Against a backdrop of global challenges, the EEA and Norway Grants have been instrumental in forging bonds across borders and uniting Donor and Beneficiary States in a common mission. These partnerships have not only tackled pressing issues but have also paved the way for a greener, more competitive, and inclusive Europe.
As we embark on 2024, we revisit some of last year's most influential collaborations, celebrating the collective strength and ambition that continue to shape our shared future.
1. Breaking barriers, building bridges
Breaking barriers, building bridges showcases a project that focuses on building connections and fostering understanding. The EEA and Norway Grants, in partnership with the European Wergeland Centre in Norway, are actively supporting schools in Greece to provide quality education to the 40,000 refugee and migrant children in Greece. This initiative focused on dismantling social and cultural barriers, enhancing mutual respect, and fostering a sense of belonging among diverse communities.
Through this project, we don’t just give the opportunity to one school or one school community. Between our core team in Athens and our team in Norway, we see the impact and power of this project across multiple regions in Greece and school communities. Kjersti Klette, Project Manager, European Wergeland Centre Norway
2. Romania and Norway's partnership on migration
In Romania and Norway's partnership on migration, we delve into a compelling narrative of collaboration in addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time: migration. The project seeks to bolster Romania's capacity to respond effectively to mass influxes of migrants. With a special emphasis on the protection of vulnerable immigrants and unaccompanied minors, the initiative shows how cooperation between Norway and Romania can help in addressing complex global issues.
For some time, the Norway Grants have supported our efforts to enhance the response capacity of our migration management systems, particularly along the border and in our cities. Mihai Vladoui, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romania
3. Exploring new realities in Slovenia
The Exploring new realities in Slovenia project took us on a journey into the future. It showcased how Slovenia, with support from the Grants, is pioneering in the field of virtual reality, using this cutting-edge technology to address educational and social issues. This project is a shining example of how embracing new technologies can lead to revolutionary changes in how we live and learn.
4. Champions of change
In a world where inclusivity is a pillar of societal development, ensuring that children with disabilities have equal opportunities is paramount. To meet this essential need, a groundbreaking inclusion project supported by the EEA and Norway Grants is contributing to a space where children are empowered to use their full potential. Champions of change highlights the power of grassroots initiatives in driving societal change. This project supported local heroes and changemakers who are making a real difference in their communities.
People with disabilities should be able to participate equally in all areas of life. Living independently, learning in an inclusive environment, and working under appropriate standards are conditions that we need to ensure to all citizens to enable them to flourish and live life to the fullest. Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli
5. Harmony in nature: biosphere reserves
Finally, in Biosphere reserves: where humans and nature coexist, we explored the delicate balance between human activity and nature. The exploitation of ecosystems by humans has long-lasting consequences that are now crystal clear: climate change, loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation. These consequences threaten the foundations of our existence. By showing that it’s possible for humans and nature to truly coexist in harmony, the project demonstrated the possibilities of sustainable living, serving as a blueprint for future conservation efforts.
The project was an answer to a desire and request from many Biosphere Reserves in Portugal that felt the need to support and enhance what Biosphere Reserves are. Antonio Abreu, Project Coordinator
As we step into 2024, let's carry the spirit of these stories with us. For more insights into the transformative power of cooperation and to discover other inspiring projects, visit the #OurStories campaign at https://eeagrants.org/ourstories.
Join us in celebrating the achievements of 2023 and look forward to more opportunities to work together for a green, more competitive and inclusive Europe. Let's make 2024 a year of continued collaboration, innovation, and positive impact.
Find out more about #OurStories here.