5 key points to think about when preparing to apply for the DEAR call.


Relevant Tags: No tags were found.

The European Commission Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR) call for proposals was recently launched, with a deadline for Concept Notes of September 25th. IDEA has been involved in three previous DEAR calls, as a lead partner for Challenging the Crisis, as project partner in DEEEP and Bridge 47. On the basis of this we have outlined 5 key points to think of when putting together a proposal.


The DEAR Call requires working in partnership to deliver a pan-European project. The 2018 Call requires a minimum of 3 partners and activity in at least 8 EU Member States. Unless you are part of a NGO network or group, delivering a project of this scope requires external partners. For example, in Challenging the Crisis we had 6 partner organisations in 6 different European countries, in Bridge 47, IDEA is one of 16 partners including organisations in 13 different European countries and 3 international networks. Therefore, it is necessary to choose partners that you can work well with.

Most organisations are in some way networked or connected both nationally and internationally. To identify potential partners, think about organisations you currently know or have connections with. Do any of them fit with the DEAR call? Are any of them well networked across Europe? Start with organisations you know, and that you work well with - that might be based on an organisational partnership or a personal connection that has worked well in working contexts.

Think about other organisations you can ask about possible partners. Cast your net wide and you may find a good fit with either your existing partners or with their partners. Spread the word that you are interested in the call and keep an eye out for possibilities. Based on the call for proposals and your areas of interest, research possible partners and contact them. Organisations in other countries will also be looking for partners and many would be very pleased to have an Irish partner.

Look at the call for proposals and make sure you include the specific expertise required for the project when identifying partners. For example, the 2018 DEAR call specifies: “Applicants are therefore encouraged to involve also communication experts. They could be involved as a co-applicant, an associate or as a contractor.” Lot 1 can include a private sector partner with communications expertise.

Remember, you will need to work with these partners for three years, so think about how you work and how you can support good working relationships.


The DEAR call is designed to fund large projects. Under Lot 1, the minimum budget is €7,000,000. These large projects can involve multiple elements. Make sure you have strong connections between the different aspects of your project and a clear, strong rationale shared by all aspects of your project.

A strong narrative and rationale will help you to communicate your project in the application, and will help you and your partners to deliver the project. Keeping focus on the rationale, narrative and end goals of a DEAR funded project is a challenge in delivering a large project like this, so agreeing a clear, strong narrative and rationale from the beginning will make a positive difference at all stages of your project from concept note to delivery to reporting.

As an organisation working in Development Education you can make a strong connection to the objectives of the DEAR call. Use the call for proposals and your expertise on Development Education to build a strong case for your application. Note the emphasis in the 2018 call: “proposals will prioritize working directly with citizens.”(p7) “The objectives will be reached through a combination of campaigns, awareness raising, communication and outreach activities and global learning. Global learning activities either within or outside the formal education system cannot be the main part of the actions proposed. In case formal education actions are proposed, they should be developed in complementarity with Member States’ efforts in development education.”(p6)

Be clear on how you are structuring the project. For example, a DEAR projects could involve different partners taking the lead on different aspects of the projects, or it could involve a shared programme that is delivered by local partners in each country. Together with your partners, think about the most effective structure to deliver the aims of your project. Make sure that all partners have the capacity to deliver within the agree project structure.

Build on previous projects

Look into previous DEAR projects.  If you have been part of a previous DEAR project, consider how you can build on it. This may involve learning from mistakes or building on successful activities. Include references to this in your concept note.

If you haven’t been involved in a previous DEAR project, research some previous projects. Try to identify possible partners who have been part of previous projects and approach them. Try to build on themes and ideas which have been part of previous DEAR call projects. The DEAR support team on is a good place to start, you can also look at the websites of previous projects, evaluations reports may contain some helpful ideas.

Consider how you can build on previous projects that you have done in your organisation or in partnership with others. If you are building on these include that in your applications to show that you can deliver, that you have delivered and that you have learned from your previous experiences.  

Clarity and Systems

With a project this big, and potentially with multiple partners, it is essential to make sure all partners are clear about what they are doing.

Building on your rationale and narrative, as discussed above, create a clear logframe and budget. After the concept note stage these can change, but having a clear structure will help with the proposal writing and implementation. Be clear what you are trying to achieve overall, and be clear how each element of the project contributes to that.  

Break down the EC requirements and make sure all partners agree to them. Start with the requirements for applications. Make sure that all partners comply with the requirements for the DEAR call. Make sure everyone has completed PADOR, that everyone complies with the EC requirements, and the specific proposal requirements. For example, the DEAR call guidelines say you can be lead partners on 1 project and co-applicant on 1 – make sure everyone complies with this. In previous years we have heard of examples where projects have been excluded because a partner applied more than once.

Following the concept note stage, be clear on the information each partner needs to provide in order to report to the EC, as well as to your external evaluator. EC DEAR funding requires a high level of detail and of evidence in financial and narrative reports. This can be complicated due to different accounting practices in different countries. Make sure you work on this closely with your lead partner, and all project partners, at the beginning of the project. A Memorandum of Understanding or other agreement between partners is essential.

Agree project co-financing in advance. If your application is successful, 90% of the project cost is covered by EC DEAR funding. Therefore, you need to be clear on where the additional 10% will come from. This will be at least €700,000 over 3 years so it requires planning and identification of sources of funding.


This may seem to contradict the previous points, but make sure that you are flexible in your approach. At this point you are setting out a plan (drawing a map) for the project, (and that plan map might resemble something you have drawn on the back of an envelope more than an Ordinance Survey map). When you come to the full proposal, you will need to put more detail into this plan. And then when you come to implementing the project you will need to match this plan with the reality of the terrain, terrain that may have shifted in the time it takes to move from concept note to delivery (in the case of Bridge 47 this was 18 months.). The first part of your implementation period will be focussed on translating your plan into reality, getting the systems and staffing needed in place, ironing out questions that arise in the process of translating concept into reality, and generally translating an idea into a structure that will last for three years and will deliver during that relatively short time. Do as much of this as possible in advance. Once the contract is signed the clock starts, so try to do as much of the planning and translating in advance of this so you can get the most of your three years delivery time. Being flexible will let you translate concept into reality without getting overly stuck on interpretation.


These are highly subjective key points based on IDEA’s experience of DEAR funded projects between 2013 and the present. We would love to hear your ideas of key points to think about. Please share them here in the comments. 

Similarly Tagged Articles


Tag Cloud

youth, young people, worldwise global schools, workshops, workshop, working groups, webinars, web, volunteers, volunteering, vision, vacancy, united nations, training, tender, teachers, teacher training, strategy, strategic plan, sse, social and solidarity economy, seminar, sdgs, schools, scholarship, reporting, rbas, rba, quality and impact, quality, primary school, post carbon, nyci, news, networking, network, national youth council of ireland, music, monitoring, members, member, media, measuring results, maynooth university, lycs, launch, latest, justice, journal, jobs, job opportunity, job, irish aid, impact measurement, human rights education, grants, governance group, governance, good practice, globalctc, global citizenship education, global citizenship, funding, freelance, formal education, finance, facilitation skills, events, europe, environment, education, economics, discussion, development education, development, deve, deeep, cooking, conversation circles, consultant, conference, community sector, communications, collaboration, civil society, child protection, challenging the crisis, capacity development, campaigning, campaign, budgeting, awards, annual grants round, annual conference, advocacy, adult and community, adult and commuity, add a tage, activism, actionaid,

blog latest


5 key points to think about when preparing to apply for the DEAR call.:


About the DEAR Call 2018:


HLPF Day One: Education is the golden thread running through implementation of all 17 SDGs: IDEA Director Frank Geary sharing updates from Day One of the 2018 UN High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals


Combating Islamaphobia: 11 May, 2017


WorldWise Global Schools Conference: Meaningful Action: Croke Park, April 2017


Development Education: where we’ve been; where we need to go: This blog was written by Colm Regan to stimulate discussion at an IDEA Conversation Circle in Dublin, 04 May 2016


Learning about the ‘Co’ in Ecovillage!:


Youth are the Agents of Change: Rebecca Amet,Young Global advocate with Challenging the Crisis, on the UN Youth Delegate Programme Launch


Closing Time on the “Double Irish”: Opinion piece on the OECD's recent announcement about global tax regulation


The Challenge of Learning for a Post-Carbon Future: David Hicks, freelance educator and visiting Professor at Bath Spa University addresses this question in the guest blog below. articles and teaching resources.


What to Learn NOW: How to Make Schools more caring, inclusive places: Dr Gerry Jeffers, lecturer in the education department in NUI Maynooth responds to our question: what should we be learning now to create the future we want?


Together We Stand; Together We Learn: Last weekend, Joe Costello TD revealed in an interview with the Sunday Business Post that Ireland will not meet its 0.7% of GNP target


Citizens of the World? Building global justice perspectives in challenging times: The 2013 IDEA Annual Conference focused on the theme of “Global Citizenship” and considered how we can harness the energy of new social movements.


Development Education - Responding to the Global Crisis?: The DEEEP Seminar “Development Education: Responding to the Crisis?” took place in Dublin bringing together over 100 development education practitioners

members' activities


LYCS: Facilitating Global Citizenship Education in the Community: 19 & 26 February, and 12,19 & 26 March 2019


WWGS: Transformative Global Citizenship Education: Thursday, 15 November, 2.30-4.30pm, Iveagh House, St Stephen’s Green


LYCS: Global Development Course: Deadline for application is 14 September


Job Opportunity: WWGS PROGRAMME DIRECTOR: Deadline for application is 15 July


Cultivate: ERASMUS+ Training on ‘‘Volunteering in Eco-Villages’’: 08-12 Oct. Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary


DDCI: Grant Information Session: Monday 09 April, 11.00-12.30, the IDEA Office


Webinar: Digital Global Citizenship: Thursday 29 March, 3.00-3.45pm


Concern: Volunteer & Networking Event: Thursday, 05 April, 6.00 to 8.00


LYCS: Globalisation & Inequality Training: Tuesday, 27 March 2018


WWGS: Annual Grant Application Workshop: 28 March, 2.00-4.00pm in the WWGS Parkgate Street offices, Dublin 8


WWGS: Annual Grant Call: Deadline for application is 09 May


Suas: Facilitators for the Irish Aid Centre: Deadline for applications is 26 March


LASC: Latin America Development Issues Course: Starting Tuesday, 10 April, 6.00-8.00pm, in UCC


LYCS Zero Waste Educator Training: 10.00am-4.30pm, 20 & 21 March


CinC & DDCI: Demysitfying Tax Justice: 14 March, 6.00-9.00pm, St Columb's Park House, Derry


Carraig Dúlra: Designing Solutions Workshop: 07 & 21 March & 07-08 April


LYCS: Sustainable Cookery Course: 5 week course, Mondays, 10.00am-12.30am, 26 February - 26 March


LYCS: Global Active Citizenship through Music: Thursday, 22 February, 10.00am-4.30pm


Comhlámh: Ireland - Development Ally or Tax Haven?: Wednesday 07 February, 7.00pm, Teacher's Club, Dublin 1


DDCI: Stopping the Vultures: Thursday 01 February, 6.30pm, Harbour Hotel, New Dock Road, Galway