First 79 projects approved under the Czech NGO Fund
On 13 June, 79 Czech non-governmental organisations signed contracts with the Civil Society Development Foundation (NROS), the manager of the NGO fund supported by the EEA Grants in the Czech Republic, marking the completion of the evaluation of applications from the fund's highly popular first call for proposals this spring.
The €10 million NGO Fund, financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, provides easily-accessible grants to Czech NGOs and their partners, and the 79 successful applicants were ready to start their projects already the day after signing their contracts with NROS.
"We received an enormous number of applications from NGOs in this first call," said NROS programme manager Bojan Šuh, referring to the 404 applications NROS received in the €3.1 million call for proposals. The selected 79 projects cover NGOs from all corners of the Czech Republic and the entire spectrum of possible activities to be supported by the fund. Among the recipients of grants are well-known groups and organisations, such as the Czech Helsinki Committee, the environmental organisation Brontosaurus and the Czech League of Human Rights. Several Czech NGOs have also initiated contact with Norwegian NGOs, to transfer know-how and cooperate during the implementation of their projects.
Among the projects now up and running are a the enhancement of activities of a youth club for Roma and Czech children, assistance to victims of domestic violence and monitoring of internet extremism – all three within the focus area "strengthening human rights and multicultural environment". The projects under the focus area "support to children and young people with specific problems" are equally diverse, including social integration of children of imprisoned persons, telephone help lines for children and adolescents, support to families with disabled children, and a theatre group which will raise awareness on the situation of refugees. Among the projects supported within the third focus area "environmental protection" supported projects will target renewable energy, waste separation and minimisation, organic food development and protection of owls.
To see a full list with description of each successful application from the first call for proposals click here (in Czech only).
NROS has extensive experience with managing internationally funded grant schemes for civil society actors in the Czech Republic, but the interest spurred by the NGO Fund funded by the EEA Grants is unparalleled in recent years. According to Šuh, 2007 has been a drought year for NGO funding in the Czech Republic, and the EEA Grants NGO Fund has been close to the only financial source for Czech NGOs this year. Two additional calls for a total €6.2 million will be held over the coming three years. "NGOs need sustainability, and we will work hard to launch the second call this autumn," Šuh said, adding: "Through the EEA Grants we now have the money available. There is definitely a need for this kind of funding, and there is a sufficient absorption capacity in the Czech NGO community."