All description and entries are taken from the sites of the featured agencies or organisations. We endeavour to update the profiles every 6 months. For the most up-to-date information please visit the website of the relevant organisation.
These donors are often linked to (or part of) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the given country.
Their job is to fund programmes that reflect or complement the national foreign policy and this funding is either channeled through diplomatic missions or disbursed through regional programmes.
There was a time when government agencies gave the bulk of their funding to organisations of the same nationality but this is no longer the case.
However, it is true to say that they are often more accessible for organisations from the same country due to existing networks and physical or professional proximities.
The AFD Group is France's main player in public development aid. As such, it funds development projects in 115 countries through loans, grants, guarantees and equity investments. AFD's funding is aimed at governments, local authorities, public and private companies, including banks, French NGOs and foundations.
AFD does not directly finance NGOs in developing countries: its funding is channeled through French NGO programs. Nor does it fund projects carried out by individuals.
Themes: Overall goal: ending hunger and poverty. Other focus areas: Climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban planning, health, governance, including anti-corruption
With an eye to promoting more transparent, inclusive, and democratic societies, AFD supports the development of citizen participation, particularly through digital tools, as well as freedom of information by supporting public, private, and community media. They support "Civic Tech" digital technologies and multi-level on-and offline spaces where citizens can discuss issues with their governments, thus addressing their increasingly strident calls for greater inclusion.
As part of their mandate, they help operationalize this approach through the law, developing a financial facility or fund to finance operations specifically designed to strengthen human rights and democracy.
Geographical Priorities: AFD allocates grants to a limited number of countries: A minimum of two-thirds of grants are earmarked for priority poor countries.
List of priority poor countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo
The "NGO Initiatives" Mechanism: The main aim of this mechanism is to co-finance projects or programmes put forward by French civil society organisations (CSOs) that are deployed at local level with the aim of improving how local CSOs are organised and expanding their capabilities.
The Sectoral Innovation Facility for NGOs (FISONG): The FISONG, which is managed by AFD’s Operations Department, is a “call for ideas” based on themes defined in consultation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), with the aim of encouraging CSOs from France and beyond to develop innovative practices.
Crisis and Post-Crisis Calls for Projects (APCC): Since 2013, AFD has been developing a wide range of instruments to provide a more effective response to unstable situations, including crisis and post-crisis calls for projects (APCC). APCCs are based on specifications set out by AFD and allow projects to be codeveloped with CSOs and other French and international not-for-profit organisations.
AFD regularly issues themed calls for projects that are open to a range of applicants, from CSOs to private-sector organisations. Their aim is to finance projects that have a local impact in the countries in which AFD operates, in line with the key priorities set out in its Strategic Orientation Plan.
Amount of funding available: EUR 9 billion (2021)
The Danish International Development Agency, better known by its acronym DANIDA, is responsible for Denmark’s development cooperation, an area of activity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
Themes: Through DANIDA, the Danish Government concentrates its development assistance on four strategic priority areas: human rights and democracy, green growth, social progress, and stability and protection.
In line with Denmark’s strategy for development cooperation, “The World We Share," Denmark is engaged in efforts to promote human rights with various focus areas including freedom of expression, emergency support for human rights defenders, digital resilience, freedom of association and assembly, and free media.
Geographical Priorities: DANIDA's partnerships are present in the following regions: Africa, Asia, Latin America, The Middle East and North Africa, and EU's Eastern Neighbours.
DANIDA’s overseas development assistance includes bilateral programs with specific media interventions managed by Danish embassies in DANIDA’s priority countries, which include Pakistan, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Other priority countries may also have been provided support in the media and freedom of expression categories through broader human rights and democratization programs.
The Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP)
The Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP) is Denmark’s collaboration programme with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in particular Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. Strengthening free, independent, and diverse media is a programme objective under its Programme on Human Rights and Inclusion.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is the Australian government agency that works with international partners and other countries to tackle global challenges and is responsible for the design and delivery of the Australian aid program.
Themes: Agriculture, Trade and Other Production Sectors, Economic Infrastructure and Services, Education, Governance, Health, Humanitarian, Multisector and General Support
Funding opportunities: The department has a variety of mechanisms for engaging with and supporting civil society– organisations, individuals and community groups– from high level strategic partnerships to small grants schemes managed in partner countries.
A critical element of their engagement is the dialogue with Australian aid and development NGOs, a partnership with the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), through country and thematic strategies, development programs and projects, and through responses to humanitarian emergencies.
It is a partnership between the Australian Government and Australian Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). The ANCP provides funding – in the form of annual grants – to accredited Australian NGOs.
Base accredited NGOs receive a fixed annual grant amount ($150,000). NGOs with full accreditation receive a higher annual grant amount ($300,000) plus a proportion of the funding pool based on their respective Recognised Development Expenditure (RDE). This funding supports their projects in developing countries. The projects span a range of sectors, including education, health, water and sanitation, food security and economic development.
The Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a flexible small grants program funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which is administered through Australia's overseas diplomatic posts.
The DAP may provide funding to civil society groups to pursue small-scale development projects and provide humanitarian assistance in developing countries, in line with Australia's national interest and public diplomacy objectives.
There is no minimum amount that a single DAP project can receive but the maximum is $60,000 over the life of the project (dependent on the country). Activities can run up to a maximum of two years.
Applications for local in-country projects should be directed to, and are considered, at the respective Australian High Commission or Embassy.
Types of funding: Programmatic, Core grants
Amount of funding: $4.6 billion
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the channel through which the Dutch Government communicates with foreign governments and international organisations. It coordinates and carries out Dutch foreign policy. The Ministry has two halves: its headquarters in The Hague and its missions abroad (embassies, consulates, and permanent representations).
Themes: According to the Dutch Government website, "freedom of expression is an essential part of a properly functioning democracy and a free society. People in general, and journalists in particular, should be free to express themselves both online and offline. But in many parts of the world freedom of expression is under threat."
Nationally, the Dutch government makes an active contribution to independent journalism and thus to safeguarding freedom of expression with grants from the Journalism Promotion Fund. The Fund targets not only newspapers and magazines but also journalistic websites.
The Dutch government also supports the independent position of journalists and media organisations worldwide in a variety of ways, with a particular focus on:
- Prevention For example, fostering a culture in which freedom of expression is considered self-evident.
- Protection For example, offering online and offline security training courses, having effective legislation in place and providing a safe haven for threatened journalists.
- Prosecution For example, combating impunity for people who threaten or attack journalists.
Geographical Priorities: Dutch development cooperation concentrates mainly on regions near Europe: West Africa/the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and North Africa. Aid to these focus countries are earmarked to address the root causes of poverty, migration, terrorism and climate change.
Types of funding: Core grants
- The Journalism Promotion Fund (national)
The Journalism Promotion Fund promotes high-quality, diverse and independent journalism. The Fund may, for example, support newspapers or news magazines whose existence is under threat. It also supports journalistic websites and innovative projects relating to the press and journalism.
To prevent journalistic media from becoming dependent on government aid, support from the Fund is always temporary.
- Human Rights Fund (international)
The Human Rights Fund provides funding to organisations in three ways: through Dutch missions abroad (embassies and consulates-general), through calls for grant proposals, and through contributions to international organisations. The Fund focuses on the priorities of Dutch policy for human rights worldwide.
Through its Human Rights Fund, the Netherlands also supports various projects relating to freedom of expression. For an up-to-date overview of projects, see the Human Rights Report which is submitted to Parliament each year.
Amount of funding: According to the Dutch Journalism Fund the Dutch government "doesn’t support media companies directly, but makes funding available for research and programs in the field of innovation, investigative journalism, regional and local journalism and talent-development. Thereby allowing media to reinvent themselves."
- strengthening global peace, security and governance
- strengthening resilience and response to crisis
- promoting global prosperity
- tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable
- delivering value for money
Geographical Priorities: The FCDO works in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, many of which are fragile or at risk from fragile neighbours. They also have regional programmes in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and development relationships with 3 aid dependent Overseas Territories – St Helena, the Pitcairn Islands and Montserrat. In addition to working directly in countries, FCDO also gives UK Aid through multi-country global programmes and core contributions to multilaterals.
Types of funding: Programmatic
Funding opportunities: The FCDO funding finder tool helps potential applicants to view, sort and filter UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding opportunities, across all UK government departments. Each funding call includes a high level overview and information on how to apply.
Amount of funding: £15,174m (2019)
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs works to represent, defend and promote the interests of France and French nationals in all areas in foreign countries and international organisations.
Approximately 95% of French government media development funds are managed by French Media Cooperation Agency (CFI). CFI is a public sector operator funded primarily by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. The Ministry's annual subsidy (which comes under budget programme 209 – Solidarity with Developing Countries) accounts for around 85% of the agency's budget. CFI's mandate thus comes under France's policy of state aid for development.
CFI was founded in 1989 by the Ministry of Cooperation with a 'cultural assistance mission': to supply overseas television stations with French television programmes free of charge. Since then, the State has entrusted CFI with a series of tasks, including, in the main, a database of television programmes, pan-African television channel, satellite package operator, and, lastly, cooperation agency in the media sector. The latter has been CFI's sole mission since the early 2010s.
The agency works to encourage the development of medias – from Africa to Southeast Asia – in order to strengthen a modernisation and democratisation process that France supports.
CFI works on around thirty projects annually within three major programmes: media and governance, media and enterprise, and media and development.
- Media and pluralism: Increasing the pluralism of information
- Media and business: Creating the media of the future
- Media and development: Meeting the challenges of development by strengthening relations of trust between journalists and civil society
- Media and Human Resources: Training a new generation of media professionals
Geographical Priorities: Developing countries in Africa and Asia
Types of funding: Programmatic
Amount of funding: €8 million (2016)
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftlich Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung—BMZ) is the cabinet-level ministry of the German government that works to encourage economic development within Germany and in other countries through international cooperation and partnerships.
BMZ’s principal partner in implementing media development projects is DW Akademie, a division of Germany’s largely state-funded international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW). Other grants are implemented by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH), various German NGOs, political party foundations, and church-affiliated development services.
Themes: Financial sustainability of the media sector, legal frameworks for the media sector, managing the digital transformation and using digital innovation to strengthen freedom of expression; integrating marginalized groups.
Core areas: peacebuilding; food security; training and sustainable growth; climate and energy; the environment and natural resources. We will also be increasing our efforts in the health sector.
Initiative areas include: population development and family planning; sustainable supply chains; digital technology. Another important area is human and animal health. We will be in- creasing our focus on this by setting up a dedicated Global Health/One Health unit.
Types of funding: Programmatic, Core Grants
Amount of funding: €19,200,000 (2016)
Development workers advise partner organisations in Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Latin America and the Middle East on achieving their development objectives independently in a participatory manner. Currently about 850 experts are assigned as development workers on behalf of GIZ.
GIZ provides tailor-made, cost-efficient and effective services for sustainable development. They work to shape a future worth living around the world.
Funding opportunities: GIZ administers funds within the context of the projects it implements on behalf of its commissioning parties. It also advises partner institutions on establishing and implementing funds.
Themes: Rural development, sustainable infrastructure, security, reconstruction and peace; social development and democracy; economic development and employment; climate, environment, management of natural resources.
Types of funding: Programmatic and grants
Amount of funding: N/A
Funding opportunities: Organizations seeking funding can search Global Affairs Canada’s data base for different sources of funding, including current “Calls for Proposals,” some of which are open only to Canadian organizations. If a group’s project corresponds to Canada’s international development priorities, it can submit an unsolicited proposal for work in a country where Canada is doing development assistance. A group can also reach out to Canadian diplomatic or consular missions on funding for local initiatives.
Themes: Access to Information, technology and innovation for human rights protection, civic education in media literacy; training, capacity building of independent media and protection of journalists
Types of funding: Programmatic
Amount of funding: $3 million (Funding for International Media Development Projects in 2016)
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) coordinates the Japanese government’s official development assistance (ODA).
JICA extends assistance for a range of measures to strengthen the foundations for democratic rule in developing countries. The assistance covers such measures as improving the capacity of election management committees in order to ensure fair elections, strengthening the functions of parliament, and reinforcing the capacity of the media, which functions as a monitor of the use of power and influence.
Dr. Keiichi Hashimoto, a Senior Advisor at JICA and a specialist in media and peacebuilding, has been involved in media assistance in Nepal, South Sudan and other countries. Drawing on his experiences in an article on Kosovo’s public broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK), he notes, “To entrench democracy and peace, it is essential to have media institutions that provide fair, neutral and accurate information. As the spread of fake news and hate speech becomes a problem worldwide, we expect there will be a need to establish trustworthy public broadcasts.” JICA continues to offer media assistance in Africa, Asia and other regions.
Funding opportunities: JICA’s media development funding falls within its "Democratic Governance" program.
Themes: The agency has supported media development by providing technical assistance to improve bills and regulations governing media activity; supporting the reorganization of state media into public broadcasting institutions; fostering a journalistic culture by providing training on election reporting, investigative reporting, and a Code of Ethics for journalists; and providing equipment to improve the quality of program production.
According to the Centre for Media Assistance (CIMA) profile on JICA, the agency has three primary goals in its media support. They include:
- Emphasizing the establishment of a model of a ‘trustworthy’ media outlet.
- Addressing public broadcasters in their efforts to be independent from the influence of the state and markets in order to disseminate unbiased information to all citizens.
- Enhancing the capacity of the media as a whole, rather than simply focusing on particular programs.
Types of funding: Programmatic - grants and loans
Amount of funding: $4.02 million (Media Support in 2015)
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is a directorate under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Norad works to ensure effective foreign aid, with quality assurance and evaluation. Norad finances NGOs and does its own research and projects.
Funding opportunities: Norad grants funding to organisations within civil society, research, higher education and private sector development that work with partners in poor countries. Call for proposals are posted on the company's website.
Themes: Climate and environment, education, energy, global health
Types of funding: Core grants
Amount of funding: 37,8 billion NOK (2019)
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) is Sweden’s government agency for development cooperation. Through cooperation with civil society, multilateral organisations, public agencies and the private sector they work for sustainable development and help create conditions for people living in poverty and oppression to improve their living conditions.
Themes: In 2022 Sida continued to focus a large part of the funds on long-term support to what can be called the building blocks of democracy, i.e. a vibrant civil society, free and fair elections, freedom of expression, independent media and respect for human rights.
Types of funding: Programmatic and core grants. Local CSO's receive support through Sida's thematic and geographical units or through Swedish embassies. Either in direct cooperation with Sida or through Swedish, international or multilateral organisations.
Sida has bilateral development cooperation with some 35 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. In terms of regional distribution, most funds are allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa (30 percent of total allocation 2022), followed by Asia & Middle East/North Africa (21 percent) and Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey (15 percent). Support to global programmes, for example through the UN or international NGOs, constitutes 27 percent of the total disbursement.
Sida's support to civil society is often channelled through their Swedish strategic partner organisations. Sida's selection of partners follows an established process. What initiative or programme Sida can support, and during what period, is determined by strategies decided by the Swedish government.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. SDC works in partnership with other Swiss federal entities for development coordination, cooperation with Eastern Europe, and humanitarian aid.
Funding opportunities: SDC makes multi-year contributions to support the programs of 15-20 large Swiss civil society organizations active in the developing world. Programme grants are negotiated by each Swiss NGO directly with SDC. Mandates are open to public competition, sometimes including eligibility by non-Swiss organizations and individuals.
The SDC supports training courses for media professionals, for example, and encourages fair and balanced reporting that is properly researched. It also supports efforts to create a legislative framework to protect media freedom and raise public awareness on dealing with the media.
Themes: Good governance, fragility, conflict and human rights; climate change and environment.
Democratisation is a key concern for the SDC, which aims to promote community involvement and responsible government action. By enabling different population groups to have an equal say in political life and determine issues that affect their daily lives, diverse interests can be represented, supporting broad-based decision-making. This lends greater legitimacy to political processes and creates a climate of shared responsibility for implementation. Other key democratic principles include power-sharing, checks on power, accountability, the rule of law and equality before the law.
Free media ensure that the public have access to independent sources of information. Free media can scrutinise the actions of the government and provide impartial platforms for public debate. Switzerland supports training courses for media professionals, for example, and encourages fair and balanced reporting that is properly researched. It also supports efforts to create a legislative framework to protect media freedom and raise public awareness on dealing with the media. The activities of the SDC are increasingly focused on social media channels, given the enormous influence that these now exert.
The SDC aims to strengthen different aspects of a healthy media sector in order to promote the media’s multiple roles in fostering inclusive, just and peaceful societies. This ultimate vision encompasses the following overarching goals:
- 1.to provide access to information for building informed public opinion – providing a truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of events in a context that gives them meaning;
- 2.to ensure freedom of expression for citizens’ voices and participation – giving voice to different groups within society, projecting the opinions and attitudes of groups to one another, and facilitating civic engagement among all sectors of society;
- 3.to offer public space for open and non-violent debate;
- 4.to provide mechanisms for controlling public and private powers – increasing transparency among public and private powerholders and holding them to account for their actions.
Guidelines for SDC media assistance
Types of funding: Programmatic and core grants
Amount of funding: Grants are typically one to several million Swiss francs (CHF) per year.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance. With a budget of over $27 billion, USAID is one of the largest official aid agencies in the world and accounts for more than half of all U.S. foreign assistance—the highest in the world in absolute dollar terms.
Themes: USAID programs address development challenges by partnering with organizations across the public, private, and non-profit sectors to harness their expertise, innovation, and sustainable solutions.
USAID integrates democracy programming throughout their core development work, focusing on strengthening and promoting human rights, access to justice, accountable and transparent governance, and an independent and politically active civil society across all their work. They approach these four goals by protecting and promoting human rights, ensuring the possibility for free and fair elections, combating disinformation, strengthening digital safety, both for new and traditional media, and incorporating rule of law and justice in their human rights programming.
USAID supports programs in more than 30 countries to strengthen journalistic professionalism, establish media management skills, and promote free and independent media.
Greater Internet Freedom (GIF): The GIF Program, a three-year activity (2020-2023), seeks to increase the capacity of civil society and independent media in countries where USAID works on internet freedom issues relevant to country contexts. The Activity’s two primary objectives are: improving the digital security practices of civil society, human rights defenders, and media; and increasing the long-term and wide-ranging engagement of civil society on issues of internet governance.
Geographical Priorities: Increasingly, USAID appears to be reverting to its time-honoured practice of offering very large, multi-year grants, primarily in Eastern Europe. However, it also runs grant-giving programmes through US Embassies.
Types of funding: Programmatic and core funding
USAID’s Business Forecast, updated daily, features business and partnership opportunities. You can download information about current opportunities and use filters to sort by date, sector, award type, and more.
Most funding is allocated through Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) mechanisms.
You can learn more about how to write a USAID proposal in these two blogposts:
The U.S. Department of State leads America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and foreign assistance. For media development agencies, the most relevant State Department programmes are those channelled through the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs (DRL).
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs (DRL) is a bureau within the United States Department of State. DRL's responsibilities include promoting democracy around the world, formulating U.S. human rights policies, and coordinating policy in human rights-related labour issues.
Themes: A central goal of U.S. foreign policy is the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
DRL assists independent media outlets and journalists in some of the most sensitive environments around the world to build their own capacity and develop high-impact, in-depth news reports covering governance and human rights topics. DRL programs support media in collaborating across borders while utilizing skills and technology to reveal grand-corruption among public officials and undemocratic practices that decrease the quality of governance in the region. They also provide security trainings that help journalists proactively address and minimize the risks from their work. Combined with DRL’s work to protect freedom of association in these environments, these programs aim to create better informed citizens that are able to organize and assemble freely to hold their governments accountable.
The Department of State works with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom.
Geographical Priorities: Global
Types of funding: Programmatic and core grants
Funding Opportunities: DRL awards the vast majority of its program funds through open competition. You can find a collection of current and previous Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor calls for Statements of Interest, Requests for Proposals, and Notices of Funding Opportunity the DRL website and on the www.grants.gov.