Grants strong and resilient civil society

Our grantee partners

Throughout 2021, we are funding 11 coalitions working towards building a strong and resilient civil society. The total amount granted is € 603,472.  These grants will allow the grantee partners to better adapt to the situation and carry out their reshaped activities with positive outcomes.

This coalition addresses the shrinking space for civil society in Bulgaria by uniting and building the capacity of grass roots organizations. It works especially with small organizations from remote areas and with limited resources, and which share pro-democratic and pro-human rights values. The coalition partners rely mainly on capacity building, helping organizations to respond to the various challenges they are faced with, and a communications campaign, exposing threats and to build a positive image of the civil sector. The coalition is composed of organisations working on gender equality, women’s right human right, youth empowerment, LGBTQ+ rights, and media organisations. It will also involve organisations from other fields such as freedom of speech, social justice (social inclusion and poverty reduction), education, environmental protection and try to bridge the gap between organisations working in the capital city and the countryside.

This coalition strengthens the environment for civil society in Bulgaria by better connecting the sector as a whole. It focusses on the sustainability of civil society actors, creates more vibrant partnerships between them, and nurtures an overall environment that allows for effective work with the national and local institutions. The coalition also encourages citizens to create, recognize and participate actively in civil society activities. Working to improve the environment for civil society from all fields of social life, the coalition develops a long-term communication strategy aimed at improving the public image of the sector and encouraging support for Bulgarian civil society actors. Special attention is given to shaping narratives and building capacity, as well as sharing experience and opportunities. The coalition includes organizations working for civil society as a whole, which are facilitating cross-sectoral networking, capacity building, and advocating for a better legal environment for Bulgarian civil society organizations, but also includes organizations from many others spheres, including children’s rights, nature conservation, community development, etc.

This coalition helps Czech civil society to be better connected and more resilient, so it is better prepared to face challenges related to the shrinking space for civil society. The coalition creates a more effective cooperation mechanism across the civic sector in the Czech Republic by increasing the scope and the quality of networking, strengthening trust and solidarity between civil society actors, and enhancing their connection with the general public. Its toolkit includes an actionable database of active citizens, coordinated advocacy, communication, and research. It is a “network of networks” (NeoN), which is a light, decentralised network that interconnects 15 autonomous thematic platforms and working groups with 4 functional networks coordinating mobilization, advocacy, PR and research of more than 250 civil society organizations. The coalition comprises organisations working in very varied fields such as transparency, inclusive education, women’s empowerment, sustainable development, responsible democracy, and the environment.

This coalition defends the civic space that is under attack in Italy by building stronger and more resilient communities and improving the narrative about rights-based civil society. The coalition develops positive narratives that portray the vital role civil society plays in upholding the public interest, as well as connects people and civil society organizations – at local and national levels, across different backgrounds, and through training, mentoring, events, campaigns and initiatives. In addition to the lead partner, which is a large coalition in itself, the present coalition is composed of an Italian think tank specialised in transnational dynamics, fundamental rights, and media freedom, as well as a civic start-up committed to equalizing political power and influence in Europe and beyond.

This coalition addresses the issue of shrinking space for civil society in Poland by trying to improve the perception of civil society organisations. The coalition is committed to ensuring that the voice of civic organisations is better heard in public debates and to help civil society organisations consolidate its anchor within polish society. Emphasising concrete outcomes and promoting the value of community engagement and public participation, the coalition partners run a nationwide campaign called “Civic Organisations. It Works” (“Organizacje społeczne. To działa!”-in Polish). The campaign explains the role of civil society organizations and shows the impact civil society has on people’s lives. The campaign, which is constantly growing, has already gathered a group of 30 civil society organizations working in different fields and operating in both urban and rural regions of Poland.

This coalition strengthens civil society activity in Hungary by providing physical space for open and critical debates as well as independent culture. Through the creation of Open Spaces, a community development initiative that relies on solidarity and cooperation, the coalition strengthens organizations at the local level. It also provides opportunities for the deepening of relationships between community spaces, organizations and individuals, encouraging active solidarity and welcoming public and cultural content. The coalition is composed of regional community centres, which are coalitions in themselves. They partner with various organizations at the regional level and collaborate with other service provision organisations, creating a space for them to promote their services to other civil society organizations and activists across Hungary.

The Civilisation coalition addresses the shrinking space for civil society in Hungary by providing a platform through which civil society actors defend one another with joint actions.
The partners aim to consolidate the coalition and to expand their popular base and potential membership especially in the countryside. They will therefore proactively search for and map out smaller groups working outside major urban centers, providing them with skills and capacity building, and facilitating regional networking. Civilisation consists of 34 full members, which are mainly Budapest-based, large nationwide civil society organizations working in various fields such as human rights, anti-corruption, women’s rights, environment, and migration, but also includes some local groups from Pécs and Szeged.

This coalition aims at countering threats and challenges to the watchdog role of civil society and journalists in Slovenia by strengthening their capacities for efficient responses and gaining public support. The coalition maps and reports on media ownership and the financing patterns that enable the rise of a hate and propaganda model of media and politics at the national and local level as well as attacks on journalists and civil society. It develops recommendations and advocates for policy changes, but also builds the capacities of the coalition members and other civic actors – in the areas of legal defence, digital safety, and strategic communication. Moreover, the coalition fosters solidarity actions to counter threats and challenges encountered. The coalition brings together defenders of human rights, media freedom and independent journalism in Slovenia. The three organisations in the coalition extend their activities to a broader group of civic actors and contribute to ongoing efforts for establishing an alert and solidarity mechanism within Slovenian civil society.

This coalitions raises awareness about the vital role of civil society and activism for democracy in Romania. It raises public support and endorsement for the work of civil society actors and defends the space for civil society. The coalition’s toolkit includes a public communication campaign, legislative advocacy work, as well as a solidarity mechanism to support civil society organizations and activists, especially those that are the victim of attacks and abuse. The coalition actively challenges the shrinking space for participation, the deterioration of the legislation that allows civil society organizations and activists to freely operate, the stigmatization of civil society organizations, and the attempts to abuse and isolate civil society organizations and activists. The coalition is composed of a diverse group of around 20 civil society organizations and activists active in the fields of democracy, public participation, freedom of expression, good governance, human rights, women’s rights, environment, digital rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.

This coalition is dedicated to the defence of civil society organisations in Slovakia. It provides space for coordination and finding common grounds on key civil society issues. It also defends the right of civil society organizations to operate freely, to build consensus among them and, when needed, prepare legislative drafts for relevant legislation. It also provides its members with analytical insights in the policy and media landscape. The coalition provides legal research, advocacy in favour of civil society organizations, and outreach to other platforms and public institutions. Led by three organizations, the coalition brings together groups and individuals of different backgrounds and areas of activity, including civic rights, youth, philanthropy, minority rights, development, humanitarian aid, conflict prevention, education, and healthcare.

This coalition addresses the closing of the space for civil society in France by strengthening the sector. The coalition trains civil society actors and provides them with practical tools to help them organise better, protect themselves from attacks, and ultimately increase the protection of democratic space and fundamental rights in France. It also raises awareness and mobilises other actors (elected officials, the general public, etc.) so people can better understand the contribution of civil society organisations to social cohesion and diversity. The coalition analyses cases of violation of civil society rights and creates tools to strengthen the strategies of civil society actors in response to the violations of their rights. The coalition brings together organisations operating in various fields such as anti-discrimination, migration, equality, citizen mobilisation, freedom of association, and digital rights.