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A strong and dynamic civil society is an important prerequisite for the existence and resilience of democracy in society. The growing number of attacks on civil society, greater social polarization, a shrinking democratic space, and autocratic tendencies in several European countries undermine the functioning and activity of the civil sector within them.
More efforts are needed in order to develop greater skills and knowledge inside civil society organizations (CSOs) to protect and uphold the fundamental rights and principles of the European Union. Providing such support for the organizational development of CSOs is the core aim of the PROTEUS program - Protecting EU Values and Fundamental Rights through Public Participation and Civil Society Assistance in Central Europe.

The overall PROTEUS program is led by the Transatlantic Foundation of the German Marshall Fund, implemented in partnership with the Sofia Platform Foundation and seven other European organizations, and is funded by the European Union.
The focus of the project is directed towards smaller and emerging organizations working in the field of civic education, that seek opportunities to develop their organizational capacity and team capabilities.

The project aims to:
- Support democratic participation, public deliberation, and inclusion.
- Strengthen the resilience of CSOs in the context of shrinking civic spaces.
- Protect and promote European values and fundamental rights, especially in peripheral areas and smaller communities.
- Support civic activism in peripheral areas and smaller communities.

1. Capacity Building (Training) - Up to 25 civil society organizations - will be selected to participate in a series of training sessions for organizational capacity development. Participants will be invited to apply for small-scale funding (micro-grants, up to 2,500 euros each) to implement their ideas or projects, applying the knowledge they have gained from the training. Recipients of the micro-grants will also receive mentoring support.

In Bulgaria, this part of the program will be implemented by the Sofia Platform Foundation.

Learn more about the application process for the capacity building component here: https://www.sofiaplatform.org/en/news/call_proteus
The deadline for applications is extended to 02 October 2023.

2. Project Funding:
Parallel to and independent of the capacity development activities described in point 1, the Transatlantic Foundation (TF), in collaboration with the Engaging Central Europe (ECE) program of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, is accepting applications for project funding (up to 40,000 euros) in the following three areas:
  • Enhancing Participation of Women in Political and Policy Processes: https://rb.gy/mwpdk
  • Enhancing Participation of Vulnerable Groups in Political and Policy Processes: https://rb.gy/kp9pi
  • Supporting the Social Involvement of Children and Young People through Democracy Education: https://rb.gy/muux1

Project proposals should be submitted by November 1, 2023, to the following email: EngagingCE@gmfus.org

Information about the assessment results will be communicated to the candidates and presented on the PROTEUS website in January 2024. 

Candidates for the following projects (with a deadline for submission of proposals 15.07.2023) have already been approved and announced on the PROTEUS website.

- Support for organizational resilience: https://rb.gy/6cjek
- Strengthening online and offline forms of civic participation: https://rb.gy/ltxuz
- Strengthening the presence of human rights and anti-corruption watchdogs: https://rb.gy/fn82v
Project proposals should be submitted by July 15, 2023, to the following email: EngagingCE@gmfus.org

Information about the assessment results will be communicated to the candidates and presented on the PROTEUS website in August 2023. 

The PROTEUS program is co-funded under the CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values) program of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Transatlantic Foundation and its project partners. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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