Archive for ‘News & Projects’

To support applicants of the new Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) from the Department for International Development (DFID), the UK Aid Direct team is hosting a webinar.

This will take place on Thursday 20 July 2017 at 10.00 AM GMT and will last approximately 1.5 hours.
During the webinar the UK Aid Direct team will share a presentation on the application process and a question and answer session will then follow.

All interested organisations are welcome to join the webinar but please check if your organisation is eligible (opens in a new window) to apply for the fund.

To register for the webinar please click on this link (opens in a new window).

We may have to schedule another webinar if this proves to be very popular, so we recommend registering as soon as possible.

Guidance documents are also available for the Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) and they are located on the UK Aid Direct website here. These include guidance on eligibility, finances, and project design support, together with further printable guidance on topics including:

  • value for money
  • beneficiary feedback
  • gender
  • definition of marginalised
  • top tips for applicants
  • what having a DFID grant entails
  • reporting on disability

We accept applications at any time for this fund and all applications will be reviewed on a 6-monthly basis.

All applicants which have submitted applications by 30 September 2017 for a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) will be informed of the outcome in December 2017.

International Women’s Day 2017 | #BeBoldForChange


AmplifyChange Opportunity grantee Think Young Women, Gambia - Haddy Jonga

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is to #BeBoldForChange, to call on everyone to help forge a better and more gender-inclusive world.

To celebrate the campaign, AmplifyChange grantees have shown their support by sharing pictures and quotes for the ‘#BeBoldForChange’ photo story.

Pictured here is Haddy Jonga, Programme Officer for Opportunity grantee Think Young Women, The Gambia, with Fatima Gomez, one of 60 mentees under the Girl’s Mentorship Programme.

Haddy describes how she is mentoring young girls to be bold for change:

“By being a sister and helping create a safe space to discuss the challenges they face, especially as teenagers.

I believe they will be the change we seek in this world.”

You can find out how more grantees are being bold for change by visiting

Thank you to all AmplifyChange grantees who contributed photos and quotes.

Pavitra cares for her son who has epilepsy.  She was previously a migrant labourer; a challenging role, especially given her son’s condition.

Pavitra has been given a goat by Carers Worldwide, an organisation funded by UK Aid Direct, that works in Nepal with local partner, LEADS Nepal.

This is Pavitra with her son and goats.

This is Pavitra with her son and goats.


Carers Worldwide provides support to 1500 unpaid family carers of people living with mental health conditions or epilepsy.

Now Pavitra receives a regular income, allowing her to settle in the village with her son, and to start her own livelihood.

Carers’ tremendous commitment and the critical role that they play in the lives of relatives with mental health conditions are largely unrecognised in Nepal.

Unsupported, they can be isolated and are at a high risk of developing anxiety or depression and physical ailments, as a direct consequence of their caring responsibilities. Many carers are unable to continue their previous employment.

Child carers are frequently forced to drop out of school.

Carers and their families typically live in poverty as a result of loss of income and opportunities.

Carers Worldwide project aims to:

  • strengthen medical and counselling facilities for carers
  • promote mutual support groups
  • set up alternative care and respite arrangements
  • provide livelihoods and opportunities to develop marketable skills
  • highlight the needs of carers
  • advocate for changes in policy and practice

Improving the lives and prospects of carers has a positive effect on the lives of the relatives with mental health conditions for whom they care. The carers are able to provide a better quality of care and the overall increase in wellbeing and security of the household has huge knock-on benefits for the health and wellbeing of the relative living with a mental health condition or epilepsy.

By highlighting the existence and needs of carers across the project area with local government authorities and community organisations, over the last two years Carers Worldwide has:

  • integrated 400 carers into support groups
  • trained 200 local community health volunteers and 64 government health workers to provide appropriate health support
  • established regular counselling services in the community
  • trained and supported over 750 carers in skills and helped them to establish new sustainable livelihoods that can work with their caring responsibilities
  • provided 225 child carers with ongoing support from school authorities, enabling them to return to school
  • raised 44% of project households above the poverty line, compared to 3% at the start of the project
  • registered two Carers Associations and one Carers Cooperative to enable carers to advocate for policy change, and to work with local agencies to ensure sustainability of services established by the project.

To find out more about their work, visit


The pilot, ran by World Vision, was designed to look at the effectiveness of beneficiary feedback mechanisms and the value this could add to the project beneficiaries.

The key areas of the pilot focused on:

  • what worked in the design of feedback mechanisms
  • how feedback could improve programmes
  • what process and investment was required from a grant holder perspective

MAMTA – Health Institute for Mother and Child, an organisation working on improving reproductive, maternal and child health services in two districts of Uttar Pradesh, India, was one of the pilot grant holders to share their experiences and findings from the process, in an online discussion with fellow UK Aid Direct grant holders.

MAMTA's feedback box

MAMTA’s feedback box


MAMTA, who were slightly sceptical initially regarding the feedback pilot, outlined the importance of using sensitivity with the beneficiaries around the process.

They also highlighted the need to match the right approach to the right context.

Following the success of the project however, MAMTA has rolled out further beneficiary feedback mechanisms into their other projects.

To conclude, findings from the pilot showed that:

  • consulting with beneficiaries and using the feedback to adapt programmes meant that the programmes were more responsive to beneficiary needs and were therefore more relevant and effective.
  • The process of giving feedback empowered beneficiaries and made them feel valued.
  • Feedback also supported accountability of both programme and government service providers.

The results and findings from the pilot can be found here in more detail.

Cord are a peacebuilding organisation who have been supported by a UK Aid Direct grant to implement a WASH programme in Burundi providing access to clean drinking water, improved sanitation and health over a three year period.

The Burundi project has impacted over 139,000 people. In this case study, Cord reflect upon the significant factors that contributed to the project’s success and focus on the unintended positive outcomes, which we can draw lessons from for future programmes, particularly those which support peacebuilding objectives in the field of poverty reduction.

A ‘do no harm’ analysis at the project design stage helped shape the programme in a more inclusive and participatory way.

Involving communities in working together to identify the most vulnerable people enabled a discussion which was both impartial and objective. When identifying for example, where to place a water point, communities asked:

‘By placing the water point here, how might it divide our community or how might it connect our community?’

‘Who would benefit most and who would benefit least? How can the maximum number of people benefit?’

Through such discussions, communities decided that everyone should have equal access to WASH facilities, which inspired other community members to build latrines by their own means.

This sense of community responsibility also extended to schoolchildren. Beyond the educational aspects of sanitation and hygiene, communities took on the challenge of improving sanitation conditions within their schools, leading to improved social cohesion and increased latrine usage in general.

The project was structured around community level Water Point Committees and local authority engagement, involving both men and women.

Another key success factor in the project was how decisions were structured around engagement between community level Water Point Committees, consisting of both men and women who managed the water points, and local authorities.

This approach mitigated potential for conflict early on so that challenges could be overcome through regular monitoring and dialogue.

Engaging local authorities had a positive impact beyond expectations. By involving them in joint monitoring activities with the communities, agreeing mutually where water points were located, validating the final list of water points together and holding regular joint reflection sessions, it was possible to learn and adjust the project activities.

Women’s self- esteem increased when they were part of the committees and those who were engaged in construction work reported that they felt more valued by their co-workers. In some instances, women subsequently reported a reduction in domestic violence because of their new role contributing to family income.

In addition to increased self–esteem and more peaceful household relations, gender roles were discussed within communities. This led some women to report that their husbands had become more supportive within the domestic sphere by carrying out tasks traditionally perceived as a women’s role, such as fetching water.

Having more accessible water points meant that young girls were able to attend school more regularly, as fetching water was also previously a role prescribed to them.

Future programmes could build more peacebuilding indicators into the project design

The focus of the Burundi project was a WASH intervention, therefore the peacebuilding and ‘do no harm’ aspect was monitored internally and on a more ad-hoc basis. For future programmes Cord recommend that key indicators, such as improving relationships within the home, decreasing gender-based violence and improving women’s self-esteem could be factored into the project design and donor reporting, regardless of the intervention’s primary focus.

Further general reflections conclude that the peacebuilding model and approach enabled the project to be reflected on in a more transformational way. For example, at the heart of the model was the interconnectedness of the ‘relational space for peace’, a method that Cord seek to support and enable in all contexts in which they work.

Many of the unexpected project outcomes related to this aspect of peacebuilding by creating spaces for dialogue using non-violent communication, resolving conflict through local capacities and building trust and respect to engage whole communities in challenging inequality and injustice together, working towards more peaceful and inclusive societies where all people can flourish.

Cord UK Aid Direct WASH intervention Burundi peacebuilding conflict prevention

The information in this article was compiled by Martina Hunt, Cord Learning Manager

Grant holders who are interested in knowledge-sharing and incorporating peacebuilding and conflict prevention efforts into their work are encouraged to contact Martina: