A message by BCSDN on Regional Solidarity and Support in Times of the COVID-19 Crisis

Civic Initiatives: Report on “Associations of Citizens: Shrinking Civic Space in Serbia for 2019” Published
March 17, 2020
CfA: InterActions Professional Exchange (Deadline: 30 April 2020)
March 31, 2020

Dear colleagues and fellow CSO members,

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, BCSDN Executive Office continues to undertake preventive mechanisms against the COVID-19 outbreak to protect its employees and our surroundings. Following the recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health of our country, our staff canceled all travel and postponed planned events in the coming weeks. In the meantime, BCSDN’s essential work continues online, in accordance with its work plan. As a regional network, we will be working more closely with our members for exchange of information and facilitating stronger regional cooperation.

During this period, we invite you to embrace the success stories of our joint regional actions. At this moment, we hope to continue our work based on empathy, partnership and regional solidarity, by putting forward new proposals and solutions to problems that may arise (such as the state of emergency in all of our countries), as well as to develop arguments on how we can handle the period of crisis. Undoubtedly, this new situation will affect the civil society sector as such, and our own organizations will be faced with the need to adapt to new ways of working, changing plans, goals, deliverables and possibly finances.

For this purpose, we invite you to share with us the role civil society, and your organization, is taking as a response to the ongoing crisis to serve our constituencies, so that we can all support one another by promoting that work, but most of all so that we can learn from each other and support our efforts if needed.

This is also a moment in which we can testify about our transparent and accountable work in front of our stakeholders, donors, beneficiaries, and an opportunity to remind our communities that when we are challenged as a region, in a situation with global implications, we stand united and together. Through permanent and strong communication, based on learning and sharing expertise on the daily work and ongoing activities and projects we can tackle the upcoming challenges, adding to our mutual credibility and performance. In a reality where digital technology enables strong and sustainable networking far beyond travel, we can make our work to become more visible internationally and we can demonstrate solidarity.

While our actions and interdependence during this crisis only build a foundation of trust between our organizations and the communities we serve, it is also a crucial moment to reflect on the role that our donors have in the process. Being directly concerned in this situation, donors should direct their attention, support, understanding and flexibility towards civil society organizations. That is why we call CSOs’ donors not to forget democracy in this particular times of crises, taking into account the fragility of the situation.

Together, we need to establish a strong relationship and coordinate the expectations, plans, and actions for the upcoming period.

Together, let’s make sure we all come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient.

Stay safe!

The BCSDN Team

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