9 new projects supported through the M’BASE programme

Through five calls for support to civil sector projects, we have seen that non-governmental organizations in Montenegro have the capacity, good ideas, quality staff and represent important actors on the path to European integration,as it was emphasized today during the ceremony of signing nine new contracts with CSOs with a total value of 180,444.00 EUR, within the fifth call of the M’BASE programme implemented by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) with partners and associates, funded by the European Union and co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration.

Non-governmental organizations in Montenegro operate in an environment that is not conducive in terms of systemic support, and often this space is further narrowed due to negative campaigns led by government representatives and actors close to them. This is a result of an underdeveloped political culture in which we live, despite our efforts to push the boundaries of established democratic standards. Great trust and positive attitude of citizens towards NGOs is encouraging, although our struggles are constant, as there are no permanently won battles, and there is a constant risk of regression,’ emphasized Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director of CCE, during the event. She particularly thanked the EU, stating that the EU has been and remains a strong supporter of genuine civil society. ‘In recent years, the M’BASE programme has been a way for many to continue with their activities, it has influenced and continues to influence the preservation of the fabric of civil society in Montenegro Uljarević concluded.

‘I am very pleased that even on the fifth call, numerous creative ideas have been submitted, of which the highest quality ones have been selected for support. This is another indicator that the civil sector is very active and diversified so it can respond to the various demands of society and naturestated Jovana Janjušević, the Executive Director of the Center for the Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP). She emphasized the perseverance of the organizations that applied to all calls and ultimately received support within the framework of the fifth call, noting that project ideas were improved through that process.I am convinced that the supported projects will be successfully implemented, contributing in various ways to shaping policies and fulfilling obligations in the EU integration process, but also to the goals and mission of the supported organizations themselves and the services they provide,’ she said.

Ana Mariquesa, Project Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, expressed satisfaction regarding the signing of contracts following the fifth call. ‘I am very happy to have been here several times accompanying this project throughout five calls for proposals where 82 projects were supported, and now 9 more for a total amount of around 2.7 million euros. It is quite impressive and involved big work done by CCE and its partners in implementing and helping you in project implementation,’ she said. Mariquesa also emphasized that the EU Delegation will continue to support through other ongoing projects as well as new calls, and they will strive to continue contributing to the dynamics of society and various areas.

‘The funds we received through this call mean a lot to us, as well as those we received in one of the previous calls. Through this project, inter alia, we will educate and empower ten women from vulnerable groups to independently start their own businesses and guide them towards various credit lines and non-refundable funds offered by the state, Employment Agency, municipalities and the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro,’ stated Dubravka Raičević, Executive Director of the NGO MARE MARE from Herceg Novi.

‘This is an extremely beneficial call and significant support, as I am not aware that any international or state body has made such a contribution to the development of the non-governmental sector in Montenegro in recent years. For our Alliance ‘Our Initiative,’ this is significant because through our project we will assist the work of seven local associations by funding one expert each who will work with children and young people with disabilities, aiming to improve their psychomotor and educational abilities, consequently improving the position of this population and their independent life,’ emphasized Mimo Korać, Executive Director of the NGO Alliance of Associations of Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities ‘Our Initiative’.

‘This project is significant for us, but also for Montenegro, especially now that we are experiencing an expansion of protected areas. Since 2015, eight nature parks have been declared, so today we have 14% of protected areas. According to the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, we have committed to declare 30% of the territory as protected by 2023. Through this project, we want to highlight Montenegro’s obligations in this regard, as well as the need to increase efficiency in management, with the inclusion of all social actors,‘ stated Zoran Mrdak, President of the Parks Dinarides – Network of protected areas of Dinarides.

‘Last year, our project was not supported within the M’BASE call, but we got guidelines on how to improve our application, so we followed those guidelines, and now we have succeeded in obtaining support for which we are grateful. The project will be implemented in the form of workshops, focusing on enhancing the competencies of youth in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, all aimed at facilitating employment and raising awareness about knowledge and skills in these areas,” said Petar Subotić, Coordinator of the Montenegrin Association for Technical Culture ‘Politehnika’.

The fifth call within the M’BASE programme was announced on 18 January 2024 and by the deadline on 7 February, the CCE received 46 proposals, of which 9 projects of the following organizations, which are lead applicants, were supported: NGO Mosaic (Empowered – Visible), Mare Mare (Equal and Economically Empowered), Interaction (Youth Against Gender Expectations), Montenegrin Association for Technical Culture ‘Politehnika’ (STEM Perspective: Youth Development towards EU Integration), Alliance of Associations of Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities ‘Our Initiative’ (Partnership as a Model for Enhancing the Capacity of NGOs to Provide Services to Children with Disabilities), Multimedial Montenegro (European Corner), CAZAS ((mo) Mental Health 2.0), Parks Dinarides – Network of protected areas of Dinarides (Protected Areas of Montenegro – The good of all of us), Center for Economic and European Studies (Cooperation with NGOs for Greater Accountability of Municipal Enterprises).

The project CSOs in Montenegro – from basic services to policy shaping – M’BASE’ is implemented by the CCE, in partnership with the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), NGO Center for the Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP) and NGO Politikon Network from Montenegro, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration and Ministry of European Affairs the Government of Montenegro. The project is financed by the European Union and co-financed by the Ministry of Public Administration.

Maja Marinović, Programme Associate