How we assess your proposal
Global Affairs Canada rigorously assesses proposals before funding projects to make sure public funds are used effectively.
We read the complete form to see how strong a proposal is. Applicants should be as concise as possible. There are no penalties for not filling the maximum page count of the application form. There is no need to repeat the same information in different parts of the forms.
The assessment process for both calls and unsolicited proposals is not competitive. We do not rank the proposals received.
We look at how well a proposal responds to the assessment criteria descriptions (the statements following each assessment criteria). For example, two projects in different sectors, both responding to their respective environmental analyses, would present very different results statements, activities, indicators, and resources. Assessors would still look at how appropriately each of the environmental sustainability criteria descriptions is addressed in those proposals.
Based on how well a proposal responds to each of the assessment criteria, it is given an overall rating of Strong, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, Weak or Unacceptable.
We use a comparative assessment process for calls. This is described below.
Calls: assessment process for full proposals
Only invited applicants proceed to the second stage of a call. Once we receive the full proposal, we assess it using the full assessment criteria listed below. Invited full proposals are assessed on their own merits - the assessment is not comparative.
An invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding will be offered.
If the full proposal submitted is not strong enough, it will be rejected.
Some variation between the concept note and the full proposal is to be expected, as more extensive consultations are undertaken and monitoring plans are developed in the preparation of the full proposal. However, if these variations are significant, affecting the project’s alignment with the objectives of the call or its ability to complement other projects, it will be rejected.
If we invite a full proposal and it is rejected, the applicant may request detailed feedback.
One or more applicants who passed the concept note step but were not originally invited to submit a full proposal could be invited to submit a full proposal at a later date. This would happen if:
- funding for the call was increased; or
- one or more of the full proposals originally invited had to be rejected.
In either case, we would decide who to invite to submit a full proposal based on the best fit analysis.
Unsolicited proposals assessment process for full proposals
Based on the results of the initial assessment, you will receive a letter inviting, or not inviting, submission of a full proposal. While you may choose to submit a full proposal even if not invited, it is strongly recommended that you not invest time and resources in developing a full proposal unless invited, as the chances are very poor that your full proposal would be assessed or receive funding.
If you do receive an invitation to submit a full proposal, the invitation will include a full proposal form, budget table and a list of other documents to be included in your application package. When received, these materials will be assessed using the Full Assessment Criteria below.
Proposals are assessed as a whole. We read all of the information in the application package to assess criteria, not just the information in one section of the application form. Information should not be repeated in multiple sections of the form.
A. Rationale for the initiative
- The development challenges and human rights that the project is planning to address are described comprehensively and clearly, and the expected impact on poverty reduction is supported by evidence
- Gender equality is placed at the centre of poverty reduction and human rights efforts, and the expected impact of the project on gender equality is supported by evidence
- There is evidence that stakeholders, intermediaries and beneficiaries endorse and support the project, which demonstrates a commitment from them to undertake the project with the applicant and sustain results beyond the end of the project
- Any innovative elements in the project design are identified and an explanation is provided regarding what the innovation is, how it differs from existing approaches, and why the innovative element should lead to better results or effectiveness than an existing approach
- Measures for addressing opportunities and obstacles for local ownership (as defined in the Paris Declaration) are practical
- There is a clear description and realistic approach to the interactions that need to occur with other development actors or institutions to implement the project successfully
- There is evidence of the incorporation of lessons learned and best practices by the applicant
- There is evidence of the integration of gender equality, which specifically demonstrates that the design offers the best opportunity to close gender gaps and eliminate barriers to gender equality and human rights identified in the project
- The project is aligned with Global Affairs Canada and regional, institutional or local country priorities (including Sustainable Development Goals), strategies and plans
- The project is aligned with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
B. Gender equality
- The summary of the findings of the gender equality analysis: is relevant to the focus of the project; links to and shapes the expected outcomes; includes citations, references and disaggregated data; demonstrates understanding of power, gender, and diversity dynamics; and considers institutional capacity
- The gender equality gaps, inequalities and barriers relevant to this project are identified and the proposal demonstrates an understanding of power dynamics at the local level and how best to close the identified gender gaps
- Regardless of project sector, the design responds to the gender equality analysis
- The theory of change, including risks and response strategies, addresses the gender equality gaps, inequalities, and barriers
- The rationale for the initiative is based on an assessment of how to have the greatest gender equality impact
- Gender equality best practices are applied in the project design and implementation plans
- Appropriate consultations with relevant stakeholders, particularly with women of all ages, women’s rights organizations and/or women leaders, were undertaken and results integrated in project design
- Proposed partnerships are able to deliver appropriate activities/interventions
- The financial and human resources, partnerships, and project design are realistic to implement the project, and monitor and deliver the expected gender equality results
- Gender equality-sensitive and sex- and age-disaggregated indicators and targets are identified.
C. Human rights
- It is clear which human rights are being advanced by the project
- The findings of a human rights analysis have been incorporated into the project's design and planning (e.g., theory of change, activities, indicators, budget)
- The applicant demonstrates a thorough understanding of the capacity gaps faced by stakeholders in the advancement of human rights and the project addresses these gaps
- Key human rights principles (equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, transparency and accountability) are considered in the design and planning of the project
- There is evidence of an inclusive and participatory approach to all elements of the project (e.g. design, planning, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation), with special attention given to including the poorest, most marginalized and most vulnerable
- The applicant demonstrates sufficient capacity (e.g., processes, tools, financial and human resources) to address the challenges to human rights identified within the scope of the project.
D. Environmental sustainability
- The description and analysis of environmental factors is complete and valid
- All key positive and negative environmental effects are clearly identified
- Corresponding mitigation and enhancement measures are comprehensive, appropriate, and financially and technically feasible
- The conclusion and recommendations of the analysis are valid, the environmental risk is acceptable, and the applicant indicates adequate follow-up measures
- The applicant demonstrates sufficient capacity (e.g., processes, tools, financial and human resources) to ensure implementation of the environmental measures identified
- The recommended environmental measures have been incorporated into the project's design and planning (e.g., theory of change, activities, indicators, budget).
E. Managing for results
- The theory of change guiding the project’s design from ultimate outcome to outputs, including associated assumptions, is fully explained, clear, realistic and logical
- The logic model presents a graphic representation ofthe main elements of the theory of change, including: realistic and measurable output and outcome statements, and a clear and compelling logical relationship between each level of the logic model
- The logic model includes up to and at the intermediate outcome level (full integration) or the immediate outcome level (partial integration) clear gender equality results, supported within the logic model by its overall logic, and outside the logic model with concrete indicators, activities and resources (human and financial)
- The design indicates that local capacities will be strengthened and results will be sustained
- There is a description of stakeholders’, intermediaries’, beneficiaries’, and other stakeholders’ participation in the design and development of the project
- The description of strategies and efforts for ensuring sustainability of results are practical, realistic, and comprehensive.
- The list of activities leads logically and realistically to each output
- The indicators and targets identified are appropriate and realistic and indicate the applicant’s understanding of managing and results-based monitoring
- There are gender-sensitive indicators at every level, especially for measuring the pre-identified gender inequalities.
- The indicators and targets are at least sex-and age-disaggregated when relevant
- A clear and realistic plan for results-based monitoring is described, indicating the applicant’s understanding of managing for results and the resource and timing implications of using particular data collection methods
- The expected outputs and outcome statements are in alignment with Global Affairs Canada’s results-based management methodology and guidance.
F. Responding to risks
- There is a clear description of the risks that could have the greatest impact on the achievement of development results
- The risks are linked to outcomes identified in the logic model, and take into consideration human rights, environmental sustainability and gender equality (particularly local sensitivities and threats, including the possibility of a backlash against working on the gender equality barriers identified)
- The proposed response measures are comprehensive, appropriate and well designed to reduce the impact and/or likelihood of the identified risks
- The proposed response measures are financially and technically feasible.
G. Management of plan
- The legal entity submitting the proposal has clearly identified, if any, proposed co-signatories to the financial agreement (should funding be approved), local partners, and other partners involved in the implementation of the proposed project, and the legal ties, affiliations, and management relationships between itself and the others
- The project management systems are comprehensively described and indicate reliable practices in finance, management and procurement.
H. Organization ability relevant to the initiative
- The organization's ability (expertise and experience) to carry out the project, and to work with the government, institutions and organizations of the proposal’s targeted country(ies), is clearly demonstrated and detailed
- The organization’s financial capacity to carry out a project of the proposed size and nature is demonstrated
- The local capacity in financial management, technical issues, results-based management and monitoring, procurement, human resources, and other expertise and staff required to deliver project activities and outcomes, are detailed and realistic
- The local capacity to manage environmental, gender equality, and human rights issues is demonstrated
- An explanation of how any capacity gaps will be addressed is realistic and reflected in the management plan and budget
- The past project examples demonstrate significant and relevant technical experience and successes in delivering results
- Evaluations point to successful and acceptable performance.
I. Financial information
- Budget tables are detailed and complete, and demonstrate that all activities/components are integrated into the budget
- The budget reveals a cost-effective approach to project implementation, and reflects realistic costs of carrying out the planned work
- The proposed cost share is appropriate and realistic
- The planned human resources appear appropriate to the project requirements
- Resources (human resources and goods) identified and their costs are the minimum required to meet the expected results (including monitoring).
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