Eligibility for a Jo Cox Memorial Strengthening grant


Strengthening grants are for small organisations, registered as a not-for-profit in the UK, in one of the lowest 50 countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) or in one of the countries that DFID considers to be of high or moderate fragility.

Country level offices of international NGO’s will not be eligible, unless they have a clear independent board structure and are registered in an eligible country.

The organisation must have an average income of less than £500,000 per annum for the past 3 years, as shown in approved organisational accounts.

You may be asked to provide relevant documentation as evidence.

New organisations with fewer than 3 years of accounts may also apply and in such cases, average annual income will be calculated based on the organisation’s length of operation.

Grant size

Grants for between £50,000 and £100,000 will be considered by an independent review panel.


Alongside other factors, DFID will consider:

  • the financial capacity of an organisation to manage the size of grant applied for
  • the dependency that the applicant organisation has or will have on DFID funding
  • the diversity of organisations able to access DFID funding and market share

Project countries

Projects can be set up in one or more of these project countries, made up of the lowest 50 countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) and countries DFID considers to be of high or moderate fragility.

UK Aid Direct funds cannot be used for poverty alleviation work or awareness raising activities in the UK.

Additionally, they cannot be used to meet the costs of lobbying the UK government; that is, activities which aim to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, UK government, political activity, or UK legislative or regulatory action.


Strengthening grant projects should run for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 3 years, in one of DFID’s eligible countries.


Limit of concurrent grants

Organisations cannot hold more than 2 concurrent, live UK Aid Direct grants of one grant type (e.g. 2 Strengthening grants). However, there is no limit to the number of applications that can be made.

A live grant is a project with more than 9 months left to run from the start date of the UK Aid Direct call for proposals.

The maximum combined grant model allowance is 5 live UK Aid Direct grants of different types.

Matched funding

No match-funding is required for Strengthening grants.

Extending existing projects

Additional components of on-going programmes must be clearly identifiable as separate projects, with a well-defined project outcome, a clear, time-limited schedule for delivery, and a distinct budget.

Consortium applications

For the purpose of the UK Aid Direct programme, DFID defines consortium applications as those submitted by formal consortia only, i.e. where 2 or more organisations come together to create a new, formally constituted organisation, with its own organisational accounts.

Informal consortia, i.e. where 2 or more organisations work together on a specific project or initiative only, will be considered as partnerships, as defined in the Partnerships and Consortiums page.

All formal consortium members must meet the UK Aid Direct Strengthening applicant organisation eligibility criteria.

To be eligible:

  • the average annual income of each consortium member organisation must be less than £500,000
  • the total combined income of consortium members may exceed £500,000
  • if registered as a separate legal entity, the average annual income of the consortium must be less than £500,000

If the formal consortium does not have its own management structure, one member of the consortium will need to be elected as the ‘lead’ organisation, i.e. the organisation through which all funding would be channelled and who would operate as the main point of contact with DFID for the duration of the project.

Organisations may apply both as an individual organisation and as a member of a consortium at the same time. If successful, the consortium grant would be counted as a grant held by each of the consortium members and would count towards the maximum combined grant model allowance of 5 live UK Aid Direct grants of different grant types.

Due diligence

For those working to establish a network or collaboration with other organisations, the lead organisation will need to be able to demonstrate how they will ensure due diligence on the full network of partners as part of the proposal.

For applicants of theme 1 only:

An organisation must also demonstrate one or all of the following:

  • it is led by women
  • it works from a women’s rights perspective
  • it is centrally focused on women’s rights

Greater consideration will be given to organisations who are able to demonstrate all 3 areas.