Sub-Saharan Africa



The Commonwealth Foundation - Commonwealth Foundation Grants Programme 2021/2022 Movemeback African initiative cover image


As one of the three intergovernmental pillars of the Commonwealth, the Foundation operates within that critical space between government and the people. The Foundation works to bring the voice of civil society into all aspects of governance, supporting civil society engagement in shaping the policies and decisions that affect people’s lives.

The Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026 is strongly linked to the Commonwealth Charter and its values and aspirations, and it identifies three thematic areas of focus which are detailed in the green box below. Civil society projects that aim to advance these themes will be supported through this open grants call. Applications open at 1pm on 29 October 2021 and close at 1pm on 30 November 2021.


Eligibility for grant funding under this call depends on the following criteria:

  • The applicant is a registered not-for-profit civil society organisation (CSO)
  • The applicant is registered in an eligible Commonwealth Foundation member country and the proposed project will be implemented in the country of registration. Please see a full list of eligible countries at (Projects can be implemented in one or more eligible Commonwealth Foundation member countries. and can have a national, sub-national, regional or international remit)
  • In multi-country projects, the Foundation encourages collaboration with partners in each involved country
  • The applicant has documented experience, over at least two years, working on participatory governance and advocacy within the proposed area/theme(s)
  • The total grant amount requested must be between £15,000 and £30,000 per year for a maximum of two years
  • The requested grant amount should not exceed 70% of the applicant organisation’s total annual income
  • The average of the applicant organisation’s total annual income over the past two years must be less than £2m
  • The project proposal must address at least one of the priority themes and demonstrate appropriate and meaningful integration of gender considerations
  • Proposals must relate to projects that are expected to begin within the second half of 2022

Focus Areas
Applicants must address one or more of the Foundation’s three priority themes: 

  • Health
  • Environment and climate change
  • Freedom of expression

We seek to support initiatives that encourage and make possible meaningful and constructive engagement between civil society and government around policy and decision-making relevant to these three themes. The Foundation’s themes overlap and connect in myriad ways. Applicants are encouraged to explore those intersections when developing their proposals and, where appropriate, consider addressing more than one theme.

Possible health focus areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on: 

  • Advocating for universal health coverage
  • Realising the right to health through better availability, quality, and accountability in health services and delivery
  • Developing programmes and policies that address the social determinants of health
  • Possible environment and climate change areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on; Developing, reviewing and improving laws, policies and practices aimed at addressing environmental and climate threats, Monitoring the implementation of relevant laws, policies and practices such as national climate plans or commitments and  addressing mitigation and adaptation challenges


  • Grant funding in support of civil society organisations

About The Commonwealth Foundation

The Commonwealth Foundation is a development organisation with an international remit and reach, uniquely situated at the interface between government and civil society.

We develop the capacity of civil society to act together and learn from each other to engage with the institutions that shape people’s lives.

We strive for more effective, responsive and accountable governance with civil society participation, which contributes to improved development outcomes.