Strengthening civil society in Cyprus
The €1.5 million NGO fund in Cyprus awarded grants to 33 projects aimed at improving health and childcare services or empowering young people to take part in civil society. Several projects are common initiatives by organisations from the 2 Cypriot communities.
The Cypriot NGO fund was highly anticipated when launched in December 2008, and more than 100 applications were submitted during the open call for proposals, which was completed in March 2009. Grants were awarded to 33 projects.
NGOs are important providers of health and childcare services in Cyprus, and the support from the fund allows these organisations to reach out to a broader group of beneficiaries, from regional/rural communities in need of better childcare to patient groups lacking access to good health services. Several of the many projects seeking to empower young are bi-communal initiatives benefiting both Cypriot communities
Bi-communal and bilateral cooperation
One of the aims of the Cypriot NGO fund is to contribute to strengthened contacts between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. At the outset, a minimum of 1/5 of the funding had been earmarked for bi-communal projects, but with collaborative efforts proving popular, close to 40% of the selected projects are implemented in cooperation between organisations or groups from the 2 communities. "The NGO fund serves as a powerful tool to encourage dialogue between the 2 communities in Cyprus," says Marilena Ioannidou, Project Manager of the NGO Fund Intermediary, First Elements Euroconsultants.
According to Ioannidou, a substantial percentage of the supported projects will also be carried out in partnership with organisations from the donor states. "Traditionally, Cypriot NGOs have not been very extroverted. Through the partnerships created under the NGO fund however, we hope the civil society sector in Cyprus will seize the opportunity to engage in further international cooperation."
Important project funding
Although many Cypriot NGOs were established already in the 1970s, the island's civil society has become increasingly active over the last decade. But with funding hard to come by, it has been difficult for the organisations to engage in large scale project activities. "The fact that the NGO fund offers support to an area previously without extensive funding opportunities has been an important element, and is also reflected in the high interest from Cypriot civil society organisations," Ioannidou said.
Management of the Fund for Non Governmental Organisations (NGO FUND) co-financed by the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism
Type & project assistance:
First Elements Euroconsultants Ltd
Type of institution:
Private owned enterprise
EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Grant agreement date:
30 January 2009
The purpose of the Fund is to contribute to the improvement of health and childcare services and to the empowerment of young people in the civil society through NGO activities, with the overall objective of enhancing participation of civil society organisations in the reduction of economic and social disparities within the Republic of Cyprus. Reference is made to the application dated 9 October 2008 and any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.
The completed Fund shall include the following activities and results:
- Re-granting to sub-projects promoted by NGOs active in the areas of health and childcare and empowerment of young people,
- Fund management, including publicity.
The Intermediary is the First Elements Euroconsultants Ltd.
The Focal Point shall ensure that the State budget of the Republic of Cyprus provides at least 10.02 percent of the estimated eligible Project costs.