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Open Call For Proposals: Regional Codesign Partners

Terms of reference

The Digital Democracy Initiative (DDI) team at CIVICUS is seeking five experienced and knowledgeable civil society organisations who can lead the co-design process for regional exploration and consensus-building to gain a comprehensive understanding of the DDI project's target groups in five regions around the world and identify needs-based prototypes for strengthening the resourcing infrastructure for digital action on inclusive democracy.

This is a short term, paid consultancy. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please read the terms of reference carefully.


CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. Established in 1993, since 2002 we have been proudly headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional hubs across the globe. The Alliance currently comprises over 15,000 members in more than 189 countries. Our definition of civil society is broad and covers non-governmental organisations, activists, civil society coalitions and networks, protest and social movements, voluntary bodies, campaigning organisations, charities, faith-based groups, trade unions and philanthropic foundations. Our membership is diverse, spanning a wide range of issues, sizes and organisation types, while the staff is based across the globe in over 20 countries. This diversity is one of the Alliance’s most significant strengths and we are continually searching for practical ways to implement diverse and inclusive principles within civil society.


The Digital Democracy Initiative, Enable & Amplify Project, led by CIVICUS in partnership with Global Focus, aims to see that inclusive democracy and civic space are expanded and protected through the improved use of digital technology for civic engagement. Its target groups are local civil society actors operating in restrictive contexts in the global south. More information on DDI can be found here [1].

The project is commencing with an inception phase to test the project’s theory of change and devise a more detailed, bottom-up implementation plan. This will primarily take place via a codesign process involving a diverse range of target group representatives from local civil society across the global majority regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, the Pacific, South Asia, and East Asia).

These terms of reference serve as an open call for regional partners to design and deliver the co-design process in the following regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Pacific, and South Asia. We are looking to engage five different regional partners, each one in charge of the codesign process in their region (with the possibility of more than one partner in each region, for proposals involving joint delivery partners).

While the co-design approach will be uniform across regions, their priorities and outcomes will be unique and could hone in on specific types of actors, thematic areas, technical capacities, or geographies/countries within a region. 

Regional partners will be identified and supported via grants to design and deliver inclusive co-design process in each region, each producing an action-oriented outcomes report.

What we need

The Digital Democracy Initiative team is seeking five experienced and knowledgeable organisations who can lead the co-design process for regional exploration and consensus-building process in the following five regions: 1) Sub-Saharan Africa, 2) Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 3) Latin America and the Caribbean, 4) the Pacific, and 5) South Asia. One partner will be selected per region, but we are open to accepting joint proposals from two partner organisations leading a process in one region.

The codesign process aims to gain a comprehensive understanding of the project's target groups in each of those five regions and identify needs-based protypes for strengthening the resourcing infrastructure for digital action on inclusive democracy. The selected partners will lead research and engagement activities with actors from local civil society in their respective region to:  

  1. Map and engage the civil society ecosystem in each region working on/for: 1) inclusive democracy; 2) tech for good; and 3) across both areas.
  2. Identify which digital capacities and approaches are helping to advance/safeguard inclusive democracy in different contexts, and where there are gaps.
  3. Identify particular contexts where there are opportunities for using digital tools to consolidate and enhance inclusive democracy, and support for averting/countering risks of backsliding.
  4. Better understand the strengths and weaknesses of existing support mechanisms for local civil society actors working for inclusive democracy, especially in relation to harnessing digital technologies.
  5. Better understand which information, learning and knowledge sharing platforms approaches on the digital-democracy nexus are most effective/needed.


  • Mapping of the civil society actors in the local ecosystem in each region who align with the target groups of the DDI and the relevant codesign process.
  • Regional codesign process plan that includes online and in person sessions and aims to identify the support and resourcing needs of local actors relevant to the DDI target groups and codesign with them protypes of potential mechanisms for strengthening the support and resourcing infrastructure for civil society working on digital action on inclusive democracy.
  • Comprehensive plan to engage relevant mapped actors in the regional codesign process.
  • Online and in person codesign processes implemented. Cumulatively, both the online and in person sessions should have in attendance at least 60 different actors disaggregated as follows: 50% local civil society actors (local collaborators) representing broader local constituencies and 50% local civil society actors (local collaborators) representing marginalised groups (women, youth and LGBTQI+ groups).
  • Synthesis report with clearly identified regional DDI relevant actors, their support and resourcing needs, list and describe the codesigned support and resourcing mechanism prototypes, and the lessons learned from the experience.
  • Contribution to development of global DDI resourcing mechanism principles and procedures.

Essential application requirements

Examples of the type of organisations we are looking for:

  • Must be based in the regions from where and for which they are applying.
  • Must be based in a global south country receiving Official Development Assistance from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (countries known as OECD ODA recipients). Check out this list to verify of your country is in the list of OECD ODA recepients: https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/daclist.htm [2]
  • Expertise in design thinking methodologies and a proven track record of delivering codesign processes, both online and in-person.
  • Extensive network of and direct experience working with civil society, including DDI target groups in the regions where they are applying.
  • Proven ability to convene civil society organisations and activists on a regional level.
  • Extensive regional and national project implementation experience and reach.
  • Formal legally registered organisations.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English. While selected partners will implement all the work in the relevant local languages in their region, they will communicate and submit all deliverables to CIVICUS in English.

Desirable requirements 

  • An application made by a consortium of organisations from the region that have come together to pool expertise and reach, to reach a wider audience and deliver a more comprehensive process.
  • Direct experience working on the nexus between digital/tech for good and inclusive democracy.
  • Knowledge and experience of civil society resourcing mechanisms, including an understanding of existing good practices and related barriers/gaps.

Governance and implementation

The Digital Democracy Initiative takes an ecosystem approach which recognises our work as part of a larger effort of varied actors. It builds on our own core capacities and on the knowledge and expertise of other stakeholders to jointly make services available for frontline activists and movements to advance inclusive democracy. We use our strategic niche as a trusted convener to make connections, amplify voices, and facilitate collective actions that increase the impact on inclusive democracy. 

An initial implementation plan will be agreed between the DDI project team and each regional delivery partner. The subsequent planning, delivery, and synthesis of outcomes from each regional codesign process will be the responsibility of the chosen partner(s). However, CIVICUS will remain available to provide overall guidance and support to the delivery partners, as required. CIVICUS will also identify opportunities for peer learning between the different regional codesign deliver partners.

Implementation of the regional codesign processes will combine both online and in-person activities.  The costs related to the in-person activities will be borne by CIVICUS directly and shouldn’t be included as part of the budget submissions here. However, it is important to note that the codesign partner will be responsible for identifying (using jointly agreed criteria) relevant partners and collaborators that will be involved in the in person codesign meetings. All other inputs and activities related to the organisation and facilitation of the in person codesign meetings will be handled solely by the regional partner identified for this project.


We are looking to engage 5 partners, one for each of the following regions: 1) Sub-Saharan Africa, 2) Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 3) Latin America and the Caribbean, 4) the Pacific, and 5) South Asia. Each partner must be based in the region for which they are applying.

Expected time frame

Selected partners will have three months between January to March 2024 to complete the work.  


US$50,000.00 per region.

  1. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TggKsWP_ei3X8XYtNgrmLdJL1LVy5yY2/view?pli=1
  2. https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/daclist.htm

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