Civil society resilience strengthening

This project, in delegated cooperation with USAID, supports democratic development in Serbia by fostering an enabling environment for civil society and strengthening its resilience. It improves capacities of civil society to perform its monitoring and advocacy roles, to facilitate citizen’s engagement and to engage in constructive dialogue with the government. Ultimately, this leads towards a more resilient, inclusive and pluralistic society.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Human rights
Democratic participation and civil society
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
18.02.2022 - 17.02.2027
CHF  2’700’000

Serbian civil society has a vibrant history but faces obstacles in performing its democratic role as watchdog, advocacy and citizen engagement platform. Cooperation between civil society and government institutions has been strained and affected by a non-enabling environment.

In addition, civil society lacks a proactive, sectorwide strategy to improve its operating environment, limiting its ability to effectively respond and live up to its role. Civil society organizations face a range of internal and external challenges in the areas of legal, cyber, disinformation, financial sustainability and poor public image, among others. Despite a weakened relationship, there are still opportunities for civil society to engage in dialogue with the government and achieving a democratic debate.

Objectives Civil society is more resilient to civic space challenges and able to better perform its watchdog, advocacy, and citizen engagement roles because of an improved enabling environment
Target groups Direct beneficiaries are CSOs willing to strengthen sectoral solidarity and resilience, as well as selected governmental institutions and local governments, recipients of technical assistance. Ultimate beneficiaries are all citizens, including vulnerable groups, who benefit from a more pluralistic society and CSOs capable to represent their interests vis-a-vis the authorities.
Medium-term outcomes

Objective 1: Improved ability of civil society organizations to respond to new and emerging civic spaces challenges

Objective 2: Improved Enabling Environment for Civil Society


Expected results:  

  • Constituency base of civil society is expanded to include non-traditional actors.
  • Sectoral integrity and cooperation between CSOs is enhanced.
  • CSO financial sustainability is improved.
  • Civil society meaningfully cooperate with the government in policy making and implementation.
  • Legal enabling environment is improved.
  • Civil society public image is improved.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North

Other partners

USAID (Delegated cooperation)

Indirect contract partner:

Consortium - Partners Global (lead), Partners Serbia, Canvas, European Center for Non-profit Law, Civic Initiatives, DT Institute

Coordination with other projects and actors Coordination and complementarities will be established with the Swiss projects in the governance field, particularly with For an Active Civil Society Together (ACT), SDGs for All and Municipal Economic Development. It will be also coordinated with USAID civil society and philanthropy projects and EU supported resource centre for CSOs.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’700’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’387’500
Project phases Phase 1 18.02.2022 - 17.02.2027   (Current phase)