Measure 1.2: Cross-border initiatives targeting the exchange of people and ideas to enhance professional and civil society cooperation

Project title: Partnership for Sustainability

Project budget:

  Project value EU contribution
Republic of Serbia € 70,060.42 € 59,548.97
Montenegro € 74,766.00 € 63,511.10
TOTAL € 144,826.42 € 123,060.07

Beneficiary of funds in the Republic of Serbia: NGO “Smart Kolektiv”, Belgrade

Beneficiary of funds in Montenegro: NGO “Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations” (CRNVO), Podgorica
Area of implementation:
• Montenegro: Municipalities of Nikšić, Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje and Rožaje
• Serbia: Cities of Užice and Novi Pazar and municipalities of Požega and Prijepolje

Project duration: 1/10/2012 – 30/9/2013

Project objectives: The overall objective of the project is contribution to sustainable economic and social development in Serbia-Montenegro border area through increased sustainability of civil society organizations (CSOs). The specific objective of the project is enhanced the quality and quantity of partnerships between CSOs in programme area.
Activities and results of the project:

Two partner non-governmental organisations, “Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organisations” from Podgorica and “Smart Kolektiv” from Belgrade, under the framework of the “Partnership for Sustainability” project, first issued a public call for non-governmental organisations operating in the cross-border area to participate in prepared educational and mentoring programmes. The selection criterion for interested CSOs that wish to participate in the programme were human capacities and previous experiences of an organisation in cooperating with the business sector, as well as motivation for participation in the programme. After a final evaluation of submitted applications, a total of 28 CSOs from the cross-border region were selected. Specifically, the total number of applications received and their quality, which was checked during direct visits of the project team, sparked an initial conclusion that the level of motivation among citizens, i.e. the number of active, truly engaged CSOs in this area was surprisingly low.

Two educational workshops, organised for 40 CSO representatives, were held in Užice and Novi Pazar. Their objective was to raise the capacities of the civil sector in the field of public relations (PR). Through theoretical and practical exercises, participants of the two-day workshops honed their abilities to achieve efficient communication with target audiences and to successfully convey their idea. The local self-government and the business sector had been assumed as the key stakeholder groups with whom it would be necessary to achieve successful communication. Over the course of these workshops, participants were acquainted with basic tools and techniques for raising the visibility of their organisations and CSOs in general in their communities.

The second set of workshops for representatives of CSOs from the cross-border area was held in Bijelo Polje and Pljevlja on the topic of strategic planning. Participants were transferred theoretical knowledge and practical skills in defining environments and problems, namely in analysing environments and situations as a starting point for designating an organisation’s objectives, its vision and mission. The participants were also acquainted with specific techniques for developing a strategically planned series of activities and ways to implement them and monitor achieved results of strategic plans, namely operations of a CSO.

By virtue of the Project, the CSO representatives from the programme area had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the concept of corporate philanthropy, or socially responsible conduct of the business sector. Educational workshops in this area, conducted through a theoretical and practical set of activities, informed participants about the current legal framework in this field in Montenegro and Serbia. In addition, they were acquainted with concrete methods and techniques, which may serve them as CSOs in contributing to the establishment of rational and responsible economic behaviour towards communities in which they operate. Through special educational content, CSO representatives were acquainted with possibilities of establishing cooperation between the civil society and the economy and with other sectors of social life. Workshops focused in particular on the processing of issues in such a manner so as to fully direct the practice of CSOs toward sustainable solutions through a dedicated approach involving all stakeholders and marginalised groups in social processes, which is the only sustainable model that can achieve growth in the field of social development. With the aim of applying this knowledge in practice, participants had been acquainted with concrete, different organisational models in the business sector, and with possibilities of access and establishment of cooperation that would serve the interests of the economy and civil society and community at large. CSO representatives were acquainted with the modern concept of social entrepreneurship, which as an innovative method is very interesting, useful and applicable in environments where CSOs, in this case workshop participants, operate.

The workshop approach in CSO capacity development was complemented by a study visit to Užice, namely to CSOs from Užice that successfully implemented working methods and established their own sustainability making a significant contribution to community development. The participants of the study visit were presented to organisations such as “Women’s Centre Užice” and “Pro-femina Zdravčića”. Their communication with local authorities, as well as cooperation with the business sector, are a good example of the development of women’s entrepreneurship and achievement of women’s rights in the local community.

An expert team of the partner organisations managing the Project successfully implemented a mentoring programme that provided 6 selected CSOs with proposals for establishing cooperation with the business sector. The organisations were guided step by step through the process of establishing partnerships – evaluation of capacities for cooperation, market research, mapping and selection of potential partner companies, development of partnership proposals, formalisation and institutionalisation of partnerships, partnership management. Organisations acquainted themselves and trained to use very specific techniques and tools for the implementation of the described processes. Mentors have had their work adapted to every individual CSO, their real capacities and needs for improvement.

Civil society organisations that participated in the educational content of the Project, and those who had mentoring assistance in the preparation of their plans for the establishment of partnerships, had the opportunity to present their potential at the Fair of Non-Profit Ideas and during the Forum on Cross-Sector Partnerships and Corporate Social Responsibility, held in Nikšic in September 2013. The extremely well announced media event attracted the attention of a large number of private companies that were introduced to the work of CSOs that had participated in the Project, therefore establishing initial contacts. The certainty of some of the envisaged partnerships was so raised to the highest level. The Forum was organised in two panels. The first, dedicated to cross-sector partnerships and corporate social responsibility, gathered a large number of eminent participants – international experts and university professors from this field, as well as a numerous successful businessmen from Serbia and Montenegro. The second panel, devoted to the role of the media in the promotion and development of cross-sector partnerships and corporate social responsibility, gathered outstanding experts from this field from both republics, with the participation of representatives of the most significant media and large corporations in the discussions.

Key conclusions arising from the work on the described project activities were published by the project’s expert team in a publication called “Partnerships Adapted to Society – A Guide for the Management of Cross-Sector Partnerships.” The guide contains specific solutions and tools, as well as numerous described case studies and examples of good practice for the establishment of partnerships between different sectors and can completely be used in the process of establishing partnerships – from idea to realisation.


Hank Kids, international expert in the field of corporate social responsibility, Netherlands

“Cross-sector partnerships are important because we live in a complex world and social problems can not be addressed individually by civil society organisations or the state or the companies. We must learn to cooperate together.“

Mirsala Tomić, NGO “SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence”, Bijelo Polje

“Through this project we promoted our non-governmental organisation, the ideas we plan to implement, and made new friendships. We strengthened the capacity of our organisation through education and training programmes. Also, we are looking forward to future partnerships with the business sector, not only at the national level, but with Serbia as well.“

Zlatan Halilović, NGO “Bios”, Brodarevo – Prijepolje
“Meeting the people from the business sector can help us find some new models for future cooperation and allow us to work in synergy in resolving some problems that occur in our communities and work on our capacity strengthening and the development of the society itself.“

Svetlana Damnjanović, NGO “Smart Kolektiv”, Belgrade

“The aim to be achieved through this project by the Centre for Development of NGOs (CRNVO) and Smart Kolektiv was to change the mutual perception of the business and non-governmental sector and to bring them closer, so that they cooperate more and implement more joint projects.“