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Civil Society
Grant Schemes

In order to implement objective 3 of the EU Aid programme, three Calls for Proposals were launched during the period 2007-2009, awarding grants in a variety of fields. The main aims of these three calls were:

  • reconciliation and confidence building measures;
  • support to civil society in the Turkish Cypriot community; and
  • support to civil society organisations (CSO) and international organisations promoting reconciliation projects including research leading to a better understanding of issues affecting trust between the two communities.

In parallel to the above mentioned grant schemes, a Civil Society Support Team (CSST) was put in place to provide technical assistance and capacity building to civil society organisations. This Team was active from 2008 to 2011. Activities also included general awareness raising relating to the role of civil society in modern democracies.

In 2013 the European Commission undertook an evaluation of its past support to Cypriot Civil Society since 2007 in order to gather lessons from past experiences and so better respond to the needs of both the population and civil society actors.

Lessons learned and recommendations from this evaluation were considered when drafting both the “Cypriot Civil Society in Action IV” and the “Cypriot Civil Society in Action V” grant schemes.

All grant projects under CSI-II-III Grant Schemes, with a total amount of €5.4 million, have been finalised.

Ten grant contracts were signed in July 2014 for a total of €2.5 million. More details on the individual projects can be found under “Projects and Results”.

The main aims of this grant scheme were:

  • to strengthen civil society in the northern part of Cyprus as a key actor in the development of a culture of dialogue, participation in the community life and the promotion of values of tolerance, peace and active citizenship; and
  • to promote reconciliation, dialogue, closer relationship and trust between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot communities through confidence building measures and joint-actions organised by civil society organisations from both communities.

The priority sectors were environment, human rights, and culture and/or sports.

A total of eight grant contracts were signed in late 2015/early 2016 for an amount of €1.635 million. More details on the individual projects can be found under “Projects and Results”.

The main aims of this grant scheme are: (i) to support the development of civil society in the northern part of Cyprus as a key actor in the development of a culture of dialogue, participation in community life and the promotion of values of tolerance, peace and active citizenship, and (ii) to support civil society organisation capacity building and advocacy projects to reinforce sector based networking and coordination and citizen’s involvement in policy design and monitoring.

Actions reaching out to remote areas and/or marginalised communities, in networks in particular with Greek Cypriot and/or international civil society organisations to share best practices and strengthen common approaches and agendas and which incorporated gender perspectives were prioritised.

The priority sectors were the environment (focusing on natural resources and waste, nature and biodiversity, and environment and health), and human rights, prioritising projects addressing civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, and the fight against human trafficking.

In December 2018, as part of the sixth Civil Society in Action call for proposals, the European Commission signed 8 grant contracts with different civil society organisations (CSOs) for a total amount of EUR 2.3 million with an aim to strengthen the organisational capacities, outreach and impact of civil society in promoting and defending democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms, cultural diversity and reconciliation and to reinforce partnerships, cooperation and networking across Cyprus and/or with CSOs from other EU Member States to jointly address societal needs.

The signed contracts will address the following areas:  prevention of domestic violence against women and children; improving the access of LGBTI+’s to human rights; improving the awareness and enforcement of patient’s rights; increasing awareness for pluralistic views, democratic values, diversity, critical ideas and inter-cultural tolerance through art; strengthening journalists’ and media institutions’ capacity to promote press freedom and fundamental human rights; contributing to the empowerment of youth in the peace discourse in Cyprus; enhancing the role of civil society in democracy, governance and peace building via environment; and contributing to peaceful cohabitation of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.

A total of four grant contracts were signed in mid-August 2019. The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 1 million with the aim of preventing human trafficking, raising awareness, improving victims' access to rights and increasing knowledge of and effective and coordinated response to all forms of trafficking in human beings.

The signed contracts supported the operation of a referral platform to increase coordination of stakeholders and efficiency of the actions against Trafficking in Human Beings (THB), and also support actions/initiatives against trafficking of human beings in the northern part of Cyprus and/or across Cyprus. Contracts also addressed; efforts to combat THB within the LGBTI+ community; improving the legal text based on human rights and international standards; improving THB victims’ access to their rights; increasing knowledge on and generate effective and coordinated response to all forms of THB; and to reduce the level of human trafficking, particularly women trafficking, to promote the rights of women victims in northern part of Cyprus.

Cypriot Civil Society in Action VII and Human Rights Platform Direct Grant In late 2021/early 2022, European Commission signed 12 new contracts with different Turkish Cypriot civil society organisations for a total of EUR 2.1 million as well as a direct grant of EUR 700,000 for the Human Rights platform association.

Seventh Cypriot Civil Society in Action call for proposals aims at encouraging civil society organisations to pursue meaningful socio-economic change by participating in decision-making and policy implementation, influencing change at local and EU level while fostering collaboration in the dialogue between the Cypriot communities. The projects will be implemented in the following areas: Access to human rights for vulnerable or minority groups, youth and women empowerment, patients’, employees’ and elderly rights, advocacy on sustainable development goals, waste management as well as environmental literacy and activism.

The European Commission has also signed a direct grant with the Human Rights Platform association that brings together several rights-based Turkish Cypriot CSOs aiming at developing a more just, equitable, democratic and inclusive society. The project which will be implemented in the 2 years will primarily focus on anti-trafficking, refugee rights, LGBTI+ rights, democratic participation in the decision making process – including freedom of association and freedom of expression, detention conditions and freedom from torture. The platform will develop synergies and cooperation with Greek Cypriot CSOs and EU CSOs or CSO networks and is open to other rights-based associations interested in joining.

In 2023, European Commission signed 17 new contracts with different Cypriot civil society organisations for a total of 2,461,965 million Euro.  

The eighth Cypriot civil society in action grant scheme aims at supporting civil society in enhancing trust, dialogue and cooperation and in promoting European Union values and standards through actions that contribute to promoting reunification of Cyprus.

This call for proposals was composed of three lots with different priorities:

Lot 1- bi-communal research actions, will contribute to increase the scientific interaction between the Cypriot communities through implementation of joint Cyprus-focused research projects.

Lot 2 – bi-communal confidence building actions, aims at promoting interaction between the Cypriot communities on the following priorities: environment; peace, reconciliation and trust building; human rights; and culture or sports.

Lot 3 – strengthening civil society in the Turkish Cypriot community, will support actions reinforcing the civil society in the following sectors: environment; human rights; media literacy and promotion of ethical journalism; sound management in line with EU standards; and actions addressing the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

More details on the individual projects can be found under “Grant Projects”.

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