How to strengthen capacities for writing and implementing EU Projects?

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been developing diplomatic relations with the European Union for many years. Mutual cooperation is being developed with the aim of developing a prosperous and united country that will enjoy all the benefits that membership in the European Union brings.

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We have a long way to go before full membership, but we have many resources at our disposal that could help us develop our capacities in the desired direction. The demands placed on us as a condition of progress carry their weight, require exhaustive and long-term work and involvement, and it is clear why they are placed on the list of priorities of all those engaged in resolving them.

However, we must not forget the fact that after exhaustive planning and organization of action plans, we must have capacities to actually implement them. Although the opinions of those who believe that the unavailability of funds is the biggest challenge can be heard most often, it is true that the biggest challenges await us in ensuring quality human capacity.

Instruments for pre-accession assistance (IPA) have been present in our country since 2007 (IPA I), and IPA III is currently being prepared, which will cover the period from 2021 to 2027. For these funds, we can say that we already have well-developed structures with which funds are withdrawn to a satisfactory extent, but the closer we are to our development path, the more significant and diverse the funds offered to us are.

In order to be ready to open new chapters and successfully withdraw grant funds, it is necessary to ensure the capacity of staff who will know the specifics of each area and have the necessary knowledge to write a good quality application. In this regard, investments should be made in the formation of teams within local self-government units, and towards higher levels of administrative bodies, but public awareness of the need for these potentials should also be raised.

Another important step is to invest in the capacity of individuals who will be willing to implement approved projects.

One way we can achieve this is experiential learning from colleagues who have already gone through this path and it is always a good way to transfer knowledge. However, given the needs and the current mismatch of supply and demand in this area, a slightly more comprehensive and serious approach is needed to ensure progress.

A quality solution can be to start studying at universities that offer degree programs on this topic. An example of one such degree program is the university interdisciplinary postgraduate specialist study Preparation and implementation of EU projects. You can read more about the program at the following PDSS link.

The aim of this program is to provide competitive and applicable knowledge and skills to educate and train students for quality preparation and effective and efficient implementation of development projects and strategies funded by the European Union and other international and national sources, in order to achieve recognizable and sustainable development effects in Croatia.

The competencies that the student acquires upon completion of studies are multiple, but the acquisition of knowledge about EU institutions and their impact on development policies and development financing, knowledge and skills of project application preparation and evaluation, and knowledge based on learning from the experience of others with a clear emphasis on possible applicability of the project in our circumstances.

We all have to go our own way on our own, but we can learn from others who have already gone through a similar journey and give ourselves an advantage at the start. Maybe shorter workshops will be enough, maybe a little longer study, every choice is good if it will give us answers and build self-confidence to take part of the responsibility for community development.

If you want to find out more about the ongoing workshops or have any questions on this or similar topics contact us via email evaluatorbih@gmail.com or join us in socializing and discussing on our Instagram profile @evaluatorbih.

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