Friday, 13 January, 1pm
Bogdan Ogrizović Library
23 represenatives of third sector organizations, sthe Government Office for Civil Society, local public institutions, researchers and other stakeholder attended this last TSI stakeholder meeting in Croatia titled „The challenges of development of the third sector in Croatia“.
Jelena Matančević gave an introduction to the project, the context of work and actualized issues of working definitions of the third sector produced in the project. This definition was confronted with the notion of the sector in Croatia and challenges of its conceptualization and promotion. She also talked about the scope of the third sector in the EU and the Croatian framework of cooperation with the statistical office in an attempt to improve statistical monitoring of the sector.
Danijel Baturina talked about the impact of the third sector, presenting main project results shown in various reports and then specifically focusing on Croatia. He also gave an overview of methodological aspects of assessing impact and possible limitations for measuring the impact of the sector. The third sector, with its constant focus on user’s needs and dedication to their addressees produces an impact on quality of life in Croatia. It is especially important for groups that are exposed to various social risks. Third sector organizations produce social innovation in the modalities of working but in this aspect, they face significant obstacles. Also, the sector is becoming an increasingly important economic actor, especially in local communities. It is a leader in the integration of groups that have obstacles in accessing labor market. The third sector is introducing new ways of thinking about economic relations in society to the public sphere. It is a factor of strengthening human resources in terms of knowledge and skills and to some extent a source of satisfaction of employees who are joining organizations following their values.
Gojko Bežovan presented barriers to sector development. The positioning of the third sector and its impact within the context of other European countries allowed a certain degree of knowledge about the development of the Croatian third sector in a broader context. The changing character of financing and volunteering has shown to be the challenge for third sector organizations. Project-based funding and bureaucratization are prominent challenges. Adjusting the tax frame to needs of development of the third sector is necessary, especially taking into account their economic activity and growth of social entrepreneurship. One of the significant obstacles is a public perception of the sector and relationships with political elites. But also, the legacy of the paternalistic social policy is still visible in the widespread expectations from the state to organize and deliver social, healthcare, cultural and other services. Bežovan has emphasized path dependence, including historical, economic, political and social factors and relations among sectors.
Stakeholder’s recognized the importance of articulating issues of the third sector in the public domain for further development of the sector. In discussion, stakeholders have shown dissatisfaction with burdens imposed by new administrative requirements in conducting their projects. Also, they noted the need to develop social dialogue with other sectors that would foster partnerships. One part of discussion was dedicated to the need to enhance the legitimacy of the sector. Introducing third sector education in schools and highter education was especially highlighted.
The event was useful for the promotion of the project because participants transferred their interests, becoming vested stakeholders who will drive new discussions and will open some new issues, especially with regard to future research and practical action in the field of third sector research and practice. We received valuable input and, through discussion, we came up with some new conclusions to deepen our arguments. A formal evaluation has not been conducted for our presentation, we relied on informal feedback responses of participants, taking into account their suggestions and opinions. The debate was interesting and participatory and we continued informal dialogue about the issues raised from our project after the event.
This project was an important step for further research on the third sector in Croatia. Our future plans and collaborations after the project are two folded:
- Research of social entrepreneurship as emerging phenomenon (also social economy), especially their role in provision of social services (collaboration with researchers in area)
- Continue research efforts within International Comparative Social Enterprise Models – ICSEM project
- Effort on identification of the size of the third sector and improvement of its statistical monitoring (collaboration with Croatian statistical office)
- Refining and testing methodologies for measuring the impact of the third sector
- Research on foundation as part of the third sector and the potential of philanthropy in Croatia
- Publishing a book “Civil society and positive change”
- Looking for opportunity for funding research on the third sector and social the innovation within HORIZON 2020 program and Croatian Science foundation (collaboration with other Croatian and European research partners
- Policy framework: Advocating for a change in the tax framework for economic activities in the third sector (collaboration with social enterprises, cooperatives, and their networks)
- Evaluating implementation of Strategy for development of Social entrepreneurship (collaboration with public officials)
- Introducing courses on social entrepreneurship and innovations in faculty syllabus (collaboration with other academics and faculty)
- Advancing education on civil society and the third sector at University level (collaboration with other academics and University)
- Inclusion of project results in curriculum of PhD studies of Social policy (collaboration with other academics and faculty)
- Development of social innovation and social entrepreneurship projects in City of Zagreb (collaboration with Social Council of City of Zagreb)
- Participation in the development of strategy for the development of civil society, (collaboration with public officials)
- Advocating the role of the third sector in strategy of regional development and the strategy for development of urban agglomerations (collaboration with public officials)
- Becoming a member of Croatian evaluation society and enhancing topics of impact measurement (collaboration with other researchers and expert community)
- Advocating against discrimination of private welfare institutions as part of the third sector in providing social services (collaboration with association of private welfare institutions)
Bogdan Ogrizović Library Zagreb