Ongoing ProjectsEngaging Central Europe empowers civil society to protect, revitalize, and renew democracy in the heart of Europe
The Engaging Central Europe (ECE) initiative supports democratic resilience and revival, civil society, media pluralism, electoral integrity, the rule of law, civic education, citizen participation, and regional cooperation in the easternmost member states of the European Union and NATO.
Towards these goals, ECE provides grants and capacity building through solicitation of projects and open calls for proposals and participation.
For any inquiries, please contact the ECE team at [email protected].
List of grantsExpand All
Amnesty International Hungary
Amnesty International Hungary (AI HU) is a nongovernmental organization and one of the main human rights watchdogs in Hungary, conducting human rights education programs throughout the country. Its Human Rights Education Network Against Shrinking Space initiative aims to increase regional skill- and program-sharing among Central European NGOs engaged in education for human rights and democratic citizenship. With ECE support, the network strengthens the resilience of members, their fundraising capabilities, and their visibility at the domestic and international levels.
Mérték Media Monitor, Hungary
ECE supported the Hungarian media watchdog Mérték with a grant to conduct a comprehensive media-monitoring project during Hungary’s April 2022 parliamentary elections campaign. The project covered the main news programs of the three leading Hungarian TV channels and surveyed the balanced or distorted nature of news coverage. Mérték’s regular reporting provided an important tool for election observers to assess the impact of the media environment on the integrity of the 2022 elections.
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland
The Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights (HFHR) is one of the most prominent human rights watchdogs in Poland. For three decades, it has worked to safeguard human rights. Over the last years, its focus has been on the rule-of-law crisis in Poland as, since 2015, the government has severely undermined the independence of the judiciary. ECE funding supported the documentation and analysis of disciplinary mechanisms and procedures that put political pressure on Polish judges. HFHR findings informed EU institutions as to how to address developments in the disciplinary regime and legislation.
Center for Citizenship Education, Poland
ECE provided the nongovernmental education foundation Center for citizenship Education (Fundacja Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej) with support for its nationwide educational School of Democracy program. The program supports 3,000 elementary and secondary schools in Poland each year, allowing students to learn the values of civic engagement and the importance of democratic participation. At a time when opportunities for civic and democracy education have steadily shrunk, and when the parliament discusses the exclusion of democracy and civic education from school curricula, this program offers a platform for the democratic participation of students at schools across Poland.
OKO Foundation for Civic Monitoring, Poland
The OKO Foundation for Civic Monitoring (Fundacja Ośrodek Kontroli Obywatelskiej OKO) is a nonprofit and independent investigative online portal in Poland. It promotes civic engagement in society and advocates for the preservation of the country’s constitutional democracy. Over the last years, the intimidation of journalists and active citizens has surged. Government and business have instrumentalized SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation) as their main form of attack. Powerful actors sue journalists and civic activists with the aim of consuming their time and exhausting their financial resources. With ECE support, OKO raised awareness of SLAPPs in Poland and conducted the first in-depth analysis of such lawsuits against citizens. On this basis, EU and national anti-SLAPP policies can be designed to provide better protection against such abuses of the law.
Unhack Democracy, Hungary
For over a decade, Hungary has witnessed a steady and dramatic decline in its democracy. In order to protect the integrity of the April 2022 parliamentary elections, Unhack Democracy, a Hungarian election watchdog and nongovernmental organization, recruited and trained committed volunteer poll workers to safeguard the electoral process. Thought online educational content, poll workers are educated on polling-day fraud and electoral clientelism. ECE support for Unhack Democracy aimed to limit election-day irregularities and the broader democratic decline in Hungary.
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is a consortium of investigative centers, media, and journalists operating in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Central America. ECE enabled OCCRP to strengthen its editorial capacity in Central Europe and its investigations of organized crime and corruption in the region. It helped to maximize the reach and the impact of the content produced, and so contributed to transparency and good governance in the region.
Partizán Foundation for the Production of Critical Content, Hungary
Partizán is an independent online media outlet operating in Hungary, with an audience of over 210,000 subscribers. Its reporting focuses on issues such as elections, government spending, and corruption, Partizán has evolved into a unique alternative to government-controlled public broadcasters in Hungary. ECE funding supported the development of Partizán’s new studio to guarantee stable and sustainable operations of the outlet and to enhance its reach among Hungarian audiences.