The challenges of local organisations in Makedonski Brod

5 Jan 2024

On 1st December 2023, local organisations and activists from the Municipality of Makedonski Brod were informed about the current civil society developments at the national level, the opportunities for financing and strengthening civil society organisations, the opportunities offered by the Civic Resource Centre, the EU Agenda and other topics and issues that are of interest for the functioning of organisations at the local level. The visit was carried out within the Mobile Resource Centre, the aim of which is for the Civic Resource Centre to get closer to local, grass-root organisations in the various municipalities and regions and to discuss the needs and the challenges faced by organisations in their operation.

“We are very pleased that the Civic Resource Centre offers the necessary support, which is more than necessary for us as a young organisation. We were most interested in the trainings you offer within this project, such as trainings on strategic planning, financial operations, accountability and transparency, writing project proposals.” – said Magdalena Zdraveska from the Association for local development LOCAL ACT Makedonski Brod.

The organisations shared the problem of registering rightful owner and the fact that the relevant institutions did not make adequate efforts to disseminate the information. As a result of insufficient awareness, a number of local organisations are faced with the challenge of paying 64,000 MKD or completely shutting down their organisation. The Civic Resource Centre informed that although efforts were made through the Council for Cooperation between the Government and Civil Society Organisations to overcome this problem, unfortunately the state institutions did not fully understand the problem faced by several local organisations that function mainly on a voluntary basis.

An individual case was also shared at the meeting about a local organisation that has existed for more than 15 years, but currently has a blocked bank account due to an unpaid telephone bill in 2006. However, interest, executor fees and other administrative costs represent a huge burden that a small local organisation cannot handle at the moment and has sought a way to solve the challenge.

“As a representative from the municipality, it is particularly significant for us that you have an interest in smaller places and smaller and younger civil society organisations, by strengthening their capacities though your online trainings, information on calls and other support. We hope for fruitful cooperation both with the CSOs and with the Municipality of Makedonski Brod – said Vanja Dimoska from the Municipality of Makedonski Brod.

The few local organisations have good cooperation with the municipality, which is open to cooperation. The municipality informed that they do not publish a call for funding of CSOs, but upon request from the organisations they can provide funds according to their municipal budget. In the municipality, they do not have a person responsible for contacts with the organisations, but the Unit for Local Economic Development also covers this issue. The CSOs informed that it is a positive thing that negotiations are underway with the Municipality for the inclusion of local organisations and their consultation during the preparation of the municipal budget. In addition, the Municipality is in the process of establishing a Youth Centre in Makedonski Brod.

The visit was organised within the project “EU support of the Civil Society Resource Centre – Phase 2”, financed by the European Union, and implemented by the National Civil Society Development Foundation – Civic Resource Centre, the Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation, Media Plus, Shtip and Association for Democratic Initiatives – ADI, Gostivar.

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