Grants for Creative Expression for youth, Hivos

Resource Of Open Minds (ROOM) – Creative Expression in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – Call for Concepts (youth ages 15-35 or entities that serve them), Hivos

Hivos is seeking concept notes from artistic collectives, creative hubs and groups of content creators working on creative and cultural content production in East Africa. The funding support is geared towards supporting independent content production as a way of contributing to more independent, self-sufficient initiatives that reach larger audiences. This open call is directed at initiatives currently based in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Besides artistic imagination, the production of audio-visual, independent and conscious work that challenges or questions norms in society will be an important factor in the awarding of grants

About Hivos’ initiative on freedom of expression and the creative sector

Freedom of expression is the main measure of openness in a society, but globally, the space for free expression is dwindling. Resistance to this development is led by young frontrunners: artists, musicians, hacktivists, vloggers, writers etc. As these ‘young makers’ challenge the perspectives of older generations, they can break through the hegemonic structures in society.

In May 2017, Hivos launched its new strategy which supports makers contribution to diversification of dialogue, debate and dissent in their societies. We do this by supporting young makers like artists, designers, film makers, vloggers, men and women, who create independent cultural and media productions, which are diverse in their identities, mediums, content, channels and audiences.

Hivos wants to create a professional environment for makers, and a playground for them to experiment in. To achieve this goal, we have formulated the following short-term objectives/outputs:

  1. Creative hubs provide makers with tools, services and a community of peers.
  2. Training providers offer makers effective professional skills development training.
  3. Effective financial mechanisms are in place to support makers.
  4. Makers have been provided with the means for experimentation.

With this programme we not only provide young makers’ with the means to produce critical art and media productions, and support the creative hubs that offer them a safe work environment and meeting ground, but also hope to make a positive contribution to countering the shrinking freedom of expression in societies that have no ear for or acceptance of critical voices.

What is our target group? …

a) Young makers, men and women

b) Creative Hubs (or: communities)

a) Young makers, men and women
Makers in our programme are young people between 15 and 35, creating culture and media productions and (interested in) contributing to critical dialogue, challenging and examining the status quo, hegemonic power in society and show alternative perspectives and points of view. Makers could be: artists, designers, film makers, vloggers, comedians, comic writers, musicians etc. Preferably makers provide access to content and information literacy in provincial cities and periphery-urban areas, their work has an audio-visual and digital component and is interdisciplinary.

b) Creative Hubs (or: communities)
Diverse communities and networks of young makers: physical and virtual spaces in which makers can safely work, collaborate, and produce critical content. Entities could be: studios, cafés, production houses, networks, platforms, collectives, libraries, and makerspaces.

Eligibility Criteria for Applicants.

This call is primarily directed to:
A. Entities that are or are representing communities of creative and cultural producers engaged in audio-visual content creation such as: creative spaces, groups of artists, music studios, hubs, cafés, art spaces, art galleries, independent production houses, networks of artists and producers, online platforms, collectives, co-working spaces focusing on the creative industry.
B. Entities working with content producers that are using audio-visuals as an approach to dissemination and communication in one or more of the following disciplines:

●  Graphic Design

●  Fashion Design

●  Comics / Cartoons

●  Animation

●  Poetry / Slam poetry / Spoken

●  Storytelling

●  Music

●  Rap/Hiphop

●  DJ-ing

●  VJ-ing

●  Radio shows/ Radio Series/

 TV show / TV series/ Online channels

 Short film / video

 Feature film / Documentary


Visual Art (Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Digital Art)

 Sculpture (objects)

 Mixed media installations

 Performance Virtual reality


 Other (specify)

C. Entities making use of digital means to strategically distribute their content to their audiences. (e.g. through online channels such as youtube, spotify etc.)
D. Entities producing content/work that aims to show alternative viewpoints on big issues affecting society that challenges or question certain norms in society. This content/work should enhance public debate through enabling alternative viewpoints to mainstream societal narratives. This type of work is often called socially engaged work or conscious work.

F. Eligible countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

G. The requested amount should not exceed 25.000EUR over a three (3) to 12 months period

2. Review and Selection Process:

The following are the steps that will be undertaken by Hivos to review the concept notes and determine the awarding of grants:
Step 1: Submission of concept notes; Deadline Wednesday 15th November 2017
Step 2: Review and selection of received concept notes by a Hivos grants selection committee: Monday 20th November 2017. (Successful applications will be invited for pitching interview)

Step 3: Proposal pitching interview with grants selection committee (Grant recipients will be notified shortly after) 23rd to 27th November 2017
Step 4: Capacity assessments of selected applicants on organizational and financial eligibility;

Step 4: Co-creation process with Hivos team of the final proposal/ activities Step 5: Contracting: December

3. Format of Concept Notes

Applications are accepted in English
The Proposals must be no more than 4 pages with the following sections:

  • a)  Name of the entity, focus country/countries and representative that will sign the agreement if the grant is awarded
  • b)  Start and estimated end date of the project
  • c)  The requested amount (In EUR)
  • d)  Short description of your work/ practice and the mission of your organization
  • e)  One (1) example of a previous creative work that was produced by you or one of
    the members of your organization that provides alternative points of view on big issues affecting society and that challenges or questions a certain norm in society.
  • f)  Briefly describe the activities that will be undertaken using this grant. Try to be as concrete as possible and describe how the project is challenging norms in society.
  • g)  Brief outline of proposed activities, including a simple schedule, time frame or step to step list

4. Deadline and other requirements

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 17.00 East African Time (EAT) (UTC+3)
Applicants must ensure that their concept notes are in word or pdf format and that they are allsentbyemailwiththeSubjectlineCreativeExpressionEACALL2017/2018 tothe following email address:

About Hivos

Hivos ( is an international development organisation guided by humanist values. Together with local partners, we aim to contribute to a free, fair and sustainable world. A world in which all citizens, women and men, have equal rights and access to opportunities and resources for development and can participate actively and equally in decision-making processes that determine their lives, their society and their future, throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

We believe that free exchange of information, space for expression, and opportunities for the active participation of citizens are essential conditions for the development of a democratic society. Hivos was one of the first international NGOs that started working on the theme of ICT for Development and has been an international frontrunner ever since. Recognizing the potential of young people (15-35) as key drivers for free expression in the 21st century, we have been able to identify and build relationships with a new generation of change agents for free expression within our unique global network in the field of culture and media. As digital natives, they explore and appropriate opportunities to develop new cultural and media content, thus contributing to a more thriving and dynamic cultural and media sector, engaging new audiences and contributing to diversification of dialogue, debate and dissent in society.

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