Step-Up Fund II: Eight new NGOs were selected for the fund this year!

Last summer we launched the first call for proposals for the Step-Up pilot fund in Spain, Italy, and Croatia. And after a successful round, we launched the Step-up fund II in Spain, Italy, and Greece in november this year, to improve refugee protection and inclusion at the borders of Europe. You can find more information about our new partners below.

Why does the Dutch Council for Refugees run this Fund?

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.

The STEP UP Fund II 2021 - 2022

Eight organisations have been selected to participate in the STEP UP Fund II, running from November 2021 to September 2022. The organisations are based in Italy, Greece and Spain and vary in the services and support they provide to asylum seekers and refugees. They provide legal advice, assistance to improve access to the labour market, housing to young male adolescents in Athens, or aim to contribute to political discourse in favour of better protection and asylum. Three of the selected project proposals concern refugee/migrant-led organisations or initiatives. These proposals are directed to strengthening the involvement of refugees and migrants when it comes to the development and implementation of integration and support programmes. The partners and projects are listed further below.

The STEP UP Fund 2020 - 2021

In the 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.

  • STEP UP partners en projecten 2021-2022

    From Greece

    • Congolese Community of Greece: To develop a communication and fundraising strategy through training and expert input, involving not only for the Congolese Community, but other migrant communities in Greece as well.
    • Velos Youth: Level-up - Designing a theory of change to create a stronger rationale that links the organisation’s activities with the change that Velos Youth aims after.
    • Symbiosis: DOLe – Building an online learning platform to facilitate coalition building with other NGOs thereby enabling joined advocacy and networking strategies and share learning initiatives.

    From Italy

    • A Buon Diritto Onlus: Creating structured and effective information storage software to strengthen the organization’s legal desk and communication with its donors
    • ENGIM: Training4Rights – Through the development of MOOC video’s ENGIM aims to improve the quality of its inhouse training programme for volunteers
    • Programma Integra: RE-Impact – Practical inquiry into the pro’s and con’s of attracting private investors through impact investing in refugees integration programs

    From Spain

    • Kudwa: Ad-voz-CAT – Learning to raise the voices of migrants and refugees in Catalonia through an intensive twinning and training programme with a refugee-led organization in the Netherlands
    • Mundo en Movimiento: Peer to Peer – The development of horizontal peer-to-peer programme in which refugees provide qualitative and warm support to refugees after the government-led support programme is ended.
  • STEP UP partners and projects 2020-2021

    From Italy

    • ASGI: ACT! - strengthening ASGI’s advocacy actions through a series of advocacy trainings, and (local) advocacy plans by ASGI Members.
    • Porco Rosso: Project development for solidarity  - Improve our capacity to raise funds and develop a sustainable project base

    From Croatia

    • Are You Syrious (AYS): More Syrious – improving AYS’s capacity in working with volunteers on integration, advocacy, and border monitoring
    • Croatian Law Centre (CLC): Croatian Asylum Lawyers Network (CALN) - Creating a network of, and online platform for asylum lawyers who are working as providers of free legal aid for asylum seekers and refugees to share knowledge and experiences.
    • Centre for Peace Studies (CPS): “WeCare – you do good when you’re good” – strengthening our work with volunteers and safeguarding their wellbeing, including through the creation of a self-care guide

    From Spain

    • Asociación Progestión Inception: Psycho-social training program for staff and volunteers working in refugee reception
    • Refugee Welcome Spain: New House – design and implementation of a new housing recruiting strategy for refugees and asylum seekers to be hosted with locals
    • ONG Rescate: Refugee Women - Development of capacities to raise private funds through a campaign on refugee women.
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