Enabling Finance Officials as Trainers and Learning Facilitators

Mar 19 – 21, 2019 Bohinjska Bistrica, Slovenia No Fee
Mar 10, 2019 Leadership for Managing Reforms

This Training-of-Trainers brought together selected experts from ministries of finance and line ministries to exchange ideas on how to increase cooperation between representatives of their institutions, and connected them into a Network of Regional Experts (NRE), which will take active part into the FISR implementation. Cooperative learning has been repeatedly shown to have strong positive effects on almost every conceivable learning outcome. Being committed to our unique role as a knowledge hub, we pay particular attention to identifying individuals who can build upon and replicate the knowledge acquired at our learning events.


In a bid to fine-tune learning to regional needs, facilitate buy-in and ensure longer term learning results, the CEF strives to identify experts from our constituency, train them and involve them extensively in the delivery of our learning activities. Including a train-the-trainer approach has allowed us to establish an extended community of regional trainers who advocate learning by sharing practice.

This practice was now extended on the topic of improved design, costing and budgeting of structural reforms as an element of the Economic Reform Programs. Namely, The Economic Reform Programmes (ERP) are aimed at supporting acceleration of growth and competitiveness in the candidate and potential candidate countries and boost their efforts to meet the economic criteria for European Union accession. Important challenges that need to be addressed within the ERP preparation process include: (1) establishment of well-grounded prioritization of structural reforms (SR) areas and related policy measures, (2) quantification of costs and budgetary implications of prioritized SR policy measures, and (3) securing sufficient funds, budgetary and from other sources, to finance the structural reform measures.

How you benefited?

By the end of this learning initiative participants had:

  • A better understanding of adult learning and applying participatory learning methods
  • Developed skills to organize and facilitate adult learning
  • Learned new tools to make presentations dynamic, engaging, and effective
  • Got basic guidelines for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating learning initiatives
  • Gained more insight into structural reforms and their links to economic growth, competitiveness, fiscal frameworks, EU accession, and ERPs
  • Received guidance on costing and financing structural reforms
  • Become NRE member

What you learnt?

This learning initiative brought two-fold value to the participants: a frame of reference for understanding how learning works, and what facilitation of cooperative learning involves. It also provided technical knowledge on ERPs, including understanding of what is a structural reform and how it should be integrated into the overall fiscal frameworks of the countries.

The aim was to strengthen the capacities of leading experts in Western Balkans and Turkey and involve them as co-facilitators and co-lecturers in the delivery of FISR learning initiatives. We connected them in a Network of Regional Experts (NRE) that will have a significant role in the implementation of the Action.

The mission of the NRE is to bring forward the current expertise present at the beneficiary countries and utilize it in the learning approach of the project. The NRE will support capturing existing knowledge in line ministries and ministries of finances, packaging it in form of presentations and case studies, and sharing it at FISR learning events as well as on the Line Ministries Portal (LMS).

Who attended?

The learning initiative brought together selected representatives from ministries of finance and line ministries from the Western Balkans and Turkey. The workshop was delivered in English, translation was not provided. It was highly participatory; participants were encouraged to share their experiences and country practices.

No fee was charged for officials working in the public sector. Flights, transfers and accommodation in Slovenia, and meals during the event was funded for up to 3 officials per beneficiary country (Western Balkans and Turkey). 

Lead Experts

Natasha Ilijeva Acevska is a project manager with over 16 years of experience working in the development and international affairs industry of which eight years in facilitating regional cooperation among public officials of SEE. She is skilled in technical assistance, facilitation, management, training, and planning. An economist, she has upgraded her education in the fields of sociology and EU affairs.

Her interests are design of public policies in multi-level governance setting, intergovernmental fiscal relations, as well as structural reforms for EU integration of the Western Balkans and Turkey. Public institutions that base their functioning on trust and networking is another area of her interest.

Ivana Angelova is a graduated professor of Russian Language and Literature and Serbian, Croatian and Macedonian Language and Literature. She started teaching Russian and Macedonian during her studies. She continued her professional journey working as an analyst of the Western Balkans and Russia. She has worked closely with public and private sector entities from the SEE region.

She is skilled in facilitation, networking and community building. She is deeply interested how people learn and in developing tools and processes for fostering collaboration among teams and institutions.

David Šturm has a diploma in geography from Faculty of Arts at University of Ljubljana. He specializes in political geography. His other passions were sociology and psychology. He started his training as an adult educator in his student years.

The professional facilitator and trainer path began with a one-year program:  Train the trainer with the company Teambuilding Academy in Slovenia in 2011. Since than he has worked as a stage moderator, facilitator and trainer in fields of teambuilding, leadership and other soft skills. He has worked with big and successful companies in Slovenia and abroad (Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina), ranging from IT, pharmacy to automotive and industry. He has joined CEF as a program facilitator in fall of 2018.

Tina Žagar is a member of the CEF Program Team. She leads the CEF's support to developing capacities in facilitating learning and knowledge sharing, and the design and delivery of the CEF PFM - Auditing program.

Tara Vasiljević is graduated economist working in the area of public financial management throughout her career. Before joining the CEF she was involved in technical assistance to the Serbian Ministry of Finance and line ministries in implementation of program and performance budgeting, and design of a framework for integrated strategic policy planning and budgeting processes. At the CEF she leads design, coordination and delivery of the Budget Preparation and Execution learning program.

Mojmir Mrak is a Jean Monnet professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has more than 20 years of experience in designing and implementing the Slovenian government’s policy in international finance and EU accession. At the CEF, Mr. Mrak lectures and delivers workshops on Instruments for Pre-Accession Assistance. He also facilitated discussions on the inclusion of structural reforms and policy coordination of medium-term fiscal and economic planning for the CEF’s Building Capacities in Policy Design and Implementation (BCPDI) program. Within the BCPDI, he was an advisor for the EU funded Strategic Planning and Budgeting project; for the Fiscal Impact Assessment of Structural Reforms project, he chaired a working group and co-edited the project’s final publication.

Janez Šušteršič is a senior economic expert with more than 10 years hands-on experience in formulating and implementing economic and fiscal policies. At the CEF he is as affiliated expert supporting development and implementation of the Data and Analysis for Designing Policies thematic area. He led the Slovenian government's macroeconomic institute (IMAD) from 2000 to 2007. He was Vice-President of the ECOFIN's Economic Policy Committee and, in 2012, finance minister of Slovenia designing the policy of fiscal consolidation and banking crisis resolution. Today he is a partner in a private firm RE-FORMA, d.o.o., and a full professor of economic policy. Since 2013 he worked as an international consultant for the OECD and on a number of technical assistance projects.


This learning initiative was supported by:

European Union