posted on

Support for five projects in the field of human rights promotion and development of a democratic political culture

Representatives of four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and one informal group in the field of human rights promotion and the development of a democratic political culture have signed contracts as part of the grant scheme “Right on Time,” receiving support totalling € 76,752.

Ivana Vujović, Executive Director of Juventas, stated that through the project “Right on Time – Support for Human Rights Defenders and CSOs in the Field of Human Rights Promotion and Development of Democratic Political Culture,” direct financial and mentoring support is provided to non-governmental organisations and informal groups acting as human rights defenders throughout Montenegro.

“This project will implement a series of activities advocating and strengthening capacities aimed at contributing to a better political environment for active civil society organisations (CSOs) in these areas, as well as fostering local-level partnerships, all of which will expand the space for civil society activities,” said Vujović.

Within this project, as she added, a grant scheme is being implemented from 1 March of this year until 1 October 2024, for which three public calls totalling €350,000 will be announced.

She reminded that Juventas and CeMI conducted a survey among NGOs in June this year, with the 45 participating organisations, mostly smaller ones, expressing deep dissatisfaction with the current allocation of funds at the national and local levels.

“Surveys conducted by CeMI in 2022 showed that the rating of leaders of leading NGOs is higher than that of political party leaders,” Vujović stated.

Liselotte Isaksson, Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, stated that an active and vibrant civil society is a crucial element of any democratic system, highlighting that it gives a voice to citizens and creates a connection between citizens and authorities.

“In the process of a country’s accession to the EU, civil society organisations play a very important role. They are closest to the people on the ground and best positioned to understand their needs. Civil society organisations also represent those needs to the government and play an active role in decision-making processes. They fulfil important roles of control and balance in democracies and are capable of influencing the government and holding it accountable,” Isaksson stated.

She said that the EU’s goal in Montenegro is to empower civil society to bring about significant reforms and changes for the citizens of Montenegro.

“Since this call for project proposals aims to support the promotion of democracy and human rights, I am glad to see that the support will go to the right hands, for projects addressing the prevention and fight against human trafficking, gender-based violence, and supporting the socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable groups, such as the Roma,” said Isaksson.

Jovan Bojović, Legal Advisor at Juventas and coordinator of the “Right on Time” grant scheme, stated that, within the € 350,000 grant scheme, three public calls for proposals are being implemented.

“The Commission has decided to support five projects in the first round. Specifically, out of the available €105,000, about €76,752 will be allocated, while the remaining amount of £28,248 will be distributed through the second round of evaluation and the second public call,” Bojović explained.

He mentioned that the supported projects include the informal group SveMir’s project “Media-Gender Literacy” and the projects of the non-governmental organisations Association for Support of Roma and Egyptians – “The Right Time for Us,” Bunt Scene – “Exposed Violence,” the Network for European Policy “Master” – “I Have the Right!” and the Legal Centre – “FREEDOMKEEPERS: Mobile Teams in Local Communities Combating Human Trafficking.”

Bojović announced that the second public call is scheduled to be launched on 1 December of this year, while the final public call is planned for 1 March 2024.

The project “Right on Time – Support for Human Rights Defenders and CSOs in the Field of Human Rights Promotion and Development of Democratic Political Culture” is implemented by the non-governmental organisations Juventas, Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe, the Centre for Monitoring and Research – CeMI, Queer Montenegro, and Open Centre Bona fide, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights for Montenegro 2022 (EIDHR).