The main criteria to assess the eligibility of proposals received are: 1) Identity, 2) Nature, 3) Necessity and 4) Approach.
Identity of the applicant
The grants are aimed at civil society actors, who act peacefully, individually or in groups, to promote, protect and implement respect for universal human rights. The applicant’s action and performances must be documented.
All the individuals, groups or entities, who are identified by their commitment to improve the protection of all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as prescribed in, among others, International Human Rights Conventions, are eligible for support from the Foundation without any prerequisites other than the purpose and autonomous nature of their activities.
More precisely, the Foundation supports natural persons and legally registered entities. However, due to restrictions on freedom of expression and association imposed by some governments, some actors in the region are unable to register legally or fear for their safety if they do so. In some situations, defenders are setting up for-profit entities to carry out their human rights promotion and protection activities in relative safety. Due to the limitations imposed on them, the Foundation may support groups who are not registered or who act within the framework of for-profit entities.
Special attention is given to equality and vulnerable groups because of their geographical location (remote regions) or because of their situation (migrants, minorities, LGBTQI, young people, persons with disabilities, etc.).
The Foundation can also respond to the needs of the family members of a defender, when the actions and situation of the defender have an impact on their safety and well-being.
The representation of women in the governing bodies (executive committee, board of directors) of an association requesting support is considered an important asset when assessing the eligibility of funding proposals.
Nature of the proposal
Applications are considered eligible when they respond to the Foundation’s mandate to provide financial support to defenders and NGOs that are at risk or facing financial difficulties, and to NGOs that carry out innovative, sensitive initiatives, aim to develop women’s and youth leadership, and operate in remote regions.
An urgent application is considered eligible if the applicant can demonstrate that an intervention by the Foundation will help to reduce/prevent threats to his or her life and/or that of family members, and/or to the continuation of his or her human rights activities.
A standard application is considered eligible when the applicant’s general mission and activities are aimed at promoting and protecting human rights in their universality, indivisibility and interdependence. An application from an NGO covering only operating costs is eligible if it allows the NGO to implement, in the medium term, activities in line with the Foundation’s mandate.
The Foundation may renew its support in exceptional circumstances. Requests for renewal are considered eligible when 1) the situation of the NGO or defender has not improved or has worsened due to factors beyond its control, and it/she/he has unsuccessfully done everything in its/her/his power to remedy the situation, 2) the initial amount has been insufficient to achieve the objectives envisaged and other donors have not been able to top it up, and 3) the NGO or defender has found it/her/himself in a completely different situation compared to the previously allocated grant.
Necessity of the request
Applicants must submit sufficient information about why they need the grant at that ‘particular’ time and about their difficulties in finding funding under the same conditions elsewhere. Urgent applications based solely on a deteriorating economic situation, without the presence of a direct or indirect threat to their life/activity, are not eligible.
An evaluation of the budget (taking into consideration the purpose of the action and the applicable standards of living) is systematically carried out by the Secretariat.
In exceptional (well-argued) situations, a local defender or NGO can apply for support through a regional or international organisation. In this case, the Foundation’s support mainly covers the costs incurred by the local beneficiary (with a maximum of 7% administrative costs for the regional or international organisation).
Approach of the applicant
Applicants are systematically encouraged to provide references in their applications for funding; these are contacted by the Secretariat as well as others. In its investigations, the Secretariat seeks to know in particular whether the applicant collaborates, even intermittently, with other civil society actors, and whether the results and usefulness of the activities have been recognised by the beneficiary communities and by external partners.
The Foundation relies on a network of highly qualified resource persons, key partners and donors to obtain detailed and reliable information and to substantiate the results and usefulness of the application. The Secretariat also consults the members of the Foundation’s Board to present and discuss these proposals, including standard applications, before they are discussed with all members at meetings.