Program Description

The Balkan Trust for Democracy is launching a call for proposals as a response to the needs and challenges of the Balkan region civil societies amplified by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Strengthening the rule of law, freedom of expression, protection of human rights, and the fight against domestic and gender-based violence continue to be fundamental for social transformation of the Western Balkan region and require stronger cooperation of all parts of societies more than ever.

This call for proposals is made possible with support from USAID, as a part of the U.S. government's response to the coronavirus pandemic in Europe and Eurasia. The purpose of this call is to support civil society organizations active in the above-mentioned areas in order to help reform processes weakened by economic and social recession caused by the coronavirus. 

Project proposals that fall under one or several of the following thematic areas will be considered for support:

1. Strengthening Dialogue and Cooperation within the Balkan region and between the Balkan region and transatlantic community achieved through actions in specific areas including:

  • Regional cooperation: Regionally sharing lessons learned on policy responses to continued challenges posed by the coronavirus, strengthening the enabling environment for regional leadership development, and furthering the Euro-Atlantic integration process in this time of crisis
  • Stability: Strengthening civil society, media, including investigative journalism, and groups that are advancing regional anti-corruption efforts, strengthening rule of law and good governance, and monitoring cross-border and cross-regional corruption

2. Increasing Capacity of Civil Society to Promote Accountable Governance at Local, Regional, and National Level:

  • Support to Vulnerable Groups: Mitigating the effects of the coronavirus on socially excluded populations (minorities, women, children, youth), especially people who are the most vulnerable to contract the virus COVID-19, and people who are disproportionately affected by the isolation and self-isolation regime
  • Support to Environment for Giving: Citizen-led community responses, including volunteer groups helping to inform the public on the risks and needed steps in response to the coronavirus; strengthening community response and civic engagement and solidarity by supporting facilitation and public reporting on the contributions of the domestic philanthropic ecosystems in addressing coronavirus-related impacts and assessing the technology needs of the nonprofit sector to be able to effectively respond to the coronavirus crises
  • Alleviation of Economic Consequences: Supporting policy development and advocacy through recommendations on what the COVID-19 stimulus and economic response should include as well as what measures could be proposed to try to flatten the economic curve and prevent the coronavirus-driven recession from becoming a depression in already economically challenged countries
  • Transparency and Accountability: Monitoring of public tenders, especially in foreign procurement procedures of needs and medical equipment, international macro-economic support, more transparent decision making, and access to data
  • Monitoring Human Rights Restrictions: Supporting the crucial role of civil society as corrective to the government and safe keeper of democratic rights and fundamental freedoms, including our right to health, to freedom of movement, to education, to information, and to shelter

3. CSOs and Media Organization Promoting Transparent and Secure Communication:

  • Credible Communication:  Neutralizing the growing negative influence of foreign actors on society, media, culture, business, and politics through monitoring and public engagement by providing evidence-based information on key pressing issues through independent media, social media, and independent culture scene; raising public awareness of the coronavirus and its social consequences and providing an information base for policy and decisionmakers through debunking fake news and fact-checking

Supported projects typically achieve their goals through public debate, leadership development, policy work, civic education, new mechanisms, advocacy, monitoring, shared objectives, best practices, networks, re-granting, and reconciliation.

Eligibility criteria

Project proposals should be initiated by civil society organizations legally registered in one of the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Preference is given to those proposals designed to increase citizen engagement with government, measurably impact public policy, strengthen leadership skills of individuals and organizations, and encourage the transfer of experiences and innovative ideas through clear communication and dissemination plans.

BTD welcomes applications both with national and cross-border/regional scope. BTD doesn’t support humanitarian assistance nor purchase of equipment. 

Only civil society organizations that have a prior history of managing grants of over $50,000 may apply to this call for project proposals as applicants.


Proposed budget should be $40,000-$75,000.


Proposed project duration should be up to 12 months.


BTD will be receiving proposals until April 20, 2021. Project proposals must be sent via email only to [email protected], with Subject line COV19_CSOsBalkans_[country]. In order to submit a project proposal, organizations must complete the forms below:

Only proposals submitted using these forms will be taken into consideration.

For more information, please email us at [email protected].