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#SOSAfricanHeritage 2021: Call for Project Proposals

Wednesday, 2 June 2021 at 11:00
access_time 7 min read
Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela (Ethiopia) © Shutterstock / Wit R

The German Commission for UNESCO herewith invites UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Africa to submit proposals for projects that help them to overcome an existing impairment caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. Up to 20,000 Euro financial support will be provided to selected projects.

By providing financial and technical support to UNESCO World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves in Africa, the German Commission for UNESCO aims at helping to maintain independent and sustainable organizational structures, strengthen the involvement and participation of civil society and local communities and to protect the uniqueness of the sites. The funding is also designated to secure activities focusing on education for sustainable development, global citizenship education and cultural diversity.

In 2020, the German Commission for UNESCO had already supported 22 UNESCO sites in Africa through the first round of #SOSAfricanHeritage. Given its great response and impact, the support programme is continued through this Call for Project Proposals.

With #SOSAfricanHeritage 2021, the German Commission for UNESCO continues to contribute to a relief fund of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut which responds to the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on cultural and educational organizations in countries where both sectors have no or very little alternative means of support.

In 2021, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO contributes additional funding to #SOSAfricanHeritage 2021 to increase its outreach. This funding will be prioritized for Biosphere Reserves.

The German Commission for UNESCO welcomes applications from all UNESCO World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves in Africa. Sites that already received funding in 2020 are invited to reapply with a follow-up project or newly designed project. Sites that already applied in 2020 and did not receive funding are equally encouraged to reapply.

How to apply?

The deadline for submission is 18 June 2021 at 18:00 (6 PM) CAT.

Only applications submitted in time, following the below guidelines, fulfilling the eligibility criteria and transmitted via the attached application form,

sent to sosafricanheritage@unesco.de form will be taken into consideration.


1) Eligibility

Eligible for funding are the institutions officially defined as responsible for the sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List or in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves and their management. Applications are possible from all African countries that are Member States of UNESCO, including those in North Africa. The applications must emanate directly from these officially defined institutions. Applying institutions/sites need to have a valid bank account registered under their legal name.

Every application must be endorsed by the respective National Commission for UNESCO of the Member State concerned.

Only sites officially and fully designated by UNESCO are eligible; sites on the Tentative List or in the nomination process are not eligible for funding.

In order to be eligible, applications must first convincingly describe an existing impairment of the sites, which is directly or indirectly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and its side-effects. Second, applications need to present a convincing approach on how to counteract the impairment and strengthen the resilience of the sites and/or their vicinity.

Sites that already received funding in 2020 are invited to reapply with a new project or follow-up project. It is crucial that a new/follow-up project clearly encompasses new elements and activities. Sites that had already applied in 2020 and did not receive funding are equally encouraged to reapply.

Only one application per site is accepted.

Applications must be submitted in English or French via the attached application form.

Duration: The project shall commence on 1 August or later and must be concluded by 30 November 2021 latest.

Budget: The project budget must range between 10,000 EUR and 20,000 EUR.

Eligible Activities

The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities for which an application may be made. An application can cover one or several connected activities.

  • Monitoring and capacity building, e.g. to counter looting or poaching
  • Digitisation activities to enhance (remote) access to the sites
  • Activities that help to contain the pandemic (e.g. infrastructure improvement)
  • Activities to enhance participation and benefit-sharing of local communities
  • Educational activities
  • Other activities that foster the organisational resilience of the sites and their infrastructure
  • The following types of projects will not be eligible for funding:
  • On-going projects or activities
  • Co-funding of another project or combination with other project funds of third parties
  • Covering debts and obligations
  • General operational/running costs of the applicant institution without connection to the project proposed
  • Projects or activities which consist exclusively or primarily in capital expenditure, such as infrastructure, land, equipment
  • Projects that envisage the acquisition of weapons or other hazardous material

Added Value

We welcome applications which strengthen the participation of local communities. We also welcome projects fostering the cooperation among UNESCO designated sites within the same Member State, sub-region or in an international context. We also welcome the promotion of cooperation with other educational, cultural or research institutions within the Member State, sub-region or in an international context.

Further, the German Commission for UNESCO will help facilitate cooperation with German UNESCO designated sites or help intensifying existing cooperation, if of interest. The same applies to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, with respect to Canadian sites.

Eligible Costs

  • Staff costs related to the project implementation (according to local salary systems) of up to 80% of the total funding plus administrative overhead of up to 3%
  • Purchase of technical equipment dedicated to digitisation activities such as audio guides, applications, website, video conference tools, computers, tablets, online ticketing systems
  • Improving infrastructure on site such as purchase of, e.g. signpost systems to optimise the flow of visitors, inventarisation, securing movable objects on site
  • Material needed to contain the pandemic such as acrylic glass panels or hygiene articles
  • Educational material, information material
  • Travel and boarding costs for capacity building events linked to the before mentioned activities
  • Documented and compulsory costs in the context of bank transfers

2) Submission of Proposals

Applications must be submitted using the attached application form. The following documents need to be added to the application:

1. Organisation’s legal registration document

2. Proof of authorization of person officially representing the organisation

3. Letter of support from the National Commission for UNESCO

4. Activity reports (or links to online activity reports) that demonstrate that the management of the site is in line with relevant UNESCO criteria

5. If the application should cover staff cost, respective proof through payroll document

6. If the application should cover purchases, an indication of relevant prize levels within the country

For organisations already funded by the German Commission for UNESCO in 2020, documents 1), 2) and 4) can be omitted.

The application form must be sent both as a Word file and as a signed scan in English or French with all necessary attachments, via email to sosafricanheritage@unesco.de no later than 18 June 2021 at 18:00 (6 PM) CAT.

Any possible applicant may direct her/his questions related to the preparation of the application, at any time, by e-mail to the following email address: sosafricanheritage@unesco.de.

3) Selection Criteria

An international jury of experts with experience and insights into the African continent will evalute and select the proposals by 9 of July 2021 latest, according to the following criteria:

1) Relevance

  • Relevance vis-à-vis the objectives formulated in this call for proposals

2) Quality of Project Proposal and Budget

- Internal consistency and overall logic of the project description (structure and feasibility)

  • Activities appropriately reflected in the budget
  • Accuracy of the estimated costs
  • Feasibility of expected results within the estimated costs and time

3) Coherence with UNESCO’s overall principles and objectives of the respective site

The German Commission for UNESCO reserves the right not to award available funds if applications submitted do not fulfill the selection criteria.

4) Agreement and Modalities of Payment

In case of a positive evaluation of the proposal, applicants will sign an agreement with the German Commission for UNESCO that will stipulate the activities to be carried out within the project, the funding amount and budget as well as the modalities of payment and reporting.

Funds are paid in several instalments via bank transfer. Before each transfer, the beneficiary must first submit a short table of expenditures effected up to that date, supported by copies of receipts of the expenditures and proof of payments in electronic form, which document that the project is being implemented as planned. Beneficiaries have to provide a brief technical mid-term report (2 pages) describing the implementation of the project.

A final report has to be submitted by 15 January 2022 showing the activities implemented, presenting the project output, describing first impacts of the project or activity and how the funds have been used (10-15 pages) including a full table of expenditures, supported by copies of receipts for all expenditures and proof of payments in electronic form.

5) Monitoring, Publicity and Support to Beneficiaries

The German Commission for UNESCO will provide advice to beneficiaries on issues such as management, reporting, public relations, dissemination and networking, in order to ensure the full implementation of the project.

Applicants must acknowledge the German or Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s contribution throughout the project implementation (e.g. press releases, publications, posters, programmes, audio-visual material, website and social media dissemination, etc.).

Beneficiaries agree to provide the German or Canadian Commission for UNESCO with promotional material such as photos or videos from the projects. The German and Canadian Commissions for UNESCO reserve the right to use, disclose, reproduce and distribute the content and outcome of the funded projects or activities

Download the application form here:


Wednesday, 2 June 2021 at 11:00
access_time 7 min read