The aim of the programme is to enable discussion and understanding outside the realm of politics and across national borders. Over the past seven years, more than 3500 project ideas have been submitted, and around 1100 projects with a total volume of some 77 million euros have been implemented by numerous civil-society organisations. (September 2020)

Through the programme, the German Government funds projects between the German civil society and civil societies in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) and Russia, France and Poland. This spans the entire range of cultural and civic education projects – with a focus on media, academia, education including vocational training, culture, language and work with young people.

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German Foreign Office Website on this programme

Detailed information on the Foreign Office Programme (PDF)

…Who are civil society actors that are eligible for funding?

The actors involved in the projects to be funded must …

  • … come from the field of civil society in Germany, possibly France or Poland, and the Eastern Partnership countries or Russia
  • … come from the target group of the measures (see below)
  • … be from outside the field of governance

What are the aims for the projects being funded?

Establishing and furthering pluralism of
information, opinion and the media

Strengthening pluralism

The focus here is on media projects. Funding will be provided to projects that serve to establish and further a pluralist media landscape. Particular consideration will be given to projects which seek to build up society’s resilience against unreliable and false information by strengthening and training media actors and improving access to high-quality, pluralist (local) media.

Strengthening values through civil-
society dialogue and cultural measures

Promoting the discussion of values

Exchange and cultural projects can be funded under this goal in particular. An honest dialogue on similarities, but also on differences, is the basis of both internal integration processes and national partnerships. Such dialogue always takes place where people meet, talk and cooperate. Exchange on fundamental values, such as respect for human rights, as well as the principle of majority decision, are particularly important in times of political tensions.

Academic, professional and socio-
political training and further training measures

Opening up prospects for the future

The focus here is on training and further training projects (capacity-building). Everyone, particularly young people, fundamentally needs to have prospects for their own economic, societal and social progress and to be able to see chances for themselves. Training and further training are the foundations on which all people build their personal dreams and prospects for the future. The target group is primarily, but not exclusively, young people.

Rebuilding trust lost as a result of
territorial conflicts

Fostering dialogue and understanding

The focus here is on measures which aim to restore trust between societies affected by unresolved territorial conflicts. Projects that use cultural and educational instruments with the aim of restoring dialogue, rebuilding understanding between groups affected by territorial conflicts, and restoring lost trust, are therefore eligible for funding.

Where must the projects be located?

Civil-society cooperation projects are eligible for funding if they take place in Germany, Russia or the Eastern Partnership countries as well as Poland and France. The Eastern Partnership countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Participants who receive funding should have their main place of residence in one of the Eastern Partnership countries, Russia, Germany or possibly France or Poland (in the case of Franco-German or Franco-Polish projects). Projects that involve cooperation between civil-society actors from Germany and one (bilateral projects) or several (transnational projects) of the Eastern Partnership countries or Russia are eligible for funding.

When do the projects have to take place?

The funding in question is project funding. This means it is subject to the principle of an annual budget. As a result, the projects should be concluded over the course of a year, that is, by December 31st. In justified cases, however, the Federal Foreign Office can deviate to a certain extent from this principle and also approve projects that run into the next calendar year. The prerequisite for this is that the project absolutely needs to run into a new calendar year or to be longer than 12months in order to achieve the political aims being pursued.

When can a project start?

Funding can only be granted if the project has not started before the date of the funding decision. But it is possible to apply at the same time to the Federal Foreign Office for permission for the measures to start earlier.

The German Federal Foreign Office

The Federal Foreign Office promotes international exchange and offers protection and assistance to Germans abroad. With its offices in Berlin and Bonn and a network of around 230 missions abroad, the Federal Foreign Office maintains Germany’s relations with other countries as well as with international and supra-national organisations.

This work concerns much more than just political contacts among governments and parliaments. Because Germany and German society are enmeshed in ever-growing international networks, the Federal Foreign Office promotes intensive interaction and exchange with the world in the fields of business, culture, science and technology, the environment, development issues and many more areas.

Today, many of the world’s challenges can no longer be met by individual countries and must instead be tackled in concert with numerous international partners. Such challenges include regional conflicts, terrorist threats, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the violation of human rights.

German Foreign Office Website

German Foreign Office Website on this programme