Support and capacity building programmes for civil society in Central and Eastern Europe were the focus of this year’s (Re)Building Democracy conference. For the second time, our Foundation hosted a brainstorming event for civil society, grantmakers and donors from the region, attended by half a hundred staff from over thirty organisations from a dozen countries. The workshop was co-organised by Ökotárs and NIOK.
Over the past decade, the Central and Eastern European region has witnessed a worrying democratic decline in legislation, as well as in the autonomy of NGOs and the social engagement of citizens. In addition, smaller organisations operating in rural areas are more dependent on local and national authorities, which significantly affects their possibilities and independence. Recognising the dangers of this process, larger donors are increasingly focusing on supporting capacity building activities in rural regions. The constant challenge for these programmes, regardless of national specificities, is how to promote sustainable development in the long term, so that they are not just ad hoc financial support.
Our Foundation has invited fifty professionals, NGO leaders, experts and activists to Pécs to discuss, learn, share experiences and reflect together on possible solutions.