Small grants to support human rights in 21 countries
The Assisting Communities Together (ACT) project offers grants up to US$5,000 to community organizations and individuals. The project funds activities that require little support but can nonetheless have a significant impact at the local level.
ACT emphasizes the role of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights. It aims to empower people at the grassroots level to be pro-active in promoting human rights, while strengthening partnerships between the United Nations and local human rights constituencies. Such initiatives reinforce UNDP support for good governance.
Activities range from workshops and cultural events to preparing human rights education materials and helping victims of human rights violations and their families. Since 1998, ACT has funded more than 16 projects in over 30 countries.
"It is striking to see how much you can do with little money," said a UNDP programme officer in Jordan. "You fund enthusiastic people on the ground and they do wonders. It often takes very little seed money to move an idea from utopia to real action."
Liberia Prison Watch, for example, used a grant to monitor the human rights in prisons and create awareness about the rights of prisoners and detainees in local communities and among members of the criminal justice system.
In Mongolia, Globe International, a civil society group, organized a human rights seminar for six women journalists working for daily newspapers to encourage them to write weekly columns on the rights of women and children. Their newspapers reach more than 500,000 readers.
For this phase of ACT, UNDP country offices are co-funding the initiatives, and so far 13 offices have each committed $15,000, making a total of $195,000, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is allocating $430,000.
In Africa, grants will be awarded in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoro, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. In Asia, UNDP country offices participating are Cambodia, Palestinian Territories, Philippines, Samoa. European countries where grants are available are Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Uzbekistan. In Latin American and the Caribbean, counfries include Colombia, Haiti and Venezuela.
Applications for ACT grants are available from the UNDP Representatives in these countries or, where present, staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
For further information, please contact Patrick Van Weerelt, UNDP Geneva, or Nicholas Gouede, UNDP Communciations