Photo: Helena Benýšková, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Prague

Vital support to civil society

14/09/2010 // The NGO funds of the EEA and Norway Grants have secured vital support to civil society in Central and Southern Europe, particularly in areas such as advocacy and social inclusion, shows new report.

The EEA and Norway Grants are among the prime funding schemes for civil society in Central and Southern Europe, as other international donors have withdrawn and national or local sources of funding have not been able to fill the gap, according to an evaluation by PITIJA svetovanje d.o.o.

Effective and innovative support
Under the NGO funds 2004-09, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein established 19 NGO funds in 12 beneficiary states, supporting them with €85 million.The evaluation shows that the NGO funds provide a well-managed, effective, significant and visible contribution to the ongoing development of the NGO sector in Central and Southern Europe.

The evaluation shows that the NGO funds have demonstrated innovation, assisted in addressing inequalities and targeted needs of local communities. The funds have also helped strengthen the capacity of organisations to advocate, increase volunteering, build coalitions and change attitudes.

Democracy, human rights and social inclusion
Almost 44% of the total funding was in Poland, while the NGO sectors in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia were each awarded between €5 million and €10 million to NGO funds. In Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Portugal and Slovenia between €1.5 million and 2.3 million in funding were awarded to NGO funds.

Of more than 1900 NGO projects, a majority of them support human resource development, half of them targeting democracy, human rights, discrimination or inclusion of disadvantaged groups. Other key areas are environmental grass-root initiatives, health and childcare, and cultural heritage.

Online consultation on new funding
The evaluation addressed important issues which are taken into account in the planning of NGO funding under the EEA and Norway Grants 2009-14, such as the need for further focusing of the funds, simplification of the management and reporting system and better defining of a clear framework for bilateral partnerships and cross-cutting contributions.

The NGO-community in the beneficiary and donor states are invited to provide their own input on how to further strengthen civil society under the EEA and Norway Grants 2009-14, through an online consultation forum. The consultation will be open from 10 September to 22 October 2010 and contribute to the development of a guideline on NGO funding.


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