Corruption is the main obstacle towards establishing the rule of law in Montenegro and is significantly undermining its economy and appreciation of human rights. This has been outlined by many reports and policy papers, including the annual European Union reports that measure the country’s progress towards EU integration.
In 2020 the government was changed after three decades of one party in power, with the new majority making the fight against corruption a key priority.
But, more than a year since those elections, the results in the field of anti-corruption are either poor or missing, while political instability is affecting each segment of society. Citizens are more divided then ever, based on national, religious, political and other preferences. Trust in institutions is dropping.
Participation of civil society organizations (CSOs), especially community groups working at local level, in assessing the impact of gaps in reforms is lacking. Citizens are either poorly consulted by the government or excluded from designing and implementing anti-corruption activities. Public consultations are often organised in a way to discourage participation and recommendations made by CSOs are often rejected. Although on paper and in speeches the government supports civil society and its participation in policy development, in reality CSOs’ contribution is neglected. Media also have limited knowledge and skills to report on corruption and do not have developed relations with primary stakeholders – citizens and local CSOs.
This project will bring Montenegrin citizens closer to civil society and local media, and vice-versa. It will empower them to work together on identifying and reporting corruption, holding institutions accountable and demanding results, at the same time raising awareness of the damage of corruption, especially in the strategic areas of healthcare, education and the environment.
The project will also build the capacities of CSOs and local media to be active players in their communities, which will allow them to influence policies, laws and anti-corruption practices and so create a society with an empowered justice system and rule of law.
It aims to foster this collaboration through a multi-stacker approach but also through the active use of technology. The project will nurture a bottom-up approach – and empower those at local level on advocacy and, at an informative level – through CSOs and media – help citizens to demand change, influence politics, monitor and act as change-bringers in their communities.
United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
- Empower local media, civil society and citizens to be able to identify corruption in their communities, report it to responsible authorities and hold institutions accountable.
- Strengthen civil society’s and media’s capacities to report and counter corruption at national and local level to influence changes, with a special emphasis on the environment, education and healthcare
- Improve policies and/or laws through constructive engagement between civil society, government(s) and/or the private sector
1.1: Conduct needs assessments of local CSOs and media;
1.2: Implement tailor-made trainings and mentoring sessions;
1.3: Develop and implement a digital tool for citizens’ reporting corruption.
2.1: Provide sub-grants to six local CSOs and six local media (12 in total);
2.2: Develop and publish anti-corruption stories based on inputs from citizens;
2.3: Develop and publish anti-corruption policy papers based on the needs of local communities;
2.4: Promote anti-corruption campaigns via mainstream and social media.
3.1: Organize workshops between media and local CSOs every five months;
3.2: Organize anti-corruption forums and gather at least 50 representatives of CSOs, media, private sector once per year, followed by adoption of joint recommendations for improvements, and at least 50 follow-up meetings with the decision makers;
3.3: Implement 18 community events related to concrete anti-corruption project activities, each reaching at least 10,000 citizens, or 200,000 in total;
- Civil society organizations, media outlets, journalists, local and central institutions and citizens of Montenegro
Civic Alliance and Eos Tech Trust