CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY
For a long time, civil society in Kosovo has been a label mostly reserved to non-governmental organizations and projects with an end-date, rather than for the individuals who are part of our community or even those who are not seen, but can only enrich our collectivity.
But there is no civil society without the real people in the communities we inhabit: the schools that shape our education and public life, the businesses and workers that power our neighborhoods and cities, the institutions that can create a way for our future, and each and every citizen that would like to think they too matter.
It is time to give civil society a larger meaning. It is time to reclaim civil society for and from the everyday people. It is time to transform our communities into communities we truly want to belong to, and where belonging is a possibility and not an impossibility.
The Citizen Engagement Activity is a 5-year commitment to foster a culture of activism that makes life in our neighborhoods and cities better, caring, and meaningful. This initiative imagines a future built upon a civil society that brings fundamental change within our communities through bold activism, bottom-up representation, wide-spread cooperation, professional action, structural transparency, a transformative mobilization of resources, and a reencountered sense of solidarity with one another.
Building on the robust experience and knowledge of the most long-standing voices and leaders in the field of professional civil society support and institutional cooperation, the Citizen Engagement Activity is a serious commitment to elevate, democratize and safeguard the power of our communities to change and thrive. While setting up long-lasting coordination efforts, full-circle synergies and improving the capacities of those directly involved in activism, the Citizen Engagement Activity will bring forward a great number of actions grounded on three essential pillars: community, trust and resource mobilization.
The Citizen Engagement Activity in Kosovo aims to support Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to build constituencies, diversify their resource and partner base, and affect change by connecting different actors around locally driven development solutions, and to enhance government accountability. It is a five-year program (2021-2026) supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF).
Building on long-standing experience and expertise of KCSF in civil society development, including recent approaches towards a more constituent-based civil society, and complementing it with the mandate and expertise of local partners (subawards) and proven models of international partners, the Citizen Engagement Activity will contribute towards the achievement of the following objectives:
Objective 1: Strengthened civil society links to constituencies, energized community activism and increased demand for accountability;
Objective 2: Established cross-sectoral partnerships and increased trust between CSOs, citizens, private sector and public institutions;
Objective 3: Developed capacities of CSOs and an enabling regulatory environment to mobilize alternative domestic and diaspora resources the Citizen Engagement Activity Components.
Objectives are integrated in the project components that are composed of numerous interlinked activities. In addition, to further strengthen the impact of the Citizen Engagement Activity, KCSF will promote its activities and results to the wider public by utilizing a targeted approach. Moreover, an inclusive and accessible mechanism that will provide financial support to registered CSOs, community initiatives and individuals will be established. With the main target being the Citizen Engagement Activity beneficiaries, as well as other promising ideas that contribute to the goals, the financial support mechanism is designed to help constituency-based community initiatives, cross-sectoral cooperation and resource diversification.
This Program will be implemented in partnership with Catalyst Balkans, CiviKos Platform, Street Law, Kosovo Local Government Institute (KLGI), Kosovo Law Institute (KLI), European Centre for Non-for-Profit Law (ECNL) and GERMIN.
COMPONENT I: STRENGTHENED CIVIL SOCIETY LINKS TO CONSTITUENCIES, ENERGIZED COMMUNITY ACTIVISM AND INCREASED DEMAND FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
Through this component the Citizen Engagement Activity aims to strengthen the civil society links to constituencies, while creating venues and opportunities for constituency engagement and increased demand for accountability. To achieve this, KCSF will simultaneously work with citizens, CSOs, local institutions and public servants, and other local stakeholders. More specifically, under this component KCSF will establish a Community Leadership Academy that will cultivate a cohort of active youth that will form a basis of active citizens and constituents that will mobilize their peers around community issues in their respective localities. This Component will also support CSOs in developing and further strengthening their organizational capacities for building engagement practices with constituents, community mapping and building networks and connections with other community stakeholders for an effective participation on public life. The Citizen Engagement Activity will facilitate provision of legal advice to CSOs and civic initiatives that address issues of public benefit. Thus, it will contribute to a more vibrant civil society that brings citizens closer to their work and increases the demand for accountability with regards to local governments.
COMPONENT II: ESTABLISHED CROSS-SECTORAL PARTNERSHIPS AND INCREASED TRUST BETWEEN CSOS, CITIZENS, PRIVATE SECTOR AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
The second component aims to increase the social trust in Kosovo by bringing together citizens and representatives of various sectors, transforming and expanding both inter and intra-sectoral relationships into strategic and equal partnerships that actively involve citizens and respond to their interests. To this end, through a participatory working approach KCSF will tackle various aspects of building social trust in Kosovo. The development of the transparency platform for CSOs will provide a non-burdensome, adequate reporting system that will make CSOs turn towards the wider public. The regular cross-sectoral dialogue will expose CSOs and their work to various audiences and contribute towards developing concrete multi-sectoral partnerships, while a concerted effort to facilitate the participation of CSOs in the implementation of the Strategy will strengthen the watchdog role of CSOs and pressure the government to implement the Strategy, thus improving the overall environment for civic participation in Kosovo and contribute to greater social trust.
COMPONENT III: DEVELOPED CAPACITIES OF CSOS AND AN ENABLING REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT TO MOBILIZE ALTERNATIVE DOMESTIC AND DIASPORA RESOURCES
The third component aims to support CSOs and improve the eco-system that allows for identification and mobilization of alternative financial resources, in-kind contribution, and volunteer support by citizens and experts, both in Kosovo and from diaspora. KCSF will build and utilize a unique platform and web application on domestic giving in Kosovo, tracking donations made by companies, foundations and individuals in Kosovo as well as by diaspora. Additionally, Component III will provide customized mentoring, coaching and technical assistance on advanced fundraising practices to CSOs. Furthermore, KCSF will contribute to improved transparency and regularity of public funding for CSOs through monitoring, evidence-based advocacy and trainings for CSOs. Component III will also build bridges between diaspora expertise and Kosovo CSOs while the volunteering component will contribute to building ties of the CSOs with a pool of people that will be familiar with the work and could serve as constituents and potential base for future donations.