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Open Call for Proposals for Medium-sized and Large Grants: Active Citizens Fund of the EEA Grants


The Active Citizens Fund is a specific programme area within the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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

The Open Estonia Foundation is announcing an open call for proposals for civil society organisations working in public benefit for initiatives that contribute to the following Outcomes:

  1. Strengthened democratic culture and civic awareness
  2. Increased support for human rights and equal treatment
  3. Vulnerable groups empowered

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

  • 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

* Please see the Guidelines for Applicants and Project Promoters of the ACF Estonia which thematic areas of support are eligible under which Outcomes.

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

  1. 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;
  2. 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.

Partnerships with organisations from donor countries are encouraged and will receive additional scores in the evaluation process.

Minimum duration of projects is 18 months and maximum 24 months.

The grant rate is up to 90% of eligible expenditures of the project. The co-financing must be provided in the form of cash or in-kind contribution in the form of voluntary work. The in-kind contribution may constitute up to 50% of the co-financing required for the project and it may be provided only by the project promoter and/or any NGO acting as a project partner(s). In the framework of the current call the cost of voluntary work shall be between 4,29 and 10,50 euro depending on the nature of work.

Eligible organisations can submit one application as (lead) applicant within the call. There is no limitation as to the number of partnerships any organisation may be involved in as a project partner.

Deadline for submitting proposals is August 21, 2019. The application form, along with all required annexes, should be submitted electronically via e-mail sent to by 23:59 Estonian time on the date of the deadline of the call.

Detailed information on eligibility criteria and application requirements, application forms the dates and locations of upcoming information days and training opportunities are available at the website of the Active Citizens Fund Estonia at

Questions should be sent to the OEF no later than five working days before the deadline for the submission of applications. The questions must be sent by email to indicating in the subject line the organisation’s name.

Questions and answers will be published on the Active Citizens Fund Estonia website. No reference will be made to the name of the organisation who submitted the concrete question. It is therefore advisable to consult the website regularly.

To ensure equal treatment of bidders, the OEF cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of applicants, an action or specific activities.

Additional information:
Ksenia Gutnitšenko
ACF Program coordinator
Tel. + 372 615 5700 

Support to civil society is a key priority for the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in 15 EU Member States in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics. Ten per cent of the total country allocations is set aside for a programme for civil society in each beneficiary state. The Active Citizens Fund is established under the priority sector ‘Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms’, one of five priority sectors agreed between the donors and the European Union. The fund shall contribute to the overall objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants, to reduce economic and social disparities, and to strengthen bilateral relations between the beneficiary and donor states.

The Open Estonia Foundation in consortium with the Network of Estonian Non-profit Organisations have been appointed as the managing partner of the Active Citizens Fund in Estonia by the Financial Mechanism Office through an open and competitive tender process. Between 2019 and 2023 a total of 3,3 million will be available for the Estonian CSOs through open calls for proposals and other support activities.

ACF Fund operator in Estonia is Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations.

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