The Commonwealth Foundation accepting Grant Applications to support Civil Society Organisations

Commonwealth Foundation

Relevent Country: United Kingdom

The Commonwealth Foundation is currently accepting grant applications to support projects that seek to facilitate constructive engagement between civil society and decision makers, including civil society participation in policy development and decision-making.

The Foundation works to bring the voice of civil society into all aspects of governance, supporting civil society’s engagement in shaping the policies and decisions that affect people’s lives.

The Foundation’s vision is of a Commonwealth of equal, just, and inclusive societies. The mission is to contribute to that vision by:

Supporting the active and constructive participation of Commonwealth citizens in all aspects of their governance
Nurturing the growth of vibrant and free civil societies in all Commonwealth countries
Advancing the principles and ideals of the Commonwealth
All applications are required to demonstrate how they will integrate gender considerations into their project design and implementation.

Grant Priority Themes

Health Justice

Projects could support civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:

  • Universal health coverage
  • Realising the right to health: better availability, accessibility, quality, participation and accountability in health services and delivery
  • Programmes and policies that focus on social determinants of health as part of the inclusive right to health
  • Challenging systemic discrimination in health systems and promoting equitable access to health services for marginalised groups and those with special needs
  • Promoting the participation of marginalised groups and those with special needs in decision-making processes
  • Promoting health and well-being by combating communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • Equitable access to essential medicines

Freedom of Expression

Projects could support civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:

  • Advancing a legal and regulatory environment that protects and upholds freedom of expression for all.
  • Advancing a legal and regulatory environment that promotes the freedom, growth, and vibrancy of civil society.
  • Promoting access to information and transparency in governance, including through a free and independent press, robust freedom of information laws and their practical application.
  • Advancing civil society engagement in national, regional and/or international mechanisms and processes to promote freedom of expression (e.g., national human rights institutions; Universal Periodic Reviews).
  • Promoting art and creativity as means of advocating for and raising awareness of freedom of expression.

Climate Justice

Projects could support civil society to engage meaningfully with government on:

  • Ensuring representation, inclusion, and protecting the rights of those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
  • Addressing the social, political, and economic root causes of climate injustice.
  • Strengthening the voices of those most affected by the climate crisis in multilateral and national spaces.
  • Ensuring that the voice, agency, and leadership of young women and men are at the centre of policy discussions and decision-making at all levels.
  • Advocating for corrective justice for environmental harm, including compensation mechanisms, access to justice and effective remedy, and legal empowerment.
  • Ensuring accountability and effective remedy for human rights harms caused by climate change.
  • Developing, reviewing, improving, and monitoring laws, policies and practices promoting climate justice.
  • Exposing and addressing the factors that contribute to the increased vulnerability of social groups to the consequences of climate change.
  • Exposing and addressing negative social and distributional outcomes of climate change mitigation policies and/or encourage support for the development of pro-poor mitigation approaches.
  • Other important funding considerations
  • Gender as a cross-cutting theme


  • Participation of young people
  • Small and vulnerable Member States
  • Capacity Strengthening

Funding Information

  • The total grant amount requested must be of £15,000 or between £15,001 and £30,000 per year, and for a maximum of two years.

Eligible Countries

  • Africa: Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Kingdom of eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia
  • Americas: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada*, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia
  • Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan
  • Europe: Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom*
  • Pacific: Australia*, Kiribati, New Zealand*, Samoa
  • Note: If your organisation is registered in a country that has an asterisk (*) next to it in the list, you are ineligible to apply for a grant as a lead applicant. Please note that while organisations registered in these countries cannot apply for a grant as a lead applicant, they can participate in a project as partners, so long as the lead applicant is from another eligible country.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant must be a not-for-profit civil society organisation registered in an eligible Commonwealth Foundation member country.
  • Newly registered organisations (those that have been registered and operating for less than a year) are not eligible to apply.
  • The proposed project must be implemented in the country of registration. Projects can be implemented in one or more eligible Commonwealth Foundationmember countries and can have a national, sub-national, regional, or international remit. In multi-country projects, strong local participation in project implementation is required.
  • The applicant organisation must have a minimum of two years’ demonstrable experience working on participatory governance and advocacy within the area/theme(s) of the proposed project.
  • The requested grant amount should not exceed 70% of the applicant organisation’s total annual income, averaged over the past two years.
  • The annual income of the applicant organisation, averaged over the past two years, must be less than £2.5m.
  • The project proposal must address at least one of the Foundation’s priority themes.
  • The project proposal must demonstrate appropriate integration of gender considerations.
  • Proposals must relate to projects that are expected to begin within the second half of 2024 (i.e., after 1 July 2024 and before end September 2024).

Ineligibility Criteria

The Commonwealth Foundation will not fund:

  • Attendance at training courses, workshops, and conferences unless as part of a larger project funded by the grant.
  • Academic study or research unless as part of a larger project funded by the grant.
  • Publication of books and films, unless they are part of a larger project applied for under the grant.
  • Exchanges between developed countries.
  • Activities that are solely targeted at building the capacity of government officials and/or the private sector. If the project requires activities such as training of government officials, funding for such components should be separately sourced.
  • Projects that focus on service delivery (e.g., the Foundation will not fund activities such as the distribution of medicines).