Campaign for the protection of rivers in Serbia

Unite grassroots groups from across Serbia to form a nationwide coalition of river-protectors to fight against the onslaught of planned hydropower plants across the country. The coalition will aim to mobilize the wider public around its cause via visually attractive and participatory activities, to increase the visibility of the problem and put more pressure on the government, and to share experience of successful campaigning techniques.

The project has three main phases:

(1) Campaign planning meeting in Arilje, Western Serbia

A core group of activists (15-20 participants) will use this one day meeting to set up a campaign plan for joint activities during the following 12 months. Preparatory work to develop the plan will be carried out before the event by selected activist-facilitators in order to use the face-to-face meeting for taking concrete decisions and choosing priorities that will enable all groups to focus on specific strategies and tactics to achieve common goals.

(2) Public action – Rzav Regatta

A wider group of activists,  and members of different rafting clubs from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, will raft down the Veliki Rzav river. We have held a regatta annually since 2013 but this year want to expand it and use the occasion to deliver a more direct political message to politicians and investors to keep their hands off our rivers. The occasion will be used to create short video-clips and photos with activists and recreational rafters holding banners or making statements, that will be used in the framework of the campaign.

Three main demands will be put forward and publicly communicated from the event to decision- makers in the Serbian government. The organisers will secure participation of journalists who can immediately report on the event and communicate their message of solidarity and defiance.

A set of promotional materials will be created to make the campaign more visible: t-shirts, banners etc. that can be re-used in further public actions or demonstrations.

(3) Coalition co-ordination

The coalition will stay in touch by creating a dedicated Facebook groups and email lists. The campaign plan will be executed in the next 12 months, with altogether 30-50 activists participating, mostly on a voluntary basis. The Coalition will also enhance fundraising efforts in order to be able to plan for potential further public actions or to support advocacy towards decision-makers by hiring biologists or legal experts.

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