Foreign embassies under various development cooperation programs organize small grants funding for NGOs in many countries. They can be a significant source of funding to address various socio-economic issues. Besides, their funding programs are usually small in scale but most flexible to implement. In this guide, we take a quick look at top foreign embassies and their grant programs and how your organization can learn more information on identifying and apply to such funding opportunities.
US Embassy Funding for NGOs
The United States offers a great resource of financial and technical support to initiatives willing to strengthen civil society. Embassies and Consulates worldwide advertise specific calls for proposals to assist local NGOs working on issues of conflict stabilization, democracy and human rights, economic growth, and security.
In order to get in touch with the local US embassy in your country, check the U.S Department of State website (http://www.usembassy.gov/) where you will find a list specifying the aims and goals of the various bureaus working in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. In fact, US diplomatic missions operate independently within their geographical area of jurisdiction.
Keep in mind that the available funding opportunities are allocated on a yearly basis and proposals shall answer to specific calls and shall also be written according to given guidelines. As such, it is important to get in touch with the local embassy in order to assess whether there is an open call and also to evaluate whether your field of action matches the interests and goals set by the Embassy.
The range of funded projects varies greatly and according to main needs of your country. Visit the list of US embassies at http://www.usembassy.gov/ to find more information about the embassy office in your country.
Canadian Embassy Funding for NGOs
Canadian Embassies provide funding and technical support to small NGOs in developing countries under the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
CFLI is a programme administered by the Canadian High Commission to support local initiatives whose priority areas depend on geographical scopes. Calls for proposals are normally open throughout the year and proposals shall be sent to the local Canadian Embassy for assessment. An application form to fill in is available to download from the website of the local Embassy.
Although the aims and goals of these calls varies according to the most urgent needs of your country, CFLI is generally interested in projects dealing with good governance, human rights, and democratic development. Applicants shall be able to demonstrate previous project management experience and shall have a bank account.
The Fund cannot be used to sponsor individual scholarship, pure research projects, business ventures, construction sites, or the payment of administrative costs not directly related to the development of a specific project.
In order to find out more about open calls in your country, check the website of the Canadian Embassy in your country.
A list of Canadian embassies is listed at http://www.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/mission_info-info_mission.aspx?lang=eng
British High Commission Funding for NGOs
The United Kingdom gives financial support to small-scale community-based project through the Small Grant Scheme (SGS), which is administered by the British High Commission. The local British Embassy will accept bids to the fund and by their chosen deadlines. Projects shall address issues linked to your country business plan and policy priority. In fact, the main aim of this Fund is to deliver transformational policy change, and strengthening governance and institutions.
The objectives of your proposed projects shall match main goals of the local Embassy.
Additional funding opportunities are advertised through the Department for International Development (DFID), which is in charge of planning and implementing the UK’s development cooperation agenda. All the activities promoted by DFID are oriented towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The section ‘Development Funding for NGOs’ provides guidance on funds available for NGOs working in developing countries. Main initiatives comprise:
If your NGO works in the cultural sector, you might find it useful to contact the local British Council, which aims to implement creative ideas and to strengthen education initiatives.
A list of British embassies is listed at https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations
Australian Embassy Funding for NGOs
The Australian Embassies have several funding opportunities for NGOs worldwide. In fact, the Australian Embassies are in charge of the coordination and allocation of fund given by the Australian Foreign Ministry and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid). As such, your local Australian Embassy will assess the applications for all these funding schemes.
The Australian Foreign Ministry sponsors initiatives promoting Australia’s international political, economic, trade, and security objectives. In particular, the Australian International Cultural Council (AICC) is in charge of developing overseas projects promoting the understanding of arts and culture. From 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade leads major cultural promotions through the Australian International Cultural Council in Vietnam (2013), Indonesia (2014), Turkey (2015) and Brazil (2016). If your NGO works in the cultural sector, consider that a call for proposals for initiatives matching the purposes and scope of the International Cultural Council and to be presented in Indonesia is now open. For more information and guidelines visit this link.
AusAid gives assistance to developing countries through a number Small Grants Programme such as:
- The Direct Aid Programme for the development of activities willing to alleviating basic humanitarian hardships
- The Australian Community Grant Scheme to support community-based activities
- The AusAid-NGO Cooperation Programme to subside Australian NGO community development activities that tangibly alleviate poverty
- The Human Rights Grant Scheme to sponsor NGOs and Human Rights Institutions to promote and protect human rights
Further, AusAid offers technical support and assistance to projects that could benefit from Australian expertise and experience. For instance, AusAid in Zimbabwe established the ‘Partnering with People’ Initiative to contribute to the development of water and sanitation, agriculture, education, and the promotion of economic growth.
Specific fund for NGOs are also advertised through the Direct Aid Programme (DAP), which is also administered by your local Australian Embassy and support projects with a developmental outcome consistent with the international relations and public diplomacy objectives of the Embassy. In general, priority areas of intervention are community health, education, small-scale infrastructures, sanitation, rural development, environmental development, gender equality, training activities, and cultural and sporting initiatives. You should contact your local Australian Embassy to access information regarding existing deadlines and application procedures. Through your local Embassy website you could also assess rationale and outcomes of recently funded projects to get an idea of the activities sponsored. For instance, DAP supported the construction of a greenhouse, a community garden, and a women’s group sewing machine project in Tonga. In Lebanon, DAP funded the purchase of kitchen equipment for Kouni Anti; an NGO that provided vocational training for women aiming to enhance their role in Lebanese society by producing organic food and beverages on a small scale.
A list of Australian embassies is listed at http://www.dfat.gov.au/missions/
German Embassy Funding for NGOs
The Federal Government of Germany allocates funding to develop small-scale projects initiated by local NGOs in the field of technical cooperation. The calls for proposal, assessment of submitted projects, and administration of funding depends on your local German Embassy. Despite the fact that each Embassy will provide detailed information in regards of expected outcomes and goals of projects to be implemented, in general financial support is given to NGOs widening the scope of the German Embassy’s area of intervention in your country. Donations are made for one-time investments such as purchasing educational material or furniture for schools and youth centres. Projects shall have a maximum duration of 1 year and be in the range of maximum Euro 20.000. The aim of this micro-project scheme is to improve basic needs of the poor and most vulnerable layers of the population. Funding cannot be used to cover for administration costs, salaries, and travel expenses. There are no deadlines, but it is recommended to contact your local Embassy as soon as possible and 1 year in advance the commencement of the project. Projects are normally expected to run from January, 1 to December, 31.
Also the Federal Ministry for Official Development Assistance (ODA) supports bilateral governmental co-operation and non-governmental organisations abroad. ODA sponsors large projects up to Euro 500.000. Yet, non-governmental support is given only to German NGO. As such, you might consider proposing a collaborative project to a German NGO in order to access this funding scheme. Proposed projects shall demonstrate to improve the economic, social, and ecological situation of poor countries and they shall work towards the implementation of human rights. At least 50% of the total budget shall be spent on structure building measures. The German NGO shall present the proposal as principal applicant and it shall demonstrate to have at least 3 years of experience in developing projects. The maximum duration of the proposed projects is 4 years and all the documentation must be submitted in German.
If your NGO works in the field of culture you might also consider contacting a local branch of the Goethe Institut whose main goal if to promote international cultural cooperation by organizing events to present German culture. For instance, the Goethe Institut in Belgrade (Serbia) is currently sponsoring a number of NGOs and local organizations to implement activities willing to “reinvent” a quarter of the city.
German embassy listing is available at http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/sid_58D9475F8669CD1A5A116AF84557BCC0/EN/Laenderinformationen/DtAuslandsvertretungenA-Z-Laenderauswahlseite_node.html
NORAD at the Norwegian Embassy
The Norwegian Government’s NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) manages limited funding programs for NGOs through the embassy offices in select countries.
NORAD’s thematic programmes include climate change, democracy and good governance, education, energy, global health and higher education and research.
The countries where NORAD runs its programs are:
- Africa: Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Asia and Oceania: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Vietnam
- Latin America: Brazil, Haiti, Nicaragua
- Middle East: Lebanon, Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic
To learn more about NORAD programs in your country, visit http://www.norad.no/en/front/countries/
The SDC at the Swiss Embassy
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at the Swiss Embassy in various countries offers funding to NGOs with the aim of reducing poverty. It is meant to foster economic self-reliance and state autonomy, to contribute to the improvement of production conditions, to help in finding solutions to environmental problems, and to provide better access to education and basic healthcare services.
Its operating countries are mostly from Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, South East Asia and Eastern Europe. The complete list of priority countries along with their programs is available at https://www.eda.admin.ch/deza/en/home/countries/countries.html
The Development Cooperation section at the Netherlands Embassy
The Netherlands Embassies in focus countries have the development cooperation sections addressing global issues such as gender equality, climate change, emergency and Millennium Development Goals.
The Netherlands helps countries that are unable to solve their poverty problems alone: ‘fragile states’ affected by war, weak governance, and major ethnic and political tensions. They lack the capacity to reduce poverty effectively without outside aid. The Netherlands has an aid relationship with Afghanistan, Burundi, Mali, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, South Sudan and Yemen.
The Netherlands helps low-and middle-income countries reduce poverty and boost economic growth. It also helps them to increase their market access and improve their business climate. The Netherlands runs programmes aimed at reducing poverty and promoting the four priority themes of Dutch development cooperation policy. The Netherlands has a transitional relationship with Bangladesh, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda.
The embassies and consulates of the Netherlands can be found at https://www.government.nl/topics/embassies-consulates-and-other-representations/contents
Irish Aid: Embassy of Ireland
The Irish Embassies in select countries provide aid under the Irish Aid to reduce poverty. The Irish Aid only provides support to organizations working in the SubSaharan Africa and covers areas such poverty, hunger, gender equality, environment/climate change, health, HIV and AIDS, governance, education, trade and economic growth and water and sanitation.
The Irish embassy in your country can be found at https://www.dfa.ie/embassies/irish-embassies-abroad/
Finland Embassy’s Fund for Local Cooperation
The Embassy of Finland offers the Finnish Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) to small civil society organizations in select countries. As the Fund is part of the bilateral development cooperation agreement between countries, the thematic issues addressed by this Fund may vary from one country to another. The Fund is usually open once or twice a year and can be applied only then. It is best to check with the local Finnish embassy to learn more about this opportunity.
To find out about the Finnish embassy in your country, visit http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=327765&contentlan=2&culture=en-US