Free Press Unlimited invites Syrian Civil Society Organisations and Syrian media outlets to jointly submit proposal applications to our ‘Small Grant Fund for Syrian CSO-Media co-production programme’ 2019.

Why this Co-Production Fund? 

While the conflict is not ended in Syria, voices of the Syrians wherever they are affected by the war appear to be heard less, their stories told less and the suffering they have gone through remains greatly unseen. No matter how the political future of Syria will be shaped, wounds of the war will not heal quickly; the past shall not, and can’t be erased easily, and the present is still filled with ambiguity and uncertainty.

Maybe we cannot change that now. 
But we can, at least, tell the stories! 

This Co-Production Fund is simply about helping those who can collect and tell these stories to do so in a powerful, brief and journalistic manner. It is a Co-Production programme because we believe in the inseparable power of the media and civil society. Together, those two parties have the power not only to tell the stories of how the war impacted the lives of millions of Syrians, but also to be a trustworthy and truthful ally of those who were affected by the war. 

What is the Co-Production Fund?

This is not an exchange programme for Syrian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Media Organisations. The ‘Small Grants Fund for Syrian CSO-Media Co-Production programme’ (or Co-Production Fund in short) administered by Free Press Unlimited provides for a joint-production approach among these groups, where the subject matter of potential productions reflects and demonstrates rigorous respect and commitment to human rights and humanitarian principles, while basing all narratives on the voice of Syrians.

Proposed productions can address a range of themes and/or issues in humanitarian, human rights and other connected arenas. We encourage a cross cut focus on ‘stories of people and events that focus on social cohesion through connecting Syrians who are divided by means of geography, political affiliation, economic situation, ethnicity, etc. The formats can extend beyond traditional media formats and include other proposed formats.

Of paramount importance among all matters related to this programme is commitment to effective partnership among CSOs and Media groups that wish to apply for a small grant under this programme. Effective partnership requires engagement of the two partners on all levels of implementation and production.

Learning Process & Lively Partnership 

This Co-Production fund is not only a funding mechanism. By stimulating production energies and expertise on the media part, side by side with the sound insight and analytical capabilities of a Civil Society Organisation, Free Press Unlimited aspires to create an innovative cycle of exchange among Syrian media and CSOs. Free Press Unlimited considers itself not merely a funder but sees its role in this programme as a partner, providing technical expertise to work together with grantees of this programme on content, treatment and specific production matters; separately from the awarded grant (Free Press Unlimited shall fund and hire these experts directly).

Thematic Approach 

The Co-Production Fund is built around themes and issues. Albeit the Free Press Unlimited team has provided an illustrative description of issues and themes that applicants to the Fund may select as the focus of their production programs; those themes and issues are intended to offer only examples, and are not necessarily a compulsory set of issues that the programme intends to address.

All themes and issues proposed under this programme must promote human values within the frame of respect for human rights, equality, inclusion, diversity and pluralism. In addition, themes and issues must offer innovative media content ideas, in various formats, and highlight the impact of the crisis on Syrian people and to hear their voices on social cohesion.

The programme spans over a wide range of issues: from justice, accountability, refugees, livelihood, civic participation, to the issue of unregistered births (for instance) and the return of displaced people. More info on themes and issues can be found in the Annex document.

Who Benefits?

The Co-Production Fund is open to any Syrian media outlets and/or Syrian CSOs that can form partnerships and collaborate to produce media formats on a topic that matters to Syrian audiences. This Fund provides the opportunity to tell stories of great impact and significance to Syrians in the current context of war and suffering.

Branches of international or regional organizations who solely focus on Syria are not excluded. When interested CSO/media outlet is not Syrian in the traditional sense of the word, we kindly ask to contact us before applying.

Applicants are free to select themes and issues that reflect commitment to addressing human rights and humanitarian values in a context that is relevant to Syrian audiences inside Syria or in diaspora.

The fund is open to all Syrian CSOs and Syrian media (radio, tv, print, online) to produce a variety of media productions (writing, photography, audio or video). The jury will assess all applications.

How Much Funding to Expect? 

Awarded project proposals shall receive up to maximum EUR 5,000 for the production costs. In total the fund earmarks around EUR 50,000 for all expected project proposals. 

Criteria and Conditions

  • All applicants must be a Syrian media and/or CSO organisation. Or the target group (audience) of the outlet must be Syrian with news focused on Syria.
  • A media outlet and a CSO must form a consortium to jointly produce a media product.
  • The proposal is in line with the themes, timeline and maximum budget as set out for this Call for Proposals.
  • For the full Eligibility criteria and Conditions, see the Regulations manual.

Proposal Submission Process 

  • Applications (proposal and budget) must be submitted in English using the application form of the Syrian CSO-Media Co-Production Small Grant Fund. This can be downloaded at the bottom of this page, or filled out online.
  • After an initial assessment of eligibility, the Jury will assess all eligible applications within 1 month after the submission deadline. Applications after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Before submitting their application, applicants may contact the Secretariat of the fund via: secretariatSGF[AT] for questions. 
  • Application forms (proposal/budget) can be found on this page. Applicants must send a completed application form, including budget, to the secretariatSGF[AT] Submission of the application may also be done electronically. 
  • For more details on the application process, please see the Regulations manual.

Procedure and assessment

  • Use at least 1 A4 to explain the why and how of your project proposal. The Jury will pay attention to how well-developed the idea is. That does not have to mean lengthy, but it should be 'to-the-point'. Also check the scoring tool that the Jury will apply to assess the quality of your application, which is listed in the Regulations manual
  • No correspondence is possible about the result.
  • There is only one application round per year.
  • Deadlines for submitting applications in 2019 is: 23 June 2019
  • Grants are awarded on 29 June 2019
  • The consortium will need to submit the final media product by 23 September 2019.

The ‘Small Grant Fund for Syrian CSO-Media Co-Production programme’ is financed by Free Press Unlimited with funding from Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). The fund is managed by Free Press Unlimited through the Secretariat of the Small Grant Fund (SGF). You can contact us via secretariatSGF[AT] 

All relevant documents in English and Arabic can be downloaded here. Note: all English texts prevail over Arabic translations that are provided for this Call for Proposals

We look forward to your proposal!

Photo: screenshot from co-production story 2018