Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations from the IPA beneficiaries (TACSO 1), Phase 1 and 2
The overall objective of the “Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organisations” (TACSO) was to strengthen civil society in Western Balkans and Turkey within a participative democracy. The project aimed at strengthening the overall capacities and accountability of civil society organisations (CSOs), to stimulate a civil society-friendly ‘environment’ and culture, to guarantee the quality of services of CSOs and a sustainable role of CSOs in the democratic process. Other stakeholders addressed by this project were different levels of governments (central, regional, local) as well as the private and public sector in the respective countries and media.
This large-scale program assisted the target group i.e. CSOs through intensive, inclusive and interlocking measures focused on increasing CSOs’ access to relevant information and strengthening of their institutional capacities. This involved activities to strengthen the CSOs overall strategic planning and management, capacity building and networking opportunities to enhance CSOs important advocacy roles, and participation in policy dialogue. Capacity building mainly consisted of training. TACSO also built capacity in terms of financial sustainability through training in fundraising, application procedures and accessing grants and funds.
The project resulted in some of the following:
- CSOs have been provided with so called help desk services from nine offices in the region.
- Some 200 national courses have been designed and delivered.
- Five regional training courses on topics of common interest to all countries have been conducted. Manuals and trainers’ guides have been published as part of the initiative. All manuals have been translated to the national languages of the region. One of the courses has also been offered as an E-learning programme.
- Implementation of project kick-off events attended by 1.800 stakeholder representatives.
- A large number of information and partnership events were organised by the project, sometimes with around a hundred participants.
- A large number of newsletters, press releases and other promotional materials have been produced and disseminated to a network of more than 40.000 people. Branding surveys conducted by external experts confirm that the TACSO brand is recognised and perceived as a competent development partner to organisations and institutions.
- The TACSO Web page has had more than 60.000 absolute unique visitors. The particular pages offering access to the TACSO training manuals have had close to 5.000 visits/downloads.
- A CSO database has been designed and launched.
- In six of the eight beneficiary countries, the national project offices are delivering monitoring and guidance services to EU funded projects. These services have been delivered in close consultations with the EUDs.
- The project organised four regional conferences with the aim to stimulate policy development and exchange of experiences and information within the region as well as to increase awareness of new approaches and methodologies.
- Government agencies responsible for cooperation with civil society have on many occasions benefitted from assistance from TACSO, such as capacity building, study tours, facilitation of the interaction with civil society, reviews of policies and legislation, etc.
- The project has assisted the EUDs’ and the EC’s dialogue with stakeholders in the region.
In the second half of the project, particular attention was given to the further development of national and regional networks. Assistance to rural based and smaller organisation was given priority, for example through the promotion of “big help small” concepts, mentoring and similar approaches. Cross-border activities assisted in deepening the collaboration between organisations in the region. TACSO also built capacity in terms of financial sustainability through training in fundraising, social entrepreneurship, application procedures and accessing grants and funds.
The project also supported effective cooperation between the CSOs, governments and other stakeholders to create a platform for facilitation of learning processes within/among organisations and institutions and sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences.