Winning a small grant is one of the best ways to get a development initiative or project off the ground. Working with embassies, contract and partnership terms are generally more straightforward and there’s typically no interest or repayment as long as resources are properly managed and the job gets done. While development organizations large and small are often tempted to engage with major donor agencies and high-budget projects, you shouldn’t overlook more modest and tactical grants that support a specific one-time project, or finance smaller elements of a bigger program.

Many embassies in developing countries manage small grants programs that can be attractive and useful sources of development project finance. Some of these programs aim to address a specific development need with distinct thematic focuses such as the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) program implemented by the Canadian Embassy in Egypt which focuses on themes including preventing gender-based violence; human rights of vulnerable populations; economic empowerment, as well as reproductive health of women. Other embassies are extremely flexible by supporting any promising project idea. Usually call for application is announced on a cyclical basis throughout the year and address broader development challenges such as the Local Development Fund Managed by the Embassy of Finland in Egypt

Here are a few essential facts and tips to keep in mind if your organization is interested in working with a diplomatic mission.

  • You should review the requirements of the specific call for application to determine whether you fit the eligibility criteria and / or the thematic priorities of the grant in question.
  • Embassy grants specifically target small-scale and grass-roots projects aimed at bringing tangible improvements to the living conditions of those most in need.
  • Limited in funding and time, these grants generally don’t exceed tens of thousands of dollars and one year in duration.
  • Grants usually doesn’t covers the cost of activities such as baseline studies, research activities, phases, etc. Just start a head or be part of an going projects
  • Embassy grants come in various shapes and sizes and are influenced by many different factors, including annual themes determined in advance by the diplomatic mission, other diplomatic priorities, regional priorities, budget limitations, and host country needs. These grants commonly cover a wide range of sectors such as health, education, rural development, human rights, economic growth, democracy, etc.
  • Although local nongovernmental organizations are generally the primary recipients, embassy grants can be awarded to a wide array of implementers and stakeholders. For instance, British embassies encourage not just NGOs and civil society groups to apply for grants, but also business leaders and governmental agencies.
  • Embassy grants are also distinctive because of their application and evaluation processes. While some diplomatic missions — like those of the United States — conduct annual application rounds with bids being processed several times a year, others respond to requests individually such as the case with several Australian embassies.
  • Diplomatic missions commonly advertise calls for proposals on their websites. Announcements are complemented by instructions, templates and FAQs, which will facilitate your bid-or-no-bid decision
  • Submit realistic project and demonstrates why and how you are going to achieve the change you desire
  • Projects s should be within the grasp of each NGO, and be based on actual work they are already doing effectively — just taking them a few steps forward
  • Think sustainable. Prospects for sustainability are an important principle guiding embassies in their assessment of applications. For instance evidence of solid community involvement in your project design is an obvious asset for the success of your grant proposal, because the outcome would be more likely to sustain the project. Likewise, demonstrating the interest of various stakeholders — such as governmental agencies or business entities — is looked upon particularly favorably.
  • Chances are your project will also score better if it complements other ongoing or planned projects in the community, or secures co-funding.

Tell us what you think below? Should NGOs and Social Entrepreneurs approach and bid for Embassies Grants? why?

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