Language selection


2019 call for concept notes - Development Impact Window - Canadian Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation

The assessment of the proposals submitted under this call has concluded and applicants have been informed of their results.

For notification of calls, please subscribe to our RSS feed.

You can access calls, get a heads-up on upcoming calls, and view closed calls and results from past calls.

This call for concept notes is part of Global Affairs Canada’s five-year pilot initiative targeted at Canadian small and medium organizations (SMOs). This initiative seeks to engage Canadian SMOs in international assistance efforts in areas consistent with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

The total amount of funding available under this call for concept notes is up to $36 million over five years. Global Affairs Canada may fund any number of proposals or none, up to the maximum funding available.

You must submit your application through the Partners@International portal before the deadline. 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. Please see details under the “Organization eligibility” section below.

We will not accept any late submissions. Please read the portal instructions carefully and plan to submit your application at least three business days in advance of the call deadline to ensure that technical difficulties do not prevent you from submitting your concept note by July 10, 2019, 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

The submission of a concept note is the first step of a two-stage application process. Funding will not be provided on the basis of a concept note. At the second stage, we will invite a limited number of organizations to submit a full proposal. 

Be sure to review the instructions in How to apply for funding through a call before beginning your application.

Objective of this call

Under this call, your proposed project must contribute to the achievement of the objectives of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which seeks to reduce poverty and vulnerability and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. The policy recognizes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to achieving this goal.

Proposed projects must align with at least one of the action areas outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

  • Action area 1 (core action area): Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
  • Action area 2: Human dignity (please note that concept notes for humanitarian assistance projects will not be considered under this call)
  • Action area 3: Growth that works for everyone
  • Action area 4: Environment and climate action
  • Action area 5: Inclusive governance
  • Action area 6: Peace and security

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 concept notes that show strong potential to meet the requirement of targeting or fully integrating gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

Organization eligibility

Carefully review the following eligibility screening requirements, which we will use to evaluate submitted application packages for this particular call. We will not pre-assess or comment on the eligibility of specific potential applicants. To be eligible, you must meet each requirement 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 the requirements and provide documentation.

  • Your organization is legally incorporated 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 a Canadian SMO attestation form signed by your organization’s chief financial officer, financial director or president indicating that your organization is a Canadian SMO according to the following definition for this call for concept notes:
    • Definition of small or medium organization (SMO): the consolidated revenue in your organization’s financial statements is equal to or less than $10 million (this limitation does not apply to educational institutions) and your organization does not have annual overseas expenditures exceeding $2 million in development assistance (i.e. projects administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as their main objective (regardless of the funding source)).
    • If you are an educational institution, you are not required to have consolidated revenues equal to or less than $10 million, but you are still required to submit a signed Canadian SMO attestation form. However, in order to be considered a SMO, an educational institution cannot have annual overseas expenditures in development assistance higher than $2 million.
  • You are registered in the Partners@International portal.
  • You are providing two separate financial statements for the most recent fiscal years. Audited statements are preferred. If this is not possible, statements must be signed by a member of the board of directors or delegate or by the owners. As financial statements usually provide comparative information from the previous year, these statements will be used to do a three-year trend analysis.
  • You are submitting only one application under this call (either on your own or with other Canadian SMOs).
    • If your organization submits more than one application under this call, either on your own or as a co-signatory to a funding agreement, we will only consider the one with the earliest submission time stamp.
  • Your organization has not been approved for funding under the 2017 Call for Preliminary Proposals of the Development Impact Window of the Canadian Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation initiative.

If you do not respond “yes” to all of the above requirements, your organization is not eligible to apply under this call.

Required project parameters

Carefully review the 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:

  • Value: You are requesting Global Affairs Canada funding of at least $500,000 and no more than $2,000,000.
  • Duration: Your proposed project will last at least three years but no more than five years.
  • Alignment with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy: Your proposed project is aligned with at least one of the actions areas within Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. Please indicate the estimated percentage breakdown of requested Global Affairs Canada funding for each identified action area in the “Alignment with the Feminist International Assistance Policy” section of the concept note application form.
  • Geographic alignment: Your proposed project would take place in one or more official development assistance-eligible countries. Approximately 75% of the funding from this call will be allocated to projects that include activities taking place in Sub-Saharan Africa. Please indicate the estimated percentage breakdown of requested Global Affairs Canada funding for each proposed country in the “Project Information” section of the application form.
  • Cost share: Your organization 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. Your organization (and any other Canadian SMO involved in signing the agreement with Global Affairs Canada) must attest to meeting this requirement in the Canadian SMO attestation form. These forms must be signed by the organization’s chief financial officer, financial director or president and submitted as part of your application package.
  • Not-for-profit project: Your proposed project would not generate a profit for you or any other implementing organization in the project (please see section 15 of the Terms and Conditions of the International Development Assistance Program).
  • Language of concept note: Your application package documents are complete and presented in either English or French.

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.

Additional guidance

Preference will be given to projects that take place in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Please note that if you are proposing to undertake construction, refurbishment or water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure activities in your project, you must attest in the SMO attestation form that you can demonstrate that you have a minimum of five years of recent experience in implementing the same type of construction, refurbishment or WASH infrastructure activities that would be implemented in the proposed project. Recent experience is defined as five years of experience within the last 10 years. This experience must have been acquired while working with Global Affairs Canada, another department of the Government of Canada or any other aid agency or multilateral development institution. In the case of an application from a group of Canadian SMOs that would all be co-signatories to a funding agreement, at least one co-signatory must meet this requirement. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, you will be asked to demonstrate this experience in your application to be considered for funding.

How we assess your concept note

Concept notes 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. Concept notes that meet these requirements will proceed to 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.

Gender equality

  • Regardless of project sector, the design responds to the preliminary gender equality analysis.
  • The project design is based on an assessment of how to have the greatest gender equality impact.
  • 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.

Human rights

  • It is clear which human rights are being advanced by the project.
  • Regardless of project sector, 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.

Environmental sustainability

  • Regardless of project sector, appropriate environmental measures have been incorporated into the project’s design and planning to mitigate negative environmental effects and promote positive environmental effects.

Theory of change

  • 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., local authorities) will be meaningfully engaged in the design, development and implementation of the project.
  • The description of strategies and efforts 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 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 example demonstrates 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 to submit a full proposal. Funding decisions will only be made based on an assessment of a full application package. An invitation to submit a full proposal is not a guarantee of funding. 

Invited applicants will have approximately eight weeks after they receive an invitation letter from Global Affairs Canada to submit a full proposal.

Available resources

There are a number of resources available online to help you develop your application package. We strongly encourage you to read all of the following tools and guidance before beginning your application process. Failure to meet the mandatory requirements and minimum standards detailed therein will result in your application package not being considered for funding.

How to submit your application package

In order to be considered in this call, you must submit your complete application package to Partners@International by Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

Your application package must include all of the following documents:

  • small and medium organizations for impact and innovation concept note (completed form, with validated label showing on first page)
  • completed Canadian SMO attestation form dated and signed by the organization’s chief financial officer, financial director or president (separate forms for each organization that would sign the funding agreement with Global Affairs Canada, if applicable)
  • two separate financial statements for the most recent fiscal years from each signatory (audited statements are preferred, but if this is not possible, statements must be signed by a member of the board of directors or delegate or by the owners)

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 registering or trying to submit a concept note, send an email to Please note: during the last two weeks before a call closes, the service standard for replying to your enquiry is three business days. Technical support for the portal is only available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday.

Questions specific to this call

A webinar is scheduled for May 30, 2019, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. ET, to review information pertaining to this call page and the application form. One hour will be dedicated to questions and answers. To participate in this webinar, please send a request for registration instructions to by May 28, 2019 at 12 p.m. (noon) ET.  A transcript of the webinar will be made available on this page following the event.

If you still have questions about this call after reading the general questions and answers about applying for funding, please send them to by June 14, 2019, 12 p.m. (noon) ET. We will not respond to questions received after this deadline or questions on specific organizational circumstances or specific project concept notes. Applicants who submit questions will not receive emails with responses to their questions. Instead, answers will only appear on the questions and answers page for the 2019 call for concept notes - Development Impact Window - Canadian Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation. This is to ensure that all applicants have access to the same information at the same time.

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, please contact us.

Date Modified: