ReLOaD2 Public Call Application Process: Free Help Available to Organizations

November 3, 2023
Ramski Vjesnik


In cooperation with local authorities, the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) is working to further strengthen cooperation with civil society organizations (CSOs) by transparently allocating funds through public calls that are open to all formally registered organizations in accordance with the current legal regulations in BiH.

ReLOaD2 is a project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the aim of strengthening the partnership between civil society and the government, improving services in local communities, and transparently allocating funds to CSOs.

13 cities and municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina contribute to the development of their communities by participating in the activities of the ReLOaD2 project. In the past year, ReLOaD2 approved 121 CSO projects through public calls for which approximately 2,700,000 KM was allocated.

All joint public calls are published on the communication channels of UNDP BiH, and on the websites of partner cities and municipalities - City of Bihać, City of Prijedor, City of Gradiška, Municipality of Centar Sarajevo, Municipality of Novo Sarajevo, Municipality of Rudo, Municipality of Vitez, City of Goražde, City of Istočno Sarajevo, City of Mostar, Municipality of Prozor-Rama, Municipality of Gacko and Municipality of Ugljevik.

UNDP grant officer Mersiha Ćurčić is part of the team that oversees implementing the activities of the ReLOaD2 project. She clarifies that joint public invitations are open to all formally registered CSOs throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and not exclusively to those from partner cities and municipalities. For example, CSOs from Bihac, Trebinje or any other city, municipality/municipality from BiH, not only from Mostar, can also apply to the public call in Mostar.

Ćurčić recommends that all CSOs familiarize themselves with the guidelines for public calls in detail and pay attention to the priority areas of these calls and invites CSO representatives to respond to public hearings where topics for public calls are finalized. After the publication of the public call, the ReLOaD2 project organizes open days in cities and municipalities, where representatives of CSOs can learn more about the application process, criteria and all-important elements related to the public call.

"Civil society organizations are expected to write project proposals that will respond to the priorities of the local community. CSOs should pay special attention to the administrative and technical criteria of the call, as well as to the fact that the projects should respond to the needs of the users whose interests the CSO represents, but at the same time they should also be socially useful", said Ćurčić.


"During the public call, continuous support is provided to civil society organizations in order to better write project proposals in the requested application forms. "Project Cycle Management (PCM) trainings were offered, as well as additional mentoring sessions with the aim of eliminating dilemmas that may arise during the preparation of applications."
Ramski Vjesnik

The goal of the project is to facilitate the process of preparing projects and applying for public invitations to representatives of CSOs who attended the open days and mentoring sessions. From the Association for Development and Affirmation of Society "NODAS", they point out that all CSOs should participate in PCM trainings, which are organized free of charge during the public call.

"The training that was provided was designed in such a way that it is easily applicable when filling out ReLOaD application forms and significantly accelerated the writing process. Thanks to that, the content itself, that is, the narrative part, gained in quality because the explanation of the project idea was presented more clearly and precisely," said Šemsudin Maljević, president of the Association for the Development and Affirmation of Society "NODAS".

"Mentoring sessions are an often-missing addition to these types of training and are just as important. It is important to point out that it is a great help to get precise answers to specific questions, especially because it is often the details that are decisive. Also, the process in which the idea is first conceived and then processed through sessions has a positive effect on guiding and correcting towards the correct flow of writing," Maljević said.

He recommends other CSOs to prepare well, to participate in open days and mentoring sessions, but also to communicate with other organizations that have participated in similar projects. As he says, quality preparation of a project proposal takes time, which also requires a detailed collection of documentation, without which the application cannot be made.

"The educational and mentoring support organized by the ReLOaD2 project is very useful because it explains which opportunities are available and which are not, which reduces the possibility of sending proposals that cannot be supported from the start. The above makes the process transparent, and having constant support through trainings and email support makes a significant difference compared to other calls for project proposals,"
Maljević believes.

The UNDP team leading the ReLOaD2 project recommends CSOs to get involved in the issues of their communities, and accordingly offer project solutions that meet the needs of the population and contribute to the development of the local community. They also add that continuous work is needed to strengthen cooperation between CSOs and local self-government units.

"We recommend organizations to use the opportunity of free PCM education according to EU standards and additionally strengthen their capacities in order to be able to secure financial resources from other donors and/or institutions. A systematic and transparent approach improves the quality of life of the wider social community, and CSOs become reliable and recognizable partners", concluded the grant awarding officer Mersiha Ćurčić.

The ReLOaD2 programme is implemented in Albania, BiH, Montenegro, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, and Serbia. CSOs are expected to implement around 300 projects and improved and diversified services for 40.000 citizens in the region, with 120 projects for 9,600 citizens being in BiH, by the end of 2024.


* For the European Union, all references to Kosovo should be understood in full compliance with Resolution 1244 (1999) and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For the United Nations, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).