Contribution to a strengthened Hungarian civil society
On 10 April a €6.5 million NGO Fund established to support Hungarian civil society was launched in Budapest.
"Civil society and NGOs are crucial actors in democratic processes by provding arenas for broad public participation", Norway's State Secretary Elisabeth Walaas said in her opening speech at the launch event. Through the EEA and Norway Grants Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will contribute €6.5 million to amplify Hungarian NGO voices.
Walaas underlined that civil society needs to be provided with the space and opportunity to play its role in developing sustainable civil society activities and reducing social and economic disparities in Europe. The new separate grant scheme for Hungarian NGOs comes on top of the opportunities for NGOs to submit project proposals under the previous open calls in Hungary.
The NGO Fund launched its first call on 10 April, and in order to better target the Hungarian NGO sector two categories of grants are available. NGOs can either apply for macro projects ranging from €25,000 to €80,000 or micro projects from €5,000 to €25,000. Fund manager the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation will accept applications until 9 June. Project proposals can be submitted in partnership with NGOs from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
An additional call for micro projects will be held next year for organisations that were not supported in the first round, with the call launch set for February 2009.
The fund is open for project proposals within all the priority sectors of the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. To facilitate the implementation of the fund, these sectors have been grouped into four thematic areas:
- Environmental protection and sustainable development;
- Civil liberties and capacity building;
- Social cohesion, and health and childcare; and
- Cultural heritage.