There is a focus on Bhutan: as several projects (long term) of India and Nepal, started in 2016, are still in continuation.
The Accountability Fund was launched in 2016, and will also be available for new applications in 2017. The new fund is part of the Dutch government’s worldwide policy framework that aims to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of NGO’s. The objective of direct financing of CSOs by the Embassy through the Accountability Fund is organizational capacity development in the field of lobbying and advocacy, this in order to contribute to a strong and lively civil society which holds the public and private sector accountable.
Activities can be directed towards e.g. the mobilization of groups, changing behavior, networking, agenda setting, connecting local and national/international agendas, holding accountable the public and private sector and to changing or maintaining legislation. Inclusiveness is a priority; hence activities are preferably focused on capacity development of local organizations that target more vulnerable groups, including women.
Under the Accountability Fund, the Embassy has a funding mechanism by which it can contribute to strengthening the lobbying and advocacy capacity of local NGO’s. Since lobbying and advocacy is not an isolated process but always linked to themes, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands seeks to dovetail its support in this regard with its support under the Small Scale Support Program, which is based on the policy document “Justice and Respect for all”. In practice this means that there is a preference for strengthening the capacities of organizations working on the following themes:
- Equal rights for women, focused on political participation and prevention of violence against women
- Equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT)
- Business and human rights
- Freedom of religion and belief
One third of the available budget is earmarked for organizations working on theme 1 (Equal rights for women, focused on political participation and prevention of violence against women). Organizations from all states and union territories can submit a request for funding. These applications will be assessed on their own merits, regardless of the location in India where the actions would take place.
The Embassy receives a large number of project applications, whereas the available budget is sufficient to support only a very limited number of projects. To ensure the application process happens in a transparent way, some guidelines are set. Organizations applying for funding must ensure that their proposals comply with the following baseline criteria:
- Project is specifically aimed at improving lobbying and/or advocacy capacity. Service delivery activities are not eligible for funding and will not be taken into consideration.
- The applicant must fulfil all legal obligations under the law (including but not limited to the regulations under the Indian Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)).
- The Accountability Fund is meant for local CSOs. Although collaboration with Dutch NGOs is possible, only Indian CSO’s are eligible to be a funding partner and their capacity development will always be the main objective. Investments from the Accountability Fund will always target the local organization.
- Proposals are preferably multiannual and strategic to prevent fragmentation of funds.
- Applications can only be submitted in English, and in the format provided.
Projects that are non-eligible for funding under the Accountability Fund are the following:
- Service delivery type activities; projects that exclusively or largely include the delivery of goods or materials
- Humanitarian aid;
- Activities that are primarily motivated by a commercial interest;
- Projects with a predominantly academic focus, i.e. feasibility studies, research, etc.
- Infrastructural or construction projects;
- Activities that are a repetition of previous projects.