Final Evaluation of the Active Citizens Fund programme in Estonia

Supporting civil society was one of the key priorities for the 2014-2021 funding period of the European Economic Area (EEA) Grants. The programme is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in fifteen EU countries, including the Baltic States.

The Active Citizens Fund (ACF) has been established under the priority sector ‘Culture, civil society, good governance and fundamental rights and freedoms’, one of the five areas for which funding has been agreed between the donor countries and the European Union. The ACF’s main areas of support are democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency; human rights and equal treatment, combating discrimination; social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups; gender equality and gender-based violence; environment and climate change. The program seeks to improve the long-term sustainability and capacity of civil society by strengthening its role in promoting participatory democracy, active citizenship, and human rights. 

In Estonia, the ACF is operated by the Open Estonian Foundation in cooperation with the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations. Between 2019 and 2024, Estonian civil society organisations had the opportunity to apply for grants totaling more than €6 million through seven open calls for proposals and other measures for NGOs. By the end of 2023, 111 projects had been contracted, for a total amount of €5,088,124.

In the framework of this research project, IBS will examine the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of ACF grants. This will entail an assessment of the structure of the calls for proposals, the contribution of the projects and their results, and a mapping of problem areas. As this is a final evaluation, the impact of the programme and projects will also be examined.