Civil Society Grant Facility

What is the Purpose of the Grant Fund?

The Grant Fund will enable CSOs to strengthen their policy advocacy work and increase civil society led policy reforms in sustainable development and good governance, including for groups affected by COVID-19.

The grant fund will lead to: increased engagement of civil society in democratic consultations and decision-making processes; and increased capacity to effectively pursue advocacy in the long term.

The grant fund will be accompanied by capacity development, and support for networking among civil society groups and organizations and with policy makers.

Who Can Apply?

CSOs and CBOs in Bhutan can apply for the Grant Fund, on the condition that they:

  • Are an active civil society organization or community-based organization in Bhutan.
  • Contribute to the country’s sustainable development and good governance goals.
  • Are not already receiving ongoing project support through the Grant Fund.

The Grants will be awarded to the following categories of CSOs and CBOs:

Category A:

Organizations registered with the CSO Authority:

  1. Public Benefit Organizations
  2. Mutual Benefit Organizations

Category B:

Community based organizations which include:

  1. Groups and cooperatives registered under the Cooperatives’ Act of Bhutan or recognized under other state policies (eg. forest management groups, water users’ groups)
  2. Organized but non-registered groups and associations (eg. youth groups, women’s networks, membership based bodies)

Government bodies, for-profit entities, and individuals are not eligible to apply.

What are the Eligible Areas for Support?

In line with the objective of the Grant Fund, CSOs and CBOs are eligible to submit proposals on policy advocacy around four core themes:

  • Theme 1: Increasing Civil Society and Media Engagement
  • Theme 2: Promoting Youth and Women’s Engagement and Leadership
  • Theme 3: Enhancing Public Accountability and Transparency
  • Theme 4: Reducing Inequalities and Vulnerabilities, including of those affected by COVID-19

Eligible activities can include events, studies and research, publications, panel discussions, media engagement, and other initiatives that are clearly aimed at advocating for the above core themes.

Activities not eligible include: construction activities, pre-award costs, profit-generating projects, scholarships to support the education of individuals, support for single party in electoral/lobbying, religious activities, loans/seed money for enterprises.

How are Proposals Assessed?

A Technical Sub-Committee comprising members from International IDEA and HELVETAS, and representatives from GNHC, National Assembly Secretariat and National Council Secretariat will assess the project proposals based on the following:

  1. Relevance of the project to the objectives of the project and the themes of the grant fund.
  2. Feasibility of the project, including adequate risks assessment and appropriate mitigation measures.
  3. Adequacy of Project Management and human resource capacity.
  4. Cost effectiveness and value for Money.
  5. Innovativeness and sustainability of impacts.


Guiding Questions



Is there congruence with the project objectives?Does it correspond to the theme/s of the Grant Fund?Does it include and address the needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups, including those affected by COVID-10?To what extent has gender equality and women’s empowerment been considered?



Is the problem statement clear?Are the expected results and activities clearly linked?Can the objectives be realistically achieved within the implementing context, project timeframe, and capacities of the applicant?To what extent has the proposal assessed potential risks and identified mitigation measures?


Project management

Does the applicant organization have a track record of project implementation and management, including financial management of a similar funding level?Does the project idea converge with the experiences and expertise of the applicant organization?


Value for Money

Is the ratio of activity costs to administration costs appropriate?Are the project inputs priced reasonably?


Innovation & Sustainability

Is the proposal idea innovative or contains elements of innovation?To what extent can the idea be sustained beyond the project period?


The secretariat to the Technical Sub-Committee will be the HELVETAS project focal person.

When to Apply?

Calls for proposals will happen once a year, and will be announced through social media, local radios, national television, and newspapers with the widest outreach. In addition, local leaders will be requested to share information on the call for proposals within their constituencies. Tentative months are indicated below:

RoundCall for proposalDeadline for proposals
11st August 2021End of August 2021
21st August 2022End of August 2022
What is the Eligible Duration of Projects?

The duration of projects shall be minimum 3 months and maximum 12 months.

What are the Budget Requirements?
  • The budget for CSOs and CBOs is as follows:
    • For CSOs – EUR 5000 ≤ EUR 15,000 in equivalent Ngultrum currency.
    • For CBOs – EUR 5000 ≤ EUR 10,000 in equivalent Ngultrum currency.
  • Administrative costs shall not exceed 10% of total project costs. All administrative‐related costs over and above 10% must be financed by the CSO from sources of funds outside of the grant.
  • Other eligible and ineligible costs include the following:
Eligible CostsIneligible Costs
Any costs related to services and work related to the activities approved in the proposal.

Costs approved in the proposal budget.

Costs that is verifiable. This means that the costs are recorded in the accounting ledgers of the applicant using standard accounting procedures.
Other capital expenditures unrelated to economic empowerment initiative (e.g., vehicles, etc.).

Costs already covered by other projects.

Taxes, unless approved in the proposal budget.

Contributions in kind.


Provisions for future liabilities.

Debts and debt‐service charges.

Any credits to third parties.

Fines, financial penalties, and any litigation costs.

Personal expenses.

Any additional fees and charges from the applicant’s staff and management for services such as overtime, holiday pay, vacation pay, gift reimbursement, unauthorized travel, and housing expenses.

The budget floor and ceiling were determined based on past experiences with grants spending capacities of civil society groups and organizations, and minimal requirements to carry out an event based on approximate real costs in the country.

How and Where to Apply?

Project proposals can be submitted in either English or Dzongkha and must follow the Fund Grant application formats in the Annexes. Applications forms will be different for national CSOs and for CBOs in order not to disadvantage the latter group which may have lesser proposal development experiences.

Proposals that do not follow the outline of the application formats and that are received after the deadline will not be accepted. The project proposal shall be accompanied by:

  • A valid certificate of registration from the CSO Authority with the certificate renewal date attached (for registered CSOs) OR
  • A letter of endorsement from the head of relevant statutory agencies and/or Gups from Gewog Administration Units (for informal CBO groups based on their location).

Applications shall either be emailed to or via post to:


P.O. Box 157, Changangkha

11001 Thimphu, Bhutan

Phone +975 2 32 28 70

Should applicants have any further queries that are not covered in the guideline, kindly contact the secretariat to the Technical Sub-Committee


How to File a Grievance or Complaint?

Should an applicant have a grievance or complaint during any step of the grant management cycle, an official complaint can be made to the International IDEA Project Manager (

Grievances or complaints shall be in written and signed by the complainant. Every effort will be made to ensure the security of the compliant, by protecting that person’s identity (if they wish) and by keeping the content confidential. All grievance and complaint submissions shall be acknowledged by a return call to the person filing the claim, within one day of receipt of the complaint.