These last weeks were an intensive period for those who work in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), write projects and apply in different European Union programs, especially for those known as Erasmus+. Nonetheless, the opportunity is enriching as it gives civil society actors the opportunity to seek partners around the neighboring countries, resulting in good cooperation and long-lasting partnerships.
Many partnerships have been created through the years between NGOs. They have realized hundreds of
projects, building many co-operations that have continued for a long time. Another result is that this
cooperation often naturally results in friendship as well. The main challenge of working in an NGO is
looking for partners from different countries that suit the project you are planning to apply for. When one
has little contacts personally, some groups in Facebook are the best resource to find partners. There you
can describe the project and ask others if they are interested in cooperating. It’s amazing when you see the interest between organizations in working together and becoming partners, no matter where they are from.
I definitely think that people that are engaged in civil society are more likely to be open-minded toward
overcoming barriers and cooperating with partners from different countries, than Governments. Officials
do many calculations and strategies based on different agendas that make things move in a slower pace. In contrary, NGOs just have to agree an idea, apply, and if the project is good enough they receive funding and work together to implement the idea.
Being myself engaged in an NGO, I was preparing a project for the call of January (the one where non
program countries can apply as leaders), together with a partner NGO from Romania. I admit that for
some reasons we didn’t make it this time, because we were late for the deadline, but still, communication
with partners involved in the project is continuing with other applications. We were four partners
from Kosovo, Romania, Albania and Serbia. It’s interesting to mention that I met Darinka from a Serbian
NGO in 2017 in Prishtina, in a Training Course my organization had organized at that time. Then I met
Oltiana from an Albanian NGO last year in Romania. And I met Mihai from Romania last year also, but
at a conference in Slovenia. Importantly, this is one of the benefits when participating in training courses,
conferences and different events abroad; you meet people with whom you can work together in the future.
Even though we couldn’t apply this time, we are already partners in some other projects, with Oltiana and
Darinka and with Mihai we also have plans for some common projects.
I decided to write this blog to show that there are fields where some work between different stakeholders
coming from the countries in the region are done. As a civil society activist, we aim to be role models and
show that implementing joint regional and European projects is important no matter how the relationship
between these countries are on the political level.
Author: Migjen Krasniqi