Civicus Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards 2021 for Civil Society Organizations/Activists (US$5,000 prize. )


Application Deadline:20 September, 2021.  

International Civil Society Week 2020-21 will end with a celebration of people power initiatives from around the world: the 2021 CIVICUS Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards. 

The 2021 Innovation Awards will recognise seven individuals, groups or organisations that stand out for their innovative work building people power in support of human rights and social justice for everyone.  Submissions are invited under the following topics explored during the 2020 ICSW/virtual events:

The 2021 Innovation Awards will help to make the case for the importance of people power and civil society activism in creating a more just, inclusive and sustainable world.  The Awards will provide an important platform for learning, sharing and building solidarity, and inspire activists, donors and other enablers who are looking for innovative approaches and solutions to supporting people power.


The Awards are open to any individual, organisation or group who meets the following eligibility criteria:

  • You are 18 years or older by 1 September 2021.
  • You are able to submit an application in English, French or Spanish.
  • You are both a national and resident from the following regions: Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Pacific.
  • You work with organisations, networks, movements or change-seeking communities at the local or national level. Both formally constituted and informal organisations or groups are eligible. 
  • You belong to the same community whose issues you are trying to address. (For example, if you work to increase youth participation in civil society, you must be a young person, or your organisation/group must be youth-led.)
  • You have worked to build people power in your community for at least 2-years.
  • For individual applicants: you belong to an organisation, network, movement or change-seeking community that would ultimately benefit from the Award.
  • You are not/ have not received funding from CIVICUS in the past 2-years.
  • Your work/ the proposed initiative relates directly to one of the following topics:
    • Building and sustaining social justice movements
    • Creating positive narratives for people power
    • Democratising global governance systems and processes
    • Enhancing diversity and inclusion through artivism
    • Protecting and promoting digital civic space
    • Resourcing youth-led groups and movements
    • Sustaining people power through self- and community care
  • You are currently implementing the proposed initiative.

How To Apply

Interested candidates must follow these steps to apply for the 2021 Innovation Awards:

  1. Take the following eligibility quiz to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria: 
    1. English:  
    2. French:  
    3. Spanish:  
  2. Applicants who pass the eligibility quiz will immediately have access to the official online application form. Those who do not pass the quiz are not eligible to participate in the Awards and cannot submit an application form. We implemented the eligibility quiz to help non-eligible candidates save time and effort. 
  3. Eligible applicants have two options
    1. Complete and submit the online application form immediately when redirected to it.
    2. Download a template of the application form (also provided after passing the quiz) to prepare their answers in advance. When ready, go back to the eligibility quiz to access the online application form, copy-paste the prepared answers, and submit the online form

***Important note: The application form must be completed and submitted online without exceptions. We do not receive applications via email or any other channels. The application form template cannot be submitted as an official application by any means. 

Deadline to submit the online application form: 20 September 2021.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Civicus Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards 2021


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