» Mandates and Approaches
EPF’s work is guided by the following program mandates and approaches (or tools). The mandates and approaches are flexible and demand-driven. On occasion, activities may not fall directly within any of these areas, or they may fall into several categories at once. EPF does not attempt to maintain strict adherence to this framework – rather, the following areas are meant as general guidelines to direct decision-making and guide our partners and grantees.
Creating Opportunities for Civic and Economic Participation
The Foundation seeks to increase citizen action in monitoring the activities of businesses, government and the donor community. Policy formation and implementation, public and social service delivery and public work all have significant impact on society and the economic development of the South Caucasus. The Foundation encourages NGOs to pursue work on setting and maintaining public accountability to international project and audit standards through civil sector involvement in infrastructure and legislative monitoring, as well as project evaluation. Direct citizen engagement constitutes a key component of all activities funded. Promoting transparency and international best practices in the private sector also contributes towards increased economic participation and opportunities. EPF encourages public-private partnerships through the engagement of small and medium sized companies in policy dialogue with the government, and also promotes the institutional development of business and vocational education programs.
Building Capacity for Evidence-Based Research to Improve Policy-Making
The Foundation continues its efforts to improve the quality of social science research in the South Caucasus through trainings in research methods, fellowships and advocacy. The voice of social science researchers in the policy formation process is critical to building effective programs that provide solutions to existing problems. Recognizing that research and sound policy are built on the foundation of reliable and unbiased information, the Foundation also supports the annual Data Initiative, a yearly household survey of social attitudes and perceptions in the South Caucasus. The Foundation’s primary mechanism for building research and policy capacity is the Caucasus Research Resource Centers.
Fostering a Culture of Corporate and Community Philanthropy
The Foundation seeks to encourage community volunteerism and activism in the South Caucasus. Activities in this field include increasing the understanding and practice of local corporate philanthropy and developing the skills and vision for youth to become advocates for and implementers of social change.
The Foundation is one of the leading program implementers in cross border activities within the wider South Caucasus region. Regional programming aims to contribute to security and stability by building links among individuals and civil society groups in different countries who face similar problems and are working toward common goals. An essential component of Track Two Diplomacy efforts, cross border work focuses on the third sector and businesses to establish the essential social cohesion that builds confidence and prevents violent conflict.
Open Door Grant Making
The Foundation recognizes that smart people with good ideas can have significant social impact, especially working at the grassroots level. Social entrepreneurs bring fresh solutions and ideas to existing challenges and are the driving forces behind many of the most successful interventions. The Foundation’s Open Door Grant Mechanism is a tool to support innovative and sometimes risky pilot projects and to test new ideas on a small scale. When projects supported through the Open Door Grant Program demonstrate success, the Foundation can help to replicate them at a larger scale or in different geographies.