NEW ARTICLE ABOUT THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROJECT in Project Management and Monitoring of the Grant Scheme “Fostering Social Inclusion”

The 4th Leadership & Management Seminar was organized on Friday, 24th March 2016 in Skopje, as one of the major activities of the project Technical Assistance in Project Management and Monitoring of the Grant Scheme “Fostering Social Inclusion” EuropeAid/132633/C/SER/MULTI.

This 2-year project was launched in November 2015 with the aim to provide day-to-day support to the implementation of the 26 projects endorsed under the Grant Scheme “Fostering Social Inclusion”  EuropeAid/135012/M/ACT/MK. This Grant Scheme is funded from the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the beneficiary of this Grant Scheme is the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP). The 26 Grant Projects endorsed under this Grant Scheme are implemented by a total of 66 different organizations, mainly NGOs, but also municipalities and public institutions (social work centres and secondary schools).

(1) The 6 Leadership & Management Seminars (4 completed, 2 more to come in June and September 2017), which are on average attended by 65 Grant Beneficiaries, are an opportunity for the Grant Beneficiaries to share experiences, exchange best practices and tackle constrains in various sub-areas of Organization Leadership and Project Management, such as Networking, User Engagement, Project Quality, Sustainability, and Monitoring and Evaluation. The seminars are primarily targeting the Grant Project Coordinators and/or persons who have decision-making powers in their organizations, such as Presidents, Executive Directors, etc.

(2) Another major line of activities in the Technical Assistance Project is the Grant Management Trainings (4 days of trainings for 120 Grant Beneficiaries, leading to 480 person/training days) that are organized specifically to tackle the issues of Interim and Final Reporting in the Grant Projects. In these trainings the participants have the opportunity to either learn something new or reaffirm their knowledge as well as to expand their skills related to general aspects of project cycle management and, more importantly, to specific issues pertaining to the Management of EU Grants. One set of trainings was organized in April 2016, to prepare the Grant Beneficiaries for the interim reporting, and another set of trainings will be organized in the period between 27 March and 06 April 2017, relating to the final reporting stage of the Grant Projects.

Both the seminars and the trainings are regularly joined by the relevant Monitoring Officers of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) and of the Central Financing and Contracting Department (CFCD), who share their experiences and perspectives of the topics covered, and their expectations from the proper implementation of the Grant Projects.

(3) The third major line of activities within the Technical Assistance Project is On-the-Spot Visits. Each of the 26 Grant Projects is visited at least twice by one of the two EU Experts implementing the Technical Assistance Project. These visits are conducted in the designated project offices for each of the 26 Grant Projects. In direct interaction with the Grant Beneficiaries, the two EU Experts provide coaching to the staff implementing the 26 Grant Projects, and try to identify all shortcomings and to solve all issues arisen during the implementation of the Grant Projects. The purpose of these visits is for the EU experts to verify the work of the Grant Beneficiaries, to recommend improvements, and to prepare them for the monitoring visits of the MLPS and CFCD Monitoring Officers.

(4) Significant support to the Grant Beneficiaries is provided by the Interactive Project Website (www.taeugrants.net). It offers an ongoing support with the use of various tools. The Resources section of the website, which is available to the general public, comprises all the relevant materials covered or referred to during the seminars and the trainings. The Forum is only accessible to the Grant Beneficiaries of the Grant Scheme “Fostering Social Inclusion”. The Forum is the place where the Grant Beneficiaries can communicate among each other: they could raise issues, share experiences, open discussions, seeks solutions, and provide mutual help. Finally, in close cooperation with MLSP and CFCD, procedures, templates, and other documents relevant for the implementation of EU Grants in general will be updated in a Toolkit for Grant Management that will be made available in autumn 2017.

Continuous attendance at the seminars and trainings delivered within the Technical Assistance Project, and active work contribution will lead to a Certificate in Leadership & Management of Projects and a Certificate in EU Grant Management for the Grant Beneficiaries. The Certificate Awarding Ceremony will be organized as a grand closing event in September 2017, in the presence of representatives from MLSP, CFCD and EUD. Parallel to this, a Project Fair will be organized to promote the results of the 26 Grant Projects endorsed under the Grant Scheme “Fostering Social Inclusion”. This event will be an opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to meet and exchange ideas leading to successful future partnerships and networking.

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