WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
USAID/OTI began its Serbia and Montenegro program in July 1997 with the initial objectives of curbing hard-line attitudes and perceptions, maximizing the availability of objective information and promoting peaceful democratic change throughout the country. Following the overthrow of the Milosevic regime, USAID/OTI launched the Democratic Transition Initiative (DTI) to consolidate the political gains achieved in the elections of 2000.
USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
USAID/OTI’s goal in Serbia and Montenegro was to promote a peaceful democratic transition. To achieve this goal, USAID/OTI implemented several phases of programming to:
- Curb nationalistic attitudes and perceptions, maximize the availability of objective information and promote peaceful and democratic political changes throughout the country;
- Provide direct, short-term, high-impact support to civic action groups, independent media, opposition-controlled municipalities and democratically oriented political parties; and
- Train community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media organizations and municipal, Republic and Federal governments in community development, media and other political transition initiatives.
- Pace of reform: DTI worked with a broad coalition of NGOs and media outlets to push for quicker implementation of reforms and to enhance citizens' knowledge of what the reforms meant and how the reforms would affect them. To do this, DTI developed integrated media and NGO campaigns for the prioritized five sectors of reform and supported an umbrella campaign linking key reforms to an overarching vision for the future of Serbia and Montenegro.
- Community improvement projects: In 2001, community improvement projects (CIPs) constituted the bulk of DTI programming. DTI targeted select municipalities, using community-identified projects such as the rehabilitation of schools and health clinics, and the repair of electrical and water systems, to promote citizen participation and give standing to democratically elected local officials.
- Southern Serbia programming: In December 2000, armed ethnic Albanians in Southern Serbia launched attacks on the Serbian military and demanded the right to join Kosovo. In response, DTI began rapid identification and implementation of community improvement projects to ease tensions and allow ethnic Serb and Albanian negotiators time to resolve the conflict peacefully.