Key information about the programme
- The programme is operated by: Open Lithuania Foundation in partnership with OSFL Projektai and Geri Norai.
- The programme’s objective is: Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered.
- The programme funding amounts to €9 million and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.
Why is the programme needed?
The Active Citizens Fund in Lithuania 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.
Despite increased support for the civil society in recent years, there is still a lack of funding for Lithuanian CSOs, particularly those working in the areas of democracy and human rights. Citizens’ engagement in civic activities remains low and there is a clear need for financial support and capacity building measures aimed at strengthening the sector. Civic empowerment indicators (USAID Civil Society Sustainability Index, CSI Civic Empowerment Index) remain largely unchanged over the last decade. Even though national strategic documents acknowledge the importance of citizens’ participation in policy making processes, the lack of resources, capacities and sustainability of the civil society sector create a gap between policy and practice.
What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?
In order to contribute to the overall programme objective, the Active Citizens Fund in Lithuania will support activities and actions promoting democratic values and human rights across the country. The programme will encourage citizens to address and consult public policy decisions, including those in the area of gender equality, environment and climate change. The creation and development of infrastructure for public dialogue, such as digital tools and platforms, to encourage public participation will also be encouraged.
In the area of human rights, the programme will support essential and vital human rights defending actions, including advocacy in support of freedom of expression, LGBTI+ rights, anti-discrimination activities, strategic litigation initiatives, research and analysis. In addition, a pre-defined project will carry out a nation-wide awareness-raising campaign aimed at fostering sustained change in public attitudes to human rights and equal treatment. The programme will also support empowerment measures for vulnerable groups and the CSOs representing them. Specific attention will be devoted to training vulnerable individuals to advocate for themselves and their communities’ needs. In the area of capacity building, special emphasis is put on promoting the financial sustainability of CSOs. A second pre-defined project will be aimed at empowering CSOs through mentoring and leadership training in order to assist local CSOs in strengthening their organisational development capacities.
Across the programme, initiatives promoting inter-cultural integration, with special emphasis on national minorities, will be encouraged.
The Active Citizens Fund in Lithuania covers the following five 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 and gender-based violence
- Environment and climate change
How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?
The programme will aim to foster partnerships of high quality and mutual benefit for diverse Lithuanian CSOs and entities in the Donor States. The Fund Operator will take an active part in matchmaking and in building bridges among CSOs in Lithuania and in the Donor States through cooperation with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Iceland Human Rights Centre.
Availability of funding through open calls
In addition to two pre-defined projects, the funding in this programme will be made available through open calls.
More information about the programme and upcoming calls can be found on the Fund Operator’s website.
Download the full programme implementation agreement for more detailed information about the programme.