The civil society, representing citizens’ needs and concerns, plays a critical role in societal development. Ultimately, changes initiated by CSOs are expected to lead to more inclusive policies and better public services.
The way societal changes are measured and communicated to citizens was the focus of a networking meeting of the Swiss-supported Civica Mobilitas program held on 24th and 25th October in Ohrid. In her opening remarks, the Swiss Ambassador to Macedonia, Sybille Suter, stated that “in the last two years, civil society initiatives brought tangible social and political changes in Macedonia which proved its strength and potential to make a positive impact”. She also announced that Switzerland will continue to support civil society in the coming years through its Civica Mobilitas program.
Through group work facilitated by Simon Forrester, international expert of Civica Mobilitas, and Mike Zuijderduijn, Managing Director at Management for Development Foundation, participants exchanged experiences and discussed best practices to achieve tangible social changes.
The meeting was followed on 26 October by a thematic forum on the cooperation between the new Government and the civil society in Macedonia. Former civil society representatives who recently joined the Government participated in the discussions as panelists. Sanela Shkrijelj, Branimir Jovanovic and Trajan Dimkovski shared what prompted them to decide to carry in Government positions the work they had initiated as activists in CSOs.
The forum also discussed the future of the civil society in Macedonia. Proposals made by participants will be included in a document that will be presented to the Government and will become a part of the future strategy for the development of the civil society in Macedonia.
The current phase of the Swiss-supported Civica Mobilitas program, implemented by NIRAS (Denmak), MCIC (Macedonia) and SIPU (Sweden), began in October 2014 and will last until the end of 2018. The total budget of the program amounts to approximately 8 million Swiss Francs. Until now, 208 civil society organizations were awarded grants.