Kathy Wright, SMP’s Member Services Manager, was pleased to attend DFID’s UK Aid Connect information session hosted by Scotland’s International Development Alliance in Glasgow last week.
UK Aid Connect is a new fund which will support consortia to create innovative solutions to complex development challenges that deliver real change to poor people’s lives.
Potential applicants were given an overview of the fund and a chance to ask questions of Mike Battcock from DFID’s Inclusive Societies Department. As this is a new fund it was a great opportunity to learn more about it and to discuss the questions that were raised.
A full description of the fund, its aims and criteria can be found on the UK Aid Connect website. DFID have also published a very useful FAQ document on this website which they will update periodically.
CLICK HERE to read minutes from the meeting on Scotland's International Development Alliance website.
A full Q & A page is also being hosted and updated on the BOND website.
Some useful key points:
- There are eight thematic areas and it is expected that one consortium will be funded per thematic area; however the final decision will be determined by the number and overall merit of the proposals.
- Applications will be awarded and managed by the relevant policy team for each thematic area.
- DFID is aiming to award grants of circa £3 million per year in most thematic areas, with sexual and reproductive health at circa £9 million per year.
- DFID is building in an innovative ‘co-creation’ phase: following the awarding of grants, each policy team will work closely alongside the successful consortia to further develop the programme design during the first six to nine months. This phase is funded.
- The timeframe for projects is up to 4 years, including the co-creation phase.
- Funds will be dispersed as grants, meaning the lead applicant will need to be set up to receive funds in this way, i.e. non-governmental, not-for-profit.
- At present, DFID do not want to express a preference on the geographical reach of the project, i.e. whether it is single or multi-country. However they have indicated that due to the scale of grants being awarded it may well involve work across multiple countries. This is not set-in-stone.
- There is no set minimum or maximum number within a consortium and applicants are encouraged to include a wide variety of organisation types.
- The consortium will be required to publish to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard on all its DFID funding within six months of the start of this Arrangement – applicants can budget for transparency implementation and training.
- BOND and Scotland’s International Development Alliance may be able to offer some level of support on brokering for consortia if requested.
- Once the successful bids are announced it may be possible for additional actors to be brought in during the co-creation phase to strengthen the consortia.
During the meeting, we and others encouraged DFID to take into account this final point and to provide a high level of transparency at the co-creation stage, giving smaller organisations an opportunity to join and strengthen a funded consortium. DFID have taken away these comments to consider.
Whilst we believe these points to be accurate it is critical to check the detailed Information Notes and Terms of Reference on the UK Aid Connect website before submitting an application.
To speak to Kathy about any of the above, get in touch here. >>