More than 60 initiatives of civil society organizations and community centers in defense of democracy, equality and fundamental human rights will be supported in the framework of a three-year project implemented jointly by the Open Society Institute – Sofia, Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (WCIF) and the international NGO association European Citizen Action Service (ECAS). The ProEUvaluesBG project is supported by the European Union through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) program and aims to support the civil society sector in Bulgaria and its role in defending European values
„Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the hybrid attacks against the solidarity and unity of citizens and peoples in the EU, the ProEUvaluesBG project will give us the opportunity to support civil society organizations in Bulgaria that are at the forefront of countering disinformation, defending human rights and upholding fundamental European and democratic principles related to the rule of law and institutional accountability”, Georgi Stoytchev, director of Open Society Institute – Sofia comments.
„It is important for us that the support also reaches organisations that work at the local level and that are close to the everyday problems of people, including in smaller and remote places. We are convinced that investing in the promotion of core European values will have a long-term effect, both in improving civic activism and in building better skills in the NGO sector to defend democracy in all its aspects”, says Iliyana Nikolova, Executive Director of WCIF.
The ProEUvaluesBG project will provide financial support to civil society organisations and community centres working on themes related to fundamental European values – human dignity, equality between people, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The support will be provided through two funds with a total value of EUR 1 600 000.
The Action Fund will support initiatives implemented at national level for a total amount of EUR 800 000 and with a maximum grant per initiative of up to EUR 60 000. The fund will be managed by the Open Society Institute – Sofia (OSIS) and is expected to support approximately 15 civic initiatives.
The Together Fund will support local initiatives with a total value of 800,000 euros and a grant per initiative of up to 20,000 euros. The Fund will be managed by the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (WCIF) and is expected to support over 45 civic initiatives.
The call for proposals for initiatives under both funds is expected to be launched on 12 April. The project partners plan to hold information days in the six planning regions, starting with the poorest region in the country, the North West. Opportunities to apply for the competition will be presented on 18 April in Pleven, 20 April in Plovdiv, 21 April in Sofia, 25 April in Veliko Tarnovo, 26 April in Varna and 27 April in Burgas.
The applicant organizations as well as those with supported proposals will have access to various forms of practical knowledge and skills building as well as experience exchange, including within the framework of the training program ” Roadmap”, implemented by the international NGO association “European Citizen Action Service” (ECAS) and its branch in Bulgaria. Within the framework of the training program, the ECAS team will support the conceptual and practical development and implementation of the initiatives under the two funds, sharing with the participating organizations the international experience and the effects of the civic initiatives implemented in other EU member states.
„I believe that the exchange of experience and transfer of knowledge between CSOs within the EU will contribute to a stronger and more effective civil sector in Bulgaria. We live in a common space with shared values and similar problems. Many of the challenges faced by Bulgarian CSOs are also valid for organisations in other EU countries. This is an incentive to look for common solutions”, says Asya Kavrakova, Director of ECAS.
The ProEUvaluesBG project will also implement an information campaign to promote human dignity, equality between people, democracy, the rule of law and human rights among different communities in the country. The project will also create conditions for networking and learning through specially organized meetings to share good practices of the supported CSOs.
The ProEUvaluesBG is co-funded by the European Union through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Program (CERV) to the amount of €2 570 299. The funding body is the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). The organizations implementing the project are co-financing it with EUR 285 588. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the EACEA can be held responsible for them.