478 projects in 7 directions were submitted to the Agency for State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan small grant competition in 2021. A decision was made to finance 415 NGO projects.
The size of each received grant averaged 9,000 manats (slightly more than 5 thousand dollars).
According to independent experts, a large part of NGOs receiving grants from the repressive authorities of Azerbaijan are losing their independent position and are essentially turning into pro-government NGOs – GONGOs loyal to the authorities of Azerbaijan.
It is noteworthy that among those who received grants were such NGOs that tried to position themselves as irreconcilable fighters for justice, and were perceived by the Western democratic community as rare but true voices of freedom in Azerbaijan – although it is obvious that by receiving grants from the Azerbaijani authorities, they lost their independence.
The Agency for State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan was established by decree of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in April 2019 with the aim of state funding for the civil society of Azerbaijan. It should be recalled that since 2014, independent NGOs cannot receive grants from abroad due to the draconian government restrictions on receiving foreign funding. By banning foreign funding, the authorities have opened a window of opportunity for NGOs to receive government funding into which they can get into by renouncing their independence.
Information about the winners of the competition can be found below in the Azerbaijani language.