Grants strong and resilient civil society

Our grantee partners

Our grantees form a cross-sectoral partnership and operate at a national level, ensuring a context-specific approach. They involve partners from different sectors and cities. Their approaches vary, but all of them include both reactive and pro-active elements aimed at building solidarity and the capacity to stand up collectively to defend civic space and perform their watchdog role more effectively in their respective countries.

The coalition led by Bulgarian Fund for Women (BFW)- called RavniBG, has a membership which grew considerably since 2018, primarily composed of grassroots organisations based outside of the capital city. The work of the coalition led by BFW focuses on two aspects, namely: strengthening the capacity of civil society (mainly grassroots organisations) through a small grant mechanism, campaigning work to build a positive image of civil society in Bulgaria and advocacy around and within the Civil Society Development Council for a meaningful dialog between civil society and the government.

RavniBG sees the opportunity to work for strengthening of the civil society involvement by further developing the platform for meaningful dialogue with the government – the Civil Society Development Council, including: mobilising a broader CSOs movement to participate in drafting and implementing the CSOs Development Strategy (advocacy); elaborating a transparent and accessible tool for participation of CSOs, smaller and bigger, in decision-making process of the Council; increasing the visibility of CSOs and their efforts to change the society (communication campaign).

The coalition led by the Citizen Participation Forum (CPF), is a network that has a very broad constituency and whose most active members are mostly networks or organisations that work towards strengthening and supporting civil society organisations in Bulgaria.

The goal of the coalition led by CPF mostly revolves around fostering solidarity among CSOs and building the capacities of organisations in the sector. The coalition aims at improving communication, advocacy skills and mechanisms among Bulgarian CSOs and active citizens towards better-organised, sustainable, and permanent civic activism. This goal shall be addressed by strengthening the capacity and motivation of civil society organisations to develop common strategies and implement common actions and campaigns. The strategy will involve a broad number of civic organizations from across the country in designing and implementing action plans tailored to their specific ideas. A cross-sectoral partnership and cooperation will help bind actors in various fields of public life by communicating common values and establishing models for sustainable collaboration and partnerships.

The coalition led by Centre for Peace Studies gathers nine of the most active CSOs working in the field of shrinking civic space in Croatia. Their aim is to improve the level of public participation and civic engagement in the country contributing to preservation and development of civil society. Through networking, capacity building, research, campaigning, mobilisation and advocacy, the coalition will build capacities, broaden the network and strengthen coordination between CSOs and their allies to counter shrinking civic space; raise awareness of the public and put pressure on decision makers to divert tendencies of shrinking civic space; enhance public and civil society participation in policy-making processes.

The NeoN coalition, led by Glopolis, has grown into a vibrant infrastructure for collaboration of 18 networks that together reactively defend and proactively cultivate a democratic, civic space. The coalition represents more than 400 CSOs and thousands of activists all together and strives to enhance recognition of the CSO advocacy networks and strengthen their role as representative and constructive partners in promoting effective and inclusive responses to societal challenges. The coalition focuses on four advocacy priorities to benefit CSOs: 

  • – foster Civic participation and access to decision-making
  • – improve access to public and private financing for CSOs
  • – ensure a CSOs-friendly regulatory environment
  • – improve understanding and perception of CSOs advocacy work.

The Coalition led by CILD aims to increase the advocacy and media skills and visibility of new and existing leaders and CSOs within the media space so that civil society’s voice, space, and future are solidified in Italy and Europe. This will enable the sector to go from managing crises and attacks to proactively defusing the power of negative narratives by flooding the space with positive ones. In the short to medium term, CILD’s aim is to further this vision by empowering emerging CSO leadership with the tools to engage with media and activism more effectively, and by forging CSO and media partnerships and cooperation.

The Network of Community Organizations for Education, led by Association 61 is an initiative by an existing network of organisations mobilised to protect an open, ideology-free education system in Poland. The goal is to provide support in strengthening the content and organisational skills of the existing network of non-governmental organisations operating in the field of education in Poland and build a permanent platform for cooperation between these organisations, local authorities, school communities and organisations from civil society beyond the education sector. The aim is to counteract current centralising and restrictive trends with regard to the education system.

Our Ombudsman Initiative is a coalition of NGOs led by OFOP that has recently mobilised over 1,200 civil society organisations and informal groups in the 8-month campaign for the independence of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights and in support of an independent civil society candidate for this constitutional office. The coalitions is now seeking to cooperate with the newly elected Ombudsman on a wide range of rights issues to uphold citizens’ rights and freedoms.

The coalition’s purpose is to expand and strengthen the social and civic base of the Ombudsman Office, bring together and support civil society actors from various fields (e.g. women’s rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, children, LGBTQ+ community, ethnic minorities, refugees, as well as healthcare, climate action, poverty etc.), in particular grassroots initiatives, to empower them and amplify their agency and voice. A wide coalition of CSOs around the Ombudsman’s Office will strengthen the Commissioner. The organisations involved will gain vital space for participation and effective advocacy work.  

The coalition for equal participation of NGOs in Monitoring Committees for the 2021-2027 perspectives is intended to build on the efforts of an initiative led by OFOP to increase the capacity of the non-governmental sector to engage and involve in building policies at various levels. The goal of this initiative is to enhance the participation of civil society in oversight and the management of EU funds and therefore, to raise the profile and professionalism of the sector and reaffirm the watchdog role of civil society.

The members of the Open spaces coalition, led by Marom Klub, are all community centers spread around Hungary. The goal of the Open Spaces network is to create more and more spaces where it’s possible to talk freely about topics affecting society and it is also possible to organise subculture-based events.

The network aims to help the cooperation of local communities and to involve more cities and community places in the network. These goals are supported by regular annual national meetings to strengthen the network and further develop the existing collaborations. Local meetings provide opportunities for the local collaborations to be more efficient and more visible.

Building on the experience of the Civilsation coalition, and on lessons learned from the Civic map project funded by Civitates (2018-2021), the four partners gathered in the coalition led by Ökotárs aim to help local CSOs develop their own skills and capacities to build constituencies in their smaller and bigger communities and build local coalitions to work on and defend their common causes. The focus will be on setting in motion existing ‘sprouts’ of regional networks, in two geographical areas: (1) the broader agglomeration of the capital and the Danube valley (2) the 6 counties of Northeastern Hungary where civic participation is yet to be developed.  

Over the past years, through the Civitates funding, the collaboration between the Peace Institute, the Slovene Association of Journalist and the media organisation Bottom Line has contributed to building the capacity of civil society and journalists to address the shrinking space. The coalition led by Peace Institute connects defenders of human rights, media freedom and independent journalism in Slovenia. The coalition is coordinating joint actions and exchanges information and mutual support in targeted actions. It uses different methods (capacity building, campaigning, advocacy, alerting, legal defense, journalistic production etc.), to reach various stakeholders in Slovenia and abroad, and disseminate their messages and products across different communities and networks. In the coming months, the coalition will particularly aim at raising public awareness on attacks on civil society and journalists and at mobilising and empowering citizens to participate in democracy protection and in the upcoming elections in 2022.

The coalition, led by Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe) aims to convene the energies and expertise of the Romanian civil society in support of the liberal democracy and open society in Romania. It brings together resources and expertise from all the members to support the high-level advocacy work on themes related to the civil space and the protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights. It will identify and approach potential allies in political parties, public administration (national and local), and mass-media and offer a framework for solidarity and quick reactions for its members and like-minded organisations, civic groups, and individuals. It will actively promote open governance standards and pursue their implementation at local and central level.

The Voice of Civic Organisations is a unique platform led by Via Iuris that unites very diverse organisations and ensures, to a certain extent, the representation of CSOs in Slovakia by making them visible to the state. The main goals of the coalition are to promote the positive development of the institutional, legislative, and financial framework for the functioning of civil society organisations, to strengthen the integrity, transparency and cohesion of the civil sector, to create a space for cooperation of civic initiatives and organizations and support their activities, and to improve general understanding of public and representatives of public authorities (e. g. politicians) about the role and benefit of civic organisations for democratic society.


The Coalition for Associative Freedom led by Vox Public has grown since its creation and now has 22 members representing a wide spectrum of civil society actors.  This coalition aims at raising awareness about the shrinking space issue in France. Based on the scientific work of the Observatory of Associative Freedoms and thanks to the diversity of its members, the coalition produces and disseminates awareness and advocacy tools for civil society actors and creates space for exchange – webinars, debates, open meetings – between actors on the issue of the closing space and strategies or tools to counter it.