18/10/21: CfP for Small Size Grants – The Balkan Forum

Support regional youth initiatives in the Western Balkans with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy.

18/10/21: CfP for Small Size Grants – The Balkan Forum

The Youth Cooperation Fund is a grant scheme established by the Balkan Forum, with support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which aims to foster regional cooperation and dialogue between young people in the Western Balkan countries, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia. Read more

15/09/21: Meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy

Meta-evaluation is an “evaluation of evaluations” to improve future evaluation work. As a highly relevant topic for professionals working in social policy, the third module of the virtual Bridge-Building Summer School of Evaluation in Social Policies (August 25-27, 2021) was about meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy.

15/09/21: By Rahel Kahlert, European Centre

Meta-evaluation is an “evaluation of evaluations” to improve future evaluation work. As a highly relevant topic for professionals working in social policy, the third module of the virtual Bridge-Building Summer School of Evaluation in Social Policies (25-27 August 2021) was about meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy. This module was one of eight modules covered by the Summer School, which combined capacity building by enhancing knowledge and information sharing on the state-of the-art research and policy practices, exchanging shared experiences among participants, and developing ideas and proposals for “real-world” projects. “Real world” refers to the idea that evaluations take place under budget, time, data, and political constraints (see Bamberger & Mabry, 2019). One central focus was the interactive, hands-on small-group work with practical exercises to foster peer learning. Eye level interactions were core building blocks. The thirteen participants shared their expertise in either conducting or commissioning evaluations. The participants were social policy professionals from both the public and private sector in the Western Balkan region and Eastern Partnership region (in particular, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Ukraine).

The module on meta-evaluation and standards started with a short introduction about meta-evaluation by guest speaker Thomas Vogel, head of programmes at Horizon 3000, the largest Austrian non-governmental development cooperation organisation, where evaluation plays a key role for learning and accountability. Mr. Vogel introduced the difference between evaluation synthesis and meta-evaluation. Evaluation synthesis analyses a series of evaluation reports and aggregates findings on a higher level such as programme, country, or sector level. The aim is to find out how programmes or projects can be improved. Meta-evaluation also analyses a series of evaluation reports, but then analyses the quality of each evaluation. The aim is to find out how evaluations can be improved in the future. Meta-evaluation can enhance the quality in evaluation by using and applying evaluation standards for all levels of quality including scope, methodology, independence of evaluators, utility etc.

Rahel Kahlert then provided a brief input on widely used standards in evaluation such as the UNEG Norms and Standards (updated in 2016) to be upheld in the conduct of any evaluation. Professional evaluation associations such as the German Evaluation Society or the Swiss Evaluation Society developed their own standards for evaluators to apply in their daily professional work. Common features include accuracy (methodological and technical standards), propriety (legal and ethical standards), utility (serving information needs of intended users), and feasibility (realistic, cost-effective evaluation). As evaluators, we have to remind ourselves that we are dealing with persons and intervene in a setting. Therefore, it is important to follow ethical guidelines and protect human participants similar to any research setting.

The small-group breakout sessions dealt with the question: “How can standards enhance the quality of an evaluation?” The teams of 4 to 5 persons selected two to three evaluation standards and then applied them to a “real-world” setting. The teams used the online pad tool Google JamBoard (see Figure 1) to make their case by adding post-its. For all three teams, utility stood out as important evaluation standard. Involving stakeholders was regarded as a means of enhancing utility, i.e. improving the uptake of findings. This may sometimes conflict with the standard of independence, when donors or programme staff would like to influence evaluation findings (“interested only in the good stories (positive findings)”). Accuracy can be enhanced through triangulation and cross-referencing data, which ultimately also can improve utility and uptake.

Summarily, the module on meta-evaluation and standards was a lively, interactive experience with all participants engaged, and set the scene for further productive interactions. At the end of the Summer School, participants expressed their intention that they will apply evaluation standards in their evaluation work more strongly and engage in meta-evaluation in the future to ensure evaluation quality.

North Macedonia: sustainably improve home care by the Red Cross

The Red Cross of North Macedonia (RCNM) will focus on piloting an innovative community-based approach to care for dependent elderly.

North Macedonia: Combination of two distinct funded projects to sustainably improve home care by the Red Cross of North Macedonia

Within the project InCARE – the Red Cross of North Macedonia (RCNM) will focus on piloting an innovative community-based approach to care for dependent elderly, through the integration of an Emergency Button Service within its home care package. Read more

InCARE newsletter: First issue out!

In this first InCARE newsletter, the team gathered a series of short articles illustrating the many developments since the project was kicked-off in November 2020.

InCARE newsletter: First issue out!

In this first InCARE newsletter, the team gathered a series of short articles illustrating the many developments since the project was kicked-off in November 2020. You will find information on how the piloting is taking shape in Spain, Austria and North Macedonia, how partners are using the Theory of Change methodology as a red thread across the various tasks, and the first InCARE publications. Read more

New project: Updated review of Western Balkan economies regarding the EPSR

The European Centre is currently updating the six reviews of the Western Balkan countries regarding the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).

New project: Updated review of Western Balkan economies regarding the EPSR

The European Centre is currently updating the six reviews of the Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, & Serbia regarding the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). The European Centre team is working with country experts to create high-quality reports to monitor the countries’ achievements and reform efforts of social rights as candidate and potential candidate countries and preparing a comparative overview report for 2021. Within the framework of the Employment and Social Affairs Platform 2 (ESAP 2) project that is implemented by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and funded by the EU. The European Centre was also engaged as the international expert organization in the reviews prepared in 2018/19 and coordinated the 2020 reviews. Read more

15/10/21: CfP Support to ‘Western Balkans 6’ for strengthening media freedom & fighting domestic & gender-based violence

The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to contribute to reforms processes underpinned by EU integration by supporting civil society actors in the ‘Western Balkans 6’ countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

15/10/21: CfP Strengthening civil society capacities & resilience in Armenia – The EU Delegation to Armenia 

The Balkan Trust for Democracy’s financial and technical assistance for this sub-granting process is part of the larger Norwegian efforts to support Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

THE PURPOSE OF THE CALL

The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to contribute to reforms processes underpinned by EU integration by supporting civil society actors in the ‘Western Balkans 6’ countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

This sub-granting scheme of the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) is being realized with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.

Support is given to two priority areas:

I. Media Freedom
II. Fight against Domestic and Gender-based Violence 

This is an open call, and project proposals will be assessed continuously from 5 August 2020 up until 15 October 2021. Read more

POW-BRIDGE MLL2: Solutions to main challenges of posting of workers rules

POW-BRIDGE Mutual Learning Lab 2 (MLL2): Solutions to main challenges in the implementation of posting of workers rules

The Second Mutual Learning Lab (MLL2) of the POW-BRIDGE project took place on 26 May 2021. The aim of MLL2 was to follow up on the results from the first Mutual Learning Lab (MLL1) and to identify and discuss solutions addressing main challenges in the implementation practice of the posting of workers rules in 8 project countries: Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Read more, more about POW-BRIDGE

24/05/21: Open call for consultancy services

24/5/21: Open call for consultancy services for expert on evaluation of the active labour market policies and measures implemented in North Macedonia.

24/05/21: Open call for consultancy services for expert on evaluation of the active labour market policies and measures implemented in North Macedonia

The Employment and Social Affairs Platform 2 (ESAP 2) project of the Regional Cooperation Council is seeking a qualified Consultant to prepare the impact evaluation of selected Active Labour Market Policies implemented by the Employment Service Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia (ESA).  Read more

Deadline: 24 May 2021

Online article: Youth Underemployment in the Western Balkans: A Multidimensional Approach

Online article: Youth Underemployment in the Western Balkans: A Multidimensional Approach by Petreski et al.

When a worker works at most 35 hours a week and wants to work more, he is said to be underemployed. In addition, when his skills are underutilized, there is uncertainty about the job, he is underpaid and there is lack of formal working conditions, he is said to be multidimensionally underemployed. This paper analyzes youth underemployment multidimensionality and its effect on wages in three Western Balkan countries: North Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Our empirical approach controls for sample-selection bias and endogeneity through internally-generated instruments. The findings suggest that intensifying underemployment along the multidimensional scale reduces wage on average by 7.6%. The effect is the strongest in North Macedonia, followed by Montenegro and Serbia. Read more