Deadline: 30 November 2021
Under this call, The Commonwealth Foundation is looking to support projects that seek to bring civil society to constructively engage with government, participate and contribute to policy and decision making on three themes—health, environment and climate change and freedom of expression.
The Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026 is strongly linked to the Commonwealth Charter and its values and aspirations. It also seeks to reflect and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDGs three, five, and 13-16, including all relevant targets focussing on participation in decision-making at all levels.
Civil society projects that aim to advance these themes will be supported through this call for applications. The total grant amount requested must be between £15,000 and £30,000 per year for a maximum of two years.
Applicants must address one or more of the Foundation’s three priority themes:
- Environment and climate change
- Freedom of expression
The Foundation’s themes overlap and connect in myriad ways. Applicants are encouraged to explore those intersections when developing their proposals and, where appropriate, consider addressing more than one theme.
Possible health focus areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:
- Advocating for universal health coverage
- Realising the right to health through better availability, quality, and accountability in health services and delivery
- Developing programmes and policies that address the social determinants of health.
Possible environment and climate change areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:
- Developing, reviewing and improving laws, policies and practices aimed at addressing environmental and climate threats
- Monitoring the implementation of relevant laws, policies and practices — such as national climate plans or commitments
- Addressing mitigation and adaptation challenges.
Possible freedom of expression areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:
- Advocating for a legal and regulatory environment that protects and upholds freedom of expression for all
- Promoting access to information and transparency in governance, including through a free and independent press, robust freedom of information laws and their practical application
- Supporting civil society to work with artists to raise awareness to issues of freedom of expression and engage in advocacy efforts around these issues
Applicants are encouraged to reflect on their other themes and considerations which, while important to us, do not necessarily need to be reflected in successful applications.
They recognise that social structures and systems are shaped by gendered power dynamics that often reflect and perpetuate inequality and discrimination. They ask all applicants to demonstrate an understanding of how gender operates within their chosen theme/s and show how they will integrate that understanding into their project.
The Foundation understands their limits to fund worthwhile initiatives and they encourage applicants to carefully consider how they can leverage partnerships to further enhance their work.
Participation of young people
Young people are central to the Foundation’s mission and vision. Applications are encouraged from CSOs working to support and advance the involvement of young people in their own governance, as well as from CSOs that include young people in their structure.
Small and vulnerable member states
The Commonwealth is a champion of small states and carries a special duty to support and advocate for the interests of small and vulnerable states. Applications from eligible small and vulnerable states are strongly encouraged.
An optional creative component
The Foundation understands the power of creative expression to influence change. This call will pilot support for the inclusion of a creative element into projects. This is an optional element and would be funded separately (up to 15% of the total grant awarded).
Eligibility for grant funding under this call depends on the following criteria:
- The applicant is a registered not-for-profit civil society organisation (CSO).
- The applicant is registered in an eligible Commonwealth Foundation member country and the proposed project will be implemented in the country of registration. Please see a full list of eligible countries at commonwealthfoundation.com/grants. (Projects can be implemented in one or more eligible Commonwealth Foundation member countries and can have a national, sub-national, regional or international remit). In multi-country projects, the Foundation encourages collaboration with partners in each involved country.
- The applicant has documented experience, over at least two years, working on participatory governance and advocacy within the proposed area/theme(s).
- The requested grant amount should not exceed 70% of the applicant organisation’s total annual income.
- The average of the applicant organisation’s total annual income over the past two years must be less than £2m.
- The project proposal must address at least one of the priority themes and demonstrate appropriate and meaningful integration of gender considerations.
The Commonwealth Foundation will not fund:
- Attendance at training courses, workshops, and conferences unless as part of a larger project funded by the grant.
- Academic study or research unless as part of a larger project funded by the grant.
- Publication of books and films, unless they are part of a larger project applied for under the grant (note that this provision does not apply to a creative element of any grant).
- Exchanges between developed countries.
- Activities that are solely targeted at building the capacity of government officials and/or the private sector. If the project requires activities such as training of government officials, funding for such components should be separately sourced.
- Projects that focus on service delivery (e.g., the Foundation will not fund activities such as the distribution of medicines).
For more information, visit https://commonwealthfoundation.com/grants/