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F.A.Q.

This Frequently Asked Questions page shows all questions Voice has received since the launch on the 1st of September 2016 regarding the global and national Calls for Proposals.  Questions are sorted per subject. This page is updated on a regular basis.

Latest update: 11 February 2018

If you have additional questions that are not responded to below please send them to question@voice.global  or the national Email addresses available on the country pages. The Emails will be responded to on a regular basis and, when relevant, uploaded to this page.

VOICE GENERAL

Voice offers various types of grants. How can we apply for any of these grants?

Grant applications are ONLY accepted in response to a Call for Proposals.  Each Call for Proposals asks for applications for one of the various grant types Voice offers.  Voice has announced two global Calls for Proposals in addition to over fifty national Calls. For a complete overview of all Calls for Proposals please check https://voice.global/calls-for-proposals-overview/

What is a Call for Proposals and how does this relate to the grants within Voice?

A Call for Proposals is an open invitation to apply for a grant from Voice. Grant applications cannot be accepted unless it is in response to a Call for Proposals. Calls for Proposals can be made on global multi-country level or on country level and are always for one of the four grant types. Calls for Proposals are always within the limits (duration and amount) of the grant type, but do not always have to cover the full possibilities of that grant type, meaning that exceptions can be made dependent on the needs of the programme, country or target group. Calls for Proposals can have a specific deadline or can be rolling, which means organisations can apply any time. Decisions on applications are made in accordance to the timeline outlined in the Call for Proposals. Within all calls for proposals eligibility criteria apply for which an eligibility test is available. Eligibility criteria can differ per Call for Proposals depending on country or context analyses.

Can Voice support proposals in other countries than the Voice focus countries?

Yes, but only for a grant awarded under a global multi-country Call for Proposals and only when the proposal substantially benefits one or more target groups in the thematic areas in one or more of the Voice focus countries. Voice cannot approve any applications for projects in a single country other than Voice focus countries.

Could you explain what you mean with a consortium?

When applying for a grant from Voice, organisations can partner with other organisations. If that happens we speak of a consortium. One of the consortium members will have to take the lead in the application and will therefore be referred to as the lead applicant or lead party. We can imagine that organisations use the word consortium in their own field of work. It should be noted that the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation “Dialogue and Dissent” Strategic Partnership are also called “consortium partners” and are ineligible for funding from Voice. This must both be seen separated from the meaning of a consortium for the application for a grant within Voice.

We are an organisation specialised in one of the areas that Voice works on. Can we assist in the context analysis?

The context analysis has been completed and has been summarised on the country pages. A global context analysis is available in publications. Overall we are very happy to see many organisations taking part in the Community of Stakeholders that has worked together with the Voice country teams on the context analysis, In 2018 Voice will be updating the context analysis by organising a Community of Stakeholders at country level. Please contact us via hello@voice.global or via the country Email addresses for any questions relating to the context analysis.

Can Voice grantees sub-grant and sub-contract?

As we encourage applications from consortia and networks, obviously Voice allows onward or sub-granting and sub-contracting provided that the partners are known and included in the proposal and budget. However we do NOT allow a Voice grantee issuing a Call for Proposals to identify a partner(s) once a grant has been awarded.  To sub-contract and sub-grant, budgeted costs can be shared among coalition members as long as they are clearly detailed in the project proposal and  budget. In the case of consortia, the lead applicant, the ‘Grantee’, is solely accountable for the use of grant funds and must be able to report on the entire funding amount spent within the consortium. The funds allocated to consortium members must be detailed by line item in the project budget, and reported on by the ‘Grantee’ in financial and narrative reports. Grantees should outline how they intend to manage funding allocations during the contract negotiation phase, this may involve contracting consortium members or establishing memoranda of understanding with consortia who receive funding. We do not have a limit on the number of partner organisations a Voice grantee can sub-contract  or sub-grant to as long as it is reasonable and well-justified in the proposal and budget.

Can Voice ever deviate from applying its eligibility criteria?

While assessing eligibility is a very useful guide for Voice’s grant applications, of equal importance is the quality and innovativeness of the project proposal. If the quality of the proposal is exceptional in meeting the overall objectives and goal of Voice, the Voice Coordination and Country Teams may decide to deviate from applying (certain) elements of the eligibility criteria. If the proposal merits applying the above exemption it needs to be clearly justified in the proposal assessment.

We are an international NGO working in one of the Voice focus countries. Are we eligible?

There is no easy answer to this question and it depends on the specific Call for Proposals, your type of registration and your governance structure. In principle Voice has been designed to fund smaller local organisations based in the global south, the "unusual suspects" which work closely with the Voice target groups and can genuiinely and legitimately represent the groups they support. This means we have strong eligibility criteria which need to be read carefully in order to make a sound judgement before deciding to apply. For global multi-country Calls, one of the eligibility criteria for the lead applicant is a maximum turnover of Euro 2 million a year. This applies to the whole of the organisation (in case of an international NGO) and not just the country operations

For most national Calls for Proposals, unless indicated otherwise, we only consider applications from local organisations which are registered locally and have the ability to define strategy, setting performance targets and other objectives, define a brand identity and governance fully independently of a Global North-based headquarters or support office.  This doesn't mean there is no role for international organisations within Voice, on the contrary, we recognise the interconnectedness of civil society across the world and encourage international organisations to seek collaborations with local organisations to provide technical assistance where needed. Therefore, international organisations can apply as a co-applicant with national organisations as lead applicant. Voice is focused on providing opportunities for local organisations to strengthen their capacities and build up their track record that way. Thus far these groups have had limited opportunities for funding in the global development financing architecture.

GLOBAL and NATIONAL CALL FOR PROPOSALS

ELIGIBILITY FINANCE

The eligibility criteria say that “This Call for Proposals is only open to organisations with a maximum annual turnover of €2 million or in national Calls €500,000”. Does it refer only to the applicant or lead partner or also to the other consortium members?

This eligibility criteria only applies to the lead applicant. For the global Call for Proposals, the lead organisation must have an annual turnover of less than €2 million. For national calls for proposals this limit is different and always stated in the eligibility tests which are a requirement to take.

Is the maximum turnover of €2 million for the organisation as whole or can it be related to the country programme only?

The lead applicant must not have an annual turnover exceeding €2 million for global Calls for Proposals or €500,000 for most national Calls for Proposals. This maximum is measured as a total for the organisation not per country programme or budget. This criterion does not apply to the co-applicants.

We feel that Voice is limiting local and small NGO’s since the project budget can only be 40 or 50 percent of the total income of the organisation. However, these NGO’s don’t have a lot of money, so 50 percent will be very little.

Voice has been designed to fund smaller organisations and therefore we have introduced a maximum turnover eligibility criteria restricting applications for organisations with a turnover over Euro 2 million. The income rule is to prevent dependence on Voice as well as give an indication of the financial absorption capacity.  One solution to allow for a bigger requested budget is to partner up with another organisation as you can join the budgets. Please note that the income restriction only applies to Influencing and Sudden Opportunity grants. For Innovate and Learn and Empowerment grants there is no income restriction.

Could you explain the 40% or 50% income rule?

The way to calculate the income rule is to divide the requested amount by the annual income in your application. If the result of this calculation is over 50% (or 40% at multi-country level) you can either reduce the requested amount or team up as part of a consortium where you can add up the income of the consortium partners. Keep in mind that the maximum income restriction only applies to the lead applicant and NOT co-applicants.

ELIGIBILITY COUNTRIES/RESIDENCE ORGANISATIONS

Are NGOs based/registered outside of Africa or Asia eligible to apply to your call (as long as of course our work is implemented in the target countries)?

This depends on the type of Call for Proposals. For multi-country calls an organisation based outside of Africa or Asia, may apply  but only as a co-applicant in a consortium with the lead organisation based in Africa and/or Asia that operates in one or more of the Voice focus countries. For national Calls for Proposals the organisation must be based in the country where the Call stems from.

The lead applicant must be based in Africa or Asia. Does ‘Based’ means ‘have an office’ in?

For national Calls for Proposals, the lead applicant must be founded and registered in the country where the Call stems from. For multi-country Calls for Proposals the lead organisation must be founded and registered in a country in Africa and/or Asia as an independent not-for-profit civil society with an operational bank account in the applicant’s name.

We are an organisation based in the UK. If we partner with an organisation based in one of the Voice target countries, can we apply for your Calls for Proposals. Would we be eligible to apply as a consortium with UK-based organisation acting as the lead, or does it need to be listed as a co-applicant or vice-versa?

Consortium applications are eligible as long as the lead applicant is  based in Africa and/or Asia. The co-applicants may be based outside Africa and/or Asia.

Can an application propose activities in countries that are not Voice focus countries?

Only for the global multi-country Calls for Proposals this is allowed. And only to foster cross-country learning, some activities can be proposed for implementation in countries that are not Voice focus countries.  It should be noted that a successful application will substantially benefit one or more target groups in the thematic areas in one or more of the Voice focus countries. For national Calls for Proposals, proposals need to work at national level only!

ELIGIBILITY CONSORTIUM

Consortium partners of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation “Dialogue and Dissent” Strategic Partnership are ineligible for funding from Voice. Does this also include local/overseas programme partners, or the consortium partners based in the Netherlands only?

Consortium Partners of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation “Dialogue and Dissent” Strategic Partnership are ineligible for funding from Voice whether as a lead applicant or a co-applicant. Overseas or local programme sub-partners or sub-grantee can apply, but only for projects that are not funded by the Strategic Partnership.

Would it be possible for a government agency to apply, even in a consortium?

A government agency is not eligible to receive funds from Voice. The applicant (and all consortium members) must by non-governmental organisations, although we recognise that (local) governments can be an ally for positive change.

Can the consortium include a private sector actor such as a research or communications firm?

Consortium Members may be a private sector actor, however profits cannot be derived from Voice grants nor can the proposed grant fund commercial services, investments or other commercial activities.

Can we create partnership or consortium with Oxfam (Novib) or Hivos to apply for a grant?

No, this is not possible. Oxfam (Novib) and Hivos are contracted to manage Voice and can never be a consortium member in an application for a grant within Voice.

What if the consortium is a group of new actors? Will they be disqualified based on experience even when as individuals they have been working on the issues informally?

The lead applicant of a consortium must be a legally registered not-for-profit civil society or community-based organisation with an operational bank account in the applicant’s name.  Other consortium members may be informal groups, movements or unregistered organisations.

On being target group-led: does the Nothing About Us Without Us principle apply to all organisations or just the lead? I.e. do all organisations in a consortium need to prove that they are target-led?

It primarily refers to the lead applicant although it is a bonus if even co-applicants are target group-led.

Voice has encouraged consortia to apply, however the budget template is set up so that it focuses mainly on the lead applicant and not the full consortium. As per the requirements, the lead partner will have to be one of the national organisations, but that information will not reflect the full scope of experience and resources the full consortium brings. How do you prefer us to proceed?

It is important to note that the budget clearly states that this is a sample budget which needs to be adapted to the project and organisations applying in the case of consortium. So please go ahead and change as you see fit as long as it is clear and logic from the budget and narrative what the project is and who does what. Obviously the experiences and full scope of the consortium can also be included in the narrative itself.

FINANCES and BUDGET

The Voice budget template is not fit for the purposes of our project. Can we change it?

Yes, the instructions at the bottom of the budget template clearly indicate that the template can/should be adjusted and revised to suit the needs of your project and consortium. So please do so. The justifications are however still critical to allow us to do budget assessments.

We are a local branch of an international NGO and are interested in applying for a national Call for Proposals and we believe we are eligible. Can we fund costs for our HQ based in the US or EU? 

Please check the eligibility criteria carefully and do the eligibility test to assess your eligibility. In case of doubt do contact us as in the majority of cases INGOs can only apply as co-applicant and not lead.  Overall the principle of Voice is that the overwhelming majority of funding needs to be spent in the country where the project takes place. This will help us to maximise our limited resources. While reasonable (travel) costs are allowed for technical assistance (preferably from the region), Voice doesn't allow an allocation of salaries at HQ and/or regional hubs.

You only provide a very small budget line for overhead costs (7%) and for a consortium of 4 organisations this is impossible to manage. Do you have any recommendations on how to address this? 

We acknowledge that the 7% is a modest overhead allocation, although in line with the policy of most (bilateral) like-minded donors. We encourage all grantees to budget as many direct costs as possible separately so that the overhead is really reserved for the functioning of the office.  The same applies to any  consortium members.  If you truly believe you cannot manage with the 7% overhead allocation Voice encourages you to present the budget and strong justification, and Voice will review and assess its fairness. Please keep in mind that it has to be reasonable and justified.

Does Voice allow for the purchase of equipment?

Yes, Voice does allow for the purchase of equipment, as long as it is reasonable and essential for the implementation of the project. We will check your procurement policies which any auditor will also strictly check to ensure compliance. In case of non-compliance Voice reserves the right to request a return of the goods.

Does Voice allow for international travel for national single-country projects?

In principle not, unless it makes absolute sense for the success of the project. This is particularly true for Influencing projects when there is a unique opportunity. If you do, Voice strongly recommends that representatives from the target group are involved and even take the lead,  based on the principle Nothing About Us Without Us. And do keep Voice up to date on this so we can help you amplify your voices at strategic moments.

What is a reasonable division between staff and activity costs?

This is difficult to answer and entirely depends on the type of grant and project.  For certain empowerment grants the staffing costs may be very high due to intensive coaching and human resources required. While for an influencing project via social media only limited staff will be involved and hence more room for activity costs. So Voice would not like to be too prescriptive or restrictive in this as long as it makes sense for the project and is reasonable and fair.  For more complex projects (especially with consortia) Voice recommends having a project coordinator fully dedicated to the project to enhance overall accountability and monitoring. We always like to see strong engagement from the finance staff.

Does Voice allow for capacity building activities?

Yes we do allow for capacity building activities provided they are related to the project and are instrumental in making the project a success. We also identify capacity gaps during the organisational assessment phase of the selection process and if the project is approved discuss with the applicant to incorporate certain capacity building activities. This could range from governance, strategy and/or finance so beyond the direct project activities. 

ASSESSMENT OF PROPOSALS

For multi-country Calls for Proposals, will Voice seek to approve projects in different geographical areas, and covering all target groups? Or doesn't that play any role in the selection process and will the highest scoring proposals be approved regardless of their region/country/target group.

In principle the best applications are funded by Voice. However we always seek a balanced distribution between regions and/or target groups. This will be depending on the specific goal of the Call for proposals and the applications made within that call.

How competitive are your Calls? Could you give more information on what is the funding ceiling is for the call for proposals or how many projects you expect to be approved? And what is the range of expected project budgets?

All Calls for Proposals for Voice are competitive although it somewhat depends on the country and context.  The overall budget for the grant fund is Euro 35 million over five years and ten countries. So per country the budget for 2017-2021 is approximately Euro 3 million.

Could you outline the assessment process?

This depends on the type of Call for Proposals and grant. For country level Calls the assessments are always done at country level while for multi-country Calls the Coordination Team does the assessments. In both cases Voice uses a three-step approach of eligibility, project check and organisational assessment. For both country and multi-country level a selection panel made up of senior management at country and/or multi-country level will take the ultimate decision.  The detailed process is fully described in the Grant Manual available for each Call for Proposals.

What can be a proposed start date for the projects?

With each Call for Proposals we aim to respond to the applicants six weeks after the closing date.  We expect most proposals suggest to implement their projects within 4 months after the closing date of the Call.

When are results of the applications announced?

All applicants will receive the results of their application within 6 weeks after the closing date of any Call for Proposals although it does depend on the number of proposals received in which case we will contact the candidates. We do strive to give individual feedback for short-listed proposals so that for next round you are able to incorporate the learning and submit a new proposal.

Are the awarded grants published?

Yes, a list of the grants that are accepted will be published via https://voice.global/grantees-overview/. An exception will be made for grants that have requested and received confidential treatment, because of safety issues for their staff and target group.

OTHER

Is there an obligatory % of budget that should be allocated to monitoring and evaluation activities?

No, there is no required budget percentage that grantees should allocate to monitoring and evaluation activities. Different projects have different resource needs it terms of data collection/ analysis / dissemination, so we encourage applicants to plan and resource activities that make sense and tie well with their overall project logic and objectives.  Based on experience within Oxfam and Hivos we encourage applicants to consider a minimum of 5% budget allocation to M & E.

Do we always need to include an (external) evaluation in our application?

Evaluations -whether related to process, impact or outcomes- are a useful tool for learning provided they are done correctly. They are also helpful for your track record, reputation and learning as an organisation so we strongly encourage you to consider an evaluation particularly if there are interesting innovations you are implementing. For multi-country Influencing grants over Euro 200,000 with a minimum duration of 24 months we require an evaluation, for the national level Influencing and Innovate and Learn grants close to Euro 200,000 we encourage you to include one. Voice may also request you to take part in national and/or global evaluation exercises such as outcome harvesting and/or stories of change. As part of Voice's own evaluation system we will have a mid-term review in 2019 and a final impact evaluation in 2021.  For more information please get in touch with the Voice Country Team and/or Coordination Team.

We want to work with a target group of young children and therefore there are ethics to consider with meeting the target-led criterion. How do you recommend dealing with this?

The principle of Nothing About Us Without Us is a strong one within Voice. Even for the above target group there are ways to make sure they are involved in the project design and implementation that take into account the ethical side. This doesn't necessarily have to be as part of the governance or staffing structure and you simply explain in your application how the target group has been and will be involved in your proposal. If possible could they be part of the governance and/or staffing structure as a result of the multi-year project?

Is it possible for an organisation to be part of 2 applications. For example in one application as the lead applicant and in the other application (for another region) as implementing partner?

Organisations can apply for multiple grants, whether this is in a consortium or not. This can be within the same grant type and even within the same call for proposal, but also within all future calls for proposals. However Voice can only contract an organisation as a lead applicant for one grant at a time. This does not apply to co-applicants although we strive for a fair and equitable distribution between organisations.

Can we submit a project that will be co-financed by another donor? Could Voice award a cover of for example 50% of the entire project?

Voice can provide a grant to co-fund a project that meets the other requirements of the call for proposals.

Can the application only be submitted in English?

For the global calls, the application can only be submitted in English. For national calls for proposals we accept English or French and for smaller empowerment grants even local languages and in the form of audio or video. For more information please see https://voice.global/calls-for-proposals-overview/ We also allow reporting in alternative formats such as audio or video. Check for example Pamflet's report in the form of a vlog.

Does Voice have a word- or page limit for its proposals?

No, there is no word limit but in general the more succinct the better.

What is the policy of Voice regarding Intellectual Property (IP) of documents and videos?

Voice promotes the widest dissemination possible to allow you and us to link and learn. Therefore we have adopted the Creative Commons licence as part of the Voice grant  agreement. We would like to see Voice recognised in any documentation (and have developed a short logo policy) but wouldn't want to see any IP restrictions on its use and dissemination.

INNOVATION and LEARNING

This question is about ‘importing’ innovative methods to test. For instance in one area an organisation has used innovative methods. A CSO in another area knows about this and wants to test and try these themselves. The outcomes will be interesting for the organisations in both areas, and one learning organisation makes use of the innovative approach of another. We ask because the proposal format seems to ask only about one organisation, its learning capacity and the dissemination of what has been learnt within the same organisation.

An application can learn from innovation from within one organisation or between organisations. For consortium applications, we ask that each consortium member provides an “organisational background” using the template found within the application format.

What is the scale of dissemination required? Is it only for the organisation itself and the ‘surrounding’ target group, or can it also be: making it known to the world, or spreading it over the 10 Voice countries, or spreading it within networks of target groups, or....

The scope of the dissemination of the findings is dependent upon the objectives of the project and the needs of the target audience.

Would you kindly clarify, what exactly is meant by "programming"? Is this only IT and other technology-related programming, or could it be policy-related programming too, which, e.g. informs advocacy activities of civil society?

Programming refers to all type of programming, the designing and planning of a project or programme. "Implementing innovative programming" therefore refers to strategies, approaches, methodologies, and tools that are innovative. Technology can be part of that but not necessarily. Innovative means not necessarily new but in a different, creative or new way addressing issues.

Speaking about the learning aspect of a grant. To what extent should this be research based?

First of all this depends on how you would identify research. Research for Voice, but also learning could be many things. It is important that an applicant can describe how they see learning and research. It may be including a university as a project partner, but it could also be an assessment of why a certain approach of project was a success or failure.

FUTURE CALLS FOR PROPOSAL

Is there an application format for organisations seeking grants? 

Each call for proposals has its own application form which forms part of the application process. For a full overview of the Calls for Proposals please see https://voice.global/calls-for-proposals-overview/

INFORMATION and CONTACT

Please inform me of the dates and venues for learning sessions about Voice activities and programmes. I was not able to find that on your web site.

Voice has published a calendar for all Calls for Proposals via Calls for Proposals Overview and will soon add dates for 2018 Calls for Proposals as well.  In each Call for Proposal there is an overview of outreach activities where appropriate and you can also follow us on our Facebook page plus sign up to our bimonthly Newsletter VoiceMail via our homepage.

Could you provide us please with the addresses of the country offices of HIVOS/ OXFAM? We would like to inform our partner organisations in the ten Voice countries to introduce or present themselves. Is it also possible to provide a contact person or an e-mail?

For a full overview of the team please see https://voice.global/who-we-are/ and click on Country Teams.  There are Email addresses and contact details. In addition each country has an email address constituted by the name of the country@voice.global, for example cambodia@voice.global.

Does Voice have a newsletter or notification system for new calls for proposals?

Yes, we have a bimonthly Newsletter called VoiceMail where we announce all Calls for Proposals. You can sign up via our homepage. If you haven't received it please check your SPAM folder and/or contact hello@voice.global.

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