Call for Concept Notes

MATRA for European Cooperation Embassy Program 2020

Matra stands for maatschappelijke transformatie, meaning ‘social transformation’. It is part of the Dutch support to current and potential EU candidate countries and the countries of the Eastern Partnership. Matra supports countries to fulfil conditions required by the EU accession processes (e.g. Copenhagen Criteria and/or Association Agreements with EU). The Matra Fund supplements the European Commission’s efforts and aims to help countries strengthen democracy and the rule of law, thus enhance stability.

The Dutch government attaches particular importance to the program, since it is focused on reinforcing and promoting shared European values. Values that connect European countries, bridging their cultural diversity. A strong and pluralist democracy under the rule of law, stable democratic processes and good governance are part of these values and of the agenda for the regions bordering on the European Union.

In 2020 the MATRA budget delegated to the Embassy will allow for 4-6 new projects to be financially supported.

I. What types of projects are eligible?

The Matra Program is demand-driven. It supports initiatives of Albanian NGOs. The project support is aligned with our policy priorities. To be eligible for support, projects must promote the process of transformation in the following areas:

1. Rule of Law

Your proposal should be in line with the Cross-sector Justice Strategy (2017-2021) and its Action Plan, as well as the High Judicial Council’s Strategy and Action Plan. Overall, the project should focus on reforms that are part of the European Integration Agenda in the areas of Rule of Law and Justice Reform. It should contribute to advancing the justice system in Albania.

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Support the enhancement of justice efficiency, accountability and professionalism through all the system’s institutions;
  • Monitoring of judicial and prosecutorial performance;
  • Awareness raising and increasing transparency for the general public on matters related to Rule of Law and Justice Reform.

2. Anti-Corruption

Your proposal should be in line with the Inter-Sectorial Strategy Against Corruption 2015-2020 and its Action Plan (2019-2023). Overall, the project should focus on reforms that are part of the European Integration Agenda.

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Behavioral change initiatives by engaging youth and communities at grassroots level;
  • Awareness raising and increasing public trust in the existing anti-corruption mechanism;
  • Strengthening of policy dialogue on anti-corruption between Government and Civil Society;
  • Contribution to anti-corruption measures and outreach at local level.

3. Organised Crime / Money Laundering

Your proposal should fit within the context of the EU integration process of Albania, and should aim at a strengthened role of civil society in the fight against organized crime and money laundering. Within this field we specifically welcome projects that increase public awareness and accountability by encouraging an informed and evidence-based public debate.

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Investigative reporting or thorough research focused on organized crime and/or money laundering in Albania;
  • Strengthening monitoring and evaluations of government activities countering organized crime and/or money laundering;
  • Strengthening of policy dialogue on the fight against organized crime and/or money laundering between government and civil society;
  • Engagement of youth and communities to discourage tolerance of and prevent involvement in crime.

4. Democratization, good governance and civic engagement

Your proposal should contribute to a more capable and responsive public sector towards citizens’ needs, as well as to advance and respond to demands of EU integration process. It should aim at improving public administration to become more efficient, accountable, transparent, inclusive and effective at national and local level.

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Strengthening of independent government oversight institutions and/or agencies. Preference is given to projects that focus on accountability and promote civic engagement and strengthen inclusiveness in the decision making processes.
  • Enhanced transparency and access to information for the citizens, leading to improved quality of services for citizens and businesses.
  • Strengthening the cooperation between different stakeholders (national and local governments, civil society organisations, private sector and citizens) in addressing the major reforms in the framework of the EU integration process.
  • Strengthening the role of women, both in decision making and effective implementation.

II. What are the minimum requirements?

  • Applications are only taken into consideration when the Embassy provided format is used (Appendix A – Concept Note).
  • Applications must be relevant to the specific Matra objectives as highlighted above.
  • The project needs to reinvigorate the local ownership of the issue that is at the core of the project.
  • If cooperation with the government authorities is foreseen, outreach to the relevant stakeholders should be done before submitting the concept note.
  • The applicant should preferably contribute to the project (financial or in kind). This needs to be specified clearly in the activities and budget overview.
  • The project has a duration of 24 – 36 months.
  • Overall budget for project should range between EUR 60.000 and EUR 120.000. Make sure the budget complies with the following minimum requirements.
    • Not more than 20% of our contribution can be allocated to salaries;
    • Not more than 10% of our contribution can be allocated to administrative costs (rent, utilities, office material, communication, bank fees). Only administrative costs directly involved in the project are eligible for financial support (ex. the proportion of the rental costs for the office space that is to be used directly for the project activities).

III. Preference is given to proposals:

  • That are gender sensitive;
  • That take inclusiveness seriously and create equal access to project results for all groups in society. In this sense we encourage organisations to set up activities in areas where needs are higher, in some cases this means activities outside the capital;
  • That clearly state how the results will turn into sustainable improvements;
  • That are cost sensitive, whenever possible seek in kind contributions, use alliances with the business community, work with volunteers etc;
  • That use innovative ways to tackle issues (involve the private sector, use a broad coalition sharing a common concern, make use of digital tools, have a clear media strategy,..).

IV. Not eligible for funding under the Matra Embassy Program:

  • Humanitarian aid;
  • Commercial activities;
  • Business registered organizations;
  • Projects with a predominantly academic focus, i.e. feasibility studies, research etc.;
  • Projects that exclusively or largely include the delivery of goods or materials;
  • Infrastructural or construction projects;
  • Scholarships or education programs;
  • Social programs.

V. Co-financing with other donors is possible provided, when:

  • The applicant provides statements from the other donor(s) on their motivation to finance project activities;
  • A clear, transparent description is given of the division of activities and how the different donors contribute to these activities.

VI. The application procedure:

  • Applications must be submitted to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana at before 20 January 2020 20h00;
  • The Embassy considers only proposals that are sent according to the format provided in Appendix A;
  • Proposals must meet the minimum requirements;
  • Applications should be submitted in the English language;
  • If the concept note is approved, the applicant will receive a notification and invitation to submit a full project proposal package. We expect to finalise this phase of the selection by 16 March 2020.
  • Concept Note Application Form MATRA 2020