CITIZENS INITIATIVE

APRIL 12 2007 16:11h

GONG: 10th Anniversary, But In Financial Problems

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It has been ten years since GONG was founded. It has become the biggest NGO that encourages every citizen's political life.

"We are addressing the public in the hope that they will help us keep GONG active. For this reason, April 13 will be a "Closed doors day." For the first time, we will be closed to the public and the citizens in order to warn about our financial difficulties," said GONG president Suzana Jasic at a press conference held today. 

Over the course of ten years, GONG, a non-governmental organization with the full name "Građani organizirano nadgledaju glasanje' (Citizens organized to monitor voting) has become the strongest non-governmental organization that incites every citizen of the Republic of Croatia to political life. 

They became famous from the very start in 1997, when they monitored the elections in spite of the ban imposed by the election committee. Their main goal was and still is to encourage a strong political life. Even though their projects have contributed to the change of the political scenery in Croatia, they are now in a difficult situation. After being financed by European organizations, foreign sponsors and citizens for years,  GONG is facing problems because some of their donations dried out. Even though GONG has asked the Government of the Republic of Croatia for financial help, the question remains if they will even get a response. 

In the last ten years, GONG received about 40 million kunas in donations for various projects, the most famous ones being workshops for high school graduates, "Prvi put biram" (I vote for the first time). More than a thousand citizens have taken part in their assorted workshops and educational campaigns and they have also held more than 850 "Citizens' hours," events at which citizens would meet with representatives of the Government and debate the current political problems.