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UNDEF 2017 Project Grants - 12th Round of Funding

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Civil Societies,
NGOs, and Other Organizations to Promote Democracy

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)

Deadline Date:

12/20/17 11:59 PM New York Time


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Grants to USA, Canada, and International civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, independent and constitutional bodies, inter-governmental bodies, associations, and organizations for projects that promote and advance democracy around the world. Support is available for projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic process.

In this Round, UNDEF particularly welcomes proposals in the areas of gender; rule of law; media; or electoral processes focusing on elections scheduled for 2020 at the earliest.

Local and Global/Regional Projects:

UNDEF will invite proposals for projects that either take place in one country only (local), or occur in several specified states of a region or sub-region (regional) or intend to operate at the global level (global). UNDEF will reserve at least 80% of its programmable resources in each funding round for projects taking place in one country and will allocate no more than 20% to global/regional projects.

Priority Countries and Regional Balance:

Strong preference will be given to applicants from countries and regions where the challenges of democracy are more critical, such as countries emerging from conflict, new and restored democracies, the Least Developed Countries (as per the official classification of the UN-OHRLLS), Low Income Countries (“Low Income Economies” as per the World Bank’s official classification based on Gross National Income per capita) and Middle Income Countries (“Lower and Upper Middle-income Economies”, idem).

UNDEF aspires to a satisfactory regional balance in the awarding of grants, and will consider each individual proposal on its own merits.

UNDEF Projects:

Remember that UNDEF funds projects, not organizations. Your project proposal should be innovative and distinct from the activity you already conduct.

Proposals are subject to a highly rigorous and competitive selection process, with fewer than two per cent chosen for funding. Projects fall under one or more of eight main areas:

-Gender equality
-Community activism
-Rule of law and human rights
-Youth engagement
-Strengthening civil society interaction with Government
-Media and freedom of information
-Tools for knowledge
-Electoral processes

During the assessment process, project proposals will be assessed based on the following ten assessment criteria:
1. The project promotes the objectives of UNDEF
2. The project draws on the United Nations’ comparative advantage
3. The project will have a significant impact
4. The project will encourage inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups
5. The project will enhance gender equality
6. The project has strong prospects for successful implementation
7. The applicant organization has a strong track record
8. The project is technically sound in conception and presentation
9. The project represents good value for money
10. The project has strong prospects of sustainability beyond the project duration.

Project Management Arrangements:

The vast majority of UNDEF projects are delivered directly by civil society organizations (CSO). In this type of project the CSO is responsible for the overall management of the project and bears all substantive, financial, monitoring, and reporting and evaluation responsibilities.

In exceptional circumstances and where there is clear value added, the applicant might feel the need to partner with a United Nations Executing Agency. In this case, the UN agency will oversee and monitor the project and act as UNDEF’s agent for project oversight.

Should an applicant decide to work with a UN Agency, the applicant must seek the Agency’s prior consent before submitting their project proposal. The CSO must indicate in the project proposal the contact details of the person who has given this consent.

Budgetary Considerations:

UNDEF funds projects, not project implementers. Please note therefore that salary, contractual services and miscellaneous costs should be modest.

UNDEF will not give priority to project proposals in which:
-A substantial part (more than 20%) of the budget relates to institutional recurrent costs (e.g. rent, utilities) and/or personnel costs.
-Equipment and hardware purchases are too high in the context of total project costs (e.g. the purchase of vehicles)

These costs will impact on the assessment of the project proposal under the “Value for Money” assessment criterion (see § 5.6). All such costs must be itemized clearly and included under each budget category (e.g. salaries, equipment/hardware, miscellaneous).

Please note that UNDEF will add 10 % to any grant in order to cover monitoring and evaluation costs. This added amount will not be disbursed to the grantee, but retained by UNDEF from the outset. This amount will be capped at 25,000USD for projects over 250,000USD.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177422

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant allocations will be of a minimum of US$100,000 and not exceed US$300,000 for any given project. Applicants must request an amount within this range. The majority of projects are granted no more than $250,000.

Term of Contract:

In principle, UNDEF grants will be allocated for projects with default duration of two years. However, it is acceptable to UNDEF if a successful applicant completes a project in less than two years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Beneficiaries:

UNDEF funds projects implemented by non UN organizations, not individuals, profit-making or government entities. Eligible applicants must be duly constituted nationally or internationally and have legal status.

At the project proposal stage, you will be required to indicate the type of organization applying for funding:

(1) Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations engaged in promoting democracy

(2) Independent and Constitutional Bodies,

(3) Global and Regional inter-government bodies, organizations and associations other than the United Nations

UNDEF’s priority is Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. The organization must be legally constituted. UN accreditation is not a prerequisite to apply for UNDEF funding. UNDEF encourages local CSO’s to submit high quality project proposals.

UNDEF will not give priority to project proposals which focus on the following:
-Initiatives which do not promote democracy
-Initiatives filling a funding gap for on-going/regular programs and activities
-Projects focused primarily on research
-Projects that will be co-financed with other donors.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to submit project proposals is December 20, 2017 (11:59 PM New York Time).

Project proposals can be submitted only in English or French, the two working languages of the United Nations.

By the end of June 2018, all successful short-listed applicants will be notified at the electronic address indicated in their project proposal, unless otherwise advised on the UNDEF website.

Short-listed applicants should submit a completed project document based on the original project proposal within 4 weeks of the notification of the “approval in principle”. Failure of the applicant to comply with this deadline may result in UNDEF not going ahead with the grant. Extended deadlines may be granted by UNDEF on an exceptional basis, to especially complex projects.


November 20: Call for Project proposals; Online Project Proposal System opened
December 20: Deadline for Project proposals submission; Online Project Proposal System closed

Mid-February: UNDEF Office to compile the “long short-list”
Mid-March: UNDEF Programme Consultative Group (PCG)2 & UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) to provide comments
Early May: UNDEF’s Advisory Board to recommend short-list
Early May: UNDEF informs Permanent Missions of projects on short list
Early June: UNDEF submits recommended short list to Secretary General for approval
Mid-June: Request to short-listed applicants to draft detailed project documents
July-August: Expected deadline for submission of detailed project documents
September: Project document negotiations begin between applicants and UNDEF office
Sept.-Dec.: First project documents finalized, first disbursements and projects start

Application Information:

Useful Tips and Lessons Learned for Future Applicants:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.