Projects implemented in 2007
10.08.2011 / 15:54
Summary of Transition Promotion Program activities realized in 2007, list of implemented projects
Transformation policy is a new element introduced in Czech foreign policy in 2007. It brings together the foreign policy tools that may be used to influence the state of human rights and democracy in the world. Transformation policy is designed to motivate political processes leading towards long-term stability and prosperity and to help emancipate human rights defenders and civil society as key actors in sustainable democratic change. The appropriate financial instrument, available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2004, is the transformation cooperation programme. The experiences gained from cooperation with civil society in target countries are then factored into the decision-making process. The Czech Republic’s purposeful work in this field also helps enhance the country’s image abroad.
Transformation cooperation programme
The transformation cooperation programme complements the Czech Republic’s foreign development cooperation system. At the same time, it is a separately defined component of government policy towards transforming countries, as well as countries with undemocratic regimes. The aim of this cooperation is to help ensure that ongoing or possible future changes in these countries lead to democracy and the rule of law, and not to chaos, conflict and destabilisation. Transformation cooperation concentrates on creating and strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, civil society, and the principles of good governance. It is implemented primarily through projects targeting education and the dissemination of information, opinions and experiences, and in particular experiences with non-violent resistance to totalitarian systems and the subsequent social transformation process, which the Czech Republic underwent in the 1990s. It is characterised by systematic cooperation with and support for civil society groups and non-governmental organisations – contact with state authorities in the beneficiary countries may be deliberately ruled out.
In 2006, transformation cooperation continued to target countries of priority interest to the Czech Republic’s foreign policy where there is a tradition of mutual contacts and a likelihood that the sharing[u1] of Czech experiences will be successful (Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Georgia, Iraq, Moldova, Myanmar/Burma, Serbia, and Ukraine).
In 2007, the transformation cooperation programme funded a total of 45 projects of cooperation between Czech non-governmental organisations and institutions and their counterparts in the target countries and independent activities of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A number of the projects involving Czech organisations are multilateral or international in nature; the Transformation Cooperation Programme stresses coordination with other governmental and non-governmental providers of support and reflects the trends in EU policy towards the countries concerned. Total expenditure on transformation cooperation projects and activities in 2007 amounted to CZK 41.7 million.
Examples of transformation cooperation projects in 2007
International Association Civic Belarus
Support for “European Radio for Belarus”
European Radio for Belarus is an international project based in Warsaw, whose aim is to provide objective information to the citizens of Belarus. The station broadcasts by satellite, on FM and on the internet (www.euroradio.fm). The station targets young listeners, offering popular music as well as news and current affairs information.
Support for the Belarusian non-governmental sector and Belarusian scholarship beneficiaries (information exchange, study stays, consultation services, development of Human Rights House in Vilnius)
This activity is designed to support Belarusian non-governmental organisations and assist them in establishing cooperation with their Czech counterparts. Under the project, group and individual study visits to the Czech Republic were organised for representatives of the Belarusian non-governmental sector, as well as visits to the Human Rights School in Vilnius for Czech instructors. The project implementer also provided consultation and legal assistance to Belarusian students and organisations. The Human Rights House in Vilnius provides Belarusian non-governmental organisations with safe premises for their work and educational projects (seminars, conferences, training). The Czech Republic is one of this project’s international partners.
Association for International Affairs
A European Alternative for Belarus
Support for the work of independent school “Euroclubs” to enable them better to promote European values and integration and inform about developments in Central European countries following their accession to the EU. Under the project, a study visit to the Czech Republic was organised for six Belarusian teachers. In addition, seven seminars in the regions with the involvement of a Czech expert were organised for teachers and members of the Euroclubs. Ten “micro-grants” were provided in support of the Euroclubs and a teachers’ handbook on the history of European countries was prepared.
People In Need
Today’s investment in the future of Belarus – contacts, image, analytical potential of a democratic Belarus.
The project mediated direct humanitarian aid to victims of political persecution (79 people in total were supported) and in-kind support to civic organisations (nine organisations and initiatives in total). The project helped improve awareness about the situation in Belarus in the Czech Republic and other countries. Bulletins on current affairs in Belarus were distributed every month to more than 400 recipients from both the specialist and general public. Two Belarusian lawyers were taught about transformation and human rights legislation and practice in the Czech Republic. Micro-grants were used to support five scientific research projects.
Archdiocesan Charity Prague (Caritas)
Education of Belarusian students at selected Czech universities I and II
A long-term project under which ten young Belarusians study in the Czech Republic. In the first half of 2007 they completed their study of the Czech language; in June they all passed entrance examinations to the universities of their choice. Throughout the time of their studies, the project implementing organisation provides the students with the necessary resources and involves them in its volunteer activities.
Union of Towns and Municipalities
Development of self-governing democracy in Belarus: support for the introduction of principles of democratic governance at local level
Members of local councils are informed about the transformation and reform of public administration and the working of democracy at local level.
Society of Friends of HOST Magazine
Support for the participation of Belarusian authors in the Month of Authors’ Reading festival
The participation of Belarusian writers in the Month of Authors’ Reading in July 2007, where Belarus was guest of honour (defrayal of the costs of travelling to and staying in the Czech Republic).
Organisation for Aid to Refugees
Support for the work of non-governmental organisations working with refugees and internally displaced persons in Georgia II
The project made it possible to train the staff of non-governmental organisations dealing with refugees and internally displaced persons in cooperation with the non-governmental platform Cchinvali House, a confederation of fifteen smaller organisations working with refugees from the Cchinvali region in South Ossetia. Social workers and lawyers from these organisations learnt about the Czech model of cooperation between non-governmental organisations and integration into European structures. The activities included the second year of the Czech-Georgian Legal and Social Clinic, intended for staff of non-governmental organisations, state administration and university students.
Assistance for dealing with the cholera epidemic
The Czech Republic responded swiftly to the cholera epidemic in the provinces of northern Iraq and provided material and expert assistance. Training was provided for representatives of state administration and local government; Iraq received a donation of a laboratory for performing chemical and microbiological analysis of sources of unsafe drinking water.
People In Need
Support for the transformation of Iraqi society – non-governmental organisations, civil society, journalists, local government
A long-term project launched in 2004; through a wide range of activities – study visits, courses, training, direct support – it contributes to the development of civil society and its effective role in transformation and democratisation in southern Iraq.
Hradec Králové University, Faculty of Informatics and Management
Courses for a group of students from Iraq
Four students will complete a course in Information Management and Applied Informatics at the Hradec Králové University in June 2008.
Masaryk University Brno, Faculty of Natural Sciences
Course in Chemistry for Conservation/Restoration
The masters course in Chemistry for Conservation/Restoration for two students is part of the long-term activities undertaken by the Czech Republic with a view to conserving Iraq’s cultural heritage.
People In Need
Support for democratic opposition in Cuba
Direct support for civil society, independent journalists, doctors, teachers, activists in independent trade unions, church representatives and civic activists. Another part of the project is the provision of information to the Czech, European and global public about the situation in Cuba and coordinating the activities of pro-democracy institutions and personalities.
Institute of Documentary Film
Creation of a network of emerging documentary filmmakers; provision of material resources and training; linkage to the Cuban civil sector and with European filmmakers and institutions. A documentary film about “The Ladies in White” (Damas de Blanco) was made as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs project.
Support for a network of independent pharmacies in Cuba
Supplies of medicines for those who have restricted access to healthcare.
Agora Central Europe
Increasing the influence of citizens on local decision-making
Strengthening democracy and the development of civil society at local level through effective public participation in decision-making processes. The project acquaints local government representatives with the possibilities and methods of civic participation and offers assistance for dealing with specific problems.
Transformation cooperation with the Balkan Community Initiatives Fund (BCIF) – phase III
A long-term project seeking to develop fundraising and the culture of private donorship in Serbia.
South Moravia Region
Utilisation of experiences with the transformation of public administration in the Sumadija region
Study visits and seminars focusing on the development and improvement of the performance of the Regional Economic Development Agency for the Sumadija and Pomoravlje Regions, which participates in drawing up development projects for local government; some projects receive financial support from the Czech Republic.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Europeum Institute for European Policy
A Czech Path to the EU
More than forty participants (journalists, NGO practitioners and local government representatives) from the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina underwent training in Sarajevo and study visits to the Czech Republic focusing on themes related to Czech experiences with integration into the European Union. Participants in the study trip to the Czech Republic had the opportunity to meet, discuss and set up new professional partnerships with their counterparts from the Czech Republic.
People In Need
Increasing the capacity of Transnistrian non-governmental organisations
Development of civic life and activities in the Transnistrian region; training in project management; practical cooperation in the form of micro-grants, with the emphasis on establishing contacts and cooperation between organisations under the jurisdiction of Chisinau and Tiraspol. Drawing up monthly bulletins on the political situation in Moldova, with the emphasis on the Transnistrian region.
Prague Security Studies Institute
Sharing Czech transformation experiences with Moldova
A transformation seminar for participants in the political education course at the partner institution in Moldova (Institute for Development and Social Initiatives Viitorul); potential political leaders among the young generation who share democratic and European values and are prepared to promote these values in their country.
People In Need
Burma projects of People in Need
Expanding and systemising activities in support of the democratic movement in Myanmar/Burma. The activities focus on three main areas: 1) Direct support for Burmese dissidents and the families of political prisoners (financial contributions are provided by private donors – Club of Friends of People in Need); 2) raising awareness about the situation in Myanmar/Burma, international support for the democratic movement; 3) dissemination of information about transformation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, internships in the Czech Republic for NGO practitioners.
Institute of Documentary Film
Support for activities of the Yangon Film School in 2007
Courses in filmmaking with particular emphasis on documentary films, as this genre suffers worst from state control and censorship.
Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU)
Moving Image Centre and Burmese projects of FAMU
The project comprises one-year study at FAMU in Prague for one scholarship beneficiary whose opportunities for study in Myanmar/Burma are restricted for political reasons. It also includes a workshop designed to bring closer together independent artists, expelled students, former political prisoners and people cooperating with the dissent movement who are interested in cinematography and video and want to enhance the creative skills they already possess. One objective was the establishment of an independent platform called the Myanmar Moving Image Centre.
Europeum Institute for European Policy
Transfer of experiences with the process of European integration from Czech non-governmental organisations to their Ukrainian counterparts.
This project of cooperation with a pan-Ukrainian network of non-profit organisations, founded in May 2006 on the initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation, comprised a study tour of the Czech Republic for representatives of twelve NGOs. The study tour had three priority themes: monitoring of the activities of the government and public administration in the field of EU policies, information campaigns and educational activities related to EU issues, and effective networking at European level and participation in international projects.
People in Need
Southern and eastern Ukraine – democratisation of governance: participation of citizens and media in decision-making processes
Training project targeting two areas necessary for the functioning of democratic society: 1) investigative journalism – a series of seminars on the subject of investigative and civic journalism and the legal protection of investigative journalists was held in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine; 2) local government - in Donetsk, Czech experts presented the fundamental changes which the Czech Republic has undergone in the area of local government since 1989.
Association for International Affairs
A European Alternative for Eastern Ukraine
Three all-day seminars for local secondary school teachers and journalists on the EU, NATO and developments in Central European countries following integration to these structures. The ten most active participants then undertook a study trip to the Czech Republic.
Belarus, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Reporting EU Integration – Improving reporting on EU integration and reform
The training cycle for journalists from Belarus (as well as journalism students and those who are unable to study), Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina comprised 1) a one-month online distance learning course and 2) a five-day course in Prague. Participants in the training were provided with the knowledge necessary for accurate and impartial reporting, with the emphasis placed on internet journalism and “blogging”. The study materials were prepared in collaboration with the BBC.
Postgraduate study for students from selected European and Asian countries embarking on the path of transition to democracy and market economy in 2007
As part of transformation cooperation, in the years 2005-2009 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting a programme of postgraduate study in macroeconomics and economic transformation at the CERGE joint workplace of the Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Charles University for several dozen students from the priority countries of transformation cooperation and from other countries of the Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Balkans and Southern Caucasus region.