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Government crackdown against women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has consistently intensified during 2020. Governments have systematically restricted civic space & shut down organizations, and they’re increasingly …

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CSBR Rights & Resilience Seed Grants: Apply now!

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The CSBR Rights and Resilience seed grants aim to support small scale projects that experiment with alternative ways to organize and advance rights amidst the impacts of COVID-19. We are inviting proposals for projects to be carried out between 1 July – 15 December 2020. Apply using the forms below, by 8 June 2020.


Why this Mechanism?

As a community-led international solidarity network, we wanted to explore how we could co-create a peer-to-peer resourcing mechanism at this moment of unprecedented collective crisis. As CSBR, we could no longer hold our in-person convenings for the year. Yet recognizing the privilege of having these funds, we opted to re-route and focus on providing small pipelines of resources that could support a wider circle of activists to stay connected across contexts, even as national borders close. Through developing a peer-to-peer mechanism, we also want to explore best practices in resource distribution within movements.  

We recognized the need to create space to reflect on what these global shifts mean for our movements, not only during the current pandemic, but also once it has been contained. How can we collectively pause, re-route, exchange experiences, and respond in ways that allow us to maintain and even expand the precious space for our organizing? How can we ensure that our actions now continue to strengthen and center collective care within our organizing?

As we engage with the limits of in-person organizing now, what can we learn from each other’s creativity about how to shift certain practices to create more accessible and inclusive methods to organize and mobilize communities? The CSBR Rights & Resilience Program is therefore not intended simply as a means to distribute funds, but rather a mechanism to strengthen collective capacity, solidarity and movement building support, by and for community. Through the mechanism, we will also have a series of Linking & Learning Events for recipients to come together in virtual forums. These events will support us to learn from each others’ work, build relationships and collectively share in the monitoring, evaluation and learnings (MELs) for the program.

Strategic Focus:

Project proposals must demonstrate how they meet the following criteria: 

  1. Address & challenge the root causes of religious fundamentalisms, and their intersections with rights restrictions for LGBTIQ peoples
  2. Strengthen community-led organizing
  3. Maintain & expand civic space across Muslim societies, including continuing existing programs and campaigns through new methods that can function during movement restriction.
  4. Strengthen & amplify progressive expression and discourses. This includes advancing affirming approaches to freedom of religion or belief, premised on gender equality and respect for SOGIESC diversity.
  5. Support innovative/holistic approaches to advancing rights and resilience, including an attention to community and collective care.

Who can Apply?

We accept proposals from both registered and unregistered groups, with an annual operating budget below 50,000 EUR, who meet the following criteria: 

  • Collectives or organizations led by queer (LGBTIQ) Muslims, based in one of the priority or focal countries
  • Queer-led groups, based in one of the priority or focal countries. Priority will be given to LBQ women, trans and intersex led groups. 
  • Feminist, women’s rights and girl’s rights groups inclusive of LGBTIQ peoples, based in one of the priority or focal countries

What kinds of grants can we apply for?


We are inviting project proposals for either Organizational Grants, or Regional/Collaborative Grants, to be carried out between 1 July – 15 December 2020. Grants can be for a total amount of either 2500 EUR, 6000 EUR, or 10,000 EUR. We are able to provide project funding that will cover the essential costs of designing, implementing and evaluating the small projects. This includes costs as needed for human resources and technology.

Organizational Grants. These proposals can be submitted by organizations or collectives working in one of the priority countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and Yemen. 

Regional/Collaborative Grants: These proposals should demonstrate how they can inform regional strategies, and can be submitted as a partnership with CSBR. They can be submitted by organizations, collectives or networks working in one of the priority countries (above), and/or the focal countries: Algeria, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Turkey. 

What Kinds of Activities Can We Propose? 

Below are examples of activities that could be supported under these grants, which align with the strategic criteria and are based on needs we’ve heard from our peers and programs that are already being developed by network members and allies. These are not intended to limit your proposals, but simply examples of work that we know are needed. Activities could fall under the following broad categories: Knowledge Production; Virtual Networking & Workshops; Strengthening Campaigning & Advocacy;  Mutual Aid & Community Care. 

Knowledge Production. Activities could include: 

  • Research & Analysis on how fundamentalist forces are converging across our contexts. For example, what is the link between religious and economic fundamentalisms, and the impacts of this on government policies to address COVID-19?

  • Research and analysis on how conservative religious forces are undermining community efforts to uphold rights and stop violations (including rising domestic violence, hate crimes, spread of COVID, limited access to essential health services including SRHR)?

  • Publications that challenge traditional assumptions and prejudices against marginalized concepts of gender and sexuality in Muslim societies

  • Documentation of rights-based initiatives that support/advance affirmative and inclusive approaches to faith, sexuality and human rights.

Virtual Networking & Workshops

  • Engaging communities through virtual platforms to come together & stay connected around particular themes. These could be for example, online festivals, online forums for experience exchanges, a lectures series, online workshops–which address the strategic criteria.
  • Experimenting with transferring participatory methodologies from in-person to the virtual sphere. How can we hold what used to be a 5-day in person training, online? Is it possible to create workshops online that still support people to engage in self-reflexive activities, hold space for intimacy, and build relationships?
  • Engaging holistic practitioners to offer a series of virtual psycho-social and body-based support sessions to marginalized communities 
  • Creating and producing a 10-episode thematic podcast

Strengthening Campaigning and Advocacy on laws and policies

  • Organizing virtual workshop series on how to engage with UN mechanisms and high level political processes, even amidst COVID-19 related restrictions

  • Documentation, webinars and social campaigning advocating against the stigmatization of patients and increased risks for marginalized communities due to COVID-19, including LGBTIQ peoples, sex workers, street youth, people living with disabilities, people living with HIV, migrants, etc.

  • Creating common platforms for women, girls and LGBTI defenders to learn from each others’ successful campaigns to ensure governments provide essential services, safeguard human rights & ensure environmental protections during COVID-19 and beyond.

  • Writing a series of op-eds and articles to be published in the mainstream media on a particular campaign issues

  • Arts-based campaigning through online mediums

Mutual Aid and Community Care 

  • Developing Resource Guides to support communities in building mutual aid circles. E.g. how can we build community responses that lessen the trend towards surveillance and policing in response to COVID-19 and beyond?

  • Designing community support systems to break isolation, address mental health challenges, keep people socially connected, and accessing essential needs (food, medicines, health services)

  • Operating hotlines for information and resource support, to address GBV, CSE, SRHR and access to other essential health services

  • Outreach to communities you’ve not previously reached, in order to strengthen cross-movement organizing. For e.g. building networks and engaging with professionals from a variety of sectors (e.g. social workers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, etc.), who can bring the learnings, experiences and information back to a wider audience

Timeline for Submissions & Review: 

Please submit your project proposals by 8 June 2020, by filling out the Proposal Form below, and email the completed form to: coordinator@csbronline.org.

If you have any security concerns about submitting the proposal form over email, please get in touch with us so we can discuss alternate ways to receive your proposal.

Review by CSBR’s Selection Committee will be completed by 26 June 2020. Expected start dates should therefore not be before 1 July  2020.

We expect grants to be distributed by the end of July 2020.

Download the Proposal Form – English

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Languages for Submission

We are accepting proposals in English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, and Turkish.

Read the call in Bahasa Indonesia, and download the Bahasa Indonesia Proposal Form

Read the call in Arabic, and download the Arabic Proposal Form

Read the call in Turkish, and download the Turkish Proposal Form

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