UN Democracy Fund for Civil Society Projects

Deadline: 31 December 2013
Open to: civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations engaged in promoting democracy, but also independent and constitutional bodies and global/regional inter-government bodies working to strengthen civil society
Grant: US $50,000 to $400,000


The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) will provide grants ranging from US $50,000 to US $400,000 for projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes.

The primary purpose of this UN body is supporting democracy through empowering civil society. UNDEF projects exist in developing countries, in societies in transition and in challenging environments, and are in six main areas: Community development; rule of law and human rights; tools for democratization; youth; empowering women; and media.

Among these, NGOs and civil society organizations are expected to receive the bulk of funding. Besides, UNDEF allocates 70 percent of its programmable resources in each funding round for projects that take place in one country while the rest of the 30 percent is for global/regional projects. This means that local NGOs have better chances of receiving grants for their projects than international organizations working in different regions.


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 Institutions and other independent governance bodies, for project proposals facilitating the inclusion of the voice of civil society.
  3. Global and Regional inter-government bodies, organizations and associations other than the United Nations, for project proposals which strengthen the voice of civil society.

Applicants from all countries can submit project proposals, but UNDEF will give strong preference to proposals submitted 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, Low Income Countries and Middle Income Countries.


Applications have to be submitted online through the UNDEF website HERE. The deadline to submit applications is 31 December 2013. Only online proposals in either English or French will be accepted.

Applicants can find guidelines, lessons learned, and examples of previous application forms HERE. Those who plan to submit a proposal are strongly encouraged to visit this page as soon as possible to familiarize themselves with what is required.

Based on this collective input, the UNDEF Secretariat produces a first short list, expected to be completed only in mid-2013, after which the process moves into the next stage. Each short-listed applicant will be contacted with a request for a draft project document, which is in effect the contract between UNDEF and the grantee. The project document negotiation requires the applicant to provide a more elaborated project design, and involves detailed input from both UNDEF and the applicant, as well as scrutiny and due diligence enquiries by UNDEF. Only upon successful conclusion of the project document, and its approval by the United Nations Controller, will the project proposal formally be approved for funds disbursement. This is expected to happen after September 2013.

The Frequently Asked Questions page is HERE for more information.

Please see the original website HERE for further information.

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