Learn more about the Stronger Roots Program
A strong civil society is a prerequisite to a healthy democracy. Civil society organizations (CSOs) fulfill a variety of crucial roles, such as providing social services, aiding the disadvantaged groups, protecting the environment or checking on performance of the public sector, while they also uphold and promote values the European countries stand for and stand on, such as building trust and solidarity among people, enhancing rule of law, transparency and good governance, promoting equality, and protecting human rights and dignity.
Acknowledging these crucial roles, the Open Society Fund Prague, Glopolis, Open Society Foundation Bratislava and the NIOK Foundation formed a consortium in 2019 to implement the Stronger Roots Program and jointly strive to strengthen the roots of civil society in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The Stronger Roots Program aims to increase the resilience of civil society organizations and their networks, strengthen their social capital, and embed them in the communities and societies in which they operate.
The Program empowers civil society organizations and networks of different sizes, geographical scope, and thematic focus (environment protection, education, culture, children & youth, social services, etc.). It builds their capacities through a combination of financial, expert and peer support (including mentoring, consultancy from experts, training and experience sharing sessions) using the following two concepts:
A) SOCIAL BASE BUILDING
Individual organizations are strengthened in line with the concept of social base building (also known as constituency building), which helps them to create stronger communities of supporters, donors, volunteers, and partners.
B) NETWORK TRANSVERSAL COLLABORATION
Networks are strengthened using the concept of network transversal collaboration, which helps CSO networks reach out to divergent stakeholder groups from civil society, as well as the private and public sectors.
While the two concepts differ in several ways, they both help CSOs strategically (re)connect with the people around them, create stronger communities and partnerships, and engage various types of constituencies and stakeholders in the service of the public interest. The Program also builds their long-term capacities and know-how in a variety of areas and supports both individual organizations and networks in transforming their internal processes and mindsets.
The Stronger Roots Program is funded by the European Union from the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) Programme. In the period of 2023-2025, the Stronger Roots consortium plans to invest around 2,400,000 Euro towards civil society in Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary. It will support around 70 civil society organizations and 20 platforms with grants with a total amount of 1,815, 000 Euro and will run a unique capacity building program tailored to the needs of organizations worth another 590,000 Euro.
In the first round of the Stronger Roots Program 2019-2022, the consortium already supported 35 civil society organizations and 9 networks. The results and impacts of this first rounds of the program are depicted in the evaluation summary:
The Stronger Roots Consortium members
Open Society Fund Prague is one of the largest foundations in Czechia.
Open Society Foundation Bratislava plays a key role in the development of civil society in Slovakia.
NIOK Foundation´s mission is to strengthen civil society in Hungary.
Glopolis is a Czech think-tank facilitating collaboration towards sustainable democracy