About us

Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD)

The Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD) is financed by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). ReLOaD builds on the good practices of the Reinforcement of Local Democracy (LOD) project, another initiative financed by EU, which also represents the replication model in Western Balkans.

As a regional initiative, ReLOaD is implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia.

Project Background:

In all Western Balkans, the collaboration between local governments and civil society organizations (CSO) is not sufficiently developed. Lack of transparency in financing of CSOs is perceived as one of the main obstacles for development and functioning of civil society. 

The project's overall objective is to strengthen participatory democracies and the EU integration process in the Western Balkans by empowering civil society to actively take part in decision making and by stimulating an enabling legal and financial environment for civil society.

Specific objective of the project is to strengthen partnerships between local governments and civil society in the Western Balkans.

The objective is to scale up successful models of transparent and project based funding of CSOs from local governments in order to increase civic engagement in decision making and improvement of local service delivery.

ReLOaD will improve cooperation between local governments and CSOs, while strengthening capacities of all relevant stakeholders to engage more productively in such partnerships.

Importantly, the Project will work on introducing and sustaining a transparent, development-oriented and project-based approach to funding of CSOs by local government budgets that contributes to realization of local priorities in line with development strategies.

As a regional project, ReLOaD will offer a platform for networking between participating Western Balkans countries/territories for purposes of sharing experiences and lessons learned in providing better services to citizens.

Who will benefit from ReLOaD and what we do?

The following stakeholders will benefit from ReLOaD:

Local governments (municipalities and cities)


Relevant institutions in charge for the cooperation with CSOs

Partner local governments will be selected through a competitive and transparent process in all Western Balkans.

The aim of the process is to select 50 local governments in total - 5 local governments in Kosovo*, 5 in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 10 in Albania, 5 in Montenegro, 5 in Serbia, and 20 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (10 new and 10 local governments that participated in previous LOD project).

ReLOaD expected results:

ReLOaD will achieve the following results in 50 local governments in Western Balkans:

Develop procedures for transparent allocation of public funds to CSOs,

 Services delivered by CSOs will address the needs of local communities within partner local governments across the Western Balkans

Strengthen the capacity of local governments and CSOs in the implementation of grant schemes and the delivery of good quality projects,

 Enhance regional networking and dialogue of civil society and local governments across the Western Balkans.