We conducted a study commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs, the aim of which was to find out to what extent the recipients of grants from the European Union’s structural and investment funds take into account the promotion of equal opportunities in their projects – ensuring gender equality, equal treatment, including accessibility – and to find ways to better support them in this area. We investigated the current awareness of European Union grant recipients about equal opportunities and what hinders project implementers the most in promoting equal opportunities. We focused on the entire journey of the beneficiary, from the information search on the website of the funding measure to the reporting of the project during the implementation of the activities.
In the first stage of the study, we conducted a document analysis, where we looked at the extent to which grant applicants come across the topic of equal opportunities in the documents of the application round, which include, for example, the conditions for granting the grant and various instructions to the applicant. Another important part of the study, however, was semi-structured interviews with beneficiaries from four different areas: implementers of major infrastructure projects, start-up companies, implementers of education and training projects, and providers of labor market services.
Analyzing the journey of receiving support, we prepared recommendations on how to make gender equality and equal treatment, including accessibility, more systematic in projects and more user-friendly for project implementers. The recommendations concerned the content and form of the instructional materials, as well as, for example, more effective support for the coordinators of the measure. In order to get feedback on the recommendations, we conducted a focus group interview with the heads of the departments of the grant implementation department of the National Support Center.
The survey is available here: https://kompetensikeskus.sm.ee/et/valjaanded?cat=11