Call for proposals 2020 (China)

Call for Proposals, Updated 2020-01-13.

Safeguard Defenders is now inviting organizations and individuals to submit proposals for small projects aimed at empowering civil society and rights defenders in China. We welcome all interested parties to submit their ideas throughout January and February. Received submissions are evaluated on a rolling basis. Please carefully read the focus and guidelines below before submitting your proposal. 

For this call, we are seeking to provide needed support to fledging local civil society organizations (CSOs) as well individual rights defenders, and grant support is complemented by assistance in grant management and administration per international standards. The aim is not only to empower local CSOs and rights defenders pursue project work but also to increase their ability to manage grant making in the future and thus enhance their future ability to apply for, receive, and manage, grants on their own.

The mission of Safeguard Defenders and the aim of these small projects are to support local rights defenders’ use the law and administrative procedures, such as Freedom of Information requests, to protect human rights and/or promote rule of law. Special attention is paid to frontline legal defenders, such as ‘barefoot’ lawyers and local activists, most often based outside China’s most developed cities, and women rights defenders (WHRD). We also work with issues related to independent media, and supports capacity-building activities ranging from law, freedom of information, to IT security.

  • Grants for small projects usually run for up to six months with a maximum budget of 10,000 USD. Some exceptions are allowed, depending on the strength of the idea and application. 
  • All proposals must include gender consideration and explain how the project will help WHRDs.
  • We will also take security into account when assessing the proposal.
  • Bear in mind that it will take time to go from initial idea, to full project proposal, to contract signing and payment. 

Safeguard Defenders maintain a practical guide for small CSOs and those working with grants without much experience, and if you have any doubts, we recommend you contact us to request a copy of that practical guide before you finalize your idea and proposal, to help you ensure that your proposal meets minimum standards.

We ask all proposals be submitted in a word document (maximum two pages) outlining the plan for the project. There is no application form for the initial step. Please include a) a brief background on the issue, b) the purpose and aim of the project, c) the specific activities to be carried out, and d) a risk assessment on how it can be carried out safely. 

Should you initial idea be considered, Safeguard Defenders will work together with the applicant to create a finalized idea and project proposal and budget. 

Always consider security in all communications. We strongly urge you to use, which has a Chinese language version, to email your submission to us at (which is a protonmail account).