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HUT: Digitally Connecting Schools in the Balkans Region

Funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB)
Case Study Note:

Specific details within the case study below have been withheld to maintain the confidentiality and sensitivity associated with the activities discussed.

Assignment Background*

The Connected Schools in the Balkans region, funded by the European Investment Bank, is a multifaceted initiative spanning three distinct projects. It aims to bolster the digital education landscape, enhance broadband infrastructure in rural areas, and improve education facilities across the country. 

HelpUsTrade is tasked with supporting the EIB Project Directorate’s Education and Public Research Division and Digital Infrastructure Division. The primary objectives of HelpUsTrade, the lead consulting firm, are to provide procurement and project management support, offer expertise on international best practices, conduct peer reviews, monitor ongoing procurement processes, and enhance stakeholder engagement.

The project focuses on three key pillars of activity:

  • Connected Schools:
    • Develop digital skills among teachers.
    • Provides digital equipment.
    • Upgrades academic data networks.
    • Implements Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) infrastructure.
  • Rural Broadband Rollout:
    • Expanding broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
    • Targeting areas with limited connectivity (“white zones”).
  • Education Infrastructure:
    • Focuses on construction, renovation, and equipping of education facilities.
    • Emphasis on regional centres for vocational training.

Project Objectives and Deliverables

In partnership with various project stakeholders, as mentioned above, HelpUsTrade is responsible for the following key outputs:

  1. Procurement Strategy Development:
    • Crafting a comprehensive strategy considering services, works, and goods.
    • Reviewing planning documents and proposing delivery timelines.
  2. Bidding Documentation Review:
    • Examining bidding documentation to ensure it is GtB compliant.
    • Offering insights into good practice methodologies.
  3. Bid Evaluation Methodology and Procedures:
    • Establishing a transparent bid evaluation process.
  4. Contract Management Enhancement:
    • Reviewing and refining contract management procedures for efficiency.
  5. Ex-Post Reviews:
    • Conducting post-review exercises aligned with EIB Guidelines for Procurement to assess the overall effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance of the assignment.
  6. Training and Knowledge Exchange:
    • Developing tailored programs to empower the promoter.
    • Fostering skill development and enhancing capabilities.

Supporting the Connected Schools in Serbia project is an honour for HelpUsTrade. Our role in procurement and project management aligns with the EIB’s commitment to advancing digital education and broadband infrastructure in the country, reflecting a shared dedication to local empowerment, improved education infrastructure and skill development.

Prof. Dermot Cahill, Director, HelpUsTrade


The Connected Schools in Serbia Project, facilitated by the European Investment Bank and supported by HelpUsTrade, serves as a flagship initiative to advance digital education, broadband infrastructure, and education facilities in Serbia. The ongoing procurement support is critical in achieving the project’s objectives and contributing to the overall development of the region.

“The author(s), HelpUsTrade, take full responsibility for the contents of this article. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Investment Bank (EIB) or of the Promoter of the project”

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