World Bank Small Grants Programme – The Program provides grants to civil society organizations through participating World Bank Country Offices and is guided by the Small Grants Program Secretariat and Steering Committee in Washington, D.C.
The Small Grants Program focuses on civic engagement for the empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable groups. The purpose of the Small Grants program is to support the empowerment of citizens to have greater ownership of development processes, thereby making these processes more inclusive, equitable and contributing to broad country ownership of development policies as envisioned in the Comprehensive Development Framework principles. Crucial ingredients for empowerment of vulnerable groups include: access to information, access to organizational links outside the local domain, capacity to influence the public arena and to negotiate with local and national authorities, the existence of trustful national and local institutions, and the presence of enabling policy and legal frameworks for civic engagement. Civil society organizations perform a valuable role in engaging their fellow citizens in the fight against poverty and exclusion. Thus, the intended beneficiaries of the Small Grants Program are civil society organizations engaged in initiatives aiming at empowering groups and individuals that have been marginalized and excluded from the public realm.
How to Apply for a Grant?
The Small Grants Program is administered by participating World Bank Country Offices. Not all Country Offices participate in the Small Grants Program. Country Offices may have specific focus tailored to the country context of civic engagement. Guidelines and application forms are available from participating World Bank Country Offices each January of each year. The Small Grants Program makes decisions only once a year, usually by May of the same year. Applicant organizations should apply at least four to six months in advance of the date that the grant activity starts. Applicants are advised to read the criteria and the application form carefully before submitting an application. Requests and proposals should not be sent to World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Who Can Apply?
Civil society organizations based in a developing country and working on development issues can apply.
Civil society organizations must be in good standing and have a record of achievement in the community and record of financial probity.
Priority will be given to organizations not supported by the Small Grants Program in previous years (organizations are not eligible for more than three grants from the Small Grants Program within a five-year period).
The World Bank Small Grants Program is able to fund only a very small percentage of the requests it receives. The demand for grants greatly exceeds the availability of funds.
What Kind of Activities are Supported?
The Small Grants Program supports activities related to civic engagement for the empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable groups. Civic Engagement is the process through which civil society organizations actively engage in relationships and actions with the state and other development actors to address issues of public concern.
Activities should promote dialogue and dissemination of information and enhance partnerships with key players in support of the development process. Key players could include government agencies, civil society organizations, multilateral and bilateral agencies, foundations, and private sector companies or organizations.
Activities may include, but are not limited to, workshops and seminars, costs for publications or audio-visual materials, or other innovative networking efforts that small organizations generally find difficult to fund through their regular program budgets.
The activity should be completed within one year of the date the grant is awarded.
Small Grants cannot fund: Research programs, formal academic training programs, operational projects, ongoing institutional core support (such as equipment), scholarships, fellowships, study programs, individuals applying on their own behalf, or nonlegal entities.
Proposed activities should not compete with or substitute for regular World Bank instruments; the activity should be consistent with the Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy in any given country.
What Size of Grants are Awarded?
Most grants are in the range of $3,000 to $7,000 with a maximum of $15,000. The Small Grants Program rarely funds more than half of the proposed budget for an activity, and therefore prefers that its grants help leverage additional contributions from other sources. Applicant organizations are asked to describe how a grant from the World Bank might help them to raise matching funds from other donors.
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