Suncica Kostovska-Petrovska, project-manager of the four NGO centres of FOSIM
The centres are places for exchanging experiences, for learning, informing
In Veles, Prilep, Stip and Kicevo within the Project for NGOs’ institutional development support, have been working centres for NGO support.
The centres in Veles and Prilep have been working since January 2003 and in Stip and Kicevo since April 2002. This year a new project has started which is supported by the Swiss agency for development and cooperation and FOSIM for support of NGO initiatives for local community development. In this mini interview about the work of these centres we are talking to the manager of the project Ms Suncica Kostovska-Petrovska.
What is the experience of the work of the centres so far?
Out of Skopje there is a great potential, many NGOs have limited opportunities for access to trainings, information and donors. The centres for NGO support are trying to fill successfully that gap between the big organizations in the capital city and the initiatives in the smaller places. They provide trainings, advising and consultations, logistic support – equipment and premises and grants for local NGOs.
At this stage, we are oriented towards motivation and support of initiatives for improvement of the conditions in the local community through lobbying, representing and civil actions of nets and coalitions of NGOs. Cooperation of the NGOs and partnership with the local self-government, institutions, media and the business sector is also supported.
Who has the most benefits and how is the efficiency of their work evaluated?
At these centres, local NGOs find place to exchange experiences, to work on projects, access to internet, fax machine, photocopier, and place to meet, to be informed, to learn... Informal group of citizens who are interested in the NGO work and the possibility to join in, to ask for a favour or to found a new NGO also come to these places. At the trainings or events organized by the centres, representatives of the local media and the local self-government are always invited. There, they are informed on the NGO activities and some of them join in. Institutions (schools, libraries, social protection bureaus, branches of the ministries, public enterprises) often ask for information, contact with an NGO and they regularly accept the invitations for participation in the activities of the NGOS and the centres. The efficiency of the work of the centres is evaluated with the attendance and asking for services, as well as with questionnaires for evaluation of every training. Overall evaluation of the work of the centres is made annually with questionnaires filled in by the beneficiaries and SWOT analyses made by the NGOs. This is the most appropriate way to meet the needs.
Where do you think the “new” and “the old” centres will meet?
“The new” and “the old” meet with the very idea for founding new centres. NGOs from many towns in Macedonia came to us with a request to open such centres in their places. EAR visited the old centres and realized their usefulness and the need to open new ones, especially in less developed towns. We organize contacts among the employees in all centres with the aim of exchanging experiences and further joint development, joint trainings and meetings of the coordinators, as well as joint events for NGOs from different centres. For instance, NGOs from Kicevo and Delcevo have fewer chances to meet and cooperate. Centres should provide this bridging and create opportunities for netting and initiating common activities of the NGOs not only at local but also at regional and national level. Joint efforts for local communities’ development, both of the NGOs and the local self-government, media and the business sector will help the decentralization processes in this country.