United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) Grant for CSOs

Filed in Grants by on 19th April 2021

Applications for the United Nations Democracy Fund Grant is currently ongoing for CSOs to submit projects to win grants in 2021

United Nations Democracy Fund

United Nations Democracy Fund

CSOs, NGOs, and Governmental bodies are all invited by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) to Make a change in your locality, region, or the world by submitting workable projects to UNDEF. 

This post contains every piece of information you need to know about the ongoing United Nations Democracy Fund program, worth, eligibility criteria, host nationality, and application before the deadline.

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The UNDEF grant program is one of the key ways in which the UN continues to prove its support for democracy.

UNDEF provides funds to support projects that align with its mandate to ensure that governments hear the voices of civil society and that nobody tramples on another’s human rights.

About United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)

The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) was set up by the Head of State and Governments to promote democracy and human rights

It got reaffirmed in 2005 at the World Summit of the United Nations in New York.

The UNDEF Trust Fund began through voluntary contributions from member states and supports projects that encourage human rights, promote the voice of civil society and promote the participation of all groups in the democratic process.

Therefore, the majority of the UNDEF funds go to local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) both in the consolidation and transition phases of democratization. The UNDEF-funded projects takes two years to implement, principally at the country level and in the least developed or middle-income countries.

However, UNDEF also provides discrete funding to global and regional projects that promote democracy. 

Researchers can also benefit from the United Nations through the United Nations University Fellowship for Developing Countries

What is the Worth of the United Nations Democracy Fund Grant?

The UNDEF grant program funds successful projects with a minimum sum of US$100,000 and a maximum of US$300,000. This amount is targeted towards the implementation of projects that will take two years to implement. But, if you’re a successful applicant, you can complete the project in less than two years.

Notwithstanding the number of years, it will take you to implement your project, you can’t request any amount outside the UNDEF grant award range. Also, once the duration of implementing the project elapses, it is mandatory you return any unspent fund to UNDEF.

Eligibility Criteria for the UNDEF Grant Program

UNDEF accepts both local, regional, and global proposals.

For the local proposals, these projects take place in one country only. The regional proposals will occur in several specified states of a region or sub-region while the global proposals operate on the global level.

UNDEF allocates resources to these categories in the percentage of 80% for local proposals and 20% for regional and global proposals.

Only non-UN organizations can implement a UNDEF fund project. Individual, profit-making organizations or government entities are eligible. 

To be an eligible beneficiary of the united nations democracy fund grant, you must apply as one of the following: Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations engaged in promoting democracy, Independent and Constitutional Bodies or Global and Regional inter-government bodies, organizations, and associations other than the United Nations.

Amongst the above mentioned three, UNDEF’s priority is Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental organizations, but these organizations must:

Be legally constituted nationally or internationally and not necessarily have UN accreditation.

Furthermore, UNDEF gives special preference to applicants from countries where the challenges of democracy are more critical, especially countries emerging from conflict, new and restored democracies, Least Developed Countries, Low-Income Countries, and Middle-Income Countries

Most importantly, because the UNDEF selection process is highly competitive, your project must fall under one or more of the following 8 main areas listed below:

  • Gender equality
  • Community activism
  • Rule of law and human rights
  • Youth engagement
  • Strengthening civil society interaction with Government
  • Media and freedom of information
  • Tools for knowledge
  • Electoral processes.
  • Level/Field of Grant Applicants

Eligible Nationality

Applicants from all over the world are eligible for the United Nations Democracy Fund 2021.  However, UNDEF gives priority to the Least Developed Countries, Middle-Income Countries, and Low-Income Countries. 

How to Apply for the UNDEF Grant program

The application for the United Nations Democracy Fund Grant takes place online through the Online Project Proposal System (OPPS). To prepare for your application, download the UNDEFs Blank project Proposal Form PDF (English) here.

You can apply for the UNDEF grant program using English or French on OPPS.

To submit via OPPS, you need to create a profile on the portal with important information like your organization name and a valid email. 

Be specific on the geographic scope of the project while applying and save your progress on the OPPS using the Save Function.

You can begin your application by clicking the button below.

Start Application

Assessment Criteria

To ensure that your proposal scales through the assessment stage, the project must:

  • Promote the objectives of UNDEF
  • Draw on the United Nations’ comparative advantage
  • Have a significant impact
  • Encourage the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups
  • Enhance gender equality
  • Have strong prospects for successful implementation
  • Your organization must have a strong track record
  • Be technically sound in conception and presentation
  • Represent good value for money
  • Have strong prospects of sustainability beyond the project duration.

Application Deadline and Other Important Dates

The application for the United Nations Democracy Fund Grant Program opened on 22nd November 2020 and will be closing on 6th January 2021.

Other important dates for the 2021 United nations Democracy Fund are;

Early March


UNDEF Office to compile the “long short-list”



UNDEF Programme Consultative Group (PCG) & UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) to provide comments

Early May


UNDEF’s Advisory Board to recommend a short-list. UNDEF also informs Permanent Missions of projects on shortlist

Early June


UNDEF submits recommended shortlist to Secretary-General for approval



Request to short-listed applicants to draft detailed project documents



Expected deadline for submission of detailed project documents



Project document negotiations begin between applicants and the UNDEF office



First project documents finalized, first disbursements and projects start

For more information about the 2021 United Nations Democracy Fund grant, click on the link below.

UNDEF Grant Link

To view previous projects to give you a guideline on how to draft yours, click below.

UNDEF Projects

FAQs for the United Nations Democracy Fund Grant 

What is the UNDEF Grant?

The UNDEF grant is the United Nations’ way of supporting democracy by giving funds to civil society organizations (CSOs), Independent and Constitutional Bodies, and Global inter-governmental bodies to carry out local, regional, and global projects that promote democracy and promote human rights.

Who can get the UNDEF project grant?

Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Independent and Constitutional Bodies, Global and Regional inter-government bodies, and organizations and associations outside the United Nations can all receive 20% UNDEF grants. 

How much is the UNDEF grant?

The UNDEF grant funds eligible beneficiaries with monetary awards ranging from US$100,000 to US$300,000.

How can I apply for the UNDEF grant?

To apply for the UNDEF grant,  download the UNDEFs’ Blank Project Proposal Form to know what is needed. Then, apply online through the UNDEFs’ Online Project Proposal System (OPPS).

What areas should my project fall under?

Gender equality

Community activism

Rule of law and human rights

Youth engagement

Strengthening civil society interaction with Government

Media and freedom of information

Tools for knowledge

Electoral processes.

What is the duration of the project?

The duration of the UNDEF project is two (2) years. 


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