22 FEBRUARY 2023

Annual Programme Report Active citizens fund Greece 2022 – Executive summary

2022 has been a very productive year, with projects resuming their activities in full speed and capacity, and the programme being on track to achieve or surpass most targets. Several projects are either reaching completion or have been completed and reported noteworthy results.

Under the call “Strengthened civil society watchdog and advocacy role” 15 out of the 16 projects have concluded their activities and are in the process of evaluation of their final reports. Under the Call “Vulnerable groups empowered” 15 out of the 28 selected/ contracted projects have been concluded. Under the second round of calls, 18 out of 27 projects have been concluded under the call “Increased support for human rights”, while 8 out of 18 under the call “Increased citizen participation in civic activities”. Projects that were selected under the third round of calls (“Gender equality promoted and Gender-Based Violence combattedand “Platforms and Networks among NGOs developed”) were under full implementation in 2022. The same goes for the 5 projects selected under the final call for proposals providing organizational grants.

Some of the notable developments of the previous year are included below:
The project “Operation of an observatory for the protection of human rights of Roma and strengthening local communities and relevant stakeholders – ROM” (large project D.3.2./EEA-414), implemented by Equal Society, in partnership with two Roma-led organisations was completed in 2022, a year that was marked by three fatal incidents. The project recorded a record high number of human rights violations (706), highlighting the need to safeguard the rights of the Roma populations in the country.

The project “Victorious: identification and certification of victims of torture” (large project D.3.1./EEA-533), implemented by the project promoter METAdrasi-Action for Migration and Development was successfully concluded at the end of 2022, identifying and reporting a total of 409 cases of human rights abuses, specifically towards victims of torture, in Athens and Thessaloniki.

The ongoing project “Womentors” (A3.4.-EEA-142), implemented by the Lambrakis Foundation reached 9,000 women aged 18-35 years participants in holistic women’s empowerment activities in 12 cities around Greece (5% from remote areas).

During 2022 the main part-research component- of pre-defined project 2 “Research on the contribution of Civil Society to the Greek economy”, was successfully concluded by Bodossaki Foundation’s subcontractor the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). The result of the study will be shared with stakeholders, media, and the public in the first quarter of 2023. The research highlighted the key contribution of the CSOs to the national economy, “supporting, directly or indirectly, the production of 1.6% of the country’s GDP and contributing with 1.9% of the employment in the country”. However, despite the vital role of the Greek civil society, a high sentiment of mistrust towards CSOs in the country is also reported.

Bilateral relations were accelerated in 2022 and the amount allocated to the open call for the promotion of bilateral relations was increased (additional € 50,000). By the end of 2022, we had a total of 25 approved bilateral applications, while increased interest is shown from future potential applicants.

Regional activities resumed in 2022, with two activities implemented. In March , an online conference on the digital dimension of violence against women was organised in partnership 2 with the FO of ACF Cyprus, and in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, as a part of the EEA and Norway Grants SYNERGY Network against Gender-based and Domestic Violence, and with the participation of FRA. In November two Capacity Building workshops that were jointly organized in Athens by the ACF Fund Operators in Greece, Portugal and Romania. The workshops aimed to support Fund Operators of the EEA Grants Active Citizens Fund in their capacity development role. Participants from 15 countries participated in this activity.

Finally, all Project Promoters continued their participation to the Capacity Building Programme (CB), organized by the Fund Operator, through Social Dynamo, the civil society capacity building hub of Bodossaki Foundation. It is worth mentioning that by the end of 2022, 112 out of 119 active project promoters (94%) had participated in optional capacity building activities.

Lessons learned

Several of the completed projects have secured additional funding to continue their activities. We believe that the programme’s capacity building s activities played a supportive role in this. Building on the experience of the pandemic CSOs continued or adapted their activities in 2022 in a hybrid format depending on what would work best in each case (considering the target audience, geographical spread and output indicators). The hands on role of the Fund Operator remains crucial, acting as coach/mentor to project promoters and offering alternative solutions for the smooth implementation of projects, when necessary.

Support to small/grassroots organizations, despite being very labour intensive for the FO can have important impactf. For example, project promoter “Association of the Senegalese” successfully implemented their small-scale project, supporting a total of 40 members of their community with IT skills, employability counselling and job matching – a very rare case of a migrant community organisation accessing such funding.