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Frequently asked questions: KIX regional call on early learning

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Please refer to the Detailed Call Document for comprehensive information about the call and its requirements. 

For more answers to questions relating to the call, refer to the recording of the FAQ webinar that took place on June 28. 

1. What is this call for proposals about? 

This call intends to identify projects that will generate and mobilize evidence on how to adapt and scale approaches that strengthen quality early learning for all children, based on how they learn best, and support smooth transitions between pre-primary and the early grades of primary education. 

It is a second of two regional calls targeting the shared policy challenges of the KIX Africa 19 regional hub. 

2. Which countries are the focus of this call?   

Projects funded through this call must focus on and take place in Global Partnership for Education (GPE) member countries of the Africa 19 regional hub. They should engage with education system stakeholders in at least 2 of these countries.  

The countries are: Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  
3. Who is eligible to submit an application as an individual organization or to lead a consortium?  

African organizations (organizations with independent legal registration in an African country) may submit proposals as an individual organization or as the lead organization in a consortium.   

4. Is priority given to applications from organizations in GPE member countries (compared to other African countries)?  

There is no preference and both will be evaluated equally.  

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

Individual organizations may be NGOs, civil society organizations, universities, academic institutions, research institutions, think tanks, private sector (for profit) organizations, or private foundations (not for profit).  

6. What is meant by “consortia”? Who can be a member of a consortium?   

  • Consortia are groups of organizations that come together to submit a proposal to receive KIX funding and to implement the project. Groups of up to three organizations (maximum) may submit an application as a consortium.  
  • Proposals from consortia must name one lead organization. The lead organization must be an African organization (organizations with independent legal registration in an African country). 
  • Consortium members may include other African organizations; national, regional, or international offices of multilateral organizations or international NGOs; or other organizations from outside Africa.   
  • Fair and equitable partnerships must be established among consortia members.  

7. What criteria will you look 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 coordinate multiple partners and members of a consortia (if that is the case); 
  • ability to participate in knowledge exchange dynamics with the other KIX-funded projects; and 
  • Be an independent, legally incorporated entity capable of contracting in its own right and name.  

8. What documentation would need to be provided by the  lead organization for IDRC to verify its legal status? 

A copy of (or internet link to) the legal documentation will be required to confirm the lead organization's creation and independent legal status. The documentation provided to IDRC should clearly indicate the name of the institution. Documentation that are in language other than English, French or Spanish require a certified translation that also needs to be submitted. 

Legal documentation varies depending on the location and the type of organization.  By way of illustration, this legal documentation may include: 

  • letters patent, 

  • articles of incorporation, 

  • articles of association, 

  • certificates of incorporation,  

  • certificates of registration, or  

  • récipissé issued by government authorities for private sector/non-governmental organizations.

9. May consortia have additional partners?  

Yes, consortia may name additional partners involved in the project. It may be necessary to include additional partners, such as teachers’ associations, a relevant NGO, 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 how to best engage them.  
10. My organization has a national/regional office in an African country, but our headquarters is outside Africa. May I apply as an individual organization or lead a consortium? 

No. You are welcome to participate as a member of a consortium, but not individually or as a lead. 
11. May consortia include national governments?  

No. The majority of GPE funding goes directly to governments to implement their education sector plans. KIX is an additional mechanism in support of education sectors that targets different actors. However, applicants are encouraged to include national and local governments as strategic partners in their projects. Scaling in education systems will most likely need connections with governments.  

12. Do consortia need to include Canadian organizations?   

13. Should partners be in the same geographical region?  

Not necessarily. Consortium partners do not need to be in the same geographical region. The lead of a consortium must be from within the region of the call, but consortium members may be from anywhere.  

14. Can KIX help match applicants to form a consortium?  

No. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find partners and form a consortium. IDRC does not match grantees to form a consortium.  

15. May for-profit organizations apply for KIX grants?  


  • However, for-profit organizations that provide core education services (e.g., private schools) are not eligible for KIX funding. KIX will remain consistent with GPE’s private sector engagement strategy.  
  • Proposals that include private-sector actors should demonstrate how private-sector resources (for example, financial or technical know-how) will contribute to the project.  
  • All grant recipients, including for-profit organizations, must comply with IDRC’s Open Access Policy.  

16. May an organization that has previously or is currently receiving funding for initiatives from IDRC, the Global Partnership for Education, or the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange be allowed to apply to this call?  

Yes, organizations that were previous or are current grantees of IDRC, GPE, or KIX are allowed to apply to the regional call.  

17. How many applications may an organization submit?   

There is no limit to the number of applications an organization may submit. You may submit as many proposals as you like as an individual organization, as the lead of a consortium, and/or as a member of a consortium.  
18. May an organization with a pending registration in an eligible country apply to a call? 
No. Organizations must already be registered or incorporated in an eligible country.


19. What are the regional policy challenges? 

KIX regional calls are designed to respond to the demands of the GPE member countries for knowledge and innovation. To identify these demands, the KIX regional hubs led a process in 2020 across GPE member countries to identify shared policy challenges for public education systems. The process involved consultations with government and non-governmental education stakeholders from the countries, regional experts, and a review of education sector plans and regional education analyses. Aligning calls for proposals with key priorities that emerged, KIX intends for the projects it funds to be directly relevant and useful to these education systems. Here is the link to the report of the KIX East, Southern, and West Africa (Africa 19) hub :  

20. What is the difference between the Africa 19 call last year, and this year?  

  • In 2020, KIX put out a call for countries across the Africa 19 region that included four policy challenges. This year, we are focusing only on one area: early learning. Projects funded through this call will have a shorter duration, so we have adjusted some of the expectations and requirements for proposals. 

21. What levels of education are covered by the call? 

  • This call addresses early learning, for children between 3 and 8 years of age, or preschool to grade 3 of primary education.  
  • KIX also focuses on teacher professional development. 

22. May projects be related to higher education or technical and vocational education and training (TVET)? 

No. As a GPE mechanism, KIX focuses on early childhood to early secondary education, in addition to teacher training. However, higher education institutions may be involved in addressing these challenges and teams based at these institutions are welcome to apply. Individuals are not eligible for funding. 

Although other IDRC programming focuses on strengthening TVET and higher education, it is not a focus of KIX calls. 

23. To what extent is the integration of technology allowed or expected? How does this relate to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

The integration of technology is encouraged, as long as it serves to effectively and efficiently address the challenge of the call. Since the pandemic’s effects and timeline are uncertain and education cannot be paused, we expect that proposals will include adaptive management strategies to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of technology for the development of project activities. That means that you can organize virtual training for beneficiaries (i.e., teachers) and develop virtual tools that can help to achieve project objectives. 

24. Can proposals respond to multiple sub-themes? 

Yes, proposals can respond to multiple sub-themes. We encourage applicants to consult the detailed call document, for further information on the Call’s challenge and sub-themes.  

25. What should we consider in identifying relevant approaches for our proposal?  

Proposals should identify existing innovative approaches to address the challenge and how their impact could be scaled, connected to public education systems and policy. Innovative approaches to address the challenges can originate from anywhere – from within the countries involved, in other African countries, or beyond Africa. We encourage applicants to work with culturally relevant and contextually appropriate interventions that are feasible, cost-effective and scalable in the countries the call targets. Overall, as part of the research process, selected projects should adapt their interventions in the countries of focus and then test their effectiveness to determine which conditions facilitate successful implementation and scalability. That work can vary by country within the same project. 

26. Does the innovation have to be tested and mobilised in all countries in the proposal, or can an innovation be tested in one country and the knowledge shared and mobilised in the other countries?   

Proposals should have one set of overall objectives and research questions. However, project activities and foci may appropriately vary from one country to another. Proposals should include applied research in each country involved along with a knowledge mobilization strategy.    

27. May the design of the innovative approach differ in any way between countries of focus?     

Yes. The design can differ in the countries of focus as long as the various approaches are relevant to each country's contexts and policy landscape.


28.  What is meant by supporting knowledge generation “about and for scaling”? 

Scaling is the process of improving and deepening the reach, breadth, scope, quality, equity, and sustainability of the changes, benefits, and solutions that innovations bring to education systems.  

The projects will fund applied research in support of scaling the selected innovative solutions. This could include: 

1. Measures to adapt and refine the innovative solutions to the contextual needs of the selected countries; 

2. Developing and testing means and models to scale them; 

3. Supporting capacity-building of people or groups who will use the adapted approaches; and 

4. Assessing results. 

KIX will not support the actual scaling of proven innovations within the selected countries and regions. Full-scale implementation of an innovative approach at the national level in multiple countries is beyond the budget and mandate of KIX. 

29. Can the proposal focus on scaling up be on existing strategies by government and/or other not-for-profit?    



30. What is KIX? 

The Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) is a joint endeavour between the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and IDRC. The goal of KIX is to strengthen national education systems and accelerate educational progress in the Global South by addressing knowledge gaps, increasing access to evidence, and strengthening systems to support the generation and uptake of evidence and innovations in GPE member countries.  

KIX consists of a funding mechanism that provides grants at global and regional levels to invest in knowledge generation and innovation and to scale up proven approaches.   

31. What are GPE member countries? 

GPE works with close to 70 developing countries to help them develop and implement quality education sector plans and build strong education systems. Countries join the partnership once they have developed a comprehensive education sector plan that is endorsed by their partners. Learn more

KIX regional calls are designed to respond to specific priorities of GPE member countries in the specific region indicated. Annex A of the respective call document provides a list of the GPE member countries in the region.  

32. What is meant by “research”? 

  • KIX regional grants are intended for research for development projects that are problem-focused, action-oriented, and designed to generate new knowledge and evidence.  
  • They also creatively identify, engage, and involve multiple types of knowledge users to ensure that research is relevant and accessible. 
  • Users typically co-create the knowledge alongside researchers.  
  • Projects are designed to be relevant to inform policy, practice, and technological development. 

33. What is the “continuum of gender integration”? 

The continuum of gender integration refers to strategies applied in program assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation that take gender into consideration and address gender-based inequalities.  

Projects should either be gender aware, gender sensitive, gender responsive, or gender transformative. 

The following is a guide to gender integration: 


Gender aware  

Gender sensitive  

Gender responsive  

Gender transformative  


Gender (the differentiated and intersectional experiences of women, men, boys, and girls) is considered in the research project’s rationale but is not an operative concept in the design and methodology for implementation.  

Gender is considered in the research project’s rationale and is addressed in the project design and methodology but does not (yet) extend to analysis and action to address gender inequalities.

Gender is considered in the research project’s rationale, design, and methodology and is rigorously analyzed to inform implementation, communication, and influence strategies.  

Examines, analyzes, and builds an evidence base to inform long-term practical changes in structural power relations and norms, roles, and inequalities that define the differentiated experiences of men and women. Gender transformative research should lead to sustained change through action.  

Key question to ask  

Does the rationale for the research include evidence on the differentiated roles, experiences, and impacts on men, women, girls, and boys?  

Does the research design include analysis of the differentiated roles, experiences, and impacts on men, women, girls, and boys?  

Does the research use analysis to implement actions and to address, build on, and respond to the result of the analysis.  

Does the research go beyond the analysis of differentiated roles, experiences, and perception gaps and explore the underlying structural causes, norms, and power relations that caused these differences?  

PLUS: does the research implement actions to address these underlying structural causes, norms, and power relations that caused the differences?  


Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek out resources on appropriately addressing gender equality, equity, and inclusion in the project proposal, for instance this Guide to integrating gender in your proposal

34. In terms of the need for proposals to be inclusive, what do you specifically mean and which groups can be a focus of the project to ensure inclusion? 

Proposals must integrate considerations of equity and inclusion. Equity in education refers to the fairness of the distribution of educational resources, opportunities, and outcomes within and between societies. Inclusive education is a process that involves the transformation of schools and other centers of learning to cater for all children – including children of different genders, students from ethnic and linguistic minorities, rural populations, those affected by HIV and AIDS, and those with disabilities and difficulties in learning. Such considerations are context-specific and would need to be analyzed and explained in the proposal. For instance, relevant marginalized groups can include such as women and girls, children with disabilities, displaced populations, rural populations, victims of violence, or linguistic minorities, among others.    

35. What do you mean by “innovation”? 

Innovation refers to a combination of tools, practices, policies, programs, technologies, approaches, methodologies, or any other interventions that can be used to improve education access and quality in developing countries. The combination of different elements can vary according to contexts and needs to produce new solutions to education problems.  

36. Can the proposed approach still be in development, or should it have been already fully implemented and evaluated for it to be considered? 

The proposed approach(es) can be promising or already proven. The approach(es) should be clearly identified and presented - what it is, where it has been applied, evidence of its results. It is expected that the approaches have some level of support and evidence based in previous studies for the proposal to be a good match to this call. However, the approach does not have to be already fully implemented and evaluated beforehand. It should display evidence that it is a promising and innovative approach, which would benefit from further research to assess its effectiveness and especially to scale its impact.  

37. Is there a methodology that IDRC prefers?  

No, we have no preference, but the selected methodologies must be appropriate to answer the questions and achieve project objectives. Proposals must be explicit and elaborate on the justification for methodological choices. The quality of projects will be assessed against IDRC’s Research Quality Plus Framework (as indicated in the call document). 


38. Who are the education stakeholders? 

Education stakeholders may include (but are not limited to) local education groups, teachers’ unions, school principals and teachers, parents and children, education ministry officials, development partners, and policymakers. 
39. How should I demonstrate work in a GPE member country and engagement with education stakeholders?   

  • Engagement with education stakeholders may be demonstrated through previous or ongoing projects implemented by the organization.  
  • The organization must clearly present education stakeholders involved in these projects and provide details about their role as partners or direct beneficiaries. 

40. May an individual organization apply to work in the required number of GPE member countries in the region without evidence of partnership in each country? 

Yes. We understand that applicants may have engaged with stakeholders in some countries, but not all. Please explain your experience and present a knowledge-mobilization strategy for the proposed project that includes any additional stakeholders or country contexts (to ensure the project is relevant and achieves its results). 

41. If IDRC or GPE is already funding initiatives related to policy challenges, is it necessary that proposals fit into those projects?   

Projects funded under this call are expected to:  

  1. Scan for and identify relevant approaches and innovations to address the shared policy challenge. Relevant approaches may include those already funded by GPE or IDRC but may also include others from within or outside the countries involved. These may or may not have external funding. 
  1. Adapt and further test those approaches to assess how to scale positive impacts in GPE member countries.  
  1. Mobilize knowledge and build capacity so the approaches may be taken up in policy and practice. 

42. Does the “lead” organization assume all financial responsibilities? May other consortia members assist in the financial, administrative, and logistical management?  

The lead organization is responsible for ensuring that there is one grant agreement with one main recipient who is responsible for all aspects of the grant. The lead recipient may enter into sub-grant arrangements with partners who can then be responsible for portions of the work (reporting back to the lead), but ultimately the lead organization is responsible for reporting on all financial and technical matters related to the work. 

43. What is the budget range per project and the amount of overall funding available?   

Individual project budgets vary between CA$700,000 and CA$1 million. The total available funding is CA$5 million. 

44. Where can I find more information on indirect cost recovery and other financial considerations for this call? 

Indirect costs can be recovered as a percentage, up to 13% of actual direct costs, as is described in the budget template and as is further defined in the terms and conditions outlined by the detailed call document.  In the later, you will find a list of eligible expenses. 

45. What are the reporting and/or auditing requirements for this call? 

Reporting will be based on a schedule of milestones that may include technical and financial reporting. Technical reporting will include the project’s own monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) information and contribute to KIX-wide MEL. Such report criteria are broadly covered in the terms and conditions attached to the application process.


46. How do these calls fit among other calls I've seen from KIX?   

  • In 2019, KIX launched a call to identify the groups that will coordinate regional hubs. KIX also ran a global call in 2019 to fund research on strengthening education systems with proven innovations to address six core themes in education systems. The projects funded work in at least three countries across at least two KIX regions. KIX global projects started in 2020. 

  • A cross-cutting theme in KIX’s work is how to ensure that the impact of innovative approaches for education is effectively and appropriately scaled in national education systems. KIX therefore invited proposals for research on scaling the impact of educational innovations

  • To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, KIX issued a closed call for proposals to support an observatory on the impacts of the pandemic and policy and practice responses in GPE member countries in Africa. 

  • Throughout July and August 2020, KIX launched four regional calls designed to respond to the demands of GPE member countries for knowledge and innovation. Each KIX regional hub led a process from March to July 2020 across GPE member countries to identify shared policy challenges for public education systems. The process involved consultation with key national education policymakers from GPE member countries, local education groups, education experts in the region, plus a review of education sector plans and regional education analyses. The priority identification process shapes the agenda of the regional hub and is also the basis through which IDRC, in consultation with GPE, selected the challenges to include in the regional calls. Projects selected through the regional calls began in the first half of 2021. 

47. Should proposals demonstrate links with the work carried out by KIX’ regional hubs? 

You may, but it is not required for proposals at the application stage to demonstrate the links between their proposed work and the work carried out by KIX’ regional hubs. If your proposal is selected, you will learn more later, about the interlinkages of your work with the work of the regional hubs.