Good Practices

Empowering Zajecar: A Holistic Approach to Sustainable Development Goals Awareness and Action (Serbia)

Foundation Step Forward (FSF)

Country: Serbia

Foundation Step Forward (FSF) is the first community foundation in Serbia, established in 2013 by the community philanthropy support organization ‘Zajecar Initiative’. It covers the territory of the Timok Region in Eastern Serbia, focusing particularly on the Zajecar community. FSF supports citizens and provides them with tools to shape their communities according to their needs and constantly improve their prospects and position in the Timok region. Its work is based on direct interaction with citizens and a locally grounded approach. From the very beginning, FSF has played a key role in philanthropy development, trying to pioneer new models and mechanisms for mobilization of local resources such as Walkathon and Community Social Day.

The goal of the project is to introduce the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the local community, which has little knowledge of them (research from 2018, 2020, and 2022).

Local stakeholders primarily address day-to-day challenges, often overlooking broader community issues. A significant hurdle is this myopic view and the longstanding practice where institutions seldom consult the public on community priorities, resulting in a discouraged populace hesitant to take the initiative. The primary objective is to shift this perspective and encourage a broader, more comprehensive look at community issues. They aim to develop strategies through participatory processes that encompass the SDGs, promote active engagement and foster a holistic approach to problem-solving in their community.

The CF wants to effectively target both the citizens of the Zajecar community and officials from pivotal institutions, the media, and local authorities. To achieve this, they will lean heavily on both traditional outreach methods and digital channels. One of their primary means of connecting with citizens will be through the creation of a series of podcasts. These podcasts will delve deep into 7 of the SDGs that resonate with the specificities and needs of the Zajecar community. These include Goals 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 15. There will be seven podcast episodes each featuring various guest speakers and experts in the respective areas. These episodes will be broadcast from the Zajecar Free Media House, and each episode is expected to last up to 90 minutes. Complementing these episodes, FSF will also publish related articles on the popular online platform, Glas Zajecara.

Complementing these episodes, FSF will also publish related articles on the popular online platform, Glas Zajecara. Another important aspect of their outreach is the Vital Signs website ( The platform serves dual purposes: firstly, to enlighten community members about the SDGs, and secondly, as a portal for citizens to provide their input on potential interventions under the various SDG goals. All feedback from the community will be transparent and open to public viewing. Once the project concludes, FSF will collate these ideas, group them into relevant categories, and present them to local authorities. This aggregated feedback will serve as invaluable input for shaping local policies and strategies. In tandem with these efforts, FSF will collaborate with a communication expert to develop a comprehensive communication strategy. This strategy, potentially titled “Zajecar Speaks: Communicating SDGs” will provide a blueprint for how the FSFand the community can better discuss and understand the SDGs. FSF will use the insights and feedback from this project to craft an internal roadmap. This roadmap will guide FSF in aligning work.

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