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Frontpage News 2013 12.6 million to Hungarian NGOs

Launch of NGO programme in Hungary 12 February 2013. Photo: Andreas Myrseth, Norwegian Embassy in Budapest
Hungarian, Icelandic and Norwegian NGO participated in a speed-dating session with the aim of identifying opportunities for project collaboration. Photo: Andreas Myrseth, Norwegian Embassy in Budapest

12.6 million to Hungarian NGOs

With funding for activities of the Hungarian non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector drying up over the last few years, civil society representatives from Hungary have embraced the launch of the NGO fund. Nine calls for proposals are now open.

The interest in the launch event, which took place in Budapest, Hungary on 12 February 2013, was huge. The 200 available seats were filled three days after the registration opened.

“We should have reserved the sports arena in order to invite all 800 organisations who were interested in participating”, said Veronika Móra, director of Ökotárs foundation, the foundation operating the NGO fund in Hungary.

Under the fund the three donor states, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway allocate 12.6 million euros to support the Hungarian civil society. This is  welcome, especially since both public and private NGO financing in Hungary have been cut over the last few years as a result of economic hardship.

A lifeline for Hungarian NGOs
“The NGO fund is a lifeline for all organisations fighting to survive,” said Ágnes Balázsiné Gődér, the representative of a local NGO from Szolnok in Hungary. “In cooperation with the local schools, we implemented a successful project with support from the EEA and Norway Grants some years ago. We hope to be able to continue our activities, and perhaps even find a Norwegian partner to inspire us.”

Her organisation was primarily engaged in community-building programmes and awareness-raising for environmental consciousness for both local children and their parents.
The aim of the NGO fund is to strengthened civil society development and enhanced contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development. This includes for example projects that will contribute to combatting intolerance and hate speech, support gender equality and inclusion of vulnerable groups and minorities such as the Roma. 

Speed-dating with potential Norwegian and Icelandic partners
Strengthening bilateral cooperation between the donor countries and Hungary is another overarching objective of the NGO fund. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is responsible for facilitating this process. More than ten Norwegian and Icelandic organisations participated in the NGO event in Hungary. They had the opportunity to briefly present themselves and took part in a speed-dating session with NGOs from Hungary with the aim of identifying opportunities for project collaboration.

Nine calls for proposals open
Following the launch event, nine calls for applications are now open. The application deadlines for the various sub-programmes are 29 March and 29 April. For more information, visit the website of the NGO fund, which will also be available in English soon: www.norvegcivilalap.hu

English information about the call can be found here.