In the last decade, an increasing number of donors are withdrawing their support for healthcare. This has been especially true for middle-income countries, where the growth of domestic resources was one of the triggers for donor funding reduction. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) has termed this process as “transition”.
In 2018 the Open Society Foundations, through the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), initiated the project Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe. It provided funding to three transitioning countries in the Balkan region – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia – through the sub-regional network organization, Drug Policy Network South East Europe (DPNSEE), to support budget advocacy for harm reduction services. The local coordinating organisations are Margina, Juventas and Prevent.
The case study looks at the implementation of this project as one of the demonstrations of the SBF mechanism, with the objectives to:
- Document the pilot in 3 Balkan countries and to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and to develop suggestions for improvement; and,
- Document the results, successes, and challenges of the budget advocacy projects supported through this approach.
Our project serves as a pilot for the Sustainability Bridge Funding (SBF), an idea that has been discussed among donors and civil society organizations as a way of mitigating the negative effects of transition and in providing support for key essential services for communities and key populations. As a safety net mechanism, it should respond to gaps in funding and mitigate adverse effects of donor funding withdrawal.
Please find the document following this link>>>
The budget analysis in Serbia was completed and presented on an event organised jointly by Prevent and DPNSEE in the EU Info Centre in Belgrade on 1 October 2019. The analysis was prepared in scope of the project Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe by the team of consultants engaged by Prevent.
The surveys were of a meta-analytic nature, conducted on data and information obtained on the basis of publicly available documents published by state bodies: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia, the Customs Administration and the Agency for Business Registers.
The aim of the research was to explore the status and trends of program financing in order to find opportunities and solutions for securing funds for their sustainability.
The analysis clearly shows a continuous decrease in the allocation of funds for preventive health care, regardless of whether the total budget of the Ministry is increased or decreased and whether the budget of the Ministry of Health occupies a higher or lower percentage in the national budget for a given year. The most significant finding is the constantly present difference in the planned and executed budget – the allocated/spent funds are continuously reduced compared to those planned.
Besides the analysis of the budget of the Ministry of Health which was produced, DPNSEE has prepared and presented an analysis of the public calls for prevention of the Ministry of Health. This analysis is available following this link>>>.
A workshop on Budget advocacy and monitoring in South East Europe was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina from 23 to 25 September 2019. Aim of the workshop was to present and discuss the results of the budget analysis implemented by mr sci Faruk Hadžić dipl ecc with support of the Association Margina team, the coordinating organisation of the regional project Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe for the country.
Even though the organisers made a huge effort to invite representatives of various institutions, not many of them participated in the workshop. But, the quality of presentation and facilitation provoked a very fruitful discussion and motivating atmosphere.
The conclusions of the workshop are summarised in one sentence: There is enough money in the system, but planning, analysis and strategic thinking are weak and they hit back as a boomerang.
The contacts established and agreements made are optimistic with hope that in the forthcoming period an open process of designing the system of social contracting of civil society services in Bosnia Herzegovina.
The Analysis of the budgets in Bosnia and Herzegovina is available following this link>>>
As the DPNSEE project Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe funded by Open Society Foundations (OSF) through Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is about to come to an end in April this year, EHRA Financial Director Tatiana Fomicheva and Sustainability and Transition Adviser Ivan Varentsov visited DPNSEE on 17 and 18 April 2019. The purposes of the visit were to make an oversight of the project related documents and provide support with regard to the development of the final financial report.
EHRA representatives had an opportunity to meet with representatives of the national coordinator organisations Margina, Juventas and Prevent and get to know better their achievements and challenges while implementing the project. It was also interesting to discuss lessons learnt, possible next steps and follow up actions. All three indicated that the main issue they faced was lack of information or very slow response to provide them by the authorities. Understanding this obstacle, an agreement was made that DPNSEE and partner organisations will propose to extend the project by September 2019.
Our guests presented us the EHRA activities in the scope of the Global Fund HIV multi-country project, content of the workshop on human rights issues for the Balkan region planned for autumn this year and the Global Fund Community, Rights and Gender Technical Assistance Program. For this occasion, we also invited our colleagues from Serbian partner and member organisations Duga, GAJP, Timok Youth Centre and Čovekoljublje.
For our guests, we also arranged meetings with Dr Jasmina Tanasić, Head of the Department for Social Affairs at the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and Primarius Dr Danijela Simić, Head of Department for HIV infection, STI, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis, Centre for Prevention and Control of Diseases, at the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut”.
The visit will help to better document the approach, process and results of our project as well as the lessons learnt. Documenting this our joint experience as a regional best practice and example of small grants to NGOs in recently transitioned of transitioning countries to support their sustainability and transition related advocacy activities can be of benefit to the Sustainability Bridge Funding that is about to be created by a group of international donors led by the OSF.
The training for civil society organisations in Montenegro was the third in raw, to complete the serial of trainings organised in the project countries. It was held in Podgorica from 3 to 5 October 2018.
More info coming soon!
Media coverage from the PR Centre is available following this link>>>
Association Prevent and Drug Policy Network SEE organized a three-day training “Advocacy of Budgetary Financing of the Harm Reduction Programs in Serbia” from 25 to 27 September at Mt. Avala, near Belgrade. The training was attended by 16 representatives of organizations: Bečej Youth Association, Timok Youth Center, Policy Analysis and Policy Creation Group, Association Remiks, Association Prevent and DPNSEE. The training was led by experts from Macedonia’s Healthy Options Project Skopje and ESE.
The training included general information and practical steps in the advocacy and monitoring process. In addition, Dr Jasmina Tanasić from the Standing Conference of Cities and Municipalities presented the Budget programming model used in the country.
A one-year budget support plan for harm reduction program in Serbia was prepared. According to the plan, in the forthcoming period an analysis of the budget of the Republic of Serbia (Ministry of Health, alcohol and tobacco excise, income from games of chance and opportunity) will be carried out and 4 projects by 4 organizations on the following topics:
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Analysis of open calls of the Ministry of Health
- Political parties and harm reduction
- Promotion of the project and results in the public
Just after the Training for national consultancy teams, Grand hotel in Sarajevo hosted the Training for civil society organisations in Bosnia Herzegovina from 5 to 7 September 2018. This was the first of three national trainings for civil society organisations as part of the Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe project.
The training included general information and practical steps in the advocacy process: identifying the issue and causes of the problem, research and budget analysis, stakeholders and advocacy targets, influencing budgets at national and municipal levels, mapping budget information and documents, planning, taking actions, monitoring, anti-corruption, reviewing, evaluation and learning.
Participants came from organisations working in both entities of the country – The Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina and Republic of Srpska: Margina from Tuzla and Zenica, Viktorija from Banja Luka, Proi, Partnership for Health and Asocijacija XY from Sarajevo.
The training was delivered by Darko Antikj from ESE and Vlatko Dekov from HOPS who have developed the model and successfully implemented it in Macedonia.
The training resulted in producing a national plan of action to be implemented by the end of 2019. It includes creating a platform of NGOs for sustainability of harm reduction services, ensuring political support, creation of a budget line in the health budget of the entities of the country, establishing a social contracting mechanism and agreeing on criteria and standards for the services.
The training for national consultancy teams was organised from 3 to 5 September 2018 in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. It was the first in a serial of training opportunities offered by the Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe project.
The aim of the training was to gain mutual understanding of the project, the budget advocacy and monitoring model and role of the consultancy teams in implementing the national plans of actions. 15 participants came from the three involved countries.
The training will be delivered by Darko Antikj from ESE and Vlatko Dekov from HOPS who have developed the model and successfully implemented it in Macedonia.
The agenda included issues of:
- Introduction to Budget cycle on national and local level
- Budget research and analysis
- Stakeholders and advocacy models
- Planning and implementation of the budget advocacy process and
- Country group work on national budget advocacy plan
The training have helped to clarify various issues related to the topic and the way the project will be implemented and agree on basis for designing the national plans. Also, it was specific team building exercise for the national consultancy teams.
The Project Planning Meeting of the Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe project, supported by the Open Society Foundations and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, was held on Friday 3 August 2018 in the DPNSEE Office in Belgrade. The aim of the meeting is to gain mutual understanding and full ownership of the project and operationalize the plan of actions.
Organisation of training, national in all three participating countries Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and regional was most discussed. Profile and recruitment of consultancy teams, preparing national programs of actions and management of the budget were at the table too.
Dates and venues for the trainings are as follows:
- The regional training for all three national Consultancy teams will be held from 3 to 5 September in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina
- The training in Bosnia Herzegovina will be held from 5 to 7 September in Sarajevo
- The training in Serbia will be held from 24 to 28 September
- The training in Montenegro will be held from 1 to 5 October in Podgorica