belong together. This methodology deeply dives into the methods of coaching and development of individual skills of people to organise others. The constituency-building approach is built as a core element in the grant schemes and capacity-building strategies.

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CAPACITY BUILDING


Tailor-made training sessions and mentoring programmes for developing and strengthening internal CSO organisational and human capacities.

TOPICS:

  • Strategic planning
  • Establishment and work of strategic steering bodies
  • Financial management
  • Fundraising strategies and diversification of funds
  • Two-way communication with citizens
  • Community organising and campaigning
grants

Spaces for exchange

(meetings, events, platforms) for intensified networking and joint actions of CSOs with different expertise and from different geographic regions. The goal is to identify common interests among CSOs and foster advocacy initiatives for the benefit of citizens.

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Expert support

for selected CSO-LG partnerships in order to upgrade their capacities to initiate and organise new and innovative processes of including citizens in decision-making processes, and establishing mechanisms that will improve their services to citizens.

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GRANT GIVING

ACT supports CSOs and CSO networks through
4 different grant schemes:

  • Institutional Grants
  • Local Action Grants
  • Network Advocacy Grants
  • Innovation Awards & Best Practice Awards

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