Supporting development in your country of origin through your diaspora organisation answers to frequently asked questions.

Is your diaspora organisation keen to submit an idea for a project? Do you still have unanswered questions about the requirements, general conditions and application process?

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Which organisations/institutions can apply for be support?

Support is available for diaspora organisations

  • in which at least 50% of the members and/or 50% of the board members have a migration background in one of the priority countries listed in the call for proposals;
  • that are registered as legal entities in Germany (e.g. in the German register of associations) and can prove their status as a non-profit organisation (certificate of tax exemption, articles of association) – n.b. in addition to registered associations (e.V.), consideration can also be given to organisations classified as other types of legal entities (e.g. foundations) provided that they meet the above-mentioned criteria;
  • that are not currently receiving project support from CIM.

Which countries can receive support as part of the diaspora organisations programme?

Afghanistan*, Albania, Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Georgia, Iraq*, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Morocco, Nigeria, Palestinian territories, Serbia, Senegal*, Syria*, Tunisia, Vietnam and Ukraine.

* For these countries, support can only be provided for activities implemented in Germany. We cannot currently support project activities implemented directly in these countries.

What is meant by ‘migration background’ in the call for proposals?

The term ‘migration background’ refers to ‘all persons who immigrated to the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany after 1949, and all foreign nationals born in Germany, and all persons born as Germans in Germany who have at least one parent who immigrated to Germany or was born in Germany as a foreign national.’ (Source: German Federal Statistical Office – Specialised publications 1, series 2.2. Bevölkerung und Erwerbstätigkeit, Bevölkerung mit Migrationshintergrund (Population and gainful employment, population with a migrant background, (German only), Wiesbaden 2010)

What conditions have to be met in the project countries?

  • If a project is being carried out in one of the programme’s priority countries, it must be planned and implemented by the applicant diaspora organisation in conjunction with one or more local partners.
  • The local partner organisation must be a recognised legal entity and must operate as a non-profit organisation under the applicable law.
  • If the project is being carried out in Germany, no partner organisation is required. This applies only to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Senegal.
  • The project must have a development focus and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

To what extent and over what period can a project receive support?

  • The maximum level of subsidy is specified and announced in each call for proposals.
  • The maximum term is specified and announced in each call for proposals.

Which projects cannot be supported?

Each call for proposals has a particular theme, and this determines which projects can be supported.

As a general rule, the following types of project cannot be supported:

  • projects that focus exclusively on the provision of humanitarian aid;
  • projects that focus exclusively on infrastructure and construction measures;
  • projects where neither the lead partner nor other partners are able to provide funds for any follow-on expenditure that may be required;
  • projects that mainly involve transporting material donations to the country;
  • projects that mainly involve paying off loans;
  • projects that relate to the military or the police;
  • projects that serve mainly to expand the representation and networks of German agencies.

When and how are calls issued inviting diaspora organisations to apply for support?

The general call for proposals from diaspora organisations is issued once a year in the second quarter. A special call for proposals focusing on migration and refugee movements is issued once a year in the third quarter. The calls are published on this website. Notification is also sent by email to all diaspora organisations on our mailing list. Diaspora organisations can write to us to be added to the mailing list.



Call for proposals

How are projects selected?

Project ideas are assessed and selected based on the following criteria:

  • relevance to the theme specified in the call for proposals;
  • development focus – in order to qualify, projects should have a bearing on development;
  • relevance to the country of origin – in order to qualify, projects should clearly demonstrate (even if they are being implemented in Germany as the target country or in a transit country) how they contribute directly or indirectly to the development of the country of origin;
  • sustainability – in order to qualify, projects should, where possible, be designed to have a medium-term to long-term impact and be able to operate using their own resources once support has ended;
  • quality of project planning – in order to qualify, projects should provide a clear description of the relationship between objectives and activities and include sufficient information on project design/implementation in the application; 
  • quality of financial planning.

What does ‘development focus’ mean?

We aim to support projects within the context of national development strategies. You should therefore find out about existing national and regional development plans in the country or location where the project is being carried out. These are usually published by national and/or regional government institutions. The website of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also provides an overview of the priority sectors of German development cooperation.


What financial support can diaspora organisations receive?

  • CIM can finance up to 90% of the total project volume; the diaspora organisation must finance 10% of the total project volume itself. This can include third-party funding, but must not include direct or indirect funding from BMZ.
  • CIM will not cover the project’s actual administration and operational management costs (in Germany or the country of origin); however, it will provide a lump sum of 5% of the total funding amount to help cover administration costs.
  • Eligible cost categories include fees for technical input (external experts), overheads and equipment/material costs, accommodation costs, transport and subsistence, and public relations work.

Can one association submit several project ideas?

Yes. However, funding can only be provided for one project per organisation.

Can associations that have only been founded recently and have yet to receive their certificate of tax exemption also apply for support?

Yes, although it is important that the required documents are provided by the time the funding agreement is concluded. In such cases, please specify in the project outline (checklist on last page) why the documents are not available and when you expect to be able to provide them.

Can enterprises based in Germany also apply for funding?

Funding is intended for non-profit entities. Non-profit enterprises (in the form of, for example, a ‘gUG’ or a ‘gGmbH’) can therefore apply for funding. In this case, the board members/trustees should have a migration background.

Can we apply for funding even though we currently have an ongoing CIM project?

Yes. However, the current project must have ended before the new project starts.

Can an organisation in a partner country apply for funding without a migrant partner in Germany?

No. The funding programme aims to strengthen the development activities of diaspora organisations in Germany (and their cooperation with partners in the Global South). For this reason, only organisations in German can apply.

Can funding be used to train members of the diaspora organisation in Germany (e.g. in the field of knowledge transfer or SDGs)?

No. The programme is intended to build up knowledge (capacity development) in the target country. For this reason, the funds cannot be used to train diaspora living in Germany. The 10% of funding provided by the association itself must also be used directly for project implementation in the target country. 

Can knowledge transfer activities be carried out in Germany?

The project may include a stay in Germany only if the stay involves measures that cannot be carried out in the target country and is crucial to the success of the measure.

Can funding be used for intercultural projects and/or cultural exchanges such as film festivals or concert tours?

No. Funding cannot be used for intercultural projects or cultural exchanges. Projects must aim to have a direct positive impact on living conditions in the country of origin and on the livelihoods of local people. (See also Sustainable Development Goals.)

We would like to set up a school and buy tables, chairs and teaching materials. Can we apply for funding for these purchases as part of the ‘small-scale project funding ’ programme?

The funding programme is designed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and capacity development. This should be at the heart of the project for which funding is being sought. Projects that focus exclusively on the purchase of furniture and equipment or infrastructure measures are not eligible for funding. 

If multipliers are to be trained as part of the project, purchases of materials and/or demonstration aids (intended for continued use afterwards) are admissible.

Are there any other donors that support the work of diaspora organisations?

Yes, here is a brief overview of other donors:

Schmitz-Stiftung - foundation that supports development projects in the Global South (German only)

Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken (German only)

Mitmachzentrale/Engagement Global - central point of contact for general advice about development activities in Germany and abroad (German only)

Bengo/Engagement Global (German only)

Bengo/Engagement Global:

Further information


If your question has not been answered, you can also contact us directly. Please send an email to: