In this first round of the STEP UP Fund, NGOs from Croatia, Italy and Spain were invited to apply. Out of the 65 applications from the three countries, eight inspiring projects were selected to receive support until the end of May 2021. The approved plans range from developing projects for sheltering boat refugees in Sicily to advocacy against border detention in Italy, from setting up a network of asylum lawyers to facilitating psychological support for volunteers in Croatia, and from an innovative host family project in Catalonia to a fundraising campaign in Spain. The partners and projects are listed further below.
International solidarity for refugee protection is needed more than ever, as the number of refugees and displaced persons fleeing from war, violence and persecution is at an all-time high. Protection is hard to get by and durable solutions are barely attained. Where Europe should be leading by example in sharing responsibility for welcoming and hosting refugees, the past years have seen a further externalization and deterioration of refugee protection.
As part of our international solidarity the Dutch Council for Refugees, a nationally operating NGO in the Netherlands assisting asylum seekers and refugees, has been investing in the capacity of NGO's at the borders of Europe over the past decade. Through the STEP UP Fund we are piloting a new method to support local and national NGOs and build new partnerships.
We are looking into methods and funding to further develop the STEP UP Fund into a standing capacity development fund for NGOs from selected countries.Do you want to stay informed about the STEP UP Fund, the supported projects, and the next call for proposals? Subscribe to our English newsletter.
If you have any ideas or questions, do not hesitate to send us an e-mail.
The first phase of the STEP UP Fund has been funded by the National Postcode Lottery.
You can read more about the Dutch Council for Refugees and our international activities here.