Administration of the Fund for Support to Colombian Civil Society Organisations (FOS)
The Fund for Support to Colombian Civil Society (FOS) was a multi-donor fund, created as a mechanism for funding and strengthening of civil society in Colombia working for peace, human rights and democratization. It was founded by Sida and the Swedish Embassy in Bogotá in 2009 with the purpose of organising systematically the support that was channelled to the Colombian civil society organisations and to increase transparency and establish clear criteria for selection of cooperation parties in Colombian civil society and increase cost efficiency in administering the project management. The Norwegian Embassy / Norad joined as a donor in 2011 and together with representatives from the Swedish Embassy formed the Governing Board (GB) of the Fund. From January 2014, FOS was managed by FCG Sweden (originally in the name of ORGUT Consulting AB).
The Fund supported the following thematic areas:
- Peace and security
- Human rights, with a focus on victims of the armed conflict and human rights defenders
- Democratic governance linked to peacebuilding
Gender equality, environmental sustainability/issues and conflict sensitivity as cross-cutting issues. The work of the Fund has been based on a rights perspective (human rights-based approach).
The outcome objectives and output objectives for the Fund were as follows:
1) Civil society has contributed to peace building on local, regional and national levels.
- Active role of civil society in launching, maintaining and contributing to peace initiatives
- Increased number of women empowered as agents of peace
- Increased number of youth empowered as agents of peace
2) Civil society has contributed to victim’s rights and the defense of human rights.
- Increased numbers of empowered victims and human right defenders
- Actions by CSOs to strengthen processes of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.
- Actions by CSOs to improve conditions for human rights defenders.
3) Civil society has contributed to strengthening democracy on national, regional and local levels in relation to peacebuilding.
- Increased political participation.
- Increased social control in relation to the public agenda for peace building.
4) Supported CSO have been strengthened in their role as key actors contributing to outcome objective 1-3
- Increased technical capacity of the supported CSOs.
- Increased visibilization of the results and the work of the CSO.
- Increased exchange of experiences and expertise between CSOs.
FCG Sweden provided efficient, cost effective, transparent and systematically organised Fund Management of FOS. Call for Proposals were announced to support longer term initiatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) of around 11.8 M USD over the six years. During the first years of FCG Sweden's (formerly ORGUT) management of the Fund, an Open Fast Track Fund (OFT) was available for short-term initiatives of around 2 m USD for making possible more rapid funding of specifically prioritized or urgent initiatives.
Characteristics of supported projects, in addition to the above-mentioned result objectives:
- Advocacy work on peacebuilding and human rights and strategic litigation on human rights (civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, minority rights, women’s rights, victims’ rights),
- Positive action for gender equality, work against gender-based violence, especially conflict-related, actions within the framework of UNSCR 1325
- Prevention of socio-environmental conflict, through dialogue on the use of natural resources and environmental issues, including dialogue CSO – private sector
- Promotion of reconciliation, peace culture and peaceful coexistence
- Capacity building and legal, political, economic and psychosocial empowerment of victims, women and youth.
- Dialogue and improving of trust and relations between communities and civil society organisations and the state/public institutions, especially in rural areas affected by conflict
- Strengthening of citizens oversight mechanisms, improving transparency and accountability in public institutions
- Promoting freedom of the press and access to information in rural areas, monitoring of elections
- Monitoring of the implementation of the peace agreement and providing direct input to the transitional justice mechanisms
- Direct contributions to the search for disappeared persons, land restitution and land rights, and protection of human rights defenders
- Strengthening of Afrocolombian and indigenous organisations and communities