Slovakia

 slovakiaflagNGO Programme 2009-2014
 
Total allocation: €80.75 million
Allocation to NGO Programme: € 6,9 million
 
 

There were 37.409 NGOs in the Slovak Republic as of December 31, 2010. Thereof 404 foundations, 1.408 public benefit organizations and the largest number, up to 33.914, represented civic associations. The rests were non-investment funds, organizations with international element and legal entities associations. Churches and religious organizations constitute a specific and autonomous part of the civil society.

Positive trends and areas where the participation and civil activity have increased within the last few years :

Increase of citizens' participation in the area of community development. Professional and sectoral organizations are becoming more active in entering the legislative processes as they fight for their rights and interests. At the same time, various professionals and associations become more engaged for benefits of public interest. The use of the institute for public comment to promote legislative changes, entering the land-planning processes, collective mails focused on activation of citizens, etc. is more effective. Within the last five years, the Portal of Legislative Acts improved its functioning by adding the feature of commenting of the public on draft legislation and drafts of public policies. Although this possibility is not being used on a large scale so far, it means a significant progress in the public having the possibility to enter the public decision-making process. "Internet activism" has developed and thanks to social media the citizens, which have not yet been involved in public matters are getting involved.

Formal and informal volunteering is developing, primarily in social and environmental field, but also in cultural area. Public support for charity, donations and volunteering is increasing. Currently, more than a quarter of citizens are engaged in the formal volunteering and almost a half of the citizens is engaged in the informal volunteering.

Despite the disadvantageous external conditions, the NGOs' activities in the social field focusing on care for seniors, sick and long-term sick, running of hospices and crises centres are increasing, as well as provision of other services substituting the role of the State and the services that are not attractive enough for entrepreneurs.

The following are considered as unfavourable trends:

Weak financial support from the State as well as from domestic "social philanthrops" for civic activism and civic participation. The concept of corporate social responsibility has been established only partially, particularly in multi-national companies. One part of the corporate sector understands the supporting of civic activities more in terms of their public relations (PR). Particularly organizations focused on defending the public interest (civic advocacy) and guarding democracy (watchdog) organization, as well as analytical NGOs, are threatened due to unfavourable financial situation.

The cooperation between State and NGOs has been marked by formalism – although the public administration representatives invited NGOs to cooperate on some issues (in the process of preparation of strategies, policies or legislation, in discussion or commenting procedures) but in the end their opinions, proposals and requirements were not respected very often. With respect to enforcing their requirements, in some cases NGOs use the obligations stemming from international treaties or agreements that the Slovak Republic has committed to respect as their arguments. Positive experience can be found as well, particularly the establishment of cooperation mechanism between the Ministry of Justice and NGOs in the process of preparation of legal acts. Favourable conditions were created for participation of civil society in the process of wider opening of judicial system to public and for implementation of elements of transparency in activities of courts and judicial self-governing bodies.

Civic initiatives and NGOs are fragmented with regard to negotiations with representatives of state institutions. They lack a representative coordination or umbrella body that would enter the public discussion and be a relevant partner for the State. For particular sectors, platforms were established for some subjects promoting opinions of their members with regard to the State and they represent respectable authorities to a certain extent.

Unfavourable development has been noticed with regard to the Roma participation in addressing the issues concerning the Roma minority. There is almost no Roma voice concerning the conceptual solutions of the Roma issue. Small Roma associations are rather decimated. Absence of a strategic and integrated approach and cooperation of all respective actors makes the Roma issue as well as other social issues complicated. Although this is a chronic issue, the NGOs' effort to implement a change has not been efficient over the last few years.

Internet activism is not aimed only at mobilising citizens to promote "good" civil society. In some cases, it is limited to occasional expressive verbal responses. Moreover, it is used as an effective tool also by extremist anti-democratic initiatives or groups.

Numerous cases of NGOs' misuse have been revealed and discussed in media during recent years. NGOs are facing a challenge to increase their credibility. Some civic associations and initiatives were misused for promoting corporate, but also political/partisan interests.

The on-going economic crisis contributes to financial stringency of some NGOs reflected in their loss of independency and diversion from their initial mission. The risk is significant particularly for those NGOs engaged in unconventional or unpopular topics and issues. Thus the environmental NGOs have lost their capacity to deal with some significant issues.

From the long-term view, there is lack of efficient programmes and approaches with regard to the issues exceeding the sectoral character, e.g. solution to poverty and social exclusion, searching for opportunities of inter-cultural dialogue and integration of migrants into the society, solution to violence on women and children.

 
There are two NGO Programmes in Slovakia, each in amount 3,45 mil. €
 
1) NGO Programme SK 10 "Active Citizenship and Inclusion"
 
The goal of the Programme is to support involvement of civil society organisations in addressing the social challenges in areas of public participation, needs of children and youth, protection of the environment and provision of welfare and basic social services. At the same time the Programme aims to support the capacity building of NGOs and strengthen bilateral relationships between Slovak NGOs and partners from donors' countries.
 
Anticipated time period of implementation of supported projects is from spring 2013 to autumn 2015. The total Programme budget for grants is 2,9 mil. €, including the 100 000 € Bilateral cooperation fund.
 
Areas of support: 
1. Active citizenship
A. Participative democracy
a) Citizens' involvement
    • Practical implementation of participative democracy approaches
    • Promotion and awareness raising about the participative democracy among citizens on various levels
    • Advocacy of the participative democracy, lobbying for it and negotiating with authorities.
b) Access to information
    • Access to and distribution of public information on all levels.
    • Strengthening of watch-dog functions of NGOs, their networking and cooperation
B. Social inequalities, poverty and exclusion, including in rural areas
a) Access to proper income
    • Innovative and pilot models of connecting of job demand and offer
    • Model and pilot enterprising and self-employment of people in poverty
    • Improving of work supportive living conditions
b) Social inclusion
    • Participation of poor and excluded people in relevant public affairs
    • Awareness raising and education of general population about poverty and social exclusions
2. Protection of Environment and Climate Change
A. Awareness raising, civic participation and active citizenship
    • Local environmental advocacy action
    • Networking of environmental NGOs
B. Contribution to sustainable development
a) Protection of the environment
    • Develop umbrella organisations and/or new networks on biodiversity
    • NGO-involvement in national action plans related to biodiversity
    • Mobilising local involvement to protect biodiversity
b) Climate change Adaptation and Mitigation
    • Develop umbrella organisations and/or new networks on climate change
    • NGO-involvement in national action plans related to climate change
c) Environmental Education
    • Environmental educational activities and training for teachers
3. Children and youth
A. Children, Youth and Active citizenship
    • Increasing general awareness, citizens' participation and active citizenship in the field of solving problems of children and young people.
    • Developing citizens' participation in communities and in cooperation with local governments.
B. Activities targeting children and youth at risk
    • Prevention and intervention activities focused on reducing or finding solutions to threats of children and young people.
    • Networking of organisations working with children and young people.
    • Education of teachers, NGO employees, local/regional government representatives and volunteers in the focus area.
4. Welfare and basic social services
A. Program oriented on de-institutionalization of the services for children and youth with special needs
a) Early Child Intervention Program – support of the national network of activities/centers that are focused on diagnostic, development of individual rehabilitation program and community integration of the disabled children and their families
b) Program of De-Institutionalization – support of the integration of the institutionalized clients into local communities by independent/assisted living, occupational rehabilitation, job placement, social networking and leisure time programs
B. Supporting development of field and ambulant social services of NGOs
    • implementation of case management in social work with vulnerable groups/social clients;
    • support of local networks of the social services for vulnerable groups;
    • implementation of new approaches and progressive methodologies of NGOs in work with social clients;
    • support research and dialogue among NGOs, clients and policy makers.
    • build the capacity of volunteers in social NGOs in order to strengthening of added value of activities of NGOs
C. Supporting social cohesion of inhabitants on local level
    • awareness raising and civic participation
    • mobilization of the local communities into integration of social clients/vulnerable groups
    • participation of the public in policy and decision-making processes
    • educational and training activities for local communities
 
Bilateral cooperation
Fostering of bilateral cooperation is an important component of the NGO Programme "Active citizenship and Inclusion". Two types of grants will be available:
  1. Partners' search micro-grants: Travel grants to catalyse search for partners, the development of bilateral partnerships and the preparation of applications for donor partnership projects. Available allocation of 20 000 € in the budget, which shall support around 15-20 micro-grants of up to 1500 €/per person/trip. Grants will be made available for NGO representatives from Slovakia and EEA Donor countries to be able to travel, meet and work together for couple of days either in Slovakia or Donor country to develop joint projects.
  2. Exchange and internships small grants: Grants to support exchanges, networking, research and analysis, study tours, short term internships, sharing and transfer of knowledge, and best practice know-how on issues related to the Programme areas.
Allocation of 80 000 € made in the budget, shall support 7-8 grants of up to 10 000 €. Grants are anticipated to finance the exchanges of experts lasting from several days to 2-3 weeks and eventual follow up action (e.g. analysis development). These exchanges are understood as long term investment in sharing of knowledge, building of partnerships and development the capacities for cooperation. While the funding is aimed primarily for NGOs, also representatives other sectors can be involved in exchanges (public authorities, media, academic and research institutions).
Both financial tools are to be open with the launch of the first calls of the Programme (November 2012) and will be evaluated on ongoing basis.
While the applicants for both financial tools must be established in Slovakia, funding can be used to support travel and other expenses of partners from both the Beneficiary State and the Donor States.
 
Applicants will be strongly encouraged and supported to seek partners. In projects implemented in partnership with the partner(s) from the donors' countries applicants will be eligible to apply for increase of the maximal ceiling (up to 100 % increase, to be defined in individual calls for proposals).
 
Call for proposals 
1st call: February 2013
2nd call: October 2013
 
Programme operator
Komenského 21, 974 01 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
Phone & fax::+421-48-414 52 59
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Contact person: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
For more information on the programme Active Citizenship and Inclusion, please check the website
 

2) NGO Programme SK 03 "Democracy and Human Rights"

Non- governmental organizations will be encouraged to apply for project funding the following areas:
  • Democracy, good governance and transparency
  • Human rights including minority rights
  • Gender equality and gender based-violence
  • Anti- discrimination, combating of racism and xenophobia
1) Democracy, good governance and transparency
In the program area non-governmental organizations are invited to submit project proposals focused on fostering democratic principles, improving the judiciary and civic participation in public affairs. Specific goals:
  • Promoting effective and transparent public administration;
  • Strengthening of anti-corruption activities;
  • Responsible and effective functioning of the judiciary;
  • Increase of legal awareness of citizens and strengthening their position towards state institutions.
2) Human rights including minority rights
In the program area non-governmental organizations are invited to submit project proposals focused on human rights including the rights of minorities, improvement of position of individuals and groups disadvantaged due to nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability and promotion of cultural dialogue. Specific goals:
  • Promoting comprehensive approach and systemic protection of human rights and minority rights including improvement of legislative environment;
  • Supporting human rights education;
  • Strengthening specific human rights protection mechanisms and instruments including institutional support and protection;
  • Improving conditions for legislative protection of human rights;
  • Increasing professionalism and sensitivity of relevant human rights and minority rights stakeholders;
  • Developing dialogue between state institutions and civil society;
  • Strengthening law enforcement;
  • Supporting participation and inclusion of disadvantaged groups;
  • Assisting and supporting disadvantaged groups and individuals;
  • Strengthening NGO capacities and promoting active citizenship principles.
3) Gender equality and combat of gender based-violence
In the program area non-governmental organizations are invited to submit project proposals focused on promoting gender equality and prevention and elimination of gender-based violence. Specific goals:
  • Promoting comprehensive approach and systemic protection of gender equality and combat of gender-based violence;
  • Promoting adoption of measures against gender-based violence in line with the Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence;
  • Promoting participation in policy and strategy-making and implementation of measures supporting gender equality and combating gender-based violence;
  • Increasing public knowledge and awareness of gender equality;
  • Strengthening law enforcement of gender equality in gender-based violence cases, availability of legal recourse and punishment of offenders including criminal liability;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of gender equality and gender-based violence combating policies and instruments;
  • Strengthening capacities of NGOs promoting gender equality and combating gender-based violence;
  • Assisting and supporting women and children exposed to violence by adopting and applying the Council of Europe's quality standards of services for women victims of violence.
4) Anti-discrimination, combat of racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance
In the program area non-governmental organizations are invited to submit project proposals focused on zero-tolerance of activities violating the principles of equality with special focus on the following:
  • discrimination
  • extremism
  • racism
  • xenophobia
  • hate speech
  • homophobia
  • anti-Semitism
  • tolerance and cross-cultural understanding
  • sexual harassment
  • anti-Roma
Specific goals:
  • Promoting comprehensive approach and systemic prevention and elimination of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance including related violence, and legislative proposals;
  • Fostering public tolerance including media participation in elimination of stereotypes and dissemination of information about discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance;
  • Increasing professionalism of relevant actors operating in the area of prevention of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance;
  • Strengthening capacities of NGOs focusing on prevention and elimination of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, extremism and radicalism;
  • Strengthening law enforcement of right to equality, availability of legal recourse and punishment of offenders including criminal liability;
  • Assisting and supporting individuals and groups exposed to equality right violation and hate violence;
  • Eliminating segregation in schools;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of anti-discrimination policies and instruments including monitoring of special mechanisms and public institutions;
  • Eliminating hate speech – verbal incidents and hate crimes;
  • Strengthening capacities of NGOs combating Internet hate crimes;
  • Strengthening capacities of NGOs and promoting civic participation;
Eligible activities include:
  • activities leading to the development of active citizenship and participation including educational and mobilization activities;
  • advocacy, monitoring and watch-dog activities;
  • activities leading to hate speech elimination
  • cross-sector and international cooperation;
  • participation in policy-making and decision-making processes;
  • activities increasing public awareness;
  • activities strengthening multi-cultural dialogue;
  • activities strengthening capacities of NGOs operating in the relevant areas;
  • development of networks and coalitions;
  • education and knowledge exchange among anti-discrimination and anti-racism activists; 
  • youth mobilization activities;
  • provision of support and assistance to disadvantaged groups and individuals;
  • Media work
 
Call for proposals
1st call: February 2013
2nd call: January 2014
3rd call: May 2015
 
Bilateral Cooperation
Eligible applicants may submit grant applications individually or with a partner organization. The goal of a partnership is to promote close cooperation of various organizations with diverse experience of addressing same issues in the relevant area. Project partners may be public or private organizations, non-profit organizations or for profit organizations. The partner organization must be registered in one of the donor countries, grant recipient country or non-EEA state, provided it borders with Slovakia. A project partner may also be an intergovernmental organization, provided it actively participates and effectively contributes to the project implementation.
 
Financing
The Program will cover maximum 90% of all eligible project expenditures of a non-governmental organization. The applicant is required to finance or to secure co-financing of the remaining project expenditures in the form of cash or in-kind contributions as voluntary work. The in-kind contribution may constitute up to 50% of the co-financing.
 
Bilateral cooperation
To facilitate and support the development of mutually beneficial partnerships and cooperation between Slovak non-governmental organizations and entities based in donor states specific Bilateral Fund has been designed. The Bilateral Fund amounting to EUR 138,060 will support joint activities in all areas of support aimed at achieving the following program goals:
  • Fostering active civic participation and participatory democracy including activities at local and grass-root levels;
  • Increasing participation of NGOs in policy-making and decision-making processes on local, regional and national level;
  • Fostering democratic principles;
  • Developing advocacy and watch-dog activities;
  • Developing NGO capacities and fostering civic participation principles;
  • Assisting vulnerable individuals and victims
Bilateral cooperation partner(s): Any public or private organization, non-governmental organization and/or for-profit organization can become a bilateral cooperation partner provided it meets the following criteria:
  • The organization is registered in one of the donor countries;
  • The goal of its participation is the development of a mutually beneficial relationship and cooperation with non-governmental organizations registered in Slovakia;
  • The organization possesses experience-based alternative solutions to problems in the areas of program support;
  • Cooperation with the organization is necessary, i.e. without the partnership, it would not be possible to ensure a proper implementation and achievement of the program goals.
  • Cooperation between non-governmental organizations registered in Slovakia and bilateral cooperation partner(s) must not be based on a supplier-client relationship.
The financial support can be used to cover up to 100% of all eligible expenditures. The maximum grant amount per applicant is EUR 10,000. More detailed information is in the Call for Bi-lateral Fund Grant Applications.
 
Programme operator
Nadácia otvorenej spolocnosti – Open Society Foundation
Address: Bastová 5, 811 03 Bratislava
Tel: +421 2 5441 6913
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For more information on the programme Democracy and Human Rights, please check the website
 
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