On January 21, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers decided to allocate EUR 600,000 from the state budget for emergencies to support non-government organizations (NGOs) to compensate for the negative effect of Covid-19 crisis in 2021, as reported by Culture Ministry.
Because of the spread of the pandemic, restrictions put in place by the government continue causing economic consequences that affect not only the business sector but also complicate operations for NGOs, making it harder to provide residents the necessary services, including ones intended to reduce Covid-19 crisis.
NGOs have mentioned multiple aspects of the negative effects, such as cessation of services or inaccessibility of specific target audiences, idleness of NGO sector workers or reduction of their numbers, projects put on hold, failure to fulfill cooperation agreements, significant reduction of income, etc., Culture Ministry explains.
NGOs provide important services to resolve many public needs: coordination of volunteers; public information and education; social services, etc. This is why it has been decided to implement the program to help reduce consequences from Covid-19 for NGOs that provide such services to residents.
This is why the program Support for NGOs to Reduce Negative Consequences from Covid-19 crisis will be provided financing to ensure NGOs are able to continue operations in all Latvian regions.
On December 21, 2020 an open project selection process was announced in this program. The process concluded on January 18. Members of the committee are currently reviewing submitted projects to provide funding of EUR 564,000. It is planned to spend EUR 36,000 on different administration operations associated with the program (wages for project leads and hired experts, rent of real estate premises, utilities, IT infrastructure, communications service, etc.).
The support program is implemented by the Social Integration Fund. Through and open project submission process funding is provided for different NGO projects to be implemented until June 30. Projects submitted for the process are evaluated based on different aspects: whether NGO operations add to municipal or state services to reduce negative consequences from Covid-19 crisis; whether the NGO provide services necessary for society and are the services unavailable from the state and municipalities to reduce the impact of Covid-19; was the NGO previously involved in some unethical acts and does the NGO rely on democratic and good management principles; whether the NGO has a transparent and open operations and management structure. (BNN/Business World Magazine)