As one of the three intergovernmental pillars of the Commonwealth, the Foundation operates within that critical space between government and the people. The Foundation works to bring the voice of civil society into all aspects of governance, supporting civil society engagement in shaping the policies and decisions that affect people’s lives.
The Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026 is strongly linked to the Commonwealth Charter and its values and aspirations, and it identifies three thematic areas of focus which are detailed in the green box below. Civil society projects that aim to advance these themes will be supported through this open grants call.
Applications open at 1pm on 29 October 2021 and close at 1pm on 30 November 2021.
Applicants must address one or more of the Foundation’s three priority themes:
(ii) Environment and climate change
(iii) Freedom of expression
We seek to support initiatives that encourage and make possible meaningful and constructive engagement between civil society and government around policy and decision-making relevant to these three themes.
The Foundation’s themes overlap and connect in myriad ways. Applicants are encouraged to explore those intersections when developing their proposals and, where appropriate, consider addressing more than one theme.
Possible health focus areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:
- Advocating for universal health coverage
- Realising the right to health through better availability, quality, and accountability in health services and delivery
- Developing programmes and policies that address the social determinants of health.
Possible environment and climate change areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:
- Developing, reviewing and improving laws, policies and practices aimed at addressing environmental and climate threats
- Monitoring the implementation of relevant laws, policies and practices — such as national climate plans or commitments
- Addressing mitigation and adaptation challenges.
Possible freedom of expression areas may include supporting civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:
- Advocating for a legal and regulatory environment that protects and upholds freedom of expression for all
- Promoting access to information and transparency in governance, including through a free and independent press, robust freedom of information laws and their practical application
- Supporting civil society to work with artists to raise awareness to issues of freedom of expression and engage in advocacy efforts around these issues
Applicants are encouraged to reflect on our other themes and considerations which, while important to us, do not necessarily need to be reflected in successful applications.
We recognise that social structures and systems are shaped by gendered power dynamics that often reflect and perpetuate inequality and discrimination. We ask all applicants to demonstrate an understanding of how gender operates within their chosen theme/s and show how they will integrate that understanding into their project.
The Foundation understands our limits to fund worthwhile initiatives and we encourage applicants to carefully consider how they can leverage partnerships to further enhance their work.
Participation of young people
Young people are central to the Foundation’s mission and vision. Applications are encouraged from CSOs working to support and advance the involvement of young people in their own governance, as well as from CSOs that include young people in their structure.
Small and vulnerable member states
The Commonwealth is a champion of small states and carries a special duty to support and advocate for the interests of small and vulnerable states. Applications from eligible small and vulnerable states are strongly encouraged.
An optional creative component
The Foundation understands the power of creative expression to influence change. This call will pilot support for the inclusion of a creative element into projects. This is an optional element and would be funded separately (up to 15% of the total grant awarded). Please refer to the ‘information for applicants’ document to find out more.
For details on eligibility and the application process please download the call documents below.