Commonwealth Foundation’s Civil Society Responsive Grants

Deadline: 30 September 2011
Open to: Commonwealth developing countries (list of this countries can be found here)
Grant: From £5,000 to £12,500


The Commonwealth Foundation is an inter-governmental organization supported by Commonwealth governments to provide support towards strengthening of civil society for sustainable development, democracy and intercultural learning within the commonwealth countries. It has grantmaking programmes for NGOs specifically for supporting activities that involve intercultural exchange: such as short training courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, cultural festivals, exchanges and study visits in other Commonwealth countries. The Civil Society Responsive Grant programme of the Foundation is specifically for NGOs in Commonwealth developing countries. 


If your organization is planning a regional or international workshop or an exchange visit to another NGO or project, but you are in need of grant support, then one of the best possible options is applying for the Commonwealth Foundation’s Civil Society Responsive Grants.

If your organization is planning to organize a regional or international workshop or conference, you can request support from the Commonwealth Foundation to sponsor participants. But remember that the support will be only for participants from Commonwealth developing countries.

Similarly, with the grant support, you can network with another NGO in another country by arranging a cross-country visit. Your organizational staff or community members can go on a visit to another NGO in another country to see its projects and also invite its staff/community to your own country. The Foundation will provide the grant to support the full visit, including air travel and accommodation for the staff. However, such kind of support for this cross-country visit is preferable only between Commonwealth developing countries only. For an organization seeking an exchange visit with a developed country, a strong case has to be made giving details of the benefits to be achieved for members in the developing country.

The Foundation prefers to fund exchange visits within a region rather than the international ones.

The Civil Society Responsive Grants supports activities in four main areas:

  • Culture
  • Governance and Democracy
  • Human Development
  • Communities and Livelihoods

Applicant organizations should justify that their activities fall in any one of these areas in addition to its significance to an international or intercultural exchange. Gender and youth are cross-cutting themes of the programme and this should also be highlighted in the proposal. Besides supporting exchanges, there is opportunity for funding voter education projects. However, such projects are required to complete another application form in addition to the standard application form under this programme.


Generally, the Foundation awards grants around £5,000, but NGOs can request funding up to £12,500. In rare cases, grants of up to £25,000 can also be made. However, decisions for approving funding amount of more than £12,500 are made only twice a year when the Grants Committee meets (in March and September). For grants less than £12,500, requests can be made anytime or according to the quarterly deadlines given above.

The Foundation is very flexible in its grantmaking approach. As soon as the proposal is approved, it transfers the amount to the grantee organization without many strings attached. However, after the end of the activities, the grantee organization should submit a report explaining the impact of the grant, the follow-up and the learning achieved and transferred. All grantees should acknowledge the support of the Foundation in their outputs such as reports, publications, events etc.

How to apply

NGOs registered in a Commonwealth country can apply for the funding support. Their work should be relevant to the values, objectives and priorities of the Foundation, demonstrate accountability and transparency and should be in a position to obtain resources from other sources as well.

It is also important for the Foundation that the actual beneficiaries of the grant programme are both women and men, should be 35 years or less than that and should be skilled enough to transfer the learning.

Proposals can be submitted to the Foundation during any part of the year. However, there are four grant application deadlines for making decisions. These are quarterly-based deadlines:

Grants for activities in Application must be received by Applicants hear from the Foundation in
October, November, December 30 June Beginning of September
January, February, March 30 September Beginning of December
April, May, June 31st December Beginning of March
July, August, September 31st March Beginning of April


To apply for this grant, you need to fill in the application form (found here) and send it via email to [email protected] or you can download the application form and send it via post to the address located below.


Grant Applications

Commonwealth Foundation

MarlboroughHouse,Pall Mall

LondonSW1Y 5HY

United Kingdom

The full information kit can be downloaded here.

The Official Website

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