Once again, I’m peeved off at the Central Government Office For Croats Outside the Republic of Croatia as well as with the Croatian consular/diplomatic services around the world for failing miserably at properly informing those they are paid to serve (all the Croats living abroad) of important opportunities to be taken for the promotion and nurturing of Croatian identity and culture. Publishing information on a website that’s not accessed by many due to relative lack of knowledge about it, is not good enough and they – the Office – know it. Is it truly, here also, still like it was under the communist Yugoslavia regime: government/party officials keeping information to the general public about accessing government grants to a minimum so that family and friends can have a better chance at receiving the grant – and forget the public and its right to full access – full access includes thorough or accessible information (?). How hard is it to write a Press Release and send it off to the world – after all this government office for Croats living outside the Republic of Croatia has some 50 individuals representing Croatian clubs or associations – the so-called government advisors – from all over the world serving as its link to the diaspora, as well, and I’m pretty sure they would pass on the message to the people if given a chance by the Government Office.
It’s been a whole week since that office announced February 15th on its website some very important news regarding the opening of applications for government grants for “special needs and projects of interest for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia” and there’s nothing about it that I have come across in the diaspora media or Croatian Embassies/Consulates. On the Office’s website there’s a page for information in the English language but last time anything of news seems to have been posted there in English was May 2015! Go figure! Why have that Page on the website at all? It’s like pulling someone’s leg!
And so, the Croatian Government Office for Croats Outside Croatia has published the news and provided links to necessary grant application forms and guidelines etc. on 15 February 2017 and I translate into English here for your benefit:
“With the aim to promote links and strengthen the cooperation between the Republic of Croatia and Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia, to preserve the Croatian identity, promote the Croatian language, culture and traditions and to strengthen the position of the Croatian people outside the Republic of Croatia, as well as to help endangered individuals – members of the Croatian nation outside the Republic of Croatia, the Central government office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia has released its Public invitation for the registration of special needs and projects that are of interest to Croats outside the Republic of Croatia with view to realising financial support for 2017.
The Public invitation is open to the following categories of applicants:
1) non-profit organisations outside the Republic of Croatia and within the Republic of Croatia (citizens’ organisations, foundations, institutions and other organisations that are not-for-profit), as well as Croatian communities outside the Republic of Croatia whose work involves the protection of rights and interests of Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia
2) physical persons whose projects include attending to the preservation and the strengthening of the identity of Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia
3) endangered individuals – members of the Croatian nation who reside outside the Republic of Croatia and are in social and financial hardships.
The above categories of applicants may submit their applications for financial support with view to addressing the realisation of their special needs and the implementation of their projects that include the following areas:
a) projects and activities in culture, education, science, sport and other areas with the aim of protecting the rights and interests of Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia, as well as the advancement of all kinds of cooperation between the Republic of Croatia and Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia
b) assistance for endangered individuals – members of the Croatian nation outside the Republic of Croatia.
The period within which applications may be sent begins on the third day of the publication of the Public invitation on the Central government office for Croats outside Croatia website and applications close on 17 March 2017.’
Applications must be sent by post to the Central government office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia (Središnji državni ured za Hrvate izvan Republike Hrvatske) at the address: Trg hrvatskih velikana 6, 10 000 Zagreb, marked „za Javni poziv“ (for the Public invitation).
Requests for additional information may be directed to the email address as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org
The highest amount of the financial grant that may be received in all categories is 80,000 kunas and the application results will, according to the published guidelines (CLICK HERE FOR PDF VERSION IN CROATIAN LANGUAGE), be within 60 days of applications closing dates.
On the Government Office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia with the following link: http://www.hrvatiizvanrh.hr/hr/natjecaj/149/objavljen-javni-poziv-za-prijavu-posebnih-potreba-i-projekata-od-interesa-za-hrvate-izvan-republike-hrvatske
There are links to required documents and forms such as
JAVNI POZIV/ PUBLIC INVITATION
Obrazac proračuna/Budget form
Obrazac prijave A/ Application Form A
Obrazac prijave B/Application Form B
Obrazac prijave C/Application Form C
Obrazac životopisa Biography Form
I now turn to what the State Secretary for this Government office for Croats living outside Croatia, Zvonko Milas, said in his Christmas message to the public last year: “… but above all I believe that we can be satisfied with the togetherness that’s been born again. Let this holiday time, Christmas, which by the nature of its meaning calls for optimism, truly comes as holiday of hope and faith. Faith that through work, advocacy and responsible behaviour we set in motion changes that will in the coming 2017 also promote more significantly the relations between the Republic of Croatia and all Croats living outside its borders…”
Well now – it’s almost March 2017 and if this case of public invitations for applications for grants open to Croats living abroad is anything to go by (and I’m certain it is) then that “togetherness being born again” Milas spoke of has some mighty harsh labour pains and complications. How can togetherness thrive when information flow and opportunities are blocked or simply weak and, hence, disrespectful of the diaspora or the Croats outside Croatia for whom that same information and those same opportunities are meant in the first place?
So, if you have a project that fits the criteria for the government grant make sure you apply by 17 March 2017. Good luck! Ina Vukic