Building NGOs capacity is important for Romania


Around 40 NGOs from Romania, Norway and Iceland met on 26 and 27 November in Bucharest, to build and plan the projects that will be submitted in the second round of funding in the program NGO Fund in Romania, financed by the EEA grants 2009-2014. The meeting took place in the framework of a seminar aiming to match possible partners, and it is one of the activities seeking to support the development of bilateral relations between Romania and the donor countries of the program: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Funds to identify partners

In order to identify partners form the donor countries, NGOs from Romania are invited to apply to the component of the program that emphasizes the support for the bilateral relations within the NGO Fund, which is to be opened in the first week of December 2013. Organizations wishing to apply for funding in the upcoming call of bilateral visits could travel in one of the 3 countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) to establish meetings with local NGOs - possible partners for the future projects. The amount available for this type of activity is around 68,000 Euros.

The next call for proposals will be opened in the first half of 2014 and has over 10 million Euros for projects that could be funded with amounts between 5,000 and 250,000 Euros.

Her Excellency, Ms Tove Bruvik Wetberg Ambassador of Norway attended the seminar and delivered a welcome message to the participating organizations. According to her declaration, the development of the Norwegian society is mainly due to the nongovernmental organizations too, and as a result, increasing the capacity of the NGOs is important in Romania too.

Why do we need organizations from Norway and Iceland?

Civil society in Norway has an extensive experience in developing projects in multiple domains. "A paradox is that over 50% of Norwegian NGOs have an annual budget under 6500 Euros. In fact, it is a sign of maturity, because good part of these NGOs work through volunteering or donations and membership fees support”, said Lillian Solheim, Project Manager, Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Volunteering and mobilizing community resources are two of the areas where Norway can be an example for Romania. In Norway, more than 80% of the population is engaged in non-governmental organizations work and about half of the population in volunteering. Given that only about 7% of Romanians are involved in NGO activities through volunteering and only 3% by donations or other charitable activities, Romania has a lot to learn from the experience of Norwegian organizations.

The capacity to critically evaluate the public decisions and to influence them is another example of area in which Romania needs positive examples and increased involvement, and the organizations from the donor countries make available their expertise in the field. Governments and administrations in the Nordic countries are famous for transparency, fairness and openness to public spending of taxpayer citizen.