Latest edition Contact Order by e-mail
Editorial
Events
Civil society
Education
Culture
Women
Environment
Calendar
Cover story
Reportage
Interview
Research
Views
Presentation
Publications
History of the civil society
People
Mobilization of resources
Arhive
Home
NGO Fair
2005
Events
Photo Galleries
Arhiva
Archive
Perspectives
Organizational CV
Register of Civil Organizations in Macedonia
Contact


 



ONLINE VERSION
PRINT VERSION

  Issue 61

   

Views
 

Simple market rules will regulate the civil society again

 

The civil society in Macedonia has been discussed many times so far, so I believe that my analysis will not be completely new.

In the changed political and economic environment in independent Macedonia in the early ‘90s, the civil society was not immune to the overall social processes. New interpretations of democracy and human rights that slowly but surely entered our country and changed our way of thinking reflected on the civil society’s nature itself. Almost overnight we were witnesses of the occurrence of a number of new civil society organizations – human rights, minority rights, reproductive rights, environmental protection, civic activism, civic participation in decision-making…Now we can say that these new, modern concepts have comfortably made themselves at home in our everyday lives.

However, from this point of view, seen through the filter of the last fifteen years, despite the above mentioned concepts that were an initial cap, in Macedonia there is very little indigenous civil society. Unfortunately, the civil society has yielded to the simple market rules of offer and demand. Availability of donor funds and the overall bad economic situation in the country, together with the chronically high unemployment rate, has turned the civic sector into an alternative labor market. Most often, the civil society activists were people who were simply looking for a job or income, not idealists who wanted to promote real social changes. The overall apathy of the Macedonian society reflected on the civil sector, too and we saw a lot of preachers and little believers in it.

From my position of a person who is in direct contact with the civil society organizations every day, I could witness this situation straight from the horse’s mouth. When the Dutch Embassy had a public appeal for projects in the area of culture and development in 2004, we were flooded with incredible 450 project-proposals from all over the country and various organizations, some of which had never dealt with the general subject of our program before. Apart from this, the Embassy regularly receives about ten project proposals a week for its strictly restricted fund for small projects.

However, it seems that simple market rules will again regulate the civil society – there are fewer donors, especially with funds for smaller projects. In spite of the fact that a lot of people claim that it is the small funds that are the most necessary, I think that when donors’ tap dries out, people will have to wake up from their apathy and try to turn more to the domestic sources. So the basic question will change from: “Which donor shall we address for money?” to “What can we do about this ourselves?” And that is the final meaning and the real power of the civil society – not to create activities in order to survive financially, but to move and startle the immediate environment in order to bring positive changes, thus waking its co-citizens from their apathy nap.

For us, as donors that are still active, after all these years of financing some smaller and bigger projects, the time has come to examine our own priorities. Learning from the past, we should look at the organizations that have managed to position themselves as relevant factors in the Macedonian society. They are organizations that have never been “sunflowers” following the movement of donor funds, but have remained faithful to their objectives and have continued realizing them with energy and integrity. In order to remain an eagle eye to the public and to continue representing citizens’ real interests, regardless of whether they are free and fair elections or fight against corruption, these organizations need politically neutral support. That is why the Dutch Embassy turns more to the program support – it gives the necessary flexibility and certainty to the organizations when it is about implementation of their regular activities, simultaneously promoting natural processes of internal strengthening of these organizations, as middle-term planning and internal monitoring and control. I believe that this is the real way that needs to be followed and that it will eventually lead to a more consolidated and more powerful civil society.

(the author is a development counselor at the Dutch Embassy)  
Services
Trainings
Job Vacancies
Announcements











News
PRINT EDITION
Editorial
Events
Calendar
Cover story
Reportage
Interview
Research
Views
Presentation
Publications
History of the civil society
People
Mobilization of resources
Arhive
 

©MCMS - designed by KOMA