Lobbying for more enabling social enterprise policy in the region (Mar 2013 - ongoing)
Having recognised the notable absence of themes such as social entrepreneurship and social innovation in enlargement policy, we set about gathering support in order to lobby for its inclusion, and ultimately to improve understanding about the diversity of social enterprises and the potential growth for the economy. You can read more about the campaign here, including details of a letter sent to Commissioner Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, in which we drew attention to these issues. The letter also highlighted the example of a law passed in Serbia which, in practice, will make it harder still for social enterprise to flourish. As such, this work has been undertaken alongside Serbian members Smart Kolektiv, who initially brought this case to our attention and who have since written an article for the Guardian, which you can read here.
Most recently, Euclid Network invited contributions ahead of our attendance at the international P2P event "Multi-Stakeholders brainstorming on EU support to civil society in enlargement countries”. Those with an interest in enlargement policy or social enterprises were offered a unique chance to offer feedback on key points to be addressed at the meeting. This represented a unique opportunity to shape the future of policy in the region for the next seven years, with feedback to be heard by influential high-level stakeholders.
TACSO - Making the PRActical Guide (PRAG) work for civil society (Mar 2012 – ongoing)
The EU is civil society’s largest donor, but its bureaucratic procedures dissuade many organisations from both participating in the European policy process, especially those beneficiaries outside the member states.
The PRActical Guide provided by the EU is complex and is not “civil-society friendly”. This project aims to persuade the EU to make the PRAG more responsive to the constraints faced by civil society, which would particularly benefit CSOs in Western Balkans and Turkey.
As well as increasing the efficiency of the EU, providing a better return on investments for European tax payers, it will be a practical exercise for CSOs in strengthening their advocacy skills. Moreover, the project will improve the reputation of the EU in the targeted countries.
Supported by TACSO (the consortium in charge of technical assistance for CSOs for the Balkans and Turkey on behalf of DG Enlargement) who will ensure adequate promotion of the consultation activities, Euclid Network will implement the whole project and take full responsibility for the results.
Euclid Network is also involved in the Programming Committee within the TACSO project, which is appointed by the European Commission DG Enlargement. This committee is composed of members of mostly Brussels-based international Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)/Networks. This group is open to participate with all CSOs who are active in the different Western Balkan countries and/or Turkey, have a keen mission to work with these beneficiaries and are able to represent a particular sector.
In the framework of identifying how financial institutions can be supportive and proactive, responding to civil society needs, Partners Albania Center for Change and Conflict Management, together with Euclid Network and Banca Intesa SanPaolo, launched the initiative for the inclusion of financial sector in support of not-for-profit sector sustainability to understand and address the needs of Albanian Civil Society Organisations and discuss possible cooperation between Banca Intesa SanPaolo and the civil society sector.
Together Toward Europe (Croatia) (Aug 2011 - Feb 2013)
Euclid Network is a partner in this project coordinated by Cenzura Plus in Crotia. The project aims to promote EU values and intercultural dialogue in the region; the status of women in politics; and talk about challenges faced by CSOs from candidate countries in the process of accession to the EU.
This project will see the production of 15 TV shows with EU content. The goal is to improve the status of CSOs in Croatia and the surrounding regions, through increasing visibility in public using local stations, reaching roughly 500,000 citizens in Croatia.
It also aims to foster Croatian, and other candidate countries', civil society debate related to European values and democracy, as well as the challenges that face CSOs on the way to EU accession - this will be done through cooperation with CSOs during the EU level roundtables and a study tour in London.
Working on financial inclusion for Serbian civil society (Jun 2011 – ongoing)
This project aims to convene a working group (Empowernet) of NGO representatives to explore the NGO community's financial service needs. It will canvas opinion across Serbian civil society in order to understand exactly what sort of actions BIB might take to increase financial inclusion for NGOs, as well as exploring how NGOs can form and benefit from partnerships with corporations and promoting a culture of innovation within Serbian civil society (especially in terms of furthering social enterprise as a route to financial sustainability). It will also map out synergies between the above debates and European funding.
By the end of the year the group will have met four times and recommend a handful of key points that could be undertaken in order to support the financial inclusion of NGOs.
Strengthening capacities of CSOs in Macedonia (Feb 2011- Feb 2012)
Euclid Network collaborated on this project with the Delegation of the European Union to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, aiming to strengthen capacities of CSOs and create supporting infrastructure to mobilise local resources and undertake economic activities.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute towards efficiency and sustainability of the civil society in addressing key needs of citizens and local communities in FYR of Macedonia. Euclid Network will be mainly responsible for providing know how about local fundraising based on regional and European experience.
As a pan European network of civil society leaders, Euclid Network provided know-how about local fundraising, based on regional and European experience gained over years of working on other CSO capacity building, philanthropy and CSR development projects in Macedonia, in the Western Balkan region and Europe.
Funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, the one year project has a double objective: to develop effective, dialogue-driven connections between Serbian and EU-based civil society networks and to improve the financial sustainability of Serbian CSOs.
Among the most pressing problems that Serbian civil society is facing is a lack of financial sustainability that can be rooted back in the donor dependency culture, largely spread in the 90s. This lack of financial sustainability is likely to be exacerbated by the financial crisis, which will have a delayed but many fear severe impact on Serbia. Additionally, Serbian CSOs and their staff lack easy access to their EU counterparts, as there are no formalised networks that actively promote such dialogue.
The overall objective of this project is effective, dialogue-driven connections between Serbian and EU-based civil society networks, based on mutual benefits and concrete actions. Furthermore, in order to develop a strong and long-term civil society dialogue, civil society itself must be sustainable, and this is why the project will aim at improving the financial sustainability of Serbian CSOs.
Civil Society and the Hungarian EU-Presidency (Aug 2010 - May 2011)
Euclid Network and The Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (DemNet Hungary) worked together during the Hungarian's presidency of the Council of the EU to show the importance of civil society organisations in the transition process.
Funded by the Hungarian government, this project aimed to run events reflecting on the transition experience of new member states - democracy support and civil society development; to understand their relevance to ENP/Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans; to connect sustainability questions: financial sustainability and social innovation and to hold the Eastern Partnership Summit in Hungary - May 27, 2011.
Piloting social enterprise in Macedonia (Nov 2010 - Apr 2011)
A project funded by the British Embassy in Macedonia and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to facilitate the development and implementation of the concept of social enterprise. The three aims are to increase the number and quality of social enterprises in Macedonia; increase financial sustainability in Macedonian NGOs; and enhance knowledge of EU funding. Euclid Network understands the importance of financial sustainability in the development of strong civil society organisations and promotes it in its core work.
Currently there are extremely few social enterprises in Macedonia and most NGOs rely on ad hoc short term project funding, lacking strategies for diversifying and stabilising their income stream. NGOs are also generally unaware of training opportunities related to EU funding. These factors have created the environment for Euclid Network to launch this project to facilitate the development and implementation of the concept of social enterprise in the region.
Active Citizens in the driving seat: leaders for the 21st century (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010)
Funded by DG Education and Culture this 12 month project offered members bursaries to spend one week with another civil society leader across Europe, allowing them to develop the skills to face today's challenges through pan-European job-shadowing exchanges.
Euclid Network members used this project to connect to leaders from across Europe, to see how their peers lead and develop their organisations. The project aimed to increase cross-border learning amongst civil society leaders through exchanges.
Through collective learning and leadership development, the project worked for a better governed, better connected and more innovative civil society and Europe.
Building from within: Reuniting Europe by strengthening and connecting its third sector (April 2008 - Oct 2009)
Funded by The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, this 18-month civil society development project increased democratic demand by empowering civil society with a unique methodology. It connected leaders across borders to facilitate peer learning and cooperation, for the development of more innovative and cohesive societies in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.
As leading partner Euclid Network was responsible for the coordination of the main activities of the project. This included producing research and a handbook for best practice from the third sector in Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro. Furthermore international job-shadowing exchanges were organised, supported by masterclasses and key stakeholder conferences.
Euclid Network conducted a three week study-visit to Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Slovenia, which aimed to learn about the major challenges facing civil society, and explore how Euclid Network can support efforts to empower the third sector.
Civil society in the region is diverse and highly complex, however some common trends are discernable. The turbulent recent history and fractured political climate pose various challenges for civil society, and there is a major realignment of influence in the region as the US scales back its presence and the EU becomes the dominant external force. In addition, the strong cultures of the region – in terms of leadership style, and attitudes to volunteering and philanthropy - make the establishment of a professional and innovative civil society more difficult.
Euclid Network proposed to support the creation of national working groups of NGO leaders, scale up its current programme for leadership development in the Region into a phase 2, and build on EN’s new 2.0 website to integrate leaders from the region within the wider European civil society in order to overcome the various obstacles to mobility (political, financial, and logistical).