human rights funding


KIOS announces its open calls for proposals for human rights funding on this page. At the moment there are no open calls for proposals. The latest open call was closed on the 20th March 2018. Below you can find the criteria for the latest open call.

1. Eligibility criteria for human rights funding

1.1 Geographical focus

KIOS directs the funding of this 2018 call for proposals to the following countries or regions:

In Eastern Africa:

  •     Kenya
  •     Uganda
  •     Regional human rights initiatives of civil society actors based in and/or especially focusing their work on Burundi, Ethiopia and Rwanda

In South Asia:

  •     Nepal
  •     Sri Lanka
  •     Regional human rights initiatives of civil society actors based in and/or especially focusing their work on South Asia

Applications from other countries or regions are not eligible for funding.

 1.2 Who Can Apply?

  • Local civil society organisations, groups and networks working on human rights issues in the geographical areas mentioned in the chapter 1.1.
  • Regional human rights initiatives of civil society actors from the regions mentioned in the chapter 1.1.

Please note that each applicant can only submit one application on this call for proposals.

Organisations that have previously received KIOS funding can apply, but only after the previous project funded by KIOS has been completed.

1.3 Who Can Not Apply?

KIOS does not provide funding for:

  •     Individuals
  •     For-profit entities
  •     Religious communities
  •     Political parties
  •     Governmental (whether national or local) bodies
  •     International non-governmental organisations (INGOs)

1.4 Types of Projects

Typical human rights projects/programs funded by KIOS include:

  •     Human rights campaigning, lobbying and advocacy
  •     Human rights monitoring and documentation
  •     Human rights awareness raising and education
  •     Providing legal aid and assistance
  •     Capacity building
  •     Public interest and strategic litigation
  •     Improving access to justice
  •     Improving access to services
  •     Protection of human rights defenders
  •     Networking
  •     Regional cooperation

Funding is not granted for any projects/programs that do not predominantly aim to address or improve human rights situation. Examples of types of activities that would not be eligible for funding include e.g.: development work that focuses on service delivery, infrastructure, vocational training, education (unless human rights education), social work, socio-economic support, humanitarian aid or academic research.

Furthermore, KIOS does not finance scholarships, fellowships, conferences or travel as a sole activity. Note that KIOS does not give grants for individuals.

1.5 Priority Groups

Special emphasis in KIOS’ human rights funding is given to proposals focusing on women’s rights and gender equality, human rights defenders, the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups as well as advocacy work related to the rights of these priority groups.

1.6 Grant Limit and Budget

The budget of the project/program should be realistic in relation to the local price level, the project/program activities and to the capacity and previous experience of the applicant organisation.

There is no set limit for the amount of the grant that can be applied for. You can find the information about previous and current grants here.

The grantee is expected to provide a self-financing share of a minimum of 10 % of the total costs of the project. The self-financing share should be clearly included in the proposed budget. This means that if you are applying for a grant of 100 euros, then self-financing is 11 euros, and the total budget is 111 euros. The self-financing can be in money or in kind. The contribution in kind can be for example a certain amount of voluntary work or the use of the organisation’s existing resources such as office space for the project activities without an extra charge for the project.

Salaries and other employment costs of the project/program must be specified in the budget. Please include also information of any salaries that are co-funded by other donors.

The budget must be presented in the local currency of the country.

Please add the cost of the external audit report including management letter to the project/program budget.

1.7 Project Duration

The first KIOS grant is always for a one-year (12 months) or shorter project. Applications requesting funding for longer projects are not eligible.

An exception are the applicants that have received funds from KIOS previously, as for them funding exceeding one year can be considered.

1.8 Assessment Criteria

KIOS assesses the applications on the basis of the project/program’s substance and feasibility, and applicant organisation’s capacity to carry out the project/program.

The following issues will be considered on the evaluation of the applications:

1) Project/program aims to and has potential to promote or protect human rights.

2) Applicant’s expertise in human rights and previous experience of human rights work.

3) Ownership of beneficiaries and right-holders in the project/program cycle.

4) Applicant’s proven experience in project/program management and financial management. The applicant follows the principles of good governance.

5)  The project/program is considered to be relevant to the local human rights context and is adequate to address the identified human rights challenge/s.

6) The applicant has a capacity to define and to assess the expected results of the project/program as demonstrated in clear monitoring and evaluation plan.

7) The applicant has sufficient capacity to identify and manage security-related and other risks.

8) The budget of the project/program is realistic in relation to the local price level, the project activities, and to the capacity and previous experience of the applicant organisation.

9) Appropriate references are included in the application.

10) The project/program is in line with KIOS’ strategical priorities.

2. How to Apply 

2.1 Dates of the 2018 Call for Proposals

The KIOS call for proposals opens on the 14th February. The deadline for reception of the applications is 20th March at 24:00h (UTC+2).

2.2 Application Form and Compulsory Attachments

KIOS accepts only applications submitted using the KIOS application form. The form can also be obtained from the KIOS office via email at

Application must be signed by a competent authority of the applicant organisation.

Compulsory attachments to the application are:

  • The Results Framework of the Project/Program (fill in KIOS form, annex 1)
  • Two Written References (for the project/program) (fill in KIOS form, annex 2)
  • Project/Program Budget
  • Applicant Organisation’s Annual Budget
  • Applicant Organisation’s Statutes or By-laws
  • Applicant Organisation’s Registration Certificate
  • Applicant Organisation’s Annual Report
  • Applicant Organisation’s Latest Audit Reports (from the two previous years)

2.3 Submitting Your Application

Complete the application form. Only the applications submitted to KIOS Application form will be considered. Concept papers will not be registered nor commented.

Submit your application with the compulsory attachments by email to Do not send them to other KIOS emails.

Only one application per organisation will be considered at a time.

Only applications received before the deadline (March 20th at 24:00h (UTC+2)) of the call for proposals will be registered and evaluated.

The first KIOS grant can be for a one-year (12 months or shorter) project.

Organisations that have recently received KIOS funding are welcome to submit their applications throughout the year also outside the official call for proposals. KIOS accepts applications in English and in French. The application form in English can also be completed in French.

2.4 Processing Your Application

Once your application has been received by KIOS you will be notified with an automatic reply. Your application will be registered and it will go through a technical evaluation, which includes assessment of the project and the applicant organisation. An 11-member KIOS Executive Board will make the funding decisions and the accepted applications will be sent to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland for final approval. KIOS will inform applicants about the final decision regarding their application.

Processing an application takes usually from 6 to 9 months.

Due to the large number of applications we cannot comment the possibility of having a favourable outcome on your application before the final decision has been taken. If you have any other questions regarding your application, you may address them to the KIOS’ email, and we will answer you as soon as possible.

Due to the large number of project proposals KIOS receives and the limited amount of funds available, only a small number of the applicants are granted financial support.

3. Short Notes on Reporting on KIOS Grant

3.1 How to Report on KIOS grant?

There are usually two reports to be submitted, the interim report and the final report. Both reports must include narrative and financial reports as well as relevant accompanying documents. The interim report is to be submitted once the first instalment of the funds has been exhausted. The final report is to be submitted once all the funds have been used and all the activities implemented. You can read more from the KIOS Project Management and Reporting Guide.

3.2 What Does Self-Financing Mean?

The self-financing means that the grantee must cover, at least, 10% of the total project costs. This share can be either in money or in kind. The contribution in kind can be, for example, a certain amount of voluntary work or the use of the organisation’s existing resources such as office space for the project activities without an extra charge for the project.

3.3 Do KIOS Grants Need to Be Audited?

The final financial report must include an audit report and a management letter of the KIOS funded project. An external and impartial auditor, following the national legislation and approved principles related to auditing, should officially audit the accounts of the project. The costs of the audit can be covered by KIOS grant (if included in the approved budget of the project).

For more detailed information about the grant management and reporting please see KIOS Project Management and Reporting Guide.


KIOS receives financial support for its activities from the development cooperation funds of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.