The programme was financed under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (EEA Grants).
EEA Grants are the contribution provided by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to 16 European Union Member States from Central and Southern Europe in order to reduce the economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area countries. Besides Poland, the beneficiaries of this support are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.
A part of the EEA Grants was dedicated to supporting NGO Programmes aimed at the development of civil society and increasing the participation of NGOs in building social justice, democracy and sustainable development.
The NGO Programmes place special emphasis on horizontal concerns such as: hate speech, extremism and hate crime, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, tolerance and multicultural understanding, Roma, sexual harassment, violence against women and trafficking.
€ 37 million was allocated for the Citizens for Democracy programme, implemented from June 2013 to April 2016.
The basic form of operation of the programme was to make grants for projects implemented by non-governmental organisations. Grants were designed to: foster citizenship, promote democratic values, including human rights; develop advocacy and the watchdog role; empower vulnerable groups, promote the strengthened capacity of NGOs and an enabling environment for the sector, and developing bilateral relations with Donor States.
Additional activities were also carried out within the programme such as: workshops for non-governmental organisations, events that serve to increase networking with entities from Donor States, and experience sharing among organisations implementing projects supported by EEA Grants in Poland and the 15 other EU countries. Initiatives that aim to counteract hate speech, xenophobia and discrimination were also undertaken.