The Department of Foreign Affairs is announcing the Shared Island Civic Society Fund, an initiative to promote practical North-South cooperation and engagement across a range of sectors and themes, consistent with the objectives and commitments of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Shared Island initiative is a whole-of-government priority which aims to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to enhance cooperation, connection, and mutual understanding on the island and engage with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future. The Shared Island Dialogue series has confirmed the extent of ongoing cooperation between civic society actors, North and South and interest in deepening those relationshipson an all-island basis, combining ideas and capacity to have a positive impact on people’s lives far beyond what can be achieved separately in either jurisdiction.
- The Shared Island Civic Society Fund, which will complement the vital work supported through the Reconciliation Fund and other Government resources, will encourage and support civic society and community organisations to develop new cross-border links, to further strengthen existing partnerships, or to create or broaden cross-border connectivity on issues of concern for the island of Ireland.
- Applications are also invited from business and trade union representative groups and other regional or national representative bodies, including of underrepresented voices of women, young people, older people, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQI+.
- Applications must have a strong North South dimension and applicants will be asked to demonstrate how their proposed project will do one or more of the following:
- Deepens North South links through the development of sustainable cross-border civic relationships.
- Develops and/or deepens cross-border relations between civic society organisations, North and South.
- Promotes constructive and inclusive dialogue around the opportunities and challenges facing the island through cross-border and cross-community engagement.
- Contributes significantly to the development of an all-island civic society ecosystem, particularly in relation to areas of cooperation and fundamental rights provided for under the Good Friday Agreement.
- Adopts an innovative or novel approach to building North South relations.
- The Fund will prioritise applications relating to, but not limited to, the following areas, including applications from regional or national representative bodies:
- Climate and environment.
- Community development.
- Heritage and conservation.
- Social enterprise, charity, and voluntary sector.
- In 2023, the Fund will award up to a total of €500,000 to a number of cross-border projects. Grants awarded through the Fund will be made on a once-off basis to support the project activities outlined in a given application for a period of up to 12 months’ duration.
- Funding awards of up €25,000 per successful project will generally be made, with scope for awards of a maximum of €50,000 where necessary for bigger projects. While this Fund will support organisations collaborating with one another on a North South basis, grants will be awarded to one lead organisation to support the collaborative activities outlined in a given application.
- Funding is intended to support the emergence of new cross-border civic projects and forums. Funding may complement and add to specific project work that is already taking place on a North South basis, or serve as seed funding for regional or national civic society organisations establishing new strategic links on a cross-border basis.
- Applications will be assessed on the following criteria and will be required to reach a minimum threshold under each of these headings in order to be recommended for funding:
- How the project/programme outcomes align with the Fund’s objectives.
- The impact of the project/programme based on clear expected outputs and outcomes.
- Capacity of the application organisation to deliver results.
- The organisation’s financial management capacity, governance arrangements, monitoring and evaluation systems, and sustainability.
- Successful applications will be chosen through a competitive application process and reaching the minimum threshold under the above headings will not necessarily guarantee receipt of funding.
- The following additional eligibility criteria also apply:
- Applications must have a clear North South dimension and only applications from civic society organisations based in the South engaging in new project/programme work with a partner(s) in the North or civic society organisations in the North engaging in new project/programme work with a partner(s) in the South will be considered. East/West dimensions and partners to such projects will also be welcomed.
- Funding will not be awarded to cover standalone activities that are not part of a wider project/programme.
- Only direct project/programme work will be eligible for funding and grants will not be awarded to cover core operational or capital costs.
- An organisation may only make one application for funding.
- Organisations already in receipt of funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and/or other Government Departments/public bodies are eligible to apply for this fund, although activities supported must be distinct and additional to those being supported by other Government funding schemes.
For more information, visit Shared Island Civic Society Fund.