CIVICUS Solidarity Fund (CSF)

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic we are encouraging members to submit applications that work to address the additional challenges brought about by the crisis. The fund will consider flexible support for anything from salaries at risk due to programme disruption, to investments in new ways of working that allow people to organise remotely, and serve their communities while adhering to social distancing practice. Applications to support COVID-19 related challenges will be considered as core funding proposals.

We are stronger when we work together!

A central tenet of membership in the CIVICUS alliance is belonging to a global movement that stands in solidarity. In this spirit, the alliance launched the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund (CSF), a member-led and member-resourced granting mechanism.

You can learn more about the framework for the CSF by clicking here.

Who can access the fund? The fund is accessible to CIVICUS members that normally struggle to access resources and support due to restrictions in the space where they operate, their organising characteristics or simply who they are and what they challenge: small CSOs (formal and non-formal), individuals, movements- particularly from the edges- and early-stage social advocates and entrepreneurs that are contributing to transformational impact in the communities served.

The objectives of the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund are to:

  • Enhance solidarity within the alliance, fostering a sense of belonging to a global movement for change;
  • Support civil society diversity and resilience, especially among smaller, non-formal actors;
  • Create opportunities where they do not exist for change-seeking actors to contribute to a more just, inclusive and sustainable world.

Eligibility Guidelines

Applications are open to all types of organizations and individuals across CIVICUS’ membership - youth and women organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), grassroots movements, community or people’s organizations, and social enterprises.

Priority will be given to small, informal groups and individuals from the global south and from contexts with restricted spaces.

Flexible Funding

  • You must be a CIVICUS voting member or associate member.
  • You are trying to address a specific problem or need for a particular community. You may also be aiming to support cutting edge work and innovative ideas also geared at assisting or enhancing the needs of a targeted community. Costs of legal action, media coverage, travel/participation support to mission-aligned events and enhancing safety/wellness of activists and their communities are also admissible.
  • The CSF will also accept proposals for core or unrestricted funding. This includes funding to sustain the daily activities of your individual advocacy work or your organisation’s work. This can include salary for personnel, office rent, etc.
  • Your application and/or proposed initiative clearly strengthens civil society and citizen action, contributing to a more just, inclusive and sustainable world.
  • Your proposed project unfolds over a maximum of 12 months.

Rapid Response Funding

  • In order to address the urgent nature of Rapid Response proposals, the CSF no longer directly accepts Rapid Response proposals during the open call for applications. Instead, it will operate on a strict referrals-only basis.
  • You may still submit a proposal that addresses a severe restriction on civic space through the flexible funding application process. However, we will require a full 2 months from the close of applications to come to a decision.
  • Please do not send requests to the Crisis Response Fund (CRF) asking to be referred to the CSF. Referrals are based on an internal vetting process in keeping with the CRF’s donor guidelines.


Submit applications for Flexible funding by Thursday 30 April 23:59 UTC

Flexible Funding Application

Due to setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing a delay in notifying applicants of their application status. All applicants will be notified by 31 July 2020. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Evaluation Criteria and Assessment Process

There are 8 main criteria for assessment. The information provided below aims to help applicants understand what the Membership Advisory Group will be looking for when making their decisions. Each criterion is evaluated on a scale from 1 to 5.

Criteria 1: Clealy strengthens civil society and civic space by promoting sustainable change.
Criteria 2: Demonstrates clear challenges and an actionable response to those challenges.
Criteria 3: Benefits the broader community in an impactful or scalable way.
Criteria 4: Proposal design considers the needs of the “end user” or impacted community.
Criteria 5: Faces difficulty being funded from other sources.
Criteria 6: Takes an innovative approach or is a bold action.
Criteria 7: Includes specific and clear activities on a reasonable timeline.
Criteria 8: Demonstrates that the organisation or individual has the capacity and commitment to carry out the proposal.

Previous Grantees

Check out these examples of previous grantee projects made possible by membership fees granted through the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund!

Bhutan’s transition to democracy came in 2008. Responding to the challenges that come with such a fundamental social and political development, the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy launched a Youth Summit in the capital city to educate young people on citizen’s rights and responsibilities, awareness of social issues, and expressing educated opinions consistent with democratic ideals and practices. BCMD has been running this summit in the capital for five years. BCMD used their CSF grant to hold the Summit in a more remote area in Eastern Bhutan where they offered the Summit to 100 youth and trained faculty and youth leaders from a local college to become Youth Summit peer-facilitators.

This short film produced by Vijana Corps in Uganda was the capstone of their “Viewfinders” project, through which marginalized youth were equipped with skills in digital media as a vehicle for participating in governance and accountability processes. This film draws from the narratives of poverty, gender disparity and early marriage, all of which sit at the heart of the kind of problems that contribute to bad governance and marginalization in Pakwach district in Uganda. Their full narrative report documenting the details of their impressive project can be found here.

Beautiful Hearts Against Sexual Violence is an incredible advocacy group in Mongolia. They have launched a mobile app to educate and train school-aged girls and boys and university students on sexual violence, assault and harassment. They have also created some very impactful videos to teach young people about how to seek help if they are facing sexual violence or abuse.

Rules and Regulations

  1. Submissions should be the original work of the entrants. Submissions must not copy or use other materials without properly citing the source.
  2. All submissions must be in either English, French or Spanish.
  3. It is the responsibility of each applicant to the CSF to determine how much detail about their concept to include in their application. All applications submitted to the Survey Monkey platform are private,  and will be viewed only by the Fund Management Team and the Membership Advisory Group (MAG). Please refer to the section titled “Intellectual Property (Confidentiality and Patents)” for more guidance.
  4. CIVICUS reserves the right to use basic information about successful applicants of the CSF. Successful applicants will receive a report that includes the assessment scores about their submissions once the selection process is complete. Membership Advisory Group’ personal information and details of scoring will not be shared with teams in this report.
  5. Do not provide unnecessary personally identifiable information (such as ID number, credit card numbers, driver license numbers) online, which may be inadvertently obtained by others or, in rare instances, used for illegal or harmful purposes.

No-Spam Policy

  1. To spam includes but is not limited to sending identical and irrelevant submissions through the Survey Monkey forms. These type of submissions will be ineligible.

Intellectual Property, Confidentiality and Patents

  1. When you conceive, design and create an innovative product as part of the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund, you are creating intellectual property that belongs to you. When you start work on your idea, you should think about whether you want to try and protect your intellectual property through patents or confidentiality agreements. You may want to share your ideas with the public at large and decide not to seek any special legal protections for them. The choice is yours. CIVICUS recognises the need for applicants’ intellectual property to be protected and for any innovative idea/concept to be kept confidential.
  2. For this reason, the CSF is asking all judges to keep confidential any technical or organisational information they learn by reading the strategies/plans submitted by as part of applications.