United Nations Democracy Fund

Deadline: 31 December 2010
Open to: proposals from the U.S. and internationally; all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.
Grants: up to US$500,000 per project

United Nations Democracy Fund invites civil society organizations to apply for funding for projects to advance and support democracy.

Project proposals should be submitted on-line between 15 November 2009 and 31 December 2010. Only on-line applications in either English or French will be accepted.

In four Rounds of Funding so far, UNDEF has supported more than 330 projects in 115 countries at a total amount of US$93 million. UNDEF provides grants of up to US$500,000 per project. Applications are subject to a highly rigorous and competitive selection process, with about three per cent of all applications approved for funding. Projects are two years long and fall under one or more of six main areas:

  • Community development
  • Rule of law and human rights
  • Tools for democratization
  • Women
  • Youth
  • Media

This is the Fourth Round of Funding to be launched by UNDEF, which was established by the UN Secretary-General in 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund. UNDEF funds projects that strengthen the voice of civil society and help ensure the participation of all groups in democratic processes.

The thematic categories for applications

  • democratic dialogue and support for constitutional processes
  • civil society empowerment, including the empowerment of women
  • civic education and voter registration
  • citizen’s access to information
  • participation rights and the rule of law in support of civil society
  • transparency and integrity

The selection process is expected to be highly rigorous and competitive, For the Third Round, fewer than 70 project proposals were selected out of more than 2,100 received.

Eligible Beneficiaries

The following institutions are eligible for UNDEF grant funding

  1. Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations , engaged in promoting democracy which are anticipated to receive the bulk of the funding
  2. Independent and Constitutional Bodies, including Election Commissions, Ombudsman Institutions, National Human Rights
  3. Institutions and other independent governance bodies, for project proposals facilitating the inclusion of the voice of civil society.
  4. Global and Regional inter-government bodies, organizations and associations other than the United Nations, for project proposals which strengthen the voice of civil society.

Appropriate Activities

(a) Democratic dialogue and support for constitutional processes: This includes activities that enhance the interaction of people (and especially marginalized groups) with their government; that foster national dialogue, democracy and reconciliation amongst diverse communities and actors.
(b) Civil society empowerment, including the empowerment of women: This includes activities that strengthen civil society capacities to participate in democratic processes, including umbrella organizations and institutional interfaces between civil society and the State.
(c) Civic education and voter registration: This includes activities to enhance people’s participation in democratic processes, especially elections at the national and local levels, with particular emphasis on the involvement of marginalized groups.
(d) Citizen’s access to information: This includes activities such as strengthening the legal framework for access to information; enhancing the availability of information provided by government institutions to the public; bolstering the ability of the media to act as a medium of democratic information; and increasing the level of pluralism in the sources of public and private information.
(e) Participation rights and the rule of law in support of civil society: This includes support for activities that enhance participation rights as well as activities to promote access to justice by marginalised groups.
(f) Transparency and integrity: This includes support for watchdog groups and institutions both public and private including civil society organizations and NGOs, and the media, aiming at increasing transparency and integrity in public policy delivery.

For more information visit Official United Nations Democracy Fund website.

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