Programme implementation agreement signed for the Active Citizens Fund in Latvia

The programme implementation agreement for the Active Citizens Fund in Latvia was signed on 27 December 2019.

Photo credits: Tomas Cernisevas

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Civic Alliance Latvia (CAL) as the consortium lead, in partnership with Dienvidlatgale NGO Support Centre (DNGOSC), Kurzeme NGO Support Centre (KNGOSC), Latvian Rural Forum (LRF), Valmiera Region Community Foundation (VRCF) and Zemgale NGO Support Centre (ZNGOSC).
  2. The programme’s objective is: Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered.
  3. The programme funding amounts to €8,5 million and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The Active Citizens Fund in Latvia reflects a firm recognition of the civil society sector’s role as a fundamental building block of democratic governance, human rights and social cohesion.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) mobilise participation in civic life, and play a key role in promoting active citizen engagement in decision-making at local, national and European levels. CSOs tackle social problems arising from inequality and discrimination. They contribute to the activation and empowerment of disadvantaged people and minority groups, by helping them overcome barriers to participation and ensure that their voices are heard.

The CSO sector in Latvia is seen to have increased its capacity and advocacy power over the past years. However, this mostly concerns a limited number of national level CSOs while large part of the CSOs continue to struggle with limited capacity in terms of financial, organisational and human resources. Many CSO rely on short term project funding which makes the long-term strategic planning and development challenging. The greatest difference in funding and capacity is seen between national level organisations located in Riga, and regional and local CSOs. In order to increase the CSO activity in the local level, the programme will have a specific regional approach, providing support to the local level CSOs in all corners of Latvia.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries? 

The main goals of the programme are to strengthen democratic culture and civic awareness, increase support for human rights and enhance capacity and sustainability of civil society sector and organisations. The programme will support civic participation on democratic processes, civic education initiatives, reinforce CSO watchdog and advocacy role and emphasise intercultural dialogue activities as part of human rights.

The Active Citizens Fund in Latvia covers the following areas of support:

  • Democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency
  • Human rights and equal treatment through combatting any discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups

Gender equality is intended as a horizontal activity in all activities. Environment and climate change will be supported as part of measures to promote civic participation, advocacy, social innovation and active citizenship.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations? 

The programme will contribute to strengthening bilateral relations between CSOs and other entities in Latvia and in the Donor States, in line with the overall objectives of the Grants. Bilateral cooperation shall be mutually beneficial, based on a strategic and long-term perspective, and leveraging the respective strengths of entities in the Donor States and in Latvia. The Programme shall, as appropriate, facilitate donor partnership projects by carrying out, inter alia, match-making events and activities in conjunction with launching calls for proposals, as well as by encouraging donor partnership projects in call texts. The FO shall work in close cooperation with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Icelandic Centre for Human Rights.

Availability of funding through open calls

In addition to two pre-defined projects, the funding in this programme will be made available through 7 open calls.

  • The pre-defined project “National research paper on CSOs sector” aims to obtain recent and objective data on the development and economic contribution of the Latvian civil society sector, with the aim of supporting advocacy and improving CSOs’ legal and financial environment.
  • The pre-defined project “Academy of Civic Competence „Change Maker”” aims to strengthen and empower CSOs, as well as encourage and promote active citizenship.

Download the full programme implementation agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information about the programme and upcoming calls can be found on the Fund Operator’s website.