Call for bids, Sri Lanka: promoting and upholding civic freedoms 2023

The British High Commission in Colombo is inviting Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to bid for grant funding to deliver work that will defend and promote human rights in Sri Lanka.

Objectives and priority themes

The British High Commission (BHC) welcomes proposals that will focus on at least one of the following themes. There is no requirement for projects to work on more than one theme.

Strengthening civil society working towards defending human rights

Suggested activities could include (but are not limited to):

  • initiatives to enhance the capacity, including technical and legal expertise, of CSOs and human rights defenders who advocate for, report on, and work towards the protection of human rights and accountability for violations
  • formulating advocacy and public awareness tools to share analyses and recommendations on emblematic human rights issues with key stakeholders
  • initiatives to boost collaborative and coordinated advocacy, including between and within grassroots, regional and Colombo-based organisations

Creating space for memorialisation

Suggested activities could include (but are not limited to):

  • targeted interventions to facilitate dialogue among key stakeholders on the importance of creating space for memorialisation
  • initiatives to document, archive and share memory and oral history relating to politically turbulent periods
  • creating public awareness tools on the significance of memorialisation towards achieving reconciliation and transitional justice

The BHC particularly welcomes proposals which:

  • enhance the capacity of CSOs to work towards effectively responding to incidents of human rights violations
  • result in increased understanding and awareness among key stakeholders around longstanding and contemporary human rights issues
  • are mindful of cross-cutting themes such as conflict-sensitivity, gender equality and environment
  • demonstrate scalability and sustainability

Delivery mechanisms

Suppliers should consider the best delivery mechanism to meet needs. Suppliers may want to consider capacity building (direct, or through ‘train the trainer’ models) alongside more creative mechanisms such as support to peer-to-peer networks or sector initiatives, creating meaningful dialogue among key stakeholders, and creating relevant products/resources (eg: technical ‘tool kits’).


The successful implementer should be able to commence work from September 2023 and complete all project activity by March 2024 (subject to final funding decisions).


We anticipate budget provision of up to £55,000 GBP. Proposals with multiple implementing partners should be submitted under one lead contractor. We are unable to support contingency, miscellaneous, small grants, or per diem costs. Admin costs must not exceed 10%.

Projects should aim to achieve 85% spend by 31 December 2023 and activities should be avoided in the final month of the project. Activity Based Budgets should reflect this where possible. However, we recognise this may not be possible with a short implementation period and will try to be flexible as far as is possible.

Bidding guidance

This is open to registered community and civil society organisations.

We are looking to fund one project that addresses the core issues set out above.

The evaluation will select only one Supplier. However, joint bids from consortia with one lead partner will also be considered.

The Suppliers are free to choose who they partner with and where they wish to work in order to deliver the best outcomes.

Bidders must provide a broad indication of proposed activities to be delivered, anticipated outcomes, and sustainability approaches. Bidders should factor in risks and mitigation plans.

Bidders must deliver all project activity before 31st March 2024.

Proposals should not be crafted to reach the budget ceiling, but to specifically meet the objectives in pursuit of demonstrable impact and value for money. Read the UK’s value for money guidance (PDF, 556 KB).

The selected Supplier will be expected to work constructively with a wider group of stakeholders in order to achieve the objectives of this project.

All successful implementers will sign a standard FCDO grant agreement. The terms of the contract or agreement are not negotiable.

Application process

Proposals must be submitted using the forms listed in the documentation section.

Bidders must submit documents in standard Microsoft Office formats, font type Arial and font size 12.

Proposals must be submitted to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) with the subject line “Call for proposals: promoting and upholding civic freedoms 2023”.

The deadline for submitting project proposals is 27 August 2023. Late proposals will not be considered. E-mails larger than 10MB are blocked.

The selected bidder/s will need to undergo a Due Diligence Assessment.

The High Commission aims to inform bidders of the outcome of their project proposals by mid-September 2023. We will not be able to provide feedback on unsuccessful bids.


You must include the following documents with your submission:

  • project proposal. Read proposal guidance
  • Activity Based Budget
  • one-pager detailing the implementer’s experience working in this field and track record
  • project proposal part A should not exceed 25 pages
  • bids must be in English
  • complete a separate equipment purchase supporting letter if the purchase of assets is essential for achieving the project outputs and impact
  • digital development costs in excess of £10,000 for “any external-facing service provided through the internet to citizens, businesses, and civil society or non-government organisations” has to be submitted separately using the digital spend proposal form and be approved by FCDO

Question and answer session

British High Commission in Colombo will hold an online meeting via Microsoft Teams on Thursday, 10 August 2023 at 12pm (IST) to answer questions on the call for proposals.

To join the meeting on Thursday, 10 August 2023 at 12pm (IST), let us know your interest to participate by sending an email to [email protected] before 9 August 2023.


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