At the premises of the EU Info Centre, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) signed contracts with 20 organisations whose projects were supported through the first competition under the CSO programme in Montenegro - from basic services to policy making. M'BASE is implemented by the CCE in partnership with the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), the NGO Centre for the Protection and Study of Birds of Montenegro (CZIP), the NGO Politikon Network, the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, the Office for European Integration of the Government of Montenegro, and with the financial support of the European Union.
The competition for the first five planned calls was announced on 2 April 2021, and was followed by three info sessions in the north and in the central part of Montenegro. By the end of the call, on 9 May 2021, the CCE received 103 project applications, of which 48 were from category one and 55 from category two. During the administrative check, 12 project applications that did not meet different technical criteria were rejected, and in the process of further evaluations 91 projects entered the competition, which were decided by a seven-member Evaluation Commission and consisted of a consortium implementing this project, with the EU Delegation to Montenegro monitoring the evaluation and an additional independent evaluator.
Daliborka Uljarevic, the Executive Director of CCE, reminded that the planned amount for this competition was €550,000, stating that the claim was seven times higher.
"Ultimately, 20 projects were supported, 12 from category one and eight from category two. Exactly 33 NGOs will be involved in the implementation of these projects, whether they are holders, partners or associates, as well as 17 institutions as associates. The projects will be realised mainly on the territory of Montenegro, and some will include media campaigns. There will also be specific projects concentrated on the north and a few on the south," she said.
Audrone Urbonaviciute, Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, assessed that "a civil society is a key element of any democratic system" and that it is crucial to hear the voice of the citizen.
"In previous years, the EU has established excellent cooperation with the local civil society. This is reflected in the continuous increase of financial support within the national IPA funds for civil society. We are committed to finding different ways to involve different civil society organisations, in different geographical parts of the country, and in different sectors, which can be achieved through this project," she said.
She pointed out that the "M’BASE project" is a good opportunity for the Montenegrin civil society organisations, especially for lesser developed ones, to receive support from EU funds that will help them build their capacities and play an important role in their communities.
The topics of supported projects are diverse, and include ecology and sustainable development, youth, gender equality and the fight against violence against women, children's rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, the local government, media, LGBT, health, and EU integration.