Civil Society Support Facility

Switzerland renews a multi-year support to strengthen the capacities of civil society organizations in North Macedonia, to improve the inclusiveness of decision-making processes and increase the transparency of state institutions. The final phase (2023-2026) of this project aims to increase citizen support for civil society organizations, to enhance the capabilities of these organizations, and to diversify their funding base. To improve sustainability, the project implementation has been transferred to the national partner organization. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Macedonia
Democratic participation and civil society
01.04.2023 - 31.12.2026
CHF  4’576’000
Background National and international law protect the fundamental liberties of association, assembly, and expression in North Macedonia. To start EU negotiations, the country is undergoing a difficult screening process of the functioning of the institutions and is facing a possible change of the Constitution. In such a polarized context, civil society’s role gains even more relevance in cocreating policies, monitoring of the work of the institutions and the quality of service provision. Nevertheless, state funds for CSOs remain an almost unrecognized source of revenue, awarded with little transparency and lack of predictability. Although the National Strategy for Cooperation with CSOs aims to improve the legal and institutional CSO environment, yet in 2022 no state funding for CSOs was available. The Government created a Council for Cooperation with Civil Society to enhance participation of the civil society in the decision-making processes. However, due to the cut of funding for CSOs the functioning of this Council remains challenged. The Government shows less openness for collaboration with civil society and the policy dialogue has become less inclusive of CSOs and citizens. Citizens' interest in participation in social processes has slightly increased over the past years, yet their understanding and support for CSOs remains limited. 
Objectives Social changes in North Macedonia are driven by a strong civil society, active citizens, and good cooperation with the authorities, resulting in expanded civic space, more sustainable CSOs and more transparent, accountable and socially inclusive governance at both the central and local level.
Target groups Civil Society Organizations (direct)
North Macedonian citizens (indirect) 
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Increased civic engagement and trust in civil society through informed and active CSOs constituencies engaged in collaborative civic initiatives. 

Outcome 2: Public policy and decision-making benefits from increased civil society and citizen participation. 

Outcome 3: The environment for civil society development has improved especially in the area of public funding for civil society.


Expected results:  

  • Improved environment for stable functioning of civil society through conducive legal framework. 
  • Increased level of trust in civil society through inclusion of citizens in project design and CSO governance. 
  • Strengthened advocacy and policy dialogue capacities of CSOs through partnership projects. 
  • Improved transparency and accountability of CSOs through operationalization of the Code of Conduct. 

Results from previous phases:   The level of citizen engagement in CSOs activities increased from 32.2% in 2018 to 42.9% in 2021. The transparency and accountability of civil society has improved due to a Code of Conduct created and signed by over 90 CSOs. The National Strategy and the Council for Cooperation with Civil Society were created with significant involvement of CSSF grantees. The external evaluation gave the following orientations to the design of the final phase: (1) more focus on advocacy, lobbying and policy making capacities of the CSOs (2) emphasis on the communication capacities of the CSOs (3) weaker and smaller organizations should cooperate with more experienced like-minded partner organizations.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Macedonian Center for International Cooperation

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • 7F-08790.01 Parliament Support Programme 
  • 7F-10244.01 Strengthening Municipal Resilience to Corruption

National body: Council for Cooperation with Civil Society

Other development partners: SIDA, EU, USAID

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’576’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’222’000
Project phases Phase 6 01.04.2023 - 31.12.2026   (Current phase) Phase 5 01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023   (Completed) Phase 4 15.09.2014 - 31.12.2018   (Completed) Phase 3 01.08.2012 - 30.06.2014   (Completed)