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IDEAL Small Grants Program

IDEAL Small Grants Program Update


As IDEAL and the FSN community quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the review process for IDEAL Micro Grants and Program Improvement Awards has been significantly delayed. While delayed, we continue to vet applications and award grants from the 2019 RFAs with five grants formally awarded to date. We expect to award 10-20 more in the coming months. In alignments with USAID guidance, only applications for projects which can be completed without increased risks of COVID-19 transmission to community members and implementing staff will be funded at this time. 

The first and only expected Applied Research Award RFA is currently in development and will be released before September 30, 2020.  Each award will be up to $250,000 and allow up to 24 months to complete research, report writing and dissemination. Applicants will have 8 weeks from the release date to submit applications, and the vetting process will take 5-6 months.  A special email update will be sent to all FSN Newsletter subscribers when this RFA is released. 

About the Program

The IDEAL Small Grants Program aims to identify and address knowledge and capacity gaps in food and nutrition security programming around the world. Emergency and Development Implementing Partners can utilize these small grants to fund and grow innovative ideas that will benefit the food and nutrition security community.

IDEAL’s small grants can provide funding towards existing projects to leverage opportunities for innovation and learning or they can fund new initiatives. Grants can be used for a number of activities, such as testing innovative approaches, strengthening knowledge management systems, supporting applied research, disseminating new tools and best practices, and more.

The topic areas for the small grants will align with IDEAL’s content focus areas, the USAID Office of Food for Peace (FFP) Learning Agenda (forthcoming), and implementing partner (IP)-identified gaps and needs. The IDEAL Small Grants Program will work in a coordinated and complementary way with the other IDEAL pathways: Capacity Strengthening, Peer-to-Peer Collaborative Learning, and Stakeholder Consultations.

IDEAL Requests for Applications (RFAs) will be broad in scope and will not require extensive reporting in order to allow implementers of all sizes to generate field-focused solutions that are relevant to their work. In the spirit of IDEAL, we encourage all applicants to fully utilize field staff and small local partners to identify the gaps on the ground, design proposals and implement projects.

Types of Small Grants

Micro Grant ($50,000)
Supports the development of tools or conducting topic-specific learning events

Program Improvement Award ($100,000)
Incentivizes innovation through pilot practices and documentation of learning to improve the quality of program design and implementation

Research Award* ($250,000)
Collects reliable evidence of best practices, potentially partnering with a proven research institution or otherwise engaging research expertise

Click here to see a graphic displaying the different types of IDEAL Small Grants.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants may be US and non-US nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), institutions or institutions of higher education that can contribute to IDEAL’s strategic objective of promoting systems-level approaches to improving the design, implementation and overall effectiveness of emergency and development food and nutrition security activities.  All applicants must be legally recognized organizational entities under applicable law. Individuals are not eligible to apply. For more details on eligibility requirements, see the eligibility section of each specific RFA.

Grant Release Dates

Micro Grant (Fixed Amount Award)
Released: July 2, 2019

Closed: November 1, 2019

Program Improvement Award (Cost-reimbursable)
Released: September 23, 2019
Closed: December 13, 2019

Research Award (Cost-reimbursable)
Expected release: September 30, 2020

For questions, contact

Note that any questions that are specific to a published RFA will be answered during the open comment and question period. All answers will be published on the RFA webpage.

*IDEAL, Save the Children Federation, and/or USAID reserves the right to modify or cancel any planned or released RFAs.

Photo Credit: Paul Bettings / Save the Children