NGO grants that include and engage people across Europe
The EEA and Norway Grants’ support to civil society in Central and Southern Europe is an important contribution to social equality and involvement concludes three new evaluations.
According to the recently launched reports, the EEA and Norway Grants’ NGO Funds secure vital support to the civil society sector in Central and Southern Europe. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway’s contribution to social cohesion is now among the prime funding schemes for civil society in the beneficiary states. The support to the NGO sector ensures that civil society can carry out their roles as watchdogs, initiators and social service providers.
NGO funds targeting social needs
A comprehensive evaluation of the NGO funds of the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-09 in place in 12 countries concluded that the NGO funds had demonstrated innovation, assisted in addressing inequalities and targeted needs of local communities.
Ensuring equal opportunities
The funded NGO projects have had a strong focus on ensuring equal opportunities through education, anti-discrimination efforts, and job creation and labour market integration initiatives. In the period 2004-09, more than 200 social inclusion projects, amounting to a combined value of €20 million in grants, were supported.
The projects tackling inequalities and promoting social inclusion span from a Polish project for the social integration to projects addressing minority rights issues, such as several Romanian projects seeking to improve education and social services for Roma.
Key source of funding in Romania
In Romania, the EEA Grants’ NGO Fund has become a key source of funding for civil society. A report on the development of the Romanian NGO sector stresses that the non-governmental sector performs important societal functions in the country, both in terms of the social services offered to citizens and in terms of providing employment.
Raised awareness and voluntarism in Slovakia
Strengthening civil society is not only about building capacity to provide services. It is also about strengthening the capacity of organisations to increase volunteering and raising awareness.
A new report documenting the impact of the projects funded by the Slovak environmental NGO fund of the EEA and Norway Grants notes an increased capacity of NGOs to take part in public debate, propose and carry out innovative approaches and develop partnerships with entities from other sectors.
Photo: Equal opportunity office of the municipality of Budapest