Safety From: Spaces To

4th September 2017

29th September 2017

Grants between £25,000 and £50,000 are available

Apply now

About the initiative

We are proud to be launching a £750,000 fund to invest in women-led organisations that strengthen and build safe spaces and platforms with women and girls in Ghana, Kenya or South Africa; enabling them to recover and be safe, protect themselves from violence and create the radical change they want to see in their lives.

Women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa have been fighting for equality and their rights for decades and there have been some huge gains. More girls are going to school than ever before and the continent has the highest rate of female representation in government. But gender inequality persists and high rates of violence and abuse against women and girls continue to harm many. Unequal access to opportunities also prevents women and girls from achieving their full potential.

We know that when women have the chance to come together and organise themselves, they can be powerful agents of change. But to do this they need safe spaces to meet and organise themselves, as well as platforms where they can make their voices heard, challenge exclusion and violence, and champion change.


What are ‘safe spaces’ and ‘platforms’?

Safe spaces provide supportive and non-judgemental opportunities for women to come together and freely express their feelings, emotions and experiences without fear of being shunned or judged. They encourage healing, allow them to challenge false beliefs about women and girls’ capabilities and destinies, and allows them to build self-confidence and empower women to take control of their lives and futures. Ultimately, they enable women and girls to come together, heal, thrive and organise for change.    
Platforms make the radical change that women and girls want to see a reality. They enable them to take collective action, challenge exclusion and violence and have their voices heard. Platforms could be virtual (online) or physical. They may, for example, facilitate campaigning, the creation of networks of solidarity, fundraising for the women’s movement or the creation of women collectives.


Funding available

We anticipate making between 15-25 grants up to a total value of £750,000. Proposals are welcome for between £25,000 and £50,000 for 24 months work in South Africa, Kenya or Ghana.



We are looking for innovative proposals which use creative, fresh approaches and:

  • Put women and girls at the centre of their work. Women and girls will drive the change and make the decisions – they will identify their needs and priorities; and then design, develop and take part in activities and opportunities accordingly
  • Demonstrate that they have a good understanding of the needs of women and girls they’re working with
  • Create safe spaces or platforms for women and/or girls to be safe from violence and to create disruptive change (see guidance on safe spaces and platforms above)
  • Show a clear evidence-based plan (theory of change) on how they will make change happen
  • Demonstrate a need for collective action and show that they can deliver the identified change
  • Work with women and/or girls in Ghana, South Africa or Kenya. We are especially keen to receive applications from organisations based in the community in which they are working. Applications to work with national partners will also be considered

Women and girls should be the primary focus of the proposal and applications will need to meet at least one of these outcomes:

  • Women and girls have voice, influence and agency
  • Women and girls have access to resources, services and opportunities
  • Women and girls have the space to influence formal and informal institutions

Proposals to this initiative must meet Comic Relief’s general eligibility requirements (see our policies) and the above eligibility criteria. In addition applicants must also:

  • Have previous experience of working with women and girls 
  • Be registered in South Africa, Kenya or Ghana
  • Already be working in South Africa, Kenya or Ghana 


Funding process

We require all applicants to submit a number of documents as part of their proposal to support our due diligence and assessment. You can find out more about these here.

We will be open for proposals from 4 September 2017 to midday 29 September 2017. We will not accept late proposals and strongly urge that you address any questions you have in order to complete your proposal and submit it in advance of the deadline.

Once we receive your proposal, we will check whether your organisation and proposal is eligible for funding under this initiative and then shortlist the strongest proposals to go through for a full assessment. We will aim to notify all applicants of our decisions at this stage in November. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage, we will unfortunately be unable to provide any additional feedback due to our limited resources.

Assessments on the proposals which pass this stage will take place over November and December and final decisions will be made by our Grants Committee and Trustees.

We aim to inform all applicants of the final decision in April 2018. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage we’ll write to you explaining the reasons why and may offer further feedback by phone.

Apply now


Front image by Fungai Machirori