М. Т. Gologanov 54 1/7, 1000 Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia

Communities First: Creation of a civil society hub to address violent extremism – from prevention to reintegration 

This regional project is in partnership with Forum MNE (Monte Negro), Hope and Homes for children (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Partners Kosova (Kosovo) Kulturni Centar Damad (Serbia), Centre for legal civic initiative (Albania) and CCG (Macedonia).

Objectives of the action: The overall project goal is to develop a Western Balkans (WB) Civil Society Hub to empower civil society organizations (CSOs) to be more effective and accountable actors and to improve their capacity to implement projects and dialogue with governments, influencing policy and decision-making processes as it relates to preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) that leads to terrorism in the region.

Specific objectives are: 1) Increase the number of grassroots and other relevant CSOs, as well as faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the region which are able to build the community and societal resilience and otherwise contribute to P/CVE efforts; 2) Improve collaboration and coordination among relevant CSOs; 3) Build the capacity of local CSOs to design and implement programs across a range of P/CVE themes; 4) Develop a targeted and representational voice for CSO actors across the region to more effectively engage national governments on P/CVE issues to inform national governments and regional organizations’ policies and to ensure an enabling legal and policy environment for CSO P/CVE activities; 5) Enable more regular and efficient interactions between governments and CSOs around P/CVE issues.

Estimated results: 1) Increased number and strengthened role of CSOs capable of implementing P/CVE activities in relevant fields across the region; 2) cooperation and collaboration among CSOs in the region and connections with CSOs working in other regions so they can benefit from the best practices and lessons learned from counterparts around the globe; 3) CSOs empowered to be more than simply implementers of
short-term, donor-funded projects, but rather catalyst and agents of change in their communities and policy advocates in their countries and region; 4) more regular interactions among CSOs, FBOs and governments in the region on P/CVE policy and program issues.

Main activities: 1)Map CSO-led P/CVE activities in the region; relationship between national governments civil society and FBOs around P/CVE in relevant countries; and relevant CSOs and FBOs that would benefit from being involved in the hub. 2) Convene grassroots and other relevant CSO stakeholders and other community actors from each country region to
identify the capacity-building and other requirements of the network; 3) Develop, after thematic and regional consultations, structure/terms of reference for and launch the hub; 4) Provide ongoing support to and training for local CSOs in the areas of P/CVE policy development, program design, grant application, project management, and communication/outreach, in order to build their capacity to enhance their efficiency and impact; 5) Develop a CSO CVE action plan with correlating implementation guidelines for CSOs across the region for steps that can be taken to implement the P/CVE agenda; and 6) Develop and manage a small-grants mechanism to support the design and implementation of activities by members of the network.