Belgrade Open School has published a publication The necessity of change – analysis of civil society organizations’ capacities for advocacy in Serbia.
Download PDF (in Serbian)
 
ABOUT RESEARCH STUDY

There is a need to improve the capacities of civil society organizations in Serbia to conduct advocacy activities, but data about which aspects of their work should be improved is limited. Thus, this research study aimed to explore the advocacy activities of civil society organizations (CSOs). Through the research, civil society organizations representatives’ perspectives on the difficulties that they face in their advocacy activities and their needs for training and support were examined in detail.

The research consisted of the analysis of public policies related to civil society organizations advocacy activities (desk-analysis), survey of 200 civil society organizations who have had at least one advocacy activity in the past 5 years as well as in-depth interviews with representatives of CSOs.

KEY FINDINGS
Some of the key findings are as follows:

LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR ADVOCACY OF CSOs
  • Representatives of CSOs who participated in the research indicated that CSOs are not recognized by public authorities as agents of change of public policies.
  • Current institutional framework for advocacy activities of CSOs was rated as less favourable compared to the legal framework, although legal framework was also criticized – almost one-third of CSOs disagree with the statement that legal framework enables these activities.
HOW CSOs CONDUCT ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES?
  • Activities that are rarely being conducted by CSOs include: establishing new coalitions and networks to include partners in joint advocacy activities, establishing cooperation with the business sector, planning a budget for communication activities, creating written communication plans and plans for monitoring and evaluation.
  • CSOs reported that they frequently involve citizens in setting advocacy goals and in advocacy activities, but rarely involve them in monitoring and evaluation of their advocacy efforts.
  • CSOs indicated that they often raise funds for advocacy activities via projects. Other types of fundraising are rarely being applied.
NEED FOR TRAINING
  • Almost two-thirds of the organizations have participated in training in advocacy. In total, 123 participating organizations stated that they have a need for training in at least one area of public advocacy.
  • Similar number of organizations stated that they need training in communication activities, monitoring and evaluation and setting advocacy goals, while smaller number of organizations indicated that they need training in establishing partnerships and coalitions.
 
Download PDF (in Serbian)
MORE INFORMATION

Research study has been conducted within the project "Civil Society Advocates: Through Partnership Towards Democratic Development".

The project is implemented by Belgrade Open School in partnership with the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). More information is available  on the website Javno zagovaranje (www.javnozagovaranje.bos.rs).