Call for Proposals – Small Grants Facility

Institute Alternative (IA)

within the project ‘’Voice Your Rights! – Expanding Space for Free Assemblies”


Call for Proposals – Small Grants Facility

For CSOs from Montenegro

Deadline for submitting project proposals, aimed to contribute to stopping the worrying trend of narrowing the space for civic participation in Montenegro, by strengthening the capacity of citizens, civil society organisations and institutions to implement and monitor the right of free assembly at the local level, is 28 February 2020, until 05:00 PM.

In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicants must:

  • be a legal person;
  • be non-profit making;
  • be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary;
  • be registered in Montenegro at least 12 months prior to the deadline for submission of project proposals;
  • be based in Montenegro;
  • have an annual turnover of less than EUR 20,000 in 2018 or 2019.

To apply for grants, following documents should be completed and submitted: Aplication Form, Budget Proposal and Logical Framework. Before completing these forms, please carefully read Guidelines for Applicants.

In addition to financial support, organisations which projects are supported, will also be provided with a capacity building program, in the area of project management and monitoring of the right to freedom of assembly.

Complete applications, along with the necessary technical documentations, should be sent via e-mail: with the subject – For the Call for Proposals “Voice Your Rights! – Expanding Space for Free Assemblies”, by 28 February 2020, by 5 PM, at latest.

In case of doubt, you can get additional information by sending a question to, by 21 February 2020, at the latest.
IA will organise info session to present the Call for Proposals, on 13 February 2020, at the EU Info Center – Podgorica, starting at 12 o’clock.

Supported by the EU Delegation in Montenegro, IA has ensured 35.000 EUR for this Small Grants Facility. Individual grants requested under this Call for proposals must fall between 5.000 EUR and 10.000 EUR.

NOTE: Organisations that are project coordinators / partners and partners in projects, funded under the EIDHR 2018 Program, through the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights EuropeAid / 161931 / DD / ACT / ME, are not eligible to apply.

Please find the Call for Proposal here.

Project “’Voice Your Rights! – Expanding Space for Free Assemblies” is being implemented by Institute Alternative, in partnership with Human Rights Action and supported by European Union through the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Program for Montenegro 2018. The content of this Call is the sole responsibility of Institute Alternative and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.

Ombudsman Shares NGOs Opinion on Government’s Draft Law on FOI

Institute Alternative received through request for free access to information an official opinion of the Institution of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro (Ombudsman) on Draft Law on Free Access to Information (FOI).

The Ombudsman, as an umbrella state institution responsible for improvement and protection of human rights and freedoms in Montenegro, made an Opinion with comments on articles from the Draft Law that were recognised as a problematic by 5 NGOs that participated in the public debate (IA, MANS, HRA, CEGAS, CEMI).

The Ombudsman analysed articles related to entire areas that are unconstitutionally excluded from the Law, introduction of the disputable institute of abuse of right of access to information, prescribing decision-making of collegial bodies as an exception to the enforcement of Law, not prescribing procedure for conducting harm and public interest test etc. The Opinion is made on 27th of December 2019 and it is signed by Ms Zdenka Popović, Deputy Ombudsman.

In the first comment of the Opinion it is stated that ”it is not acceptable that all information marked with degree of secrecy which are in possession of international organisations or other country, as well as information marked with degree of secrecy which are in possession of state authorities, that are created or exchanged with international organisations or countries,  are excluded from the enforcement of this Law’’. Ombudsman further referrs to Montenegrin Constitution and concludes that right on free access to information should not be restricted “on quite general manner”.

In the second comment of the Opinion, Ombudsman made clear statement on the introduction of the institute of abuse of right that was strongly criticised by part of the CSOs and media. Ombudsman states that ”introduction of a legal institute of the abuse of right on free access to information in the cited manner violates the principle of free access to information and allows authorities/FOI officers to make arbitrary decisions and thus further ”punish” a citizen or legal person who reasonably demand to exercise their right ‘’to know” in the public interest”.

The Ombudsman also confirmed that ”it is questionable what were the reasons for excluding access to information for decisions of collegial bodies” (…) adding that ”decisions of collegial bodies cannot generally be excluded for free access to information, since the decisions of those bodies have the same legal meaning and substance as those of all other authorities”.

It further states that ”the whole area of international or diplomatic relations should not be excluded” and that it is not acceptable to leave possibility for other laws to prescribe  additional exceptions in this area.

The Ombudsman also emphasised that procedure for conducting harm test is not prescribed, neither the way of controlling the implementation of this this procedure, what leads to arbitrariness in decision – making.

Intention of Government and Ministry of Public Administration to restrict access to information with short explanation, instead of giving clear and complete rationale is also criticised.  The Ombudsman explained that otherwise the guarantee against arbitrariness of the authorities may be jeopardised.

We thank the Institution of Ombudsman for its demonstrated integrity and commitment to improve disastrous Draft Law, which further undermines the already poor condition of free access to information.

We recall that on November 28th, Ministry of Public Administration published a Report on public discussion on the Draft Law. The Ministry rejected 15 key comments submitted by five NGOs, while five comments were accepted partially or are subject to further consideration, as stated in Report.

This means that, after all, the Government still does not intend to improve the Draft which introduces systematic restrictions on access to information, new basis for hiding information, abolishes existing citizens’ rights and obligations of authorities, and does not solve problems in practice that lead to multiple violations of right and absence of any liability. Almost all of the proposed amendments to the Law narrow the existing rights of citizens, which is why we call on the Government and the Ministry of Public Administration to take seriously the Ombudsman’s comments and bring the Draft Law in the line with the Constitution and international standards.

Dina Bajramspahić,
Public Policy Researcher

Full Opinion of the Protector can be found here.