Official launch of Active Citizens Fund – National programme

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 working towards greater civic participation in public life, protection of human rights and equality, environmental protection, preventing climate change, and empowering vulnerable groups. The programme is run by a consortium of three organisations, the Stefan Batory Foundation (leader), the “Shipyard” Centre for Social Innovation and Research Foundation, and the Academy of Civic Organizations Foundation.

– 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.

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, said. – Young people are an important group in all areas in which support is given, Zofia Komorowska from the “Shipyard” Foundation added.

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.

– 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.

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.

On the second day of the official launch, more than eighty representatives of organisations from Poland, Iceland, and Norway met in Warsaw to discuss ideas for collective projects.

Applications can be submitted in the first call from 3 February. Another call – for sectoral projects, will be held in April 2020. The programme team will be organising a series of meetings in the coming months in a number of regions in Poland, to provide information about the programme.

Broadcast of the general session of the conference

Presentation on the Programme 

Programme leaflet

Conference agenda


Conference to launch Active Citizens Fund – National programme

Day I (Wednesday, 8 January) will feature a presentation on the programme, areas in which support is provided, and rules for applying for grants.

On day II (Thursday, 9 January) we will organise networking workshops for Polish, Norwegian, and Icelandic organisations active in similar areas, seeking to perform partnership projects. The workshops will be held in English, and will help to forge new relationships, devise the basic principles for partnership projects, and discuss the rules for applying for funding.

application form

conference agenda

Applications must be sent by 31 December 2019. We will send confirmation of a place at the conference by 3 January 2020.

Due to the limited number of places available, please only submit an application for one person from each organisation. We recommend registering as soon as possible!
We appreciate that travel costs are truly an obstacle and might prevent attendance at the event. We do have certain (limited unfortunately) funds designated for covering travel and accommodation costs for attendees who do not live in Warsaw. If you are able to cover these costs by yourself please do so, to enable us to help people in need of such funding to come to the conference.

The Active Citizens Fund – National programme is one of eleven programmes run in Poland using funds from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (known as the Norwegian and EEA funds) 2014-2021 and one of two programmes designated to provide support for activities of social organisations. The aim of the Fund is to strengthen the civic society and active citizenship, and empower vulnerable groups. In its activities, the Fund subscribes to the universal values specified in the TEU: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, and the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

The National Fund is operated by a consortium of three organisations, the Stefan Batory Foundation (leader), the “Shipyard” Centre for Social Innovation and Research Foundation, and the Academy of Civic Organizations Foundation.

Active Citizens Fund – National programme consultations completed

The initial conclusions reached in the consultations were represented at the main consultation session – on 17 January in Warsaw. The session was attended by approximately 70 people from various social organisations, as well as CSOs and public authorities. Following the main event, thematic meetings were also held on a smaller scale for organisations active in the areas for which the Fund provides funding. Currently, together with the FMO in Brussels, which manages EEA programmes for civic societies in 20 countries, we are making preparations to launch the Fund in Poland.

Active Citizens Fund – National programme consultations begin

We would be very glad to hear your views, comments, and suggestions on the following:
• how the Fund can address challenges and needs of the civic society in Poland,
• the kind of measures it should support to achieve the envisaged results,
• what instruments can be added to the current funding instruments.
The viewpoints collected will help us to determine the final form of the Fund.

It is possible to take part in the consultations by:
• filling in an online questionnaire, which is available until 8 January, by clicking here www.konsultacje.aktywniobywatele.org.pl
• by applying to take part in the main consultation session, to be held on 17 January 2019 in Warsaw (the participants will be selected from among those who fill in section 1 of the online questionnaire)
• by applying to attend a thematic meeting concerning particular aspects of the fund or as part of a group of organisations that conduct similar activities – we will be accepting applications from organisations interested in consultations in this form until 10 January 2019.

We are interested in the views of as diverse a range of groups and communities as possible. We would like to hear from representatives of social organisations (active in various parts of Poland and in various thematic areas, and with various worldviews) but also from a broader group of people connected to them – activists operating in informal groups, representatives of CSOs, representatives of public authorities, and representatives of the academic world and media who work with the organisations.

Detailed information about the Fund’s main objectives and the document around which discussions will be centred can be found here: www.konsultacje.aktywniobywatele.org.pl.

Operators of the Active Citizens Fund – National programme now known

The consortium’s proposal was awarded the highest score in an open call announced on behalf of the Donor States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, by the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) in Brussels, which manages EEA civic society programmes.

The Active Citizens Fund is one of eleven programmes run in Poland using funds from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism from 2019 until 2024, and one of two programmes intended solely for social organisations. It has a budget of EUR 30 million.

The Active Citizens Fund is intended to provide funding and content-related support for activities conducted by social organisations in areas established at EU level and in international treaties by the Donor States, which are Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. These areas are:
•    democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency;
•    human rights and equality through combating and prevention of discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity;
•    social justice and inclusion of marginalised groups;
•    gender equality and countering gender-based violence;
•    the environment and climate change.

One major area of focus of the Fund will be providing institutional support for social organisations and creating potential for the civic society to develop.
Particular attention will be paid to reaching less experienced organisations based outside large conurbations and in areas where access to grant programmes, training opportunities, and infrastructure support is limited. Young people are a major target group for the Fund.

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