» NORWEGIAN SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM
Norwegian Small Grants Program goal was to encourage the continued development of civil society and democratic institutions in the country, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Azerbaijan has contracted Eurasia Partnership Foundation to administer its annual grants program. Since 2005, Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) has acted in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Azerbaijan to encourage the continued development of civil society and democratic institutions with an emphasis in the fields of human rights, democratization, environment, gender issues, and public health. The Norwegian Small Grants Program, administered by EPF, has awarded approximately USD500,000 to support more than 40 small projects throughout Azerbaijan until 2009. Two grant competitions conducted in partnership with Royal Norwegian Embassy were held in 2008: Elections Awareness and Civic Participation
To raise voter awareness and education in conjunction with the presidential elections in October 2008, four projects were implemented in the regions of Azerbaijan. Within the project, more than 200 people from different target groups such as youth, disabled women, housewives and minority women received elections awareness training before the day of the election. The awareness projects were carried out using various innovative approaches including a bicycle ride organized by EPF’s grantee ‘Bridge to the Future’.
In the second competition, to encourage civic participation initiatives, eleven projects focusing on human rights protection, democratization, women’s issues, environmental protection, public health and media received awards. The project “Development of New Media Journalism Initiative in Azerbaijan – Internet Television” implemented by the Caucasus Media Investigations Center, established the first independent e-TV (www.kanal13.tv). Also for the first time in Azerbaijan a website with articles about Azerbaijan from the foreign press translated into the local language (www.azerdigest.com) was established. Collaboration between another winner of the competition, NGO Independent Legal Center, and the Department on Combating Human Trafficking at the Ministry of Internal Affairs resulted in an increase in the number of uncovered human trafficking cases in the country. The Royal Norwegian Embassy continues its cooperation with Eurasia Partnership Foundation in 2009.