The World Bank’s purpose is to reduce poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. The Bank provides loans, policy advice based on economic and sector analytical work, technical assistance, and increasingly, knowledge-sharing services to governments.
The World Bank acknowledges the importance of the engagement of civil society in development. There are a few facilities or programs that provide grants to civil society organizations.
Bank Funds for CSOs
The World Bank manages several types of funding mechanisms geared to providing grants directly to CSOs. These funds are administered by the Development Grant Facility which provides block grants to these funding mechanisms on an annual basis. During fiscal year 2003. (July 2002 – June 2003) the DGF provided $ 157.0 million to 48 internal and external grant programs.
> Some of the grant programs funded by the DGF include a variety of small-grants funds (ranging from $ 15,000 to $ I million) geared to supporting civil society activities in specific areas such as environment, micro-credit, post-conflict reconstruction, information technology, human rights, gender and innovative practices.
A second category of mechanisms are trust funds which are funded by development governments (e.g. UK, Dutch, Japan) and also geared to specific topics such as social development and poverty reduction.
While CSOs can access the small-grants programs directly by submitting proposals to the respective offices (see below), they must partner with government agencies and/or Bank units in order to receive trust fund moneys.
Small Grants Program
The Small Grants Program of the World Bank was created in 1983 to promote dialogue and disseminate information about development in forums outsides its own operations. It is funded by the Development Grant Facility of the World Bank. The Small Grants Program has been decentralized to World Bank Country Offices. All decisions on grant making are made through participating World Bank Country Offices once a year. Interested NGOs and other organizations of civil society should contact the local World Bank Country Office.
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 and equitable. The Small Grants Program is interested in supporting activities related to this purpose.
Activities should also:
> Promote dialogue and disseminate information for the empowerment of marginalized and Vulnerable groups; 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 the private sector.
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. Guidelines and application forms are available from the participating World Bank Country Office in January. The Small Grants Program makes decisions only once a year by June. Applicant organizatins should apply at least four to six months in advance of the date of the grant activity. Applicants are advised to the participating Country Office. Requests and proposals should not be sent to the World Bank Office in Washington, D.C.
Who can Apply ?
> Civil society organizations based in a developing country and working on issues of development can apply for a grant.
> 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 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 the private sector.
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.
What Kind of Activities are not Supported ?
Small Grants can not 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 non legal entities. Proposed activities should not complete with or substitute for regular World Bank instruments; the activity should be clearly distinguishable from the Bank’s regular programs.
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.
World Bank generally invites civil society groups (NGOs), Societal entrepreneurs and private sector corporations for submitting innovative developmental ideas and roughly US $ 3 million is awarded to small scale projects that not only delivers results but also have the potential to be expanded or replicated. Generally this is announced in between Nov-Dec of every year e.g. for 2005., the last date of submission of the proposal was up to 21 Jan 2005. Each year the theme is also given e.g. for 2005, the theme was “Innovations for Livelihoods in Sustainable Environment”.
For more details contact DMinfo@worldbank.org
Contact for Small Grant Program
The World Bank
70 Lodi Estate, New Delhi-110 003, India
(Postal Address : P.O. Box 416, New Delhi – 110 001)
Tel : (91 – 11)2461 7241, Fax : (91 – 11)2461 9393