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Capacity Building in the field of youth

Capacity-building projects are international cooperation projects based on multilateral partnerships between organisations active in the field of youth in Programme and third countries not associated to the Programme. They aim to support the international cooperation and policy dialogue in the field of youth and non-formal learning, as a driver of sustainable socio-economic development and well-being of youth organisations and young people.

Objectives of the Action

The action will aim at:

  • raising the capacity of organisations working with young people outside formal learning;
  • promote non-formal learning activities in third countries not associated to the Programme, especially targeting young people with fewer opportunities, with a view to improving the level of competences while ensuring the active participation of young people in society;
  • support the development of youth work in third countries not associated to the Programme, improving its quality and recognition;
  • foster the development, testing and launching of schemes and programmes of non-formal learning mobility in third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • contribute to the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy (2019-2027) including the 11 European Youth goals and the Youth Action Plan in the EU External Action;
  • foster cooperation across different regions of the world through joint initiatives;
  • enhance synergies and complementarities with formal education systems and/or the labour market;

Thematic areas/specific objectives

Proposals should focus on one or more of the following thematic areas:

  • political participation, civic engagement and dialogue with decision-makers;  
  • inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities;
  • democracy, rule of law and values;
  • empowerment / engagement / employability of young people ;
  • peace and post-conflict reconciliation;
  • environment and climate;  
  • anti-discrimination and gender equality;  
  • digital and entrepreneurial skills.


The activities proposed must be directly linked to the general and specific objectives of the action, i.e. they must correspond to one or more of the thematic areas listed above and they must be detailed in a project description covering the entire implementation period. Finally, in the context of this international worldwide action, project activities must focus on building and strengthening the capacities of youth organisations and young people principally in the third countries not associated to the Programme covered by the action.

Funded projects will be able to integrate a wide range of cooperation, exchange, communication and other activities that:

  • contribute to encouraging policy dialogue, cooperation, networking and exchanges of practices;
  • promote strategic cooperation between youth organisations on the one hand and public authorities, particularly in eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • promote the cooperation between youth organisations and organisations active in the education and training fields as well as with organisations from the labour market;  
  • raise the capacities of youth councils, youth platforms and local, regional and national authorities dealing with youth, in particular in eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;  
  • enhance the management, governance, innovation capacity, leadership and internationalisation of youth organisations, particularly in eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • support the development of information and awareness campaigns, as well as the development of information, communication and media tools;
  • help developing youth work methods, tools and materials, including encouraging initiatives of co-creation and co-design of projects, allowing participatory project creation;
  • create new forms of delivering youth work and providing training and support; facilitate non-formal learning mobility.

Examples of activities include:

  • the development of tools and methods for the socio-professional development of youth workers and trainers;
  • the development of non-formal learning methods, especially those promoting the acquisition/improvement of competences, including media literacy skills;
  • the development of new forms of practical training schemes and simulation of real life cases in society;
  • the development of new forms of youth work, notably strategic use of open and flexible learning, virtual co-operation, open educational resources (OER) and better exploitation of the ICT potential;
  • the organisation of events/seminars/workshops/exchange of good practice for cooperation, networking, awareness raising and  peer-learning purposes
  • the organisation of mobility activities for young people and/or youth workers in order to test tools and methods developed by the partnership. Please note that mobility activities must be secondary to the main objectives of the action, and must be instrumental to and underpin the achievement of these objectives  

Setting up a project

A Capacity Building project in the field of youth consists of four stages, which start even before the project proposal is selected for funding1   e.g. 1) Project identification and initiation; 2) Project preparation, design and planning; 3) Project implementation and monitoring of activities; and 4) Project review and impact assessment.  

Participating organisations and participants involved in the activities should take an active role in all those stages and thus enhance their learning experience.  

  • Identification and initiation; identify a problem, need or opportunity that you can address with your project idea in the context of the call; identify the key activities and the main outcomes that can be expected from the project; map the relevant stakeholders and potential partners; formulate the project’s objective(s); ensure the project’s alignment to the participating organisations’ strategic objectives; undertake some initial planning to get the project off to a good start, and put together the information required to continue to the next phase etc.;
  • Preparation, design and planning; specify the project scope and appropriate approach; outline clearly the methodology proposed ensuring consistency between project objectives and activities; decide on a schedule for the tasks involved; estimate the necessary resources and develop the detail of the project e.g. needs assessment; define sound objectives and impact indicators (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound); identify project and learning outcomes; development of work programme, activity formats, expected impact, estimated overall budget; preparing a project implementation plan and a sound and realistic communication plan including strategic aspects of project governance, monitoring, quality control, reporting and dissemination of results; defining practical arrangements and confirmation of the target group(s) for the envisaged activities; setting up agreements with partners and writing the proposal etc.;  
  • Implementation and monitoring of activities: carrying out the project implementation according to plans fulfilling requirements for reporting and communication; monitoring ongoing activities and assessing project performance against project plans; identifying and taking corrective action to address deviations from plans and to address issues and risks; identifying non-conformities with the set quality standards and taking corrective actions etc.;
  • Review and impact assessment: assessing project performance against project objectives and implementation plans; evaluation of the activities and their impact at different levels, sharing and use of the project's results, etc.

Horizontal aspects to be considered when designing your project

In addition to complying with the formal criteria and setting up sustainable cooperation arrangement with all project partners, the following elements can contribute to increasing the impact and qualitative implementation of Capacity Building projects throughout the different project phases. Applicants are encouraged to take these opportunities and dimensions into account when designing their project.

Environmental sustainability

Projects should be designed in an eco-friendly way and should incorporate green practices in all its facets. Organisations and participants should have an environmental-friendly approach when designing the project, which will encourage everyone involved in the project to discuss and learn about environmental issues, reflecting about what can be done at different levels and help organisations and participants come up with alternative, greener ways of implementing project activities. 

Inclusion and Diversity

The Erasmus+ Programme seeks to promote equal opportunities and access, inclusion and fairness across all its actions. To implement these principles, an Inclusion and Diversity Strategy has been devised to support a better outreach to participants from more diverse backgrounds, in particular those with fewer opportunities facing obstacles to participate in European Projects. Organisations should design accessible and inclusive project activities, taking into account the views of participants with fewer opportunities and involving them in decision making throughout the whole process.  

Digital dimension

Virtual cooperation and experimentation with virtual and blended learning opportunities are key to successful projects. In particular, projects are strongly encouraged to use the European Youth Portal and the European Youth Strategy Platform to work together before, during and after the project activities.

Common values, civic engagement and participation

Projects will support active citizenship and ethics, as well as foster the development of social and intercultural competences, critical thinking and media literacy. The focus will also be on raising awareness on and understanding the European Union context in the world.

Which are the criteria to be met to apply for Capacity Building in the field of youth?

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible for an Erasmus grant, project proposals for Capacity Building in the field of Youth must comply with the following criteria:

Who can apply?

The applicants (coordinator and full partners) must be legal entities:

  • NGOs (including European Youth NGOs and national Youth Councils) working in the field of Youth
  • public authorities at local, regional or national level                                                                                           

They should be established in an EU Member State or third country associated to the Programme, or organisations in third countries not associated to the Programme from regions 1 and 3 (please see section "Eligible Counties" in Part A of Programme Guide).

Public or private companies (small, medium or large enterprise (including social enterprises) may also participate but not as coordinator.

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of at least 4 applicants (coordinator and full partners), which complies with the following conditions:

  • covering at least 1 EU Member State or third country associated to the Programme
  • covering at least 2 eligible third countries not associated to the Programme

Affiliated entities do not count towards the minimum eligibility criteria for the consortium composition.

Venue of the activities

Activities must take place in the countries of the applicant organisations (coordinator and full partners).

In duly justified cases, activities can also take place in other eligible countries of this action.

Duration of the project

Projects should normally last 12, 24 or 36 months (extensions are possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).

Where to apply?

To the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).


When to apply?

Applicants have to submit their grant application by 8 March at 17:00:00 (Brussels time).

Applicant organisations will be assessed against the relevant exclusion and selection criteria. For more information please consult Part C of this Guide.

Expected impact

The granted projects should demonstrate their expected impact by:

  • contributing to the ‘Engage-Connect-Empower’ priorities of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027
  • building on outcomes of the European Youth Goals, the Youth Dialogue and other youth projects;
  • improving the involvement of young people in democratic life, in terms of active citizenship and engagement with decision-makers (empowerment, new skills, involvement of young people in project design, etc.), in particular in the eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • improving the entrepreneurial and innovative capacities of young people in eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • improving the capacity of the youth sector to work transnationally with care of inclusiveness, solidarity and sustainability;
  • promoting and contributing to transnational learning and cooperation between young people and decision makers, in particular in the eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • upscaling existing practices and outreach beyond the partnership, including making good use of digital means to stay connected under all circumstances even in situations of remoteness, isolation or confinement;
  • linking the results to local communities, creating job opportunities and nurturing innovative ideas that could be replicated and scaled up in other settings in third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • demonstrating inclusion and accessibility of target groups with fewer opportunities and individuals in third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • developing new tools and non-formal learning methods, especially those promoting the acquisition/improvement of competences, including media literacy skills innovative practices, in particular in the eligible third countries not associated to the Programme;
  • disseminating their results in an effective and attractive way among young people involved in youth organisations.

Award criteria

Relevance of the project (maximum score 30 points)

  • The relevance of the proposal to the objectives of the Action;  
  • The extent to which:  
    • the objectives are clearly defined, realistic and address issues relevant to the participating organisations and target groups;  
    • the proposal is innovative and/or complementary to other initiatives already carried out by the participating organisations;  
    • the capacity-building activities are clearly defined and aim at reinforcing the capacities of the participating organisations;  
    • the project involves young people with fewer opportunities. 

Quality of the project design and implementation (maximum score 30 points)

  • The clarity, completeness and quality of the work programme, including appropriate phases for preparation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and dissemination;  
  • The appropriateness and quality of the methodology proposed for addressing the needs identified;
  • The consistency between project objectives and activities proposed;  
  • Quality and effectiveness of the work plan, including the extent to which the resources assigned to work packages are in line with their objectives and deliverables;  
  • The quality of the non-formal learning methods proposed;  
  • The quality of arrangements for the recognition and validation of participants' learning outcomes as well as the consistent use of European transparency and recognition tools;  
  • The existence and relevance of quality control measures to ensure that the project implementation is of high quality, completed in time and on budget;  
  • The extent to which the project is cost-effective and allocates appropriate resources to each activity.  
  • The appropriateness of measures for selecting and/or involving participants in mobility activities, if any (please refer to ”Protection, health and safety of participants” in part A of this Guide as well to other requirements and recommendations applicable to KA1 Mobility projects.)

Quality of the partnership and the cooperation arrangements (maximum score 20 points)

  • The extent to which:  
    • the project involves an appropriate mix of complementary participating organisations with the necessary profile, experience and expertise to successfully deliver all aspects of the project;  
    • the distribution of responsibilities and tasks demonstrates the commitment and active contribution of all participating organisations.  
  • The existence of effective mechanisms for coordination and communication between the participating organisations, as well as with other relevant stakeholders

Impact (maximum score 20 points)

  • The quality of measures for evaluating the outcomes of the project;  
  • The potential impact of the project:  
    • on participants and participating organisations, during and after the project lifetime;  
    • outside the organisations and individuals directly participating in the project, at local, regional, national and/or international levels.  
  • The quality of the dissemination plan: the appropriateness and quality of measures aimed at sharing the outcomes of the project within and outside the participating organisations;  
  • If relevant, the proposal describes how the materials, documents and media produced will be made freely available and promoted through open licences, and does not contain disproportionate limitations;  
  • The quality of the plans for ensuring the sustainability of the project: its capacity to continue having an impact and producing results after the EU grant has been used up.


To be considered for funding, proposals must score at least 60 points. Furthermore, they must score at least half of the maximum score points in each of the categories of award criteria mentioned above (i.e. minimum 15 points for the categories "relevance of the project" and "quality of the project design and implementation"; 10 points for the categories  "quality of the partnership and the cooperation arrangements" and "impact”).  

In case of ex aequo, priority will be given to projects scoring highest under the criterion "relevance of the project" and then “impact”.

As a general rule, and within the limits of existing national and European legal frameworks, results should be made available as open educational resources (OER) as well as on relevant professional, sectorial or competent authorities’ platforms. The proposal will describe how data, materials, documents and audio-visual and social media activity produced will be made freely available and promoted through open licences, and does not contain disproportionate limitations.

What are the funding rules?

This action follows a lump sum funding model. The amount of the single lump sum contribution will be determined for each grant based on the estimated budget of the action proposed by the applicant. The granting authority will fix the lump sum of each grant based on the proposal, evaluation result, funding rates and the maximum grant amount set in the call.

The EU grant per project will vary from a minimum of 100.000 € and a maximum of 300.000 €.

How is the project lump sum determined?

Applicants must fill in a detailed budget table according to the application form, taking into account the following points:   

  1. The budget should be detailed as necessary by beneficiary/-ies and organized in coherent work packages (for example divided into ‘project management’, ‘training’, ‘organization of events’, ‘mobility preparation and implementation’, ‘communication and dissemination’, ‘quality assurance’, etc.);   
  2. The proposal must describe the activities covered by each work package;
  3. Applicants must provide in their proposal a breakdown of the estimated costs showing the share per work package (and, within each work package, the share assigned to each beneficiary and affiliated entity);
  4. Costs described can cover staff costs, travel and subsistence costs, equipment costs and subcontracting as well as other costs (such us dissemination of information, publishing or translation).

Proposals will be evaluated according to the standard evaluation procedures with the help of internal and/or external experts. The experts will assess the quality of the proposals, against the requirements defined in the call and the expected impact, quality and efficiency of the action.

Following the proposal evaluation, the authorising officer will establish the amount of the lump sum, taking into account the findings of the assessment carried out. The lump sum value will be limited to a maximum of 80% of the estimated budget determined after evaluation

The grant parameters (maximum grant amount, funding rate, total eligible costs, etc.) will be fixed in the Grant Agreement.  

The project achievements will be evaluated on the outcomes completed. The funding scheme would allow putting focus on the outputs rather than the inputs, thereby placing emphasis on the quality and level of achievement of measurable objectives.

More details are described in the model Grant Agreement available in the Funding and Tender Opportunities Portal (FTOP).

  • 1 Please note that while preparatory activities can start before the proposal is submitted or selected for funding, costs can be incurred and activities be implemented only after the signature of the grant agreement.
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