ECF new HIVOS partner

January 2004 -

Hivos and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) have joined forces. Early in November these two organisations signed a contract by means of which HIVOS will financially support the ECF activities in the south-eastern part of Eastern Europe. The collective Cultural Development Programme South-eastern East Europe 2003 - 2006 consists of three parts. Firstly the programme is intended to stimulate intercultural dialogue by creating a cultural meeting point, supporting renewing intercultural activities and exchanging expertise in the area of intercultural cooperation. One example is the development of Babel, a cultural website in Albanese and English. The objective of the second part of the programme is to stimulate input through the arts by getting people more actively involved in the arts, for example by supporting the International Theatre Festival Cross Dissolve in Belgrade.

The third column supporting the project strives to strengthen the cultural sector in south-east Europe, for example through studying the status of professional female artists in the Serb Republic. The ECF already has two policy-fringed programmes in the region that will also be continued: 'Policy for culture', which focuses on establishing sustainable relationships between authorities, legislators and the independent cultural sector, and 'Kultura Nova', a programme that strives to assist and strengthen cultural organisations.

The cooperation between Hivos and the ECF is logical, considering the strong similarities between their objectives and methods. Both organisations view culture as an essential element of civil society and for the development of such a society.