Regional Program for Civil Society in the WB (2021)

Norwegian Embassy in Prishtina e1623436090877
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Listing Type
Non-Governmental Organizations


The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs invites non-governmental organizations to apply to the open call with the aim to establish the “Regional Program for Civil Society in the Western Balkans.”

The goal of this program is to strengthen civil society organizations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

The Embassy encourages all experienced NGOs from Albania and Kosovo to analyze the call and submit their applications by August 9, at 11.00.


General information about the call for proposals

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs invites organizations to apply to this call with the aim to establish a program for strengthening civil society organizations in the ODA-eligible countries in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia).

The program shall tentatively last until 31 December 2025, with possibility for extension. The overall financial frame of the program including administrative costs is maximum NOK 45 million a year.  An extension will depend on Parliamentary appropriation of funds, as well as an evaluation of achieved results and management of the program. A review will be carried out during the program implementation period.

Applications under this call will be processed and evaluated based on objectives and criteria specified below. Applications will also be assessed and ranked in relation to other applications submitted. The Ministry intends to enter into one agreement.

No applicant is entitled to funding through this call. This applies even if all formal and material criteria are met.

Objectives and scope of the program

The following thematic areas shall be prioritised under this program:

Security and stability

  • Combatting organized crime and preventing radicalisation, including violent extremism
  • Reconciliation, including intercultural dialogue


  • Reforms that support EuroAtlantic integration
  • Human rights and gender equality, including genderbased/domestic violence
  • Freedom of expression and independent media

The net budget of the program (gross budget less administrative costs) consists of three components:

  • Capacity building of the civil society
  • Subgranting scheme (project support and core funding) (minimum 85%)
  • Conferences/seminars/networking and exchange of knowledge and best practices (max 5%)

The supported interventions under the program are either country specific or cross-border/regional activities in ODA-eligible countries. Minimum 20% of the net budget shall be allocated to cross-border/regional activities.

The applicants should outline any country-specific considerations they deem necessary. Furthermore, the applicants are invited to present a country-specific and regional/cross-border budget allocation covering all six ODA-eligible countries, as well as an outline of a budgetary range for the sub-granting scheme targeting NGOs of various sizes and experience. Special consideration shall be given to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia.

Cross-cutting issues

The following four cross-cutting issues must be given adequate consideration in the program:

  • Human rights, with a particular focus on participation, accountability and non-discrimination
  • Women’s rights and gender equality
  • Climate change and environment
  • Anti-corruption

Grant recipient must identify material risk factors that may have a negative impact on the four cross-cutting issues, and must analyse and manage these risks throughout the program cycle. The Ministry will consider whether the grant recipient’s risk assessment and risk management are sufficient to avoid unintended negative effects.

Target group

The target group for the program is:

  • The population in ODA-eligible countries in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia).

Sub-granting scheme modalities

Sub-granted project interventions may range from short term support and grassroot initiatives to longer term (multi-annual) and larger interventions. Maximum amount per intervention is NOK 3 000 000 annually.

Sub-grantees are NGOs that are established in the ODA-approved countries in the Western Balkans and that fall within the following definition: “A non-profit voluntary organization established as a legal entity, having a non-commercial purpose, independent of local, regional and central government, public entities, political parties and commercial organizations. Religious institutions and political parties are not eligible”. Sub-grantees shall abide by the principles of democratic values and human rights.

Norwegian NGO’s are eligible as project partners, provided that the partnership demonstrates a clear added-value to the project.

Basic and welfare services are not eligible for support.

Performance criteria

The following indicators will be applied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to report on the achievement of the program as a whole: The program has contributed to the achievement of the following in the ODA-eligible countries:

  • Cooperation within and/or between the countries
  • Improved security and stability
  • Enhanced governance
  • Strengthened capacity of local civil society actors
  • Enabled local civil society actors to be change agents in their communities

Who can apply?

  • Non-governmental organizations

Partnership/consortium is accepted. The lead partner is considered the grant recipient and must submit the application.

Applicants must document that the following criteria are met:

  • Be a legal entity established in the ODA-eligible countries. Accurate and complete information about the nature of the organisation must be provided.
  • Be independent of local, regional and central government, political parties and religious institutions (applicable for all partners in consortium).
  • Be non-profit making with a non-commercial purpose (applicable for lead partner in consortium)
  • Have the necessary expertise and administrative capacity to be able to implement the program.
  • Have proven track record showing the necessary thematic and geographic competence covering all six ODA-eligible countries. Results from previous projects within the grant scheme’s thematic areas are relevant.
  • Administrative competence to implement the program, including experience providing sub-granting and capacity building to civil society organizations in ODA-eligible countries.
  • Demonstrate good insight into the issues concerned and present a clear theory of change on how to achieve the objectives.
  • Have stable and sufficient sources of finance to maintain their activity throughout the program.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will assess the applicants’ expertise and capacity in the relevant fields as well as their administrative capacity. For applicants that have previously received a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, experience from previous allocations, including reporting, financial management and performance, will form part of the assessment.

In the event of a consortium, all partners must have experience working with the civil society sector in one or more of the abovementioned ODA-eligible countries, however, the consortium as a whole must cover all six countries. At least one organisation in the consortium must have a proven track record showing experience providing sub-granting and capacity building to civil society organizations. The applicant must have a formalized relationship with potential consortium partners. Information about partners must be provided.

All program proposals shall meet the following criteria:

  • Be in line with the objectives of the call and must seek to meet a specifically defined need.
  • Must have clearly defined, realistic and measurable goals, and applications must include a description of the current situation (baseline) and indicators that will make it possible to measure and report results.
  • The program must be cost-effective, and this must be reflected in a detailed budget. The grant recipient must not make a profit from the grant.
  • The administrative costs must be limited to a maximum of 5% of the total program costs.
  • The program must comply with the OECD/DAC criteria for ODA (official development assistance).

In its assessment of the application, the Ministry will attach importance to a number of factors, including:

  • Risks and risk management
  • Relevance to the objectives of the grant scheme
  • The extent to which the program takes the cross-cutting issues into account
  • Local ownership, sustainability and exit strategy
  • Relevance to Norway’s strategies and policy documents for the area concerned
  • Relevance to the recipient country’s own plans and priorities
  • General guidelines for Norwegian aid funding

About the application process

  • All applications must be submitted through the Grants Portal
  • All relevant documents must be uploaded
  • Required annexes:
    • Results framework
    • Risk assessment
    • Budget
    • Annual report for 2020 of the applying organisation
    • Audited accounts for 2020 of the applying organisation including auditor’s statement and Management Letter where this has been submitted by the auditor
    • Documentation of legal status/Certificate of Registration
    • Statutes of the applying organisation
    • Overview of track record showing thematic and geographic competence covering all six ODA-eligible countries
    • Draft Call for proposals for the sub-granting scheme
    • Description of the management and control system of the program, including selection process for the sub-granting scheme
    • Outline (max 2 pages) of a communication strategy, including how to communicate the program to potential sub-grantees
  • Applicants may only submit one application

The Ministry reserves the right to carry out an extended partner assessment of the applicant, including consortium partners, if applicable.

Contact information for the responsible unit

Questions about the call for proposals can be sent to Section for South East Europe:

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