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How an initiative comes about

Initiative is the term used by Sida for projects and programmes. In this text we describe the overall process of applying for support for an initiative, from concept note to agreement on contribution. The process for applying for support may vary slightly depending on type of support.

Illustration of How an initiative comes about

Applying for support

Sida's process for applying for support, from concept note to agreement on contribution.

1. Concept note or initial application

Following an initial dialogue between Sida and an intended partner the partner might be asked to provide a concept note. It should outline what the initiative intends to achieve and the vision for how this change will be made (i.e., objectives and theory of change or initiative logic), as well as a draft budget.

The concept note helps Sida determine the proposal’s relevance in relation to a Strategy and clarify the added value of the initiative.

2. Sida reviews basic requirements (Appraisal Plan)

All initiatives have to meet the following basic requirements before Sida initiates the process of appraising a full proposal:

  • The initiative must be relevant in relation to a humanitarian/development Strategy issued by the Swedish Government. Another precondition is that there is room in the Strategy, both strategically (contributing to the Strategy objective and in comparison with other Sida financed initiatives within the same Strategy) and in terms of available means.
  • All organisations seeking Sida financial support must be aligned with Principal values for Sida and cooperation partners.
  • The organisation must be a legal entity that is entitled to hold rights and obligations towards Sida, and the partner(s) may not be listed in the EU Consolidated List of Sanctions.
  • If a proposed initiative includes parties that operate on the European Single Market, EU State Aid Rules must be applied to ensure the prevention of unfair competition between economic actors in Member States.
  • Sida has grounds to exclude financing for certain activities. Sida does not finance activities which include: the production of weapons, illegal drugs, tobacco, extensive alcoholic beverages, commercial gambling, destruction of areas with high conservation or environmental value, the promotion of pornography, the promotion of racism or the promotion or production of antidemocratic media.
  • Sida only funds initiatives considered to be aid according to the OECD/DAC definition of aid.
  • Please note that even if these preconditions are met, Sida cannot always initiate new partnerships or appraise proposals.

3. Submission of a full application

To perform a comprehensive appraisal Sida needs a full proposal. It could be a programme document, a strategy or similar documents. Sida does not provide any templates but expects partners to use their own format, tools and methods.

4. Sida makes an in-depth review of the proposal (Appraisal of Initiative)

If Sida has determined that a proposed initiative meets the basic requirements, we will perform a comprehensive appraisal of the initiative following an established process.

The appraisal phase provides Sida with an opportunity to learn more about the potential partner, and the partner receives clarification regarding Sida’s requirements and expectations.

The appraisal concentrates on five assessment areas:

  • Perspectives and development effectiveness
  • Objectives and theory of change, including ownership and sustainability
  • Budget
  • Partner Capacity
  • Anti-corruption

Sida performs a risk assessment, and proposes a follow-up plan. During this phase, a draft Agreement is also prepared, and discussed with the partner.

5. Decision on Contribution

The comprehensive appraisal forms the basis for the decision on whether to support the initiative.

The decision is a formal document through which Sida decides to support the initiative with a financial contribution. The Decision includes a brief clarification explaining why Sida decided to support the initiative.

6. Agreement on Contribution

Once a Decision on Contribution has been made, the partner and Sida sign the Agreement. The Agreement on Contribution is the document that formally sets out the requirements and commitments placed on Sida and the cooperation partner.

Updated: 15 December 2020