Protecting Civic Space in Eurasia During COVID-19

Protecting Civic Space in Eurasia During COVID-19

Protecting Civic Space in Eurasia During COVID-19

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is pleased to invite proposals for grants as part of its project to counter COVID-inspired restrictions on civic freedoms and protect civic space during the pandemic. Grants of up to $7000 are available for projects meeting the criteria discussed below. The activity funded by each grant is expected to last approximately two months.

Applications are due by October 5, 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a global crisis for fundamental freedoms. In response to the virus, governments worldwide have adopted emergency laws and other measures that are purported to limit contagion, but that also restrict rights and constrain civic space. At the same time, CSOs often lack adequate means to advocate for their interests while working remotely and restricted in their movement due to sanitary-health control measures, including stay-at-home orders and bans on gatherings and other means of in-person participation.

In this context, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) seeks to support civil society organizations (CSOs) registered inKazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan to carry out short-term, high-impact activities to protect civic space and resist restrictive governmental responses to COVID-19.

Proposals may seek to support civic space during the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing topics including, but not limited to, improving procedures for online consultations and public participation on draft legislative initiatives; strengthening regulation of the collection, storage, and use of personal data through use of artificial intelligence; and improving incentives and benefits for civil society during a pandemic or other public health emergency.

The applicant may select from a broad range of activities designed to achieve the grant’s objective, including, but not limited to:

  • Monitoring implementation of COVID-19 regulations and legislation affecting CSOs; developing legal analyses, white papers, and policy briefs; and proposing legal and policy recommendations to protect civic space.
  • Developing new tools, strategies, activities, and alliances to advocate for greater protections of fundamental freedoms in responses to COVID-19.
  • Conducting roundtables, seminars, or informational campaigns to raise awareness on specific topics related to civic space constraints during COVID-19.

This list is illustrative, and ICNL strongly encourages applicants with innovative ideas and approaches not described above to apply.

Application Instructions

To apply for a grant, applicants must submit the following items in English:

  • Application coversheet (see below).
  • Proposal (see below).
  • Line-item budget (no more than $7,000).
  • Resumes/CVs of staff to be engaged in the project.
  • Background information about the applicant organization (e.g., website links or informational materials).
  • Copy of notarized registration certificate confirming the status of a legal entity of the applicant.

Content of Proposal

In two pages or less, please describe your proposal. The proposal should address the following topics:

  • Identify a clear challenge for CSOs or civic space resulting from government responses to COVID-19 that the proposed initiative will address.
  • Provide an overview of the proposed initiative to overcome, ease, or navigate the challenge, including specific activities and anticipated outcomes.
  • Describe applicant’s experience implementing similar activities proposed in this call.
  • Identify other CSOs, government bodies, and other stakeholders thatwill be engaged in the activities outlined in the application.
  • Provide a proposed activity plan with specific goals and a timeline, recognizing that grant activities must be completed no later than December 31, 2021.

Please also attach a line-item budget (which does not count toward the 2-page limit for the proposal).

Eligibility Requirements

Open to any noncommercial organization registered in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, or Azerbaijan.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following factors:

  • Compliance with eligibility requirements and application procedures.
  • Demonstrated commitment of the applicant to improving civic space.
  • Quality of proposed project, including the project’s innovations, the proposed methodology/design, and feasibility of the project (e.g., activities are targeted to achieve stated results, and anticipated results are realistic and attainable).
  • Likelihood that the proposed project will enhance civic space.
  • Proposed budget and value for money.
  • Inclusion of reasonable indicators to measure project success.

How to Apply

Interested applicants can apply by completing the application coversheet and submitting it, along with all required documents, by email (see instructions below).

Terms of Reference

The grant recipient will be required to submit a final report on the use of funds, activities conducted, and outcomes of their projects prior to receiving their final grant disbursement. All project activities must be completed no later than December 31, 2021.


Applicants should submit their applications no later than October 5, 2020. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

Application Coversheet

Please complete the coversheet and submit it, along with your proposal and other application documents, to Adrian Sawczyn at [email protected] Please ensure that the subject of your email is “COVID-19 Grant Application 2020.”

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