FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ): Leading from the South Application Process


Ques: What is the basic eligibility criteria for qualification for a LFS grant?

Ans: The eligibility criteria is indicated in the LFS guidelines

Ques: What does it mean to be a women led organisation?

Ans: A women led organisation means that the organisation director must be a woman, 70% of the board must be women and 70% of staff must be women and the project applied for must be managed by a woman

Que: What does it mean to be a women’s rights organisation?

Ans: The organisation must be women-led, must have a track record of work on women’s rights, must have a stated commitment to women’s rights/gender equality in the organisational mission/vision/values; at least 70% of programmatic resources must be dedicated to direct programming on women’s rights;

Que: Why are only women’s rights organisations in Africa and the Middle East qualified to apply?

Ans: AWDF’s founding mandate as a grantmaker is to support women’s leadership and agency to transform our societies towards full rights, justice and equality. We cover the African continent, and for the period of the Leading from the South initiative will also support women’s organisations in the Middle East countries listed in the guidelines.

Ques: Can a mixed gender organisation based in any of the countries mentioned above apply?

Ans: An eligible organisation may have people of different genders working in it, however we still require that it is women-led and that 70% of the board, management and staff are women. Furthermore at least 70% of the organisation’s overall budget must be dedicated to promoting women’s right.

Ques: What languages can we apply in?

Ans: AWDF will accept applications in English and French.

Ques: Is it possible for an organisation which does not have audited accounts for the last three years to apply?

Ans: No only organisations which have audited accounts for the last three years will be considered. This is because AWDF need proof of consistent prudent financial management, and one sure way to determine that is through the unqualified audit reports.


Que: What is Advocacy?

Ans: By advocacy we mean the strategies, practices and tools used to positively influence policies, laws, decision-making and public attitudes around women’s rights and gender equality, and to ensure that women’s rights remain on political and social agendas.

Que: Can we apply for educational support and scholarships for girls/women under LFS?

Ans: No. The LFS funds supports advocacy activities only. Scholarships for girls would fall under service delivery which the LFS fund does not support.

Que: Can we apply for projects for economic empowerment or provide a guarantee to enable women to access credit?

Ans: No, support for income generation is considered service delivery and thus is not eligible for advocacy-focused support that LFS provides.

Ques: Do you fund legal aid services for women?

Ans: No. Although we recognise the importance of legal aid services particularly for economically marginalised women, they are considered service delivery and are therefore not eligible for funding under the LFS initiative.

Que: If my organisation is based in Europe / USA but working with women in Africa or the Middle East, can we apply for an LFS grant?

Ans: No. The Leading from the South Initiative was established specifically to resource women’s rights advocacy organisations based in an operating from the global South. In the case of grants from AWDF, this includes African and selected countries in the Middle East as indicated above.

Que: Can an organisation based in Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan apply for LFS funds?

Ans: No, unfortunately due to banking regulations it is not possible to transfer funds to organisations based in Syria, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sudan or South Sudan . It is however possible for organisations with NGO registration and a bank account in an eligible country to apply to conduct work around advocacy for women’s rights in these countries.

Ques: Can a women’s rights organisation registered and based in Africa apply to work in a number of countries in the Middle East?

Ans: Yes, however in all cases we look at the applicant’s experience and history of working in the proposed countries.

Que: Can an international NGO registered to work in an African country apply for this stream of funding?

Ans: No. International NGOs are not eligible for funding from Leading from the South.

Ques: Can an organisation apply for a Pamoja grant to work in just one country?

Ans: Yes an organisation can apply for a Pamoja grant to work in just one country, however preference would be given to organisations applying to work in multiple countries.


Que: Can an organisation apply even if they have a running grant with AWDF?

Ans: Once you have an active grant with AWDF you will not be considered for another grant unless the current grant ends and your final reports have been submitted and accepted by the time the LFS grants are being considered by the AWDF board.

Que: Can an organisation apply if they have already submitted an application to the AWDF main grants category?

Ans: If you have an application with AWDF and the results of that application has not been communicated to you, you are able to apply for any call that AWDF puts out including the LFS call. However you may only ever have one active grant from AWDF at any one time.

Ques: Can an organisations apply for more than one category of grant if they are so eligible. For example, applying jointly for the Pamoja grant, and individually for Ananse or Yalla grants.

Ans: We will not consider funding organisations twice via separate LFS grants. We would thus encourage you to consider the best option to take- i.e. a consortium application or individual application. If you do submit two applications only one will be considered for funding, if it passes the eligibility criteria.

Que: Can an organisation submit two proposals – each with a different thematic focus?

Ans: No, applicants are encouraged to send only one proposal. In the programme design however, applicants may be working on an initiative which tackles one, two or three of the thematic focus areas. We welcome this mix of themes, where relevant.


Question: What is the required minimum organisational budget in order to apply?

Ans: An applicant cannot apply for an amount that represents more than half of the organisation’s confirmed annual income as indicated in its last audited account. For example if an applicant had a confirmed annual income of USD100,000 in their last audited accounts, they can only apply for a maximum grant of USD50,000 a year. If the application is on behalf of a coalition, the total confirmed annual income of all the members of the coalition will be considered.

Que: If my organisation’s income is set to significantly increase this year. Can we still only apply for only half of last year’s audited income?

Ans: We base our assessment of annual income on audited accounts as these provide a reliable indication of actual organisational income. We do understand that funding for women’s rights fluctuates and will consider major increases in current year income on a case by case basis with adequate documentation. However as a rule our assessment tool is income as indicated in the most recent audited financial accounts.

Que: When the application says an applicant cannot apply for more than 50% of the organisation’s annual income, what exactly does annual income mean in this context?

Ans; Here annual income refers to the confirmed total annual income of the applying organisation as it appears in their last audited account.


Que: How many organisations can be in a coalition?

Ans: There is no limit to the number of organisations that can form a coalition to apply to AWDF. However, the lead organisation can transfer funds to only four (4) members of the coalition for project activities. .

Ques: If a coalition of organisations apply for an LFS grant, must there be a lead organisation?

Ans: Yes one of the coalition members must serve as the lead organisation. This organisation will submit its documentation such as registration documents, reference letter and audit reports even though AWDF reserves the right to call for the documentation of any of the other coalition members. AWDF will sign the grant agreement with the lead organisation who in turn will be expected to have an MOU with the other coalition members who will receive part of the funds. AWDF will transfer the funds to the accounts of the lead organisation and the lead organisation would be responsible for reporting and accounting to AWDF

Ques: Will an application from a coalition of organisations be disqualified if one member of the coalition has been in existence for less than three years?

Ans: No! such a coalition will not be disqualified. It is the documentation of the lead organisation that will be considered, and it is the responsibility of the lead organisation to report on the project and properly account for grant received. However the lead organisation and the other coalition members would have to demonstrate how they would support this new organisation to effectively implement project activities if necessary, more especially if funds would be transferred to that new organisation for project activities.

Que: Would an applicant be disqualified if the annual budget of the co- applicant is higher than the budget of the lead applicant?

Ans: No an applicant would not be disqualified simply because the budget of the co-applicant is higher than the budget of the lead organisation

Que: If a partnership or a coalition of organisations are applying for the grant, should all the members complete the form or only the lead organisation will use its organisational information to complete the forms?

Ans: It is the lead organisation that uses its organisation’s information to complete the forms except where the question demands specific information about the co applicants such as the budget of the other organisations in the coalition

Que: If two organisations form a consortium specifically for the purpose of responding to this call do they need to answer questions like name of consortium, when was it formed among others?

Ans: Yes once you apply as a coalition or consortium you will be required to respond to the questions pertaining to coalitions


Ques: What is the duration of a project that an organisation can apply for?

Ans: An organisation can apply for projects which are one year duration or two years durations.

Que: Can an applying organisation choose its own preferred start date for the project? Or AWDF will determine the start dates for the projects?

Ans: AWDF will determine the start dates for the projects which is dependent on when the grant is announced and the grant agreement is signed


Ques: Under the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning section in the application is the question “What are your key learning questions for this project? How will you use these learnings?” What does this mean?

Ans: We understand that advancing women’s rights is complex, and that thinking, analysing and learning about the methods we use, the approaches we take, allegiances we make, backlash and resistance we encounter and successes we achieve is vital in order to keep improving on our work. The idea of having learning questions is for you to identify a few key questions you will be asking yourselves as you implement the advocacy initiative. They may be questions that are about whether your approach or methods were the best ones to use, whether some of the assumptions you were making about how you would achieve your outcomes were indeed correct, whether the alliances and target groups you chose were the right ones, if new issues emerged as you implemented the advocacy initiative and how you engaged them etc.

“For example if you are working on a project that is seeking to change policy, a learning question could be: ‘Did the method we have chosen to build public support and interact with policy makers work? If so what made it work? If not, what could we consider changing so that we have more success next time?”

The learning questions should not be complicated and necessitate a research study- the idea is to set two to three clear questions that can be discussed and answered by the implementing team, and feed into improving your approach.

Ques: What does the question “how will you use these learnings” mean?

Ans: We are interested to know how your organisation/consortium would use the lessons you learn during the implementation of the project. For example how will you use the lessons to improve on the approaches chosen, address any emerging concerns, build on successes and/or help in future program delivery.


Que: How many more rounds of LFS calls by AWDF will there be?

Ans: AWDF will be issuing four calls for LFS applications in total. The first round was assessed and approved in 2017. There will be two application rounds in 2018 and a fourth and final round in the first quarter of 2019


Ques: Where can I find the application and the guidelines for the LFS call?

Ans: The application is available on the AWDF website and a prospective applicant should be able to download it during the period in which the call is open. If for any reason a prospective applicant cannot download the application, that person can write to [email protected] for assistance or for the application and guidelines to be emailed to her.


Que: What others funds are available from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Ans: The Leading from the South fund is an independent fund run by the African Women’s Development Fund although resourced by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For that reason, we are not aware of all of the funding streams available directly from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for specific geographical areas and would encourage you to contact the Ministry directly about that.