Civil society in a sustainable and inclusive ocean economy: FAQ

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for questions to this cloass call for proposals.

1. Regarding Eligibility

Q: Can we apply for funding if we are not invited by Norad?

A: No. This is a limited call for proposals (by invitation only). The lead applicant must be invited to this call for proposal, but can collaborate with other organizations that have not been invited (they can be sub-grantees).

Q: To which countries does the call apply?

A: To ensure that the projects support and complement ongoing Norwegian cooperation on ocean affairs, the call applies to Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The applicant organization does not need to be from one of the six countries, as long as it is a registered NGO that works in any of these countries. 

Q: Can we apply for funding for other countries than those listed in the call?

A: Projects in other countries could be considered on an exceptional basis if the country previously has been engaged in ocean related development cooperation with Norway. Regional projects may also be considered in Africa South-of-Sahara and East-Asia if they demonstrate a particular contribution towards the objectives.

Q: Can we apply for funding to more than one country?

A: As stated in the call, we ask you to submit one application only, however, the application may cover more than one country. If this is the case it must be specified which activities will take place in each country.

This could include a regional approach in neighbouring countries (for instance a focus on the South West Indian Ocean), countries within the same geographical area (for instance Kenya and Tanzania), or two countries in different geographies (for instance Colombia and Indonesia).

Q: Can multilateral organizations such as UNDP be an applicant or a sub-grantee under the call for proposals?

A: No. UN and UN-affiliated organizations are not considered as civil society organizations and therefore not eligible under this call for proposals – neither as applicant nor as sub-grantee.

However, Norad encourages partnerships between civil society actors, governmental authorities, and business actors. Multilateral actors may contribute with technical advice but not receive any funds.

Q: Can for-profit actors apply as the main applicant or be a sub-grantee in an application?

A: Only civil society organizations as defined in the call for proposals can be the applicant. Sub-grantees also need to fulfil the criteria for a civil society organization or be an academic institution. Specific deliverables under the project that require expertise from for-profit actors will be subject to the procurement provisions that are part of the grant agreement between Norad and a grantee.

However, Norad encourages partnerships between civil society actors, governmental authorities, and business actors. For-profit actors may contribute with technical advice but not receive any funds. Unless to a specific deliverable a mentioned above.

Q: Are there restrictions on government support in the budget, for instance related to allowances? And are public universities and academia considered government entities?

A: As stated above, only CSOs can be applicants and sub-grantees in this call for proposals. It is, however, likely that representatives from government entities will partake in activities, such as workshops and trainings and they will in this case be considered beneficiaries which may entitle them to allowances. Please note that the project should have clear rules and guidelines concerning the use of allowances in workshops and trainings. In the budget this should be defined as “workshop” or similar, and broken down into several budget lines specifying unit prices for rent, trainers, allowances, etc. Public universities and academia are considered government entities.

2. Regarding Joint Applications and Partnerships

Q: Can we submit more than one application?

A: As stated in the call, organizations are to submit no more than one application. Norad aims to avoid more than one agreement with the same organization or different parts of the same organization, although exceptions do exist, e.g. if there are strong arguments for an organization to play very different roles and add substantially different values to the respective partnerships.

Q: Can our organization be part of more than one application? Is it possible to apply as an applicant in one proposal and as a partner in another?

A: We try to avoid funding the same organization through different funding streams or partnerships, although exceptions do exist, e.g. if there are strong arguments for an organization to play very different roles and add substantially different value to the respective partnerships. Furthermore, the cost effectiveness of funding through different channels must be clear. Norad will make a thorough assessment of cost efficiency and value added of every segment/partner in the partnership involved in any application.

Q: Is it possible to apply jointly with another civil society organization?

A: Yes, and this is encouraged. However, the applicant must be a legal entity and the applicant must state the legal status of the organization in the application. Unless the partnership or consortium is a legal entity, one organization must apply on behalf of the consortium, as the lead applicant. Partnerships are encouraged both between local/national organizations, and between international and local/national organizations.

Q: Can organizations that are part of umbrella network organizations apply separately or do they need to apply through their umbrella organization/secretariat?

A: Norad prefers to receive applications through umbrella organizations/secretariats where this is applicable.

Q: Is there a maximum length of the funding-chain (from global NGO to national NGO to local NGO etc.)?

A: There is no maximum length, however, the proposals will be evaluated against cost efficiency and all involved organizations must have a value to add to the project, and unnecessary links are discouraged.

Q: Do national or global CSOs need to partner with Norwegian CSOs?

A: No, there is no requirement to do so.

3. Regarding Contribution to Objectives

Q: Can we apply for projects that addresses just one of the stated objectives or do we need to include all four in the application?

A: As stated in the call, projects funded under this call for proposals must contribute to one or more of the objectives outlined. The project must address at least one of the objectives. Projects may contribute to more than one, if desirable. It must also be aligned with at least one of the three thematic areas.

Q: Is the job creation aspect focused on commercial systems and export or also small-scale fisheries?

A: We welcome applications along the entire value chain of fisheries, including commercial and small-scale artisanal fishing.

Q: Does the grant scheme support marine habitat restoration?

A: Yes, as long as it is linked to the objectives and overall goal of the call, and that it is focused on reducing poverty and improving development outcomes.

Q: Are carbon trading schemes and blue carbon projects eligible?

A: Carbon trading schemes/projects are not be eligible to receive funding under this call for proposal. Norad is, however, open to receive applications that are exploring other innovative financing mechanisms, as long as the project aligns with the stated objectives and thematic areas. Blue carbon projects can also be supported, as long as the project aligns with the stated objectives and thematic areas.

Q: Are there limitations in the budget to support infrastructure/ technology/equipment solutions (hardware)?

A: It is not possible to evaluate activities/budget items without seeing the project/budget as a whole. There is generally no limit for the type of activities but as a general rule all activities must contribute to the outcomes and the overarching goal of this call for proposal.

Q: Is inland aquaculture covered in this call for proposal?

A: Yes.

Q: Can an activity relating to the objective of improving livelihoods fall outside of the fisheries sector? For instance to relieve the pressure on fisheries and support coastal communities where fisheries are degraded and are no longer providing the needed income/livelihood?

A: Projects creating alternative employment opportunities for small scale fishing communities without fish resources or severely depleted stocks is covered within this call for proposals as long as there is a direct link to another blue/oceanic/coastal sector and that the benefits stay in the coastal communities. The project must still align with, and be relevant for, the objectives and thematic areas specified in the call for proposals text, and the proposal will be evaluated against these. Marine pollution/waste management falls outside the scope of this call for proposal, as this is covered by another Norad program on marine litter and microplastics.

Q: Is there a preference towards more practical projects or advocacy/outreach initiatives?

A: Although it depends on the project design and objectives, clear linkage between advocacy and outreach activities to concrete results at country level will be an advantage.

Q: Are there geographic or thematic priorities within certain countries?

A: No, there is not.

4. Regarding Agreement Period

Q: What is the agreement period?

A: Organizations may apply for funding of projects covering the period 2021/2022-2024. Only organizations who have an ongoing, ended, or recently completed agreement with Norad may apply for projects starting from 2021. Other applicants may apply for projects starting from 2022 and for a period of up to three years.

5. Regarding Budget and Cost Distribution

Q: What is the potential grant size?

A: Norad cannot give clear indications of grant size. The total budget for this call of proposals is 270 million NOK for the entire period, and we expect a portfolio of about 8-10 agreements depending on the applications received, and the quality and relevance of these. When making the assessments, Norad will aim to compose a grant scheme portfolio that balances geographic distribution, local/international NGOs, thematic area, etc.

Q: When applying as a consortium of organisations, is it possible to spread the overhead/indirect costs among all the participating organisations?

A: An additional sum of up to 5% of Norad’s total contribution to the direct project costs can be provided as a contribution to administration. Initiatives with a significant degree of involvement and/or costs at the head office may receive a contribution of up to 7%.

Norad’s contribution to administration costs shall cover the indirect operating costs linked to the management of the grant from Norad which are accrued at the head office of the direct grant recipient, as well as similar costs incurred by any co-applicants/sub-partners/regional offices based in OECD countries. Norad does not have a position regarding how the administration support is divided amongst consortium partners.

Contributions to indirect costs incurred by sub-partners/regional offices based in DAC countries can be accepted in addition to Norad’s 5-7% contribution to administration costs, as in reality these can often be regarded as direct project costs. However, it is important to note such costs will be assessed according to Norad’s criteria for cost-effectiveness.

Please note that the Norad’s contribution to administration is precisely only a contribution, and as such, applicants may need to use other funds in order to ensure the full coverage of these costs.

Q: What is typically included in administration cost?

A: Examples of costs that Norad generally consider to be Indirect operation Costs (IOC) include: rent and related operating costs (lighting, heating, cleaning, etc.) for the main office; accounting and auditing of the grant recipient’s activities as a whole; salaries for staff in support and management functions who are not employed in the project itself; security measures, bank guarantees and legal assistance not covered by the project; rent and purchase of equipment that us used in day-to-day operations and is not directly linked to the project; communication costs (telephone, postage, banking); printing and copying of general materials for day-to-day operations (not project-related); taxes, fees and charges; normal maintenance costs; office supplies: and ICT services and equipment.

Q: Is there a minimum percentage for partners’ own contribution to supplement Norad’s funding?

A: This grant scheme does not have a funding contribution requirement.

Q: Should potential income increases from project implementation (for instance improved fish processing leading to higher income) be included in the budget?

A: Potential financial gains of the project should not be included in the budget. The budget should include costs of implementing the project only.

Q: Does the budget need to include the cost of audits and mid-term or end-reviews?

A: Costs related to annual audits must be included in the budget, in addition to a mid-term review.

Q: Can funds be used to scale up ongoing initiatives, including projects already funded by Norad?

A: Yes, they can, and funds can be used to co-fund activities funded by other donors, as long as the other donor is not a Norwegian government entity.

6. Regarding the Grants Portal and Application Process

Q: How can I access and work on an application in the Grants Portal?

A: You will find a link to the online Grants Portal on the website. Before you start working on the application, you must be a registered user in the Grants Portal. Information on registration and roles in the portal is available under “Help”, in the Grants Portal. Here you will also find guidelines specifically to “new user” registration in the portal, overview of the portal, and the steps in submitting an application.

Please note that since this is a limited call (by invitation only), you will only be able to find and access the call if you have received the invitation and we have linked the registered user to the call in the Grants Portal.

Q: Can an application be reopened and revised once it is already submitted?

A: The application will be automatically saved while you are working on it. When the application is submitted, you may reopen and revise the application within the deadline. The application must then be resubmitted before the deadline.

Q: How does the evaluation process look like and what criteria will be used for evaluation?

A: The proposals will be evaluated against the criteria outlined in the call for proposals text. We will come back with a more detailed overview of the evaluation process.

Q: What is the timeline of the evaluation and when can organizations expect to hear back?

A: Applicants should know if they have been successful by the end of the year (2021). Organizations that have existing or has previously worked with Norad may hear back sooner due to a shorter processing period.

Q: Is there a standard template for proposal, results framework, and budget?

A: Yes, and these are all available on the website.

Q: I’m having technical difficulties, who should I contact?

A: Please contact

Published 24.06.2021
Last updated 14.07.2021