Tips for applying to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) offers funds for small-scale, high-impact projects in more than 120 countries eligible for official development assistance (ODA). The annual programming budget of CFLI is $26.8 million, with projects averaging $31,000 each. Through strengthening connections and assisting local initiatives, the CFLI also supports good relations between Canada and recipient nations and their civic communities.

Projects are planned and implemented mainly by local organizations and are selected and approved by the relevant Canadian Embassy or High Commission.

Who can apply for the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives?

The CFLI is open to all local non-governmental, community, and not-for-profit organizations. Other local academic institutions, international non-governmental organizations, and intergovernmental, multilateral, and regional institutions, organizations, and agencies are also eligible to apply for the fund. The CFLI also gives priority to the receiving nation’s municipal, regional, or national government institutions or agencies.

Most of the CFLI funding is received by local civil society organizations. However, other organizations and institutions mentioned above may also apply for funds if they are working with local partners on local projects that meet CFLI objectives.

Keep in mind that the CFLI is always looking to fund innovative projects that support meaningful change in communities abroad.

What is the funding amount?

The CFLI funds $31,000 on average for each project.

What are the priorities of the CFLI fund?

The CFLI is an exceptional fund because the majority of initiatives are developed and carried out by small, regional civil society organizations. These groups are frequently in the best position to address local goals and needs since they are familiar with them. This broadens the scope of projects’ effects and strengthens participation in problems crucial to the prosperity and well-being of nearby communities.

Each year, the CFLI provides funding for about 650 initiatives. This involves a variety of programs, such as training local election monitors, boosting community resilience to climate change, and encouraging women to participate in regional peace negotiations.

The CFLI assists local civil-society organizations in thriving and succeeding by funding local organizations that might not otherwise be eligible for funding from larger donors.

What are the projects that CFLI focuses on?

The projects that CFLI focuses on are:

  • Inclusive governance, including diversity, democracy, human rights, 2SLGBTQI+ rights, and the rule of law.
  • Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
  • Peace & security, with a focus on conflict prevention and building peace.
  • The growth that works for everyone, including women’s economic rights, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship, investing in the poorest and most vulnerable, and safeguarding economic gains.
  • Environment & climate action, focusing on adaptation and mitigation, as well as on water management.
  • Human dignity, covering health, education, and nutrition.

For programs in reaction to natural disasters, and humanitarian emergencies, the CFLI also offers limited funding.

What is the procedure for applying for the CFLI fund?

To apply for the CFLI fund, visit the call for proposals section, where there are lists of funding opportunities. By selecting the filter choices for the country, organizations, and status, you can locate the calls for proposals that are relevant to your organization.

Note: Different calls have their own application deadlines and processes. Check the “How to Apply” section on each call for proposals and apply for the fund accordingly. 

For more information on the open calls for proposals visit: The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives


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Good luck! 

About the author

Amrita Tamang

Amrita is a graduate student in International Relations and Diplomacy with a keen interest to work in the field of the humanitarian and development sectors. She has years of experience and knowledge in proposal writing, report writing, and data analysis. She now uses her acquired skills to contribute to research in the development sector.

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