Development education and awareness raising

Development education and awareness raising

Development education and awareness raising


Development education and awareness raising (DEAR) aims to inform EU citizens about development issues, mobilise greater public support for action against poverty, give citizens tools to engage critically with global development issues, to foster new ideas and change attitudes.

The DEAR programme is powering this drive. It is implemented by civil society actors and local authorities in EU and acceding countries.

The DEAR programme is taken forward primarily through actions implemented by non-state actors and local authorities in the EU and acceding countries. Its objectives are to:

  • inform EU citizens about development issues and foster awareness and understanding of global development and recognition of interdependence;
  • mobilise greater public support for action against poverty and fairer relations between developed and developing countries;
  • change attitudes, provide the European public with tools to engage critically with global developments and support the emergence of new ideas on development issues.

The European Commission has been playing an important role in facilitating dialogue among DEAR policy-makers and practitioners, fostering capacity development among DEAR partners and supporting capacity development and networking activities of the EU-funded DEAR projects.

The Commission is also encouraging the Member States to move from project-level coordination towards policy coordination.

To achieve these objectives, the DEAR programme focuses on two lines of action:

  • Global Learning, to foster knowledge and competences to engage with development issues, through the use of participatory and experiential education methodologies, either within or outside the formal education system;
  • Campaigning & Advocacy, where the objective is to support citizen involvement and advocacy for more sustainable policies, political and economic structures and individual practices, in relation to global development.

The projects financed through the programme reach various target groups:

  • pupils and students (from primary, secondary and higher education)
  • youth (young people in formal and informal groups: cultural organisations, out-of-school groups, etc.)
  • consumers
  • teachers (all levels)
  • decision makers (members of national parliaments and ministries, members of the European Parliament)
  • journalists
  • the private sector (small, medium-sized and large businesses and other commercial organisations)
  • non-governmental organisations (as targets of the projects: non-state actors cannot be applicants or partners)
  • local authorities (municipalities, province, etc.)
  • schools
  • universities/academic bodies.

While these actions are carried out in Europe, cooperation with development stakeholders in developing countries is encouraged.

The specific objective of the DEAR programme is to develop European citizens' awareness and critical understanding of the interdependent world and of their role, responsibility and lifestyles in relation to a globalised society. In addition, it supports the public’s active involvement in global attempts to eradicate poverty and promote justice, human rights and sustainable ways of living.

The EU provides funding for Development Education and Awareness-Raising (DEAR) projects through a dedicated programme. Since 2006, DEAR has been financing grants with a total amount of about €30 million per year.
EU support to DEAR projects is channelled through the thematic programme ‘Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development’ (the NSA-LA programme). This programme is based on Article 14 of the Development Cooperation Instrument. The overall objective of the programme is to co-finance initiatives proposed or carried out by civil society organisations and local authorities.
The multi-annual strategies of 2007-2010 and 2011-2013 define the orientations of this programme, which are implemented through annual action programmes.
Number of DEAR projects financed per year by the EU
Non-state actors
Local authorities 
Approx. total amount of DEAR grants (€)
Average grant size (€)
Source: European Commission, 2012
Note: In 2008-2009 and in 2011-2012, funding was pooled into single calls for proposals.
Non-state actors, local authorities and associations of local authorities from the EU and from partner countries are eligible for the programme, according to criteria explained in greater detail in article 24/2 of the Regulation establishing the Development Cooperation Instrument and in the European Commission's policy objectives: toward the Communication on Europe's engagement with Civil Society in external relations, and the Communication on local authorities as actors of development.
Budget lines
The NSA-LA programme is financed by two different budget lines. Budget line 21.03.01 NSA provides funding for NSA applicants cooperating with NSA or LA partners, and budget line 21.03.02 LA offers support for LA applicants working with LA or NSA partners.
Calls for proposals
Grants are awarded based on the outcomes of calls for proposals, a mechanism whereby a selection process is launched to choose projects on a competitive (non-discriminatory) basis. Calls for proposals provide a full description of the topic and detail the relevant eligibility, selection and award criteria. Since 2011, calls for proposals have been published every two years. Calls for the NSA-LA programme are based on the Annual Action Programme. Depending on remaining available funds, there can be additional calls for proposals. Most calls are implemented in two stages. In the first phase, concept notes are submitted for evaluation and pre-selection (restricted call for proposals). Full applications are required for projects that go through to the second stage.
Prospective applicants will find information on the procedures in the Practical Guide to Contract Procedures for EU External Actions (PRAG), and in particular its section on grants. They are invited to enter their information into the Potential Applicant Data On-Line Registration (PADOR) database and encouraged to check regularly for Calls for Proposals in their particular areas of interest.
Project coverage
The expected geographical scope of individual projects varies depending on the type of activity:
  • Global Learning projects within the formal education system involve activities in at least two EU or acceding countries.
  • Global Learning projects outside the formal education system as well as Campaigning & Advocacy projects involve activities in at least three EU or acceding countries.
Key documents
Four key documents shape the individual activities funded through the programme:
  1. the DCI Regulation, which provides the legal basis.
  2. the multiannual Thematic Strategy Paper, which details the objectives, the priority countries and regions, and the allocations.
  3. the relevant Annual Action Programme, which is based on the multiannual Thematic Strategy Paper and establishes country envelopes for the relevant year;
  4. the guidelines for individual Calls for Proposals, which set out any applicable specific conditions. These guidelines will be published when the call is launched on the Funding section of this website.


Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015


DEAR in Europe

  • 24 higher education journalism institutions in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Portugal adopted a training curriculum on mainstreaming development awareness.
  • 1 200 media pieces on topics related to the Millennium Development Goals and human rights have been produced and broadcasted in the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Portugal.
  • More than 500 million citizens have been reached worldwide on global development issues, through publication or broadcasting stories in European media outlets. Participants succeeded in publishing media stories in non-European media outlets, reaching up to 60 million audience across Brazil, and with several stories printed in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

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