Strengthened civil society development and enhanced contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development
The NGO Platform of Social Action
23 April 2013
PA10 - Funds for non-governmental organisations
Calls for proposals
There are no further calls for proposals.
Why was the programme needed?
Civil society in Spain experienced several challenges in the aftermath of the financial crisis. In addition, the sector has detected needs among the NGOs to improve their procedures, strategies and participation in the social and political life. The Second Strategic Plan of the Third Sector of Social Action of Spain was published in 2012. The challenges highlighted in the plan were analysed and addressed by the NGO programme.
What did the programme achieve?
The programme contributed social change regarding social inclusion and combating discrimination as well as the empowerment of citizens to participate in decision-making processes. Taking into account that according to the latest available data the number of entities that form the Third Social Sector (TSS) in Spain is around 29,000 (working in many fields) it is beyond doubt that the programme was not able to include all of them. However, 38 projects supported by the programme reported good results. For example, more than 75% of projects have been implemented in partnership, which means that the programme has directly reached almost 160 organisations, including public administration, companies, cooperatives and universities. Furthermore, the development of these projects during 2014 and 2015 employed more than 380 persons: 211 part time, 58 full time and 119 volunteers. These data are particularly relevant because Spain is the country with the highest rate of unemployment in Europe , so any contribution in this regard deserves to be mentioned.
Finally, regarding national policies and legislation, it can be stressed that during these years of implementation two Laws, linked with the sector, have been approved: the New Spanish Law on Volunteerism and the Law for the Third Sector of Social Action, which demonstrates the importance of strengthening the capacity of NGOs and the Third Sector and fostering cooperation with local, regional and national authorities regarding social inclusion, services and policies.
Since the beginning of the Programme, the programme adopted a strategic approach by helping several NGOs to overcome the current problems emerged with the crisis and face the new challenges for the future by increasing their involvement in policy and decision making processes, developing partnerships and networks, and strengthening their capacity. Most of the projects have helped to reduce economic and social disparities in their respective areas of focus, following the main objectives of the EEA Grants. These NGOs played a crucial role in promoting social inclusion of people at risk of social exclusion, although the latest available data show that the number of people at risk is increasing since 2012 (in 2014 more than 13 million). In particular, between 2013 and 2014, 13 of the 17 regions in Spain have a higher unemployment rate than when the programme was launched. The distribution of the projects in the different regions of Spain has been strategic in order to achieve a higher impact implementing more than half the projects in 2 or more regions. Around 15% of the funding was invested in very vulnerable regions such as Andalusia or Murcia. According the review of project promoters’ final reports, the programme has had a direct impact for approximately 115,000 people.
How were bilateral relations strengthened?
The Programme Operator has encouraged the cooperation with donor state organisations at different levels. First of all, at the beginning of the Programme and within the framework of the call for proposals, it was possible to apply for additional funding to set meetings up with potential donor state partners to draft the project application together. Furthermore, through other measures, the cooperation has been developed by two projects in partnership with two organisations in Norway and one in Iceland. In addition, three study visits with higher results than expected were undertaken. Finally, the Programme Operator has also promoted the cooperation with experts from Norway and Iceland in the Bilateral Seminar ‘Strategic alliances to improve NGO results: Defense of Social Rights and Economic Sustainibility of Social Projects’. All these activities have engaged almost 70 persons (33 women and 36 men), at least 18 organisations and 9 agreements in addition to the projects developed in partnership that have much more people involved and important results achieved. Two main results have been achieved under the two projects in partnership with donor countries:
Through the No Hate Speech Network, led by the FELGTB and formed by prosecutors, security forces of the state, media, companies, administration and NGOs, (including two organisations from donor countries: SAMTOKIN'78 from Iceland and the Norwegian LGBTI-organisation FRI) a No Hate Observatory has been created: http://www.felgtb.com/redescontraodio/docs/?lang=en with information and data regarding hate crimes.
The project eCitizen promoted by Siderurgia Integral Workers Foundation with Idébanken from Norway as one of the partners, has produced a Methodological Guide aiming at diagnosing and generating tools to empower the local population through volunteering: http://www.ecitizenbarakaldo.com/en/contents/products
Spain and the donor countries are quite different. However, bilateral activities have helped to increase the knowledge of each other´s countries and systems in subjects such as the fight against discrimination and hate crimes against LGBTI people, fight against homelessness, youth, volunteering, or social innovation. Also, there has been different level of knowledge and mutual understanding. The two projects implemented in partnership gained a deeper knowledge of the donor countries organisations than those organisations involved in study visits because of the time and the degree of collaboration. As wider effects, it can be expected that the signed collaboration agreements consolidate future relations in areas such as social inclusion or ‘Housing First’ initiatives.
What will be the impact of the programme?
The most important effects of the programme, continuing after the funds, are the knowledge acquired by the organisations to improve their mechanisms and strategies and their participation in social and political life. These experiences and knowledge are expected to be, for many organisations, a starting point for a mid-term work. Furthermore, other positive effect of the programme has been the conduction of the ‘Study of the Third Social Action Sector in Spain’ which has analysed the evolution of the sector since 2010 and the current situation and it has enlightened the future challenges.