BG05 FUNDS FOR NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
|Programme Operator:||Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation|
|Total grant amount:||11 790 000 Euro|
|Date of approval:||6.09.2012|
Why is the programme needed?
Civil society in Bulgaria played an important role as driver of reforms in the EU pre-accession period. However, recent reports (Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index, 2011) show that the current situation of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector is one of the most difficult registered over the last ten years, as the sector is facing critical challenges in relation to its organisational capacity and financial viability. State support is minimal and there is no mechanism for distributing funds to NGOs at the local level. Access to EU funding proves difficult given the competition, including with business. Strengthening the role of the Bulgarian non-governmental sector through the NGO Programme by supporting social justice, promoting democracy, and encouraging a more sustainable approach to societal development is a key step necessitated by the current economic and financial crisis.
What will the programme achieve?
The programme will contribute to the lessening of social and economic disparities through activities targeted at strengthening the civil society sector in Bulgaria. By providing opportunities for innovation and new responses to citizens’ needs, the NGO programme will support the sector in terms of strengthening its capacity for policy engagement and addressing social inequalities among marginalised and disadvantaged groups shall also be achieved. The programme is designed to tackle horizontal concerns such as: hate speech, extremism, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, tolerance/multicultural understanding, Roma, sexual harassment, violence against women and trafficking. The programme will take into consideration other concerns: social inclusion, democracy, human rights, access to rights including in rural areas and protection of the environment; capacity-building, support for networking and coalition-building and advocacy.
How will it be achieved?
- Support through three open calls in 2013-2014 will focus on: democracy, human rights and good governance; social inclusion and empowerment of vulnerable groups; sustainable development and protection of the environment; and capacity-building for NGOs.
- A wide range of specific actions is envisaged to address environmental issues: awareness-raising campaigns, civic participation engagement actions, support to umbrella organisations/networks of NGOs, educational/training activities on environmental protection and sustainable development, know-how exchange activities, and others.
How will bilateral relations be strengthened?
Almost 2% of the eligible expenditures is set aside as a fund to facilitate bilateral cooperation. Suggested activities are aimed to ensure development of sustainable and strategic partnerships at programme level and establish closer ties between Bulgarian and Donor States NGOs. The Fund Operator will manage a “bilateral cooperation fund” aimed to facilitate development of partnerships at project level. At programme level, the Fund Operator shall organise thematic workshops with participation of NGOs in Donor States and Bulgaria.
What are the partnership opportunities?
The Programme will contribute to strengthening cooperation with Donors States, Council of Europe and other Beneficiary States at programme and project level through bilateral activities and complementary actions. Annual events for sharing good practices on partnership development are planned as well as the development of a special database of contacts with partners from Donor States which shall be available on the Programme website. The Fund Operator will work with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee to facilitate building bilateral contacts.
Who can apply for funding under this programme?
Eligible applicants are NGOs established in Bulgaria. Religious institutions and political parties are not considered NGOs. End-beneficiaries of projects are wider groups in society ranging from Bulgarian citizens, civil servants to disadvantaged groups and media. Vulnerable groups, including children and youth, minorities and Roma in particular are targeted. At least 10 % of allocations is intended for children and youth organisations or activities targeting children and youth. There will be three open calls.