Southeastern Europe Regional 2021

Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Empowering Business as a Cross-Border Reform Champion


Public Summary: 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.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Political Party Integrity


Public Summary: To assist more than 250 representatives of 40 political parties 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. To make such substantial changes, political parties must espouse integrity as a leadership value, be able to assess progress and prioritize areas for reform, and have the capacity embedded in both individuals and in party structure to advance reforms. This program will address each area, through technical assistance that will comprise regional and in-country programming, with particular efforts made to promote women’s political participation.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Reinforcing Democratic Resilience through Civic Engagement Strategies


Public Summary: To strengthen engagement between elected officials and citizens at the national and local level and improve youth activation in deliberative democracy The Institute will conduct community-based events that will promote anti-hate speech and anti-corruption  policy change efforts, and  other strategic priorities  identified by local communities. . In  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia, the Institute will build on previous iterations of this program and  strengthen the capacity of citizens to engage one another on shared policy priorities.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Enhancing Electoral Integrity


Public Summary: 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.

International Republican Institute (IRI)

Addressing Ethnonationalist, Far Right Extremist Threats & Malign Foreign Influence


Public Summary: Under this program, the Institute will provide the platform and resources for pro-democratic actors to use public opinion insights and research findings to encourage policymakers and young political party members to use their positions to counter the authoritarian tendencies of ethnonationalist narratives, far-right movements, and outside malign influences in the Western Balkans. Specific actions under this program include hosting regional conferences with policymakers and political party youth, a multi-media outreach campaign, public opinion polling, and direct consultations between pro-democratic actors and policymakers on opportunities to develop policy solutions.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Activating Constituent Focus In The Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue


Public Summary: 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 the countries, and support efforts to find solutions to constituent concerns and to promote shared priorities between groups. The Institute will encourage leaders to hold conversations around the issues identified in the opinion research. The Institute will also share selected findings with and convene other interlocutors, such as representatives of academia or civil society organizations focused on particular topics, or focused on monitoring the Dialogue more broadly. Based on partner interest in both countries, the Institute may pursue follow-on programming.

Solidarity Center (SC)

Boosting Trade Union Capacity In Albania, Kosovo And North Macedonia In The Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Eras


Public Summary: 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. Through a mixture of local workshops in each country and regional workshops with participants from all three countries, the Center will build unions’ capacity to defend workers’ rights through grassroots organizing and collective bargaining.

In particular, the Center will support unions as they build democratic movements to defend working people’s right to safe and healthy workplaces during and after the pandemic. The Center will also assist unions as they address the priority issues of women, youth and other historically disenfranchised workers, including gender-based violence and harassment. Through its series of local and regional activities, the Center will foster long-term collaboration among unions from the three countries, as well as across economic sectors and with broader civil society.

SENSE – Transitional Justice Center

Advancing Transitional Justice
Public Summary: To advance transitional justice and historical understanding in the Western Balkans. The Croatia-based organization will convene educational 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 website, which will contain a searchable database of personal stories chronicling the region’s recent history. The organization grew out of the only news agency entirely dedicated to covering The Hague trials related to war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia. The successor organization build awareness about the war crimes by using interactive multimedia approaches.

Today is a New Day, Institute for Other Studies

Fostering Improved Media Standards
Public Summary: To foster improved media standards and promote high-quality news content that counters disinformation. The Slovenia-based organization will work with the leading debunking team from Bosnia and Herzegovina to upgrade their previously developed regional news monitoring tool, which analyzes media content in the Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages. The project will increase the diversity of consumed media, offer a greater variety of news coverage on key topics, and provide readers with the tools to identify and filter out media bias. The established watchdog and software developing group has a proven track record of assisting other regional organizations in harnessing new technologies to expand their outreach, build digital capacities, and improve efficiency and impact of their work.

Center for Media Development and Analysis

Raising public awareness regarding foreign malign influence and countering disinformation
Public Summary: To raise public awareness regarding foreign malign influence and 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.

Obala Art Centar

Encouraging new Approaches to Promoting Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Among Youth
Public Summary: 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.

Serb National Council

Promoting Minority Issues through Online Media
Public Summary: 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.


Encouraging Critical Thinking and Open Debate
Public Summary: To foster public debate and counter misinformation regarding key social, political, and economic challenges facing Southeast Europe. The 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 will also translate articles from leading global media outlets to counter disinformation.

European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations

Strengthening the Integrity of the Electoral Processes
Public Summary: 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.

Kosovar Center for Security Studies

Promoting Accountability of Security and Justice Institutions
Public Summary: 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.

Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance

Promoting Anticorruption Mechanisms
Public Summary: 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.

O’tro, Center for investigative journalism in the Adriatic region

Promoting Accountability through Online Media
Public Summary: 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.

Center for the Study of Democracy

Understanding and Responding to Foreign Malign Influence
Public Summary: 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.

Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia

Promoting Youth Activism and Solidarity among Youth
Public Summary: 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.

Heartefact Fund

Fostering crossborder dialogue and civic engagement in the Western Balkans
Public Summary: To foster crossborder 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 crossborder communication and cooperation in addressing common problems facing their post-conflict societies.

Center for Democratic Transition

Using New Media to Promote Government Transparency
Public Summary: 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.

South East European Network for Professionalization of Media

Fostering Improved Media Standards
Public Summary: 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.

NGO “35mm”

Promoting Accountability through Independent Reporting
Public Summary: 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.