Call for Concept Notes MATRA 2023 - Albania

Call for Concept Notes MATRA 2023

News item | 19-01-2023 | 09:15

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana invites non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to submit concept notes for the Matra Program before 20 February 2023.

MATRA for European Cooperation Embassy Program 2023

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana invites non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to submit concept notes for the Matra Program before 20 February 2023.

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 complements the European Commission’s efforts and aims to help countries strengthen democracy, rule of law and stability.

The Dutch government attaches particular importance to the Matra program since it is focused on reinforcing and promoting shared European values. Values that connect European countries, bridging their cultural diversity. Supporting a strong and pluralist democracy that respects therule of law, human rights, democratic processes, and good governance is at the heart of this program. The general objective is to contribute to social transformation leading to a sustainable and stable relationship between governments and its citizens.

I. What types of projects are eligible?

The Matra Program is demand-driven. It supports initiatives of NGOs in line with our policy priorities. For 2023, the Matra program is looking to support in total 4-5 new projects in the following areas:

  1. Rule of Law/Law Enforcement

Your proposal should focus on reforms that are part of the European Integration Agenda in the areas of Rule of Law as well as Justice Reform and it should aim to strengthen capacities of the justice institutions.

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Support the enhancement of justice efficiency, accountability, transparency and professionalism.
  • Support governance institutions and/or self-governing bodies in strengthening their capacities, developing strategies, regulations, knowledge and skills, and monitor their performance.
  • Awareness raising for the general public and enhancing access of citizens to justice through Legal Education for the public and Legal Aid.
  1. Organized Crime / Cybercrime /Money Laundering/ Financial Control/Data protection

Your proposal should fit within the context of the EU integration process of Albania and should strengthen the 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:

  • Strengthening monitoring and evaluation of institutional/government activities countering organized crime, cybercrime, and money laundering;
  • Strengthening policy dialogue between government and civil society on the fight against organized crime and/or money laundering;
  • Engagement of youth and communities to discourage tolerance of crime as well as prevent involvement in criminal activities.
  1. Migration

Your proposal should address the risks and consequences of irregular migration from Albania to EU countries. It should inform/raise awareness on the limitations and conditions of the visa-free regime as well as irregular migration, focusing on the impact on and role of women in areas affected by irregular (youth) migration. 

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Awareness raising on the impact of irregular migration on women who are being left with social/economic/parenting responsibilities after their family members migrate;
  • Awareness raising on the consequences of irregular migration and the security challenges women may face in their communities;
  • Mapping and awareness raising of the role of women in motivating family members to undertake irregular migration;
  • Mapping and awareness raising of the role of women in preventing family members from undertaking irregular migration.
  1. Democratization, good governance, fight against corruption 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 requirements of the 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, promote civic engagement, and strengthen inclusiveness in the decision-making processes in line with the anti-corruption strategy/action plan and priorities.
  • Strengthening the cooperation between different stakeholders (national and local governments, civil society organizations, 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.
  1. Freedom of expression, independent journalism, media freedom and literacy

Freedom of expression is an essential part of a properly functioning democracy and a free society. People in general, and journalists in particular, should be free to express themselves both online and offline. Overall, the project should focus on providing civil society and journalists with access to tools that counter disinformation, misinformation and fake news, and/or tools that promote ethics, fact checking and independence.

Specific topics that are of interest to this Embassy:

  • Support the independent position of journalists and media organizations in a variety of ways, with a particular focus on countering disinformation, misinformation, promoting ethical reporting and fostering a culture in which freedom of expression is considered self-evident. 
  • Raising awareness and combating impunity for people who threaten or attack journalists as well as contributing to having effective legislation in place and providing a safe space for threatened journalists.

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 and HRF objectives as highlighted above. Please specify which objective (1 to 5) your application is focused on.
  • Only NGOs that are officially registered and have at least 2 last years audited accounts will be eligible to apply.
  • The project needs to reinvigorate the local ownership of the issue that is at the core of the project.
  • If cooperation with government authorities/independent institutions is foreseen, outreach to relevant stakeholders should be done before submitting the concept note. In addition, a brief explanation of previous experience (including agreements, MoUs, etc) concerning cooperation with government authorities/independent institutions, will in that case need to be included in 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 and should start not earlier than June 2023.
  • Overall budget for project should range between EUR 70.000 and EUR 140.000. 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 and have promotion of human rights as a crosscutting theme;
  • That take inclusiveness seriously and create equal access to project results for all groups in society. In this sense we encourage organizations 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 via the contactform before 20 February 2023 24h00;
  • 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 finalize this phase of the selection by mid-March 2023.