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Frontpage News 2013 First NGO projects in Latvia starting their work

Siging of the first NGO project contracts in Latvia 16 July 2013 Photo: Society Integration Foundation

First NGO projects in Latvia starting their work

Out of more than 350 applications, 99 projects under the EEA Grants’ NGO programme in Latvia have now been approved.

The first five of the ninty-nine project contracts were signed in Latvia on 16 July. The projects will now start their work. 

The NGO programme in Latvia provides for €10.3 million to strengthen civil society in the country by supporting social justice, democracy and sustainable development and improving the watchdog role of Latvia’s civil society. These 99 projects are the result of the first round of calls for proposals announced in November 2012.
The first five signed projects have the following focus:

  • Development of civil society in Kurzeme region through networking involving at least 150 NGOs. Among the key activities are also representation by NGOs in policy planning and promoting of volunteer opportunities.
  • Support for the Liepaja Society of the Blind will ensure continuity of the ongoing work of the association. Liepaja Society of the Blind has      envisioned to become a positive role model in the field of good governance and transparency by motivating other NGOs dealing with handicapped people to actively defend and represent interests of their target group.
  • The Latvian Fund for Nature foundation will be striving to achieve a better working environment for NGOs that deal with environmental issues, also envisaging participation of environmental NGOs at international processes, and ensuring public awareness of environmental NGOs.
  • The project aims to promote prosperity and reduce the risk of social exclusion in Aglona county involving children, young people and families with children in the learning of creative and social skills.
  • Children and Adolescent Diabetes Association of Latvia will expand the availability of information about diabetes to young people. They will also organize educational summer workshops for children and youth with diabetes in order to reduce their risk of social exclusion.

In addition to the recently approved 99 projects, implementation of the pre-defined project Support to sustainable civil society development and improvement of the monitoring system in Latvia started in the beginning of 2013.

Partnerships with donor state organisations
One of the programme’s focuses is to promote bilateral co-operation between NGOs from Latvia and NGOs or public institutions from the donor countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.  Four of the projects have involved a partner from the donor states.

Democracy and human rights 
Of the total funding for civil society in Latvia, 40% goes to supporting daily activities of NGOs in the following areas: democracy and participatory democracy; human rights, including minorities’ rights; good governance and transparency; combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination; gender equality and reduction of gender-based violence; environment and sustainable development. 

The remaining 60% of the programme funding support NGO projects in the following thematic areas: 

  • Social sector activities, including provision of welfare and basic services, local and regional NGO initiatives to reduce social inequalities and to promote social inclusion and gender-equality, including support to children and youth at risk; 
  • Development of a cohesive society – intercultural dialogue and integration of national minorities, including strengthening of human rights and national identity, awareness-raising informative and educational activities on citizenship issues and language training promoting democratic participation, prevention of discrimination, promotion of tolerance and acquisition of citizenship. 

The Council of the Society Integration Foundation operates the Latvian NGO programme.

The next call for proposals will be launched in the end of September 2013.
Read more about the programme.

Supporting civil society
Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtensteinand Norwayhave allocated around €147 million to strengthen civil society in the 15 beneficiary countries of the Grants. Promoting democratic values, including human rights and good governance, combating discrimination, intolerance, gender inequality and social exclusion are important goals.