BMAP FORWARD Joint Advocacy Grants

31.10.2023. / 18:06

Publication Date:  October 31, 2023
Grant amount: up to $10,000.00
Duration: 3-9 months 
Deadline for Applications: December 15, 2023
Expected implementation start Date: January 2024

The Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness While Advancing Resilient Development (BMAP Forward), funded by USAID and implemented by Internews as a part of the PROGRESS Human Rights Support Mechanism, is opening a call for Joint Advocacy 
The deadline for submission of applications within this call is December 15, 2023.               

About this Call

As Western Balkan countries orient themselves toward EU integration, they require an ongoing social transformation in democratization, strengthening the rule of law and freedom of expression and combatting gender-based violence. 

The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the progress toward reforms in Western Balkans countries, which were already struggling to strengthen democratic institutions, enshrine the rule of law and protect media freedom. Now, in 2023. as we witness the shrinking space for civic organizations and media, our mission is to work alongside professionals in the region to create a safe and healthy information space through collaboration. 

USAID’s BMAP Forward project is offering a grant pool for media organizations, media industry associations and Civil Society Organizations based in the five Western Balkan countries to establish regional cooperation or support regional advocacy initiatives that address shared problems impacting independent media. 

The first topics covered under this grant pool will be related to the legal and operating environment for independent media, including issues of safety and security and media freedom. In its quest to create an enabling media environment, BMAP Forward welcomes project ideas that will advocate for the protection of journalists (especially female journalists) and reduction of legal restrictions on media in the region. 

Advocacy is crucial to raise awareness and provide direct responses to threats to media safety and freedom, building upon monitoring and analysis of evolving trends. It can take the form of direct advocacy, advocacy missions on the ground and awareness-raising campaigns, whereby all activities mutually enrich each other.

The projects may include advocacy activities related to topics as follows:

  • Strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPPs);
  • New media and media-related legislation in the Western Balkans;
  • Research, media monitoring, monitoring of the work of regulatory bodies and functioning of the legal framework;
  • Improvement of conditions for safety of journalists;
  • Research, monitoring, reporting, writing policy recommendations to address coverage of gender-based violence in the media and/or the safety of female journalists;
  • Developing and/or effectuating early warning mechanisms;
  • Strengthening media integrity.

Who is Eligible? 

The fund for Joint Advocacy Grants is open for collaborations of two or more media organizations, media industry associations and Civil Society Organizations based in the five Western Balkan BMAP Forward countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), including BMAP Forward Key Media Partners eager to create joint initiative and come up with advocacy ideas. 

The fund is available for cross-border collaborations of registered entities.

About the Grant

  • Grant amount: cost-reimbursable grants, each in the maximum amount of $10,000.
  • Grant duration: 3-9 months.

What Costs Can the Fund Cover?

These grants will cover costs of labor, services, materials, and supplies needed for project implementation. All proposed budgets will undergo a detailed review process by Internews staff prior to approval.

Examples of eligible costs under this grant call: 

-    Time of staff members/consultants working on the proposed project
-    Applicable fringe benefits (income tax, health insurance)
-    Materials and supplies needed to complete the project
-    Services needed to complete the project 
-    Local and cross-border travel associated with project implementation. 

Indirect costs (those necessary for running the organization but which are not directly tied to the activities proposed in the project application) may be eligible for reimbursement. Applicants may dedicate 10% of their budget to covering indirect costs. 

USAID’s BMAP Forward staff will work with applicants whose proposals are selected for grants to determine the exact eligible costs. 

These costs are NOT eligible under this grant call:

-    Capital expenditures 
-    Scholarships and fellowships
-    Meal allowances for trainers, trainees, consultants, contactors, experts, etc. They are only available to direct employees of the applicant
-    Registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training programs
-    International travel
-    Construction

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated on a range of selection criteria as follows:

-    Quality and relevance of the proposed idea (30%)
-    Feasibility of the proposed idea (20%)
-    Impact and sustainability (30%)
-    Budget reasonability (10%)
-    Clarity of Budget (10%)

How to Apply

This subaward will have one Lead applicant and one or two other partner organizations, who will form a project team together. The application will be completed by the Lead applicant, with a clear division of activities to be implemented by each project team member.  

All applications must meet the following requirements:

-    Each Lead Applicant shall nominate one or more partner organizations and design a project jointly. Roles and responsibilities should reflect division of work assignments and administration.
-    The application should include: a description of the project, a plan detailing which partner(s) will be responsible for what and how the partnership will work, expected outputs from each member of the project team, and expected results of the collaboration as a whole. 
-    The Lead Applicant should submit a proposed overall project budget (up to $10,000), including detailed budgets for each partner. No equipment (individual items over $5,000) will be allowed under this Call. 
-    The Lead Applicant will submit the official application to Internews and lead project communication. 
-    Work of a project partner should be budgeted separately, but all submitted budgets cannot exceed the total amount of $ 10,000. We advise that partners sign an agreement or memorandum of understanding, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and outputs for each partner. 
-    Applications, including supporting documents, should be submitted in English.
-    All applications must be submitted by December 15, 2023at 17:00 CET time. 
-    All applications must be completed and submitted in the designated Application Form provided by BMAP Forward team.
-    A detailed budgets must be included, using the provided Budget template (Annex 1). Any applications submitted without using the designated budget template will be disqualified.  
-    Applicants must be registered in one of the five (5) Balkan countries eligible for this call. Please send scanned registration certificate as Annex 2. Legal entities must submit a portfolio of previous relevant work (links) will also be required. 
-    Applications and supporting documents must be submitted through the platform. Please see this link.

Technical difficulties with submission through the platform will not be considered an acceptable reason for late submission of the application. We recommended that you submit application well before the deadline so that you can troubleshoot any issues and ask questions if you are having difficulty submitting through the web platform. Applications submitted via e-mail will not be considered except in exceptional circumstances with the written permission of the Internews grants staff. 


All questions regarding this grant call should be directed via email to with the subject “Inquiry on BMAP Forward Joint Advocacy Grants.” Our team will try to help you in shaping the best idea and polishing the administrative side of the application. We will not accept inquiries via phone.                     

Reporting on Use of the Grant

Awardees are required to submit periodic and final programmatic and financial reports. Narrative and financial reports will be submitted at least twice over the life of selected projects, but the
frequency and type of reporting will depend on duration of selected projects. All reports will be submitted in English language. 


1.    Subgrant Application Template
2.    Subgrant Detailed Budget Template (for each project team member)


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