United Nations Democracy Fund

The United Nations Democracy Fund invites civil societies organizations to apply for funding during the annual proposal window to support and advance democracy.

UNDEF funds projects that promote civil society and human rights and encourage participation by all groups in the democratic process. The vast majority of UNDEF funds are given to local civil society groups. Thus, UNDEF is a unique complement to the UN’s work with governments, which aims to strengthen democracy around the globe.

In 2005, the UN Secretary-General established the United Nations Democracy Fund as a United Nations General Trust Fund in support of democratization efforts all over the globe. UNDEF funds projects that support civil society and promote human rights. It also encourages participation by all groups in democratic processes. Most UNDEF funds are directed to local civil society organizations, both during the consolidation and transition phases of democratization.

This is the Eleventh Round of UNDEF grants, with grants up to US$300,000. UNDEF has funded nearly 700 projects in more than 100 countries, with a total of US$170 million. The selection process is rigorous, and less than 2% of all proposals are selected for funding. All projects last two years.

UNDEF funds projects that support civil society and promote human rights. Most UNDEF funds are directed to local civil society organizations, both during the consolidation and transition phases of democratization.

The selection process for funding proposals is rigorous and competitive. Less than two percent of all submitted bids are selected. The following seven areas are the main categories that projects fall within:

  • Gender equality / Women’s empowerment and rights
  • Community activism
  • The rule of law, human rights
  • Youth engagement
  • Enhancing the capacity of civil society to interact with government
  • Media and Freedom of Information
  • Knowledge tools

Criteria for applying to United Nations Democracy Fund

These institutions are eligible to receive UNDEF grant funding

  • Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations that promote democracy. They are expected to receive the majority of the financing.
  • Independent and Constitutional Bodies include Election Commissions, Ombudsman Institutions, National Human Rights Institutions, and other independent governance bodies for projects that facilitate civil society participation.
  • For project proposals that strengthen civil society’s voice, global and regional inter-governmental bodies, organizations, and associations other than the United Nations.
United Nations Democracy Fund
Organisation applying for United Nations Democracy Fund

How to Apply for the United Nations Democracy Fund

NGOs must submit strong applications to be eligible for funding. This is because of the high competition for grants from United Nations Democracy Fund. Because this is a global opportunity, NGOs must consider the following essential aspects when filling out an application. Before you start writing your funding proposal, the first thing you should do is visit the United Nations Democracy Fund website to review the details about the funding opportunity.

UNDEF offers an example application form starting in 2014 at this link.

This form can be used to apply online.

  • To submit your application on the UNDEF online form, you will need a computer that has an Internet connection.
  • Before applying to UNDEF funding, your organization must be registered on the UNDEF site by creating a profile.
  • After registering your company, an email message from the online system (also called the OPPS system) will be sent to you with a login username. To complete your application, use this username and password.
  • The online application is not required to be completed in one go. Instead, you can save your application by clicking the “SAVE” button at the bottom of the online application.
  • When you feel confident that your application has been submitted, click the “SUBMIT” button.

Benefits:

UNDEF projects last two years. Requestors can apply for grants of up to $300,000.

Application Process

Start your application.

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