Social projects from Serbia, Croatia and France honoured at CEB Award for Social Cohesion 2023

8 June 2023

Athens – NGO Atina from Serbia won this year’s CEB Award for Social Cohesion with its ‘Bagel Bejgl’ social enterprise, while Humana Nova (Croatia) and L’outil en main (France) were recognised as runners-up. The announcement was made at the Award ceremony, held in Athens, Greece, ahead of CEB’s annual Joint Meeting. 

© CEB/Fotis Plegas G.
© CEB/Fotis Plegas G.
Through its social enterprise ‘Bagel Bejgl,’ NGO Atina provides employment and economic independence to women victims of gender-based violence and trafficking. Many of them have neither formal qualifications nor work experience, which excludes them from the job market. Through a culinary employment training programme the survivors gain hands-on experience that makes them employable and helps them rebuild their lives. 

NGO Atina is a civil society organisation from Serbia, which advocates for the rights of victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Atina will receive a €25,000 prize for significantly contributing to social cohesion in an innovative and effective way.

“It is a great honour for Atina and its women’s social enterprise ‘Bagel Bejgl’ to be recognised as bringing valuable change in the lives of the women and girls we serve, and for our innovative work in favour of social change, advocacy for women’s and girl’s economic rights and in the fight for a just world,” said Marijana Savić, Founder and CEO of Atina.

“Atina’s project offers to the survivors of gender-based violence and trafficking a possibility to lead an economically independent life and regain their deserved place in society. We can only commend and highly support this extraordinary initiative,” said Marja Ruotanen, Director General of Democracy and Human Dignity at the Council of Europe and President of the Jury.

This year for the first time the CEB Award is honouring two additional social projects, to be rewarded €5,000 each.

Humana Nova is awarded for its project on upcycling and recycling textile waste in Croatia. The CEB Award Jury was impressed by their transformative community work as an excellent example of social inclusion and climate action going hand in hand.

“It’s a privilege to be recognised for our contribution to the community. Thank you for shinning the light on our dedicated work and giving us great motivation for future initiative,” commented Karolina Kraljić from Humana Nova.

L’outil en main is recognised for their work on initiating young people in France – often in precarious situations or hailing from underprivileged background – into traditional craftsmanship. The intergenerational dialogue between the youngsters and seniors who volunteer to transmit their know-how and expertise is particularly innovative, as invaluable is the project’s contribution to ensuring that the elderly remain well active and connected in the society.

The intergenerational dialogue between the young people and seniors who volunteer their skills was deemed particularly innovative, as it also contributes to preventing social isolation of the elderly.

“By making things, we understand the world better,” said Émilie Scoccimaro on behalf of L’outil en main.

About the CEB Award

In line with its social mandate, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) launched an annual competition in 2020 to acknowledge and reward remarkable contributions to social cohesion.

Starting in 2023 the CEB Award for Social Cohesion gives a €25,000 prize and trophy to a project that addresses pressing social issues and makes a significant contribution to social cohesion in an innovative and effective way. It also recognizes two additional projects with a €5,000 prize each.

Five independent judges from the fields of social development, social entrepreneurship, academia and civil society select the winning projects, after eligible applications are assessed on impact, sustainability and innovation/replicability by CEB experts.

In 2023, Marja Ruotanen, Director General of Democracy and Human Dignity, Council of Europe, presided over the Jury, which also included Guillaume Capelle, Founder of SINGA and CALM; Ornella D’Amico, Deputy Secretary General, Finance in Common; Thomas Marois, Reader in Development Studies, SOAS University of London; and Tomáš Boček, Vice-Governor for Target Group Countries, CEB.

The next edition of the CEB Award will be launched in January 2024. For more information visit

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aaa with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.