GAYA Small Grants Program

Dalia Yousri, a young woman, supports her family through agriculture in Egypt
Joseph Raouf


Note: This grant opportunity is now closed and is no longer accepting further applicants.


Do you have an idea or program to help integrate gender and youth more fully into development and emergency food security, resilience, and emergency response activities?

The Gender and Youth Activity (GAYA) is looking to fund and amplify your efforts!

GAYA’s Program Improvement Awards include: 

  • A grant of up to $240,000 USD over a two-year period
  • Ongoing support from a team specialized in gender, youth, and program management

Small Grant Overview

Development and emergency food security, resilience, and emergency response activities programs can use these Program Improvement (PIA) Award small grants to improve the collection and/or use of gender and/or youth data to design and adapt their activities. Applications will support the development, testing, packaging, and sharing of process improvements, innovations, and/or research to improve the collection and use of gender and/or youth data.  

This Program Improvement Award RFA responds to feedback from implementers of BHA-funded activities indicating a need for practical, program-oriented approaches to integration and use of data to better understand gender norms and youth dynamics. Implementing partners have asked for user-friendly process improvement, innovation, or research that can be used to strengthen capacity for meaningful integration of gender norms and youth data in their activities. 

All grants will be made as sub-awards under the Save the Children US GAYA cooperative agreement with USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and recipients will be required to follow all relevant USAID rules and regulations. These grants will be made as Fixed Amount Awards.

Local implementing partners are greatly encouraged to apply.

Important Dates

*updated as of February 1, 2023

  • November 11, 2022: RFA released
  • December 6, 2022 at 9 AM ET: Small Grants Launch webinar
  • January 3 – 16, 2023 at 5 PM ET: Rolling submissions begin
    • Note: All submissions received by January 16, 2023, at 5 PM ET will be reviewed together.  The first 20 non-English submissions will be considered, everything AFTER that must be submitted in English
  • March 27-April 21, 2023: Question and Answer calls held with prospective grantees
  • May 2023: Full applications due
  • July/August 2023: Selection committee makes final decisions and seeks donor approval to award funds
  • August/September 2023: Awards issued
  • October 2023: Optional feedback calls for up to five non-selected applicants

Please note that these dates are approximate and subject to change.

Interested in learning more or asking questions about this small grant? You can watch the recording of our Small Grants Webinar here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How was the RFA revised?

The RFA was revised on December 13, 2022 to provide further clarity based on questions submitted during the question period. This included: updating an unspecified attachment number on page 18, removing misinformed text stating that the concept note doesn't need to be a written document, removing text that mentioned the USAID disclaimer that was not included, and updating requirements to state that the technical concept note should be 5 pages and the budget and budget notes should be 1 page, and amending the text to allow applications from previously excluded countries (i.e., Nicaragua, Guatemala, West Bank, and Gaza Strip).

Who can apply?
  • We accept applications from US or non-US nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), for-profit organizations, research institutions, or higher education institutions (HEIs). Applicants can be from anywhere across the globe, but applications must be implemented in countries where USAID/BHA works or has funded activities in the past three years.
  • Organizations must have successfully received and managed USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance funding within the past three years (2020, 2021, 2022). This includes receiving funds as the Prime awardee, or any level of sub-awardee.
  • Applications from local or regional organizations led by youth up to the age of 29 years are encouraged.
  • Applications from local or regional organizations led by or focused on women are encouraged.
  • We encourage applications from organizations led by or serving all persons and identities regardless of age, gender, or disability.
  • This RFA is geared towards both development and emergency food security, resilience, and emergency response activities.
  • Organizations that are sub-recipients or sub-contractors to Save the Children or Mercy Corps in any agreements are allowed to apply.
  • Local or regional organizations are particularly encouraged to apply.
Who cannot apply?
  • Applications that will be fully or partially implemented in Guatemala, Nicaragua, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip will not be considered.
  • Applications will not be accepted from:
    • Members of the GAYA consortium: Save the Children and Mercy Corps including other country and fundraising offices beyond the US (e.g., Save the Children UK, Mercy Corps Uganda);
    • Individuals and/or sole proprietorships;
    • Government entities, including ministries;
    • Public international organizations;
    • Firms operating as commercial companies or other organizations (including nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations) that are wholly or partially owned by foreign governments or agencies; and
    • Organizations that have not received USAID/BHA funding in the past three years (2020, 2021, 2022). This includes receiving funds as the Prime awardee, or any level of sub-awardee.
What types of projects will be considered for funding?
  • Projects that strengthen innovative localized approaches to gender and/or youth, led by local partners.
  • Projects that help BHA implementing partners better collect, analyze, and use information on gender and/or youth issues or strategies.
  • Projects that transform negative gender norms, taboos, attitudes, and behaviors, and/or projects that incorporate positive youth development approaches.
  • Projects that consult and actively involve diverse perspectives and marginalized populations across the activity lifecycle. An example of this might be using a participatory design process with young people in the lead to design your proposed intervention. Or having a women’s community group involved in designing and leading a new data collection effort. Or involving LGBTQI+ people in conversations about how to ask questions about sexuality and gender in a data collection tool.
What types of projects will not be considered for funding?
  • These grants will not fund already planned or required activities under an existing BHA award.
  • These grants will not fund required or already approved Monitoring & Evaluation activities, including but not limited to annual surveys, post-distribution monitoring (PDM), Refine and Implement (R&I) year studies, and other planned, budgeted, and required research activities.
In which language can I apply?
  • GAYA will accept submissions in the following languages: French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Dari, and Bengali. However, only 20 non-English submissions can be considered. After 20 non-English submissions are received, the FSN Network website will be updated to indicate that GAYA is accepting ONLY English submissions.
  • I noticed that submissions are rolling. If I apply later in the cycle, will my submission be considered?
    • All English submissions and the first 20 non-English submissions will be accepted and thoroughly reviewed after the application deadline closes on January 16, 2023.
    • Because of limited translation resources, we can only accept the first 20 non-English submissions. We encourage organizations who wish to submit a non-English concept note to consider submitting as early as possible in the open application period.
How do I submit my concept note?
Can I submit more than one concept note/application?
  • No, there is a maximum of one application per organization.
How much funding is available?
  • GAYA expects to award up to four grants of up to USD $240,000.
I work for a smaller organization that requires funding up front to start working on the grant. How can you help?
  • GAYA will work with grantees to ensure that payment milestones are scheduled appropriately throughout the lifecycle of the award to ensure that the project and the grantee can be successful.
How will I know if my application is selected as a finalist?
  • All applicants will be contacted by email with a response to their applications (whether they are a finalist or not). The five highest-scoring non-selected applicants will receive optional access to a one-hour feedback conversation in English as to the content of their application.
Who do I contact if I am having trouble with submissions?

Download Application Webinar Question Responses