“Initiative for establishing Independent Urban Center – Jusovaca” is a coalition of NGOs, culture associations and individuals with the aim to make a space for civic sector in Montenegro, by transforming unit of former prison Jusovaca, in order to stimulate cooperation, openness, developing of civil society and culture and develop services for citizens based on their needs.
Montenegro is a space which, thanks to hard political past, sanctions for almost ten years and extremely negative trend of economic development, is on the margin of European actual events. Multi-confessional and multi-ethnic with some more than 650000 inhabitants, with extremely differences Montenegro seeking the answer on the challenge of this differences and cultural heritage. Attention deserves accumulated energy and potential in over 2000 enlisted non-governmental organizations and probably near to that number non-formal groups and cultural initiatives. This energy seeks contact with surrounding, seeks their own light in unified Europe, in parallel but also independently from the process that running on state level. Beside recognition of needs of civil sector and non-conventional and culture out of institutions which makes necessary segment of developed society, priorities in economic and legal reforms does little in creation of conditions for their normal work. At least elementary ones, such as space for work is. There are few examples, but not the policy of it.
Montenegro today keeps bearing the ballast of bureaucracy of previous political administration, mainly because of bad economic situation, when social organizations, as a model of citizens association, and cultural creators gather under roof of Cultural and Youth institutions. Today, those institutions are transformed in cultural and informative centers, but they keep burden governmental or community budgets and main part of their own budget is used for institutional costs. About what we are talking here is a Podgorica, capitol city of Montenegro, example…
Beside to non existing of political cooperation between public and non-governmental sector Montenegro is one and only country in the region without Independent Center and without gathering of citizens initiatives. Differently of Podgorica, Belgrade have REX for a few years, Zagreb Mocvara and Industry, all Croatia have near to dozen centers. Ljubljana has Metelkova, Maribor Pekarna, Hungary few dozens of similar centers for non-governmental organizations. There is in Europe Trans Europe Halles network, gathering over 30 centers. Those centers states and communities, in which they are working, received help in programme realization. There are few of centers financed in total from their own work. Basic difference between those centers and governmentally supported institutions is that in those centers works ten or more organizations and management team is very small comparing with governmental institutions. All those facts pointed that investment in those centers is direct finance of work and results of work, and institutional costs are smaller comparing with programme costs. That relationship and proportions at investment and financing today are trend in Europe and something Montenegro has to adopt.
Having clear picture about situation and seeing important potential of non-governmental sector and cultural initiatives, as well as need of connection and inclusion within regional and European integrative streams, in parallel with creation of Citizen's Pact for South Eats Europe, as NGO movement in this part of Europe, Association for Democratic Prosperity – ZID has initiate for developing of Independent Center in 1999. aiming support and help to NGOs and cultural associations, groups and individuals. Within organization of international conference “The role of civil sector in the process of integration in SEE” part of the work was dedicated to idea of creation of network of Independent Centers at Balkans and connection of it with European centers. By cooperation with AEC from France and hCa from BiH idea developed its concrete contours. For developing of an idea and study visits with presentation of centers in Europe operating support from French fund CCFD was received. By cooperation with Metelkova Center from Ljubljana and Ministry of Culture of Republic Slovenia, as well as with support of Council of Europe trough MOZAIK programme, need analysis and possibilities of establishing of Independent Urban Center has been produced.
Importance of Independent Urban Center
What Jusovaca means to citizens?
- Possibility of better engagement and employment in civil sector
- Non-formal education
- Work with socially endangered categories of people (socialization of drug addicts, violence victims, categories of people from edge of existence, work with socially endangered children…)
- Inclusion of citizens in various creative workshops
- Learning old skills
- Increasing the quality of information
- Animation of citizens for society problems trough different independent and engaged culture forms (modern art, art in space, etc…)
- Organized entertainment life for youth
What Jusovaca means to civil sector?
- More importance of identification in public
- More organized offer to citizens (all in one place)
- Work space
- Affirmation of contemporary culture forms and unique space for presentation of it
- Possibility of connection with public institutions (governmental organs, community institutions, etc…)
- Presentation of unknown associations, culture groups and individuals
- Better possibility of cooperation with organization from region and Europe
What Jusovaca means to the city and to Montenegro?
Signing partnership with coalition of NGOs and to giving franchise of location to coalition for establishing Independent Urban Center Jusovaca, city and state of Montenegro will receive:
- Promotion of city and state out of state borders
- Connection of the city with regional and European institutions
- Realization of services for which state “had no possibilities” or realization is much easier in cooperation with NGOs
- Increasing of city offer of local cultural/historical places
- Increasing of cultural offer of the city
- Promotion of city and state tourism
- Center will give positive picture in front of international subjects about readiness of the city to cooperate with civil sector
- City will follow trends of all another countries in region and Europe
- With organization of bigger events Jusovaca will give contribution to the business sector of the city
- “Jusovaca” means organized cooperation with non-governmental sector
- “Jusovaca” means open offer to community with help in production of public cultural policy and policy of work with civil sector
- City will get the opportunity of using Jusovaca space and contents according with concept of open urban space
What Jusovaca project makes unique?
- Transformation of the “closed” object, as Jusovaca was, to object trough which civil sector will, with support of international partners and institutions, stimulate cooperation, openness and development of civil culture and society
- Center will be also one of oldest cultural/historical spaces in Podgorica, beside Sahat-tower, not to count usability values
- “Jusovaca” will be first institution in Montenegro where management and functioning is on citizens initiatives in total
- “Jusovaca” will be unique institution with more investment will go directly to results, and much less in other costs and fees for employment people
- In Jusovaca will work more than ten different organizations and management team will be significantly smaller than any other management team in similar governmental or public institutition
- “Jusovaca” will be first independent center in Montenegro, by the standard of other organization in different forms existing in region and in Europe
- “Jusovaca” will be an important link of the city with neighbors and region