Grant Program focusing on Early Childhood Development and Increased and/or Improved Jobs and Livelihoods in LMICs in the Global South

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Grant Program focusing on Early Childhood Development and Increased and/or Improved Jobs and Livelihoods in LMICs in the Global South


Deadline: 30 April 2019

Co-Impact is pleased to invite initial concept notes from qualified organizations and partnerships for Round 2 of its grant program to support a small number of transformative systems-change initiatives working to bring about significant and enduring improvements in the lives of millions of people in low- and middle-income countries in the Global South.



Their second round of grants will focus on two themes:

  • Early Childhood Development
  • Jobs, Skills, and/or Livelihoods

Overview and Process

They expect to use the following timeline and process for their second round of grants:

  • Sourcing & initial consideration (March – September 2019): 1) Sourcing and initial consideration of all concept notes and ideas solicited through their networks; 2) further information requests and calls in May and June 2019 with about 20-30 initiatives; and 3) detailed engagement with up to 10 initiatives, including likely site visits around July 2019.
  • Design grants (October 2019 – June 2020): They expect to provide 5-8 of the most promising organizations and partnerships with “design” grants of up to US $500,000 each to advance and pressure-test their systems change initiative, and to develop a robust strategy and proposal. The outcome of this process is meant to be valuable in itself by enabling organizations to advance their thinking and work, strengthen their partnerships, and support their broader efforts to raise funds (not just from Co-Impact). The typical design grant period is 6-8 months.
  • Systems change grants (estimated October 2020): Co-Impact expects to award 3-6 systems change grants, which are typically between US $10-25 million each over 5 years, to a subset of the design grant organizations/ partnerships. Each award is intended to provide substantial support, typically between 25-35% (and not more than 50%) of the total five-year budget of a given systems change initiative. They also provide support for learning, adaptation, and organizational strengthening.


If applicants would like to apply, please ensure that they fulfill all of the following criteria before writing a concept note. Co-Impact regrets that it cannot consider organizations or partnerships that do not meet all of these criteria.

  1. Themes: Core focus of the proposed systems change initiative is to drive enduring improvements for at least one million people in one or more of the following domains:
    • Early childhood development – contributes to healthy child development (ages 0-5) by significantly improving one or more of the key factors that science has shown to be critical, such as:
      • Quality early stimulation and early learning
      • Children’s health and nutrition
      • Safe and nurturing environment and relationships
    • More and better-quality income-earning opportunities – significantly increases one or more of the following outcomes for disadvantaged communities and populations (especially lower-income youth and women):
      • Number of quality (safe, stable, fairly-compensated) income-earning opportunities/jobs, including self-created via entrepreneurship
      • Number of such persons successfully entering into available quality jobs / earning opportunities, thanks to strategies including improved identification of, matching to, acquisition of essential skills for, qualifying for, and securing such opportunities
      • Earnings realized from current income-earning activities
  2. Countries: Proposed initiative is focused on one or more low- and middle-income countries in the Global South. Countries need to exhibit at least minimal civic and governance conditions that are necessary to undertake – and sustain – a meaningful systems change effort.
  3. Evidence: Independent, third-party evaluation shows that the core approach/model/idea(s) at the center of the initiative works and achieves people-centered outcomes. While this evaluation needs to be relevant, rigorous and of high quality, they do not require the use of any particular methodology.
  4. Scale:
    • The proposed or very similar change initiative is already underway (not a start-up or initial pilot), and in the past year has benefited at least 10,000 persons in a significant way.
    • Applicant has significant capacity and track record to work at scale; the annual budget in the last audited financial report of the lead organization is at least US $1 million or equivalent.
  5. Organization(s):
    • Co-Impact will give preference to organizations based in and/or led by individuals from the countries or regions that are the focus of the work.
    • Partnerships between multiple organizations are encouraged but not required; partnerships should designate a lead partner.
    • Organization/partnership is not a political campaign promoting a specific candidate or party. While policy interventions may be a part of an initiative, lobbying organizations primarily seeking to change legislation are not eligible.
    • For-profit organizations are eligible provided the primary objective of the effort is to achieve lasting social impact for millions of people in the domains described above.

Guidelines for Initial Concept Note

Please review and respond to the guidelines below. Please be concise and specific. The concept note should not exceed four pages (single spaced, 11- or 12-point font). Applicants must upload their concept note via the form.  Co-Impact can only consider applications submitted in English, but they do not require fluency from non-native English speakers.

  • Summary (one short paragraph)
    • Applicants must summarize their core initiative and why they think it should be supported.
  • Overview of the problem (max one page)
    • Describe the system failure, and why it has persisted. Summarize prior and current efforts to address the problem, and why they have not been adequate.
  • Systems change initiative (2 pages)
    • Describe what success looks like. What specific outcomes would applicants achieve in 5 years?
    • What is applicants’ pathway to change – how will they achieve these results? Why do they think this approach will succeed when previous efforts have faltered? How will this change be sustained after 5 years?
    • What partnerships/relationships/engagement with others will be critical to achieving these outcomes, and why?
    • How do applicants’ think about political economy and governance in their work, and how will they address these?
    • How will applicants’ address gender meaningfully in their work? If inclusion of other disadvantaged groups is a significant part of their work, please describe it.
    • Describe applicants’ approach to learning in this initiative.
    • What is applicants’ rough estimate of the 5-year cost for the initiative?
  • Organization and track record (max 1 page)
    • What’s the current scope and results of applicants’ work on this initiative? How many people were significantly impacted in the most recent year?
    • Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary and attach a copy of high quality, third party evidence of the effectiveness of applicants’ core idea/approach in a comparable context.
    • What is applicants’ organization’s most recent total annual budget (in USD)? Which is the most recent year of their audited financial statements? How many staff do they currently employ?
    • Where is applicants’ organization based? Who is the CEO, how long has she or he been in place?
    • What is applicants’ organization’s legal registration or status (not-for-profit, B Corp, for-profit, etc.)?
    • Where the initiative involves more than one organization, please provide this information for all partners.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply online via given website.

For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/2FflB29

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