The Civil Society Capacity Enhancement Framework is an innovative grant-based programme that allows the EBRD to establish partnerships and provide support to a wide range of civil society organisations in the countries where it works.
What makes the Framework unique is the fact that civil society enhancement projects are linked to specific EBRD-financed investments or policy dialogue activities in order to increase the scale, leverage and effectiveness of technical cooperation funds deployed.
One of the main aims of the Framework is to provide the EBRD with another avenue to reach out – by harnessing the potential of civil society - to the general public, particularly youth and rural population, relevant authorities, businesses and other stakeholders and address the issues of mutual interest and concern, including corruption, economic exclusion and climate change.
At the same time, we know that civil society groups often operate under constraints, with limited resources and capacity, and they are not always able to engage with the EBRD, our private sector clients or governments in an effective and sustainable manner. Our capacity enhancement initiative also aims to bridge that gap.
Scale and Impact
Since mid-2013 until the end of Q1 2018 20 completed and active projects have improved the skills of over 8,000 direct beneficiaries through tailored training and mentoring in nearly 20 countries. Also thousands of local community and civil society representatives have benefited indirectly from EBRD TC projects.
The civil society capacity enhancement TC projects focus on three key areas of importance for the EBRD that underpin its transition mandate.
Sustainable energy and resources
In order to contribute to the Bank’s investment and policy dialogue efforts in delivering climate action and environmentally sound and sustainable transition, the Bank is building the capacity of local civil society organisations to promote residential energy efficiency, climate resilience, sustainable transport and other related issues in the context of the Bank’s Green Economic Transition approach (GET). GET aims to increase the volume of the Bank’s green financing to 40 per cent of EBRD annual business investment by 2020 by investing in energy, water and waste minimisation as well as in climate change adaptation.
As part of the Bank’s efforts to promote economic inclusion and gender equality, the EBRD supports civil society stakeholders in promoting work-based learning initiatives, participatory resource management, social entrepreneurship and other aspects of transition and development. In such a way, we are increasing economic opportunities for youth and rural communities, while taking into account gender equality considerations.
Good governance and transparency
In the context of the Bank’s Investment Climate and Governance Initiative, we have worked on enhancing the capacity of CSOs for oversight and integrity standard setting, and for providing expert input into policy making in areas such as transparency, anti-corruption, improving the business climate and monitoring of public procurement. Also, we have strengthened the role of CSOs in promoting citizen participation and the facilitation of multi-stakeholder dialogue, thereby helping civil society to contribute more effectively to good governance and transparency.
As of August 2016, the total budget for active and completed EBRD technical cooperation projects under the Framework in each focus area is as follows: 42 percent for Good Governance and Transparency, 40 percent for Economic Inclusion and 18 percent for Sustainable Energy and Resources.
The projects build capacity of local civil society organisations to serve as:
i. Vehicles for awareness raising and stimulating new patterns of social behaviour
Tools: large-scale trainings and workshops for a wide range of civil society stakeholders to enable them to enhance their technical knowledge and communication skills; small grants to enable trainees to reach out to the general population.
ii. ‘Centres of excellence’ for knowledge and skills transfer
Tools: tailor-made training and mentoring of individual not-for-profit organisations, including think tanks and business associations development of platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue, consultations and networking
iii. Social enterprises which use market mechanisms to deliver on their social missions
Tools: a combination of advice, institutional and financial support to enable not-for-profit civil society stakeholders to increase revenues and reinvest them into improving economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities (currently under consideration).
Sustainable energy and resources
Enhancing Kyrgyz residential energy efficiency (Phase 1 and 2)
EBRD TC budget: €60,000 (phase 1); €75,000 (phase 2) from the Slovak Republic
Duration: July 2013 - July 2014 (phase 1); September 2014 - December 2015 (phase 2)
94 direct beneficiaries (Training of Trainers  and Training of Masters )
Challenge: The residential building sector in the Kyrgyz Republic is very energy inefficient and carbon-intensive, accounting for over half the country's total energy use.
Response: To adress this challenge, the EBRD developed the Kyrgyz Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (KyrSEFF) – a credit line implemented in cooperation with local partner banks and microfinance institutions which on-lends to businesses and households for energy efficiency improvements.
Civil Society Contribution: We helped a Kyrgyz association specialising in sustainable energy to set up a professional training course targeting professionals who install energy-efficient equipment in residential buildings, in line with the best international standards. After the successful completion of the Training of Trainers (ToT) course, trainees were included in a list of Master installers recommended by KyrSEFF to carry out installations required by the borrowers of the KyrSEFF partner banks. The TC project enhanced the capacity of the civil society organisation, the quality of vocational training offer and access to residential energy efficiency loans among potential sub-borrower groups.
The EBRD supports NGO Camp Alatoo to provide training on residential energy efficiency to builders across the Kyrgyz Republic.
Participatory water and waste water management issues in Egypt
- EBRD TC budget: €210,000 from EBRD SEMED Multi-donor Account
- Duration: December 2015 – December 2017
- 300 direct beneficiaries
- Challenge: Quantitative data from a baseline survey commissioned by the EBRD show that sanitation is believed to be one of the most pressing problems in the Kafr El Sheikh Governorate in Egypt.
- Response: The EBRD’s Kafr El Sheikh Water Expansion Programme will provide sanitation to around 470,000 people.
- Civil Society Contribution: In addition to a review and update of the communication and engagement strategy of the Bank’s client, Egyptian Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW), the TC project supports the implementation of capacity building and awareness-raising activities among civil society groups. The TC also supports the development of a mobile application which will be used for knowledge dissemination to customers on sustainable water and wastewater management practices.
Good governance and transparency
EBRD & OSCE supporting Albanian fight against corruption
- EBRD TC budget: €190,000 from Shareholder Special Fund (SSF)
- Partner budget: US$ 220,000 by OSCE Presence in Albania
- Duration: September 2015 – September 2017
- 2,500 direct beneficiaries
- Challenge: Corruption and poor governance are major impediments hindering the business environment in Albania. An EBRD survey of 805 companies showed that Albanian businesses pay a bribe in almost 1 in 4 interactions with public officials each year.
- Response: The EBRD and the Government of Albania signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in support of the ICGI for Albania in February 2014. The MoU committed the EBRD to support the implementation of a number of projects in the area of investment climate and governance reform.
- Civil Society Contribution: The project has included training workshops for citizens, civil society groups and local authorities on reporting and handling corruption complaints as well as a multi-stakeholder consultation mechanism for civil society. The EBRD and OSCE have additionally supported the Albanian School of Public Administration (ASPA) in the development of training programmes to build the capacity of civil servants on anti-corruption and integrity, as well as the Albanian Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Entrepreneurship in developing and disseminating a code of conduct for businesses.