CIVICUS Solidarity Fund (CSF)
CIVICUS Solidarity Fund Learning Journey
The CSF was conceptualised to be participatory and inclusive. However, we have learned that, unconsciously, our grant application process was not as accessible and inclusive as we desired. It was reproducing power dynamics and a culture of competition that did not follow all our guiding principles. Of course, we wanted to change that! So, we started looking inward to identify what was failing, what worked and how to improve, and we started embarking on a transformation journey that is centred on relationship building and trust as a tool for building solidarity.
Read our Learning Journey here.
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 (unregistered, recently established organisations, etc) or simply who they are and what they challenge: small CSOs (formal and non-formal), individual activists, movements - particularly from historically oppressed and marginalised groups - and early-stage social advocates and social 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.
Applications are open to all types of CIVICUS members - organisations and individuals with voting or associate membership status - which meet the following criteria.
- You must be a CIVICUS voting member or associate member. To become a CIVICUS member, follow this link. To verify your membership status please send an email to .
- You belong to one of this groups: women, youth, people with disabilities, LGBTIQ+, Labour rights groups, indigenous and traditional peoples, and rural communities.
- You belong to the same group or community whose issues you are trying to address. For organisations, this implies that you are constituency-led. For example, an organisation working to increase youth participation in civil society is constituent-led if its leaders and members are young people.
- You find it hard to access funds because of government bans, bureaucracy/donor requirements and are seriously risking having to stop your activities for lacking resources.
- You haven’t been awarded the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund before.
- The activities associated with the grant can be completed within 12 months.
- Funding requests of between US$1.000 and US$10.000.
- For individual applicants: You must belong to a movement/collective which will ultimately and clearly benefit from the grant assigned to the individual and the activities they will plan with these resources.
Please note: Priority will be given to applicants from countries rated "closed", "repressed" or "obstructed" in the CIVICUS Monitor.
What We Fund
- Your application and/or proposed initiative strengthens your community and/or the work that you do, making the world a better place for everyone. If you are requesting core funding, the mission of your organisation or yourself should be aligned with the above.
- Costs of legal action, media coverage, travel/participation support to mission-aligned events and enhancing safety/wellness of activists and their communities are 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.
- You are trying to address a specific problem or need for a particular community. You are aiming to accomplish innovative ideas also geared at assisting or enhancing the needs of a targeted community.
What and Who We do not Fund
- Applying for core funding as a way to build reserves for your organisation. We understand that during disruptive moments like what we are currently experiencing, the need to start building “reserves” to prepare for the future are a priority for many groups, organisations and activists, however we unfortunately cannot fund this during this round of applications.
- Non-constituent-led: groups or organizations whose governance and team composition does not reflect the same target population(s) it seeks to serve or represent.
- Individuals that don’t identify with/belong to at least one of the eligible communities/groups for this call.
- Commercial (for-profit) enterprises or activities.
- Organisations or individuals that are not from the eligible countries.
- Funding to implement activities related to basic service provision*.
* Basic services include education, health, nutrition, housing and sanitation, among others. The provision of basic services is considered a core function of governments, but civil society individuals, groups and organisations also play a key role in supporting this function.
We prepared this glossary with our definitions of some key words, expressions and terms that we use in the CSF and that you will find in our information and application forms. To access the CSF Glossary please click here.
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 (MAG) will be looking for when making their decisions. Each criterion is evaluated on a scale from 1 to 5.
- Clearly bring about lasting changes or a positive impact in your organisation/group/community.
- Clearly explains the problems, challenges, and what you are going to do about them.
- Clearly benefits the applicant’s broader community.
- The proposal is designed from and by the impacted community.
- Faces difficulty being funded from other sources.
- Takes an innovative approach or is a bold action.
- Includes specific and clear activities on a reasonable timeline. For requests of core funding, MAG will assess if the costs you are requesting are clear and on a reasonable timeline.
- Demonstrates that the organisation or individual has the commitment to carry out the proposal.
Are you having a hard time identifying and connecting with donors and allies who can support your brave work?
Rules and Regulations
- Submissions should be the original work of the entrants. Submissions must not copy or use other materials without properly citing the source.
- All submissions must be in either English, French or Spanish.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.