2022 Call for Applications to the African Civil Society Support Fund: Calling national and regional civil society organizations working in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria

Closing date: Friday 18 March  2022 at 1700 GMT

TrustAfrica is pleased to announce a new grant making initiative invites applications from suitably qualified organisations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso to apply for capacity and core operational support grants under its “African Civil Society Support Initiative.” 

This initiative seeks to provide core operational support for civil society organisations demonstrating a good record of accomplishment, especially in relation to policy advocacy and in elevating women’s voices on health and development concerns in Africa. Recognising the need for strong organisational capacity and for flexibility to deliver stellar programs and campaigns, we are proud to provide through this subaward mechanism, an ecosystem of support to promising and agile civil society organizations to sustain their operations, retain key staff, and to strengthen leadership and mission focus, administrative and management capacity, and financial stability. Civil society organisations working to advance gender justice, financial inclusion, and equitable health delivery across the continent should apply. We trust in a strong civil society that underpins a holistic space for diverse efforts which build trust and accountability between citizens and their institutions. To do that effectively, we believe this support will help civil society be more resilient, nimble, and durable.

Building resilience, and building forward better

The Africa Civil Society Support Initiative is a proactive support mechanism and networking platform for CSOs to increase institutional resiliency and sustain important advocacy campaigns in health and development policy and financial inclusion. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed African civil society’s fragility, operating in uncertain environments, and added pressure to keep operations going in a context of diminished and undiversified funding for core operations. This, combined with a trend of shrinking civic space in certain African countries, makes it a critical time to ensure a robust system of support to civil society. The African Civil Society Support Initiative is responsive to the need for investment in strengthening national and regional CSOs critical to policy advocacy, supporting local ownership over this progress, ensuring changes reflect the local context, whilst maintaining government accountability over the long-term. The African Civil Society Initiative will also nurture peer-to-peer learning exchanges and networking through this platform. The Fund is supported in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to provide more direct flexible support to civil society organizations in Africa. 

The Initiative seeks to achieve three interdependent key outcomes:

  1. Strengthened operational capacity to advance organizational mandates and salience on policy issues by health and women’s rights civil society organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  2. Increased communication and advocacy capacity of awardee CSOs through demand-based capacity building support
  3. Multi-sectoral peer-to-peer network valued among CSOs which actively advances movement building and advocacy expertise.

Size and Use of Grants

Organisations can apply for grants up to a maximum of USD $100,000 for a 12-month period.

Successful organisations will be awarded medium to large grants, ranging from $50 000 to $100 000 for core operational support needs of the organisation. Each award will comprise of two components –– general operating support and organizational capacity building project specific support in a ratio ranging from 60:40 operating support to capacity building support, with the latter provided to address specific organizational development gaps for example developing a strategic plan; advocacy and communications training; funding proposal development, developing internal procedures and systems such as financial management, governance mechanisms, monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) or resource mobilization strategies.

Eligibility criteria – who can apply?

If you are a national or regional CSO in the following focus countries and regions – Kenya (East Africa, Ethiopia (East Africa), Nigeria or Burkina Faso (West Africa), have women in leadership roles, engage in national or regional policy advocacy, pursue gender justice, financial inclusion and/or equitable health delivery then send in your application. CSOs leading collaborative networks that work and/or campaign together are eligible to apply, clearly indicating the primary funding recipient.

  • Nationally registered civil society organisation, have not held direct grants from BMGF with a track record of effective programs in the following themes
    • Equitable access to health and development,
    • Gender justice
    • Financial inclusion
  • Demonstrate how this funding will support core operational gaps that will enable the organisation to make more of an impact in the programmatic themes
  • Able to receive and manage funds as a legally registered organisation or through a legally registered fiscal sponsor (when an applicant does not meet essential grant funds management criteria, a fiscal sponsor can be proposed on behalf of the candidate).
  • Possess a system, policies and procedures that controls and tracks income and expenditures
  • Be solely responsible for the preparation and management of the organisational capacity support project

What we cannot fund

  • Funds for travel to the United States
  • Endowment grants
  • Capital projects, such as the purchase or construction of buildings.
  • Partisan politics
  • Lobbying
  • For-profit activities or enterprises

What are the expectations?

 Successful organisations will be expected to:

  • Participate in a co-creative inception workshop, capacity building workshops, learning exchanges and network building platforms.
  • Contribute learning and experiences to the Community of Practice
  • Collaborate on amplifying the civil society voice on relevant policy engagement themes and campaigns.

How to apply

Applications should be in the form of a brief Concept Note, not more than three pages or 1000 words including the following sections:

  1. Summary Organizational Profile (e.g., year established, headquarters location, leadership, number of staff, focus areas, countries where you work, total annual budget, funders)
  2. Primary Contact information
  3. Context and Problem Analysis
  4. Organizational mission, approach and key achievements related to specific themes listed above (gender justice, financial inclusion, and equitable access to health)
  5. Top institutional capacity building needs and goals
  6. Expected outcomes; how this operational support will help you to make more of an impact in the programmatic themes
  7. Existing and past partnerships and stakeholders
  8. Budget Summary in USD

Closing date for applications

Send your application to cfp@trustafrica.org in either English or French with the subject “Africa Civil Society Support Initiative”  by Friday 18, March 2022 at 1700 hrs GMT.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed and shortlisted and invited for proposal development by TrustAfrica, with input from the African Civil Society Support Initiative Advisory Committee.

Frequently asked questions

For any queries, send your questions to cfp@trustafrica.org  by 4 March 2022.

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