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Support for International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs)

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs can allocate development cooperation funds to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) whose activities are in line with Finland's development policy priorities and goals. This form of support complements Finland's development policy and inter-governmental development cooperation on the sectors and activities with strategic importance. The Discretionary Government Transfers Act (Valtionavustuslaki 688/2001) is applied in INGO support procedures and the use of the grant. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs opens a Call for Proposals approximately once a year from spring 2014 onwards. Since the administration of INGO proposals is decentralized in the Ministry, each unit decides individually whether or not they grant support for INGO cooperation each year.

INGO support is directed by the Development Policy Programme of Finland  and guided by other relevant Ministry policy documents, such as Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy, the Human Rights Strategy, Human Rights Action Plan and Implementing the human rights-based approach in Finland’s development policy.  Finland targets its support on a limited number of proposals by International NGOs and conducts an active dialogue with them.  INGOs can be supported financially only when they are considered to be the optimal channel for promoting Finland's development policy objectives. In addition to national rules and regulations, the INGO support is guided by the norms jointly agreed upon by donors engaged in international cooperation, particularly the OECD's rules on ODA eligibility.


The objectives of Finland's INGO cooperation are:

  • to achieve the goals of Finland's development policy
  • to achieve Finland's country- and organisation-specific objectives
  • to strengthen civil societies and democracies in developing countries and to pay due regard to the citizens'  opinions and needs in the national and international decision-making

Call for proposals 2014

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) announces a Call for Proposals for International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) for support in Development Cooperation. The INGO support is a discretionary government transfer granted by the MFA, and as such the MFA is not obligated to grant assistance to all eligible INGOs. The eligibility is defined under the heading "Principles for Support and Minimum Requirements".

Focus Areas in 2014

The fields of work that will be prioritized in the current Call for Proposals are listed below. This year special interest is given to shaping the Post 2015 agenda. The applicants are requested to choose one of the sectors under which they apply for funding.


1)Human Rights, Democracy and Empowerment:

  • Elimination of discrimination; advancing women and girls' human rights and their participation; advancing women’s economic and social empowerment; enhancing economic, social and cultural rights and the legal effectiveness of their implementation;  supporting gender equality; promotion of inclusion, especially among marginalized and vulnerable groups.
  • Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. [Principal grant allocator Unit for Human Rights Policy]

2) Peace and Security and Rule of Law

  • Strengthening Democracies and Peace Building. [Principal grant allocator Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations]

3) Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: 

  • Advocacy work [Grant allocated by Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations]

4) Trade and Development:

  • International trading system and the challenges of the least developed countries ("post- Bali topics"); Trade and sustainable development; Regional Trade Agreements; Global value chains. [Principal grant allocator Trade Policy Unit]

5) Domestic Resource Mobilisation:

  • Future development funding and equal distribution of domestic resources. [Principal grant allocators Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations and Unit for General Development Policy and Planning]

6) Planetary Resilience and Ecological Sustainability:

  • Efforts to increase the transparency of multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) negotiations and production of objective and timely information,
  • Research to support sustainable forest management and governance.  [Principal grant allocator Unit for International Environmental Policy]

 7) Enhancing NGO Cooperation in Developing Countries:

  • Shaping the Post 2015 agenda in particular. [Principal grant allocator by Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations]


8) Women's Rights in the Syria Conflict Setting [Grant allocated by Unit for the Middle East and North Africa]

9)  The Rights of People with Disabilities throughout North Africa and the Middle East. [Grant allocated by Unit for the Middle East and North Africa]

10) Strengthening Forest Governance in Vietnam. [Grant allocated by Unit for Asia and Oceania]

Principles for Support and Minimum Requirements

From the point of view of the development cooperation funding, the MFA considers INGOs to be non-profit organisations that operate politically and administratively independent of governments. The INGO that is eligible for support has to meet the following Minimum Requirements.

The INGO has to have:

  • at least three countries represented in its governing structures;
  • operations in more than two countries;
  • been registered and/or legally competent for at least two years;
  • funding from at least one other source.

Among the INGOs that meet the above minimum requirements, the Ministry will evaluate and assess the INGOs and their proposals according to the following Principles:

  • previous relevant, successful and efficient operations with proven reliable monitoring and evaluation and reporting systems;
  • expertise and experience of and good cooperative relations with developing countries;
  • financial stability (e.g. ability  to cover its operational expenditure by its fund-raising activities)
  • quality of the Proposal (inter alia, clearly defined objectives, sustainable results, and long term impacts).

All of these requirements and principles above will be taken into consideration when assessing the applications. A successful proposal must be aligned with the objectives set in the Development Policy Programme of Finland and other relevant policy documents, such as the Human Rights Strategy. 

Grants to INGOs may be either core funding or project support channelled to activities in developing countries.

  • Core funding can be granted only to INGOs that meet the eligibility criteria for ODA, set by OECD/DAC (chapter 1).
  • In case an organisation does not satisfy the ODA eligibility criteria, project support may be earmarked to activities at a project level that are ODA eligible.

Minimum or maximum levels of the amount of support or restrictions concerning the total duration of support are not established.  Generally, the funding agreements range between 1- 3 years.  The successful INGO candidates will sign an agreement with the MFA and agree to follow the General Terms and Conditions for the Government Grant (available upon request from the Ministry).

How to Apply

The completed application form and all necessary attachments must be received by the Ministry no later than 16.15 HRS (GMT +2) on Monday 14 April 2014.  The list of required attachments can be found on the last page of the application form. The completed application form and attachments are to be sent to the Ministry both electronically and as a hard copy.

The signed application form and attachments are to be sent to the address below. Please mark the envelope with "INGO call for Applications 2014".

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Department for Development Policy/Registry
P.O. Box 403
FI-00023 Government

 A scanned copy of all the documents shall to be sent to the e-mail address:  Applications arriving after the given deadline will not be considered. The submission time and date will be based on the arrival of the electronic copy. The processing of applications is estimated to take approximately 2-4 months. All applicants will be informed about the decision.

WordINGO Application form 2014

Contact Information

The administration of INGO proposals is decentralized in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.  For further information please contact the relevant Ministry Unit or Department.

In more technical matters related to the call for applications, please contact:

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Updated 3/25/2014

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