Supporting Civil Society Organizations in Nicaragua


A vibrant and resilient civil society is key to conflict transformation and restoring democracy in Nicaragua. Switzerland thus contributes to protecting the spaces and voices of civil society, and strengthens its capacity to generate reform proposals, promote an informed citizenship and stimulate a culture of peace. It does so by supporting four leading thinks tanks and academic institutes, and by contributing to a multi-donor basket fund designed to foster a civil society response to the socio-political crisis and to provide a platform for aid coordination. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Nicaragua
Governance
Democratic participation and civil society
Media & freedom of information
01.08.2020 - 30.06.2024
CHF  4’350’000
Background

The socio-political crisis of 2018 has further deteriorated democratic institutions and reduced the space for civil society in Nicaragua. Under strong pressure are especially human rights defenders, feminist, youth, peasant and indigenous organisations. In an increasingly authoritarian political environment, international support is key to preserving the role of civil society organizations in building national capacities, providing access to information and proposing reforms of public policies. Buiding up on the first phase, SDC provides contributions to three leading think tanks specialized in socio-economic development and democratic transition, environment and poverty measurement. The proposal also includes the Martin Luther King Academic Institute (IMLK-UPOLI) due to its proven capacities to promote dialogue and a culture of peace. In addition, SDC maintains its contribution to the Civil Society Support Fund FASOC, a multi-donor basket fund and effective platform for donor coordination.

Swiss interests and added value: The promotion of peace and human rights – including the right of free expression and political participation – is in the general interest of Switzerland. It is anchored in the Swiss Constitution and a priority of Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland’s contribution allows leading think tanks a strategic planning in the long term. SDC’s thematic dialogue and its financial contribution are matched with capacity building in crucial topics such as conflict sensitive programme management and dealing with the past. Switzerland is a key player in the Civil Society Support Fund FASOC and has promoted the inclusion of relevant topics such as gender equality, historical memory and culture of peace. Under the leadership of Switzerland and Luxemburg, the European Union, Spain, Sweden and Canada have joined the Civil Society Support basket fund (FASOC) and increased its impact and financial sustainability in the aftermath of the 2018-political crisis.

Objectives To contribute to conflict transformation and democratic transition based on citizen participation in Nicaragua.
Target groups

-    2'000 people (60% women) with national or regional leadership in organised civil society and political parties; 

-    5'000 educators and local leaders (60% women) trained in culture of peace and conflict transformation; 

-    40'000 activists and people (55% women) organised around social movements of women, youth and peasants. 

Medium-term outcomes

1:    Think tanks with their capacities strengthened to propose reforms, promote conflict transformation and a culture of peace.

2:    Community and educational leadership with new skills to manage conflicts, strengthen social cohesion and the resilience of vulnerable populations.

Results

Expected results:  

With the goal to consolidate civil society's capacity to participate in conflict transformation and contribute to democratic transition, the project partners will aim for the following main outputs :

FUNIDES: Monitoring and public policy proposals for the economy and democratic transition;

Humboldt Centre: Monitoring and public policy proposals on climate change and natural resources;

IMLK-UPOLI: Culture of Peace and Human Rights in the educational and community system; 

FIDEG: Independent measurement of poverty based on national consumption surveys.

FASOC: Support for social movements an victimos of the domestic conflict, prevention of gender-based violence.


Results from previous phases:  

FASOC (Civil Society Support Fund): Between 2016-2019, it managed USD 4 Mio across 67 projects to strengthen civil society, reaching around 37’000 people (55% women). It has become an effective platform for donor coordination in the field of Nicaraguan civil society support.

FUNIDES (Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development): Its socio-economic studies are a reference for the private sector, civil society, international cooperation and government operators. In 2018 it provided strategic communication and negotiation support to a broad civic movement and developed proposals for transitional justice and democratic transition. IEEPP (Institute for Strategic Studies and Public Policy): Specialized in security issues, it lost its legal status due to a government close down of several critical NGOs in 2018. The research team was reorganized and continues its work through high-quality investigative journalism.

FIDEG (Foundation for Global Economic Challenge): Its field surveys on poverty conducted since 2009 are a key independent input for strategic planning in Nicaragua. SDC has succeeded in mobilising the interest and resources of the European Union, United States Agency for International Development, Interamerican Development Bank and World Bank to continue its annual measurements.

Humboldt Centre: 14 studies on topics such as transparency in the mining sector, environmental impact, and ecological assessment have become references for activists and political operators. The Centre launched a Community Agroclimatic Information System that serves 5'000 rural families.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector South/East


Other partners

Donors: European Union, Luxemburg, Spain, Sweden, Canada

International NGO: OXFAM Intermon

Coordination with other projects and actors

Donors:

European Union, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, Canada and the United States Agency for International Development

 

SDC Portfolio Domain 1 in Nicaragua: 

-    Society, Culture and Memory Programme: on topics of Culture of peace and social cohesion; 

-    Human Rights Programme: Reforms to restore rule of law and democratic institutions.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’350’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’294’020
Project phases Phase 99 01.01.2024 - 31.12.2024   (Active) Phase 2 01.08.2020 - 30.06.2024   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.08.2016 - 31.12.2020   (Completed)