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PRESS RELEASE. Estonian civil society organisations will receive additional funding of 2 million Euros from the European Economic Area and Norway Grants

07.06.2021

An amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism between Estonia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Norway was signed at the end of May that allocates the total of 2 063 000 Euros of reserve funds to the Active Citizens Fund. Support to the Active Citizens Fund (ACF) is mediated in Estonia by the Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with the Network of Estonian Non-profit Organisations.

This is in addition to the 4 million euros that Estonian civil society organisations can apply for in 2019-2024 through public calls for proposals and other measures.

“The good progress and relevance of the Active Citizens Fund in Estonia are mirrored in the proposal of the NFP and the agreement of the donors to allocate the entire reserve, from both the EEA and Norway Grants to support civil society in Estonia. We are confident that the additional funding will be put to good use and look forward to following the new projects which we can now support,” Frode Dal Fjeldavli, Head of Funds and Horizontal Concerns Unit, the Financial Mechanism Office.

The State Shared Service Centre, as the contact institution of the state for the support mechanism for donors, presented last November an official proposal for channelling the reserve funds foreseen in the Memorandum to the Active Citizens Fund.

"The financing of our good civil society organisations was hit, in connection with the dwindling of receipts of the gambling tax under the corona conditions. It is precisely right now when democracy has been severely tested that the role of civil society organisations is greater than before and that is what we approached from in making our proposal," said Martin Karro, Deputy Director of the State Shared Service Centre and Head of the National Focal Point.

The application of the support so far to the Active Citizens Fund has been successful. The application schedule has been adhered to, despite COVID-19, three application rounds have been conducted (May 2019; October 2019; October 2020). Altogether, 52 projects have been selected and contracts signed.

"The total amount of support available for the three application rounds was 2 575 225 Euros, but the total amount of funds requested with the applications was 9 744 961, which is almost four times more than the available means of the Fund. The figures reference a high demand of applicants, as we were only able to finance 26% of the applications. The additional 2 million Euros allocated from the reserve will allow for additional support to the civil society organizations", Karro welcomed.

Support will be given from the reserve fund of the Active Citizens Fund to Estonian civil society organizations that have as their aims to strengthen democratic culture and civic awareness, empowering vulnerable groups, as well as standing up for human rights and equal treatment.

"The grants of the EEA have always been characterised by good consideration and long term aims, thus the additional support of the Active Citizens Fund is extremely gratifying, taking into consideration the needs of the civil society" said Mall Hellam, the director of the Open Estonian Foundation that mediates support to the Active Citizens Fund. “Two application rounds are coming up, of which one is intended for medium sized and large projects. The second round concerns activity support to civil society organisations that have already proven themselves. One of the aims of this round among others is to give a boost to development, so that these organisations can grow into truly influential interest protecting organisations," noted Hellam.

The Memoranda of Understanding regulating the application of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism between the Republic of Estonia, Republic of Iceland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Kingdom of Norway, as well as of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Norway in 2014–2021 can be found on the website of the State Shared Service Centre.

Additional information about the Active Citizens Fund: https://acf.ee/en/program and supported projects: https://acf.ee/en/funded-projects

Contact:
Mall Hellam
Executive Director
Open Estonia Foundation
mall@oef.org.ee 
+372 50 18727


The foundation works to help develop open society in Estonia and other countries