Those of you, who applied at the 6th Call for Proposals, or follow our activities, or advocacy events, might be interested in knowing what we are doing and what is next for the Western Balkans Fund.
This January, most of our time has been devoted to evaluating the project proposals received as part of the WBF 6th Call for Proposals. As you already know, the Call was closed on 29 December, and the Secretariat has been busy evaluating the proposals for the whole month. It is a time-consuming, but essential task, as we aim to evaluate all the proposals received thoroughly, to ensure maximum transparency. The evaluation process will end in February, and by March, we aim to award the grants and start the implementation process.
Meanwhile, we have also planned an ambitious Program for our Activities in 2024, a year in which we aim to introduce new grant schemes and expand our outreach to new regional stakeholders.
Just to mention the most relevant:
In the coming months, thanks to the support of the European Union, through a new cooperation Agreement for a second Joint Action, we will introduce the landmark WBF Empowering Regional Champions Grants (ERC), the biggest grant scheme ever provided by the Fund, with grants more substantial than our current scheme (15.000 Euros per project).
Another annual Call for Proposals will also be launched in cooperation with the European Union in the year’s final quarter.
Another fascinating new scheme that we will introduce shortly, has been tailor-made to benefit professors and researchers. Currently being developed in cooperation with the International Visegrad Fund, it aims is to support academic staff and researchers from our Region to establish direct cooperation with institutions and their peers in the V4 countries (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia).
Simultaneously, the successful MOVE Grants scheme will continue running in 2024. Over 100 individual grants provided by this novel scheme in the last year made us realize the vast potential that individual ideas hold for enhanced regional cooperation. (Earlier today we published the list of the 3rd Call for Proposals of WBF Move Grants.
We have also prepared a concrete plan for the Regional Dialogue and Events. More details will be publicized in the coming weeks, with the aim to be more present in the Western Balkans Region through many formats benefiting the Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders of our Fund.
Finally, we remain dedicated to promoting cooperation and reconciliation through Advocacy Events tackling crucial cross-cutting issues, such as equal opportunities, women empowerment, combatting fake news and fake narratives, and much more.
These and more will make 2024 an exciting year for the Western Balkans Fund and above all, for all the Civil Society Organisations and our regional stakeholders!
Stay tunned. Many inbound surprises will be unveiled shortly.