Call for concept notes - Canadian International Development Scholarships Program 2021-2029
The deadline to submit an application was Thursday, November 19, 2020, 12:00 p.m. (noon), Eastern Time.
This call is for concept notes to establish the Canadian International Development Scholarships Program 2021-2029. The program will provide scholars access to the widest range and variety of Canadian post-secondary institutions.
The total amount of funding available under this call is valued at up to $80 million over 8 years. Global Affairs Canada plans to select 1 proposal, either submitted by 1 sole Canadian organization or 1 group of Canadian organizations, to implement the initiative in its entirety. Global Affairs Canada may also decide not to fund any of the proposals.
You must submit your concept note through the Partners@International portal before the deadline. Read all instructions on the portal carefully. If you are applying on behalf of a group of organizations that would sign the funding agreement with Global Affairs Canada, please ensure that each organization is registered in the Partners@International portal and has uploaded all required documents.
We will not accept late submissions. To ensure that technical difficulties do not prevent you from submitting your proposal on time, we strongly suggest that you submit your application at least 3 working days before the deadline of Thursday, November 19, 2020, 12 pm (noon) Eastern Time. Please read all portal instructions carefully.
The submission of a concept note is the first step of a 2-stage application process. Funding will not be provided on the basis of the concept note alone. At the second stage, we will invite a limited number of proponents that best align with the objectives and parameters of the call to submit a full proposal. Be sure to review the instructions in How to apply for funding through a call before beginning your application.
This call for concept notes will support a scholarship program that is fully aligned with the Feminist International Assistance Policy, in that it:
- Provides inclusive quality higher education and skills training in key thematic areas for women and men from eligible official development assistance (ODA) countries, particularly in La Francophonie;
- Empowers women and men, in particular women, through education and leadership opportunities to be catalysts of positive change in their home countries and contribute to poverty reduction;
- Promotes cooperation and builds synergies between scholars, institutions in Canada and abroad, and beneficiary countries;
- Demonstrates innovation, for example, in its partnerships, funding model, design, or management.
Under this call, the scholarships program must contribute to the achievement of this ultimate outcome:
- Enhanced social and economic development for women and men, particularly women in eligible Francophonie and Commonwealth countries, as well as other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and selected countries.
Your proposed project must also contribute to all of the following intermediate outcomes:
- Increased inclusive and equitable access to quality higher education and skills training in key thematic areas for women and men;
- Empowerment of women and men, in particular women, to participate equitably in the workforce (entry, re-entry/retention, promotion);
- Enhanced cooperation and synergies between scholars, institutions in Canada and abroad, and with beneficiary countries.
Your concept note should advance educational opportunities in the following areas:
- Public administration/governance, environmental sustainability and climate action, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including artificial intelligence and health sciences, oceans and maritime affairs.
Your concept note should also include:
- A flexible design enabling adjustments within its thematic and geographic focus with a variety of educational delivery modes;
- Higher education, research and professional and technical training;
- Institutional strengthening and collaboration with countries and institutions;
- Networking and alumni support;
- Lessons learned from past scholarships programming;
- Alignment to the International Education Strategy;
- Leverage opportunities to engage Canadians on international development issues.
You may refine the call’s ultimate and intermediate outcome statements to ensure they are grounded in the reality of your project design, making them more specific in terms of the who, what, and where of your project. Refer to the Results-Based Management How-To Guide to ensure that your outcome statements respect Global Affairs Canada’s definition for intermediate and ultimate outcomes.
Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy states that: “No less than 95 percent of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance initiatives will target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” Priority will be given to proposals that meet the requirement of fully integrated gender equality (GE-02) and women’s and girls’ empowerment.
To be eligible, you must meet each of the following eligibility screening requirements and, where stipulated, provide supporting documentation. If your organization is submitting a concept note on behalf of a group of organizations that would sign the funding agreement with Global Affairs Canada, each organization (i.e. co-signatory) must meet all of the following requirements and provide documentation:
- Your organization is a Canadian organization, which means for the purpose of this call that your organization is legally incorporated in Canada, established with an office and employees in Canada and can provide proof of legal status (e.g. a letter of incorporation) along with a Canada Revenue Agency business number;
- You are providing 2 separate financial statements for the most recent fiscal years (audited statements are preferred; if these are not available, the statements must be signed by a member of the board of directors of each signatory, by the board’s delegate or by the owner(s). Note: since financial statements usually provide comparative information from the previous year, these statements will be used to do a 3-year trend analysis;
- You are registered in the Partners@International portal;
- You are providing an Organization Attestation signed by the organization’s chief financial officer or a duly authorized board member;
- You are submitting only 1 concept note under this call, whether as a lead signatory or co-signatory. Note: If your organization submits more than 1 application under this call, we will only consider the application with the earliest submission time stamp.
If you do not respond “yes” to all of the above requirements, your organization is not eligible to apply under this call. We will not pre-assess or comment on the eligibility of specific potential applicants.
Required project parameters
Carefully review the following parameters of this call and judge whether your project idea will fit. We will not respond to questions about the eligibility of your project idea. You must be able to answer “yes” to all of the following statements in order for your application to be considered for funding under this call otherwise it will not be assessed:
- Value: You are requesting Global Affairs Canada funding of up to $80 million;
- Duration: Your proposed project will last 8 years;
- Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy: Your proposed project is aligned with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy;
- Geographic alignment: Your project focuses on ODA-eligible countries in La Francophonie and Commonwealth countries, as well as other small island developing states (SIDS) and selected countries. Please see the list of ODA-eligible countries for this call;
- Approximately 90% of the funding from this call will be allocated to projects that include activities taking place in sub-Saharan Africa
- At least 75% of the overall funding will be allocated to ODA-eligible member countries of La Francophonie
- Remaining 25% will target ODA-eligible Commonwealth countries, other SIDS and selected countries
- Language: Your application package documents are complete and presented in either English or French or a combination of these 2 languages;
- Not-for-profit project: Your proposed project would not generate a profit for you or any other implementing organization;
- Locally-driven proposal: Your organization proposes to work with your own local office(s) or local partner(s) in the country(ies) where the project would take place and has included information about them in the Local Partner(s) - Information;
- Cost share: You and your co-signatory(ies) will provide at least 5% of the total eligible direct project costs over the life of the project in cash and/or in-kind in accordance with Global Affairs Canada’s Policy on Cost-Sharing for Grant and Non-Repayable Contribution Agreements.
If your proposed project does not conform to the above statements, it will not be assessed because it cannot be considered for funding under this call.
Note: Global Affairs Canada will not consider projects that include construction.
Required project experience
Your concept note must demonstrate the required experience as described below to be considered under this call. The concept note must provide 2 examples of projects in Section 2.1. of the application form.
Each of the 2 examples must demonstrate the following:
- Minimum of 4 years’ experience (per project example) managing international scholarship programs involving ODA-eligible countries within the last 15 years. Examples must demonstrate relevant technical experience such as recruitment, capacity building, scholar support, and ability in delivering results. In a group of organizations, signatories must ensure that their overall experience demonstrates this requirement.
How we assess your concept note
Concept notes submitted to this call will first undergo an eligibility check to verify that they meet all organization eligibility requirements and required project parameters identified on this call page.
Next, concept notes will be assessed to ensure that applicants demonstrate the required project experience. Organizations that do not meet the required project experience will not be further assessed. You will be notified if your organization is found to be ineligible or if it does not meet the project experience requirements.
Concept notes that meet these requirements will proceed to merit assessment based on the following assessment criteria:
Rationale for the initiative
- The development challenges and human rights issues that the project is planning to address are clearly described, along with the expected impact on poverty reduction;
- Gender equality is placed at the centre of poverty reduction efforts;
- The project is aligned with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy;
- The project is aligned with the priorities (including Sustainable Development Goals), strategies and plans of Global Affairs Canada and regional, institutional or local countries.
- The design responds to the preliminary gender equality analysis;
- The project design is based on an assessment of significant gender equality impacts;
- The theory of change, including risks and response strategies, addresses gender equality barriers and inequalities;
- Gender equality best practices are applied in the project design;
- The gender equality gaps, inequalities and barriers relevant to this project are identified;
- The concept note demonstrates an understanding of power dynamics at the local or sub-national level and how best to close the identified gender gaps, and considers the intersectional dimensions of inequality and discrimination.
- It is clear which human rights are being advanced by the project;
- There is evidence of a preliminary human rights analysis reflected in the project design and theory of change;
- The project will strengthen the capacity of actors to fulfill, promote and claim rights.
- Appropriate environmental measures have been incorporated into the project’s design and planning to mitigate negative environmental effects and promote positive environmental effects.
Managing for Results
- The theory of change guiding the project design from ultimate outcome to activities, (including associated assumptions, risks and contributing factors) is clear, realistic and logical;
- There is evidence that the applicant has incorporated lessons learned and best practices into the project design;
- There is a description of how the intermediaries, beneficiaries (rights-holders) and other stakeholders (e.g., Canadian academic institutions and local authorities and institutions) will be meaningfully engaged in the design, development and implementation of the project;
- The description of strategies and efforts, including flexibility in program design, for ensuring sustainability of results are practical, realistic and comprehensive;
- 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.
Responding to risks
- There is a clear description of the risks that could have the greatest impact on the achievement of the expected results, taking into consideration human rights, safety and security of beneficiaries, environmental sustainability and gender equality (with special attention to the impact of COVID-19, local sensitivities and threats, including the possibility of a backlash against working on the gender equality barriers identified);
- The proposed response measures and mitigations are comprehensive, appropriate and well designed to reduce the impact and/or likelihood of the identified risks.
Organizational ability relevant to the initiative
- The past project examples demonstrate significant and relevant technical experience, success in delivering results and ability (expertise and experience) to carry out a project of the proposed size and nature.
After we assess eligible concept notes for merit, we will invite a limited number of organizations whose concept notes align best with the objectives and parameters of the call to submit a full proposal. Selection and funding decisions will be made based on an assessment of a full application package only. An invitation to submit a full proposal is not a guarantee of funding.
Invited applicants will have approximately 8 weeks after they receive an invitation letter from Global Affairs Canada to submit a full proposal.
Preference may be given to concept notes that:
- Are submitted in collaboration with other Canadian organizations with complementary expertise and experience;
- Enable new or improved locally driven solutions for better results and greater impact that benefits and empowers the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women and girls;
- Propose innovative solutions that can include business models, policy practices, approaches, partnerships, technologies, behavioural insights, financing mechanisms or ways of delivering products and services;
- Include public engagement activities aimed at awareness raising, knowledge sharing and network strengthening in Canada. These engagement activities should promote global citizenship by increasing awareness and encouraging Canadians to develop a deeper understanding of international development issues, including how major global challenges are interconnected and impacting Canadians, and how Canada’s international development efforts contribute to alleviating them. However, public engagement activities that are NOT eligible for funding include:
- Annual general meetings
- Partisan political advocacy or lobbying
- Activities used to promote an organization (including online and social media activities for this purpose)
- Activities that take place outside of Canada
Before you begin, we encourage you to consult the many online resources that are available to help you develop your application package.
- October 21, 2020 webinar on the Call for concept notes - Canadian International Development Scholarships Program 2021-2029
- Advancing human rights
- Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy
- List of ODA-Eligible countries – Canadian International Development Scholarships 2021-2029
- Environmental Integration Process - Development Programming
- Funding guidance
- Getting involved in international development
- How to apply for funding through a call
- Information by countries and territories - Canadian diplomatic missions
- International Development Week
- Lessons and best practices example: Summary report - Formative Evaluation of the Canadian Francophonie Scholarship Program (CFSP) Phase VI - Development Component
- Partners@International FAQs
- Policy on Cost-Sharing for Grant and Non-Repayable Contribution Agreements
- Questions and answers about applying for funding
- Results-based management for international assistance programming: A how-to guide and tip sheets
- Sexual Misconduct: Section 22.6 of Contribution Agreement - General Terms and Conditions
- Sustainable Development Goals
- The Official Development Assistance Accountability Act
- What is GBA+?
- Questions and Answers page on the Call for concept notes - Canadian International Development Scholarships 2021-2029
How to submit your application package
In order for your concept note to be considered in this call, you must submit your complete application package to Partners@International by 12 pm (noon) Eastern Time on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
Your application package must include all of the following documents:
- Call for concept notes - Canadian International Development Scholarships 2021-2029 form (completed form, with Validated label showing on first page);
- Two separate financial statements for the most recent fiscal years from each signatory (audited statements are preferred; if these are not available, the statements must be signed by a member of the board of directors of each signatory, by the board’s delegate, or by the owner(s); note also that since financial statements usually provide comparative information from the previous year, these statements will be used to do a 3-year trend analysis);
- Completed Organization Attestation form (separate forms for each organization that would sign the funding agreement with Global Affairs Canada, if applicable);
- Completed Local Partner(s) - Information form.
Accessing and using PDF forms
Use only Adobe Reader/Adobe Acrobat and Internet Explorer to work on the standardized PDFs to be submitted with your application package. If you use other software, you may not be able to validate the form or submit it, or the data you enter may not appear once submitted to the department, and the application will be considered ineligible.
If you are having difficulty downloading the forms, it is generally due to the type of software you have (or do not have) on your computer. Please read and follow the help instructions. If you have all the correct software installed, download the form to your desktop and open it directly in Adobe Reader; otherwise, other software installed on your computer may try (and fail) to open the form using your default settings.
Questions on using the Partners@International portal
Please read and follow all the instructions for using the Partners@International portal (linked on the right side menu). Do not open multiple windows within the portal as this may cause technical problems.
Do not try to register or submit at the last minute.
It may take up to 10 business days to register your organization. If you encounter technical difficulties while trying to register or submit a concept note, send an email to email@example.com.
Note: during the last 2 weeks before a call closes, the service standard for replying to your enquiry is 3 business days. Technical support for the portal is only available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm ET.
Questions specific to this call
The webinar for this call took place on October 21, 2020. To receive a PDF version of the presentation please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find answers to questions about this call. These are the questions sent before 12 pm (noon) Eastern Time on October 30, 2020. You can also consult the general questions and answers about applying for funding.
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