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:
- 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.
- Increased communication and advocacy capacity of awardee CSOs through demand-based capacity building support
- 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
- 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:
- Summary Organizational Profile (e.g., year established, headquarters location, leadership, number of staff, focus areas, countries where you work, total annual budget, funders)
- Primary Contact information
- Context and Problem Analysis
- Organizational mission, approach and key achievements related to specific themes listed above (gender justice, financial inclusion, and equitable access to health)
- Top institutional capacity building needs and goals
- Expected outcomes; how this operational support will help you to make more of an impact in the programmatic themes
- Existing and past partnerships and stakeholders
- Budget Summary in USD
Closing date for applications
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
ACSI call for proposals- FAQs
Can organization not based in the target countries apply?
R: Yes. The organization can be based outside of the target countries, but it must work in one of the four target countries. For instance, an organization based in Senegal that works in Burkina Faso is eligible.
Can organization not based in the target countries but with regional focus/thematic apply?
R: Yes. The organization can be based outside of the target countries, but it must work in one of the four target countries. A regional focus is OK, but it must include policy advocacy work in at least one of the four target countries.
Clarification needed of what we meant by ratio of 60%-40% for organization capacity building
R: A maximum of 60% of the total budget can be directed towards General operating support and a maximum of 40% of the total budget can be directed towards organizational capacity building project specific support.
We received sub grants from others organization for projects funded by BMGF can we apply?
R: Yes. Sub-grantees on projects funded by BMGF are eligible. Direct grantees of BMGF are not.
Clarification needed on the different components –– general operating support and organizational capacity building
R: This is a mix of operation and project related to an operational issue. The applicant can determine which core support (operational) issues they need to cover. Then the applicant can develop a project related to organizational development such as developing an MEL framework, strategy, strengthening their communication etc
Is there a specific template to use?
R: No you can just include in the proposal the different sections as stated in the call
Does the fund support payment of salaries? Office rent? (…) is there a budget summary template?
R: Yes, you can include the main budget items (not the details) reflecting the activities of the project
What is meant by LEADERSHIP in the summary profile section?
R: This is in reference to the leadership team of the organization