Programme implementation agreement signed for the Active Citizens Fund in the Czech Republic

The programme implementation agreement for the Active Citizens Fund in the Czech Republic was signed on 12 June 2019.  

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Key information about the programme

  • The programme is operated by: Open Society Fund Prague (lead) in consortium with the Committee of Good Will - Olga Havel Foundation and the Czech Scouting Institute 
  • The programme's objective is: Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered 
  • The programme funding amounts to €15 million and is funded entirely through the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The Active Citizens Fund in the Czech Republic 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.

While a relatively large network of professional CSOs, smaller associations and local initiatives have emerged in the Czech Republic since 1989, only a small number have regular and sustainable income. Dependence on short-term funding impedes their ability to carry out long-term activities and make strategic plans that would strengthen their core activities – a particularly serious challenge for organizations engaged in advocacy and watchdog work. While mechanisms for participation in the formulation of public policy exist, the lack of capacity, resources and time of CSOs hinder their effectiveness. Insufficient knowledge in monitoring, evaluation and impact measurement, and lack of ability to communicate the societal benefits of their activities, limit the potential for public support and attracting potential donors.  

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries? 

The programme aims at strengthening the civil society sector and promoting public participation and active citizenship as key components of democracy. The Active Citizens Fund in the Czech Republic will be a main financing source for projects on democracy, human rights, and the environment. Strengthening the capacity, sustainability and resilience of CSOs will leave them better equipped to influence policies, to advocate for systemic change and to contribute to the empowerment and inclusion of minorities (with a particular focus on Roma). Emphasis is put on civic education and media literacy, and on providing CSOs with necessary skills and know-how to be able to advocate better and more efficiently for public interests, including those of vulnerable groups. Increasing civic participation among youth and ‘emerging adults’ (aged 18-30) is a priority. Overall, while the programme makes funding available to CSOs, the Active Citizens Fund in the Czech Republic will ultimately increase citizens’ ability to take action to defend their rights, and participate in democratic life at a local, regional and national level.  

The Active Citizens Fund in the Czech Republic covers the following five areas of support: (1) Democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency; (2) 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; (3) Social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups; (4) Gender equality and gender-based violence; and (5) 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 the Czech Republic 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 the Czech Republic. Donor partnership projects will be facilitated through matchmaking events and activities in conjunction with the launch of calls for proposals, as well as encouraged in call texts.   

Availability of funding through open calls

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

  • Call 1: Call for strategic and mid-sized projects – Q3 2019 
  • Call 2: Call for ‘matching grants’ projects – Q2 2020
  • Call 3: Rolling call for action grants – from Q3 2020 
  • Call 4: Call for mid-sized projects – Q2 2021 
  • A separate, ongoing call for bilateral initiatives will be open from Q3 2019 to Q3 2023. 

Precise timing of calls may be subject to change. 

More information can also be found on the Fund Operator’s website