November launch of Estonia and Portugal NGO Funds
November will see the establishment of two NGO funds supported by the EEA Grants: a €1 million NGO Fund in Portugal that aims to promote gender equality and help the young to become active citizens, and a €2.3 million Estonian NGO Fund supporting democracy and civil society, environment and sustainable development, and social integration and local development.
Portugal NGO fund
The €1 million Portuguese NGO Fund will support small-scale, local projects promoting gender equality and active citizenship. The Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) in Portugal will manage the fund. The CIG will launch the fund in November, with an open call for NGO projects planned for early 2008.
Vitor Peña Ferreira of the CIG, said the NGO fund would allow the organisation to work in a broader range of questions related to citizenship and gender equality. "The EEA Grants supported NGO fund match our previous activities. We will now be able to enhance the institutional capacity of Portuguese NGOs, and, more specifically, encourage young people to play an active part in their local communities," Ferreira said. Supported projects will target some of the more deprived areas in Portugal, and empowering vulnerable social groups in the area of employment and entrepreneurship is also a focus area under the fund.
Manuela Marinho, also of the CIG, said the possibilities for NGOs to carry out projects will have a double meaning for the organisations. "Projects targeting issues such as human rights, political participation and citizenship in general are not only important to empower NGOs, to make them stronger and more connected to their communities, but also because these projects spread the understanding of such problems," Marinho said, adding: "If we do a project on gender equality or citizenship in a community and really involve the people there, they are going to discuss and develop these questions also after the project ends."
For further information run a search for PT0032 in the EEA Grants project database or see the CIG website. A second NGO Fund for Portugal that will target environment issues is under preparation.
Estonia NGO fund
The €2.3 million Estonian NGO Fund will be launched in Tallinn on 22 November, with the call for proposals due to open shortly afterwards by the fund manager Open Estonia Foundation.
Estonian NGOs and social partners can then apply for funding for projects within the focus areas democracy and civil society, environment and sustainable development, and social integration and local development. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are supporting the Estonian NGO fund with €2.1 million, with the Estonian government providing the remaining ten percent of the fund.
To promote grassroots cooperation under the EEA Grants, Norwegian organisations and institutions are able to participate together with an Estonian lead partner. Norwegian institutions are also invited to the launch in Tallinn on 22 November, which will take place at the 5th Estonian Civil Society Conference. Elisabeth Walaas, State Secretary in the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be present at the opening.
Norwegian NGOs that want to participate at the event must sign up before the 8 November deadline. More information is available at the homepage of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, which is coordinating the participation by Norwegian NGOs. Further details can also be found by running a search for EE0014 in the EEA Grants project database.