Active Citizens Fund

According to the agreements between the EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, at least 10 % of EEA Grants are allocated to the strengthening of civil society through the Active Citizens Fund. The Active Citizens Fund in Lithuania, financed by EEA Grants 2014 – 2021, was awarded a total budget of 9 million euros for strengthening civil society and active citizenship, empowering vulnerable groups.

It is expected that the ACF Programme will reach ~250 civil society organizations (including 80 small-scale local CSOs from under-served regions). The Programme will support ~180 projects. The overall goal of the ACF Programme is to engage directly 10.000 citizens through the activities of civil society organizations.

Main challenges of Lithuanian civil society and NGOs

• Civic engagement remains relatively stable, yet very low;
• Large social disparities among regions are dividing country;
• Lack of compliance of legal environment with international human rights standards;
• Fragmented and very little engaged in civic activities NGOs in the areas with the large concentration of national minorities;
• Civic society lacks resources for advocacy, monitoring;
• Insufficient representation of the interests of vulnerable groups;
• Undiversified sources of NGOs income make NGOs financially unstable;
• Despite recent economic growth and decreasing unemployment, poverty in the country is not decreasing;

What do we strive for?
The main goal of the ACF program – strong and active civil society, empowered vulnerable groups.

How are we willing to achieve our goals?
• Through the calls of proposals allocating funding to the NGOs projects aiming at the following outcomes;
• Enhancing qualitative and mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation;
• Implementing NGO capacity building initiatives.

Thematic focus
To achieve the overall objective, the ACF Programme’s support for NGOs projects will focus on the following thematic outcomes
• Increased citizen participation in civic activities (outcome 1);
• Strengthened civil society watchdog and advocacy role (outcome 2);
• Increased support for human rights (outcome 3);
• Vulnerable groups empowered (outcome 4);
• Enhanced capacity and sustainability of civil society (outcome 5).

Bilateral cooperation
• Bilateral partnerships – projects implemented in collaboration with partners from the donor countries within one of 5 outcomes‘ areas.
• Bilateral cooperation initiatives, e.g., partner search visits, matchmaking meetings, individual short-term traineeships, or experience exchange, implemented with partners from the donor countries.

NGO capacity building
• expanding the constituency base of NGOs (e.g., through ensuring closer collaboration of national NGOs and local organizations);
• integrating capacity building activities into projects carried out by project promoters (obliging a project promoter to allocate 10 – 15 % of the project’s budget for capacity building activities);
• providing training activities for institutional capacity building of NGOs;
initiating and implementing local NGOs, empowerment, and leadership programs.

Call priorities
Better outreach to under-served geographic areas. Applicants are encouraged to ensure outreach to geographic areas outside Vilnius city.
Better outreach to under-served target groups. Applicants are encouraged to address the needs of target groups that are under-served, in particular victims of gender-based violence.
Better inter-cultural integration with particular emphasis on national minorities. Applicants are encouraged to promote inter-cultural integration developing partnerships that involve national minorities’ NGOs (in role of applicant or project partner);
Better youth inclusion. Applicants are encouraged to promote youth inclusion and youth participation through involving young people as a target group in their projects and youth organizations a partners in case if projects are targeted at youth.

Who can apply?
Applicants: NGOs that are established in the Republic of Lithuania has been registered in Lithuania for at least one year and fulfils the requirements set in of the Law on Development of Non-Governmental Organizations.
Partners (non obligatory): Any public or private entity (commercial or non-commercial) or NGO, international organization, informal group working in Lithuania or other beneficiary country, in Iceland, Liechtenshtein or Norway or in a country outside the EEA that has a common border with Lithuania.

More information:

Sponsors and partners