When to Apply and Who Can Apply

Application FAQs page

When is the next call for proposals?

UNDEF accepts on-line proposals during an annual window from 15 November to 31 December. Those who plan to apply are strongly encouraged to visit the UNDEF website as soon as possible to familiarize themselves with what is required.

Who can submit project proposals to UNDEF?

The following institutions are eligible for UNDEF grant funding:

(i) Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations, engaged in promoting democracy. These are anticipated to receive the bulk of the funding.

(ii) 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.

(iii) Global and Regional inter-government bodies, organizations and associations other than the United Nations, for project proposals which strengthen the voice of civil society.

More detailed information on funding priorities and on how to submit project proposals is available in the UNDEF Project Proposal Guidelines.

UNDEF supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. The large majority of UNDEF funds go to local civil society organizations -- both in the transition and consolidation phases of democratization. 
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 six main areas:   
  • Community development
  • Rule of law and human rights
  • Tools for democratization
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Youth empowerment
  • Media 

Do applicants need to be accredited by the UN to apply for funding?

No, however, applicants have to comply with certain guidelines.
Please see UNDEF Project Proposal Guidelines. 

A project from my organization has already been funded in a previous UNDEF funding round. Can I submit a project proposal for another funding round?

Yes, but it must be in the context of a new project, since UNDEF does not provide continuous funding.

Are networks (of local NGOs) eligible for UNDEF funding?

Formal networks can apply. Informal networks without an administrative and accounting structure available for monitoring and reporting purposes cannot apply. However, one NGO of an informal network can be the applicant with all or some of the network members registered as project partners in the proposal, but only with the clarification that they compose an informal network. Note, prime responsibility for reporting will fall on the applicant NGO.

Can an organization submit multiple proposals under an UNDEF round of funding? If yes, is there any limit to the number of applications that an organization can submit?

In principle, there is no limit to the number of proposals. However, applicants are advised to be strategic as it is highly unlikely that UNDEF will fund more than one proposal per organization.

Is an organization based in a high-income economy eligible for funding?

Proposals from all countries as well as regional and global initiatives will be considered; there are no limitations in this regard. However, strong preference will be given to applicants from countries and regions that are in the transition and consolidation phases of democratization, in particular countries emerging from conflict, new and restored democracies, least developed countries and low or middle income countries.

What is the normal duration of an UNDEF project?

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

What are the low-priority types of expenditures and activities?

(i) Initiatives which do not promote democracy

(ii) Initiatives filling a funding gap for ongoing activities

(iii) Activities that can more appropriately be funded by other funding sources (e.g. Thematic Trust Funds or the Peacebuilding Commission’s Fund)

(iv) Projects focused primarily on research 

Are research activities funded by UNDEF?

UNDEF aims at funding action oriented projects. Proposals focusing only on research related activities are not one of our core priorities. 

Where can I find information on previous UNDEF funded projects?

Information about UNDEF funded projects in previous rounds is available on UNDEF website under the project section. You can also search UNDEF projects database.

What is the amount an applicant can request?

Applicants can apply for a minimum of 100,000 US dollars and a maximum of $300,000 US dollars.