Citizens in action – dialogue for better cooperation



Civil Society Organizations Fair called Citizens in Action, organized by TACSO by Civic Initiatives, resource center for civil society organizations in Serbia, with the support of The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society was held in Požega on October 11th 2016.  Important partner on the local level was citizens association Forca from Požega which helped to organize the Fair.

Civil society organizations from the municipalities of the Zlatibor and Morava districts (Gornji Milanovac, Lučani, Požega, Ivanjica, Bajina Basta, Čačak, Kosjerić, Čajetina, Arilje, Priboj, Nova Varoš and Prijepolje) took part in the Fair through stall setting and presented their activities. In the accompanying program Creative Corner, team Revitalization from Užice painted portable murals during the Fair.

The Fair was opened by Đurđa Đukić, coordinator for capacity building of the Civic Initiatives, Duško Đorđević, deputy head of the municipal administration and Maja Saveski, advisor for monitoring and improving the financial framework for the development of civil society from The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society.

Also, in the part called the Fair stories CSO representatives discussed current media state  and associations of citizens. Insufficient representation of CSOs in media coverage, both in local and national media, was presented as a major problem. Another great problem is overcoming the prejudices of a big part of the population as to what is the civil sector. These prejudices were created through campaigns conducted by certain media, by presenting sporadic and inaccurate information about the financing and the project objectives of the CSOs. Media representatives gave practical advices to CSOs how to present its activities in letters and calls to journalists. Also, they talked about the situation in the media concerning censorship and self-censorship and the good will of the editors to publish the articles about CSOs.

Representatives of the associations presented their experiences, mostly objections, which referred to avoiding, ignoring and the inaccurate and distorted interpretation of the work and activities of NGOs, as well as the great problem of drawing attention from the essence to sensationalism by the journalists in media reports. Also, examples of good practice that can serve as a model for improving the situation in this area were presented. Constructive dialogue led to the common recommendations and guidelines to improve the situation in the relations of media and civil society organizations.

The panelists of the round table on “Cooperation between local government and civil society organizations” were Dejana Stevkovski, Civic Initiatives’ project coordinator for enabling environment for CSO, Miroslav Tamburić, director of the Association Forca Požega, Andjelka Novaković, a member of the City Council in charge of projects and investments of City of Čačak, and Maja Saveski, representative of the Office for cooperation with civil society. She presented the main results of the survey “The cooperation of local governments and civil society organizations in 2014 – the initial investigation conducted for the development of the first National Strategy for an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2015-2019“, which was published in December 2015.

It was scheduled for the Fair to take place in the central square, but due to bad weather conditions it was transferred to the Sports hall. High school students from Požega also visited the Fair and toured the stands with interest.

See photographs HERE

See video HERE

TACSO RC footer 2016