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FAQ GrOW – West Africa

Call details
Eligibility and applicant details
Supplementary documents
Technical questions
Call results



1. What do you mean by evaluative research? 

Evaluative research projects should focus on assessing current or past programs related to GrOW West Africa thematic priorities to generate evidence on what works. These projects should partner with policymakers, private sector and/or civil society actors to provide practical guidance on how to improve policies, programs, and interventions that improve labour market outcomes for women through transformative actions.

2. What do you mean by action or implementation research?

Action or implementation research projects work with key policy actors — government, private sector or non-government —to test and/or scale solutions that address one or more of the priority themes of GrOW West Africa. Such projects are designed to provide a continuous feedback loop in program design and/or implementation.

3. What do you mean by addressing structural barriers?

Structural barriers in the context of GrOW West Africa are barriers (such as laws, policies, attitudes and norms) that inhibit women’s opportunities and market access, in turn impacting their ability to reach their full potential.

4. What do you mean by implementation partners?

Implementation partners are organizations that  are already implementing interventions on the ground in the countries of focus. These may be national governments, civil society organizations, private sector organizations, or member-based organizations and workers unions, among others.

5. What should be included in the theory of change and results framework in the proposal?

The proposal’s theory of change (ToC) and results framework should lay out the intentions for the duration of the project, identify the broader or longer-term changes to which the project expects to contribute, and explain how the project’s activities and strategies will achieve or contribute to those changes. This should provide a good illustration of the desired change and why and how it is expected to happen in the context of the project.

Proposals should develop TOCs and a results framework that will be useful for guiding design, coordinating among implementers, tracking progress, learning and adapting, and providing information for reporting and accountability. It is not necessary to use a specific format for your ToC, please use systems and formats that you deem useful.

6. Is GrOW West Africa different from GrOW East Africa? Can I apply for both?

Yes, GrOW West Africa and GrOW East Africa are two separate calls for proposals.

GrOW West Africa is an IDRC group of projects under the Employment and Growth Program that promotes women’s economic empowerment in West Africa.

GrOW East Africa is a partnership with IDRC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that works in five countries in eastern Africa.

Both calls for proposals build on the recently completed first phase of GrOW, a five-year partnership with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development, but the geographic scope and areas of thematic focus are different between the two calls.

Applicants are permitted to participate in GrOW East Africa and GrOW West Africa, however both calls for proposals require that lead institutions are located in one of the call’s countries of focus. It is possible to participate in both calls, but it is not possible to be the lead institution for both.

7. What language can be used for proposals?

Proposals may be submitted in either French or English. All research outputs and deliverables of successful candidates must also be submitted in either French or English. 


8. May funding be used to cover the implementation costs of the interventions being studied?

The call focuses on research, and although it is expected that some expenses associated with implementation (monitoring, training, etc.) may be included, most funds must be focused on research. The call is not intended to implement innovations, it is intended to build research and evidence on these innovations and the conditions for scalability. 

9. Will GrOW West Africa grants support the actual scaling of proven innovations within the selected countries and regions? 

While this is desired, large-scale implementation of these innovations is beyond the available budget. Funds should be used to implement applied research in support of scaling the selected innovations. This could include:

  • Measures to adapt and refine the innovations to the contextual needs of the selected countries;
  • Developing and testing means and models to scale them;
  • Supporting capacity-building of people or groups who will be trying the adapted approaches; and
  • Assessing results.


10. What do you mean by “individual organizations”?   

Individual organizations may be universities, regional and national think tanks, network secretariats and associations, and non-profits. These organizations must be based in one of the countries of focus.

11. Can individual organizations involve additional partners?

Yes. Impactful projects often require multi-stakeholder and multi disciplinary teams. Partnerships between research organizations, policy makers, private sector and civil society are highly recommended.

12. What do you mean by “consortia”?

Consortia refers to a group of organizations that come together to develop the proposal and who will receive direct GrOW West Africa funding to implement a project.

13. What will you be looking for in a lead organization?

  • Ability to manage a large-scale grant from a financial and operational point of view;
  • Presence in the field
  • Thematic experience in the subject of the proposal
  • Ability to bring together multi disciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams
  • Ability to bring together multiple partners and members of a consortia (if that is the case)
  • Ability to participate in knowledge exchange dynamics with the other cohorts of projects approved 
  • Strong policy influence in the country of focus

14. May consortia have additional partners?

Yes, consortia may name additional partners to be involved in the project. It may be necessary to include additional partners, such as workers' associations, a relevant NGO, private sector, different levels of government or people with specific research expertise. Each project should consider stakeholders relevant to the project’s objectives — including stakeholders relevant to knowledge mobilization strategies and policy uptake— and how to best engage them.

15. Are North-South partnerships allowed to apply?

Yes, but the lead institution must be in the South and in one of the countries of focus.

16. May organizations from non-GrOW West Africa focus countries apply for grants and receive funding?   

The lead institution must be located in one of the four countries of focus.

Organizations outside of the four countries of focus can be part of a consortium. However, the lead organization must be in one of the four countries of focus.

17. May an organization be a lead applicant on more than one application? 

Yes, one organization may be a lead applicant on more than one application and/or they may be involved in multiple applications.

Applications will be short-listed and ranked based on quality and merit.

In the final stage of project selection, IDRC will ensure appropriate diversity across countries, themes, applicants, and organizational types across the top-ranked proposals.

18. What is the range of organizations that can be funded through this call?

We expect to receive proposals from a broad range of organizations, including civil society organizations, national or regional think tanks, network secretariats, consulting firms, and universities, as long as they have strong research capacity.


19. Do GrOW West Africa grants fund both qualitative and quantitative research?

Yes, the grants can support both qualitative and quantitative research. However, the grant will not support research of a descriptive nature that is not evaluative or implementation research (see above).

20. Please clarify whether secondary research, for example systematic or literature reviews covering global evidence, would be eligible.

Secondary research or literature reviews are required as part of the proposals. However, grants will not cover purely systematic reviews that are not evaluating existing innovations and solutions or testing solutions with implementing partners.


21. Which ethical guidelines and approval bodies need to be consulted? Are separate ethics reviews required for each country?

Please provide details of the potential ethical issues in your proposed research. It is also important to include the steps that will be taken to ensure the highest ethical standards and the greatest protection of research participants. Please refer to the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans, particularly if you do not have access to standard ethics guidelines in your country or in the countries of your proposed research.

Each country has individual ethical requirements and approval bodies, therefore it is your responsibility to check the requirements in all of the countries where the proposed project will take place.


22. At the time of application, is it necessary to have a memorandum of understanding with the government of the country in which the project will take place? 

No. We understand it might be early to have an official memorandum of understanding before a project begins. However, established relationships with the government and its support of the project would be considered as an asset.

23. What do you mean by work plan? 

The work plan should be a comprehensive timeline of the project that includes proposed dates for key project milestones and deliverables. 


24. What types of expenses are eligible under this call?

Please consult the IDRC funding page for full details.

25. What rates of pay will be employed for the project staff and budgeting purposes? Are there any guidelines?

IDRC funds actual costs, therefore rates of pay for existing staff charged to a project should reflect the actual cost of the resource. There are no pre-set rates for new staff, but IDRC limits staff cost to 25% of the overall budget, therefore rates must reflect this proportion of the budget.

26. Are there any particular requirements on overheads?

Yes. Where and when needed, IDRC will allow indirect costs up to 13% of all recipient-administered costs, including the amount awarded toward the procurement of equipment that will be vested in your institution and excluding the amount of the indirect costs themselves. These costs must be actual costs, and support of these costs is required to satisfy potential audits.

27. Can information and communications technology (ICT) equipment be included in the budget?

Yes, ICT equipment is allowable. All items with a value greater than CA$5,000 must be separately itemized. All equipment purchases above CA$5,000 must be acquired through a competitive and open process governed by your institution’s policies and procedures on procurement.

Please refer to IDRC’s funding page for more information.

28. What currency should the budget be submitted?

The budget needs to be submitted in the working currency of the lead applicant as indicated in the IDRC budget template. However, please note that while the applicant is required to submit the budget in their working currency, they need to convert the total amount requested into Canadian dollars to answer question 1.6 in the online application. 


29. Is it possible to modify the proposal before the closing date of August 31st if it has already been submitted?

Once you click the submit button, you may not modify your proposal. We encourage you to double check your application before submission to ensure that all information is correct.

30. How do you start an online application?

The link here will take you to online application form. Fill out each section, and once you are sure you have uploaded all necessary documents and answered all questions, hit “save and exit”. Once you hit “save and exit” you will not be able to go back and edit your responses.


31. What will communication with applicants look like?

Applicants will be notified of receipt of applications. Only successful applicants will be notified of their candidature after the selection process is complete.

Should you have any questions, please email

32. When will the results of the GrOW West Africa global grant call competition be announced?

The results will be announced in October.