Type of Funding





The Swedish Institute’s Creative Force programme is inviting applications for the 2020 funding for both seed and collaborative projects involving Swedish organisations and their partners in eligible target countries in the 3 geographical regions of 1) Africa and Middle East & North Africa (MENA) 2) Eastern Europe & Turkey and 3) Northwestern Russia that work through media or the arts to strengthen democracy, human rights and freedom of expression.

The Creative Force programme is a funding programme for international projects. The 2 types of grants offered are:

  • Seed Funding for small projects or for preparing for larger projects for which for which applicants plan to seek funding.
  • Collaborative Projects, which are larger projects which should involve knowledge exchange or best practice exchange between partners and should offer opportunities for developing new methods or techniques. The project should have sustainable goals, which means that the methods and results of the project should continue to have an effect after the project has finished.

The target group of applicants’ project should be agents of change and opinion makers in the target country. These should work through the arts or the media to help strengthen democracy, human rights and freedom of expression. Examples of Creative Force target groups are cultural workers and journalists; other representatives of media organisations; human rights defenders; women’s rights groups, youth organisations; others who work to achieve positive change in society.

Final beneficiaries should be groups and/or individuals in the target countries who are directly and positively affected by the project, such as women, children and youth as well as minority groups in especially vulnerable positions such as LGBTQ individuals or people with disabilities.


Seed Funding: up to SEK 100,000 for an initiative which must be completed within 12 months of funding being granted (30 April 2021 at latest). It is recommended one applies for seed funding before applying for a grant for a collaborative project. This is particularly important if this is the applicant’s first application to Creative Force or if the applicant wants to work with a new international partner.

Collaborative Projects: up to SEK 500,000 per 12-month period. A project may last 24 months at most from funding being granted. In other words, maximum funding is SEK 1 million. Twelve-month projects must be completed by 30 April 2021 at the  latest, 24-month projects by 30 April 2022.


Applicants may be any type of organisation which is registered in Sweden for at least 1 year (for seed funding) or 2 years (for collaborative projects). Applications have to be done jointly with a partner organisation in 1 (or more) of the Creative Force target countries in the 3 regions, namely:

  • Africa and Middle East & North Africa (MENA): Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen.
  • Eastern Europe & Turkey: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine and Turkey.
  • Russia: Northwestern Russia.

Projects should normally take place entirely in the target country or in both Sweden and the target country. Applicants must aim to communicate, influence opinion and encourage a dialogue about the issues which the project works with.

Eligibility of projects depends on whether the project:

  • Uses media or the arts as a means to strengthen democracy, freedom of expression and human rights in the target countries;
  • Fulfills the specific Creative Force programme objectives for the countries applicants want to work with;
  • Is based on an exchange of knowledge or best practice between partners. This can be achieved, for example, by means of training courses or similar opportunities where participants work together to develop new methods or technologies;
  • Targets agents of change in the partner countries who want to learn new skills or use new technologies to help them in their efforts to bring about change; and
  • The project’s achievements will continue to spread and have an impact after the project has finished.

For projects applied for in the Creative Force Africa and MENA region, the projects must specifically contribute to 1 or more of the following Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

For projects applied for in the Creative Force Eastern Europe & Turkey region, projects must specifically contribute to 1 or more of the following programme objectives:

  • A more pluralistic civil society.
  • Improved conditions for democratic accountability to the people.
  • Freer and more independent media.
  • Stronger rights and greater respect for/recognition of vulnerable groups such as children and LGBTQ persons as well as ethnic and religious minorities.
  • Greater awareness and reduced levels of discrimination and intolerance.
  • Women and men increasingly have equal power to shape society and their own lives.

For projects applied for in the Creative Force Russia region, the projects must specifically contribute to 1 or more of the following programme objectives:

  • Greater opportunities for democratic involvement on the part of citizens.
  • Enhanced capacity among drivers of change and civil society to promote democracy, human rights and non-discrimination.
  • Mass media with strengthened capacity to promote transparency and public dialogue.
  • Women and men increasingly have the same power to shape society and their own lives.
  • Increased environmental awareness and responsibility, primarily among civil society actors.


Applications are to be done online by 30 January 2020.

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