Strengthening democracy through civic engagement and participation

Between 2017 and 2019, SSGT had a pilot programme to support inter-community practice and activism (SIPA) in the north of Ireland. We believe that the strengthening of collaborative and supportive relationships within and between communities is essential for peace-building. The Learning Report from the two-year pilot programme (2017-2019) can be downloaded here.

In 2019 there was a call for applications for a three year programme (2020-2022) for groups working collaboratively on an inclusive and inter-community basis to address common issues and identifying barriers to inclusive work, and relationship-building, within and between communities and learning how these can be overcome.

The programme is seeking the following outcomes:

  • Supporting groups for grassroots work at a neighbourhood level that helps build confidence, relationships and effective activism amongst women and women’s groups; and/or young people and youth groups; and/or people involved in place-based activism around issues of common interest.
  • Work that builds confidence of participants and groups and builds and strengthens relationships within and between communities.
  • Work undertaken by geographical and/or thematic clusters of organisations that might be further developed with grant support.

Grants have now been made to twelve groups which will work together on grassroots peacebuilding issues over the next three years. Project summaries are here. A final report will be published at the end of the programme.

SIPA Grant Programme 2020-2022 Grantees

Carson Project, Ballymena
Creggan Enterprises, Derry
Éalú, Dungannon
Impact Network NI, Randalstown
Leafair Community Association, Derry
North Belfast Interface Network, Belfast
Newry Felons, Newry
North West Migrants Forum, Derry
Queenspark Women’s Centre, Belfast
Reference Group (by Sperrin Cultural Awareness Association)

Between 2023 and 2027 SSGT will implement a strategy to contribute to strengthening democracy through civic engagement and participation. Learning from the grassroots peacebuilding programme will support the programme design. The strategy will support collective action initiatives which deepen democracy across a number of levels and draw out the learning .


This programme is funded by a family foundation advised by Porticus.

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