Norad: Strengthening the Rights of Minorities of Faith and Belief

Deadline: 1 October 2018

Norad is seeking applications for a program entitled “Strengthening the Rights of Minorities of Faith and Belief”.

Funding through this grant scheme is open to Norwegian, international and local civil society organisations who promote the rights of minorities of faith and belief. The scheme forms part of the overarching objective of Norwegian support to strengthen the capacity and ability of civil society in developing countries to promote democratisation, the realisation of human rights and the eradication of poverty within the framework of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Objective and Target Group

  • The objective of the grant scheme is to strengthen the rights of minorities of faith and belief and to combat discrimination based on faith and belief in accordance with the principle of the SDGs to ‘leave no one behind’.
  • Freedom of religion and belief entitles all people to manifest their faith, alone or in the company of others, in public or in private. It also includes the right to change one’s religion, to challenge other people’s faith or to have no religion or belief. Freedom of religion and belief is closely related to freedom of speech, the right to a private life and freedom of assembly and association.
  • Violence, intolerance and discrimination based on religious affinity and belief pose a problem even in established democracies. Frequently, religious minorities experience restrictions on their freedom of religion and belief in their encounters with the religion of the majority. This also applies to minorities within the majority religions.
  • In some countries, the majority population is discriminated against by the ruling minority.
  • The situation may also involve the abuse of people’s freedom of religion and belief as a means of restricting or depriving individuals of their rights, for example by discriminatory practices against women, or by states justifying otherwise illegal initiatives by referring to the freedom of religion and belief.
  • Grants provided through civil society are intended to promote freedom of religion and belief, with particular emphasis on minorities of faith and belief. Improving their situation requires long-term efforts to create positive attitudes, as well as the involvement of religious organisations and faith-based groups. The support can include both targeted and inclusive interventions.


  • The funding scheme is intended for Norwegian and international civil society organisations with partners in developing countries. Local organisations may also apply. Organisations with projects in Norway’s partner countries will be prioritised.
  • Eligible applicants include NGOs, network organisations, trade unions and faith- and belief-based organisations.
  • Civil society is understood as an arena separate from the family, the public sector and the private sector, where individuals join forces on a voluntary basis in order to promote their own or other people’s interests and rights.
  • Consequently, UN organisations, public sector organisations, commercial actors, consulting companies and private individuals cannot apply for funding from Norad or act as Norad’s direct contractual partner under this scheme.
  • Local partners must be representative and legitimate civil society actors. This means that they must represent target groups and driving forces in the country in which the intervention will be implemented, and thus have the opportunity to influence and take part in social development. Actors must promote human rights or approved development goals. Private individuals cannot be local partners.
  • If the registration of local civil society partners entails risk, the requirement for local registration and publication can be waived. Such risk must be documented in the application to Norad (either in an official document or in another suitable format).
  • In some cases, local or central authorities can be partners if this leads to capacity development in their area of responsibility and when the applicant offers a specific, sought-after competence.
  • Examples of eligible initiatives include advocacy work targeting local and central authorities or private companies, interventions that contribute to building bridges and initiating dialogue between different groups, measures that help to protect minorities as well as measures that promote inclusion and equal rights for minorities of faith and belief.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via given website.

For more information, please visit Norad.

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