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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. The 2015 Call for Proposals is open from 2 January to 26 January 2015.

Please note, that this text has been edited 7 January at 4:00 PM (e.g. focus areas in 2015).

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 2015

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 2015

The fields of work that will be prioritized in the current Call for Proposals are listed below. The applicants are requested to choose one of the sectors under which they apply for funding.

1) Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights globally, regionally and locally, especially among most vulnerable groups and in least developed countries. Particular focus will be given to sexual rights issues such as promotion and provision of services to poor people including access to contraceptives, youth friendly services and safe abortion.

  • Grant allocated by Unit  for Civil Society. Financing will be available for 0-3 proposals with contract duration of 1-3 years. The maximum total amount to be allocated for the theme will be 8 million euros.

2) Conflict prevention and promoting internal cohesion and the understanding of international humanitarian law in Lebanon.

  • Grant allocated by the Unit for Middle-East and North-Africa. Financing will be available for 0-2 proposals with duration of 1-2 years and the maximum amount to be allocated for the theme will be 1 million euros.

3) Improving the capacity of local governance structures to deliver basic services in Northern Syria.

  • Grant allocated by the Unit for Middle-East and North-Africa. Financing will be available for 0-2 proposals with duration of 1-2 years. The maximum total amount to be allocated for the theme will be 1 million euros.

4) The Rights of People with Disabilities throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

  • Grant allocated by Unit for the Middle East and North Africa, will be available for 0-2 proposals with duration of up to 2 years. The maximum total amount to be allocated for the theme will be maximum 500 000 euros.

5)Support for local communities and administration in sustainable use, protection and management of natural resources and in improved livelihood in the Mekong region.  Particular emphasis will be given to projects that support existing Finnish programmes' and projects’ objectives in the Mekong region. The project is preferred to have a regional scope, while national level programs in Lao PDR or Vietnam can also be considered if it has transboundary impact.

  • Grant allocated by the Unit for Eastern Asia and Oceania. Financing will be available for 0-1 proposals with duration of 1-3 years and the maximum amount to be allocated for the theme will be 1.5 million euros.

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 different nationalities 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.

The successful INGO candidates will sign an agreement with the MFA and agree to follow the General Terms and Conditions for the Government Grant (documents 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 (UTC/GMT +2) on Monday 26 January 2015.  The list of required attachments can be found on the 5 page of the application form. The completed application form, the programme/project plan and other attachments are to be sent to the Ministry both electronically and as a hard copy.

Guiding outline for the programme/project document:

The signed application form and attachments are to be sent to the address below. Please mark the envelope with "INGO call for Applications 2015".

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:  . The maximum size of the e-mail message is 7 MB. 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.

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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