The 2021 Call for Proposals for International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs)

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) announces a Call for Proposals for International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs) for support in Development Cooperation. The 2021 Call for Proposals is open from 15 February until 26 March 2021. The applications need to be received by the Ministry no later than 16.15 HRS (Finnish time, UTC/GMT +2) on Friday 26 March.

Support for International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs)

The MFA can allocate development cooperation funds, subject to annual parliamentary approval in Finland, to INGOs whose activities support the implementation of Finland's development policy goals and priorities, including in the area of human rights, as guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and taking into account the human rights based approach to development. This form of support complements Finland's development cooperation in sectors that are of strategic importance to Finland. Finland targets its support to a limited number of proposals by INGOs and conducts active dialogue with the INGOs that receive funding.

The goal of Finland’s development policy is to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and achieve sustainable development. Finland takes a long-term perspective on development cooperation, focusing on the following four priorities:

  1. Strengthening the status and rights of women and girls, with an emphasis on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  2. Sustainable economies and decent work, with an emphasis on innovations and the role of women in the economy and female entrepreneurship.
  3. Education, peaceful and democratic societies, with an emphasis on equitable quality education, improved tax systems and support for democracy and the rule of law.
  4. Climate change and natural resources, with an emphasis on strengthening adaptation alongside mitigation of climate change, food security and water, meteorology and disaster risk reduction, forests, energy and safeguarding biodiversity.

All activities must also apply the Foreign Ministry's cross-cutting objectives. These are gender equality, non-discrimination (with particular attention to the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities), climate resilience and low emission development.

INGO support is guided by the priorities of Finland’s development policy in accordance with the goals of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy (2017), the Guidance Note for the Human Rights Based Approach in Finland's Development Cooperation (2015), the Finnish Government’s Human Rights Report and the related Strategy, and the Theories of Change and Aggregate Indicators for Finland’s Development Policy (2020).

The INGO support is discretionary government funding granted by the MFA. The Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (Valtionavustuslaki 688/2001(Link to another website.), unofficial translation in English(Link to another website.)) is applied in relation to all INGO support procedures and the use of the grant.

In addition to national rules and regulations, the INGO support is guided by the norms jointly agreed upon by donors engaged in international cooperation, particularly the OECD DAC rules on ODA eligibility concerning international NGO's.

The eligibility to apply under this Call is defined under the heading "Principles for Support and Minimum Requirements".

Thematic Focus Areas in 2021

The themes of work that will be supported in the current Call for Proposals are listed below. It is strongly recommended that the applicant chooses only one thematic area under which to apply for funding. Applicants are requested to clearly indicate under which thematic area they are applying for funds. Maximum one application per organisation can be successful in this Call.

  1. Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights globally, regionally and locally, especially among women and girls in vulnerable positions (e.g. persons with disabilities, persons belonging to minorities) and situations (humanitarian and fragile contexts). Particular focus will be given to sexual rights issues, such as the promotion and provision of services including access to contraceptives, disability inclusive and youth friendly services and safe abortion. Successful applicants are expected to have at least 5 years of relevant experience in both service provision in developing countries and in advocacy. It is expected that work is carried out at local, regional and international levels.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for Civil Society. Financing will be available for 0-3 proposals with contract duration of 2 years (2021-2022). The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 7 million euros.
  2. Promotion of tax justice, transparency and sustainable social contracts in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Priority will be given to initiatives that support the capacities of civil society to hold government duty bearers accountable for increasing tax revenues and using them adequately for public services, social protection and inclusion with a view to reducing inequalities and ensuring the realization of human rights for all. Particular attention will be paid to projects that promote transparency and accountability in the use of revenues from extractive industries. It is expected that work is carried out at local, regional and international levels.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for Civil Society. Financing will be available for 0-2 proposals with contract duration of 2 years (2021-2022). The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 2 million euros.
  3. Ending impunity for human rights violations, increasing accountability and strengthening victims’ access to justice. Priority will be given to applicants whose work is thematically focused on peace building, ending impunity, and identifying and addressing obstacles related to accountability and access to justice for victims of human rights violations. Applicants’ work related to these themes can include capacity building, advocacy, legal work and robust research. The applicant is expected to work at local, regional and international levels and the grant applied for should cover more than two countries. A proven track record of advocacy work, including at key international human rights fora, is essential.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for Human Rights Policy. Financing will be available to 0-2 proposals with a contract duration of 3 years (2022-2024). The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 3 million euros.
  4. Supporting human rights defenders and fostering an enabling environment for promoting the work of human rights defenders. Priority will be given to applicants whose work is focused on monitoring the situation of human rights defenders; capacity building; development of analytical tools for the work of human rights defenders; support for human rights defenders under risk of attack through legal work and advocacy; as well as material support. It is considered an advantage if the application addresses the concerns of women human rights defenders or defenders in relation to freedom of media and digital security.  The applicant is expected to work at local, regional and international levels and the grant applied for should cover more than two countries. A proven track record of advocacy work, including at key international human rights fora, is essential.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for Human Rights Policy. Financing will be available to 0-4 proposals with contract duration of 3 years (2022-2024). The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 6.5 million euros.
  5. Strengthening the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in order to address discriminatory practices related to their realization. Priority will be given to organizations promoting the economic, social and cultural rights of persons and groups in vulnerable situations and working for the elimination of discrimination and marginalization. Applicants whose work is focused on the rights of indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, or LGBTI persons will be prioritized. Particular attention will be given to interventions which address: gender equality in the implementation  of economic, social and cultural rights; capacity building of duty-bearers and right holders; and advocacy as well as research aimed at identifying and addressing underlying causes and structural reasons for discrimination (including multiple and intersecting forms of  discrimination and inequality). The applicant is expected to work at local, regional and international levels and the grant applied for should cover work in more than two countries. A proven track record of advocacy work, including at key international human rights for a, is essential.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for Human Rights Policy. Financing will be available to 0-3 proposals with contract duration of 3 years (2022-2024).  The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 6 million euros.
  6. Business and Human Rights. Priority will be given to organizations that promote corporate responsibility to respect human rights based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as human rights due diligence, and build the capacity of a range of stakeholders in this area. Particular attention will be given to interventions that focus on promoting decent work (including changing business culture) and increasing understanding and dialogue on the impacts that businesses can have on human rights (such as how these impacts can be avoided or mitigated and the importance of risk assessment), including in fragile and conflict-affected situations. The applicant is expected to work at local, regional and international levels and the applied grant should cover work in more than two countries. Proven track record of advocacy work, including at key international human rights fora is essential.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for Human Rights Policy. Financing will be available to 0-2 proposals with contract duration of 3 years (between 2022-2024).  The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 2.3 million euros
  7. Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to reduce maternal mortality in Afghanistan. Particular focus is on increasing availability, quality, demand and access of sexual, reproductive and maternal health services as well as raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Special attention will be given to the proposals that include effective advocacy and policy influencing measures towards government institutions as well as those able to provide SRHR services on the ground. Furthermore, the ability to address the needs and rights of women and girls with disabilities is considered an asset. Successful applicants are expected to have at least 5 years of relevant experience in both service provision and advocacy in Afghanistan, including in areas that are hard to reach. It is expected that work is carried out at local, regional and international level.
    • Grant allocated by the Unit for South Asia. Financing will be available for 0-1 proposals with maximum contract duration of 4 years (2021-2024). The maximum total amount of funding available for this thematic area is 9,5 million euros.

Principles for Funding and Minimum Requirements

Grants to INGOs may be either core funding or funding for projects channeled to activities in developing countries.

From the point of view of development cooperation funding, the MFA considers INGOs to be non-profit organisations that operate politically and administratively independently from governments. The successful INGO candidates will sign an agreement (template) with the MFA and agree to follow the General Terms and ConditionsReporting instructions and Ethical Code of Conduct for the Government Grant. In addition, all INGOs successful in the call will need to assure that they are not under severe financial difficulties. In its funding decision the MFA can set additional terms regarding the use of the government grant.

In order to be eligible for support the INGO and its proposal have to meet the following Minimum Requirements.

The INGO has to have:

  • at least three different nationalities represented in its governing structures
  • operations in more than two countries
  • been registered and/or legally competent for at least two years
  • funding from at least one other source

The project/programme proposal must:        

Criteria for review of applications

Applications that meet the above-mentioned minimum requirements will be evaluated and assessed according to the following criteria:

Core funding

  • Alignment of the organisation’s strategy and activities with at least one of the specific thematic focus areas and related objectives of the current Call for Proposals
  • Alignment of the proposal with Finland’s development policy goals and priorities in the field of development and human rights (see list of links below) as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Quality of the Proposal inter alia,
    • Clearly defined theory of change and results chain or results framework outlining impact, outcome, outputs or based on another corresponding methodology, including clearly set indicators, targets and assumptions.
    • A comprehensive risk matrix which also takes into account the implications of COVID-19.
    • Aligned with key principles towards sustainable results including human rights, openness, coherence and quality of results.  
  • Relevant previous experience and proven results  in the specific focus area applied for
  • Experience of working in developing countries (including in Least Developed Countries and fragile states defined by OECD) and of advocacy at international and regional level at relevant fora
  • Outline of reliable and high-quality monitoring, evaluation and learning as well as reporting systems
  • Financial stability (e.g. ability to cover its operational expenditure by its fund-raising or other activities)
  • Solid risk management structures and procedures that address risks comprehensively, including policies on anti-corruption as well as on sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment, also in line with the Ethical Code of Conduct of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Development Cooperation.

Project funding

  • Alignment of the proposal with the specific thematic focus areas of the call and related objectives under each thematic area
  • Alignment of the proposal with Finland’s development policy goals and priorities in the field of development and human rights (see list of links below) as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Quality of the Proposal inter alia,
    • Clearly defined theory of change and results chain or results framework outlining impact, outcome, outputs or based on another corresponding methodology, including clearly set indicators, targets and assumptions.
    • A comprehensive risk matrix which also takes into account the implications of COVID-19.
    • Aligned with key principles towards sustainable results including human rights, openness, coherence and quality of results.
  • Relevant previous experience and proven results in the specific focus area applied for
  • Experience of working in developing countries (including in Least Developed Countries and fragile states defined by OECD) and of advocacy at international and regional level at relevant fora
  • Outline of reliable and high-quality monitoring, evaluation and learning as well as reporting system of the project
  • Financial stability (e.g. ability to cover operational expenditures by fund-raising or other activities)
  • Solid risk management structures and procedures that address risks comprehensively, including policies on anti-corruption as well as on sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment, also in line with the Ethical Code of Conduct of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Development Cooperation.

How to Apply

The application form and its attachments must be sent to the Ministry by e-mail. The Ministry will not consider any other attachments than the ones listed below. The application form and its attachments must be written in English. Applications and attachments in any other language will not be considered.

Attachments to the application form:

  • Programme/project document (Outline of a Project Document)
    • Maximum length 15 pages. Pages exceeding 15 will not be considered.
    • Please note that for core funding, the Outline of a Project Document can be used as indicative
  • Detailed multi-year budget for the applied funding
  • Indicative work plan for the project/programme
  • Theory of Change and Results Chain or Results Framework using results-based management or equivalent  system for the applied funding
  • Risk matrix or equivalent system analyzing risks and mitigation strategies
  • Documentation related to the Organisation:
    • Official rules of the INGO (including organizational governance and management structures, organizational finance and financial management, procurement, and audit procedures, organizational monitoring and evaluation procedures)
    • Anti-corruption policy of the INGO
    • Ethical code of conduct of the INGO
    • Copy of the registration document of the INGO
    • Latest annual report and financial statement of the INGO
    • The INGO's strategy and budget for the current year
    • The INGO's latest audit report from the financial statement
    • Account on INGO's governing structure's composition (including nationalities of members)

The completed, signed application form and its attachments must be send by email and received by the Ministry no later than 16.15 HRS   (Finnish time, UTC/GMT +2) on Friday 26 March 2021. The deadline is absolute and therefore applications arriving after the given deadline will not be considered.

The application form and its attachments shall be sent to the following e-mail addresses: ingo.um@formin.fi and kirjaamo.UM@formin.fi. The application has to be received in these mailboxes, other electronic delivery options (including links, files on cloud etc.) will not be considered. The subject field of the e-mail must be titled “Call for Proposal INGO, Application, Theme (number)” and include the number of the thematic area under which funding is applied for. The absolute maximum size of the e-mail message is 7 MB.

The processing of applications takes approximately 6 months. All applicants will be informed about the decision.

Inquiries

Please see the questions the MFA of Finland received within the given deadline (16.15 HRS (UTC/GMT +2) on Monday 1 March 2021 and answers to these questions.

 

All questions related to the Call for Proposals should be conveyed to the Ministry in written form by e-mail to the following email address: ingo.um@formin.fi no later than 16.15 HRS (UTC/GMT +2) on Monday 1 March 2021. The subject field of the e-mail must include “Call for Proposal INGO, Questions”. The questions and the Ministry’s answers will be published by 16:15 HRS (UCT/GMT +2) on Monday 8 March 2021 on the Ministry’s website. Specific units or employees at the MFA, including those in charge of the call, are regrettably not in a position to answer questions received separately.

Relevant links

The Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (Valtionavustuslaki 688/2001(Link to another website.), unofficial translation in English(Link to another website.))

Goals and principles of Finland’s development policy

Guideline for the Cross-Cutting Objectives in the Finnish Development Policy

and Cooperation

Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy (2017)

Human Rights Based Approach in Finland's Development Cooperation (2015)

The Finnish Government’s Human Rights Report (2014) and the related Strategy

Theories of Change and Aggregate Indicators for Finland’s Development Policy (2020)

Results based management