The best initiators of change in Serbia were awarded with the award “Initiators of Change 2022”. This award is given to citizens, civil society organizations and informal groups whose efforts influence the lives of fellow citizens, contributing to the development of the local community, improving access to social services, cultural content, and a healthier environment.
As before, the award was given in four well-known categories, and from this year the Synergy to Success category was also introduced, within which the award goes to organizations that have achieved cooperation with the business community and jointly advocated the creation of a stimulating environment for important changes in the community.
Out of the great competition, the following were awarded:
- In the Cooperation for Change category, which highlights examples of good practice and successful cooperation between public authorities and civil society organizations, the winner was Caritas Šabac for the initiative “Development of social protection services in the municipality of Bogatić”.
- In the Synergy to Success category, the first winner is the Women’s Association Ethno Charm Prva Kutinafor the restoration of the House of Culture in the village and the mobilization of citizens by organizing numerous cultural events in 2022.
- In the First Voice of Citizens category for the campaign that initiated a large number of citizens through its public advocacy activities, the winner is – Creatively affirmative organization Parnas from Novi Sad, which realized the 20th International Film Festival Uhvati film – a festival whose actors and authors are people with disabilities .
- In the category Campaign for activism as the most successful initiative of an informal group, the initiative Bežanija remains – Kosa prkosi from Belgrade was awarded. The initiative launched and united the residents of Bežaniska Kosa in the fight against the construction of three skyscrapers in a quiet family neighborhood with mostly low-rise buildings.
- In the Initiator of Change category, which celebrates individuals who have excelled in public advocacy, the award was given to Olivera Jovović for the initiative “Expanding the list of neonatal screening for spinal muscular atrophy” and Vesna Stanimirović who launched the initiative “Our little means a lot to someone”, in within which she collected humanitarian aid for vulnerable individuals and families.
At the event, special certificates of appreciation were presented for the contribution to the systemic strengthening of mental health in the community (PIN – Psychosocial Innovation Network); for contribution to the fight for a dignified life for children and young people with autism (Association of Citizens Help and Support for Persons with Autism in Kolubara District); for raising the visibility of the problem of economic inequality between men and women (Women’s Association of the Kolubara District); for providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities and support in realizing the right to work (Udruženje Zadrugarstvo from Kragujevac); for contribution to the protection of rivers in Serbia (VIVA Water Inspectors of Valjeva); for overcoming taboos (Women’s Initiative); for the fight for the adoption of the Law on Emergency Aid (Dejan Zejnula).
The event was organized within the project “Active citizens – a better society: advocacy for cooperation and democratic development”, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the Belgrade Open School (BOŠ) in cooperation with the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society and the Balkan research network Serbia (BIRN). This four-year project was launched in November 2018 with the aim of improving the practice of public advocacy in civil society.