Call for Proposals to support Paralegals and Village Mediation Services in Malawi

Deadline Date: February 27, 2024

 Donor Name: European Commission (EC)

 Grant Size: More than $1 million

The European Commission (EC) has announced a call for proposals to improve humane and effective delivery of justice for all, especially those living in marginalised and most vulnerable situations.


  • The specific objective(s) of this call for proposals are:
    • To improve access to justice for all, especially for the population living in the most vulnerable situations and women; and
    • To empower and strengthen local civil society organisations on the ground by supporting their efforts to improve access to justice for all.


  • The priorities of this call for proposals are:
    • Provision of paralegal services in the four (4) major prisons of Zomba Central, Maula, Lilongwe, Mzuzu Prison and Chichiri, Blantyre Prison. Paralegal services will also have to be provided in other detention centres (intended as prisons, police cells and Magistrate Courts) across the country as per proposed intervention strategy.
    • Expansion of village mediation services through training and deployment of mediators to cover an increased number of districts including but not limited to Rumphi, Dedza, Machinga, Mwanza, Neno, Chikwawa and Nsanje. Minimum support to existing village mediation structures in various districts is recommended to ensure their sustainability.
    • Development and delivery of legal awareness and education programmes targeting mainly those living in the most vulnerable situations;
    • Advocacy to relevant policy makers and key stakeholders to address and remove bottlenecks to access to justice in the justice system.

Funding Information

  • The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 4 000 000. The contracting authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.
  • Size of grants
    • Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
      • minimum amount: EUR 3 500 000
      • maximum amount: EUR 4 000 000


  • The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 36 months nor exceed 48 months.


  • Activities should include:
    • Provision of Paralegal Services in the Formal Justice System – the project should focus on providing legal aid services in places of detention across the country. The places of detention should include but should not be limited to various police cells, Magistrate Courts and the four (4) major prisons of Zomba Central, Maula, Lilongwe, Mzuzu Prison and Chichiri, Blantyre Prison; This should be in line with existing laws. Apart from legal aid services, the paralegals should work to improve legal awareness and education in the places of detention.
    • Provision of Village Mediation Services – the project should establish village mediation services in the above-mentioned districts or more. This should include developing training materials and training of village mediators and monitoring their activities throughout the duration of the project.
    • Provision of Referral Services – the project should train village mediators in referring cases to the appropriate justice institutions supported under the Chilungamo II (Access to Justice) Programme i.e. Malawi Police Service, Office of the Ombudsman, Malawi Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid Bureau etc. In addition, and in connection to the referral of SGBV and child protection cases, applicants are encouraged to explore possible synergies with 1) GoM led initiatives initiated under the EU funded Spotlight Initiative; and 2) UNICEF, in the context of the EU-IE funded SP-GEAR programme.
    • Advocacy and Coordination– the project should also focus on advocating for improved access to justice for people in vulnerable situations to the necessary duty bearers. The project should also work on increasing coordination among criminal justice institutions to improve service delivery.


  • Actions must take place in Malawi. Paralegal services are to be offered nationwide (e.g. in the four (4) major prisons of Zomba Central, Maula, Lilongwe, Mzuzu Prison and Chichiri, Blantyre Prison as well as in other detention centres (intended as prisons, police cells and Magistrate Courts) while village mediation services must take place at least in the following districts Rumphi, Dedza, Machinga, Mwanza, Neno, Chikwawa and Nsanje (the list can be expanded)

Eligibility Criteria

  • Lead applicant(s)
    • In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
      • be a legal person and
      • be non-profit-making and
      • be a civil society organization or an Association of CSOs and
      • be established in a Member State of the European Union or eligible non EU Member States as established in Regulation (EU) N° 2021/947 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI) . and
      • This obligation does not apply to international organizations
      • be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.
  • Co-applicant(s)
    • The lead applicant must act with a minimum of one (1) co-applicant.
    • Where the lead applicant is an international organisation, participation of a minimum of one (1) local co-applicant is obligatory.
    • Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.
    • Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant himself.
    • Co-applicants must sign the mandate form.
  • Affiliated entities
    • The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).
    • Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
      • Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.
      • This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
        • Control on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:
          • Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:
            • Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
            • Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;
            • Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).
        • Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association,) as the proposed affiliated entities.

For more information, visit European Commission.

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