Partnership between Nordic and Russian NGOs

The Non-State Actors: Partnership and skills for sustainable development -project brought together NGOs from Finland, Russia and Sweden to exchange experiences, to learn from each other and to increase the networks of NGOs within and between these countries. The project started in February 2017 and ended in January 2018. The project was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The Finnish NGDO platform to the EU, Kehys acted as lead for the project. The project partners were NGO Development Center from St Petersburg, Russia, and The National Forum for Voluntary Work from Stockholm, Sweden. In addition, six NGOs from across North-West Russia participated in all project activities.  

The project was connected to the fruitful cooperation between the Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU Kehys’ and EU-Russia Civil Society Forum’s General Assembly, organized in Helsinki in February 2017. The assembly brought together civil society actors across EU and Russia to discuss the state of civil societies and the role of civil society actors in combatting global and local challenges.  

The project responded to the situation in which NGOs in the Nordic countries and Russia are increasingly facing similar challenges, such as changes in the funding base and the growing role of the private sector. Sustainable, peaceful and prosperous development of the area calls for fostering cooperation between Russian and Nordic civil society. Furthermore, global aspects are increasingly influencing local realities. Civil society actors need to adapt to these changes, work sustainably and be ready to meet the needs of citizens.  

Working efficiently for commonly shared goals and building capacity of NGOs comprised the mission of the project. The project aimed to improve the work of NGOs by exchanging best practices, project management skills and fundraising methods as well as establishing networks across these countries.  

The universal Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 formed the backbone of the project activities. These goals acted as cross-cutting principles and ensure commonly shared values for the project.  

In April, seven North-West Russian NGOs met with over 20 Finnish NGOs located in Finland. In May, an international fundraising conference White Nights gathered over 500 participants.  

In October, a group of Russian NGOs visited Stockholm to discuss the differences and similarities of their civil societies and to learn the working methods of NGOs in Sweden. The School of Project Management brought Russian and Nordic experts, alongside Russian NGOs to St Petersburg in late November. 

Throughout the project, Russian NGOs also shared the knowledge gained through the project in their own events across North-West Russia.   

Read more (in Finnish): 

Director of Center for Development of Youth and Community Initiative Irina Zhukova giving a speech about Agenda 2030 at Smart Friday event in Petrozavodsk. 

Picture above: NGO representatives from Nordics and Russia shared their experiences of challenges and opportunities for civil societies at Morgonforum seminar.