Center for Institutional Development -CIRa is an independent, intermediary and support civil society organization established by the local staff of the USAID Democracy Network Program (DemNet) for civil society development in Macedonia in September 2003. From 1995 to 2004 the DemNet Programme provided grants for more than 300 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and financially supported 374 projects distributed in various focal areas with a total budget of $ 8.05 million. In addition, over 200 capacity building interventions were designed and delivered with the aim of strengthening civil society organizations in Macedonia. As a legacy organization, with Memorandum of Understanding signed between CIRa and the implementing organization of USAID DemNet in Macedonia, Institute for Sustainable Communities, all methodologies, procedures and the developed training materials and products can be used as CIRa’s achievements and experience.
CIRa’s strongest asset developed in recent years and confirmed in the practice is its strategy and approaches towards building sustainable solutions for challenges that many organizations, institutions, communities and society are facing with.
CIRa’s capacity building approach is based on participative, client-oriented and tailored methodology. These capacity building interventions encompass situation analysis and assessments, organizational strengthening and institutional development (trainings, workshops, facilitation etc) as well as the content/focal area based support, technical assistance, consultancy, guidance and coaching.
In the area of local community development, CIRa has developed several community action planning (CAP) models (LEAP, CAP, CAP for marginalized local communities, Community Forums, Citizen Advisory Boards) which have been implemented in more than 25 municipalities across Macedonia to increase public participation on local level.
CIRa is the first civil society organization with a strong focus on philanthropy and CSR development in Macedonia. Starting from 2004, we have been actively involved in lobbying activities for adoption of stimulating legal and fiscal framework, promotion of various approaches to fundraise from the local community, volunteer activism, supporting organizations and institutions in conducting local fundraising activities as well as working closely with the business sector on increasing their corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.
As an intermediary support organization CIRa provides various services and support to other civil society organizations, local and central governmental institutions and businesses in Macedonia and SEE. We are recognized by our cutting edge practices and models for achieving sustainability of the organizations and institutions, by providing support for diversification of t sources of funding, including self-financing activities (Social enterprise model), fostering activities of mobilization of local resources from individuals and corporations, as well as service delivery by contracting with the government and development programs in the country and in the region. CIRa in its portfolio has various types of grant support: project grants, institutional development grants, challenge (philanthropy development) grants, infrastructural grants etc. CIRa has been also managing and re-granting corporate grants as well as the funds established by donations of individuals. CIRa has comprehensive Grant Management Procedures that are built on the highest standards and procedures of our donors (USAID, SDC, and EC). The Annual budget of CIRa in 2010 was EUR 1.7 million.
Furthermore, we are committed to support organizational growth of CSO and share our expertise and experiences. In this regard, we have created Skopje Resource Center – SRCe as a membership based entity of CIRa that provides space, equipment, resources, events, and technical assistance to many local CSOs.
CIRa staff has an in-depth and operational understanding and practice in following international development agencies (USAID, EC, SDC, etc.) rules and procedures since all staff members have been working under various international aid supported programs. Due to CIRa’s experience working with international organizations it has adopted international standards and has developed a system of program and financial procedures which tend to be a model for other Macedonian organizations.
In the past years, CIRa has implemented many projects and programs from and for different organizations and development programs in Macedonia and SEE such as USAID, SDC, OSCE, EC (CARDS, EAR, IPA), British Embassy, Secretariat for European Affairs, UNDP, UNICEF, DAI, IOM, ALDA, NDI, GTZ, DRC, FOSIM, Project HOPE, Handicap International, ARC, DPK, ACTED, ISC, ECMI, Slovak Aid etc.
CIRa has appropriate logistical and technical capacities: CIRa premises have functional and fully equipped training and conference facilities (4 LCDs, 4 lap-tops, desktops, screen, digital, board, camera, and video/TV) to host up to 15 participants in a centrally located facility in Skopje.