Civil Society Project Funding

Irish Aid provides project funding, known as the Civil Society Fund (CSF), through an annual competitive grant round for NGOs engaged in development work in particular priority areas.  In 2012, 17 NGOs were approved for project funding. Total allocations in 2012 amounted to €2.1 million.


What is project funding?

Irish Aid’s project funding, known as the Civil Society Fund (CSF), provides annual and multi-annual grants to NGOs for small to medium-sized projects in some of the world’s poorest regions. 

This grant enables NGOs to undertake innovative development projects in a range of areas including human rights, health, education, gender, water and sanitation, and food security.

Why we provide project funding?

The CSF supports the implementation of Irish Aid’s Civil Society Policy 2008 (PDF, 428kb) and all interventions funded have a strong focus on achieving results for communities in the poorest parts of the world.

The CSF also ensures that Ireland’s overseas development funding contributes to the Government’s stated development policy priorities outlined in the White Paper on Irish Aid. The White Paper on Irish Aid is currently under review and the main priorities for the Civil Society Fund in 2013 will reflect the outcome of the review process.

How we realise policy objectives through the project grant

Each year, a competitive funding call is held for the Civil Society Fund. A number of main policy priorities are identified and a call for proposals to contribute to these priorities is then made. The main priorities for the 2012 funding round as outlined in the Civil Society Policy (PDF, 467kb) were:

Human rights: focusing on the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs) and interventions that strengthen the participation and representation of poor and marginalised people in the international human rights system

Gender equality: responses to, and prevention of gender-based violence and rural women’s economic empowerment

Climate change adaptation and mitigation: practical steps to assist poor and vulnerable communities to adapt to and reduce the harmful effects of climate change including measures to improve food security

Project partners

Who are our project partners?

Irish Aid currently has 46 partners in receipt of a project grant.

In 2012, over €2.1 million in funding was approved for 17 partners. Successful applicants were those who responded to Irish Aid’s priority areas, which include human rights, gender equality and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The successful NGOs and the grant amounts approved in 2012 are as follows:


Funding allocation

Anti-Slavery International


Carter Center


CBM Ireland


ENT Zambia


Foundation Nepal


Friends in Ireland


Habitat for Humanity


Health Poverty Action


Irish Congress of Trade Unions


Irish Rule of Law International


Minority Rights Group International


Operation Smile Ireland


Power 4 Good


UPR Info


Value Added in Africa




VIVA Ireland


Applying for funding

How to apply for project funding?

Irish Aid issues an annual call for project grant proposals. The next call for proposals will be published on this website in due course.

Grants are allocated for projects and, as a general rule, the grant ceiling is €200,000 per year for up to three years. All proposals need to have a strong focus on results for individuals and communities in the poorest parts of the world.


NGOs that meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for funding under the Civil Society Fund (CSF) grant:

  • Non-governmental, non-profit, civil society organisations with legal status
  • Based in Ireland or invited international organisations
  • Not currently in receipt of a Civil Society Fund grant
  • Have an Irish charity number for at least two years prior to date of application
  • Formal decision-making structure (eg board of trustees) established
  • Annual audited accounts for the last two financial years available
  • Income from Irish Aid (directly or indirectly) does not exceed more than 65% of total organisational income
  • Areas of intervention must meet OECD DAC definition of overseas development aid
  • Must have a record of compliance with previous Irish Aid funding contract


Applications for project grants will not be accepted until a new call for proposals is advertised. 

When the call for proposals is issued, organisations intending to submit a project funding proposal will be asked to submit:

  • an expression of interest
  • a completed eligibility criteria checklist form
  • audited accounts for the previous two years, with their most recent management letter from their auditor

Applications from organisations who do not meet all of the eligibility criteria outlined above are not considered. 

Applicants who are deemed eligible to apply for a CSF grant must then submit the Civil Society Fund application form. The application form will be provided on this website when the next call for proposals is issued.

Focus on results

Organisations who receive CSF grants are responsible for effective and ongoing monitoring throughout the course of the funding period. 

Each project grant is based on a contract and an agreed set of results. The organisations must report on the progress towards the expected results annually to Irish Aid through the annual reporting process.

Reporting requirements

Irish Aid monitoring of CSF grants includes:

  • Annual report on results and expenditure
  • Audited accounts to be submitted annually

Read more about Civil Society funding

See Annex 18 of the Irish Aid Annual Report for a list of organisations that received funding through the main civil society funding schemes administered by Irish Aid HQ. 

Annex 18a - AR2011Annex 18b - AR2011Annex 18c - AR2011Annex 18d - AR2011