cyprusflagNGO Programme 2009-2014
Total allocation to Cyprus: €7.85 mln
Allocation to NGO programme: €1.32 mln


The NGO sector in Cyprus is fragmented in many ways. Firstly, there is no single legislative framework in place defining NGOs, and placing the framework of their establishment, operations, purpose etc. Rather, multiple types of legal vehicles may be regarded as NGOs in Cyprus, i.e. foundations, sports and cultural unions, associations, community volunteerism organisations etc.

Further, the levels of public participation in organised forms of volunteering through NGOs are low. There is a higher concentration of NGOs in urban areas, and mainly in Nicosia (capital region). Civil society's impact on governance and society is assessed to be rather weak, especially when considering the marginal role in the overall budget process. Civil society has some impact through information campaigns, and potentially in building capacity for collective actions. However, in the last few years civil society has developed in a very positive way. This includes impact in society, cooperation between the different sectors, empowerment of human resources in the NGOs, as well as a larger amount of bi-communal projects (both through UNDP programmes and the previous EEA/Norway Grants NGO Fund 2004-2009).

The NGO sector in Cyprus is also fragmented on the operations aspect, as there may be more than one NGO established and operating with the same purpose island-wise. Cyprus is very small to fit multiple NGOs operating for the same cause and purpose which is currently the norm for many areas of activity. On top of that, there is very little cooperation between them to develop synergies and cooperation for the same cause, and in most cases, each NGO is operating independently. Cooperation between NGOs and the development of networks and representation structures are important for the continuing development and strengthening of NGOs and civil society in Cyprus. In some cases tensions exist in leadership of networks due to the competitive nature of the NGO sector which may hamper effective network developments.

There is also a lack of a funding framework for NGOs in Cyprus, and NGOs, depending on their cause, attract funding from other sources, not based on their nature as NGOs, but based on their cause. Cypriot NGOs therefore face challenges receiving funding for their activities. 

Due to its size, the Cypriot society is considered a rather closed society, which has however made significant steps forward in modernising in the last 30 years. This rate of development however, may be regarded as slow in comparison to other countries in the EU. There are many NGOs in Cyprus who move forward societal norms and values and carry out advocacy activities. Such NGOs can be considered as a significant force for changing and moving forward societal values in Cyprus.

The NGO sector has traditionally not had the closest links with the government with the exception of some types of NGOs such as Community Volunteerism Councils which make part of community/ municipal councils and usually operate support facilities and services for children, the elderly etc. Such NGOs however still are not strictly related to the government and public administration but are (sometimes) related to local administration authorities such as community councils and municipalities. These are not the majority of NGOs however in Cyprus. There is a clear need for NGOs to be heard by the public administration on issues of their activity. There is also a clear need to develop dialogue, consultation, and open communication between the government structures and the NGO sector.

As regards bi-communal contacts, a large number of NGOs and their activities are of bi-communal character. Many NGOs were established by members of both communities, and many NGOs carry out activities involving both communities. The NGO sector in comparison to the general Cypriot society has been moving forward bi-communal contacts for many years now.

NGO Programme Cyprus 
The following areas are proposed to be eligible for support and should be covered by at least 30% of the Programme allocation:
  • Human rights, including minority rights (ethnic, religious, linguistic and sexual orientation)
  • Combat racism and xenophobia
  • Anti-discrimination
  • Social inequalities, poverty and exclusion, including in rural areas
  • Gender equality
  • Gender-based violence
At least 10% of the regranting shall be allocated to children and youth-driven organizations and / or activities targeting children and youth
Projects targeting these areas of support can address all 3 outcomes selected for the NGO Fund (see below).
The following areas and activities are also proposed to be eligible for support:
Protection of the environment and climate change
  • Awareness-raising and civic participation
  • Mobilising local involvement to protect biodiversity
  • Environmental educational activities and training for teachers
Provision of welfare and basic services
  • Provision of key services to vulnerable groups: children and youth at risk, people affected by HIV/AIDS, children with disabilities and/or mental disorders and their families, victims of trafficking and gender-based violence and/or domestic violence, where such services are not otherwise or not adequately provided by governmental institutions.
  • It is noted that both through the desk research on the Cypriot NGO sector and through the PO Experts' Team experience as managers of the previous EEA/Norway NGO fund, it is evident that provision of welfare and basic services is historically one of the main areas of intervention of Cypriot NGOs (especially patient group NGOs and disability support NGOs). In such services, NGOs work closely with the public sector providing services in areas (both thematically but also geographically) where the public sector lacks capacity (e.g. day care and occupational therapy for children and adults with multiple disabilities or terminal care for cancer patients). However, recently, due to the current economic crisis, public budgets for the operational support of such NGO provided services have been cut considerably and thus such services suffer significant decreases in capacity / sustainability.
  • It is expected that such organizations will seek the support of the NGO fund (as they have in the previous programming period) in order to be able to continue to offer their services to their target groups.
Capacity Building Activities
  • One of the three expected main outcomes of the NGO Fund is "Strengthened capacity of NGOs and an enabling environment for the sector promoted". The NGO sector in Cyprus is under-funded and thus the existence of the NGO fund for the current period is expected to build capacity for the sector overall by providing funding but also by promoting discipline in NGO organization and reporting, transparency and proper governance practices through the requirements that NGO Fund financing will place on NGO beneficiaries.
Bilateral cooperation
Part of the bilateral fund will be reserved to facilitate contact between donor country NGOs and Cypriot NGOs during the Call for proposals.
Calls for Proposals
1st call: July 2013 
Programme operator
Programme Operator PWC Cyprus (in Cooperation with First Elements Euroconsultants)
Programme Manager: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Resources and more information
Website of the Cypriot NGO Programme
Latest news on Cyprus
Further information on the EEA Grants in Cyprus