Grants Management Unit


OSISA is a grant making and advocacy foundation that is a part of the global
Open Society Foundations Network.

GMU is the custodian of grant making, grants policies and procedures at OSISA. Its work
is underpinned by values and principles of integrity, fairness, and justice.

OSISA grants

Submit your concept note


Take a look at the application guidelines to make the process of applying for funds and technical assistance from OSISA easier. If you work for a civil society organization in Southern Africa, especially if you work for one that is locally constituted, then we are keen to hear from you.


Applying for a Grant


Concept Note draft all done…

Next Step:

The Application Process

Submission Of Applications

Applications should be completed and sent by email to:

To submit your concept/idea for review by our Clusters, please kindly download and fill in our Concept Note form.

What We Do Not Fund:

  1. Research and book publishing projects that are not tied to a broader advocacy strategy
  2. Capital for start-up income generating projects outside of a broader capacity enhancement framework
  3. Individuals’ initiatives and travel for conferences outside of a broader well-articulated strategy
  4. Projects outside of our geographical mandate (OSISA works in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe)
  5. We do not fund political parties or candidates

A Note On Timeframes:

The time required to review a proposal varies according to the complexity of the proposal, the problem being addressed, and the number of proposals being reviewed. Generally, it can take up to four months from the time a proposal is received to the actual award of a grant, although OSISA strives to be as expeditious as possible in its review of inquiries and proposals. Please keep this in mind when planning.


We suggest that you organize the executive summary in the following ways:

  1. Provide a brief problem statement
  2. Briefly describe the solution, including the key activities and who will benefit from the project
  3. Tell us how long the project will be in months or years. (Please note that grants awards are for between one year and three years. Multiyear funding will be contingent upon availability of funding and submission of satisfactory progress reports).
  4. Outline the partners you will work with and identify the person who prepared the proposal so that we have a contact should we have any questions.
  5. Provide an explanation of the amount of money required for the project (in US dollars) and tell us your plans for funding it in the future. Three years is a good benchmark, but you can be looking at a slightly shorter or longer timeframe. It is important to make it clear what percentage of the total contribution to the project you are requesting from OSISA.

Remember that goals are conceptual and abstract, while objectives are more specific and tell us what you hope to achieve in the short to medium term.

This section outlines your objectives. They should be SMART:

Specific - clearly defined. Directly relating to the issue being addressed
Measurable - are outcomes expressed in measurable form?
Attainable - Can be achieved within the set time period
Relevant - Must be relevant and be connected to priorities and activities
Time bound - Set specific time period

You will need to list the key activities that you will undertake to achieve your objectives. We are interested in specifics but please do not list too many activities. The more succinct and clear your activities, and the more closely each activity is to a particular objective, the easier it is for us to understand what you want us to fund. Please state estimated timeline for implementation of your project, including start and end date and completion of major milestones in the project.

For this section you will need to include:

  1. Your legal status
  2. Examples of other work you have done (even if you are new, we want to see what you have done so far)
  3. Collaboration with other groups
  4. Composition of governance structure, including where there are any conflicts of interest with OSISA board or staff members
  5. Your mission and objective as an organization
  6. In a sentence or two, how do you assess the organization’s financial health and integrity? Are there any reasons to be concerned about these? Some causes of concern might be excessive debt or indebtness to officers or board members shown in the notes to financial statements, unusual compensation arrangements, recent allegations of theft or fraud, inability to produce financial statements, or persistent or projected operating deficits.
  7. What, in a sentence or two, is the organization’s reputation for programmatic effectiveness among peers, donors, and experts in the field?
  8. How effective, in a sentence or two, has the organization been in recent years in advancing open society initiatives, such as; building vibrant and tolerant societies, advocating for human rights, addressing inequalities, justice, education, public health, and the independent media.
  9. What, in a sentence or two, is the political context for the grant? Factors to consider might include the political dynamics, legislative or regulatory enactments, and institutional shifts that bear on the risk involved in the proposed grant.
  10. Your constituency or where you gain your organizational credibility
  11. Your primary sources of funding
  12. Briefly state the organization’s ability to manage a project of the proposed scope
  13. Describe the qualifications and the expertise of the individual/s responsible for implementing the project.

In this section please tell us if and how; a) the project seeks to work with women and men either differently or similarly, b) whether your impacts will be gender disaggregated, and c) whether your organization embodies gender equality in its decision-making structures.

Here we want to understand your model for youth participation and youth inclusion in decision-making.

Please tell us if the project is sustainable. If it isn’t, tell us why not and what value there is in still funding it.

We want to know who your implementing and local partners will be. This is especially important for regional organizations or national groups hoping to work in a particular community in which they may not have an established presence.

Please be clear on exactly how much money you require over the entire period, as well as on an annual basis. OSISA requires that all organizations applying for funds submit:

  1. A detailed budget outlining the financial needs of the proposed project
  2. An overall organizational budget for each year
  3. Recent Audit Report if available