Our 2009-2012 strategy has now come to an end. We are currently finalising our new grants strategy which will be launched later this year. We will open for applications in September 2013 so please check nearer the time for more details.
Common Ground Initiative
Comic Relief has had a long-standing commitment to small and Diaspora organisations for many reasons: Diaspora organisations frequently bring their intellectual, political, social and cultural skills and resources to bear on the development initiatives they support, while small organisations often have a development ‘niche’ that gives their work clarity of focus and expertise.
The Common Ground Initiative is co-funded by the Department for International Development and seeks to make a more strategic investment in small and African Diaspora organisations. In doing so it makes a greater contribution to a just world free from poverty.
The central plank of the Common Ground Initiative is grant making, and over the next three years, we will make grants totalling over £20 million with the aim of creating real and sustainable changes to some of the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in Africa.
Beyond grant making, we aim to strengthen the capacity of small and Diaspora organisations in the UK so they can become more effective. We will create opportunities for the varied and important voices and experiences of Diaspora and small organisations to influence UK development debates and international development practice.
Aim of programme
Our goal is to support small and Diaspora organisations to enable them to implement effective programmes and bring about lasting change in communities in Africa.
The eligibility criteria for small organisations are UK-registered charities with an average annual turnover for the previous two financial years of less than £1 million. Diaspora organisations may be UK-registered charities of any size.
By Diaspora we mean organisations where the majority of the trustees define themselves as being of African heritage; who live in the UK and – irrespective of citizenship – retain emotional, financial and cultural links with their country and/or the African continent; and who share a commitment to tackle poverty and injustice in Africa and whose organisational aims reflect that commitment.
Applications to all grants programmes and to the Common Ground Initiative programmes can be made by UK-registered charities. Applications to the Trade programme and the Enterprise and Employment programme can be made by UK-registered companies and can be made by any UK-registered organisation; however, for-profit organisations must be able to demonstrate how profits generated from the project directly benefit the targeted communities.
Funding from this initiative will support work in any sub-Saharan African country or group of African countries. Each grant making programme, both within and outside of this initiative, has priority geographical areas for funding which are described in their strategies.
Comic Relief intends to achieve the following through the Common Ground Initiative:
- Support work that will tackle poverty and injustice among communities in Africa and bring about lasting change. This will be achieved through supporting applications made to any Comic Relief grant making programme and through three additional programmes: Health, Education and Enterprise run exclusively for small and Diaspora organisations.
- Provide opportunities for the varied and important voices and experiences of Diaspora and small organisations to influence UK development debates and international development practice.
- Enable organisations to have sufficient capacity to support effective programmes in Africa, access funding and organisational support from a range of sources, and influence development debates in the UK.
- Create greater awareness of Diaspora and small organisations’ contribution to, and potential in, shaping international development programmes and debates among funders in order to improve funding opportunities.
- Contribute to expanding the body of knowledge and learning about the experience of Diaspora in international development.
Types of grants available
There are three types of funding available for applicants under this initiative:
Project grants – these may be up to £1 million over five years. However, the mean grant for most small organisations is under £200,000 over three years. Organisations are strongly advised to submit applications that are proportionate to their size and capacity, the size and capacity of their local partners, and their track record to date.
Research, Consultation and Planning grants – these may be for up to £25,000 and for up to 12 months’ duration. They will enable partners to carry out action research, a needs analysis, a pilot study and related work that enables applicant organisations to develop a well thought through proposal.
Organisational Development grants – of up to £40,000 for up to three years. These grants would function as ‘top up’ grants to project grantees only. They would offer a package of support to strengthen small or Diaspora organisations in the UK. More detail on Organisational Development grants can be found in the full strategy. For further information about Organisational Development grants, please click here.
For further information on the Health, Education, Employment and Enterprise programme, please click on the relevant programme.