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Frontpage News 2012 Strengthening civil society


Strengthening Bulgarias civil society

  • The €2 million Bulgarian NGO fund provides long-awaited grants to civil society projects across Bulgaria. In the period 2004-2009, grants under the fund are awarded to 61 projects that aim to protect the environment and promote sustainable development, provide improved social services, develop civil society or protect human rights.

    "The fund targets civic participation at grassroots level, seeking to empower and enable citizens to stay keen and monitor the activity of governmental structures and other institutional actors," said Irena Boneva, project manager at the Foundation for Local Government Reform, which manages the Bulgarian NGO fund.

    In July 2008, the €2 million NGO fund was established under the EEA Grants in Bulgaria to provide funding for civil society organisations that would otherwise operate under unstable or poor financial circumstances. "We would like to focus the attention of the civil organisations to bring together more people in order to make their voice and impact more legitimate and well-heard", Boneva said, adding: "Hopefully, this pushes the state agencies and institutions to better perform their services to the citizens and ensure democratic space for the visibility of civil interests".

    A complete list of all supported projects can be found on the website of the Fund.

    Encouraging civic participation

    "SOS families at risk" is one of the NGOs that have already been awarded support. Through organised information activities, the project seeks to prevent trafficking of women and children. Volunteers will be trained to educate staff at child care institutions about the potential risk of human trafficking among children living in institutions. A number of projects are also ongoing under the NGO fund to increase civic participation and transparency, such as the project "The village takes the floor," which encourages civil monitoring of local authorities and public institutions.

    The Youth Volunteer Club in Kjustendil is one of the projects supported by the Bulgarian NGO fund. Photo: Bratstvo Community Center.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    National - NGO fund

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    NGO funds


    € 2,064,000



    Type & project assistance:

    NGO Fund

    Project promoter:

    Foundation for Local Government Reform

    Type of institution:

    Non governmental organisation

    Project website:

    Project duration:

    34 months

    Project cost:

    € 2,064,000

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    30 June 2008

    The purpose of the Fund is to strengthen civil society in Bulgaria by supporting sub-projects within the thematic areas protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable development, provision and development of social services (such as health and childcare), as well as development of civil society and protection of human rights, with the overall objective of ensuring the participation of NGOs in the reduction of social and economic disparities within the EEA. Reference is made to the donor-approved Terms of Reference for the NGO fund in Bulgaria of 20 December 2007, the Operator's bid of 29 February 2008, and the draft agreement for the NGO fund in Bulgaria between the FMO and the Operator of June 2008.

    The completed Fund shall include the following activities and results:

    - fund management, including monitoring, financial control, re-granting, and publicity / information activities;

    - re-granting of funds to sub-projects.

    The Operator is the Foundation for Local Government Reform. Subject to national law, the Fund will be implemented in partnership with the Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation (EkoObshnost).