Program Description

In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation (BST) is launching a new call for project proposals which aims to strengthen the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) and independent media in countering the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on society.


Projects should be initiated by CSOs and independent media legally registered in the wider Black Sea region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine. The involvement of additional partners, whether local or transnational partners from new EU member states or the wider Black Sea region, is allowed and welcomed.

1.Support for at-risk groups. Under this thematic area, priority will be given to proposals that enhance social support for groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic, such as frontline workers and vulnerable groups (women, youth and children, internally displaced people, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+, seasonal and migrant workers, urban poor, etc.). The following indicative actions are eligible under this thematic area (non-exhaustive list):

  • Aggregate and disseminate official and scientific data in an attractive and accessible format to target groups vulnerable to false news and disinformation;
  • Strengthen the capacity of local CSOs, media actors, and other social stakeholders, such as labor unions, general practitioners, faith-based actors, minority communities, youth, teachers, and/or parents to counter false news, particularly in isolated/segregated communities with low vaccination rates;
  • Document community-risk perception around COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine hesitancy (including behavioral and social drivers of vaccination uptake);
  • Monitor and expose malign actors, their narratives, and dissemination patterns;
  • Enhance media literacy among vulnerable target groups and social influencers;  
  • Develop policy recommendations to limit the impact of false news.

2. Increased resilience against malign narratives. Under this thematic area, priority will be given to media and policy proposals that document and counter false news and malicious actors that deliberately contribute to vaccine hesitancy. The following indicative actions are eligible under this thematic area (non-exhaustive list):

  • Amplify engagement between citizens, policy experts, and decision-makers in policy formulation regarding the management of the pandemic as well as post-pandemic recovery efforts;
  • Boost watchdog activities to combat abuse, corruption, fraud, and waste at local and central levels;
  • Address new democratic challenges triggered by the pandemic such as rule of law, human rights, and transparency;
  • Enhance cooperation between CSOs, media, and the creative sector to highlight and prevent democratic backsliding;
  • Monitor and address illiberal political discourse, populism, and political scapegoating.

3.Good governance and accountability of state actors. Under this thematic area, priority will be given to proposals that formulate, improve, and monitor COVID-19-related policies. The following indicative actions are eligible under this thematic area (non-exhaustive list):

  • Strategically address the root causes of gender-based violence (i.e., psychological and economic stress, increased exposure to exploitative relationships, police indifference, etc.) and support the victims of gender-based violence;
  • Ensure access to social and mental health services for at-risk groups;
  • Empower community-led organizations and initiatives to lead COVID-19 prevention efforts and encourage bottom-up policy formulation;
  • Support rights-based and evidence-based advocacy actions to ensure access to comprehensive information regarding vaccination.
Budget and Duration

An award ceiling of $24,999 may only be exceeded by exceptional projects or regional projects that involve partners from several eligible countries. Proposals under $5,000 will not be taken into consideration. Management costs (excluding experts) and administrative costs are cumulatively limited to 25 percent of the overall award. The purchase of personal protective equipment for staff and end beneficiaries, as well as needed information and communications technology equipment and services is allowable. Food products, medicines, and medical equipment are not eligible costs.

The minimum duration of a project is 6 months and the maximum duration is 12 months.


Proposal will be received until March 15, 2022. Project proposals must be sent to [email protected]. In order to submit a project proposal, organizations must complete the forms below, in English only.

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

Please note that BST receives project applications on an ongoing basis. Specific calls such as the current one represents additional efforts to address specific issues CSOs are facing. To learn more about BST's ongoing grantmaking program, please visit

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