Through exhange of regional experiences towards strengthening the concept of gender equality

Representatives of five non-governmental organizations from Montenegro focusing on gender equality have completed a study visit to Belgrade today, which lasted from 11 to 14 February. The projects of these organizations are supported through the programme CSOs in Montenegro – from basic services to policy shaping – M’BASE, implemented by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), with the support of the EU Delegation to Montenegro and the Ministry of Public Administration.

During the intensive programme, the participants of the study visit had a series of meetings with colleagues from civil society organizations in Serbia, as well as with representatives of institutions, political parties, and international organizations, in order to exchange information and experiences that could further support them in their work.

The working part began with meetings with Ana Manojlović Stakić and Ivana Račić, project coordinators at the FES Regional office for Serbia and Montenegro. Then, they met with Biljana Maletin, a gender consultant and coordinator of the Women’s Platform for the Development of Serbia, Miloš Djajić from the Women’s Leadership Academy, and Svetlana Stefanović from the BFPE Foundation for Responsible Society, as well as with Tanja Ignjatović and Dragana Grabovica from the Autonomous Women’s Center. Additionally, they met with Brankica Janković, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, as well as with Sanja Popović Pantić, the President of the Association of Businesswomen of Serbia, and Biljana Đorđević, MP from the Green-Left Front. Finally, they had a meeting with Alisa Kockar and Tanja Cakić from the Democratic Party, followed by participation in a round table discussion with representatives of women’s organizations organizing events marking 8th March.

Furthermore, as part of the programme, the participants watched the play “Girls” at the Reflektor Theatre.

The participants of the study visit were Dubravka Raičević, Executive Director of NGO MARE MARE from Herceg Novi, Biljana Zeković, Executive Director of SOS Podgorica, Fana Delija, Executive Coordinator of the Center for Roma Initiatives from Nikšić, Nada Ristanović, Executive Director of SOS Bijelo Polje, and Ervina Dabižinović, Programme Coordinator of ANIMA – Center for Women’s and Peace Education from Kotor.

This study visit was of great importance to me, especially in terms of exchanging experiences regarding gender equality. Also, I met new organizations and established contacts for some future joint activities,” said Fana Delija in her reflection.

These were valuable meetings. We have long lacked connections and exchange of experiences with NGOs from the region. Experiences of connecting and acting of feminist networks in Serbia were crucial for me. Meetings with female politicians, as well as recognizing potential allies and their involvement in feminist activism, represent a great idea that we would gladly replicate in Montenegro. The programme was diverse and included key stakeholders in the fight for women’s rights,” assessed Biljana Zeković.

The visit was organized within the framework of the program CSOs in Montenegro – from basic services to policy shaping – M’BASE, implemented by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), in partnership with the Friedrich EbertStiftung (FES), NGO Center for Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro (CZIP), and NGO Politikon Network, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration and the Ministry for European Affairs of the Government of Montenegro. The project is funded by the European Union and co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration.

Monika Mrnjačević, Programme Assistant