On June 14, the Fund Operator of the Active Citizens Fund Romania organized an online workshop for the Norwegian and Icelandic organizations that are official partners in the funded projects. Within Active Citizens Fund Romania, there are currently 30 projects implemented by Romanian NGOs in partnership with organizations from the donor states, out of 135 projects selected for funding as result of the first round of Calls for proposals. The aim of the meeting was to assist the organizations in their project implementation by clarifying implementation rules of the programme and to facilitate discussions on opportunities to further strengthen bilateral relations between Romania and donor states, Liechtenstien, Iceland and Norway.

The event was attended by the Ambassador, Her Excellency, Ms. Siri Barry, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest, Ms. Adriana Dumitrescu, representative of the National Focal Point within the Ministry of European Investments and Projects, Mr. Stian Slotterøy Johnsen, the Secretary General of Frivillighet Norge, Mr. Ionut Sibian, the Executive Director of Civil Society Development Foundation, and representatives of 20 organizations from Norway and Iceland.

The Norwegian Ambassador, Her Excellency, Ms. Siri Barry, emphasized the importance of cooperation between the donor states and Romanian NGOs under the umbrella of the Active Citizens Fund Romania:

„Our cooperation with the European Union is about our joint responsibility for Europe’s common future and the need to reduce social and economic disparities. One of the most important instruments to achieve this is through the EEA and Norway Grants which support development in key areas in 15 EU member states, including Romania. One of these areas is civil society because in Romania, as well as in other countries in Europe, such as Norway, we see that from big cities to small rural areas, people are the main drivers of development. The organizations of civil society prove effective vehicles, guiding people and providing context for them to be active citizens. In line with the importance of civil society, the EEA and Norway Grants support NGO initiatives in different areas of activity. These areas range from advocating and watchdogging for better public policies to helping and giving a voice to the most vulnerable.

A particular characteristic of the Grants is the bilateral dimension meant to facilitate sharing experiences and learning from each other, to build bridges between Romania and the donor states in various fields. In the new reality marked by COVID-19, perhaps more than ever before do we have to join forces and work together.”

Out of more than 60 projects proposals received in partnership with entities from Norway and Iceland, 30 have been selected for funding. The successful projects address various areas from democratic culture and civic awareness, enhanced capacity and sustainability of civil society, to protecting human rights and promoting equal treatment, empowerment of vulnerable groups, women’ rights, gender equality.

„You are all about to embark on a journey and I believe and hope to be a fruitful and a joyful journey. A journey where you will learn, develop, and build your organizations as well as contribute to the development of civil societies and local communities in Romania, Norway, and Iceland. I strongly believe that cooperation between organizations in different countries can be especially beneficial and the most successful partnerships are built upon mutual respect and trust, common goals, and good communication.”

Mr. Stian Slotterøy Johnsen, the Secretary General of Frivillighet Norge

The organizations from Iceland and Norway present at the meeting underlined their expectations from the projects, especially to learn more about the Romanian civil society in order to better understand the local context in which the projects are implemented. They highlighted the opportunity to also learn from the Romanian organizations, to exchange best practices, models, and competencies. These partnerships with Romanian NGOs represent for them a good opportunity to expand their networks and gain more expertise and experience.

„We are happy to have this very good response from Norway and Iceland to the partnership proposals from Romania. We are confident that this event and further cooperation with Romanian NGOs will help the organizations to better understand the situation in our countries and work towards improving it, and we grant our support to all the organizations implementing projects within the programme.”

Mr. Ionut Sibian, the Executive Director of Civil Society Development Foundation

In Romania, more than 46 million euro are allocated to civil society through the Active Citizens Fund programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The objectives of the Active Citizens Fund Romania are to strengthen civil society and active citizenship and to empower vulnerable groups. More details Active Citizens Fund in Romania are available on www.activecitizensfund.ro; more information about the EEA and Norway Grants are available on www.eeagrants.org.