Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
NGO Fund Latvia
The NGO Fund aims at improving the life of children, young and elderly people. Therefore, the Fund offers small grants to NGOs working with these target groups. Thus, for example children and young people with special needs are supported, while elderly people profit from activities in areas such as culture, education or health.
Strengthening civil society
- 62 NGO projects were implemented; 49 in partnerships. 18 Swiss - Latvian partnerships established; at least 1000 persons benefitted
- Financial support to NGOs working with children, youth and retired persons has been provided, with 416 beneficiaries from disabled groups
- Role of civil society in social sector activities is increased
- Cooperation between NGOs and public/ municipal institutions is fostered
- National State Institute North
After Latvia's accession to the EU, foreign support for NGOs has been significally reduced – but needs especially in the social sector are still immense. Analysing funding possibilities for Latvian NGOs and the relevant national / EU strategies, two target groups were identified for the Swiss NGO Fund:
The NGO fund aims at increasing the life quality of children, young people and elderly people. Therefore, the fund supports NGOs working in the benefit of these groups. Partnerships with public / municipal institutions and with Swiss NGOs contribute to reach the goal.
Latvian NGOs (working in the social sector for the benefit of the mentioned groups)
The Society Integration Foundation (SIF) administers the Fund, organizing one open call for the sub-project implementers. SIF is responsible for the granting mechanism and the monitoring of the NGO projects. External financial audits are done for the NGO fund after two years and at the end of its implementation.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Foreign state institution
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 3’500’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 3’332’503|
Phase 1 01.01.2010 - 31.12.2013 (Completed)
NGO Fund in Latvia
Non-governmental organisations receive funding from a support fund and have set up 62 small projects for 14,483 children and young people and for 6,216 elderly people. For example, 450 young people are attending seminars on project management, entrepreneurship, tourism and hoteliery. Elderly people participate in free courses in art and drawing, acquiring new skills and finding social contact in the process.
Youth work in the suburbs of Riga
Children and young people with difficult backgrounds and criminal tendencies are this project's target audience: They attend courses to discover their own interests and abilities in areas such as crafts, art, cooking and photography. The aim is to develop their curiosity and to break down barriers to learning.
Strenghtening Civil Society
The Swiss enlargement contribution finances a support fund for non-governmental organisations (NGO fund) in all partner countries except Malta. The purpose of these funds is to promote and strengthen the participation of civil society in the socioeconomic development of the respective countries. The total contribution to all NGO funds amounts to around CHF 66 million.
In the new member states of the EU, civil society is significantly more developed than it was at the beginning of the 1990s, but it is not yet as well developed as in the older member states. NGOs suffer from various shortcomings: for example, they are poorly integrated in society and have a weak financial and institutional base.
A strong NGO sector is essential for civil society
The funds for non-governmental organisations in all new EU member states except Malta provide essential support for civil society in these countries. This will result in the strengthening of the NGO sector and civil society in the respective countries. In particular, it is often the poorer and socially disadvantaged sections of the population who benefit from a well-developed range of services provided by NGOs.
NGOs – indispensable players
By formulating concepts and taking action (in relation to vulnerable groups, minorities, the environment
and culture), civil society strengthens the democratisation process. It also helps make government agencies more efficient by ensuring that they take better account of the concerns of the population.
This applies both to specific action taken at a local level and to advocacy at the regional and national level. NGOs thus often deal with a wide variety of issues in daily life. The NGO funds will be used in particular to support social welfare and environmental projects. More than half the approved projects will come under one of these two headings. Switzerland will however also fund projects in other areas, for instance the increased involvement of citizens in political decision making processes and cooperation between NGOs and local government. In some countries, the NGO fund programmes have already been completed or are about to be completed.
Swiss organisations offer valuable experience
Involving Swiss partners in projects enables NGOs to benefit from Swiss expertise. Overall, just under 20% of the projects will be implemented with Swiss involvement. Swiss expertise and experience is extremely valuable on a number of fronts for NGOs in partner countries which are often working in a new environment and therefore lack experience. For instance, Swiss NGOs can help their partners cooperate with the government, encourage young volunteers, or even help with bookkeeping. Swiss know-how enables organisations in the partner countries to implement efficient and effective projects directly, while making optimum use of their financial and human resources.
Targeted support for civil society is also in Switzerland’s interest
Thanks to partnerships with organisations in the partner countries, Swiss organisations are also able to extend their networks and expertise. The mechanisms of the NGO funds favour these partnerships. Moreover, Switzerland also benefits from the activities of NGOs, as many aspects such as economic exchange, migration and environmental protection are interrelated and are of international and even global relevance in some cases.
The NGO funds set up as part of the Swiss enlargement contribution
• co-finance some 700 projects totalling CHF 66 million
• strengthen the NGO sector in the respective countries and consequently support civil society
• have also resulted in the creation of partnerships between foreign and Swiss organisations for around 150 small NGO projects
• is enabling projects primarily addressing social welfare and environmental issues, as well as other problem areas, to be implemented.