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2021 Call for Concept Notes - Development Impact Window - Canadian Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation

The deadline for submitting a concept note for this call was Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

This call for concept notes is part of Global Affairs Canada’s 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 $23 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 in partnership with other organizations that would co-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. If your organization is not already registered, start that process now. 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 September 22, 2021, 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

The submission of a concept note is the first stage 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. Also ensure that you check the Questions and Answers page frequently and take advantage of the webinar planned for this call for concept notes, both of which are explained below.

Objective of this call for concept notes

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:

Please note that concept notes for humanitarian assistance projects will not be considered as part of this call.

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.” This call will only support concept notes that target or fully integrate gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment. Applicants are also required to fully consider and integrate human rights, environment and climate change considerations into their concept notes.

Organization eligibility

Carefully review the following eligibility screening requirements, which will be used to evaluate submitted application packages for this call. Global Affairs Canada will not pre-assess or comment on the eligibility of potential applications. To be eligible, applicants must meet each requirement and, where stipulated, provide supporting documentation. If your organization is submitting a concept note in partnership with other organizations, each of which would co-sign the funding agreement with Global Affairs Canada, then each organization (i.e. co-signatory) must meet the eligibility requirements and provide documentation that demonstrates they meet these eligibility requirements, including the following:

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 exceeding $2 million.

All organizations must meet the definition of an SMO and all of the above requirements to be eligible to apply under this call.

Required project parameters

Please carefully review the parameters of this call to judge whether your project idea will fit. Global Affairs Canada 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:

If your proposed project does not conform to the above statements, it will not be assessed and cannot be considered for funding under this call.

Additional guidance

  1. Applicants should indicate how the proposed project takes into consideration local voices and perspectives.
  2. Preference may be given to SMOs that submit an application in partnership with other Canadian SMOs (i.e. co-signatories) to facilitate greater cooperation in the SMO community and engage more SMOs through this window.
  3. Indigenous peoples’ organizations in Canada are encouraged to submit proposals. Moreover, where appropriate and possible, Canadian SMOs are encouraged to partner or collaborate with Indigenous peoples’ organizations in Canada and in the region(s) where the project is being implemented.
  4. Preference may be given to SMOs that do not have any active funding agreements with Global Affairs Canada.
  5. Preference may be given to proposals that also include public engagement activitiesaimed 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:
    • Fundraising;
    • Annual general meetings;
    • Partisan political advocacy or lobbying;
    • Activities used to promote an organization (including online and social media activities for this purpose);
    • Engagement activities that take place outside of Canada.
  6. Please note that if you are invited to submit a full proposal, you will be asked to demonstrate adequate (minimum 3 years) experience related to specific elements of the project.

How we assess your concept note

Concept notes submitted in response 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. As indicated, some of the criteria below will only be assessed at the proposal stage. Concept notes that meet these requirements will proceed to assessment based on the following criteria:

Rationale for the initiative

Gender equality

Human rights

Environmental sustainability

Theory of change

Responding to risks

Organizational ability relevant to the initiative

After assessing eligible concept notes for merit, Global Affairs Canada will invite a limited number of organizations to submit full proposals. Funding decisions will be made based on assessments of full application packages. 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 resources available online to help develop an application package. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read the following tools and guidance notes before beginning their application process. Failure to meet the mandatory requirements and minimum standards will result in applications 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, September 22, 2021, 12 p.m. (noon) Eastern Time. All application package documents should be completed and submitted in either English or French.

Your application package must include all of the following documents:

Accessing and using PDF forms

Use only Adobe Reader/Adobe Acrobat 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 or submit the form, and/or the data that you enter may not appear when 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 that you have (or do not have) on your computer. Please read and follow the help instructions. If you have all of the correct software installed, please 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 of 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 while trying to submit a concept note, please send an email to Please note: during the last two weeks before the call closes, the service standard for replying to enquiries is three business days. Technical support for the portal is only available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday to Friday.

Questions specific to this call

A webcast will be available the week of June 21, 2021 to review key information pertaining to this call and will remain available until the call closes on September 22, 2021. A live webinar will be held on June 23, 2021, 1 p.m. ET, to respond to questions received in relation to this call and to provide an opportunity to connect with other small and medium organizations in the interest of promoting collaboration. To access the webcast or to register for the live webinar, please send a request to Webinar registrations must be received by June 18, 2021, 1 p.m. ET.

If you have questions about this call after reading the general questions and answers about applying for funding and the questions and answers page for this call, please send them to by August 18, 2021, 12 p.m. (noon) ET. Global Affairs Canada 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 appear on the questions and answers page for the 2021 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.

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