Supporting informal groups

For several reasons the level of formalisation of civil society seems to decrease. During a meeting of the funding working group we discussed if we can support groups that have no form of registration or that we should refrain from it. During the meeting we had members from the Belgium, the EU and the Netherlands present. The main take aways from the meeting where that:

  • Civil society organisations both here and in the ODA countries strugle with increasing amounts of red-tape. It becomes more and more difficult to register an organisation in many countries. It takes much time and effort to get a registration. Maintaining a registration as well requires time.
  • In Europe there are administrative restrictions and the costs of fulfilling requirements that bar formalisation.
  • In Belgium this has led to the fact that now the ‘factual associations’ can as well apply for funding.
  • In the Netherlands the creation of small grants enables informal organisations to apply for small grants.
  • But still formalisation is a requirement for larger grants. 
  • The participants agreed that level of formalisation is less needed for very physical projects where the need becomes urgent for more capacity building grants.
  • In some countries pushing for registration is quite difficult and other ways have to be found to be able to fund projects. Afghanistan is such a country where registration became almost impossible and now organisations share legal personality between one an other. 
  • In some cases alternative entities are found such as; schools, parishes and local chiefs. But this is only workable when projects remain rather physical.
  • Recently Wilde Ganzen started to develop legal clinics in countries where many grantees are active whereas legal compliance is increasingly important. Wilde Ganzen has organised such clinics in Uganda and will organise one in Nepal. 
  • EUcanAid is using references to confirm reliability, this is not ideal but it works in most cases. Trust is the main component of good projects.
  • Young people seem to be not so much inclined to register an organisation. 
The next meeting of the funding working group is planned for the 6th of June 2024 from 11:00 till 12:30 CET. The subject of the meeting will be ‘Focus or not to focus?’. Many of us work with some kind of geographical focus through the preferences of the CIGS the work with or for other reasons. What is the impact of having focus countries and are there ways we can cooperate on a focus country basis? If you would like to participate in this upcoming meeting please register