Grant agreements with a total value of almost €53,000 were signed today with non-governmental organisations in Nikšić to support the implementation of projects aimed at improving the quality of life of the local community. The funds were allocated within the second phase of the Regional Local Democracy Programme in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD) as part of the support to civil society organisations. The ReLOaD programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Five non-governmental organisations were selected at the second public call published by the Municipality of Nikšić, in line with a robust methodology for allocating funds towards the civil society from local budgets, which largely rely on EU models and practices. Following the prescribed criteria, the evaluation panel selected five best project proposals out of the 16 applications received. The winners are the following NGOs: Synthesis, Association for Assisting Persons with Disabilities, Association of Young Ecologists, Society of Friends of Njegoš Library, and Business Centre. The projects aspire to actively engage citizens in shaping the services of the public administration so that they cater to the needs of the local community.

Hermann Spitz, the Head of Cooperation Section at the EU Delegation in Montenegro, emphasised the importance of strengthening participatory democracy and alliances between citizens and the public administration. “The EU is pleased to support a number of great new projects at a local level in Montenegro. The new projects in Nikšić, but also in Kotor and Tivat, will offer better services to citizens, including new sports activities, improved environmental protection, and better skills for vulnerable groups. These initiatives show how successful partnerships between citizens, the civil society, and local governments can offer a better quality of life for local communities,” pointed out Mr. Spitz.

The President of the Nikšić Municipal Assembly, Radivoje Nikčević, reminded that, for this purpose, the Municipality received funds in the amount of €100,000 for 2018 and 2019, while an additional €20,000 were allocated from the local budget. “The evaluation panel had a difficult task in selecting the best among the applicants, all in accordance with the criteria and the prescribed guidelines. We believe that the approved projects will be implemented in accordance with the planned activities and timeline, and that the citizens of Nikšić are those who will benefit from this entire process the most, which is our ultimate goal,” Nikčević emphasised.

Daniela Gašparikova, the UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro, expressed appreciation for the role of civil society organisations are taking up and their contribution to Nikšić’s sustainable development in a way that proved that they are carefully listening to the needs of fellow citizens. At the same time, she also referred to the role of local self-governments: “Dear partners from the Municipality, you are laying the grounds for more responsible and transparent institutions by working in sync with citizens. The ReLOaD project introduced changes to the existing rules and procedures for funding NGOs – to reinforce the core principles of an open and accountable administration. You consistently implemented the new approaches, demonstrating readiness to change and safeguard the new standards. This was not an easy task, but I am sure it will pay off in the long run, as well aashelp you build the local community’s trust,” Gašparikova concluded.

Projects that were awarded grant-agreements:

  • Association for Assisting Persons with Disabilities that will work on creating equal opportunities for people with disabilities, especially through inclusion in sport activities (allocated funds for the project “Sports – inclusion and accessibility” amounted to €11,025);
  • Association of Young Ecologists will improve the general knowledge and awareness of citizens about waste management issues by showing examples of good practice (allocated funds for the project ”Let’s get to know waste better” amounted to €11,995);
  • Society of Friends of Njegoš Library will work on social inclusion by helping people with visual impairments gain access to more quality content, but also raising awareness about the importance of availability of adequate formats (allocated funds for the project “I read, therefore I exist” amounted to €9,238);
  • Synthesis will boost cultural offesr of the city while promotiong urban culture (allocated funds for the project “Captured sounds” amounted to €11,995), and
  • Business Centre will help strengthen the youth’s skills through new IT technologies and the introduction of innovative employment models (allocated funds for the project “Click to work” amounted to €8,691).

In the first cycle, the ReLOaD programme supported the implementation of 21 projects in the amount of €224,888. In the current, second cycle, projects worth €330,150 will be funded. The total amount of support in 5 partner municipalities (Nikšić, Kotor, Tivat, Pljevlja, and Podgorica) within these two public calls amounted to more than €550,000. The signing of grant-agreements for local communities in Tivat and Kotor will follow tomorrow.