Important capacity building in the Latvian NGO sector
On 28 April, a seminar on the Latvian NGO Funds was held in Riga to allow Latvian NGOs to discuss lessons learned in the 2004-2009 grants period and the role of the NGO Funds in the development of Latvian civil society in the future.
The voluntary and civil society sector plays a fundamental role in developing democracy, promoting human rights, raising awareness of societal concerns and engaging citizens in debates. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are committed to encourage the development of civil societies across Central and Southern Europe. Over the five-year period 2004-09, €85 million were earmarked for funds for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 12 beneficiary states.
In Latvia, over 160 projects were awarded grants through 2 NGO Funds aimed at supporting the operational development and capacity building of NGOs and the strengthening of democracy, human rights and social inclusion. To share experiences on the implementation of these projects, the Latvian Society Integration Fund in cooperation with the Norwegian Royal Society and the Latvian Civic Alliance organised a seminar in Riga on 28 April.
In his opening speech at the conference, the Norwegian Ambassador to Latvia, Jan Grevstad, referred to the EEA and Norway Grants’ overall goal of contributing to reducing social and economic disparities. “It is our firm belief that NGOs can strongly contribute to achieving this by generating social capital and social mobilisation, representing alternative views and sources of information in public debates, by functioning as advocacy groups, by contributing to innovation and democratisation, and by providing key accessible and affordable services, particularly to those most excluded from the society”, Ambassador Grevstad said.
Through workshops, 170 NGO representatives were given the opportunity to exchange views on lessons learned from the 2004-09 grants period and to prepare recommendations for the proposals for future support to NGOs. The participants also discussed the role of NGO funds in the development of the Latvian civil society.
Read more about the NGO Funds and supported projects in Latvia here.
Photo credit: Latvian Society Integration Fund