In June this year, the four founding partners of the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) – Robert Bosch Stiftung, King Baudouin Foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo and Erste Foundation – renewed their commitment to the Fund for the next three years.
This ambitious example of cooperation between private European foundations, which is a NEF project, has thus been granted a new mandate to continue its innovative activities throughout the Western Balkans. The Fund’s achievements to date are in two main areas: policy making and leadership development. Examples of the former include the Gallup Balkan Monitor, the only one-stop-shop that delivers strategic insights founded on evidence-based social research, and the support to 18 research projects in the Western Balkans through a capacity-building and networking programme cycle.
In terms of leadership development, the Fund has provided a learning and networking opportunity for 40 young civil servants through a fellowship programme and 90 young professionals and students involved in a leadership and training programme on Euro-Atlantic integration. The Fund also hosts the EFB Alumni Network, a growing community which offers a platform for networking, collaboration and exchange.
For the next period of the Fund, the flagship initiative is likely to be the Reflection Group of the Balkans, comprising a group of senior policymakers who will consider the key challenges awaiting the societies of the Western Balkans in the second decade of the century, and ways of meeting them.
Pictured above is Olga Biegus, Youth Trainer, Center for Education and Prevention, Poland, and one of the participants of our Leadership Development Programme.