Programs completed

Civic Initiatives in Belarus and Ukraine

Supported non-governmental organizations in Belarus and Ukraine engaged in building and developing civil society in those countries.

Program funded by Ford Foundation

The Program, planned for 2003-2009, aims to support democratic changes and the development of civil society in Belarus and Ukraine. We cooperate with non-governmental organizations from Belarus and Ukraine that support grass-root initiatives, engage in building partnership between non-governmental organizations and public administration sectors and in civic education activities.

The Program is carried out in the framework of three basic schemes that involve grantmaking to Belarusian and Ukrainian non-governmental organizations, selected on the basis of open competitions or individually invited to apply for grants. Our grantees are invited also to take part in study visits, meetings and training organized in Belarus and Ukraine as well as in Poland and other countries.

Scheme A: Local initiatives and regional partners

Building a network of non-governmental organizations in Belarus and Ukraine, interested in supporting local civic initiatives and developing partnership between non-governmental organizations and private and public institutions.

Under this scheme in years 2004-2006 we ran three open competitions for regional partners of the Program for organizations operating locally in different regions of Belarus and Ukraine. In the effect we chose 55 partner organizations which in their activity focus on:

  • providing information and legal counseling for citizens, protection of civic rights (particularly of the groups discriminated, e.g. the disabled, women, minorities, etc.);
  • securing access to information, public scrutiny of the transparency of the government administration and public institutions;
  • self-help and charity initiatives as well as the initiatives concerning self-organization in local communities.

Our partners received grants for institutional development and support to local initiatives in years 2004-2007.

Grants were awarded in two-stage procedure. First, the applying organizations sent letters of intent describing their up-to date activity and experience in Program priority areas (support of local civic initiatives, cooperation with other actors in the field of civic involvement at the local, regional, or national levels, and advocacy efforts). Organizations chosen to submit full proposals participated in the consultation meeting and financial training in Warsaw. They could use also individual consultations. Expert accountants visited the applying organizations to monitor their systems of financial management and bookkeeping. Full proposals developed in the process by the applicants were assessed by Commission of experts that consists of representatives of grantors operating in Belarus and Ukraine.

Eight partner organizations received also additional grants for organization of training and meetings of regional partners devoted to experience sharing and development of good practice in finance management, organization of micro-grant competition and evaluation of program activity.

Grant competitions for regional partners

I edition

Up-to-date we have completed three editions of open competitions for regional partners of the Program for organizations operating locally in different regions of Belarus and Ukraine. In the I edition, in 2004, 14 organizations from 10 regions of Belarus and Ukraine received grants for institutional development and program activity for years 2004-2005. They also received technical assistance and consultation provided by a group of Polish assistants who helped them analyze the condition and role in the local community and prepare the proposal. Their representatives participated in accounting training and a study visit in Polish organizations (see: Events).

II edition

II edition of the competition for regional partners of the Program was addressed to the non-governmental organizations active in:Belarus – regions: Hrodna, Gomel, Minsk, Mogilev, Vitebsk

Ukraine – regions: Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmelnytskyy, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovograd, Mykolayiv, Odessa, Rovno, Vinnitsa, Zakarpattia, Zaporozhye.

35 organizations filled the applications. In the competition resolved in October 2005 19 partner organizations (6 from Belarus and 13 from Ukraine) received core support grants of a total volume USD 354 171 for their activity in 2006.

In December 2005 we distributed another set of core support grants to 13 partner organizations selected in I edition of the competition. The grants will be used for institutional support and program activity of our partners in years 2006-2007.

Four organizations chosen from among first partners group received additional grants to organize trainings and meetings of regional partners devoted to experience sharing, developing good practice in finance management, small grants competition management, work with small informal groups, operation of citizens advice bureaus and cooperation with local government, public administration and business.

III edition

III edition of the competition for regional partners was announced in January 2006. It was addressed to the organizations active in:Belarus – regions: Hrodna, Gomel, Minsk, Mogilev, Vitebsk

Ukraine – regions: Kherson, Khmelnytskyy, Cherkassy, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv, Kirovograd, Lviv, Lugansk, Mykolayiv, Odessa, Poltava, Sumy, Ternopil, Volyn, Zakarpattia, Zaporozhye and Krym.Out of 115 letters of intent sent in the III edition of the competition 31 organizations were invited to submit full applications. In April their representatives participated in the meeting designed for presentation of the goals and rules of the Program and individual consultations with Program’s coordinators. In May-July applicant organizations were audited by external accountants and worked on their final proposals. In September the Board of the Batory Foundation advised by the grant competition committee decided to select 22 organizations (4 from Belarus and 18 from Ukraine) for Program’s regional partners. They received grants for:

  • institutional support of the organization
  • developing programs aimed to promote involvement of citizens and other social partners in local problems solving including support to grass-root initiative

The maximum value of grant in this edition was USD 25 000. The total value of the grants awarded was USD 421 732.

In 2007-2009 we invite partner organizations selected in the above competitions to apply for a new set of grants for:

  • program activities in years 2008-2009 (including re-granting for grass-root initiatives undertaken by smaller local organizations and informal groups)
  • institutional development (staff’s skills development, enhancing organizational management, strengthening institutional capacity, methods of operation)
  • study visits, training and networking aimed at experience sharing, development of skills and broadening of knowledge.

Grants are made on the basis of the reports on the use of grants received in the previous editions of the grant competitions and the proposal presenting their plans for next two years. In March 2007 a group of 18 partners selected in the II edition of the program received grants for years 2007-2008. The total value of grants awarded is 492 960 USD. They will be paid in two annual tranches.

Additionally, representatives of organizations selected in II and III competition for program partners as well as local partners delegated / appointed by them: businessmen and representatives of local authorities will take part in study visits in Polish non-governmental organizations.

Scheme B: Advocacy

Promoting advocacy as an efficient tool of joint action to solve important social problems and protect the rights of individual citizens or social groups.

Under this scheme we offer grants to Belarusian and Ukrainian organizations involved in different advocacy efforts, from grass-root initiatives to secure the disabled an easy access to public buildings to nationwide campaigns for environmental protection or introduction of changes in law or legal practice to enable the development of civic initiatives. Grants are made primarily in open competitions, though individual organizations may also be invited to apply for grants.

Since advocacy efforts are difficult and rarely constitute core activity of the NGOs and civic groups we will invite the applicants to take part in training and experience sharing on the techniques, mechanisms and good practice in advocacy in Belarus, Ukraine and other countries.

Credibility and partnership – non-governmental organizations in local communities competition

In May 2005 a first grant competition was launched aimed to prepare the organizations for undertaking advocacy efforts. The competition was addressed to all Belarusian and Ukrainian organizations which wanted to promote their activity among local or regional partners: authorities, local communities, other institutions working in their fields of interest.

The competition was resolved in September 2005. 19 grants of a volume of USD 58 845 were awarded for promotional activities carried in January-December 2006, such as: preparation and execution of information campaign, NGO festival, fair, open days etc. carried out.

In 2007 in the framework of the grant competition addressed to our regional partners and the grantees in Credibility and partnership competition we supported advocacy efforts in Ukraine, especially such initiatives undertaken by organizations, alone or in local coalitions, which enabled them to get involved in the processes of shaping and monitoring implementation of politics in the domains they have competence and expertise. We offered applying organizations an opportunity to participate in training that prepared them for advocacy projects.

Scheme C: Civic education

Supporting civic and European education projects, information and research on civil society, cooperation on the national and international level.

Under this scheme we invite selected Belarusian and Ukrainian organizations to apply for grants for projects in the above areas.

We support civic education and European education projects, particularly those that lead to the development of a model action or product, easy to replicate or apply in different places and on different scale, and addressed to a large group of potential clients.

Based on a regularly updated diagnosis of the general condition of the third sector in both countries we support information and research activities on the third sector aimed at increasing its self-knowledge as well as enhancing understanding of its potential and problems among the external partners. We aid initiatives that serve better integration within the third sector.

Additionally we intend to support projects aimed at international cooperation and the inclusion of local civic initiatives in Belarus and Ukraine into the trans-border cooperation with organizations from other countries.

In 2008, 4 organizations: 2 from Ukraine and 1 from Poland and 1 from Germany received grants of a volume of USD 168 280.