2017

6th edition of the Regional Annual Competition of the Balkan Green Ideas (BGI) competition has been organized in Kolasin, Montenegro. This year the competition gathered representatives from 6 countries of the Western Balkans and provided an opportunity for competitors to present their green and innovative ideas. For two days, 18 innovative, original, and unique green ideas were presented in front of the jury members who had the challenging task of choosing the four winners who were each awarded $10,000. 

PGI 2017 Group Photo 

Partners

Vesna Bajšanski-Agić is the Executive Director of Mozaik Foundation. She joined Mozaik in 2008, as Mozaik begun its transformation into a social enterprise. Today, Mozaik Foundation is the leading social enterprise in the Western Balkans, engaged in programs relevant to youth social entrepreneurship and social innovation. She is a Governing Board member of two social businesses that support the disadvantaged and promote reconciliation in an economically sustainable way, and a Board member/president of two national NGOs. Prior to joining Mozaik, Vesna worked for ten years in various management positions in other national NGOs focused on social justice and she is an internationally certified trainer for Education for Social Justice. She is a member of several national and international groups and networks, including Governing Council member of the EFC, Steering Committee chairperson of GEF, SIGN Network, ISSA. She has a degree in Economics from the University of Sarajevo. Vesna is a 2012 recipient of the European Marshall Memorial Fellowship awarded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Dajana Berisha is the Executive Director of the Forum for Civic Initiatives. Dajana joined the forum in February 2013 to manage the development and direction of the Forum including design objectives, strategies and activities. Her previous professional experiences include policy-making in areas such as employment, social affairs and migration in order to support active employment policies combined with economic assistance for poverty alleviation. In this capacity, Dajana has served as the institutional representative on a number of European events, international institutions, or in bilateral meetings between governmental institutions of the Western Balkan countries. Dajana has extensive knowledge and experience regarding the professional development policy and regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, which combined with the ability to understand cultures and geopolitics of the region, provides premises for efficient leadership. Dajana graduated in the field of linguistics and literature, holds an MA in International Migration Policies and Development from the University of Sussex, and was educated in Albania, Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden.

Anica Maja Boljevic has been the executive director of the Fund for Active Citizenship (fAKT) since its foundation in 2008. She served as the Head of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) program in Montenegro from November 2002 to October 2005, after she had managed CRS youth advocacy and leadership program for two years. Before joining CRS, Maja was a an English high school teacher for eight years. Her professional background and experience have been strongly linked to education and civil society programs, with an emphasis on supporting and fostering civic participation to encourage proactive problem solving and responsive governance. She is a member of the national Council for NGO Development and serves on several boards of Montenegrin non-profit organizations.

Biljana Dakic Djordjevic is the Executive Director of Trag Foundation, an indigenous non-profit foundation supporting local communities and grassroots activism in Serbia. Trag Foundation encourages citizens’ engagement and promotes local philanthropy. Biljana has eighteen years of professional experience in the non-profit sector, with extensive knowledge on fundraising and partnerships development, strategic planning, program management, and cross-sector cooperation. From 2012-2014, she managed a regional grant-making program with the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. As the Development Director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence from 2004-2012, she supported capacity building of political and public leaders in Serbia and the Balkans. Biljana is a board member of the UN Global Compact in Serbia, Serbian Philanthropy Forum and DobroCiniTi philanthropic initiative. She is Deputy Chair of the Council for Corporate Social Responsibility affiliated with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.  

Juliana Hoxha started Partners Albania as an independent organization in 2001. She brings a 16-year long experience in developmental issues, advocacy campaign, training and consultancy at national and regional level.  Her experience includes a long and successful working relation with ODA donors, international and local organizations in Albania.  She has a rich experience in project design, development and management, training curricula development and delivery, proposal writing and cross sector relations. She has significant experience in program evaluation and assessment design and administration, and extensive involvement in grants program design and management and especially umbrella grants for local organizations. Further, Juliana has strong professional relationships with the non-for-profit, local government, donor community and relevant government institutions. She has eleven years of experience in managing three USAID cooperative agreements, training and grant programs.

Irina Janevska is the founder and president of the Organization for Social innovation ARNO. Also, she is Y-PEER Macedonia Focal Point, and First Curator at the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Skopje Hub, devoted to working on initiatives that ensure social impact and community outreach. At ARNO, Irina focuses on initiatives that promote sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, and advocacy for post-2015 processes in the country. Under her leadership, ARNO’s team earned the 2nd place at the Social Impact Award and grew into an entity that is recognized as pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship (SE), while Irina is part of the working group that works on the creation of the SE Legal and Fiscal Framework in the country.  Previously, Irina held management positions in other CSO’s/ Intl. Agencies working on projects supported by diverse donors: UNFPA, UNDP, MTV Staying Alive, Embassy of Switzerland in Skopje/Swiss Cooperation Office, the British Embassy in Skopje etc. Irina holds a BA in Communications Sciences and an MA in Cultural Studies.

Elona Kapexhiu joined Partners Albania since its establishment in 2001, and holds the position of Communication Manager. She has over 23 years of experience working with international and Albanian non-governmental organizations in Albania, with a strong emphasis on PR and communication management, office and financial management. Part of PA research and training team, she has a long experience in research design and implementation, management of databases and information elaboration, and design and provision of trainings on PR and communication management. Elona is one of the lecturers of the Partners Albania’s NPO Academy since 2015.

Željko Pauković is a pioneer of NGO development in Bosnia and Herzegovina with 20 years of experience in several organizations, with particular professional focus in creating sustainable programs for youth leadership, organization and community development. He is one of the founders and the Executive Director for ten years of Youth Communication Centre, one of the largest and the most respective youth NGO in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over the last nine years he serves as a Program Manager and Program Director of Youth Bank Program, at MOZAIK Foundation, responsible for the overall development and implementation of the program in Bosnia and Herzegovina and region. He provides technical advice/capacity building in youth outreach, social innovation and development, and facilitating cross-sector partnership. Further, Željko provides leadership support in securing partnership with governments, businesses, and other stakeholders. He completed postgraduate master’s degrees in Economics (Human Resource Management).

Dragan Sreckovic is Program, Monitoring and Evaluation Director at Trag Foundation. From 2006 to 2015, Dragan worked with Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) to implement two USAID programs in Serbia - Civil Society Advocacy Initiative and Civil Society Forward, which aimed to support effective advocacy at the national level on issues of critical importance for meeting EU standards and advancing Serbia’s democratic development. While at ISC, he conducted several short-term assignments in Ukraine, Kosovo and Macedonia. Prior to joining Trag in February 2017, Dragan worked at the Church World Service, where he managed humanitarian and development programs in Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Moldova and Georgia. Fruther, he has more than ten years of experience in development work, with expertise in monitoring and evaluating development projects, managing grants, assessing project proposals, qualitative and quantitative research, project and program development and management. Dragan developed and managed different evaluation, assessment and research projects, managed grants to CSOs and supported development of different sub-granting schemes for civil society in Serbia.

Guests


Maja Anteska
 works for EBRD Advice for Small Business since its’ establishing in Macedonia in 2002, where she was initially employed as Project Specialist in the Business Advisory Programme. In 2010 she was promoted to Enterprise Growth Programme (EGP) Local Manager, while in 2012 she was promoted to Principal Manager, managing the Advice for Small Businesses activities in the country. With more than 1000 advisory projects behind and with a BA in Economics and Financial Management and an MSc in Entrepreneurship, she has deep a understanding of the private sector development challenges. She has also been active in promoting blended EBRD instruments: Advice and Finance and instrumental for obtaining the government and EU support for EBRD SME work. In parallel to standard advisory programme implementation since beginning of 2015,  she leads the team for implementation of Women in Business Programme in the country funded by SIDA and Luxembourg, which  promotes and supports access  to finance and access to know how among women run businesses. She is a Certified Management Consultant, and for three years she was a member of the management structure of Management Consulting Association 2000. She is a great supporter of Social Entrepreneurship in the region.

Božena Jelušić is a literature and media literacy teacher in „Danilo Kiš“ gymnasium in Budva and the winner of the most prestigious award in the field of education in Montenegro (Oktoih).  She was a member of the National Council for General Education involved in the reform of education, and she is also a writer of the gymnasium textbooks and handbooks. In 2013, she was the leading author of UNDP research on human capital of Montenegro “People are the real wealth of the country - How rich is Montenegro?” She is also an NGO activist and a columnist for the daily newspaper “Vijesti.” She is the president of the Iskra Award Comitee (fAKT). Božena is mother of three children.

Maria Šnjegota is 19 years old. She just graduated secondary school in Srbac and enrolled in the Faculty of pedagogy. She was a president of the secondary school council, active member of two organizations (CEZAR and Milenium), and one of the key group member implementing the International voluntary eco camp ''Youth for life''. Currently she is an active member of Youth Bank Srbac. Her role is as the personal assistant to Nebojsa Vucenovic.

Organizers


Visar Azemi 
is the executive director at the Balkan Green Foundation and coordinator of the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development. Previously, Visar served as the representative and lecturer for the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) in Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. He has over ten years of professional experience in non-profit sector, with extensive knowledge in partnership development, strategic planning, program management, and marketing. His prior work also includes management work with the Central Texas College, International Organization for Migration, and KBR. Visar holds a graduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pristina, a second Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies, and a Master’s degree in International Financial Management from University of Maryland University College. 

Rinora Gojani is the program manager at the Balkan Green Foundation. Rinora specialized in European Union politics and policy and has a special interest in the energy sector, sustainable development, and activism in the Western Balkans.  Previously, Rinora worked as a Senior Research/Policy Analyst for sustainable development issues at the Institute for Development Policy, where she also liaised with global environmental and sustainable development policy organizations. Additionally, she worked at the Ministry of European Integration where she cooperated intensively with the Ministry of Energy and Mining on providing inputs to the European Commission Progress Report. Rinora has been active in various civil society organizations, such as Integra NGO, where she coordinated ‘Our Future European Integration’ project, an exchange program which brought together young people from Kosovo, Serbia, and the Netherlands and Youth Initiative for Human Rights, where she mobilized volunteers, organized street actions and monitored implementation of laws. Rinora has extensive experience in fundraising and organizing campaigns, with a focus on social, environmental, and development issues.

Karen Karnicki is the program assistant for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Peacebuilding and Western Balkans programs. Prior to joining the RBF, Karen was an intern at UN Women, where she conducted research on gender mainstreaming within the UN system. In 2014, she joined the inaugural team at Rhize, a start-up nonprofit that seeks to build the capacity of grassroots social movements around the world. As a fellow at Rhize, she helped grow the organization by fundraising, managing research projects, developing training materials, and assisting with program design and implementation. Karen also worked as an ESOL teacher in Prague, Czech Republic and as an assistant for the Islamic Civilization & Societies program at Boston College. She holds a Master of Arts in human rights studies with a concentration in gender and transitional justice from Columbia University, as well as a B.A. from Boston College, where she studied Slavic studies and Islamic civilization & societies.