For those small NGOs who think that it is impossible to access funding from international bilateral agencies, here is something that can change their mind. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has launched the Development Innovation Fund (DIF) specially “aimed at community based organisations involved in providing specific small scale, one-off support that directly targets poverty in the developing world and includes a significant development awareness component in the UK.” No doubt, DFID has always considered that partnership with civil society organizations is critical to reduce global poverty. In its recent White Paper, “‘Eliminating World Poverty: Building Our Common Future’”, it has even committed to increase its work with organizations in future. But there are certain challenges for small NGOs to seek direct partnerships with DFID under its existing funding schemes. DFID itself acknowledges that “[it] already has a number of other centrally managed funds which are open to not for profit organisations. However, all have criteria which make it very difficult for small scale organisations and applications to compete.” Keeping this fact under consideration, it has launched DIF for small NGOs in developing countries as well as in the UK who “are involved in supporting very small scale, often localised activities which do not meet the criteria we have for our existing centrally managed civil society funding schemes, such as the Partnership Programme Arrangements (PPA) and Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF).”
Some of the criteria under this Fund are also flexible like it will provide funding support of up to 100% of the total project cost. Small-scale project proposals will have a ceiling of £60,000. Although support for NGO projects will be for one year, the total allocation made for this Fund is £7 million. This means that a lot of NGOs can expect to participate in the final grant awards.
DIF will support “a very broad range of projects as long as they target poverty in the developing world include a significant development awareness component in the UK” and project activities can include “health camps, provision of text books, education/learning materials or other appropriate technology materials, skills exchange programmes.” However, there are certain other areas that will not be eligible for this support like those falling under other DFID funding categories, disaster and humanitarian relief projects, research work, core support etc.
DFID has tried to keep the proposal writing and submission process under this Fund simpler so that small organizations can easily participate in it. Although no prescribed form exists, it has listed out the relevant information that has to be submitted by the applicant along with supporting documents. The application process will have three rounds with a fair, open and rigorous decision making process. Applicants not being selected will also be informed and given complete feedback. Small NGOs have been defined under this Fund as those with an average annual income of less than £500,000 over the past 3 years.
Applications can be submitted any time. For more information, visit this link.