Active Citizens Fund to Support Human Rights and Social Justice in Estonia

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Deadline: 21 August 2019

Active Citizens Fund is now open for applications to develop the long-term sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector, strengthening its role in promoting democratic participation, active citizenship and human rights, and empowerment of vulnerable groups.

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The objective of the Active Citizens Fund is: “Civil society and active citizenship strengthened, and vulnerable groups empowered”.

Focus Areas

Projects focusing on the following five areas are eligible for support:

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  • Democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency
  • Human rights and equal treatment through combating any discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups
  • Gender equality and gender-based violence
  • Environment and climate change


  • Strengthened democratic culture and civic awareness
  • Increased support for human rights and equal treatment
  • Vulnerable groups empowered
  • Enhanced capacity and sustainability of civil society

Funding Information

Altogether EUR 1,100,000 is allocated for two types of Strategic Projects:

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  • Medium-size grants ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 euros in all thematic areas lasting between 18 to 24 months to allow CSOs to set long-term goals and pursue strategic work in their issue area;
  • Large grants ranging from 80,000 to 100,000 euros in all thematic areas lasting between 18 to 24 months targeted at CSO coalitions that are formed by multiple organisations allowing the grants to potentially have an impact on a sectoral basis and support sustainability and impact of civil society coalitions.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants:

  • Eligible applicants for grants under the ACF Estonia are organisations registered as Non-profit associations (Non-profit Associations Act) and Foundations (Foundations Act) in Estonia, are considered non-governmental organisations and thus are eligible to apply as long as they fulfil the requirements of the Manual for Fund Operators:
    • Are non-profit, being organisations that have not been created nor operate to generate personal profit. Although they may have paid staff and may engage in revenue-generating activities, they do not distribute profits to their members nor to their board. Where revenuegenerating activities are undertaken, these should not represent the purpose of the NGO, but should be a means to support its mission and values Have members who do not have any direct commercial interest in the outcome of the work of the organisation or of its commercial activities and should not pursue the commercial or professional interests of their members. This requirement therefore excludes trade- and professional associations, where the aims and purposes of the association is to further the specific interests of its members only
    • Are voluntary in nature, formed voluntarily by groups or individuals and usually involving an element of voluntary participation in the organisation
    • Act in the public arena and for the public good on concerns and issues related to the wellbeing of people, groups or society as a whole
    • Have some degree of formal or institutional existence, unlike informal or ad hoc groups, involving formal statutes or other governing document(s) defining their mission, objectives and scope
    • Have transparent structures and elected chair/board, and are accountable to their members and donors
    • Are independent of local, regional and national government and other public authorities
    • Are independent of political parties and commercial organisations Political parties, religious institutions, social partners or profit-distributing cooperatives are not considered NGOs.
  • National Red Cross societies are considered eligible NGOs if they fulfil the above principles.
  • Faith-based organisations are eligible if they meet the principles identified above and if the funded activities do not directly or indirectly promote a religious doctrine, mission or proselytism related to the beliefs of a particular faith (beyond basic religious/cultural awareness raising).
  • Social enterprises are considered eligible if they fulfil the above criteria.
  • Eligible organisations can submit one application as (lead) applicant within each call. There is no limitation as to the number of partnerships any organisation may be involved in as project partner.

Eligible partners

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  • Projects may be implemented in partnerships with project partners. Project partners shall be actively involved in, and effectively contributing to, the implementation of the project.
  • The following entities are eligible to be project partners:
    • any public or private entity, commercial or non-commercial, as well as CSOs (NGOs) established as a legal person either in Estonia, other EEA grants beneficiary states, donor states (donor project partnerships) or a country outside the European Economic Areas that has a common border with Estonia;
    • any international organisation or body or agency thereof;
    • informal, ad-hoc and self-help organisations that are not registered legal entities in Estonia. Such organisations must however meet the requirements that they are not for personal profit, act for public good, are voluntary and non-discriminatory in nature, independent of local, regional and central government and other public authorities, and are independent of political parties, religious organisations and commercial organisations. These informal groups shall be represented by on single person, who signs the project partnership agreement on behalf of the group. An informal group cannot not be a direct recipient of the project grant. Costs related to an informal group’s participation in a project as partners, can be covered by the project grant (the invoice shall be issued by a supplier to the project promoter, paid by the project promoter and recorded in the project promoter’s accounting system).
  • Project partnerships are established through partnership agreements, using the template provided by the Fund Operator. In case of donor project partnerships, the partnership agreement shall be in English.
  • Sub-contracting aimed at one or several specific deliverables is not considered partnership.

How to Apply

Applications shall be submitted electronically via e-mail at the address given on the website.

For more information, please visit

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