Co-operating Netherlands Foundations for Central and Eastern Europe Programme (CNFCEE programme)


The Co-operating Netherlands Foundations Programme for Central and Eastern Europe was launched 1991 as a joint initiative of several Dutch foundations and was aimed at supporting the process of social transformation in the countries in transition. These foundations are: Foundation for Children’s Welfare Stamps, Foundation Het R. C. Maagdenhuis, SKaN Foundation, Foundation Oranje Fonds и Janivo Foundation. More than 30 other Dutch organisations have had considerable contribution to the realisation of the programme. In the last 17 years, apart from Bulgaria, the programme has supported social projects in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Croatia, The Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kaliningrad.

The CNF CEE Programme is based on the principles of dialogue and exchange of experience and good practices. The programme supports the efforts of civil organisations aimed at strengthening the civil society; improving the quality of life and integration of people with social, physical, educational, emotional, behavioural and other difficulties which hamper their full and equal participation in the social life of their family and the society.
The main criteria applied to the project funded by the CNF CEE programme are:

  • Offer direct solutions of urgent social problems of a specific group of people or community;
  • Provide solution with the participation and the resources of the target group and the local community;
  •  Have a model character – being easily replicated in other regions of the country;
  •  Are managed by motivated professionals;
  • Are partly financed by other sources;
  •  Have sustainable activities and results.

In Bulgaria the programme was implemented in the period 1997 - 2007. During this time 250 projects of local civil organisations from all over Bulgaria have been funded with the amount of approximately 8 million leva. The programme played a crucial role in encouraging the cooperation in the social sphere and charitable giving. The projects supported by the CNF Programme made it possible for the local organisations to attract additional resources /both from local and foreign donors/ amounting to almost 10 million leva. Many of the activities and programmes funded by CNF continue to operate for years and will be implemented even after the official end of the Programme for Bulgaria.

The CNF CEE Programme in Bulgaria had been open and flexible in order to incorporate the diversity of the problems the applications were trying to solve with the planned activities. The programme stood out with its unique practical orientation and high expectations for sustainability of the project activities. This was one of the reasons the programme encouraged the long-term partnership between the civil organisations and the local authorities. There was a wide diversity of initiatives aimed at overcoming urgent social problems among the funded projects; services within the community; adapting and implementing contemporary models and forms of social work. The funded projects responded to the problems and needs of children, young people and adults with disabilities; homeless young people and young addicts; street children; children and young people at risk and those with behavioural problems; elderly people; women and children victims of domestic violence; information centres in villages; training and development programmes for parents, specialists and local communities.

With the support of the CNF CEE Programme a variety of model services were launched in Bulgaria - the first day centres for children with disabilities; the first shelters for street children; the first protected houses for people with intellectual difficulties; the first day care for people with psychiatric difficulties. Homes, day centres, clubs and home care programmes for the elderly opened their doors along with crisis centres and shelters for women and children victims of domestic violence; consultative centres for young people with addictions; a centre for homeless young people and an outreach programmes for young people with risk behaviour; rehabilitation, social and educational centres for children and young people at risk; information and administrative centres offering services within the communities and specialised services for people with disabilities, children and many other groups. The projects had been implemented in Sofia, small towns and cities, small and remote villages all over Bulgaria.

After ten years of active and no doubt timely professional and financial support for the development of the civil organisations during the process of social transformation in Bulgaria in the end of 2007 the programme was closed. On the occasion of the conclusion of the programme of the Co-operating Netherlands Foundations for Bulgaria Theo Zeldenrust, programme coordinator and member of the Board of Tulip Foundation, received high recognition for his work in Bulgaria. Mr Zeldenrust was awarded a Certificate for overall contribution and special merit in the development and exchange of good practices in the field of social policies and with the Honourable Plaque of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies for contributions to social policies which were presented to him by Mrs. Ivanka Hristova, deputy Minister of social policies at a special ceremony that took place at the Ministry on 30 November 2007.

As an expression of recognition and gratitude Ronald van der Giessen, executive director of Foundation Oranje Fonds and Theo Zeldenrust were presented with the Tulip Foundation Token of Honour, designed by Georgi Chapkanov.

Maria Petkova, Director of Tulip Foundation, was presented with the Silver Order of Honour Orange-Nassau. The title Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau is awarded by decree of Her Majesty the Queen of Netherlands for special services in activities dedicated to society, for encouraging and supporting others.

Last news

Sauchastie (Co-Participation) Association, Varna

The aim of the project was to renovate and furnish a building to be used for the daily activities of the Centre for prevention of risk behaviour among the Roma community in Varna.

A house was renovated and furnished in the frame of the project which is currently functioning as a Centre for prevention of risk behaviour within the Roma community.

The team of Sauchastie Association is working every day in the Center with people from the local Roma community in Varna on prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases; prevention of drug abuse; prevention of antisocial behaviour; prevention of abandonment of children. Unitl now the Centre has provided over 3 000 consultations for inhabitants from the four living Roma quarters in Varna.

Sauchastie Association 
Iliyan Rizov 
Vazrazhdane living quarter, bl.22, ap.91 
9020, Varna 
Tel. +359 897 900 950  

Subscribe to monthly bulletin