Thursday, July 30, 2020
Free Press Unlimited invites Syrian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and media outlets to submit expressions of interest to participate in our 2020 Small Grant Fund for Syrian CSO-Media Co-Production.

Why this Co-Production Fund? 

This initiative is about helping Syrian CSOs and media ensure that Syria is not forgotten. It focuses on collaboration and joint production because we believe in the inseparable power of media and civil society. Together, these two parties have the power to tell the stories of how war impacted millions of Syrians, but also to be a trustworthy ally of those affected by the war. 

What is the Co-Production Fund?

The Co-Production Fund is an opportunity for Syrian CSOs and media (organisations and individuals with sufficient capacity) to expand their networks and collaborate on producing impactful media outputs that spotlight Syrians’ challenges and advocate for solutions.

Participating CSOs will be given the opportunity to showcase their work and propose topics for media coverage. Media practitioners will be able to display their journalistic skills to a wider audience and benefit from the CSOs’ research and advocacy. Free Press Unlimited will support this with a grant for successful applicants and coaching by world-class experts.

We encourage topics related to people and events that focus on social cohesion, through connecting Syrians divided by geography, political/ ethnic/ religious affiliation, socio-economic situation etc.

CSOs should partner with a media organisation of their choice and apply as the lead applicant. We ask that applicants who participated in last year’s programme do not partner with the same media outlet. Commitment to forming new relationships and effective partnerships is essential to participation in this programme. This requires both parties to engage on all levels of implementation and production.

Thematic Approach 

While Free Press Unlimited has set the overarching theme of the production, CSO applicants will propose topics of greatest relevance to Syrian audiences, and in which the organisations have relevant expertise. All topics proposed by CSOs must promote respect for human rights, equality, inclusion, diversity, and pluralism. Media practitioners must have the capacity to produce innovative content ideas, in various formats, and be committed to promoting social cohesion. 

CSOs could put forward issues such as, but not limited to: Justice, accountability, displacement, livelihood, civic participation, food security, or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chosen topics should reflect commitment to human rights and humanitarian values in a way that is relevant to Syrians inside Syria, or the diaspora.

(See Annexe for suggested topics).

Who Benefits?

The Co-Production Fund is open to any Syrian media outlets or freelance journalist (radio, tv, print, online) and Syrian CSOs that are prepared to form meaningful partnerships and collaborate on media production. 

Syrian organisations registered nationally, regionally, or internationally, are welcomed to apply. Free Press Unlimited’s jury will assess all applications, proposals and final outputs. 

How Much Funding to Expect? 

Selected joint projects will receive a maximum of EUR 5,000 to cover production costs. 

Criteria and Conditions

  • All applicants must be Syrian media or CSO organisations. 
  • All applicants must prove reasonable capacity, recent activity, impact, and on-the-ground presence.

Expression of Interest Process 

Expressions of interest can be submitted in English or Arabic, using the online application form at the bottom of the page or by downloading this document and send to secretariatcpf [AT]

After an initial assessment of eligibility. Applications after the deadline will not be considered. Applicants may contact Free Press Unlimited with questions on secretariatcpf [AT] 

Procedure and assessment

  • In the expression of interest, applicants should make clear their capacity, previous work, and current on-the-ground presence. CSOs must be able to prove expertise in their proposed topics. Only those satisfying these criteria will be selected.
  • The lead partner (CSO) should specify their partner media outlet and be able to work in a sustainable partnership. 
  • Successful applicants will work on proposals, with support from FPU’s coaches, who will also guide them throughout the production process.
  • Final outputs must match the original proposal.
  • No correspondence disputing the result will be permitted.
  • Deadlines for expressions of interest is 6 August 2020.
  • Joint proposals must be submitted by 24 August, organisations failing to meet this deadline cannot participate. 
  • Successful proposals will be awarded the first grant instalment by 31 August and work on the production then must start immediately.
  • Final outputs must be submitted by 30 September for judges’ assessment. Participants failing to meet this deadline, except in the case of exceptional circumstances will be disqualified. The winner will be announced by 19 October.


The grant 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 CPF Secretariat. You may contact us via secretariatcpf [AT] 

All relevant documents in English and Arabic can be downloaded here

Photo: screenshot from co-production story 2018