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Guidelines for Nordic Gender Equality Fund

These guidelines are based on the decision made in the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI on 23 June 2013 to establish the Gender Equality Fund and most recently established by the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality and LGBTI (EK-JÄM) on 29 November 2018. The guidelines have been further clarified in December 2023. These guidelines describe what the Nordic Council of Ministers is looking for in applicant projects and organisations.

Purpose and criteria

The Fund aims to stimulate Nordic co-operation in the area of gender equality within the framework of the Gender Equality ministers’ co-operation programme and its priorities.

Funding is granted to projects that add Nordic benefit as well as adding value to gender policy. All applications must state whether they have included the following perspectives:

The Gender Equality Fund finances activities initiated in the same year as the funding is granted and which are concluded within two years after the start of the project. Activities commenced before the application deadline are not eligible for funding.

All applications must state and will be assessed on the basis of how well they meet the following requirements and aims:

a)    Nordic benefit

This means the extent to which the project:

  • Generates significant positive effects through Nordic co-operation, compared to the project having been implemented at the national level
  • Manifests and develops Nordic cohesion, both within and outside the region
  • Contributes new infrastructure that strengthens Nordic co-operation on gender equality
  • Responds in a constructive way to the challenges of Nordic co-operation such as national barriers and differences.

Here, the assessment will be based on how well the application:

  • Justifies why the project should be implemented as Nordic co-operation
  • Describes the added value and the challenges that the co-operating parties perceive in working together across country borders.

b)    Added value for gender policy

This refers to the extent to which the project:

  • Aims to respond to the problems of gender inequality concerning the rights, conditions, and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys, as well as the power to shape their lives and contribute to the development of society.
  • Contributes new/updated knowledge about methods and models of gender inequality/equality and/or exchanges of experience concerning knowledge about methods and models of gender inequality/equality
  • Helps to respond to the challenges identified in the Nordic co-operation programme on gender equality.

Here, the assessment will be based on how well the application:

  • Describes the problems of gender inequality that the co-operating parties have identified and which the project intends to respond to
  • Shows how well the co-operating parties understand these problems based on theoretical knowledge and/or tried and tested experience
  • Demonstrates an awareness of previous work, knowledge and/or research concerning the problems that the co-operating parties intend to respond to and, based on this awareness, describes how the project will contribute to change and add new knowledge.

c)    Sustainability/long-term view

Sustainability means the degree to which:

  • The project design provides scope for others to draw conclusions and learn from the project’s successes and setbacks
  • The project results and efforts are expected to have lasting effects through infrastructure and products which persist after the end of the project such as networks, websites, reports, etc., and how these have been designed to reach relevant target groups.

Here, the assessment will be based on how well the application:

  • Describes how and with which target groups the co-operating parties plan to communicate the project and its results, and how they will ensure that these results will be available even after the end of the project.

d)    Implementation

Implementation means here:

  • How likely it is, in light of the applicant’s skills and experience, that the project will be implemented in the manner described by the applicants
  • What bases do the applicants have for working together, for example that they contribute different skills, perspectives and experience which means that they can complement each other.

Here, the assessment will be based on how well the application:

  • Describes how the co-operating parties plan to go about responding to the identified problems, and the justification they have provided for their choice of approach with regard to the feasibility of achieving the results and drawing conclusions from these results
  • Describes what the main applicant and each of the partner organisations will contribute to the project, as well as their previous experience of similar collaborations.

e)    Economic viability

Organisations applying for funding need to be able to contribute at least 20 per cent themselves and/or have other sources of funding.  The organisation’s own contribution and/or other sources of funding could come from sponsorship or other financial contributions, voluntary work, participant fees, or indirect costs for example.

The amount applied for should be between DKK 50,000 and DKK 500,000.

The application must be accompanied by a budget containing all items specified in DKK, and include the total amount. Self-funding and total funding must be made apparent in the budget. The budget should explicitly state what the funding amount applied for is intended to cover in the total budget. A separate audit is not required for the final accounting of projects, but project managers should keep their accounts in order so that any external audit can easily gain an overview of the financial management of the project.

Funding will not be given for audits. Funding will likewise not be given for travel expenses (with the exception of travel expenses for representatives of volunteer organisations/not-for-profit organisations and invited speakers).

Support cannot be provided for indirect costs, such as the salary of support activities and operating costs such as rent, electricity and IT.

Funding will not be granted for:

  • Activities that have already received or are seeking funding from MR-JÄM or other sectors within the Nordic Council of Ministers.
  • Activities that do not submit a budget in DKK
  • Activities aimed at generating financial gain or equivalent for beneficiaries.

Activities that are awarded funding may be granted a lower total amount than that applied for, and/or parts of the application. In this case, the conclusion of the contract requires a revision of the project plan and budget in relation to the amount granted.

Requirements on activities and beneficiaries

The following activities may be funded:

  • Staging of Nordic gatherings/meetings
  • Investigations/inquiries
  • Network-building
  • Activity projects
  • The participation of volunteer organisations in Nordic or international conferences/courses/meetings/gatherings.

The Gender Equality Fund addresses a broad target group and calls for proposals are open to a variety of activities and organisations including:

  • Volunteer organisations (citizen organisations/not-for-profit organisations)
  • Networks
  • Government agencies and other public sector activities (such as municipalities, university departments, divisions, etc.)
  • Other non-commercial actors
  • Business enterprises (SMEs).

Each project must involve at least three of the following:

  • Denmark
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Åland

A project involving cooperation organisations in neighbouring regions, i.e. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, requires that at least two Nordic countries also participate. The lead applicant should come from a Nordic country. Otherwise, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ current policy on co-operation with countries outside the Nordic Region applies at all times.

The Gender Equality Fund grants funds only for activities that begin after the decision to grant funding has been made.

The maximum duration of an activity is 2 years (24 months).


Funds are not granted for projects:

  • already in progress
  • with activities that have already received or are seeking funding from MR-JÄM or other sectors within the Nordic Council of Ministers
  • submitting a budget in a currency other than DKK
  • that submits the application after the deadline for applications
  • submitting an incomplete application (all mandatory fields are not filled in or supporting documents are missing)
  • which includes political party organisations
  • whose co-operation partners are individuals
  • which has the objective of generating financial profit or equivalent for the beneficiary
  • that do not meet the requirements of at least three different participating organisations from at least three different countries or are not in accordance with the above described requirements for the countries to be included.

Application and time limits

Applications are to be made in one of the three Scandinavian languages or English on a form specifically for this purpose available on NIKK’s website ( The application form will be available to download from approximately one month before the deadline for applications.

Grant applications are to be accompanied by a project plan and a budget for the planned activity. In the application, one of the applicant parties is to be designated as the principal applicant.

Decisions, contracts, and reporting

NIKK will communicate its decision via e-mail to each applicant after the decision has been made and the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality and LGBTI (EK-JÄM) has been afforded the opportunity to veto the decision.

Activities granted funding are required to draw up a contract with NIKK in accordance with specific procedures. After the contract is signed, payment can be made. The applicant should take into account that funds will be paid to them at the earliest one month after requisitioning the funds.

Standard procedure is that 75 per cent of the activity’s total funding amount is paid based on a requisition at the start of the project. The rest, up to 25 per cent, will be paid after approval of the final report.

The principal party responsible for the project is responsible for submitting the final report (self-evaluation) and financial accounts to NIKK no later than two months after the end of the project. Any unused funds are to be repaid to NIKK.

The final report is to include the following:

  • What is the benefit of the activity to Nordic co-operation?
  • What value has the activity added to gender equality policy?
  • What results (such as products, knowledge, processes, procedures) has the activity produced?
  • How has information about and knowledge from the activity been communicated (how many individuals/countries has the activity reached, which target groups, which channels)?
  • How will (the results from) the activity continue to be spread/used within the applicants’ organisations?
  • The most important lessons learned from the activity.