EU COVID-19 Solidarity Programme: More than 50 civil society organisations in Eastern Partnership countries supportedPublished: Feb 22, 2023 Reading time: 5 minutes
The European Union recognises the critical role that local civil society organisations in Eastern Partnership countries play. Thanks to EU efforts, a 30 month-long regional project implemented by People in Need (PIN), the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) and AFEW International (AFEW) was able to support numerous organisations in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The project targeted populations especially affected by the pandemic.
The Programme was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that it imposed. The entire world was impacted, and vulnerable groups of people were in particular need of support. During the first phase of the project, several local civil society organisations (CSOs) were funded in order to provide vital services to elderly people, people with disabilities, single-parent families and minority groups members, and others.
“The project enabled us to support a number of diverse organisations and groups of people. We aided young, as well as more experienced CSOs, whose focuses included: supporting vulnerable people living in the mountains, helping children and the elderly with special needs, accessing education, aiding human rights organisations, furthering feminist issues, supporting communities working on advocating the rights of non-dominant ethnic groups, helping media outlets to highlight issues of propaganda and disinformation and, last but not least, working to preserve cultural heritage in specific countries. Now that the project is coming to an end, it is time to look back and review our progress. I am happy to report that our partners are now more visible publicly. It is clear that the work that was done by our project partners on the issues that they were working on is now a major topic of conversation among broader civil society actors,” says Regional Project Manager, Tinatin Japaridze.
Support for Civil Society Organisations
The Qedeli community in Georgia was able to open musical therapy in order to help people with disabilities during the lockdown.
In Ukraine, AMY-EAST assisted adolescents and children with disabilities by addressing their individual, educational and social needs with the help of 22 highly qualified specialists. The organisation SOS Children Village aided single mothers with new-borns who needed immediate temporary shelter.
AREAP in Moldova provided elderly people with warm meals, laundry and other social services.
PIN also supported several distance learning activities for children and digital literacy training for COVID-affected entrepreneurs. In Georgia, girls were given the opportunity to participate in IT courses organised by the Education Foundation.
In Armenia, the charitable organisation With You equipped a laboratory in the Yerevan Special Educational Complex for Children with Hearing Disorders with the necessary equipment to teach 3D modeling, computer literacy, and HTML programming. It also ensured that there were sign language translations for all 90 participants. The series of workshops aimed to expand the applicability of the Khan Academy's free online educational resources in Armenian.
Further cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries
The project also contributed to the longer-term resilience of CSOs in Eastern Partnership countries. Selected actors received grants to help them either pay utilities, salaries, rent or to help them take part in important professional development trainings. In Ukraine, four organisations used the grant money to procure IT equipment and advance the technical knowledge of their team in order to complete remote work.
In the second phase of the Programme, PIN supported advocacy campaigns of the grantees in order to ensure sustainable changes within society. Voices which were not often present in the decision-making process were now at the forefront of policy formation. In Moldova, a successful campaign was led by the association Life Without Leukemia (LWL). This CSO wanted to influence the decisions being made by hospital administrators and other authorities in order to improve the conditions of treatment and the quality of care that children with cancer received in Moldova. During the duration of the project, LWL grew from a small and unknown organisation to the major actor fighting for basic rights on behalf of children with leukemia all over the country.
Solidarity Community fights for Georgian Muslim cultural heritage protection in Georgia.
PIN partners NHC and AFEW specialised in activities relating to human rights protection for administrators within closed institutions and key populations at risk for public health concerns like HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis. They provided grants to support CSOs working with these groups and assisted them in developing and strengthening their monitoring, reporting, advisory, agenda-setting, and advocacy work.
PROJECTS IN NUMBERS
- 20 civil society organisations received additional funds to work on 30 sub-projects.
- Back in 2020 when the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict started, the Programme initiated an emergency response to help 8 local CSOs with small grants to providing hygiene kits to displaced families.
- In total, 24 organisations received 26 grants that helped 4,344 people all over the country.
- 6 organisations voiced their concerns in their communities through advocacy campaigns.
- 28 people with disabilities received upgraded living spaces and 46 gained disability status (which means that they can now apply for support from the state).
- 8 grants were distributed to organisations helping particularly vulnerable beneficiary groups, including unemployed women, and people with disabilities (and their carers).
- 4 adaptation grants for operational support and COVID adaptation of CSOs enabling them to stay active during the pandemic.
- 1 grant was awarded to a trainer organisation in order to conduct a series of webinars focused on capacity-building for other CSOs. These webinars aimed to help other CSOs maintain their operations and continue to provide aid to their beneficiaries during the war.
- 15 CSOs were supported with financial resources, capacity building programmes and PSS activities.
- 14 grants were distributed to CSOs that provided important services for the most affected populations. The grants also helped cover the CSOs’ operational costs in order to quickly help them adapt to a reality that included COVID-19.
- 6 CSOs successfully developed advocacy strategies for the following 3-5 years as a result of over 250 hours of mentoring and coaching sessions focused on advocacy, delivered by local experts.
- 2 workshops focused on furthering IT skills were organised for Romanian and Russian-speaking CSOs in order to enhance their digital skills during the pandemic.
- In total, 18 grants were distributed to CSOs.
- 12 workshops and coaching sessions were conducted.
- NHC’s project partner - Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) was created, as well as an online portal Supporting Ukraine which offers psychological support in Ukrainian.
Contact for media: Tinatin Japaridze, firstname.lastname@example.org