Call for local advocacy projects: promoting accountability for violations against religious minorities across South Asia

Note: we are no longer accepting applications for this call.

The South Asia Collective, a regional network of researchers, activists, and organisations from across South Asia is looking to support projects focused on religious minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. This call seeks to support local civil society initiatives to design and implement their own advocacy initiatives with the aim to improve accountability for human rights violations against religious minorities. 

Deadline: Sunday 4 May 2020, 17:00 GMT


Across South Asia, religious minorities are at particularly high risk of violent attacks, hate speech, and intimidation, and these violations are frequently met with lack of accountability. This occurs against a backdrop of long-standing social, economic, and cultural marginalization and exclusion, particularly for those who face intersectional discrimination, such as religious minority women, indigenous peoples adhering to minority religions, and those facing caste-based discrimination.

As part of an EU-funded initiative to support religious pluralism and respect for freedom of religion or belief across South Asia, this call seeks to fund local level advocacy campaigns to improve accountability for violations again religious minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and/or Sri Lanka. Specifically, this project seeks to address violations against religious minorities committed by state and non-state actors alike, who are met with impunity for their attacks and in some cases backed by state-sanctioned policies that encourage not only discrimination but also violence.

Types of projects that will be supported

Projects should aim to develop concrete measures to improve accountability for violations against religious minorities. Projects should be clearly thought through in an effort to persuade duty bearers to act to implement existing laws and policies in improved ways, or review or amend laws, statutes, or practices to address and improve accountability for violations. Projects must operate at the district or provincial/state level with a specific focus and outputs. General projects focused at the national level will not be supported.

Examples of advocacy initiatives could include, but are not limited to:

  • District or provincial/state level campaign to change law, policy, or practice which violates the rights of religious minorities and address its consequences on affected populations
  • Provision of targeted legal aid/litigation to support religious minorities who have faced violence and discrimination (individual cases may be supported, but priority will likely be given to initiatives which can address wider structural issues)
  • Policy-oriented research and follow-up advocacy advancing the implementation of selection laws, policies, or decisions
  • Empowering vulnerable groups or the wider public through campaigns and awareness raising activities
  • Conducting documentation and tracking of violence and discrimination to produce credible, detailed and timely information to engage in specific opportunities at the local level
  • Work to sensitize relevant and influential rights groups, agencies, or bodies to your issue, and incite them to advocate for freedom of religion or belief as part of their work

Applicants will identify the best approach to engage the proposed actors or entities. Projects could take a number of different forms, such as roundtables with key decision makers; meetings/engagement with local officials or politicians; online and media campaigns; theatre for advocacy and change; publishing comprehensive information for a wide reach; conducting sensitivity trainings and briefings for civil society organizations; or producing advocacy audiovisual materials for wide dissemination amongst relevant stakeholders.

We encourage applications that give particular attention to minority women and gender issues.

Grants that include collaborative activities with other CSOs and/ or and working on several minorities groups is encouraged.

The SAC also welcomes projects which demonstrate clearly that they involve organisations/individuals from vulnerable groups in running the project in an active way.

The SAC is particularly interested in supporting and strengthening smaller civil society initiatives. Smaller civil society initiatives working at the grassroots level are especially encouraged to apply.


  • Timeframe: Project may run up to a maximum of 6 months
  • Grant size: The amount available for each project is 3,000 EUR
  • Geographic scope: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka


Before you apply, please read the information below carefully to check if your proposal is eligible for funding.  

Eligibility criteria

Your proposal is eligible for consideration only if it complies with the following criteria.

  • Projects in the following countries are eligible under this call: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • All applicants should be registered as legal entities or be part of a registered entity/network in the respective country where they operate. There may be some exceptions permitted if a suitable arrangement can be organised.
  • All applicants must have the ability to receive funding, either through their own organisation or an agreed upon alternative arrangement which aligns approved protocol.
  • Organisations must be able to demonstrate relevant experience working on the issues covered in their applications, in particular those affecting religious minorities and vulnerable populations.
  • All applicants must be and operating in one of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

We particularly encourage minority-led initiatives to apply.

How to apply

All applications must complete the application and draft budget. Alongside these forms they must submit the statutes of their organization.

Please complete the application form as well as the draft budget (select the appropriate one below), and return by e-mail to Please include “Application: South Asia Subgrants” in your email subject.

The deadline for applications is Sunday, 12 April 2020, 17:00 GMT.

If you have any questions about the application process should be sent to the same email. Please include “Inquiry” as your email subject.

Please send proposal and all supporting documents in ONE email.


Selection criteria

  1. Relevance (the issue should clearly be linked to freedom of religion or belief or the situation of religious minorities in each country, with a focus on provincial or district level advocacy)
  2. Clarity of the concept, objectives and strategy
  3. Projects that seize relevant local advocacy opportunities
  4. Realistic target(s) and capacity to deliver: goals and planned activities should be in line with the resources, capacities and previous experiences of the organization
  5. Clearly justifying a budget that represents value for money.
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