Southeastern Europe Regional 2021

Center for Democratic Transition

Using New Media to Promote Government Transparency


To promote government transparency and accountability in Southeast Europe. The Montenegro-based organization will work with three leading watchdogs using new technologies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and Serbia to develop further a regional online database that allows comparisons of the openness, accountability, and reform capacities of the legislative and executive branches of government in the four countries. The project will include regular monitoring, interactive data graphics, and a regional conference.


Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Empowering Business as a Cross-Border Reform Champion


To empower local private sector champions in advocacy for sustained democratic governance reform via cross-border integration, the Center will leverage its business advocacy expertise to build the capacity of business support organizations and research groups in Greece, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria to conduct targeted campaigns on cross-border reform and cooperation. Concurrently, the Center and its partners will connect with other forums in the region to advocate the democratic benefits of cross-border business cooperation between Greece, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria. This project will be the pilot phase of a multi-phase program focused on reconciling cross-border disputes and promoting democratic governance reform in the Europe and Eurasia region through private sector dialogue and advocacy.


Center for Media Development and Analysis

Raising Public Awareness Regarding Foreign Malign Influence and Countering Disinformation


To raise public awareness regarding foreign malign influence and to counter disinformation, the media organization will expand its popular investigative reporting portal to identify and spotlight cases of foreign malign influence in Southeast Europe and increase access to fact-based stories and analyses. It will publish investigative stories and related multimedia content on its web platform and social media accounts and offer the content to other media outlets free of charge.


Center for the Study of Democracy

Understanding and Responding to Foreign Malign Influence


To understand, raise awareness of, and respond to external attempts to undermine democracy and reverse democratic gains in Southeast Europe. The Bulgarian think tank will partner with local experts in seven countries to analyze foreign malign interference in local media, raise awareness of the media outlets and channels used to exert economic and political influence, and provide recommendations to strengthen the resilience of democratic institutions.


Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance

Promoting Anticorruption Mechanisms


To strengthen a regional network of anticorruption groups and build members’ capacity to foster accountability in Southeastern Europe. The Albania-based organization will coordinate a regional initiative dedicated to strengthening the legal rights of whistleblowers. It will facilitate its members’ efforts to generate political and public support for whistleblower laws and mechanisms, investigate whistleblower disclosures and cases, provide advice and assistance to whistleblowers, and enhance public perceptions of whistleblowing as an effective anticorruption and accountability tool.


European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations

Strengthening the Integrity of the Electoral Processes


To strengthen the integrity of electoral processes in Southeast Europe. In advance of the 2021 parliamentary elections in Albania and the local elections in Kosovo, the election watchdog will conduct nonpartisan activities to increase the transparency of electoral processes. It will monitor election campaigning, review voter lists, and observe polling stations. The organization will publish its analyses and recommendations, conduct outreach campaigns, and convene public meetings with state officials, legislators, and civil society. The organization will also strengthen its institutional capacity and foster networking among its members.


Heartefact Fund

Fostering Cross-Border Dialogue and Civic Engagement in the Western Balkans


To foster cross-border dialogue and civic engagement in the Western Balkans. The Belgrade-based organization will run a regional civic education program to enhance cooperation between young people in Kosovo and Serbia, particularly those who are prejudiced towards their peers of different backgrounds and who hold biased views regarding the region’s recent past. The program will include study visits designed to stimulate broader cross-border communication and cooperation in addressing common problems facing their post-conflict societies.



Encouraging Critical Thinking and Open Debate


To foster public debate and counter misinformation regarding key social, political, and economic challenges facing Southeast Europe. The Belgrade-based organization will produce videos, radio programs, and articles for the region’s leading political e-magazine, which provides a forum for public discussion and commentary by prominent policymakers, civic and political leaders, journalists, and academic experts. In cooperation with other NED partners, the organization also will translate articles from leading global media outlets to counter disinformation.


International Republican Institute (IRI)

Addressing Ethnonationalist, Far Right Extremist Threats & Malign Foreign Influence


To counter ethnonationalism and far-right extremism. The Institute will provide a platform and resources for pro-democratic actors to use public opinion findings to encourage policymakers and young political party members to use their positions to counter authoritarian tendencies of ethnonationalist narratives, far-right movements, and outside malign influences in the Western Balkans. The Institute will host regional conferences, conduct a multi-media outreach campaign and public opinion polling, and direct consultations between pro-democratic actors and policymakers on opportunities to develop policy solutions.


Kosovar Center for Security Studies

Promoting Accountability of Security and Justice Institutions


To promote the public oversight and accountability of security and justice institutions in Kosovo, Albania, and Serbia. The Kosovo-based think tank will partner with organizations in Albania and Serbia to gauge public opinion on, and trust in, security and justice institutions. The project will improve understanding of public perceptions of these institutions in all three countries. The partner think tanks will identify institutional deficiencies, disseminate recommended solutions, and advocate for reforms necessary for a democratic transition.


National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Activating Constituent Focus in the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue


To help ensure that citizens’ voices are central to negotiations on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The Institute will conduct public opinion research to identify constituent priorities and share findings with government, political, and civic partners in both countries. Through public opinion polls and innovative focus groups that incorporate structured debate, the Institute will explore societal groups’ concerns, probe for areas of commonality among communities and between countries, and support efforts to find solutions to constituent concerns.


National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Enhancing Electoral Integrity


To strengthen the transparency, accountability, and fairness of elections in Southeastern Europe. The Institute will engage civil society and political parties to monitor the quality of electoral frameworks and to advocate for reform and foster regional collaboration on election observation methodologies and external communications in increasingly partisan and, in some countries, authoritarian political environments.


National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Political Party Integrity


To assist political party representatives in nine countries of Southeastern Europe in strengthening internal mechanisms that promote political integrity. The Institute will gather party leaders within Conservative, Green, Liberal, and Social Democratic families to promote internal reforms that increase internal transparency, bolster inclusive decision-making, and strengthen external accountability. Particular efforts will be made to promote women’s political participation.


National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Reinforcing Democratic Resilience through Civic Engagement Strategies


To strengthen engagement between elected officials and citizens at the national and local levels and improve youth engagement in deliberative democracy efforts. The Institute will conduct community-based events alongside local partners to build capacity for anti-hate speech and anti-corruption policy change efforts. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia, the Institute will build on previous iterations of the program to expand collaborative activities that strengthen the capacity of citizens and institutions to engage on shared policy priorities.


Nevladina Organizacija 35mm

Promoting Accountability through Independent Reporting


To foster independent reporting and promote greater accountability of public officials. The Montenegro-based media organization will partner with leading regional media outlets to produce regionally-focused episodes of a unique television program featuring social, economic, and political themes. Leading national stations will air the program, and media partners will promote it on their online portals. The programs will contribute to ongoing debates on key issues relating to accountability and the region’s democratic transition.


Ostro, Center for Investigative Journalism in the Adriatic Region

Promoting Accountability through Online Media


To promote the financial transparency and accountability of political leaders. The organization will produce and disseminate a series of investigative articles and briefs examining cases of misuse of political power. The outlet will spotlight high-level corruption cases, non-transparent privatization processes, money laundering schemes, and foreign-funded illegal construction in environmentally protected areas. The organization will distribute the articles for free to media outlets, relevant civil society groups, and government agencies.


Obala Art Centar

Encouraging New Approaches to Promoting Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Among Youth


To encourage new approaches to promoting transitional justice and reconciliation among youth. The group will organize a civic education workshop that utilizes documentary and feature film screenings and facilitated discussions about transitional justice, conflict resolution, and reconciliation. In addition to facilitating cooperation between filmmakers and civil society groups that are researching and documenting wartime human losses, the organization will conduct an extensive outreach and awareness raising campaign throughout the region.


SENSE – Transitional Justice Center

Advancing Transitional Justice


To advance transitional justice and historical understanding in the Western Balkans. The Croatia-based organization will convene educational and cultural events dedicated to preserving and presenting relevant investigations and prosecutions related to war crimes committed against civilians during the 1990s, thereby fostering public awareness and debate on the egregious events. Webinars for teachers from the region will counter historical revisionism and promote historical understanding. The organization will develop a new interactive website chronicling region’s recent history from multiple perspectives.


Serb National Council

Promoting Minority Issues through Online Media


To foster cross-border cooperation between independent online media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and support the dissemination of original content related to minority rights. Two leading online portals from Zagreb and Mostar will produce and exchange articles examining key political and social developments affecting minorities in the two countries. The content will promote minority issues and encourage public debate on the status of minorities, while expanding the portals’ reach and impact.


Solidarity Center (SC)

Boosting Trade Union Capacity in Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia in the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Eras Balkans


To support workers’ freedom of association in Southeast Europe during the pandemic and beyond. The Center will provide training and ongoing technical assistance to trade unions in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. The Center will build unions’ capacity to defend workers’ rights through grassroots organizing and collective bargaining and will support unions as they build democratic movements to defend working people’s right to safe and healthy workplaces during and after the pandemic.


South East European Network for Professionalization of Media

Fostering Improved Media Standards


To improve media standards and counter disinformation in Southeast Europe. Supported by a Prague-based media development organization, media groups in six countries will provide young journalists and journalism students with the skills and tools necessary to understand and counter disinformation, which they will employ to produce articles exposing and challenging distorted media content. The program will engage senior journalists to analyze media content in their countries and raise public awareness of the quality of media reporting.


Today is a New Day, Institute for Other Studies

Fostering Improved Media Standards


To foster improved media standards and promote high-quality news content that counters disinformation. The Slovenia-based organization will work with a leading debunking team from Bosnia and Herzegovina to upgrade a previously developed regional news monitoring tool covering media in Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages. The project will increase the diversity of consumed media, offer a variety of news coverage on key topics, and provide tools to identify and filter out media bias.


Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia

Promoting Youth Activism and Solidarity among Youth


To promote greater youth participation in developing coordinated responses to the challenges facing democracy in the Western Balkans. The 2021 edition of a biannual Youth Summit will bring together prodemocratic youth activists from the Western Balkans with their counterparts in established and emerging democracies to promote cooperation and solidarity. The Summit will include panel discussions, workshops, and events that will produce policy recommendations and plans for future cooperation.