Civil Society Support Facility – up scaling

Project completed

The Civil Society Support Facility supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to become drivers of social change in Macedonia. CSOs will receive mentoring support to strengthen relations with their constituencies and build up alliances. Mechanisms for better cooperation between state institutions and CSOs will be established and will enable civil society’s active participation in public policy and decision-making. A competitive grant scheme supports CSOs institutional development as well as specific projects.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Macedonia
Democratic participation and civil society
01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023
CHF  6’600’000

Since its independence from former Yugoslavia, Macedonia has been going through a series of political crisis and democracy and rule of law have been constantly challenged. The latest political crisis, manifested through “state capture” affected public institutions’ ability to perform even their most basic duties.

After the change of the Government in May 2017, the political situation has changed considerably, including the position of civil society. From the incriminated “enemy”, CSOs became close partners of the Government, which opens up new possibilities for policy dialogue leading to deeper social and political changes.

Objectives Social changes in Macedonia are driven by a strong civil society sector, active citizens and good cooperation with the authorities, resulting in more transparent, accountable and socially-inclusive governance at both the central and local level.
Target groups Main target group of the programme are Civil Society Organizations in Macedonia. Media outlets will also be included.  
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1 - Civil Society Environment: The environment for civil society development is improved through the creation of mechanisms for better cooperation between the authorities and CSOs and increased public funding for civil society.

Outcome 2 - Civic Engagement: CSOs build strong constituencies enabling citizens’ active involvement in civic initiatives, including voluntary activities.

Outcome 3 - Collaboration: Collaboration among CSOs is improved, leading to civil society alliances.



Expected results:  

- Grant support (Institutional, Action and Small Grants) for over 100 CSOs;

- Support to constituency building including organization of public events to create spaces for active participation of citizens (resulting in increased membership, volunteering, civic activism);

- Organisational strengthening of CSOs for participation in public policy and decision making processes;

- Support to CSOs for joint agenda setting on social and political reforms;

- Organisational strengthening for self-regulation and alliance building among CSOs;

- Platforms of Collaboration including grantees from previous phases working on common causes;

- Mentoring support to Institutional grantees;

- Facilitation support for all grantees to improve the environment for civil society and to strengthen relations with constituencies;  


Results from previous phases:  

- 9 CSOs, of which 6 Civil Society Support Facility grantees produced a Blueprint for Urgent Democratic Reforms in Macedonia, which brought 73 CSOs to support the initiative which served as one of the main platforms for the new Government’s program “3-6-9”.

- The Government formed the Council for the Monitoring of the Implementation of the Strategy for the Judiciary (2017-2022), chaired by the Prime Minister, including CSOs that prepared the Blueprint.

- The National Council for Gender Equality, in coalition with numerous women’s CSOs, pursued the Parliament to ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Other partners
NIRAS (Denmark) is the main contractor responsible for the overall implementation of the programme. Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation (MCIC) and SIPU (Sweden) are sub-contractors of NIRAS.
Coordination with other projects and actors The Civil Society Support Facility programme will seek synergies primarily with the new programme on Electoral Reforms and the Parliament’s Support Project (PSP), as well as with Empowering Municipal Councils.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    6’880’000
Project phases Phase 6 01.04.2023 - 31.12.2026   (Current phase)

Phase 5 01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023   (Completed)

Phase 4 15.09.2014 - 31.12.2018   (Completed) Phase 3 01.08.2012 - 30.06.2014   (Completed)