Financial Support to Third Parties (FSTP) Workshop held in Belgrade, Serbia, provided a platform for civil society organizations to share their experiences and learn from each other in implementing FSTP projects. The workshop was organized around three main topics, including Call and Selection Procedures, Coaching/Capacity Building, Monitoring and Reporting/Communicating Results and Sustainability of FSTP results.

The first session of the workshop, “Call and Selection Procedures – Supporting Grassroots, discussed the challenges and best practices of call and selection procedures for FSTP implementation, with a focus on supporting grassroots organizations.

The main speakers of the session were Ms. Ivana Jelaca from the Media Diversity Institute (MDI), Maida Muminovic from the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM), and Mr. Filippo Vigani from Volontari nel mondo (RTM).

Ms. Ivana Jelaca, Project Manager at the Media Diversity Institute, shared MDI’s approach to FSTP implementation, which involves a pre-selection process to check the eligibility of the applicants, followed by a full evaluation process. The Evaluation Committee consists of a number of experts with different experiences, such as media professionals, experts in community development, or with specific thematic expertise depending on the specific goal of the Call. The MDI also provides capacity building throughout the implementation, including advice on project management and expenditures, to make the organizations capable of eventually applying directly to the EC.

Ms. Maida Muminovic, representing SEENPM, presented two FSTP projects, Media for Citizens, Citizens for Media, and Resilience. The Media for Citizens, Citizens for Media project awarded 41 small grants in one evaluation step, while the Resilience project awarded 22 grants in an evaluation process designed in two steps that included capacity building in writing full applications. Ms. Muminovic presented and discussed the challenges of maintaining the integrity of the organization and the donor while providing support to applicants with varying levels of project writing knowledge. Check out her full presentation here.

Mr. Filippo Vigani from Volontari nel mondo presented the organization’s experience of implementing the FSTP in marginalized mountain regions in Albania RTM designed the Call for sub-grants to grassroots organizations (SGOs) and the competition for individuals titled Young Rural Makers (YRMC), using different selection approaches. Mr Vigani highlighted the importance of adopting the program to the ground and working with individuals in a situation where there are few civil society organizations. FSTP served to help individuals in marginalized areas, where not many wish to invest, to work with people and stimulate cooperation since getting together is the only way out for rural areas.

In conclusion, the session “Call and Selection Procedures – Supporting Grassroots” of the FSTP Workshop provided valuable insights into the challenges and best practices of FSTP implementation. The main speakers of the session, Ms. Ivana Jelaca, Ms. Maida Muminovic, and Mr. Filippo Vigani, presented their experiences and lessons learned, which could be used as a reference for future FSTP projects in the region. The session emphasized the importance of capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and sustainability to achieve successful implementation of FSTP projects.