NGO Open Door Days 2017 officially opened

The NGO Open Door Days 2017 were officially opened on Thursday, 25th May 2017 in the Croatian Music Institute, in the presence of the Croatian Prime Minister, Mr Andrej Plenković, and the Minister of Labour and Pension System, Mr Tomislav Ćorić.

The NGO Open Door Days 2017 were officially opened also in the presence of State Secretary at the Ministry of Public Administration Mr Daro Nekić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy Ms Marija Pletikosa, State Secretaries at the Ministry of Labour and Pension System Ms Katarina Ivanković Knežević and Mr Marko Pavić, as well as Assistant Ministers, representatives of public administration authorities, civil society organizations and media.

On behalf of the host, the Croatian Music Institute, one of the oldest associations in Croatia which this year celebrates its 190th anniversary of continuous work, the welcoming words were given by Professor Mr Mladen Janjanin, a Vice President of the Directorate of the Croatian Music Institute and a Vice-Chancellor for Arts and International Positioning of the University of Zagreb. On behalf of the organizer of the NGO Open Door Days, which has now become a traditional manifestation being held for the sixth time, the welcome speech was given by Ms Vesna Lendić Kasalo, the Authorized Head of the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs.

In his welcome speech, the Croatian Prime Minister, Mr Andrej Plenković, expressed his pleasure for participating at the manifestation which contributes to the civil society development and encourages engagement in wider social actions, as well as emphasized the importance of the contribution of civil society associations to various segments of social activities.
He also stressed the significant contribution of the associations to the formation of quality, socially sensitive and righteous society, and that civic participation in all areas of social activities contributes to the development of a democratic and participatory community and enables citizens’ initiatives.

He also highlighted that the Government of the Republic of Croatia recognizes the importance and role of CSO activities. “We encourage both the activities of associations and volunteering, and we build cooperation between a line of state authorities and CSOs through the spirit and principle of a partnership”, said the Prime Minister, by adding that this cooperation has been implemented via two operational frameworks- the institutional one and the financial one.

The Prime Minister Mr Andrej Plenković said that the role of CSOs in society is also extremely important as a kind of corrective and a signal for political parties and state institutions in numerous issues, which sometimes require a different perspective. He thanked everyone who contribute to the quality development of the Croatian society with their enthusiasm, knowledge, experience and expertise.

As part of the official opening of the NGO Open Door Days 2017, a ceremonial signing and award of 28 contracts to the project beneficiaries within the Call for Proposals “Support to volunteering organizers and implementation of volunteer programmes”, financed by the European Social Fund within the Framework Programme “Efficient Human Resources”, in which the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs performs the role of an Intermediate Body of level 1.

In the cultural programme of the ceremony organized by the Croatian Music Youth, the Croatian string quartet “Quartetto a piacere” was presented, which was formed in 2016 and is made of the students of the Zagreb Music Academy who were awarded various prizes: Mr Ivan Graziani (first violin), Ms Vanda Dabac (second violin), Ms Marta Balenović (viola) and Ms Romana Šimbera (cello). In the non-formal part of the ceremony the performance was made by the Marimba duo “Flam-a Duo”, presenting Mr Francesco Mazzoleni (from Treviso, Italy) and Luis Camacho Montealegre (from Alcazar de San Juan, Spain), students at the Zagreb Music Academy.

The Croatian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs has been traditionally organizing the NGO Open Door Days, which this year are being held from 25th till 27th May 2017. In order to familiarize the citizens with their programmes and activities, associations throughout Croatia hold numerous creative workshops, lectures, performances, actions, and present their community service projects and programmes in an innovative way, as well as the possibilities for the citizens to become involved in volunteering programmes. This year a special focus is on the presentation of the results of the publicly funded projects and programmes of associations so as to contribute to a greater openness and transparency of the activities implemented by Croatian associations.

This year the NGO Open Door Days have been organized in cooperation with the manifestations “Croatia volunteers 2017” and “Look at the associations”. The “Croatia volunteers" will be held from 22nd till 27th May this year with the aim to highlight the potential for social growth that is released by volunteering, when people and organizations from the civil, public and business sector connect. The “Look at the associations” campaign was set up in order to raise public awareness about the importance of activities of associations and civil society.

The activities of associations within the NGO Open Door Days can be followed via mobile application UdrugeInfo. In this application the citizens can search for activities of associations according to their location and scheduled time, i.e. information gathered in the Register of Associations, and contact an association which they find interesting. The search is made available by using an interactive map of the Republic of Croatia. The activities of associations which have been registered (over 430 of them) can be found here.

All the citizens who participate at the NGO Open Door Days can fill in the “NGO Open Door Days Passport”, and those who send the passports with the most interesting messages and impressions written down in the passports during a visit to associations, the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs will award with commemorative prizes. The citizens can get the passports at the premises of the associations which participate in the NGO Open Door Days 2017.