The EESC reveals the winners of its Civil Solidarity Prize

23 projects from the EU and the UK have received the award for their outstanding contribution to fighting COVID-19 and its disastrous consequences.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) announced the laureates of its Civil Solidarity Prize, launched in 2020 as a one-off award with the theme "Civil Society against COVID-19".

In a virtual award ceremony held on 15 February, the EESC honoured 23 civil society organisations, individuals and private companies whose projects have excelled as examples of remarkable solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each winner received a prize worth EUR 10 000.

Handing out the prizes, the EESC's vice-president for communication, Cillian Lohan, said:

"The EESC has repeatedly stressed that solidarity and targeted shared action are key to surviving such a pandemic. The only effective response to a crisis such as this pandemic is to act quickly, decisively, and together. There are lessons here for dealing with other crises whether they are social, economic or environmental.

Civil society has been at the forefront of all solidarity actions and without their help on the ground, the price paid for this pandemic would be much higher. All the projects we received are proof of selfless citizen and grassroots engagement, showing the contribution of civil society in this fight to be enormous. With this prize, we are acknowledging the people and organisations making a difference in these unprecedented times. It is an honour to be able to celebrate together".

The awards went to the winning entries from 21 countries of the European Union. One prize was given to a project with a cross-border focus and one to an organisation from the United Kingdom, as a gesture meant to show that the EESC wanted to keep close ties with UK civil society despite the fact that the country has left the EU.

Although the EESC aimed to find a winner in each EU Member State and in the UK, it received no eligible entries for projects in six countries.

The full list of the winners is available below and on our webpage. The press releases about each winner can be found here.

The winners were selected from a total of 250 applications submitted by civil society organisations, individuals and private companies. All of the projects had solidarity as their driving force and displayed creative and effective ways of rising to the often daunting challenges posed by the crisis.

Most projects targeted vulnerable groups or people most affected by the crisis such as the elderly or young people, children, women, minorities, migrants, the homeless, medical personnel or employees and employers.

As regards the content of the projects, they focused on five main themes: food supply and assistance to vulnerable groups, medical equipment, advisory services, educational services and information on the pandemic, and culture.

Detailed information about all of the winners and other candidates can be found in our brochure, which is available upon request.

The EESC hopes the Civil Solidarity Prize will enhance the visibility and raise awareness not only of the winning projects but also of many other creative citizens' initiatives taking place in the EU.

"Today, we are not applauding only our 23 winners. We are taking our hats off to all of Europe's civil society and to so many of its organisations, companies and individuals who have shown and who keep showing unprecedented solidarity, courage and civic responsibility in these difficult and trying times", Mr Lohan said.

The projects and initiatives run by citizens and civil society in many ways complemented efforts undertaken by Member States to cushion the blows of the crisis and were even ahead of them in some areas, such as the production of face masks at local and regional level, the EESC said.

Compared to the entries received for the Civil Society Prize in previous years, the EESC saw an increased number of applications from informal or less well-established organisations, which clearly demonstrates the spirit on the ground. There were also fewer entries from some countries that were less severely hit during the first wave of the pandemic or from those with stronger welfare systems.


The EESC launched the prize in July 2020 with the theme "Civil Society against COVID-19", announcing that it would be an exceptional, one-off award replacing its trademark Civil Society Prize. The aim was to pay tribute to Europe's civil society who actively and selflessly engaged in acts of solidarity from the very first days of the pandemic.

The contest was open to individuals, civil society organisations and companies whose projects had to be strictly not-for-profit and not more than 50% publicly funded. They had to be directly linked to COVID-19, specifically aiming to fight the virus or to tackle its consequences.

Each year, the EESC's flagship Civil Society Prize honours civil society organisations and/or individuals whose projects celebrate European identity and common values in a particular field of work. It has been awarded since 2006.





#EUROPAgegenCovid19, an initiative presented by the non-profit company Kommunikationswerkstatt 27, fighting disinformation, fake news and misinformation on the pandemic and motivating citizens to stand up against emotional and cognitive manipulation


OKRA, trefpunt 55+, an association that responded to the pandemic with The resilience of OKRA, a creative initiative aimed at keeping older people active and socially connected


Karin dom, a foundation which offered online training activities to support families of children with special needs


Hrvatska mreža za beskućnike, a Croatian network which supported homeless people as the country moved into lockdown and was further hit by an earthquake


Volunteers for the support of vulnerable groups during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, for their initiatives which included the delivery of food and medicines to people isolating because of their age or health issues. The initiatives were coordinated by Erika Theofanidi


Nevypusť Duši – an organisation created by students and graduates of medicine, psychology and social work whose webinars helped high school students cope with mental health problems and build psychological resilience during the pandemic.


Bouge ton Coq, a platform which strives to keep rural France alive, for its initiative C’est ma tournée! (It's my round!), which supported rural shops and businesses struggling to meet costs during the pandemic


Krisenchat, a 24/7 counselling service which provided free practical support and comfort via Whatsapp or SMS to young people and children


Steps, a non-profit organisation that transformed its existing One-Stop project into Many Stops, providing hot meals, bottled water and personal hygiene products to street-connected people and those in precarious housing;


Magyar Helsinki Bizottság, or the Hungarian Helsinki Committee which provided free legal assistance in human-rights-related cases linked to the crisis


Alison - Free Online Courses & Online Learning platform, for its project Coronavirus: What You Need to Know, a free COVID-19 facts course that has been translated into over 70 languages and has reached over 350 000 people worldwide


Casetta Rossa, a non-profit association which combines food delivery to vulnerable people with a radio station broadcasting information and personal stories to boost morale


Karolina Barišauskienė , a communications expert for her project Priešakinėse linijose (At the Front Lines), a digital campaign of stories and insights from medical professionals on the coronavirus front line


Malta Chamber of SMEs for its project With You All the Way, which provided online advice and peer support to help thousands of SMEs to adapt to the pandemic


Krystyna Paszko a high-school student who created Chamomiles and Pansies, an online shop offering a lifeline to victims of domestic violence during lockdown


Vizinhos à Janela, a neighbourhood initiative presented by Íñigo Hurtado which brought some relief through daily balcony concerts and food delivery to people in need


Asociatia Prematurilor, the Romanian association of premature babies, for its project Support for Medical Staff and Newborns in Maternity – Protective Equipment and Apparatus Against COVID-19 in maternity wards


Društvo psihologov Slovenije, an association of Slovenian psychologists, for their project Psychosocial Support to General Public and Professional Support to Psychologists and Other Healthcare Professionals During COVID-19 Outbreak in Slovenia


Človek v ohrození, a non-profit NGO, for its initiative Their Health is Also Our Health, which supported hard-hit Roma communities and helped them through the pandemic


Asociación de Familias y Mujeres del Medio Rural (AFAMMER), an association of families and women in rural areas for its project AFAMMER Great Rural Solidarity Network, which brought together hundreds of women in rural Spain who gave their time and sewing skills to tackle a shortage of protective masks and the growing isolation of elderly people during the pandemic;


Community and arts space and non-for-profit company  Blivande for its project Crisis Response – an open-source initiative to create protective healthcare equipment on a large scale


Cherwell Collective, CIC, for their project Live, Learn, Eat, Grow, which provided food and other essentials to people in need and trained residents to grow their own food


Emergency, an Italy-based NGO, for the assistance it provided in Europe and worldwide to contain the pandemic, in particular through its Replicable Model of Safety and Protection Measures, a scalable model to design and manage hospitals during the pandemic

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