Pact has been working to develop civil society in Belarus since 2005. In the past, with funding from U.S. Agency for International Development and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pact supported civil society, independent trade unions and media outlets in order to foster stronger civic institutions and effectively inform citizens to advocate for positive social change.
Currently, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Pact is working to build civic engagement, positive social change and the availability and influence of objective information in Belarus. Through mentorship and funding, Pact is helping civic actors to mobilize and organize citizens to take ownership of their future and positively affect transformation on the local and national levels.
We support at-home civil society organizations – from grassroots activists to policy groups and think tanks. Pact is strengthening the impact of independent research by helping to ensure that such work is visible, understandable and accessible to influence public opinion and state policies. To positively affect change, we rely on a sectoral development approach, evidence-based research, communication, outreach and local solutions.
Community Development Fund
Through the Community Development Fund (CMDF), Pact provides assistance to grassroots, community-based initiatives. CMDF supports CSOs, citizen initiatives and individual activists to mobilize members of local communities for collective and positive civic action to improve the quality of life at the local level. Since inception in 2009, CMDF received over 500 project applications while supporting nearly 150 local initiatives.
Civil Society Leadership Program
Since 2005, Pact has been implementing the Civil Society Leadership Program – an annual learning course for grassroots civic activists. Since inception, the Leadership Program graduated more than 120 leaders from various sectors of civil society. Implemented in-country, the program provides training, individual mentorship and action-based learning opportunities for civil society leaders, as well as networking and capacity development for the program’s alumni.
Civic Literacy Survey
Pact designed the first ever Civic Literacy Test in Belarus, as a study of Belarusians’ civil literacy, as well as global and digital citizenship competencies. The goal of the Civic Literacy Test is to offer data to Belarusian CSOs and international organizations in order to check their education- and awareness-raising initiatives against the state of competencies and needs of the population, adjust approaches to civic education programming, and design new evidence-based interventions.
Belarus Reality Check
In 2012, Pact and its local partners initiated the “Belarus Reality Check,” a policy review board tasked with providing realistic context analysis and impartial examination of key issues of the EU's Eastern Partnership policy. The process regularly convenes a "review group" of analysts, diplomats and policy and decision-makers to assess the EU's foreign policy toward Belarus.
Kastrycnicki Economic Forum
Inspired, designed and kicked off by Pact in 2013, Kastrycnicki Economic Forum (KEF) is the largest and most visible annual civil society-organized dialogue platform of key stakeholders debating what is possible in the realm of structural economic reforms in Belarus. KEF gives civil society a louder voice to affect reform agenda, and offers non-government actors and international community access to data and decision-makers. KEF seeks to put Belarusian economy into the global context in order to find local solutions in the framework of global challenges, developments and perspectives.
Pact has been utilizing Future Search methodology to help identify its strategic priorities regarding the development of Belarusian civil society. To date, Pact organized three inclusive Future Search workshops in 2006, 2011 and 2015 gathering representatives of various Belarusian civil society sectors to identify trends, needs and priorities for civil society development in Belarus. The Future Search reports are widely shared and are available here.
Belarus Research Council
In 2012, Pact created the Belarus Research Council, a loose network of Belarusian think tanks, analytical centers and individual researchers that regularly meets to discuss achievements, share research findings and coordinate research plans. Within the Belarus Research Council initiative, Pact initiated and continues to support annual Belarusian Think Tank Rating as well as the communication platform and online research database at Thinktanks.by.
Belarus Civil Society Friday Report
In 2011, Pact launched the Civil Society Friday Report, a weekly digest of publicly available news about events affecting Belarusian civil society. Pact’s Belarus-based staff compiles articles without editing to provide an unbiased picture of civil society developments within the country. Go here to sign up for the report.