Joint statement

Call for Applications: Civic Space Empowerment in Turkey

Civic Space Empowerment Program: Financial Support to Grassroots Initiatives to Strengthen Civic Engagement on the Local Level in Turkey

Türkçe versiyon

Issuance Date:  March 10, 2021

Freedom House invites applications for funding from local organizations in Turkey that seek to expand civic engagement through building partnerships with municipality offices in Turkey. 

Application Deadline and Instructions:  Applications must be received by Freedom House by 23:59 EST on March 31, 2021.  All grant applications must be submitted electronically to [email protected] with “Turkey Civic Engagement Initiatives” in the subject line.

Funding Opportunity

Freedom House invites applications for funding and support from local, registered non-governmental organizations based in Turkey that seek to expand civic engagement on a local level through building partnerships with local municipality offices in Turkey.

The “Civic Space Empowerment” grants program will serve the following objectives:

  1. To provide financial support to cross-cutting grassroot initiatives that engage journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, and other activists that seek to strengthen cooperation between local civil society organizations, communities, and municipalities to advance fundamental freedoms in Turkey;
  2. To provide essential technical support, assistance, and tools to local grassroot initiatives in order to leverage their impact to develop projects in response to openings and opportunities in the aftermath of the previous municipal elections in Turkey;
  3. To help improve initiatives focusing on promoting fundamental freedoms in Turkey through local community engagement.

Freedom House will select up to five (5) initiatives for up to $10,000 in funding each. Applications will be considered in the following thematic areas:

  • Raise awareness about human rights issues with local stakeholders in Turkey;
  • Engage officials in local civil society organizations and events;
  • Encourage dialogue between civil society groups and the government;
  • Building allies for civil society on local level;

Initiatives aimed at strengthening the role of civil society in advancing fundamental freedoms, developing projects on local level as well as engaging with municipalities that are focused on using, developing, or supporting domestic approaches and processes are encouraged.

Priority will be given to local grassroots organizations that have experience in building coalitions and working collaboratively with journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and activists on local level. In addition, priority will be given to those initiatives addressing local- or regional-level issues related to fundamental freedoms.

Selected initiatives will receive a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 months of financial assistance. Freedom House will support small initiatives that will help tackling local issues regarding fundamental freedoms and build partnerships with municipalities to implement projects for the protection and improvement of fundamental freedoms in Turkey.

Applicants have broad latitude to design projects under this call, but applications will also be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Clear vision – does the applicant clearly articulate an advocacy or outreach goal, target groups, and the tools for their initiative?
  • Innovativeness – does the applicant propose innovative approaches, including through the use of technology, to distribute its content, engage the public, raise awareness, or advocate for greater respect for fundamental freedoms in Turkey?
  • Partnerships and engagement – does the applicant plan to develop strategic partnerships with the public, municipalities, media, civil society organizations, and the human rights community?
  • Audience and reach – does the applicant have a regional or local focus, as well as a clear idea of its current and/or desired audience and how to engage and serve the needs of that audience?
  • Non-discrimination, inclusion, and human rights – does the applicant take into account how nationality, ethnicity, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical/mental abilities and other distinguishing human characteristics are portrayed among local stakeholders and does the applicant articulate strategies for supporting non-discrimination and inclusiveness? Does the project reach marginalized communities or populations? Does their project demonstrate a commitment to and emphasis on human rights?
  • Organizational development readiness – does the application clearly demonstrate the capacity to implement the proposed initiative?

Priority will be given to Turkish regional- and local-level small initiatives and campaigns, especially those that focus on engaging the public and developing projects with municipality offices. Applications to this announcement should demonstrate an understanding of main organizational and/or campaign needs and a desire to address them with the support of Freedom House.


Only non-commercial organizations, associations, initiatives, and foundations active in Turkey are eligible for participation in this program. Individuals and government, quasi-government, or commercial agencies and bodies are not eligible for funding.

Award Information:

The selection decisions will be made by April 9, 2021. Freedom House intends to fund projects beginning in May 2021. Projects may cost up to $10,000. The distribution of funds will follow entry into an agreement with advocacy partners (if any) and Freedom House.

Application Submission Criteria:

  • Applications will be accepted until the closing date noted above;
  • Applications must be submitted electronically in English or Turkish using the application form provided;
  • Budgets AND budget notes must be uploaded in the online application using the provided templates by the closing date;
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.  Each application requires a complete application proposal form, budget and budgetary notes.

Downloadable application documents: 

About the Program

This program is supported by Freedom House. Founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and others, Freedom House is the oldest non-profit, nongovernmental organization in the United States dedicated to promoting and defending democracy and freedom worldwide. Freedom House supports the global expansion of freedom through its advocacy activities, monitoring, and in-depth research on the state of freedom, and direct support of democratic reformers throughout the world.