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Frontpage News 2013 Great interest in Polish NGO programme

NGO programme Poland opening conference 18-19 September 2013 Warsaw

Great interest in Polish NGO programme

More than 300 NGO representatives and central Polish politicians took part in the opening conference of the new €37 million NGO programme in Poland.

The opening of the programme named ′Citzens for Democracy′ took place in the newly opened Museum of the History of the Polish Jews in central Warsaw 18-19 September. A part of the conference was also matchmaking workshops aiming at matching Polish NGOs with NGOs from the donor states for potential partnership projects. Organisations from both Norway and Iceland participated.

Citizens for democracy
′There is no citizen without democracy and no democracy without citizens,′ said Jacek  Michałowski, head of the Chancellery the President of the Republic of Poland during the conference. He also underlined that Polish citizens are not empowered enough today and that the EEA Grants NGO programme has a role in changing that.

Under the programme, Grants will be available for projects aimed at mobilizing civic participation, promoting scrutiny of the public institutions, supporting actions against discrimination, social exclusion and civic education of children and youth.

The first call for proposals is already open with deadline October 15. Find out more at http://www.ngofund.org.pl/calls-for-proposals/

The Stefan Batory Foundation in partnership with the Polish Children and Youth Foundation is the operator of the NGO programme in Poland.

During the conference experts from Poland, Norway and Romania discussed the importance of NGOs’ activities and their role in the five areas of the programme. The partnership opportunities were also presented by Lillian Solheim from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Participants took part in workshops discussing the focus areas of the programme as well as in matchmaking workshops.

Civil society – a priority
The Polish NGO programme is the largest of the 16 EEA Grants NGO programmes in all the beneficiary states of the Grants.

′We have made civil society a priority. Without civil society, there is no democracy′, said Ambassador for the EEA and Norway Grants, Ingrid Schulerud, from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the opening conference.  She underlined that civil society has a key role to play in mobilising citizens and bringing issues to the public, empowering citizens to take part in society and tackling key concerns in society as advocates, watch-dogs and as service providers.

Find out more about how the EEA and Norway Grants support civil society.