In July 2010, Al Dameer and the Palestinian NGO Network announced the creation of a “civil network to protect the right of freedom of association in the Gaza Strip,” funded by the EU via the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR). The network includes the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and eight other “civil and human rights organizations.” The EU-funded project includes a website entitled “Contributing Respect, Protection, and Promotion of the Rights of Freedom of Association in the Gaza Strip.”
Another EU project, “Fostering Community Change in the OPT,” was launched in partnership with Oxfam. The three-year, €533,780 program is meant to benefit six Palestinian villages in the West Bank. Local partners include MIFTAH, Palestinian Vision (PalVision), Ansar Centre for Children, and the Women’s Study Centre. The main goal of the project is to “strengthen the capacity of Palestinian civil society organisations, as a pre-condition for a more equitable, open and democratic society.”
At the same time, the European Parliament submitted a proposal intended to increase the “democratic scrutiny of EU external co-operation instruments,” which includes NGO funding mechanisms. If passed, this will allow Parliament to monitor and veto decisions made by the European Commission regarding “EU financial instruments” such as EIDHR.