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Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe

In September 2021, a couple of months after its launch, the Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe rolled out its first call for proposals: the “2021 COVID Fund for solidarity”. This fund aims at supporting mainly small frontline organisations affected by COVID-19 and working with women and girls in the most vulnerable situations. 

As a result, 13 organisations from 10 different countries across the European Union are supported. They work on a variety of issues such as violence against women, health and social protection, access to education and training, access to economic resources and entrepreneurship. Specific illustrations are support services for women victims of domestic violence in Hungary, self-led advocacy from refugee women in Germany, grants to feminist social entrepreneurs in Spain and empowerment of Roma activists in Latvia. In the next months, the Alliance will work on engaging and connecting this first cohort of grantees, and in parallel on elevating gender equality within the philanthropic community, seeking to attract new partners.

Civitates

An open, plural, dynamic civic space, with strong civic organisations is key to stable infrastructure and the proper functioning of a healthy democracy. Since 2018, Civitates has been committed to supporting civic space and an enabling environment for CSOs in Europe.

After a careful consideration of the mapping of the shrinking space and evaluation of our support commissioned at the beginning of 2021 and consultations with country experts and grantees, Civitates decided to continue to support collective actions from national civil society organisations that aim at strengthening the field and its capacity to reclaim civic space and perform its watchdog role effectively.

For the current phase (2022-2023), and with a total grant amount of 1,4M€, Civitates supports 14 national coalitions in 10 countries to help them address the challenges and opportunities related to the shrinking space in their respective contexts. This cohort of grantees will reflect Civitates’ commitment to acting as a catalyser to empower civil society and build both the resistance and resilience of CSOs in situations of closing space. European organisations have gained momentum and can help our partners raise awareness about the shrinking of the civic space at the EU level.

European Fund for the Balkans

With a view to support and enhance collaboration of local initiatives and movements across the region, the European Fund for the Balkans has established the Engaged Democracy Initiative (EDI). The work of EDI is clustered around five topics: environment; decent work; corruption, justice and human rights; public space; and media. To ensure that engaged citizens belonging to the EDI community can interact safely, the digital platform Engaged Balkans has been set up, designed through a co-creation process.

The Engaged Balkans platform is organised around six national and five thematic communities where members can pose questions, support each other, plan joint activities, start discussions or publish their work. This constitutes a crucial space to support actors in the field of active citizenship, especially during Covid times.

JAFOWA

Last September in Ouagadougou, JAFOWA held a workshop on agro ecology with 40 participants from its farmer partner organisations. Two main topics were debated: what are strategies to access organic inputs? And on the delivery end, what are strategies to market agroecological products?

They were three days of particularly rich exchanges, led by a Burkinabe and Senegalese team from the association Terre et Humanisme, who also proposed several tracks to JAFOWA to pursue the capitalisation on those subjects.  

TransForm

Following a rigorous selection process supported by an independent committee, TransForm selected 15 initiatives to join the TransForm Changemakers Forum and start a movement towards better health and well-being in the community through Integrated Community Care (ICC). The selected initiatives work at the local level in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, and holistically address health problems and social determinants in children, women, the elderly, migrants and other vulnerable groups.

Through regular meetings, group work and workshops, TransForm creates a mutual space for learning and exchange to inspire and advance on ICC at national and transnational levels. Building on a first workshop in September 2021, TransForm is excited to host a second workshop in February 2022, with the aim of continuing to align Changemakers' practices with ICC effectiveness principles.

The Evaluation Fund

Despite the lifting of lockdowns around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact project implementation in Uganda and Tanzania, where Evaluation Fund grants are underway. This has significantly delayed projects and has required the Evaluation Fund to extend its operations into 2022, in alignment with no-cost extensions of its supported projects.  

As the Fund looks to sunset by mid-2022, the Fund’s secretariat is compiling learnings and developing several communications pieces. In particular, the Fund is working to capture its lessons on an accompaniment programme for research uptake in order to build the capacity of researcher-practitioner partnerships to translate their findings to policy and practice in the region.

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