For Immediate Release
Belgrade, November 2013 – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun directly funding Serbian organizations to strengthen their capacity and to use USAID assets more efficiently.
USAID recently awarded grants to five Serbian organizations, recognizing their increased capabilities and placing full responsibility for managing the programs in their hands:
· A 15-month, $248,800 grant to Civic Initiatives to improve the status of youth and reduce their marginalization in southern and southwestern Serbia;
· A 24-month, $260,000 grant to Junior Achievement Serbia to support entrepreneurial educational programs in elementary and secondary schools;
· A 15-month, $248,800 grant to the Media Coalition to strengthen and support the democratization of Serbian society by promoting media literacy and independent and accountable journalism;
· A 9-month, $65,000 grant to the Regional Development Agency of Sandžak to increase the quality, value, and marketing potential for Pester Highlands milk and cheese products; and
· An 18-month, $235,000 grant to the Trag Foundation to improve the delivery of social services for the elderly, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
"USAID’s direct funding of Serbian civil society organizations and government institutions is a sign of the stronger bonds between Serbia and the United States and the increased capacity of Serbian organizations. The latter will be especially important for Serbia as it continues on its path toward European Union accession," said Ambassador Michael D. Kirby at a reception at his Belgrade residence on Thursday.
In June, USAID signed its first direct-funding agreement with the Government of Serbia, launching the 24-month Private Sector Development Project with the National Agency for Regional Development to strengthen private-sector firms in 12 depressed southern and southwestern municipalities.
"USAID is pleased to work more closely with our Serbian partners who have proven they have the capacity to manage direct USAID funding," said USAID Mission Director Susan K. Fritz. "More importantly, we are putting the responsibility for developing Serbia directly in the hands of Serbians, who best understand their needs." USAID expects to make additional grants in the future.
Civic Initiatives has been awarded a 15-month, $248,800 grant to improve the status of youth and reduce their marginalization in southern Serbia. Empowered Youth for Positive Changes in South Serbia and Sandžak will build the capacity of young people, youth groups and civil society organizations (CSOs). The program will focus on poor, socially marginalized, unemployed youth from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and develop their employability and capacity to advocate for changes in their communities.
Junior Achievement Serbia has been awarded a 24-month, $260,000 grant to support entrepreneurial education in elementary and secondary schools. You Can Change the Future will organize local, regional and national trade fairs and competitions, as well as training for teachers. Junior Achievement Serbia will also work to raise the public's awareness about the benefits of business education programs.
The Media Coalition has been awarded a 15-month, $248,800 grant to promote media literacy and independent and accountable journalism. The Campaign for Media Literacy will focus on youth, raising their critical understanding of media content. The drive will involve journalists and teachers who use media as a resource, encouraging them to become proactive consumers and producers of media content. The Media Coalition is an informal partnership of five Serbian journalists' and media associations.
The Regional Development Agency of Sandžak (SEDA) has been awarded a 9-month, $65,000 grant to increase the quality, value, and marketing of Pešter Highlands milk and cheese products. SEDA is organizing seminars for local milk and cheese producers and supporting producers' participation at agriculture fairs. USAID is working with the Czech Development Agency (CzDA) on this project.
The Trag Foundation has been awarded an 18-month, $235,000 grant to improve social care services and the quality of life of the elderly, persons with disabilities and children, as well as other vulnerable groups in Serbia. The Social Care Reform Initiative will help CSOs work with local governments to provide services under Serbia's 2011 Law on Social Care. The law decentralizes Serbia's social care system. Trag will study ways for CSOs to work with local governments to develop policies to serve the needy and then focus 10 CSOs that will work with local authorities to enact reforms and improve services.
The Private Sector Development Project, launched in June by USAID/Serbia and the National Agency for Regional Development (NARD), will strengthen private-sector companies in 12 ecomically depressed southern and southwestern Serbian municipalities. The project aims to improve the quality of life in southern Serbia by helping companies create jobs and investment by expanding markets for their products. USAID and NARD will support small- and medium-sized southern and southwestern Serbia businesses by assisting their entry into new markets, improving management practices, strengthening manufacturing and trade associations, and building links with the Government of Serbia. Training and grants will also be offered to businesses owned by women and youth.
Last updated: November 19, 2014