March 4, 2024
News/Events The Secretariat

Day 2 of WBF-TACSO Workshop | Enhancing Partnerships and Sustainability

Since December 5th, the Western Balkans Fund, in cooperation with EU TACSO, has been conducting a tailor-made regional workshop for over 50 grantees from our 4th and 5th Call for Proposals.

The second day of this significant event commenced with a plenary session moderated by the WBF-EU Joint Action Manager, Fjordi Bisha.

Mr. Bisha began by identifying the challenges and lessons learned from the Fund’s cooperation over the past two years with more than 69 lead applicants and over 230 partners from our annual Call for Proposals.

Ms. Andreja Tonc, an EU TACSO expert, highlighted the importance of strengthening organizations in the Western Balkans, emphasizing that the EU also benefits from stronger regions upon their inclusion.

Learning from different experiences and understanding rules and procedures is crucial

Andreja Tonc, EU TACSO expert

“In that sense, we need to enhance our initiatives, capacities, and ideas to be competitive, ready to implement good and mature projects. Learning from different experiences and understanding rules and procedures is crucial,” she added. “TACSO aims to strengthen people-to-people links, connecting organizations and facilitating engagement with EU institutions.”

Uros Citakovic, our Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, shared preliminary findings from the last two Call for Proposals.

“Thanks to the data you’ve provided, we’ve identified 74 indicators. While we’ve increased the financial envelope, we’re still meeting only a limited part of the needs,” Mr. Citakovic stated. “However, we’ve observed an improvement in the technical quality of your projects over time, signifying a better understanding of rules and procedures. This shows the effectiveness of our mentoring tools.”

While we’ve increased the financial envelope, we’re still meeting only a fraction of the Civil Society Organisations needs

Uros Citakovic, WBF MEL Officer

Juliana Muço, the Finance and Administration Officer of the Joint Action, noted, “This has been a learning process for us at WBF. We aim to adapt and simplify EU regulations, combining them with our rules to align with EU guidelines for your application.”

“Financial management remains a challenge, but as we aim to join the EU community, we must prepare better and implement their regulations. While finance, regulations, and procurement aren’t always easy, they’re necessary for activity implementation,” Ms. Muço continued.

Financial management remains a challenge, but as we aim to join the EU community, we must prepare better and implement their regulations

Juliana Muço, WBF Finance and Administration Officer

Erinda Toska, Manager of our Diversified Grant Portfolio, presented the newest grant scheme, WBF Move Grants, highlighting its connection with workshop themes.

Representing CURE Foundation in Sarajevo, Selma Hadzihalilovic suggested further simplification of applications. “Monitoring impact is challenging for us. Gathering data isn’t always easy,” she added.

Gathering data can be especially hard

Selma Hadzihalilovic, representative of CURE Foundation

Mr. Citakovic intervened by outlining the methodology employed by the Western Balkans Fund to gather data in response to her remark.

Ms. Tonc concluded the discussion, emphasizing the EU’s investment in weaker regions due to historical developmental, economic, and social challenges. “Success doesn’t have a formula, but continuous work within a specific group might obviate the need for baseline research if previous evaluations and reports exist.”

Later in the day, participants divided into three groups focusing on capacity building, partnerships, sustainability, cross-border actions, and strengthening Civil Society Organisations in the WB Region.

Parallel Workshops of the Second Day

Partnership development for enhanced regional cooperation

Identifying challenges and steps for increased participation in regional initiatives

Amplifying Voices through sustainable actions

Our WBF experts were joined on stage by three EU TACSO experts, Andreja Tonc, Natasha Mazari, and Jelena Pajovic van Reenen during the panel discussions.

The 4th and 5th Call for Proposals were co-funded by the European Union through IPA – Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.