CWF Pattern

Grants programme

View this year's focus areas

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 £200,000 over four years 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 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 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.

Preliminary applications for the 2018/2019 call will be accepted from 1 November 2018 at 12pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  The deadline for preliminary applications is 7 January 2019 at 5pm GMT.

You can forward any enquiries you have about our grants call to

Please note that the Commonwealth Foundation will be closed from 22 December – 2 January 2019. We will not be able to respond to questions during that period. All questions will therefore need to be sent by close of business on 20 December 2018.

Use the button below to download the grants guidelines and criteria in a single zip file. If you’re experiencing issues with this download, you can download each file individually here.

Download grant guidelines and criteria

Cross-cutting themes

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

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 outcomes and may include the use of creative expression to achieve project aims:

  1. Stronger civic voices 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
Deadline for NOVEMBER 2018 call
7 January 2019 5pm GMT

All times in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

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