immagine_ridThis week I had the pleasure to be in Austria to run a workshop on EU funding for the members of Diakonie Austria.  We looked not only at the various funds available but also the challenges faced with using, managing and reporting on EU funds.  It is not easy, and for some members it can feel that the effort outweighs the reward.  At the same time, funding can allow us to develop projects we may not have been able to do otherwise and can give rise to networks and partnership than can expand our work – so members were not put off EU funding entirely!  But one of the major pre-occupations was the sustainability of projects and actions that receive funding from an EU source for a specific period – what happens when that period ends?  How does the project continue?

Sustainability is also on our minds as we have our first network meeting on migration this week.  As our members have told us, there is much engagement with those arriving in Europe from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and elsewhere and our members as well as other NGO’ are actively involved in reception, inclusion and integration activities.  However, one of the common messages from our members is the lack of funding for the activities happening now… initial housing, food, medical and psychological assistance.  NGO’s and others are expected to provide these activities with little or no funding – yet if they did not provide the services there would be disaster.  Furthermore, some of our members are concerned that there is starting to be competition between different service users and needs – as we say in English ‘stealing from Peter to pay Paul’.  None of this is sustainable and this week, and in the weeks to come, sustainability of our work and funding will need to be a core theme if we are to see and maintain a change in the social situation of all people in Europe.


Have a nice weekend,

Heather Roy

Secretary General Eurodiaconia