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Presently, the culture of open discussion seems to be threatened in an increasing number of countries. In Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE's) democracies, recent political developments appear to jeopardize progresses made in the past. Against this background, this study aims at shedding light on the dynamics of CEE'scivil society and gives a brief overview of the status quo and recent developments that directly affect civil society.
The study was conducted by the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), commissioned by and in collaboration with ERSTE foundation as well as with a group of country experts. The inclusion of expert assessments on civil society aims at giving a voice primarily to practitioners. Therefore, the study included an online survey in each participating country, addressing CSO representatives operating in various fields of activity.
More than two decades have passed since nonprofit and third-sector researchers "discovered" Central and Eastern Europe as an area of scholarly interest. After the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain, scholars noted the emergence of new civil society actors and were curious to understand the role these actors would play in their societies. Since that time, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has experienced intensive periods of transformation, conflict and renewal. This study is guided by the intention to develop a better understanding of the current state of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the diverse pathways of its development, and its possible future trajectories.
Nordic Consulting Group;
The objectives of this rapid assessment were twofold. First, it was a summative assignment in that it sought to document the EEA and Norway Grants' efforts to promote gender equality (GE), reduce domestic violence (DV), and reduce gender-based violence (GBV) in the seven focus countries. Second, it was formative and forward-looking. It was formative in that it aimed to generate lessons learned based on an assessment of relevant achievements; it aimed to help improve the design, planning, organisation, and implementation of future interventions. It was also forward-looking in that it provided a context-based set of ideas on how things might be done in the future; it aimed to consider current contextual changes that may not have been reflected in the earlier programme experience.
The assessment addressed two aspects of gender – first, mainstreaming GE and promoting work-life balance (WLB), and second, addressing DV and GBV – in seven countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain. Not all countries reviewed have programmes addressing both aspects supported by the EEA and Norway Grants. The assessment focused on the following three lines of inquiry: 1. Relevance of the programme and projects therein. 2. Effectiveness of the programme and projects therein. 3. The bilateral dimension, focusing specifically on the execution of programme and project partnerships involving the Council of Europe (CoE) and other expert organisations (primarily based in Norway).
This study covers 47 programmes relevant to Roma inclusion in 12 countries, with a focus on the countries with the largest share of Roma (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia). The study included a review of literature and programme documentation, interviews with stakeholders in the focus countries, and online questionnaires and telephone interviews with Donor Programme Partners and authorities in the other countries. The cut-off date for data collection was March 2015.
Center for Strategy and Evaluation Services;
The EEA Grants in the current period have been allocated to programmes defined at national level, instead of to individual projects. These programmes have been implemented according to the Regulation and after a process of negotiation between the donors and the European Commission and then between the donors and the beneficiary countries. This negotiation has concerned, first, the Memorandum of Understanding and, second, the specific Programme Agreements. The process of negotiation and of preparing open calls for proposals has taken significantly longer than expected. This has led to severe delays in the allocation of funds and significantly reduced the time available to implement projects. However, there is broad support for the programme-based approach, as it could further improve the strategic focus and simplify the management arrangements. Given the time and effort that has been expended in setting up the programme-based approach, consideration should be given as to whether this approach should be retained for the next period. Stakeholders from the donor and beneficiary countries should consider whether negotiations can be concluded much more easily the second time round and whether programme management capacity can be retained. Where this is the case, the programme-based approach should be continued. There would be potential benefits from extending the end-date for completing expenditure and/or extending the programme period from 5 to 7 years. Monitoring indicators are appropriate, although many outcomes do not easily lend themselves to measurement and quantification. Qualitative reporting therefore remains important alongside monitoring of quantitative outputs.
European Commission (EC);
This report provides a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the contributions that foundations make to support research and innovation in EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. Over the last 25 years, the role of foundations as supporters of research and innovation in Europe has grown significantly in scope and scale. However, the landscape is fragmented and, till now, largely uncharted. Little is known about the vast majority of such foundations, their activities or even their number, and information about their real impact on research and innovation in Europe was very limited. A team of national experts in the EU 27 (and Norway and Switzerland), led by VU University Amsterdam, has therefore been commissioned by the European Commission to study foundations' contribution to research and innovation in the EU under the name EUFORI. This study helps fill this knowledge gap by analysing foundations' financial contributions, and provides useful insights into the different ways they operate. It also identifies emerging trends and the potential for exploring synergies and collaboration between foundations, research-funding agencies, businesses and research institutes.
The EEA Financial Mechanism (2009-2014) have committed € 160,4 million to support seventeen NGO Programmes in sixteen countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain. The overall objective of the EEA Grants NGO Programmes is strengthened civil society development and enhanced contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development in each of the beneficiary countries. As of 30 of June 2014, 957 projects in total of € 53,793,561 have been supported mainly in the fields of democracy, citizen participation, human rights, social justice and empowerment, sustainable development and provision of basic welfare services. The mid-term evaluation of the NGO Programmes funded by the EEA Financial Mechanism (2009- 2014) is an independent formative evaluation. Its objective was two-fold: 1) to assess the progress and needs for improvement of the current Programmes, and 2) to inform policies for the next financial period. The main purpose of this evaluation was to provide an expert independent mid-term assessment of the contribution of the EEA Grants 2009-2014 to the NGO sectors in the beneficiary states operating NGO Programmes. The evaluation was of dual nature: (1) of a formative evaluation to identify progress and needs for improvement of the current Programmes and (2) of a forward oriented strategic review to inform policies for the next financial period.
Open Society Foundations;
This report has been published in the framework of the Equality Data Initiative (EDI), which aims to develop research on, and increase awareness of, the need for data regarding specific minority groups in the European Union.
Reliable data is needed to ensure equality and actively fight discrimination. Data does this by measuring inequalities and allowing the development of positive solutions to inequality such as targeted social policies. Data also allows us to monitor whether these measures work.
The Equality Data Initiative (EDI), initiated by the Open Society Foundations, is implemented in collaboration with the Migration Policy Group and the European Network Against Racism. Its goal is to enhance the measurability of (in)equality for groups at risk of discrimination.
This report explores how mobile services provided by Vodafone and the Vodafone Foundation are enabling women to seize new opportunities and improve their lives. Accenture Sustainability Services were commissioned to conduct research on the services and to assess their potential social and economic impact if they were widely available across Vodafone's markets by 2020.
It showcases the projects and the work of those involved and also poses the question -- what would the benefit to women and to society at large be if projects such as these were taken to scale and achieved an industrialscale of growth? This reflects the Foundation's commitment not solely to the development of pilots but rather the Trustees' ambition to see projects which lead to transformational change.
In order to understand this more deeply, the Report looks at the benefits for women and society and providessome financial modelling for how the engagement of commercial players could achieve industrial, sustainable growth in these areas. Accenture has provided the modelling and, given the public benefit and understanding which the report seeks to generate, these are shared openly for all in the mobile industry to understand and share. It is the Trustees' hope that the collaboration with Oxford University and Accenture in the delivery of this Report will stimulate not only the expansion of existing charitable programmes but will also seed other philanthropic, social enterprise or commercial initiatives.
Migration Matters Trust, The;
A collection of sources and data challenging claims of high Romanian and Bulgarian migration into the UK.
Open Society Foundations;
After a decade of attempts to deal with the problems faced by Roma, the Romanian government prepared a new policy document in the broader context of the European Commission (EC) Communication in April 2011, regarding the elaboration/adoption of National Roma Inclusion Strategies by member states. The new policy "The Strategy of the Government of Romania for the Inclusion of Romanian Citizens Belonging to the Roma Minority for the Period 2012-2020" (the National Roma Inclusion Strategy -- NRIS) replaces previous Roma policy documents adopted in 2001 and revised in 2006 (and which expired in 2011). Romania was among the first to sign the Decade of Roma Inclusion documents and also held its first Presidency, but in spite of these commitments, the Romanian government has never adopted a Decade Action Plan.
In 2006, the Romanian government issued government decision no. 870/2006, which established the standard quality requirements for government strategies. In our analysis, the NRIS does not meet these requirements, generating significant difficulties for its implementation and monitoring.
An action plan also needs to comply with certain standards of a policy document. A simple review of the NRIS action plan proves that it does not live up to these basic standards. Moreover, the NRIS falls short of the European Union's requirements, as outlined in the EC Communication (April 2011).
The NRIS's elaboration was a rather superficial process. Very few suggestions and comments formulated by a large group of NGOs were considered and can be found in the final version of the NRIS adopted by the Government in December 2011.
In 2009, the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of Social and Demographic Risks proposed a new approach to tackling Roma issues, reflected in "a genuine and constant political approach to the challenges of ensuring equal opportunity policies for the Roma minority". This recommendation is marginally reflected in the text of the current NRIS, and it remains a goal to be achieved considering the limited political capacity of the Roma community to act as a strong and reliable partner of public bodies.
How Can Romanian communities activate and strengthen their potential? What creates a strong community?
You can find it here in this 2012 Report.