Active Citizens Fund
Main challenges of Lithuanian civil society and CSOs
Civic engagement remains relatively stable, yet very low (e.g., ~27% community engagement in 2016);
Reluctance of public authorities to engage CSOs in the decision making;
Lack of CSOs’ resources for advocacy, monitoring, etc., national funding for HR related issues is almost non-existent;
Negative attitude towards HR issues is entrenched in public discourse;
Lack of compliance of legal environment with international human rights standards (e.g., Istanbul Convention not ratified);
Large social disparities among regions are dividing country;
Despite recent economic growth and decreasing unemployment, poverty in the country is not decreasing;
Insufficient representation of the interests of vulnerable groups, e.g. children at risk of poverty, pensioners, (long-term) unemployed, homeless, people with disabilities, people with dependency illnesses, victims of domestic violence (especially women);
Almost 40% of small CSOs have annual budgets of less than EUR 3000, over 50 % of CSOs have no staff;
National/municipal funding is mainly project-based and awarded on an annual basis, undiversified sources of CSOs income make CSOs financially unstable;
In the areas with the large concentration of national minorities (e.g., Southeastern part of Lithuania), most of CSOs are fragmented along ethnic lines and very little engage in civic activities.
Opportunities offered by the ACF Programme in Lithuania
As the response to above mentioned challenges, the ACF Programme in Lithuania would have three main interrelated cross-cutting focuses – thematic, systemic and geographic.
The core outcome – strengthened active citizenship and empowered vulnerable groups – is a central prerequisite to underpin other outcomes to strengthen civil society. To achieve the overall objective, the ACF Programme’s support for CSOs projects will focus on the following thematic outcomes (one outcome per project):
- Outcome 1: Increased citizen participation in civic activities;
- Outcome 2: Strengthened civil society watchdog/advocacy role (including ad-hoc projects, providing a flexible response to urgently emerging societal challenges);
- Outcome 3: Increased support for human rights (including a pre-defined project on communication campaign positively changing public attitudes towards HR and equal treatment);
- Outcome 4: Vulnerable groups empowered.
Strengthening the functional and organizational development capacities of the civil society, and CSOs in particular, will be another core focus contributing to the overall objective of the ACF Program. To achieve this, the support to enhance the following sectoral changes will be provided:
- Expanding the constituency base of CSOs (e.g., through ensuring closer collaboration of national CSOs with their local branches and other local organizations, outreaching to diverse vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities);
- Networking and joint actions (e.g., partnerships between CSOs and public/private entities);
- Enhancing capacity and sustainability of civil society and CSOs through the integration of capacity building aspects into projects (10 – 15 % of project’s budget);
Intensive capacity building measures will be provided by FO (including a pre-defined project aimed at assisting small-scale CSOs in Lithuanian regions, strengthening their organizational development capacities, empowering them through mentoring and leaders’ training).
Specific attention will be given to larger territorial distribution of grants in reaching out to the underserved areas, target groups, supporting local CSOs, small organizations/new initiatives. To achieve this, the following measures will be provided:
- Two-steps application procedures for all projects;
- Additional FO activities aimed at supporting and empowering small local applicants and project promoters;
- Bringing more FO’s information, training and counselling activities into under-served regions,
- Encouraging new partnerships among national and local CSOs, aiming for mutual benefit to serve as vehicles enhancing citizen participation in civic activities.
Programme implementation modalities
In order to provide adjusted respond to the needs of CSOs, the following Programme modalities will be offered:
- Small-scale projects: duration – min 6 months, max 18 months; grant size 5,000 – 15,000 € (open calls foreseen to be announced at 4th quarter 2019, 4th quarter 2021)
- Medium-scale projects: duration – min 6 months, max 18 months; grant size 15,001 – 80,000 € (open calls foreseen to be announced at 4th quarter 2019, 4th quarter 2021)
- Large-scale projects: duration – min 2 years, max 3 years; grant size 80,001 – 150,000 € (open call foreseen to be announced at 4th quarter 2019)
Lithuanian CSOs will be encouraged to establish partnerships (i.e., national/local; bilateral; CSO/public/private entities) for project implementation.
Fostering qualitative partnerships between Lithuania and donor countries, the following activities implemented by the CSOs and/or FO consortium in partnership with donor entities, will be supported: 1) partner search visits; 2) matchmaking events; 3) individual short-term internships and know-how exchanges; 4) initiatives of the FO to facilitate exchange of knowledge and/or establish networks.
ACF Programme’s grant for Lithuania – 9 mil. EUR. It is expected that the ACF Programme will reach ~250 CSOs (including 80 small-scale local CSOs from under-served regions). The Programme will support ~180 projects implemented by ~160 CSOs. The overall goal of the ACF Programme is to engage directly 10.000 citizens through the activities of CSOs.
Fund Operator in Lithuania
Open Lithuania Foundation (OLF, leading Consortium partner) has a solid experience in re-granting and in running operational programs designed to strengthen civil society, active citizens and the CSOs at large.
OSFL Projektai (OSFLP) possess an extensive re-granting experience and deep technical knowledge of audit and accounting practices applied in Lithuania and particularly in the NGO sector.
Geri norai LT (GN) offers a tailor-made support for early stage social entrepreneurs, local action groups in the regions, linguistic and ethnic minorities, etc.
Open Lithuania Foundation (OLF)
Didžioji str. 5, 01128 Vilnius, Lithuania
Sandra Adomavičiūtė, Director, email@example.com
Giedrė Tumosaitė, Programmes Director, firstname.lastname@example.org