For Organisations in Culture and Education
International Relief Fund

International Relief Fund, Grafic: © Katja Römer International Relief Fund, Grafic: © Katja Römer

Foreign policy is a living partnership, especially in difficult times.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

International Relief Fund 2021

Maintaining and strengthening partnership structures

In 2020, the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut initiated the International Relief Fund for Organisations in Culture and Education in response to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on cultural organisations abroad. With the support of other intermediary organisations, the relief fund was able to contribute to maintaining cultural partner’s structures abroad and at the same time to strengthen social diversity and local cultural life. The consortium partners of the International Relief Fund have agreed to continue the funding in 2021. The Federal Foreign Office has doubled the funds to around 6 million euros. This allowed the maximum individual funding to be increased to 30,000 euros and the funding period to be extended to 6 months. The Goethe-Institut is again in charge of the entire coordination of the fund. Other members of the consortium in 2021 are the S. Fischer Foundation and the Robert Bosch Foundation. The German Commission for UNESCO, the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and the Siemens Foundation are participating with their own projects.



From more than 500 applications, 216 organisations were chosen for funding in an elaborate jury process. In 59 countries, spread across the African continent, the Near and Middle East, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Central and South-Eastern Asia as well as Central and South America, the International Relief Fund 2021 supports organisations in culture and education to remain effective, despite restrictions.

Projects funded by the International Relief Fund 2020

Three projects – three ways to stay relevant

In 2020 a jury selected 141 projects for funding from more than 440 applications from 75 countries. With up to 25,000 euros each, projects could be realised on the African continent, in the Near and Middle East, in Central and South-East Asia as well as Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and South America. We here present three of the funded projects, presenting three different ways to stay relevant to culture and society, despite limitations.

Test-shooting for outdoor performance at Royal District Theatre Photo (detail): © Gika Mikabadze

Royal District Theatre, Tbilisi, Georgia
Theatre without a theatre

When Georgia entered its first lockdown in spring 2020, the Royal District Theatre was forced to close and has not been able to reopen to this day. With the aid of the 2020 Relief Fund, the ensemble developed new ways to re-establish contact with its audience in public and digital space.

A community assistant accompanies children back home after school, Dušan Radović Primary School, Novi Sad Photo (video excerpt): © Andrija Kovač

Forum Roma, Belgrade, Serbia
Education for all

The Forum Roma Serbia has been working against the precarious living situation of the Roma in Serbia for years and primarily aims at expanding access to education. With the help of the Relief Fund 2020, analogue classes for Roma settlements in Bor, Novi Sad and Požarevac could be continued.

Let the spark fly and hold on to it. Outreach Foundation Johannesburg Photo (detail): © Earl Abrahams

Outreach Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa
Setting off sparks of inspiration

The Outreach Foundation in Johannesburg does neighbourhood work in the city centre. With the help of the International Relief Fund 2020, it was able to keep its doors open as an important contact point for children and young people and continue a multi-generational theatre project.


For general questions about the International Relief Fund 2021, please contact:



The International Relief Fund for Organisations in Culture and Education 2021

An initiative of

Auswärtiges Amt Goethe-Institut

Single projects supported by
Robert Bosch Stiftung S. Fischer Stiftung

Involved with own project funding
Dt. UNESCO-Kommission  Berliner Künstlerprogramm DAAD Siemens Stiftung

With kind support by the Deutsche Bank