La nostra corrispondente ci informa dei problemi che incontrano le ONG locali, soffermandosi sulla disputa, riguardante i finanziamenti, tra Radio Index e l'Associazione dei media elettronici indipendenti. Chiude il testo una nota informativa sul Centro per lo sviluppo del settore non-profit di Belgrado. Testo in inglese.

08/12/2001 -  Ada Soštarić Belgrado

Since the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia, there has been a lot of help coming from abroad. In Serbia, especially in the second half of nineties, aid from abroad was coming through money investments in various projects organized by numerous non- governmental organizations, which were formed in the same period of time. Many problems occurred in the donating processes from abroad.

During the former regime, the people working in NGO s were labeled as "foreign servants", "traitors", etc. This was of course the atmosphere formed by Milosevic propaganda, in which anyone not stealing and killing, hiding behind propagandistic phrases like "Serbian interests", "Greater Serbia", "All Serbs in one country", etc., was proclaimed as an enemy working for foreigners against Serbia. During the past decade that was one of the main obstacles people working in local NGO s were facing when collaborating with the foreign organizations. There were also drastic situations, especially in the period of summer 2000 (a few months before October 5), when the pressure became so hard that some NGO' s were closed, or constantly threatened.
After the fall of Milosevic, the door for international aid to come was wide open.
The question that emerged, however, was what was attained with the enormous sums of money that came into Serbia? Was all of it used for the intended purpose of creating civil society and democracy in Serbia?
There have been many speculations, as to who is obtaining the money, and on what it is actually being spent. Is there a monopoly of some organizations deciding which NGO will obtain donations, and which will not?
This time, however, the dispute was among the people, who themselves were the one to fight the previous dictatorship, the so- called "opposition".
Among these rumors, the most important dispute was the one between The Radio Index and ANEM network.

In an interview published in Daily Glas Javnosti (December 17, 2000), the Director and Editor in Chief of Radio Index, Nenad Cekic explained that as soon as he (and the people working at Radio Index) asked the director of ANEM, Veran Matic, about where the money is, they were expelled from that association, pointing out that ANEM was approved for $11.2 million only from the State Department. Cekic wanted Veran Matic to finally state publicly, where all the money that the foreign donators gave to ANEM has gone to, stressing that as soon as he raised the question, Index was kicked out of ANEM.
Cekic also pointed out of the vast sum of money being given to the ANEM, by saying that he fully agreed with the concept of fighting against the former regime, but did not approve someone using the position to becoming wealthy.
Again a few months later, Cekic strongly accused many other prominent journalists, besides Veran Matica. He described them as a Mafia of non-governmental organizations, and a bunch of organized individuals who just want to suck out as much money from foreign donors as possible, and not do anything.
"I'm on the black list because I had the guts to speak out against Veran Matic and Sonja Licht. As for the Soros Fund and Suzana Jovanovic, we will sue them because they committed fraud against us. They did not fulfill the contract they entered into with us, pursuant to which we were to receive a donation of 11,500 German marks from them," Cekic said (Glas Javnosti, June 20, 2001).
However it must be said that Nenad Cekic was the only one speaking out in public, and the only one among the people that had an important function in independent radio to speak like this. Again there were a lot of rumors, since nothing was proved.

An example: the Center for the Development of Non-profit Sector (CRNPS)

One of the Non- Governmental Organizations that played the most important role in developing civil society and the third sector in Serbia, was surely the Center for the Development of Non- Profit Sector. CRNPS is a non- governmental, independent, non- profit organization. It has the role of an information, documentation, communication, consulting, education and research center. It is an organization that is providing services to other non- profit, non- governmental organizations in FRY.
CRNPS was founded in 1996, and is devoted to helping build and renew non- governmental organizations and the non- profit sector in FRY (Serbia and Montenegro), while helping in the development of autonomous civil initiatives and civil society.
CRNPS works through the following programmes: Informative- Documentational Programme, Programme of Training and Education, Programme for Helping in the Work of NGOs, Programme of Voluntary Center, Programme for Public Relations, Programme for Law Consulting for NGOs, Research Programme, and the Regional Network of CRNPS. The regional networks were established in the following regions: Vojvodina Novi Sadn (Vojvodina), Kraljevo (Central Serbia), Uzice (West Serbia), Smederevska Palanka (North- East Serbia), Knjazevac (East Serbia), , Leskovac (South Serbia) and also in Novi Pazar (Sandzak).

CRNPS is a member of ORPHEUS Network, Network of Centers for development of NGOs and Civil Sector of Central and Eastern Europe, which works under the supervision of European Center of Foundations and CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation). CRNPS Volunteer Center is a member of the International Association for Voluntary Activities, IAVE (International Association for Volunteer Effort), and a member of the Network of Voluntary Centers "Volunteer Net".
Until now the projects and actions of CRNPS were financially supported by:
Fund for an open Society Yugoslavia, European Commission (EC), International Olof Palme Center (IOPC/SIDA), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (CSMF), United States Agency for International Development/Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI), Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Open Society Institute (OSI, New York), Department for International Development/UK (DfID), International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), The German Marshal Fund of the United States (GMFUS), The Embassy of the Netherlands, Freedom House (FH), Europe Online Communications, California, Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

The public relations coordinator of the Center for the Development of the Non- Profit Sector (CRNPS), Zoran M. Markovic, after providing information about the organization, also explained that CRNPS collaborates with various donors, and these donors cover a wide spectrum of CRNPS activities.
Markovic referred to the period during Milosevic's reign when the NGO sector in FRY was exposed to the maltreatment of the authorities. "Also at that time, the work of international organizations was not determined and regulated by law. Hence, it caused a lot of problems and was obstructing the work of the organizations", said Markovic.
Markovic, stated that the majority of donors had an understanding of the situation in the country, during that time, and that they were doing their best to adapt their demands to the circumstances under which local NGO s in FRY were working.
As Markovic sees it, the only problem that CRNPS was facing when collaborating with the donors from abroad was in the field of long-term projects. "A small number of donors are ready to finance projects that are planned to last over a period of one year, and without their support there are no wider and bigger projects", explained Markovic.
Markovic also said that CRNPS had a lot of meetings in FRY with the Italian Organizations, however, there were no common projects together with Italian NGO s. "It was only that ARCI from Milano was attending the Second and third Forum of FRY NGO s, while CRNPS was a guest at conferences in Italy organized by ARCI, and Italian Consortium of Solidarity(ICS).

In the end Markovic said that now it is of outmost importance, for donors when deciding on financial investments to consider programmes and projects made in FRY, in co- operation with local Ngo's or local authorities which are interested in strengthening the third sector.


Zoran M. Markovic
Public Relations Coordinator
Center for the Development of Non- Profit Sector (CRNPS)
Zmaj Jovina 34
Tel/fax: 011/3283-306; 3283-308; 3283-309
Mobil: 063/359-432

See also:

RFY: 5 ottobre, un anno dopo

ANEM network

Radio e media indipendenti in Serbia





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