A consortium of the Stefan Batory Foundation (leader), the “Shipyard” Centre for Social Innovation and Research Foundation and the Academia of Civic Organisations Foundation issues the first call for thematic projects in the Active Citizens Fund – National, financed from the EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 (EEA Grants). The aim of the programme is to strengthen and develop the civic society and active citizenship, and empower vulnerable groups.
The programme, for which the budget is EUR 30 million in aid from EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein), will provide support for social organisations such as associations, foundations, social cooperatives, and rural housewives’ circles. The amount designated for grants for the first call is EUR 10 455 000.
The programme will provide grants for awareness-raising activities, including grants to improve awareness of civic, equality and discrimination issues, for activation activities and activities related to voluntary work, and action and campaigns to improve awareness of climate change issues, combating prejudice, hate speech, and violence, projects to increase civic participation in decision-making, watchdog activities, intervention in matters concerning respect for human rights and the rule of law, measures to empower vulnerable groups and help them to become independent, measures towards integration in local communities, advocacy for better public policies and law and better policies for enforcing the law, and measures to improve the standards of public institutions and the services they provide.
The Active Citizens Fund – National programme will provide support for projects put forward by organisations throughout Poland, but in particular activities of less experienced organisations based outside large conurbations and in areas where access to aid programmes is limited. Our aim is to offer the opportunity for funding to those most in need: groups that face discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, belief, gender, age, or sexual orientation, and vulnerable groups: people with disabilities, people facing homelessness, the elderly, and victims of violence – Sylwia Sobiepan, programme director from the Stefan Batory Foundation, said.
Young people are an important group in all areas in which support is given – Zofia Komorowska from the “Shipyard” Foundation added.
Providing support for development of social organisations will be an important element of the programme. Each organisation that applies for grants for a project will be entitled to a further grant to build the organisation, by investing in team-building, improving skills, raising funds for its activities, and improving management and communication etc. – Lidka Kuczmierowska of the Academy of Civic Organizations Foundation said.
I would like to congratulate you for showing such determination and strength. It is due to that determination and strength, and the action taken to overcome a range of different obstacles, that the Fund is able to operate in a spirit of independence, with due regard for the values set out in the Polish Constitution, international treaties to which Poland is party, and European values – Adam Bodnar, Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, said at the official launch of the programme in Warsaw.
A separate call will be held for grants for projects to support the civic sector, such as infrastructure funding (training, awareness-raising, consultancy), measures to increase public awareness about what organisations do, or for instance monitoring laws that affect their activities.