DFF: Small Grants Awarding Ceremony
Dialogue for the Future - DFF
This week I join Resident Coordinators in Serbia, Bosnia Hercegovina and Montenegro announcing cross border initiatives to be funded by the Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund reflecting themes of our Dialogues. The cross border, Dialogue for the Future programme aims to build stronger regional cooperation, social cohesion and dialogue. We hold this ceremony in our new “Covid reality’ across zoom and with social distancing.
It was to the surprise of some that during the COVID-19 crisis, across the world so many spontaneous examples of kindness and support were seen – examples like local area whats app groups, elderly support networks, teddy bears put in windows for children to enjoy, volunteer online exercise and teaching classes- a huge reserve of empathy and cohesion that exists within and across communities came to light.
It is this sentiment, shown when communities were under pressure, on which social cohesion is built. Covid-19 has also shown how, the resilience of societies to external shocks depends on how connected they are, how much they trust one another, their solidarity and the belief they have in their institutions. In theory, and as we see in practice, these are all key elements of social cohesion and come as further evidence of the value and of the benefit of investments in this area.
So far, during this programme, across our countries and regionally, 1300 people have been convened through dialogue events. The key messages and Dialogues` results have been translated into priorities that in turn framed a regional call for projects. These projects focus on, among other things, the resources and tools stakeholders need to implement solutions and boost connectedness among people, how to raise the civic and intercultural understanding among youth, how to improve skills and understanding through education of tolerance and cooperation.
The Call itself was an amazing opportunity taken up by people, organisations and institutions from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia Hercegovina to partner across divides. 234 applications were received, and each of the ideas presented drew on partnerships between at least two countries.
Sadly, not everyone can be successful but we do see the number of applications received as an indicator of the readiness and commitment of our organisations and public institutions in the region to collaborate and use their capacities for the common good – often seen as a key indicator of one of main elements of social cohesion.
Together nineteen cross border projects are supported through the call, projects that plan to involve some 8000 people in 36 local communities.
In Montenegro, five projects have been selected. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate your organisations and your partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina on your success. I am happy to see the variety of topics you will address, from building youth and teachers` capacities for intercultural competencies to gender equality and sustainable development and preservation of natural and cultural resources.
I look forward to following how these solutions come to life and revisit the achievements later. I also hope in embarking on this work as project teams you view it as building partnerships for the future that will help build the connections, trust and solidarity between your communities and across the region for the longer term.