The NGO of the Year award handed out as one of the Annual Civic Awards was given this year to the Estonian Internet Community, the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO), which issues the awards, said.
NENO and speaker of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma are about to hand the 2012 Annual Civic Awards to the winners in the White Hall of Toompea Castle, the seat of the Estonian parliament, starting 1 p.m. Thursday.
In addition to the rally against ACTA in February that brought a couple of thousand participants to the streets, the Estonian Internet Community has proved itself a capable negotiator and participant in drafting of laws, as someone who consistently stands for the freedom of the internet and accessibility of public data, NENO said.
The NGO of the Year award is accompanied by a 5,000 euro prize from the National Foundation of Civic Society.
The Deed of the Year award went to two recipients. One of them, the "Avatud külaväravad" ("Open Village Gates") initiative by the village movement Kodukant rallied more than 10,000 people last summer to undertake a trip to look at the most active villages of Estonia. The second, "Let's do it! World Cleanup," spread into 96 countries in the course of the year and the 115 cleanup events held by it have attracted more than seven million volunteers.
The Person with a Mission award went to Johanna Maria Juhandi, a final grade high school student from Tallinn who in November organized a concert for Nadezda Atajeva, a mother of ten who earns her living performing songs in the Viru pedestrian tunnel in Tallinn's city center. Atajeva's songs in Russian language are such that they can be written and performed only by a person with a very big soul and they deserve a better audience than just passers-by, Juhandi has said.
A year earlier Juhandi organized a fundraising concert to help finance the purchase of an insuline injector for her classmate's brother who has diabetes.
The Company of the Year award went to the social enterprise Abikäsi (Helping Hand) helping special needs people and long-time unemployed find a job.
The Voice of the Year special prize went to former MP Silver Meikar, whose article in the May 22 edition of Postimees, titled "About the financing of parties. Honestly," emerged as one of the most talked about subjects and acts giving rise to a lot of discussion in Estonia last year.
"Both this year's winners as well as the list of the 90 candidates that were nominated (http://ngo.ee/node/4929) show how diverse and strong civic initiative has become in Estonia," NENO director Urmo Kübar said.