Step Up Fund: Call for Proposals

The Step-Up Call 2023-2024 is now open for proposals. We invite local and national NGOs working with refugees and asylum seekers in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland or Spain, to apply for a grant of up to 10.000 Euro to develop the capacity of their organization. Through the fund, up to 8 projects will be selected to be supported in the period between December 2023 and November 2024. The selected organizations will - if they like - be offered capacity-building support by Dutch Council for Refugees in the form of trainings or twinning. The group of selected NGOs will regularly meet in online meetings to share experiences, and will be invited to a work visit to the Netherlands.


The Step Up Fund was launched by the Dutch Council for Refugees to improve refugee protection and inclusion at the borders of Europe. We do this by supporting local and national NGOs in strengthening their organization.

You are eligible to apply to the Step Up Fund, if:

  1. you are a registered non-profit organization based in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, or Spain
  2. your organization is a locally or nationally rooted organization in one of these six countries;
  3. you are already working on the assistance of refugees and asylum seekers;
  4. your project proposal focuses on capacity-development of your organization;
  5. the grant you are applying for is max.10.000 Euro;
  6. your application is submitted in English.

Find out more about current and previous Step Up projects here.

Application process

  1. The call for proposals for Step Up is now open. The application deadline has been extended: Monday 16 October, 2023.
  2. Before you start working on your application, please read the Step Up application guidelines here.
  3. You can write you your project proposal using this template.
  4. Then upload your project proposal through the online application form.

After submitting your proposal online, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an online meeting in November 2023. All applicants will be informed about whether they have been selected or not in the course of November.

International solidarity

In these times of crisis, and as wars, violence and persecution persist across the globe, international and European solidarity for refugee protection is needed more than ever. 

Where Europe should be leading by example in sharing responsibility for welcoming and hosting refugees, the past years have seen a further externalization and deterioration of refugee protection.

As part of our international solidarity, the Dutch Council for Refugees, a nationally operating NGO in the Netherlands assisting asylum seekers and refugees, has been investing in the capacity of NGO's at the borders of Europe over the past decade.

If you would like to know more about our activities on international solidarity, visit this page. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, via

Apply to Step Up

Submit your project proposal for NGO capacity building.