Call   |  Rapid Response Grants  |  COVID & Women’s Rights  |  Eligibility  Application

Call for Rapid Response applications on a rolling basis

Following the first round of funding applications for the Women Voice and Leadership Fund, the Rapid Response window is reopening on a rolling basis, with a special emphasis on mitigating the effect of COVID on Women’s Rights. More information on the gender dimensions of COVID can be found here. The funding from Global Affairs Canada is being augmented by funds from UKAID. The minimum amount available for Rapid Response Grants to the grantees is R20,000 with a maximum amount of R50,000. The grants are available for a period of three months to one year. The window will remain open until the Rapid Response window for this year is exhausted. All applications must be done online. You will first need to determine if you are eligible. If you are, you will receive a link for the full application. GL and the Grants Selection Committee will endeavour to respond within two weeks.  Please direct any questions to Nomthandazo Mankazana Mokoa- Grants Coordinator,


Rapid Response Grants

Rapid Response Funding is for discreet activities and short projects including delivery mechanisms that would allow nimble and timely response to unforeseen events where it is strategic that action be taken.  The funds can also be used to support and pilot innovative ideas and incubate new organisations and movements.   The main recipients for this Grant are organisations piloting innovative approaches and/or responding to emerging issues on women’s rights and gender equality.

Rapid Response grants are strategic, catalytic interventions that respond to an immediate situation or emergency, but deliver systemic, long term results. They are typically unplanned for. The philosophy behind the fast, flexible funding is that WROs often end up responding to human rights abuses, deregulation, cyberbullying, personal harassment or other types of gender discrimination as part of their mandates, but the project funds they typically access cannot be used for this type of work.   Most project-based funding does not allow them the flexibility to do this.  Any mechanism that responds to these issues can be considered appropriate under this pillar of funding.

To be successful grant proposals must demonstrate that the action is at least one of the following:

  1. A timely response to an unforeseen event.
  2. A strategic action that takes the field of WR/ GBV etc. forward.
  3. An innovative pilot that addresses a critical systemic challenge.
  4. A critical intervention that facilitates wider change.
  5. Identification and work on a key emerging WR issue.
  6. Incubation of an innovative new idea, organisation or movement.

Interventions include but are not limited to activities, events and policy level initiatives. In the case of a new organisation, the funds may serve an incubation function, helping a promising start up organisation to find its feet.  The minimum amount available for Rapid Response Grants to the grantees is R20,000 with a maximum amount of R50,000. The grants are available for a period of three months to one year.

Due to its nature of the Rapid Response grant it is a one step process:

  • There is NO concept note only a full application.
  • If successful, the applicant is informed. If a new grantee, WVL will undertake a rapid due diligence to ensure all necessary systems and processes for accountability.

GL will respond within two weeks to emergency applications. Contracts will be valid between for a minimum of three months, up to a maximum of one year.

COVID 19 and Women’s Rights

As the coronavirus escalates its deadly journey across South Africa, the different effects on women and men are also becoming more apparent. Although men constitute more of those infected, women are much more likely to be the majority of those affected. For more information visit the COVID and Gender Helpdesk.

Areas that can be considered for funding under the Rapid Response window include but are not restricted to:

  • Supporting prevention and response to GBV, including through safe shelters but also campaigns on social norms targeting male engagement in domestic work and combatting domestic violence.
  • Grassroots research and monitoring of the differentiated gender impact of the outbreak.
  • Mobilising of women’s organisations at community level to ensure that public health education messages on risk and prevention strategies are reaching all women (including through community radio, the use of technology, etc.).
  • Ensuring that women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights needs are met. These include maternal health, contraceptives, safe abortion and LGBTIQ needs and rights.
  • Supporting women working in the health sector and on the frontline of the pandemic.
  • Supporting women who will be most economically affected by the crisis, including the informal sector, cross border trade and domestic workers.
  • Distributing food parcels to hard hit families and female and child-headed household with no potential for other income and increase access to running water for improved hygiene, infection control and improved recovery of patients who are infected.
  • Using spaza shops, burial societies and other appropriate vehicles to distribute infection control supplies (such as masks, hand sanitizers, sprays) to community members and vulnerable sub populations such as women on the streets
  • Supporting home based care to the sick, providing the necessary supplies and offer relief accommodation to help with self-isolation in conditions where the home is inadequate.
  • Strengthening the leadership and meaningful participation of women and girls in all decision-making processes in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Institutional support to eligible organisations, to ensure they are able to sustain themselves through the crisis.

General Eligibility Criteria

Eligible WROs will be:

  • Based on feminist principles and must explicitly include gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in their mandate and programming.
  • Demonstrate a track record of collaborating with other WROs to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
  • Have an Executive Director/Head and 80% of the people in all decision-making levels (management and governing board, if one exists) who are women. At least 60% of the staff must be women.
  • Applications will be accepted from networks of WROs, which may include feminist, women-led groups that are not registered, do not have three years of experience and/or are less experienced in terms of financial management and technical capacity.
  • WROs may not necessarily be required to show due financial diligence or a donor track record up front.

Non-Eligible Applicants:  The following is a list of entities that are ineligible for WVL Grants;

  • Individuals representing personal interest that does not benefit the greater community.
  • Political parties.
  • Government institutions.
  • Faith-based organisations whose objectives are discriminatory and/or serve religious purposes, and/or whose main objective of the grant is of a religious nature.

Eligible Activities: Include, but are not limited to WROs working to promote women’s and girl empowerment in following areas Constitutional and Legal Rights, Governance, Education, Economic Justice, GBV, SRHR, Health, HIV and AIDS, Media and Climate Change.

Non-Eligible Activities:  Activities and costs that are ineligible for grant funding include, but are not limited to;

  • Creation of endowments (Note: financing of loan portfolios is not an endowment).
  • Any previous obligations by Gender Links to the beneficiary.
  • Bad debts of the Grantee.
  • Fines imposed on the Grantee.
  • Penalties imposed on the Grantee.
  • Any expenses related to ceremonies, parties, and celebrations.
  • Purchase of any goods restricted and prohibited under Gender Links regulations such as alcoholic beverages.
  • Purchase of surveillance equipment, military equipment or arms whether new or surplus, police or law enforcement equipment, abortion equipment and services, weather modification equipment, luxury goods and gambling equipment.
  • Purchase of goods from prohibited sources.
  • Expenses related to purchases or activities which are illegal under South African law.
  • Promotion of political parties, religion, or commercial interests.
  • Payments made to government employees.

Check if you are eligible