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    Empowering NGOs for Efficient Social Rights’ Advocacy

    August 2018 - April 2022

    Interakcia Foundation is the project partner.

    Partners: Association EAPN-Latvia, Women’s Rights Institute (Latvia), Union of Women of the Kaliningrad Region (Russia), Stowarzyszenie Vesuvio (Poland), Eesti People to People (Estonia), Lithuanian Multiple Sclerosis Union, Odense Aftenskole (Denmark), People to People (Norway), PSP-Fond (St. Petersburg, Russia),Velferds Alliansen (Norway), b-Creative Cultural Association (Sweden), Interfolk – Institute for Civil Society (Denmark).

    The projects have been financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

    Projects’ budget:

    • 1st phase: DKK 444,550 (co-funding of the Nordic Council of Ministers – DKK 310,000).
    • 2nd phase: DKK 597,654 (co-funding of the Nordic Council of Ministers – DKK 411,000).
    • 3rd phase: DKK 572,000 (co-funding of the Nordic Council of Ministers – DKK 444,150).

    The projects focus on capacity building and exchange of expertise in social rights’ advocacy among NGOs from Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Belarus, Poland, Russia, Estonia, and Norway.

    The first project “Empowering NGOs for efficient social rights’ advocacy” was successfully implemented in August 2018 – October 2019. Right away, in October 2019, a second project was launched in Riga, entitled “Equal opportunities – a way to social welfare”, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, study visits as part of the project had been postponed until early 2021.

    In February 2021, the project resumed its activities in the online mode. The same mode was used for a third project “Strengthening the NGO network – a tool for social security”. During 2021, the partners have been exchanging experiences on how to cooperate and promote equal rights in the social sphere, through webinars and online workshops.

    Here are some questions that the partner NGOs are trying to find answers to during their exchange visits to different countries and online workshops:
    What is the European Pillar of Social Rights?
    How are its principles being applied in Belarus and other countries?
    What are some of European best practices of working with vulnerable population groups?
    What is the role of civil society organizations in protection of social rights?
    How can NGOs advocate and promote their agenda through collaboration with state and non-state actors?
    What are the types of discrimination that vulnerable groups (women, older people, youth, people with disabilities etc.) are facing?
    How can NGOs promote equal opportunities for vulnerable groups in education, access to labour market, entrepreneurship, media and other spheres?
    Project results:
    In September 2018, the project team held a training workshop in Kalinigrad (Russia) to discuss the main principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
    Over the next 12 months, partner NGOs took part in six study visits – to Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Odense (Denmark), Bergen (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), and Rzeszow (Poland). More than 50 NGO representatives from 8 countries had a chance to participate in the study visits! We visited NGOs that work with vulnerable groups (women, seniors, people with disabilities and others), state bodies (Lithuanian Parliament, various ministries) and city administrations, centers for informal and adult education, daily centers for seniors and houses for people with disabilities. In each study visit, we focused on the role of NGOs in the implementation of social policy.
    We finished the project in October 2019 with a large conference in Minsk where we discussed project results and plans for future cooperation.
    Proposals and conclusions prepared by the project partners (on lessons learned from their visits to partner countries and on the implementation of the basic principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, as well as on the role and capacity of NGOs in ensuring social rights in partner countries) were compiled in a single document and shared with donors, partner organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders from participating countries.
    Interakcia Foundation signed a cooperation agreement with the project’s Lead Partner, EAPN-Latvia, which is a Latvian association of the European Anti-Poverty Network. By signing the document, we agreed to continue promoting cooperation between Belarusian and Latvian NGOs and other actors that work in the area of social services and social rights of vulnerable groups.
    In October 2019, a conference in Riga marked the beginning of the 2nd phase of the project, entitled "Equal opportunities - a way to social welfare"
    Since the beginning of 2021, project partners have organized more than 20 online events on various topics related to equal opportunities and social rights. All events were part of the 2nd and 3rd projects.