Call for Concept Notes: Local Cooperation Fund

Embassy of Finland - Pretoria
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Friday, 14 December, 2012

Information and guidelines to applicants:

The Local Cooperation Fund (LCF) is a fund administered by the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria. The fund supports initiatives of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), science and technology communities, universities and other educational and research institutions, independent media, public corporations and cultural institutions (e.g. museums, libraries and theatres), chambers of commerce and commercial associations, organisations in the area of export and investment promotion, businesses, cooperatives, interest groups of companies and employees, foundations and religious organisations.

Objectives of the Fund

LCF is part of the Finnish worldwide development cooperation, which aims at strengthening international stability, security, peace, justice and sustainable development, as well as promoting the rule of law, democracy and human rights. LCF plays a complimentary role to the Finnish cooperation programme in Southern Africa, that of deepening partnerships in the country, as well as in the region. Finland purses development policy and cooperation that yields sustainable results, with a positive long term impact on society.

LCF projects are meant to strengthen the capacity of civil society and its actors in the host country. In addition, support is provided for institutional and private sector actors, in the framework of projects with a verifiable impact on development. LCF also serves as a tool for the Embassy to widen its contacts, through strategic partners, as well as take into account public diplomacy.

Priority Areas and Eligibility for Funding

The Finnish development policy and development cooperation pursue a human rights-based approach to development. Its aim is that everyone, including the poorest people, know their rights and are able to act for them. The priority areas of the Finnish development policy from 2012 are:

  • Democratic and accountable society that promotes human rights;
  • Inclusive green economy that promotes employment;
  • Sustainable management of natural resources and environmental protection, and human development.

The three cross-cutting objectives highlighted here should underpin any activities or projects: gender equality, reduction of inequality and climate sustainability. Activities are designed on basis of partner countries needs, Finnish expertise and strengths, as well as on the basis of the global division of labour in the development community.

Three focal areas for the Local Cooperation Fund:

  1. Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The first theme is about tackling social or environmental problems through inclusive, market-based approaches; promoting innovation for social impact and environmental sustainability. We can support projects that look at these issues through developing the enabling environment, or through developing new innovations; i.e. products or services. Utilization or development of new technologies, for example ICT is encouraged to be combined with strong social, environmental and economic perspectives. Examples can include:

  • Models for promoting social innovation and entrepreneurship, e.g., different kinds of support mechanisms and initiatives or training programmes;
  • Innovative solutions for tackling social or environmental problems, for instance linked to social inclusion, community empowerment; and business models for building a greener economy.

Special focus will be put on projects that deal with youth unemployment or skills shortages. Links or partnerships with Finnish partners are also encouraged.

  1. Strong Civil Society in Oversight Role

The second theme focuses on empowering the civil society to act for human rights, good and accountable governance and vibrant democracy. Corruption and misuses of funds prevent the achievement of development and realization of human rights. Through enforced transparency, communities can, for example, act against corrupt decisions and plans which are not in their interest. Funded projects can for example aim at:

  • Promoting good governance;
  • Promoting access to information;
  • Increasing  participation  in  the South African democratic political system;
  • Fighting against corruption.

Support can also be applied for projects dealing with election support or observation work related to the rule of the law sector.

  1. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Access to justice remains an important field, given the history of South Africa. Problems include the lack of knowledge of individual rights and difficult access to services. Disabled people/children are often found most vulnerable in the poor communities and have a difficulty to realize their rights. LCF supports both livelihood and human rights programmes, in addition to assisting with activities of policy formulation and oversight, when it comes to regional bodies and governmental interaction. The aim is to reduce widely entrenched violence against women, children, adolescents and LGBTI people and also to facilitate the realisation of other rights (for example, promoting sexual rights of minorities and  other vulnerable groups). Programmes should promote equal treatment of all citizens, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Projects can aim at:

  • Promoting advocacy or training;
  • Promoting access to justice;
  • Sensitising  authorities to legislative  requirements;
  • Supporting policy development.

Key Principles

The approach is to establish long term partnerships with a limited number of organisations, instead of supporting once off activities, seminars, and so forth.  Projects will be assessed in terms of their relevance to local needs and priorities, in terms of their coherence with the government policies, and also, taking into account the relevance of a project in relation to the vision and the mission of the applying organisation. The projects that can best promote the prioritised areas of LCF will be selected.

Projects will also be assessed in terms of (a) their potential effectiveness in achieving the overall objectives, and delivering tangible results to the target group. Also, (b) their potential efficiency in terms of the proposed approach and mechanisms, - including planning, management, sustainability, monitoring, evaluation systems, risk assessment, and the actual costs being incurred in implementation - will also be assessed.

Please Note: A maximum of 10 projects will be supported. We encourage own funding contribution from all applicants, and we require 50% own funding from the private sector.

How to Apply:

Concept paper

Applicants are invited to propose project ideas through short concept papers (no official format 3-4 pages max). If the project falls under the fund criteria, the Embassy may request the submission of more detailed proposal. Projects which include the following are often invited to write more detailed proposals:

  • Proposed idea is in line with the Finnish Development Policy and overall LCF strategy;
  • Applicant is a registered entity with good track record;
  • Project idea is feasible (effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability are guaranteed).

Project proposal

In the concept paper-stage, all prospective applicants must, in addition to their project ideas, provide the following information:

The letter must addressed to the Embassy, dated and signed by the Director of the organisation.

Information on the applicant

  1. Name of the organisation:
  2. Address:
  3. Telephone:
  4. Email:
  5. Director (person in charge):
  6. Telephone: Office
  7. Telephone: mobile:
  8. Description of the organisation:
  9. Official status of the organisation (include the registration number and date):
  10. Location:
  11. Number of members: 
  12. Number of full-time employees:
  13. Financing sources of the organisation:
  14. Description of the key activities of the organisation:

Funding cannot be granted:

  • To Finnish non-governmental organisations;
  • For projects of friendship associations in Finland;
  • To Finnish governmental agencies or institutions;
  • To Finnish municipalities;
  • To Finnish companies;
  • To the government, ministries or municipalities of the host country;
  • To an unregistered association or organisation;
  • To support the activities of a political party (unless the activity is a joint activity of a representative number of political parties;
  • For basic research;
  • Individual cultural events (no permanent impact);
  • For charity;
  • For humanitarian aid
  • As a grant, scholarship or assistance for the applicant’s personal use or project;
  • For purchasing land;
  • To a fund;
  • For building the capital of microloan systems (development projects, training possible targets).

Additional Information
The Embassy of Finland reserves the right to accept or reject project proposals. The Embassy has a right to evaluate and audit a project at any time and no further funding can be provided to any organisation until it has provided an approved accounting report regarding any previous funding.

Application deadline is 14 December 2012 by 12h00. Applicants will be contacted by the 28 January 2013.
For more information contact:

Embassy of Finland, LCF
PO Box 443, Pretoria 0001

Tsakane Bok

Aki Enkenberg (Theme 1)
Tel: 012 343 0275
Fax: 012 343 3095

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