Key information about the programme
- The programme is operated by: Centre for Information Service, Cooperation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) (lead) in consortium with Legal and Information Centre Maribor (PIP) and the Society for the Advancement of Voluntary Work Novo Mesto
- The programme’s objective is: Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered
- The programme funding amounts to €3 million and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.
Why is the programme needed?
The Active Citizens Fund in Slovenia 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 sector in recent years, one of the main challenges for Slovenian CSOs remains that unstable project-based financing makes their work less recognised and their social impact lower. Many CSOs engage in short-term projects and are not able to invest in their long-term capacity and sustainability, particularly in the areas of democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency. As a result, organisations working in these areas generally lack strong advocacy, communication and fundraising skills. Furthermore, their work tends to be research-based, with limited outreach and advocacy. Some organisations are more oriented towards activism, but the general level of civic engagement and the CSOs’ ability to foster social change is relatively low. Furthermore, organisations working in this area are mostly based in the capital. The situation is similar for youth organisations; while these organisations have professionalised in recent years, they also struggle to sustain themselves financially and often have weak connections to their constituencies.
What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?
In order to contribute to the overall programme objective, the ACF in Slovenia aims at addressing funding gaps and providing targeted financing to CSOs working with under-served geographic areas and target groups. Emphasis is put on improving the financial sustainability of CSOs, especially those working in the fields of democracy and human rights, by improving their ability to fundraise and diversify sources of income. The programme will support innovative methods for civic engagement and new approaches to empower vulnerable groups, including migrants and Roma. The development of innovative capacity building methods to improve transparent and accountable management/governance procedures, as well as CSO’s skills in monitoring, evaluation and evidence-based advocacy, will be encouraged. Youth inclusion is a horizontal priority and will be mainstreamed across the programme by encouraging CSOs to engage youth workers and volunteers in their activities and to target their projects to young people where such actions have the most impact.
The Active Citizens Fund in Slovenia covers the following five areas of support:
- Democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency
- Human rights and equal treatment through combating 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 contribute to strengthening bilateral relations between CSOs and other entities in Slovenia 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 Slovenia. Donor partnership projects will be facilitated through matchmaking events and activities in conjunction with the launch of calls for proposals and encouraged in call texts.
Availability of funding through open calls
The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls:
- Call 1: Call for medium, large projects – Q3 2019
- Call 3: Call for ‘quick response funds’ – Q1 2020
- Call 3: Call for institutional grants – Q2 2020
- Call 4: Call for small projects – Q1 2021
Precise timing of calls may be subject to change.
More information can also be found on the Fund Operator's website.