With the constantly changing nature of the ongoing conflict, Syrian civil society operates in a highly challenging reality and civil society actors are forced to continuously adapt their role and their activities. Civil society spaces have shrunk in most parts of Syria in recent years. While Syria is divided into areas of influence for a range of actors, including external ones, the majority of the de facto power holders seek to control and interfere directly in the work of civil society. In neighbouring countries where millions of Syrian refugees have sought refuge, notably Lebanon and Turkey, Syrian-led initiatives also increasingly face legal and operational restrictions.
Syrian civil society remains an essential actor for the political, economic and social development of the country despite the complex situation. EED supports organisations working to sow the seeds for a future democratic, open, pluralistic civil society. It supports pro-democracy actors who are maintaining spaces for civic activism as well as civil society actors who are encouraging the development of democratic practices.
EED approach and added value
- Enable civil society in Syria and neighbouring countries to keep engaging with local communities and play a role in their society
- Support for civil society groups that have been forcibly displaced either inside Syria or in neighbouring countries and that are eager to continue their struggle for democratic change
- Assist Syrian-led initiatives to develop the capacity of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries
- Provide seed funding to new initiatives.
Examples of supported initiatives
- Organisations that seek to foster civic engagement of local communities including on local governance, justice, or citizenship issues
- Media and initiatives focusing on alternative media and the arts as a means of communicating the values of democracy
- Initiatives addressing youth, women, and women’s rights, in particular among refugee populations