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Funds for non-governmental organisations - overview

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway support NGO programmes worth around €160 million in all 16 beneficiary countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

NGOs are also eligible for funding under many of the other thematic EEA and Norway Grants programmes.

Promoting democratic values including human rights and good governance, combating discrimination, intolerance, gender inequality and social exclusion, are central to the programmes. Addressing corruption and promoting transparency are also priorities in all countries. At least 10% of the funding is targeted to children- and youth-driven organisations and/or activities. In addition, the Grants may support much needed welfare and basic services to vulnerable groups and activities in the field of environmental protection and climate change.

Funding for NGOs is often scarce and inadequate, hampering capacity to anchor their role in society. The economic crisis continues to hit the sector hard. Sources of funding have been reduced and the crisis is also increasing inequalities and social tensions. It is essential that NGOs are able to advocate for vulnerable groups, tackle rising intolerance and provide key services, particularly to the most deprived.

Programme objective:

  • Strengthened civil society development and enhanced contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development

Expected outcomes:

  • Active citizenship fostered
  • Increased involvement of NGOs in policy and decision-making processes and their advocacy and watchdog role developed
  • Democratic values, including human rights, promoted
  • Strengthened capacity of NGOs and an enabling environment for the sector promoted
  • Cross-sectoral partnerships as well as networks and coalitions of NGOs working in partnership developed
  • Empowerment of vulnerable groups, such as Roma
  • Increased contribution to sustainable development achieved
  • Provision of welfare and basic services to defined target groups increased

A specific focus is placed on ensuring capacity building of the sector itself, through for example, organisational support, peer exchanges, training and mentoring.

Read more about country-specific areas of concern in the individual programme summaries for each country: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Factsheet: Civil society

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