Frequently asked questions

Here we have compiled information about FBA’s scholarship in support of women, peace and security: the purpose, our target group and how it works.

Why does FBA manage a scholarship in memory of Zaida Catalán?

In March 2020, FBA was tasked by the Swedish Government to initiate the preparatory work to establish a scholarship aimed at supporting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. According to the Government’s instruction, the scholarship is established in memory of Zaida Catalán, who served as gender expert on secondment from FBA to several international peace operations in 2011-2016.

Why is the scholarship focused on women, peace and security?

Twenty years ago, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The scholarship is established to promote individuals who are committed to issues regarding women’s participation in conflict resolution. It gives young agents of change in some of FBA’s partner countries the opportunity to, during the course of a year, deepen their knowledge and experience in relation to the women, peace and security agenda.

Why is FBA assigned to manage the scholarship?

Women, peace and security is one of FBA’s areas of expertise and forms an important part of the activities that the government agency carries out in its partner countries. As Sweden’s expert agency within this field, FBA is tasked with strengthening the women, peace and security agenda. In addition, FBA has a special government assignment to highlight the 20th anniversary since the adoption of resolution 1325.

Who can apply for the scholarship?

The scholarship is aimed at young individuals who are at the beginning of their career and are based in i Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Palestine.

To qualify as a scholarship holder, applicants need to have two years of relevant experience from the local context and a confirmed strong dedication to the women, peace and security agenda and/or work for gender equality. The applicant should have a connection to the country in question, and possess a legal permit of residency and/or have his or her current settlement there. The applicant should not have been employed by the hosting organization during the past two years.

Is citizenship in Afghanistan, the DRC or Palestine a requirement to apply for the scholarship?

Citizenship is not a requirement, but applicants should have the intention to continue to operate as an agent for change to promote women, peace and security in the actual context after the end of the scholarship.

How does the scholarship function?

The scholarship provides young peacebuilders with an opportunity to gain one year of experience with a civil society organization working with the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in Afghanistan, the DRC and Palestine – the countries where Zaida Catalán was on secondment from FBA. During the first cycle of scholarships, in 2021. we limit applications to the DRC and Palestine. For the coming years, our ambition is to appoint one scholarship holder in each country; also Afghanistan.

It should be possible to clearly distinguish the work of the scholarship holder from the work carried out by permanent staff at each organization. Also, the scholarship holder’s development should be documented in a settled individual plan for activities and training.  

Are scholarship holders paid during their placement?

The scholarship is not comparable with a regular position, but FBA will disburse the recipient’s package of allowances, to make sure that he or she can have a good standard of living and safe work environment. The level of the allowance is based on the conditions for permanent staff at the hosting organization, and necessary security arrangements in each country will be taken into consideration.

Are organizations reimbursed for receiving scholarship holders?

FBA will reimburse some of the expenses that the hosting organization will have in connection to a placement, to make sure that scholarship holders have an instructive and rewarding placement in a safe work environment, and conditions equal to conditions for the permanent staff working for the organization.

How are the scholarship holders selected?

Scholarship holders are selected by FBA in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy and hosting organization in each country. The decision is based on how well the profile of the applicant matches with the activities of the organization. How the applicant can contribute to the work that the organization carries out, and the applicant’s needs and preconditions to continue to promote women, peace and security in the country, are issues that are also considered.

How are the hosting organizations selected?

FBA appoints the hosting organizations together with the Swedish Embassy in each country. The selected organizations should be entrusted and acknowledged for their work with the women, peace and security agenda in each country, and have the capacity to receive a scholarship holder.

What are the expectations on scholarship holders?

Scholarship holders commit to contribute to the hosting organization’s operations as specified in their individual activity plan that has been set up. When the placement ends, the scholarship holder must hand in a final report and have a debriefing with his or her supervisor at the hosting organization, as well as with his or her contact person at FBA.

What is expected from the hosting organizations?

Hosting organizations commit to supervise scholarship holders, and agree with them upon an individual plan for activities and training. At the end of a placement, the hosting organization must file a report on the activities that the scholarship holder has carried out, and present how the financial resources disbursed by FBA have been used.

What happens if a scholarship holder or an organization does not fulfil their commitments?

If a scholarship holder or host organization interrupts a placement, or breaks their agreement with FBA, they might be subject to repayment obligations.

For how long will the scholarship exist?

According to FBA’s assignment from the Swedish Government, the scholarship will be handed out until 2025, and then be evaluated.

Was Zaida Catalán seconded from FBA when she was killed in 2017?

No, Zaida was a member of the United Nations Group of Experts when she was murdered on a mission in the DRC. She was not on secondment from FBA or any other Swedish authority.

What kind of missions did Zaida Catalán do for FBA?

Zaida was seconded by FBA to the EU police mission for the DRC during 2011-2012, where she served as gender expert and was part of the mobile team to combat sexual violence. In 2013-2014, Zaida worked with rule of law, gender equality and human rights for the EU’s police mission in Afghanistan, and in 2015-2016 she was seconded from FBA as gender expert to the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support.

I don't find the answer to my question here. Can you help me?

If you have further questions, please send an email to



Swedish Chair wants to strengthen security in the OSCE

This year Sweden leads the work of the OSCE faced by a challenging security situation. Several conflicts are in progress in the region: Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabakh and the political crisis in Belarus. Sweden protects the European security order and emphasizes that democracy and human rights are the basis for security. FBA offers support to the OSCE and the Swedish chair in order to contribute to solutions to the protracted conflicts in the region.

2021-05-07 09:20

Read our publications

Reintegration or Recidivism? Why ex-combatants in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) return to arms

The objective of this report is to identify the most prominent factors behind recidivism, or return to armed violence, among female and male ex-combatants in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In doing so, the report aims to provide evidence-based knowledge to inform policy and practice on issues of relevance for DDR processes, both in the DRC and internationally.




Johanna Malm

Johanna is expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo

More about our experts

Upcoming courses


Our partner countries

FBA is part of Sweden’s development aid within the area of peace and security

Read more about the countries where we work