Forgotten countries, forgotten issues

The Initiative Way is a program of the organization NESEHNUTÍ that supports civic initiatives abroad. We help local activists create civil society and protect human rights, the environment, the rights of the disadvantaged, minorities and animal rights.

WHAT WE WANT

We want to be helpful in expanding rights and freedoms, developing participation in public affairs and the functioning of independent media. In collaboration with local organizations, we want to contribute to the development of bold, critical and authentic grassroot groups. We try to reduce the influence of xenophobic, militaristic and intolerant ideologies.

WHERE WE WORK

We are active in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and work with non-governmental organizations in post-conflict areas such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Since 2014, we have also been working in Ukraine.

WHERE WE SEE A PROBLEM

Civic initiatives and the non-profit sector in many Eastern European countries generally do not have sufficient know-how and experience to successfully and effectively conduct independent social, environmental and human rights campaigns and activities. In post-war and politically problematic areas, we encounter a high level of corruption, insufficient compliance with the law at all levels.

In our experience, civic campaigns can be an effective tool for promoting and protecting human rights and increasing the transparency of the country’s state administration.

HOW WE WORK

We support local initiatives through professional consultations, campaign planning, education or the organization of internships, in the beginning also financially. We are thus succeeding in jointly achieving positive changes in civil society and drawing attention to issues that may be marginalized in a given country – from the protection of animal rights through to the inclusion of Roma minorities.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Through an open call (if this is possible in the specific country or territory), we address the widest possible range of civic initiatives to submit their campaigns proposals in the microgrant call. We then select the ones that best meet the microgrant call and plan to conduct ambitious civic campaigns.
  • Using our experience, we help the initiatives plan concrete civic campaigns. The initiatives choose the topic themselves – according to their preferences and according to what they consider important in their society. We “limit” them only by setting a specific micro-grant call focus and by emphasizing NESEHNUTÍ’s priorities (emphasis on civic participation, strengthening independent media, the right to information, women’s rights and environmental protection).
  • Part of our way of support is also the organization of internships or study visits for participants from South Caucasus or Ukraine. In the Czech Republic, for example, we organize internships for independent journalists from Ukraine and the Caucasus, where they have the opportunity to gain experience and contacts from the Czech media.

Partners and donors

Activities of the programme The Initiative Way has been supported since 2011 by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, TRANSITION programme.

Projects of The Initiative Way with participation of Visegrad countries have been repeatedly supported by International Visegrad Fund.

Mobility projects for youth, youth workers and European Voluntary Service were supported by European Union.

Projects of The Initiative Way were also supported by Czech Development Agency and UNDP.

Our partner organization in Georgia is Abkhazintercont.

Our partner organizations in Abkhazia are Sukhum Youth House

and Centre for Humanitarian Programmes.

Our partner organization in Armenia is Centre for Community Mobilization and Support

Our partner organization in Nagorno-Karabakh is Центр гражданских инициатив (Centre of Civic Initiatives)

Our partner organization in Azerbaijan is Democracy Monitor.

Our partner organizations in Ukraine are Training Center of Human Rights Advocacy (HRTC)

and civic television Hromadske.TV

Network membership

Czech Forum for Development Cooperation (FoRS)

A platform of Czech non-governmental non-profit organizations (NGOs) and other non-profit entities that deal with development cooperation, development education and humanitarian aid. The FoRS platform was founded in September 2002, at present (August 2020) represents almost three dozen members (among them NGOs, foundations, international organizations and academic institutions). The organizations at FoRS share a common interest in promoting greater relevance and effectiveness of Czech and international foreign development cooperation and increasing its positive impact on the people in developing and transition countries. In 2003, FoRS became one of the founding members of CONCORD – the European Confederation of NGOs for Humanitarian Aid and Development. NESEHNUTI is a member organization of FoRS.

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF)

EaP CSF is the largest umbrella organisation of NGOs from the Eastern Partnership and the EU countries, working together with +1000 organisations to promote European integration, facilitate reforms and democratic transformations in the six Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The mission of EaP CSF is to ensure effective participation of civil societies of Eastern Partnership and the EU countries in the process of planning, monitoring and implementation of the Eastern Partnership policy in constructive dialogue with the EU and EaP decision-makers. EaP CSF is the only civil society organisation to have an observer status within the official EaP structure. In addition to the Forum, NESEHNUTI is also a member of the working group WG1 – Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability.

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum (Forum, or CSF) is a network of non-governmental organisations from the Russia Federation and the EU countries. This group is independent of governments, political parties and business structures. The aim of the Forum is to strengthen cooperation between civil society actors, to promote the values of pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights and social justice. The Forum serves as a platform for mutual support, cooperation and solidarity, to create common projects and research, organizing public debates and promoting dialogue with those in decision-making positions. Forum members work in thematic groups – human rights, environment, civil participation, democratic structures, civic education, historical memory and education, fight against corruption, migration. EU-Russia Civil Society Forum started operating in 2011 at the founding meeting in Prague. At the beginning of 2018, 156 organizations were members of the Forum (82 from Russia, 66 from the EU countries and 8 international organizations). NESEHNUTÍ is a member organization.