FIGHTING CORRUPTION WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY
With support from the EEA Grants, K-Monitor promoted data and information technology as tools for transparent and democratic governance.
Workshops on effective use of data, as well as ‘hackathon’ events brought together civil society activists, data analysts and experts on data visualisation.
“Data analysis and visualisation did not use to be part of the civil society toolkit. Now we have a strong network of organisations using these tools actively in their advocacy work and public communication”, explained Léderer.
The project trained organisations working on diverse topics, ranging from environmental protection to migrants’ rights. Solid data has empowered these organisations to engage with citizens and to present evidence-based arguments to decision-makers. K-Monitor also cooperated actively with journalists and put strong emphasis on increasing collaboration on data-driven advocacy. These initiatives continue beyond the end of the project.
“We are currently developing a tool for digitising scanned documents into large datasets, which will make organisations in Hungary and elsewhere better equipped to fight corruption. Civil society is increasingly harnessing the potential of data in driving change”, said Léderer.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
A strong and vibrant civil society is fundamental for democratic development.
Our support for civil society is particularly important at a time when democratic principles are under pressure in Europe. Many of the beneficiary countries have suffered setbacks in civil and political liberties, including the adoption of legislation designed to increase government influence over civil society organisations and to restrict the activities of activists. These negative trends serve as a reminder that democratic values cannot be taken for granted and that a healthy democracy requires constant commitment.
Strong support to civil society is therefore at the core of our commitment to an inclusive Europe and to common European values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED?
With almost €175 million in funding from the EEA Grants, the civil society programmes have supported positive engagement between citizens and authorities in the beneficiary countries, by promoting active citizenship, participatory democracy and the role of civil society in decision-making. The programmes have also empowered vulnerable groups and helped sensitise decision-makers and majority populations to the importance of tolerance and respect for diversity.
The EEA Grants have been one of the main sources of support to civil society in the beneficiary countries in the past years, enabling NGOs to strengthen democratic governance, defend human rights and engage citizens in decision-making.
The civil society programmes have also promoted bilateral relations by fostering people-to-people ties between organisations in the donor and beneficiary countries. See our Data and Results Portal for a detailed breakdown of funding across countries.
Independent Fund Operators
An independent evaluation found that our programmes modelled an innovative and effective approach to managing public funds for civil society. Fund Operators that are independent of local, regional and central government were contracted to manage most of the programmes. The support through the Grants was broadly recognised by civil society organisations as a transparent, inclusive and efficient means to support the sector.
Strengthening the capacity of civil society
A strong focus of the programmes has been developing the long-term sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector. Networking, regional exchange, transfer of knowledge and dissemination of successful approaches across civil society were core components of this support. Both new and more established organisations were supported. The Fund Operators played an important role in strengthening these organisations’ internal governance, transparency, communication and strategic planning skills.
«The civil society capacity building programme implemented in Greece turned out to be the most comprehensive such programme conducted in the country to date, resulting in improved organisational capacity in 95% of the project promoters»
DIRECTOR OF THE EEA GRANTS NGO PROGRAMME
FOR GREECE, BODOSSAKI FOUNDATION