The Ekopolis Foundation, the Carpathian Foundation and the Open Society Foundation presented a new Active Citizens Fund program for civil society organizations in Košice on Monday, October 22. An amount of EUR 9 million for the period 2018-2023 was allocated by the donors to support strengthening civil society, enhancing active citizenship and empowering vulnerable groups in Slovakia.
Event was opened by H.E. Terje Theodor Nervik, Norway´s Ambassador to Slovakia and H.E. František Kašický, Ambassador-at-large for from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the Swiss Financial Mechanism. Both ambassadors highlighted the role of cooperation between donor and beneficiary countries in strengthening civil society.
In his opening presentation Bendik Elstad, from Financial Mechanism Office, emphasized the importance of civil society in the agenda of EEA and Norway Grants. Representatives of the Fund operator and Csilla Czimbalmos, Senior Adviser to Norwegian Helsinki Committee, introduced the Active Citizens Fund in Slovakia priorities and opportunities for bilateral cooperation.Financial resources are designed to actively engage citizens in decision-making and public policy making, creating better conditions for good governance, strengthening the protection of human rights, introducing innovative civic education activities and strengthening vulnerable groups in society. The program will also support bilateral relations between partners from donor countries and Slovak organizations. The fund will pay special attention to young people and their participation in public affairs.
“Active Citizens Fund is designed to support approximately 200 civic projects across Slovakia. In an atmosphere of rising of extremism and radicalization of political life, the programme will strive to bring in the faith in the lively civil society. Among the others, we hope to address such issues as anti-democratic propaganda, corruption, low quality of human rights education and discrimination of vulnerable groups, including Roma” said Peter Medveď, Director of the Ekopolis Foundation.
The polarised social atmosphere and challenges facing civil society organizations were subject of the panel discussion contributions by Vera Mora and Waltraud Heller. Mrs. Mora, the Executive Director of the Ökotárs Alapítvány, shared recent experience of civil society in Hungary. Mr. Heller, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, stressed the role of the civil society organizations working on human rights in the EU. Caroline Gebara, Senior Advisor in the European Wergeland Center, commented on Central European perspective on education for democracy and human rights.
The grant program, which will enable non-profit organizations to implement not only their own activities but also to strengthen their internal capacities, will open up to 17 calls in the programming period. The first grant calls were announced on October 22, 2018 at the Launch event.
There will be four types of grants available to applicants varying in their size and operational periods to meet the needs of civil society organisation at various level of their capacity and organisational development. In addition to their own activities, grants are also designed to support long-term strategic development of organizations.
The Active Citizens Fund Slovakia is part of the financial assistance of the countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) for the 15 EU Member States.
Read more about the Active Citizens Fund in Slovakia here.
Visit the website of the Active Citizens Fund in Slovakia.