“Pandemic allows charity workers to shine”. Conference discusses support for CSOs (NGOs)

“Pandemic allows charity workers to shine”.  Conference discusses support for CSOs (NGOs)


The conference of the Russian Federation Council and the Public Chamber focuses on the role of CSOs in the current pandemic.

The conference, held online on 20h October, was entitled “Supporting CSOs and Halting the Spread of the Coronavirus.”  It was organised by the Commission of the Public Chamber for Developing the Charity Sector and Supporting CSOs that provide Social Services and by the Council for the Federation Council for Cooperation with Civil Society. 

The conference was moderated by Lyubov Glebova, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Construction, and by Yelena Topoleva, Director of the Agency for Social Information and Chairman of the Commission for Developing the Charity Sector and Supporting CSOs that provide Social Services. 

Lyubov Glebova noted: “It is interesting to observe the way CSOs have been supported at different levels during the pandemic and how charities and local communities have responded to the new challenges they face.  The pandemic has allowed our activists to shine and it has highlighted the wonderful contributions that our volunteers and welfare organisations make to our society.”

Yelena Ivanitskaya, Deputy Director of the Department of Strategic Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economic Development, described the measures that had been taken to support CSOs during the current crisis.  For more details click on the link: Пакет с пакетами: все новые меры поддержки НКОПодробнее

Ivanitskaya also outlined the work the Ministry of Economic Development has undertaken to update the two national registers of CSOs, emphasising how the registers will be used to provide benefits to businesses that have donated property or cash to officially registered CSOs.

Unfortunately, not all CSOs have been successful in confronting the challenges posed by the pandemic.  Yelena Topoleva admitted: “We need to acknowledge the fact that we were unable to implement all of the support measures we intended.  For instance, we failed to lift the requirement on CSOs to pay their insurance premiums.  Providing credit to CSOs was also an extremely complex issue.  The banks insisted on CSOs producing large quantities of documentation with every loan application and refused to extend credit to many CSOs.  The only positive was that some CSOs learned a great deal from the loan application process itself because many of them had never previously had any contact with the banks. 

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CSOs have received a record amount of support from the Presidential Grants Foundation this year.  Its General Director Ilya Chukalin reported that the Foundation had paid out nearly 11 billion roubles across the three rounds of bids in 2020 (two rounds are scheduled every year, the third was an exception).  He said: “In 2020 we supported a record number of projects, sponsoring over 5,000 projects with a total value of 50 billion roubles.  Many of the successful grant applications were from CSOs in the smaller cities and rural areas (around 36%), whereas only 11% were from Moscow.”

Ilmira Kish, Deputy Director of the charity Way of Life, noted: “Nobody was prepared for the pandemic and the CSOs all tackled it in their own way.  Some concentrated on keeping their organisation afloat and continuing their work.  Many managed to secure funding from the Presidential Grants Foundation as well as other sources.  A proportion of the more established CSOs threw themselves into finding new financial resources to sustain their work.”

Topoleva concluded: “All the CSOs were united in their determination to overcome the problems of the pandemic and many of them worked together.  It was a perfect illustration of the advantage of cooperation.  We learned that the more closely we cooperate the more effectively we work and the faster we achieve the desired results.” 

A recording of the conference will shortly be available on the website of the Russian Public Chamber  – click here: сайте 

Source: https://www.asi.org.ru/news/2020/10/21/konferencziya-sf/

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