41.5 million boost for Polish civil society
The most notable among the NGO funds supported by EEA and Norway Grants is the €41.5 million Polish NGO fund, representing a considerable push for civil society development, opening up for small grants to grassroots organisations over several years to come.
Due to the considerable size and scope of the Polish NGO fund, the three focus areas are managed by two organisations with ties to civil society and the areas of intervention. The Co-operation Fund Foundation isresponsible for the focus area of democracy and civil society. Environment al protection and sustainable development as well as equal opportunities and social integration is managed by Ecorys.
Since the launch of the NGO fund in 2007, around 3800 applications have been submitted for NGO projects to the two intermediaries. "Looking at the number of applications we have received, you can see that the NGO sector was waiting for an opportunity like this. The establishment of these funds was so important and so necessary for them," Bartosz Mielecki, fund coordinator for the component for Democracy and civil society, said. Rafał Szakalinis, fund coordinator at ECORYS Polska, echoed this: "Although funding opportunities for the Polish NGO community exist, these funds are unique in both size and duration," he said.
The current 165 project portfolio under the Polish NGO fund includes efforts to involve people in activities in support of human rights during the buildup to the Olympic Games in Beijing, promotion of social participation and rehabilitation for children with special needs through theatre and drama therapy, as well as support to the international film festival
WATCH DOCS and their goal of fostering social change and raising awareness about human rights.
The NGO fund opens up for cooperation projects between Polish civil society organisations, including social partners, and their counterparts from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to further the aim of strengthening bilateral cooperation between Poland and the EEA EFTA states. "We encourage the applicants to get the partners on board as early on in the process as possible, even in writing the applications. Fresh ideas and exchange of know-how can help the candidates at this crucial stage of the process," Szakalinis said.
Both intermediaries have attempted to achieve a fair distribution of the available resources. "Although it has been a challenge to attain a fair geographical distribution, we are pleased to see that our funding is also reaching grass root projects in smaller towns, not only the larger
organisations based in Warsaw," Mielecki said. Also Szakalinis, fund coordinator at Ecorys, underlined the fact that the Polish NGO sector has appreciated the way their funds have been distributed. "From our funds, it is not only the most powerful organisations who receive support," he said.
Fund for Non-governmental Organisations under the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, priority area: Equal opportunities and social integration
Type & project assistance:
Co-operation Fund Foundation and ECORYS Polska Sp. z o. o.
Type of institution:
Non-governmental organisation/Private owned enterprise
Project website:www.cofund.org.pl www.ecorys.pl
EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Grant agreement date:
23 February 2007
The purpose of the Fund is the support of NGOs aiming to resolve pressing social problems faced by local communities. The overall objective is ensuring participation of NGOs in the reduction of social and economic disparities within the EEA, increasing the role of civil society in Poland, and promoting bilateral relations between Poland and the donor states. This Fund forms a part (one of three) of the NGO Fund in Poland. Reference is made to the application dated 19 December 2006, further information from the Focal Point dated 10 January 2007, the Terms of Reference for the NGO Fund Intermediary procurement procedure approved by the donors on 28 September 2006, the NGO Fund: Framework Document published with the tender announcement for the NGO Fund Intermediary procurement procedure, as well as the results of the procurement procedure approved by the Tender Committee on 1 December 2006.
The completed Fund shall include the following activities and results:
- grants to NGOs;
- management costs;
The Intermediary is Ecorys Polska Sp. z o.o.
The Focal Point shall provide at least 10 percent of the estimated eligible Fund cost.