Between October 21st – 22nd and 26th – 27th, the ICEDA partners organized a four-day interactive Advocacy Training for the LOT 2 sub-grantees and members of the ICEDA network, as part of the Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA project, co-funded by the European Union. The purpose of the training was to enhance the capacities of the sub-granted CSOs and media partners to successfully implement their advocacy initiatives, and empower them for more effective and sustainable advocacy for different aspects of the Digital Agenda in the targeted Western Balkan countries. The training also aimed at facilitating the networking and providing the space for national as well as regional cooperation among the sub-granted CSOs and media partners.

The training content was based on a previous needs assessment that was conducted with the purpose of developing tailor-made capacity building activities that will serve fully the needs of the participants. It served to help the participants understand the Digital Agenda and its reflection in the targeted Western Balkan countries, as well as its connection to the transparency of institutions. The participants were able to explore regional and EU good practices on different processes such as e-engagement, advocacy, inter-sectoral cooperation, GDPR, e-services and digital tools, but also to broaden their knowledge and skills on effective and impactful research, fact-checking, working with data, public outreach, and strategic and effective communication with relevant stakeholders.

Source: ZOOM screenshot, Advocacy Training

We managed to talk to some of the participants individually about the overall training, among which was Fjolla Cavolli from NextGen Networks Institute (NGN) from Kosovo: “The training was very well organized, covering all the aspects for better implementation of our projects. There were a lot of tips and tricks and important information provided to us that will serve our team to implement activities within our project more effectively and efficiently. Apart from that, the training served as a networking platform and we were able to share experiences within Western Balkan organizations.” She also shared that she is very much looking forward to using the tools and techniques for advocacy, research and media management in the implementation of their advocacy initiative.

Milazim Behrami from Kosova Center for Distance Education found most useful the shared tips and tricks on how to approach media and journalists, but also how to reach the audience by using different social media networks. He was also impressed to see how Estonia has developed so much within the e-services domain and is hopeful to see the same practices being replicated in the Western Balkan region.

Source: ZOOM screenshot, Advocacy Training

Marija Vasilevska from Centar for Social Innovation Blink 42-21 shared that she liked the energy and the dedication of the organizers which is what really motivated the participants to be active and engaged during the training. She was most excited about setting the stage for making analysis and data visualizations techniques: “I am looking forward to developing content for a social media campaign that will be focused, specific and contain infographics. In addition, I am looking forward to networking with the other members of ICEDA as a platform for sharing experiences and ideas for the next projects.”

Ines Mrdovic from Action for Social Justice and Erdonita Ahmeti from Internews Kosova really enjoyed the training saying it was very insightful and a learning experience for them especially on topics related to personal data protection, media and public outreach. “We really need to make the media focus and come to us, to make some real news and to make news that really is effective, and we are the ones that can make that happen. They post what they think will bring them more views and we are the ones that click on their news so if we start to be more interested in news that is really important and really can help us for making a better world, that is what they are going to publish so it is more on us.”- Erdonita shared. She also added that the sessions tackling e-services were really important to her “Nowadays because of Covid-19 everything is online and the e-services helped a lot in this way because we can already make everything we need without even getting out of the house, so aside from that we save time we are even safer from doing everything from home.”

Source: ZOOM screenshot, Advocacy Training

The training was intended for building the capacities of the awarded sub-grantees and members of the ICEDA network from the second cycle of the small grant scheme LOT 2: Award grants for Digital Agenda Advocacy Initiatives, namely, from Albania – Instituti për Konsulencë në Marketing dhe Menaxhim (Institute for Consultancy in Marketing and Management – IMMC), Qendra Orbis (Orbis Center), Young Professionals Network (YPN), from Kosovo – Internews Kosova , Next Generation Network, Kosova Center for Distance Education (KCDE) -Mëso Online , Democracy for Development (D4D) Institute, from Montenegro – Action for Social Justice, Active Zone, Center for Political Education , NGO Parents , from North Macedonia – Centar for social innovations Blink 42-21, Youth Educational Forum , and from Serbia – Center for democratic development Europolis together with their media partners and the ICEDA partners.

Source: ZOOM screenshot, Advocacy Training

Source: Miro screenshot, Advocacy Training

The facilitators and experts who led the participants on this capacity-building journey were Mila Josifovska Danilovska – Manager of the Programme for Social Accountability and Human Rights Online in Metamorphosis Foundation, Misa Bojovic – Senior Researcher in CRTA, Qendresa Sulejmani – Programme Director in Metamorphosis Foundation, Blerta Thaci – Executive director in Open Data Kosovo and civic-tech expert, Snezana Nikcevic – Project coordinator in NGO 35MM and member of the working group for the Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro, Marija Stefanovic – Qualitative researcher in CRTA, Jovana Presic – Fact-checker in Istinomer, Aldo Merkoci – Director of MJAFT! Movement and debate and policy expert, Andjela Djuraskovic – Founder of Eko-Korijen and science communication expert, Goce Arsovski – Psychologist, Researcher and Programme support officer in Metamorphosis Foundation, Ervin Qafmolla – Communication Expert and Media Producer, Danilo Krivokapic – the Director of the SHARE Foundation and data-protection expert, Kristina Mand – Senior e-Democracy expert in eGovernance Academy, and Xheni Llame – Project coordinator in MJAFT and researcher.

Source: Mentimeter screenshot, Advocacy Training


The project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA” is implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation (North Macedonia), the Academy of e-Governance (Estonia), Levizja Mjaft! (Albania), CRTA – Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (Serbia), NGO 35mm (Montenegro) and ODK – Open Data Kosovo (Kosovo). The project is being implemented with financial support from the European Union.