During 2009 we had two rounds of calls for proposals, one in May and one in October, which together with the calls from 2008 makes a total of four issued and processed calls for “Our contribution to the community” proposals.
In 2009 we received a total of 110 applications, of which 92 met the formal conditions of the proposals and were referred for evaluation and for 30 civic initiatives in total financial support was approved. The increase of received and evaluated applications of 57% (May 2009) and 48% (October 2009), respectively, is significant compared to the year 2008.
As expected, most applications are submitted by associations, followed by public institutions such as kindergartens, schools and libraries, while local comities come in last. Still, compared to 2008, analysis of civil initiative carriers shows an evident increase in number of institutions and local districts applying for civic initiatives. For example, in the first call for proposals in May 2008, not a single application from institutions or local district was received, while 7 applications from institutions and 2 from local districts were received in the October 2009 call for proposals, thus influencing the ratio of approved civic initiatives. In the October 2009 call for proposals, initiatives for two elementary schools and two local districts were approved.
Most commonly approved initiatives are directed towards building and renovating public spaces (gazebos, open stages, social houses, youth clubs, etc.), quality free time of youth and equipping and constructing children playgrounds.
These results are not surprising, considering that the terms of call for proposals define civic initiatives as one-time actions that encourage activism, improve the quality of life or common good in the local community, and are instigated by groups of individuals in the local community who are responding to the recognised problem with volunteer work, knowledge or material goods. However, a trend of repetition of similar or identical initiatives without innovative elements, or on the other hand, rare examples of innovative problem solving, has been noticed. To give an example: as an initiative, building of playgrounds for children was financed 9 times in total, but only two of those playgrounds were designed as eco-playgrounds (one as a traditional family farm) and built entirely on a volunteer basis. The other seven were equipped with custom products for children playgrounds, set up by professionals with more or less volunteer contribution by the community.
In our opinion, the best way to respond to this challenge is by increasing inclusion of organisations that deal with community development and civil activism, or of community coordinator trough participatory planning. We believe that members of the community would be more successful and more creative in devising solutions to existing problems and needs if they had professional guidance in processes of detecting problems and finding solutions to those problems.
The decentralised model of financing stands for an equable regional representation in number of approved initiatives and has an equable approach in allocating available funds as a result. The table below shows the regional representation of applied and approved initiatives in the calls for proposals for years 2008 and 2009, as well as total approved amounts for each county. In 2009, after touring throughout the region, making additional promotion of the Foundation Slagalica and the civic initiatives call for proposals, an increase in number of received applications is notable.
During 2009, 3 grants were allocated for initiatives in Osijek, Slatina and Nova Gradiška, 2 grants for initiatives in Slavonski Brod and Pleternica, and 1 grant for initiatives in towns of Županja, Lug, Karanac, Petlovac, Draž, Tenja, Požega, Lipik, Local Committee Japaga (town of Lipik), Latinovac (Municipality of Čaglin), Bjeliševac, Virovitica, Pitomača, Špišić Bukovica, Vukovar, Ilok and Local Committee Petrovci (Municipality of Bogdanovci).
Total amount of approved funds constitutes a relatively high percentage (92% for year 2008 and 95% for year 2009, respectively) of funds available, suggesting a high level of motivation amongst the citizens to promote and realize their ideas and their contribution to community development trough the “Our contribution to the community” programme.
Here are the lists of approved grants for civic initiatives upon the May and October 2009 tender.