EU Solidarity with Russian Civil Society - protecting vulnerable people and those disproportionately affected by COVID 19

The European Union (EU) has a long-standing relationship and cooperation with non-governmental and other civil society organisations worldwide, as well as with local and decentralised authorities in the field of development. An empowered civil society is a crucial component of any democratic system. Empowered means also with abilities to address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively. Organizational and financial sustainability is key to achieving that. The EU Multiannual Action Programme (MAAP) “Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as actors of governance and development work in the field” sets actions at country level to develop capacities of CSOs, including strengthening their institutional sustainability, enabling CSOs to perform their contributing role to governance and accountability processes in support of internationally agreed development goals.

The programme allows CSOs to network amongst each other and with other relevant civil society actors and groups inside the country, to exchange best practice between Russian regions and with their EU partners, to experiment and develop effective services for vulnerable groups of population, to establish efficient partnerships with various stakeholders, including local authorities, to maintain and develop their capacities in representing their constituencies and to sustain achieved results.

The programme reflects the EU's determination to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Green Deal, the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP II) and the European Consensus on Development, which outlines several priorities for engagement: climate change, gender equality, youth, crisis and fragility.

COVID-19 is a worldwide public health emergency severely affecting citizens, societies and economies. The numbers of infections and confirmed cases worldwide is growing and socio-economic shocks are negatively affecting people’s incomes, physical and mental wellbeing, and the social integrity of communities as a whole. COVID-19 outbreak is adding pressure on the social service delivery systems, and exacerbating the vulnerabilities of affected populations, including the elderly, women and girls, children, people with disabilities, migrants, people belonging to minority communities, victims of increased domestic violence, prisoners, HIV-positive people, drug addicts, sex workers, the homeless and other marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Support through experienced CSOs is essential to ensure that these socio-economic impacts on vulnerable groups are mitigated. Yet, many CSOs are also severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis and their organisational survival is put at a high risk as donations drop and their running costs including payroll continue.

The Programme aims to enable civil society organizations to function without interruptions at a time when their usual funding mechanisms are curtailed by the worsened economic situation while ensuring continued and enhanced provision of services to the most vulnerable groups and those disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

By mobilizing the participation of CSOs in the mitigating efforts, this Call for Proposals aims at addressing two main and interlinked issues: (i) institutional sustainability of local CSOs, including through capacity building initiatives and the delivery of small grants and (ii) access to social-economic services for vulnerable groups and those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including by developing social entrepreneurship.

The European Union (EU) has a long-standing relationship and cooperation in Russia with Civil Society Organisations and has significantly engaged with CSOs since 2007 when Russia started benefiting from the Non State Actors and Local Authorities (NSA-LA) Thematic Programme.

This Call for Proposals aims to continue the EU involvement and to build on it. It acts in synergy with other thematic and bilateral programmes and instruments, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Partnership Instrument. EuropeAid/168597/DH/ACT/RU Page 5 of 29 July 2019 Guidelines for grant applicant 168597

The global objective of this call for proposals is to support CSOs as actors of governance in their own right by strengthening their capacity to participate effectively in the achievement of the key dimensions of sustainable development - social, environmental and economic.

The specific objectives of this call for proposals are the following:

  • SO.1 Strengthen capacities of local CSOs to better respond to citizen's needs;
  • SO.2 Vulnerable groups and those disproportionately affected by the pandemic have improved access to socio-economic services;

The action should address one or more of the following priorities:

  1. Supporting the improvement of CSOs organizational capacities and financial sustainability to ensure vulnerable groups and those disproportionately affected by the pandemic have continuous and uninterrupted access to quality socio-economic services;
  2. Strengthening socio-economic resilience to bring transformative change into the lives of vulnerable groups of the population and those disproportionately affected by the pandemic;
  3. Responding to climate change mitigation and adaptation to protect human health.

Size of grants

Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:

  • minimum amount: EUR 400 000
  • maximum amount: EUR 600 000

Deadline for submission1 of concept notes: 29/06/2020 at 17:00 (Brussels date and time)

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