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With more than 2.3 billion citizens, the Commonwealth provides a potentially huge pool of ideas for advancing societies.

The Foundation offers grants of up to £50,000 in support of innovative project ideas and approaches that seek to strengthen the ability of civic voices to engage with governments and that have the potential to improve governance and development outcomes through their active participation.

The Foundation also believes in the power of stories and storytelling for social change and will award grants for creative approaches that have the potential to influence public discourse.

The selection process is highly competitive and selected projects will have been designed to undertake work that has the potential to lead to one or more of the intermediate outcomes in the Foundation’s strategic Logic Model.

The Foundation’s programme teams are all involved in shaping the focus of the call for proposals. An internal review process, including long-listing by the Grants team followed by a short listing process involving all programme teams, prepares a final list of applications that is then submitted to the Grants Committee. Final decisions on which projects to support are made by the member states represented on the Foundation’s Grants Committee.

For information on our next grants call and all other updates on our grants programme please sign up here.

Focus areas

We are interested in supporting projects that strengthen civic voice so that it:

  • Is more effective in holding governance institutions to account
  • Enhances involvement in policy processes
  • Shapes public discourse

Your project should address one or both of the following two areas and may include the use of creative expression to achieve project aims:

  1. Stronger civic voice engaging in policy processes to hold government to account:
  • Your project will strengthen the capacity of civic voices in contributing to:
  • monitoring government commitments and action
  • supporting the implementation of the sustainable development goals or other international agreements, and related local and national policy agendas
  • Advocating policy priorities to government that address gender and other power imbalances, disparities and discrimination
  • Strengthening participatory methods of engaging in regional national and local governance processes
  • Raising awareness and advocating for specific policy issues
  1. Public discourse more reflective of less-heard voices
  • Your project will support less heard voices to contribute to public discourse on development issues
  • Your project will support less heard voices to access policy spaces and/or platforms with the potential to amplify voices and influence public discourse

Cross-cutting themes

All proposals must ensure that the cross cutting theme of gender equality is mainstreamed throughout the project.