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Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia (Eastern Partnership Programme)

Supporting civil-society engagement

Supporting civil-society engagement, © Potsdam Media International e.V.

03.09.2019 - Article

Since 2014, the Eastern Partnership programme has enabled numerous civil-society organisations in Germany and in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia to play their part as key actors and important partners of governance.

The programme, Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia, enables civil-society organisations and the members of the public active in them to implement joint projects, thereby supporting the ongoing transformation processes in the region. Over the past six years, more than 3000 project ideas have been submitted, and around 1100 projects with a total volume of some 77 million euros have been implemented by numerous civil-society organisations.

Target countries and focuses of projects

Through the programme, the German Government funds measures that provide comprehensive support to the transformation and internal integration processes via collaboration between German civil society and civil societies in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) and Russia.

This includes the entire range of cultural and civic education projects – media, academia, education including vocational training, culture, language and work with young people. In order to enhance social cohesion and the establishment of civil-society structures in the region and to promote the foundations of a fundamental free, democratic and pluralist order, as many dedicated actors as possible from a target country’s rural areas and urban centres should be involved.

Aims of cooperation with civil society

The measures eligible for funding are those that establish or expand permanent civil‑society cooperation structures between actors from Germany and the Eastern Partnership countries or Russia. Furthermore, projects must reach as many civil-society actors as possible and pursue one of the following four objectives:

  1. Strengthening pluralism ‑ establishing and furthering pluralism of information, opinion and the media
    The aim here is to create and expand a pluralistic media landscape and in so doing to increase the recognition of and respect for diversity of opinion within society. There are various ways to achieve this goal, including by providing basic and further training for journalists, bloggers and other media actors and by conducting projects to improve media skills, for instance at schools and universities.
  2. Promoting the discussion of values ‑ strengthening values through civil-society dialogue and cultural measures
    Another important goal of the project is to promote a discussion of fundamental values, such as respect for human rights, the legitimacy of the administration, the independence of the judiciary, the right of the individual to life and self‑determination, as well as the principle of majority decision, by means of exchange and cultural projects and civil-society dialogue. 
  3. Opening up prospects for the future ‑ academic, professional and socio-political training and further training measures
    Moreover, the aim is to give young people in particular prospects for their own economic, societal and social development. Training and further training projects are regarded as the foundations on which all people build their personal dreams and prospects for the future and so the programme focuses on these, too. 
  4. Fostering dialogue and understanding ‑ rebuilding trust lost as a result of territorial conflicts
    Another important goal is to restore the willingness to enter into dialogue and build understanding between societies whose states are parties to a territorial conflict. Unresolved tensions resulting from different historical narratives have also led to deep rifts among the civil societies. The programme seeks to support people and organisations that work with the affected groups to encourage them to understand the other side’s point of view and develop a willingness to compromise from this understanding.

Submitting project ideas

More information on the programme can be found here:

If you have any questions or require further information related to the programme, Division 601 of the Federal Foreign Office will be happy to help.

Please contact:

  •     Ms Magdalena Patalong, 030/1817-2148, 601-2-1@diplo.de
  •     Ms Carolina Jochheim, 030/1817-7966, 601-2-2@diplo.de
  •     Mr Daniel Demele, 030/1817-7967, 601-2-3@diplo.de

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