Embassy Funds for Belarus 2023 – the deadline 13.03.2023 @ 23:59
Human Rights are a cornerstone of the foreign policy of the Netherlands. They form the foundation of human dignity and freedom, and as such are vital to the development of democracy, rule of law as well as for economic progress of any state.
The Netherlands is convinced that dynamic development of a vibrant, modern and energetic civil society is vital to the quality of democracy, economic development and civilization progress in Belarus.
In order to support the development of civil society and democracy worldwide, the Netherlands has initiated two programs: the Human Rights Fund and the Netherlands Fund for Regional Partnership – Matra (NFRP – MATRA). Both these programs are open for application from Belarus and from the EU territory.
These support programs are administered by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Warsaw. The Embassy office in Minsk has an advisory role.
PLEASE NOTE THAT IN 2023 THE EMBASSY OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS FORESEES ONLY ONE CALL FOR PROPOSALS.
Introduction to application
Applicants are recommended to carefully read the following information on the requirements to obtain funding from the Netherlands Fund for Regional Partnership – MATRA (NFRP – MATRA) and the Human Rights Fund.
- Deadline for submission of project proposals – 13 March 2023, 23:59 hours
- The projects proposals must be submitted in English
- The themes for project proposals are set out below for each of both funds. Project activities and approach have to tie in clearly with the NFRP – MATRA or Human Rights Fund objectives. Applicants must clearly indicate which of the two available programs they would like to apply to.
- In principle, the Embassy will award grants to a maximum of € 50.000,- (the Embassy reserves the right to award higher grants in exceptional cases).The applicants must use the provided application form and not change the format (it must be submitted in .docx format). See the application form below
- The applicants are requested to provide a clear assessment of their project needs and the amounts indicated in the project budgets. See further the application form
- The beneficiaries of the HRF or MATRA supported in previous years are eligible only when previous activities are completed and reports have been submitted and approved or when previous activities are about to be completed in 2023. In both cases preliminary consultation with the HRF/MATRA officer is necessary to confirm eligibility
- The Embassy takes great care to ensure that the grants are awarded where they are most needed and that they are properly used. Therefore, applications must be submitted according to the requirements of the NFRP – MATRA or Human Rights Fund. The NFRP – MATRA and Human Rights Fund are demand driven. This means that the Embassy staff will be happy to discuss and consult ideas and themes before an applicant submits a proposal. Please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail WAR-Belarus@minbuza.nl, Signal (preferred), WhatsApp or Telegram in case of any inquiries or doubts with regard to your ideas or themes that you would like to address in your project
- The preliminary results of the call for proposals with deadline 13 March 2023 will be available as of 25 April 2023. After this date applicants can inquire at the Embassy about the results.
- The final results of the call for proposals with deadline 13 March 2023 will be known as of 15 May 2023.
Introduction to NFRP – MATRA and Human Rights Fund
The Netherlands Fund for Regional Partnership – Matra (NFRP – MATRA)
In order to be eligible for a NFRP – MATRA grant projects must aim at promotion of the process of development of Belarus into a pluralist, democratic country by supporting the creation of a stronger engaged civil society. NFRP – MATRA is a demand-driven program.
- Initiatives aimed at the promotion of public participation;
- Initiatives strengthening civic activism;
- Initiatives to strengthen non-governmental institutions’ ability to influence transformation processes;
- Initiatives to strengthen the role of innovative education aimed at development of a stronger engaged civil society;
- Initiatives that can contribute to a structural economic modernization;
- Initiatives that can contribute to good governance;
- Initiatives connected to change society’s attitude towards Human Rights;
- Cultural activities which are significantly addressing one or more above mentioned areas.
Within these themes, priority is given to projects that:
- Focus on youth
- To initiatives which have an impact on Belarusians in Belarus
- To initiatives which are taking part in Belarus or its activities (results, goals, outcomes) are focused min. 75% on Belarusians in Belarus
- Make use of Dutch best practices, including using Dutch experts and/or cooperating with a Dutch NGO.
Human Rights Fund
As part of the global community the Netherlands wishes to promote freedom in the world. The human rights policy of the Dutch government reflects that responsibility.
The objective of the Human Rights Fund is to support initiatives that promote the implementation of fundamental freedoms and the protection of the rights of groups of people that are subject to discrimination.
For this call for proposals the Embassy will select projects explicitly focusing on:
- Freedom of expression, both online and offline (Including activities focusing on provision of safety to journalists and improvement of the quality of their work;)
- Freedom of Religion and Belief (including protection of rights of non-believers);
- Equal Rights for Women;
- Equal rights for LGBTI;
- Human Rights Defenders.
Within these themes, priority is given to projects:
- which have an impact on Belarusians in Belarus
- which are taking part in Belarus or its activities (results/ goals/outcomes/staff) are focused min. 75% on Belarusians in Belarus
- Make use of Dutch best practices, including using Dutch experts and/or cooperating with a Dutch NGO.
- Applications must be relevant to the NFRP – MATRA or the Human Rights Fund objectives;
- The duration of a project should not exceed twenty four (24) months (beginning can be planned from June/July 2023);
- The project should be an initiative responding to needs of the target group;
- The project goal should be clearly stated, as well as the expected results;
- The target group should be clearly defined;
- The target group should be actively involved in all stages of the project;
- The target group should carry a part of the project burden (financial or in kind);
- The project should clearly indicate how it contributes to the improvement of democracy, the rule of law, public administration and good governance, or Human Rights in Belarus;
- Partners are kindly requested to note that the main priority of both programs is not to provide support to the Belarusian diaspora.
- Partners are expected to fill in project proposal template within given limits of signs and words (please refer to the project proposal template).
Assessment of the proposal will also take into account the management capacity of the implementing organization. Eligibility for funding is, as a rule, limited to local costs (the project should be cost effective). Co-financing is only possible if (a) NFRP – MATRA or Human Rights Fund activities are clearly defined, (b) the other sources of funding are specified in the proposal, (c) the budget is balanced. In such cases a project proposal must specify the sum which will be requested from other donors (if the same project or parts of it is submitted to other donors) and the sum allocated by other donors (if contribution from other donors has already been granted).
Only NGOs and non-profit organizations (including independent media) are eligible to take part in this call for proposals.
The following projects, activities and budget items are not eligible for funding under NFRP – MATRA or Human Rights Fund:
- Projects that have been submitted after the closing date of the calls for proposals;
- Commercial activities;
- (Re)construction costs (of buildings) in projects.
Purely charitable activities, such as medical assistance or the donation of food, are not regarded as structural contributions to the reform process. Nor do they actively involve the target group. Laudable and useful as they may be, these activities are not eligible for the NFRP – MATRA or the Human Rights Fund grant.
A new project within HRF or NFRP-MATRA can only be supported if the previous project of an applicant has been completed and officially closed unless other agreement has been made between the Embassy and the partner (the Embassy reserves the right to decide on case by case basis).
Please note that an organization can submit only one project proposal per call for proposals. If a proposal is submitted under NFRP – MATRA, the applicant cannot submit another proposal under Human Rights Fund, and vice versa.
- Project proposals must be sent to WAR-BELARUS@minbuza.nl;
- Project proposals = Application form and budget in .xls/.xlsx format;
- If necessary, applicants may use encryption programs for their own security (PGP key can be downloaded from HERE or from https://keys.openpgp.org/; Search for: “firstname.lastname@example.org”)
- PGP Key: 2e6d dd2a b125 b23e ac0e 464f b6d2 a6a1 64c4 cd0b;
- Applications should be submitted by the project organizers themselves;
- Applications must be submitted in English (Belarusian or Russian version of the project is welcomed but not required);
- Applicants are requested to fill in the form in English only;
- Budget must be presented in EURO (€) only;
- Applicants cannot change the format of the application form nor add or remove questions;
- The application template of project application can be found HERE;
- Application must be submitted according to the provided template only in Word format (*.docx).
- Please note that documents are accepted only in following formats: .docx, .doc, .xls, .xlsx, .txt, .pdf, .jpg, .gif, .zip, .pgp, .ppt, .pptx; Any other formats must be agreed before submission of the proposal with the HRF/MATRA coordinator.
- The Embassy reserves the right modify the goals of the call for proposals in case of unexpected events.
Approval, contract, payment
The Embassy budgets for the NFRP – MATRA and the Human Rights Fund are limited. This implies that project proposals may have to be rejected even if they meet all of the above mentioned requirements. Under the call for proposals those projects will be supported that contribute best to the overall goals of the NFRP – MATRA and Human Rights Fund.
If the project is approved, the applicant receives the decision outlining the conditions of the grant. Upon receipt of this, the Netherlands Embassy pays the grant.
Grants are normally paid to a bank account, but alternative methods are possible as well. Grants are paid in one or two tranches (100% or 95/5 %, 80/20%). The 2nd tranche is paid after completion of the project and approval of the final reports). The Embassy reserves the right to decide on the number of tranches. The first tranche is paid within 6 weeks from the date of signing of the contract. Any changes in the budget above 10% of the budget category that concern the grant require Embassy’s consent. In case of prolongation of the project duration, the project organizers must notify the Embassy and receive the Embassy’s approval.
The Embassy prefers partnership and more intense communication during the implementation of the project, this is why every two months the applicant is requested to inform the Embassy about:
- the state of the project implementation,
- any needs/requests you may have,
- any problems or challenges,
- general situation in the project and in your organization,
- this message can be written in Belarusian or Russian,
- please stay in touch with the Embassy also if all is fine.
Please do not expect that the Embassy will send an email to the grantee and request to submit interim reports. Every two months the Embassy awaits a “signal” from a grantee, this is also to check the beneficiary’s willingness to communicate with the donor, to monitor and afterwards to evaluate the grantee as a partner and a project implementer.
If the project activities allow to monitor viewership or readership the Embassy requests the grantee to allow MATRA/HRF officer to follow this data:
- Grantees may do it either through allowing a special account (agreed with the Embassy) to track statistics;
- In case of printed materials – by providing regular information about issues printed, sold and returned;
- Grantees are requested to include the Embassy into emailing lists and invite/inform Embassy representatives about events that are organized by them.
- For projects with a grant smaller than €25.000:
The Embassy is willing to focus mostly on the outcomes and long-term results. Therefore in case of such projects up to 3 online meetings will be organized (at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the project). For the last meeting partners are requested to prepare a brief information about outcomes, results and plans for the future.
- For projects with a grant above €25.000:
The grant recipient has to submit final narrative and financial reports within six weeks after the closure date of the project.
Up to 3 online meetings will be organized (at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the project).
The narrative report should include information on the realization of the project, planned activities vs. realized, unexpected encountered problems or successes, opinions of organizers and participants, lessons learned, future plans, photographs. An innovative approach to the narrative report is appreciated.
The financial report should include a table of the final realized budget. Together with this information, the grant recipient at the request of the Embassy must submit copies of the original bills and other documents proving the expenditures have been made.
The financial report should be prepared on the basis of the approved budget.
Please make sure that all expenditures reported in the file will have corresponding documents proving and justifying the expenditures.
Please try to present in your report all achievements in the most transparent way.
Both financial and narrative reports should be prepared in a transparent and clear way.
Final narrative (or a brief information about the outcomes and results – when appropriate) and financial reports must be prepared in English and submitted in electronic version (including scans of financial documents).
The Embassy reserves the right to inspect the project activities and project finances at any time during the project implementation. The Embassy takes also great care to see how partners are using the project results in their future activities. Therefore the Embassy reserves the right to randomly ask for the long term results of the projects.
In case the report is bigger than 4 MB grantees are requested to upload it to a secure cloud (Dropbox, GDrive, iCloud or Mega) and share a protected link. PGP is not obligatory but welcomed.
Please note that documents are accepted only in following formats: .docx, .doc, .xls, .xlsx, .txt, .pdf, .jpg, .gif, .zip, .pgp, .ppt, .pptx; Any other formats must be agreed before submission of the proposal with the HRF/MATRA coordinator.
The NFRP – MATRA and Human Rights Fund are demand driven, meaning that the Embassy staff will be happy to discuss and consult ideas and themes of the projects before submission. Please do not hesitate to contact us in case of any inquiries, doubts with regard to your ideas and themes you would like to address in projects.
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Attn. Belarus Unit
ul. Kawalerii 10
Tel. +48 22 559 12 50/65
Signal/Whatsapp: +48 691 600 522 (WBS); +48 691 600 255 (MA)
PGP Key: 2e6d dd2a b125 b23e ac0e 464f b6d2 a6a1 64c4 cd0b
Mr. Wojciech Borodzicz-Smoliński
Ms. Matylda Andała
In addition to the available funds, the Embassy avails itself of emergency funding aimed primarily at situations concerning human rights defenders. For those cases you can approach the Embassy throughout the whole year.