Programme implementation agreement signed for the Active Citizens Fund – National in Poland

The programme implementation agreement for the Active Citizens Fund – National in Poland was signed on 23 October 2019.

Photo credits: Adam Rostkowski

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: The Stefan Batory Foundation (SBF) in partnership with the Unit for Social Innovation and Research (“Shipyard”), and the Academy of Civic Organizations Foundation (FAOO).
  2. The programme’s objective is: Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered.
  3. The programme funding amounts to €30 million and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The Active Citizens Fund-National 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.

For almost three decades Poland has served as an example of the successful transition from communist system to liberal democracy and a free-market economy. During these years Poland built a sound political framework, democratic institutions with strong and trusted local self-government, free media and an independent judiciary. Recent developments show, however, that Poland is not immune to democratic backsliding. Vulnerable groups, specifically women, people with disabilities as well as LGBT+ people, and various minorities still face serious obstacles in terms of discrimination, negligence, absence from public discourse. There is an undeniable need for support of CSOs representing the rights and interests of vulnerable groups and advocating on their behalf.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

In order to contribute to the overall programme objective, the Active Citizens FundNational is designed to respond to the challenges and needs of civil society in Poland. It will strive to contribute to strengthening active citizenship and the greater empowerment of vulnerable groups, as well as to the enhanced sustainability of civil society through a mix of grants for projects in thematic areas with capacity-building components; grants for sectoral projects; and through implementation of two pre-defined projects focusing on issues of special importance.

In addition, the Active Citizens FundNational, will address measures to promote civic participation and raising awareness on environmental challenges for society. Gender equality and gender-based violence will be emphasized to ensure a more integrated approach to women’s rights and gender equality, since they are a part of wider human rights agenda. The Active Citizens FundNational aims at increasing the offering of support for CSOs working in the areas of strengthening democracy, human rights, gender equality and social justice. It will also be an important actor investing in building capacity and sustainability of CSOs, civic media and watchdogs.

The Active Citizens FundNational 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 CSOs in Poland and entities in the donor states. Bilateral cooperation will add value for projects aimed at enhanced social inclusion and empowerment of vulnerable groups, without exclusion of any other types of projects. The Fund Operator will take an active part in matchmaking and in building bridges among CSOs in Poland and in the donor states through cooperation with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Iceland Human Rights Centre .Thematic areas for bilateral cooperation with a strong donor state tradition are identified, such as women’s rights and empowerment, vulnerable groups and refugees (Iceland); environmental protection, civic education of youth, equal treatment policies and countering gender-based violence (Norway).

Availability of funding through open calls

In addition to two pre-defined projects, the funding in this programme will be made available through two open calls for thematic projects with two separate tracks (small and large grants); and one open call for sectoral projects.

  • I Open Call – thematic projects: deadline 31 March 12h00
  • II Open Call – thematic projects: call will be announced in November 2020
  • Open Call – sectoral project: call will be announced in May 2020

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

The Active Citizens FundNational and the Active Citizens FundRegional

A second programme, the Active Citizens Fund – Regional, is currently being developed in Poland with an allocation of 23 million. It will be operated by a consortium consisting of Foundation in Support of Local Democracy (FSLD), Information Society Development Foundation (ISDF) and Education for Democracy Foundation (EDF). For further information please see: