45 Civil Society Organizations Received Grants Through the Regional Program ReLOaD2
May 11, 2023
Today, forty-five civil society organizations from eight municipalities in the country presented their projects for youth, social cohesion and inclusion, human rights, environmental protection, culture, and tourism, which they are implementing within the Regional Program on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 - ReLOaD2. The ReLOaD2 program is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This is an initiative whose main goal is to strengthen the partnership between local authorities and civil society, thereby contributing to greater civic and youth participation in decision-making processes. Through the published public calls within ReLOaD2, 45 projects were supported, to which grants of total 740,000 euros were awarded. Their implementation will directly benefit around 5,000 citizens.
"We often talk about the substantial support the EU is providing to North Macedonia – in the form of large infrastructure projects – roads, rail, energy, solid waste, water purification. Today we are going to focus on small scale initiatives which are nevertheless important to people at the local level. That can make a difference in local communities, in many practical ways", said David Geer, Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of North Macedonia.
ReLOaD2 is being implemented over a period of four years (2021-2024) in eight partner municipalities in North Macedonia, namely Kumanovo, Gostivar, Bitola, Ohrid, Veles, Gevgelija, Kochani, and Kriva Palanka. With the support of the project, these municipalities have adopted the LOD methodology, which involves fully adhering to the principles of transparency and inclusion in the allocation of financial resources to civil society organizations.
"I am happy that these projects address the real needs of citizens in the municipalities where they are being implemented. If we look at them one by one, we may get the impression that they contribute solely to their local communities, but if we observe them as a whole, there is no doubt that this is a huge step forward on the path towards building a strong and effective partnership between the municipalities and the civil society sector, aimed at addressing the challenges of people with disabilities, the socially excluded, the minorities, the unemployed, and the youth", said Armen Grigoryan, UNDP Resident Representative.
ReLOaD2 is being implemented in a total of 50 municipalities in North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the planned strategy, local civil society organizations are expected to implement at least 300 project activities with direct benefits for 40,000 residents.
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