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Frontpage News 2013 Oxygen to Romanian civil society

NGO fund operator Romania Civil Society Development Foundation
The team at the Civil Soviety Development Foundation who are managing the EEA Grants NGO programme in Romania Photographer: Miriam Stackpole Dahl, FMO

Oxygen to Romanian civil society

“The EEA Grants NGO programme is for all Romanian NGOs. We hope it will bring necessary oxygen to our civil society.”

This was the hope expressed by Ionut Sibian, Director of the Civil Society Development Foundation, the organisation which is managing the programme.

With the last deadline on 9 August for submission of proposals under this round of calls for projects under the Romanian NGO programme, the Civil Society Development Foundation is expecting a lot of good and innovative proposals. Amounting to €30 million, the programme for non-governmental organisations in Romania is now one of the most important sources of funding for the NGO sector in the country.

“We are hoping that the EEA NGO programme will give opportunities for our civil society to get back on track.” said Ionut Sibian and explained that traditional donors have faced out their support over the last years. He underlines that one of the key benefits of the EEA Grants is that the funds are accessible for all NGOs - both small and grassroot NGOs as well as bigger and financially stronger ones.

The Civil Society Development Foundation is leading the consortium responsible for managing the NGO programme in Romania. The Resource Center for Roma Communities and the Romanian Environmental Partnership Foundation are the other members of the consortium.

Projects to start in 2014
The overall objective of the NGO programme in Romania is to strengthen civil society and increase its contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development.

“The NGO sector in Romania is still not very sustainable and the organisations often have few members. We hope that the programme will contribute to improve this.” said Sibian.

There has been huge interest for the programme and the Civil Society Development Foundation is expecting a lot of proposals to go through to select the around 200 projects that will receive funding in this round. In the first call, €15 930 000 will be allocated.

“We expect that the projects can start in the beginning of 2014. Then we will also open the second call under the programme.” said Sibian.

Welfare and education
The largest part of the allocation in this round will go to provision of welfare and basic services as well as education to vulnerable groups, including the Roma. Substantial part of the funding will support combating social exclusion and disparities and encourage participation and active citizenship to ensure practice of fundamental democratic values. Combating hate speech, extremism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexual harassment, violence against women and trafficking, promoting tolerance is also among the priorities. Projects contributing to sustainable development and NGO capacity building will also receive funding.

“By improving networks and coalitions and make NGOs speak up together, they will be more successful in their advocacy role.” said Sibian.