Rights of minorities of faith and belief

The objective of this funding scheme is strengthening the rights of minorities of faith and belief, and countering discrimination based on faith or belief.

The application deadline is 1 October. Norad’s application form must be used. The funding is subject to annual budget allocations.

Norad’s requirements are strict with respect to the applicants’ local knowledge, their professional competence, financial control, results, cost effectiveness and value added.

The freedom of religion and belief entitles all people to manifest their faith, alone or in the company of others, in public or private. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or belief, to challenge other people’s faith and to have no religion or faith. The freedom of religion and belief is closely associated with the freedom of speech, the right to a private life and the freedom of assembly and the freedom of association.
Even established democracies suffer the problem of violence, intolerance and discrimination based on religious affinity and belief. Most frequently, religious minorities experience restrictions on their freedom of religion or belief as they encounter the religion of the majority. This also applies for minorities within the majority religions.

In some countries the majority population is discriminated against by the ruling minority. The situation may also involve the abuse of people’s freedom of religion and belief as a means of restricting or eliminating the rights of private individuals, for example by practices oppressing women, or when government agencies justify otherwise illegal initiatives by referring to the freedom of religion and belief.
This grant scheme is intended for civil society organisations in order to support the freedom of religion and belief, with particular emphasis on religious minorities. Improving the situation for religious and faith-based minorities requires long-term attitude changing work as well as the involvement of religious organisations and faith-based groups.

Overall objectives

  • Strengthening the rights of minority faith and belief groups.
  • Fighting discrimination based on faith and belief.

Examples of eligible initiatives include advocacy work focusing on local and central government agencies and/or private companies, as well as initiatives that contribute to building bridges between different groups and the initiation of dialogue.

Service delivery, the building of infrastructure, and profit-making initiatives will not normally receive funding under this grant scheme.

Who can apply for assistance?

This funding stream is intended for Norwegian and international non-governmental organisations that form part of civil society. INGOs must have members (in the form of organisations, countries or board members) from at least two countries, and project implementation must take place in at least two countries.
Civil society is considered an arena which is separate from the family, the public sector and the market, where individuals join forces on a voluntary basis in order to promote their own or other people’s interests and rights.

Examples of eligible applicants include voluntary organisations, networking organisations, trade unions, religious organisations and sports organisations.
Non-eligible actors include UN organisations, public sector organisations, commercial organisations, consultancies and private individuals.

Application requirements

Organisations may apply for agreements of one to four years’ duration. The applicant must have an overall plan that sets out the reasons for thematic and geographic priorities. Norad does not normally grant support for pilot projects.

Projects and programmes of a certain size are normally prioritised, and Norad expects to see clear evidence of cost effectiveness. Norad also expects that the organisation’s structure and governance have a setup that ensures that funds are appropriately managed.

The application will be considered by Norad in accordance with the criteria described under RAM Light, although no scores are allocated under this grant scheme. This means that applicant organisations will be assessed with regard to, inter alia, financial solidity, the quality and realism of their project plan, and their result track record.

Applications that fail to meet the formal requirements or do not include mandatory enclosures, and applications that are submitted after the application deadline of 1 October 2016, will be outright rejected and will not be considered on their merits.

Requirements for all applicants

  • The applicant must be an independent legal entity with its own articles of association and an executive board.

  • The applicant's board must be administratively autonomous from the organization’s day-to-day operations in order to safeguard the independent control function of the board. 

  • The applicant must be financially sustainable, and not rely solely on public funding. 

  • The applicant must have the necessary specialist and administrative competence to implement the project/s. 

  • The applicant must have a strategy for its work in developing countries. 

  • The applicant must have an established collaboration with, or itself be, a civil society actor in the country in which the project is implemented. 

  • The applicant must deliver a performance framework that lists objectives, indicators, targets and baselines as part of the application. There must be a monitoring plan. 

  • The applicant must confirm that it has drawn up ethical guidelines for its activities. As a minimum, the ethical guidelines must comply with the criteria in the guide regarding ethical guidelines for Norad's grant recipients. 

  • The applicant must confirm that it has performed adequate security assessments for its workers in connection with foreign postings, and has implemented the necessary projects for areas such as training, own guidelines, insurance and equipment. 

  • The applicant must have adequate funds to cover at least 10 per cent of the expenses associated with the project unless an exception is specified in the announcement. The value of assets or work cannot be calculated as a share of this requirement.


Published 02.04.2013
Last updated 25.08.2017