Opportunity closing date:  Monday 15 February 2021

South African Women’s Rights organisations are invited to apply for funding under the Government of Canada- funded Women Voice and Leadership-South Africa Fund (WVL SA) with a strong focus in this round on equal access to, public education and awareness on COVID-19 vaccines. The maximum amount available for Rapid Response Grants to the grantees is R50,000. The grants are available for a period of up to four months’ maximum.

The initiative arises from  Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP)  addressing six main elements: i) promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; ii) human dignity; iii) growth that works for everyone; iv) environment and climate action; v) inclusive governance; vi) peace and security. Eligibility criteria can be found here. The grant call is managed by  Gender Links  through the Gender Links Sustainability Hub portfolio.

In 2020 a total of 40 Rapid Response grants were awarded through the  Women Voice and Leadership Fund , augmented by funds from UKAID. 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. Click here for the COVID-19 Vaccination fact sheet.

Rapid Response funding is for strategic, catalytic interventions that respond to an immediate situation or emergency, but deliver systemic, long term results. 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. These activities and short projects include delivery mechanisms that 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. 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 promotes women’s rights and gender equality. An innovative pilot that addresses a critical systemic challenge.

  3. A critical intervention that facilitates wider change.

  4. Identification and work on key emerging women’s rights issues.

  5. Incubation of an innovative new idea, organisation or movement.

Interventions include but are not limited to, campaigns and activities, and policy level initiatives. In the case of a new organisation, the funds may serve as an incubation function, helping a promising start up organisation to find its feet.

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 . In South Africa, women constitute the majority of those both affected and infected. While South Africa is in the grips of a painful second wave of the pandemic, there is some hope on the horizon as the government joins the global clamour for limited supplies of vaccines.   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:

  • Initiatives to ensure prioritisation and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines; prevent any form of corruption and address the gendered impact of the pandemic.

  • Public education and awareness on Covid-19 vaccines, in particular any myths that might prevent women from accessing vaccinations.

  • Ensuring that women working in the health sector and on the frontline of the pandemic have priority access to vaccines.

  • Gender aware monitoring and tracking vaccine distribution and ensuring that it reaches priority target groups in the most marginal rural areas.

  • Strengthening the leadership and meaningful participation of women and girls in all decision-making processes in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak and vaccination roll out.

  • 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 who have been most economically affected by the crisis to find systemic solutions.

  • Institutional support to eligible organisations, to ensure they are able to sustain themselves through the crisis.

Key dates

Grant Type


Application due date


Rapid Response

2 February 2021

15 February 2021

26 February 2021

The process

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

  • For the grant, you must first fill out the eligibility form to see if you are eligible for the grant.

  • If you are eligible, you will receive a link for the Full Application, as this is a one stage process. No concept note is required.

  • We strongly recommend that you download the WORD version of the full application and complete it offline first, and then simply copy across to the Online Platform once completed.

  • 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.

  • All grants are subject to an online/onsite due diligence before the award is made.

  • Please note that all applications are done online.

WVL-SA will respond within three weeks to emergency applications. Contracts are valid for a maximum period of four months only.

Frequently asked questions

Please read through these questions and responses to familiarise yourself with the process.


For all your queries and additional support you can contact Nomthandazo Mokoa – WVL-SA Grants Coordinator on email grants@genderlinks.org.za or Fikile Maviya – WVL- SA Grants Assistant, grants.officer@genderlinks.org.za or phone 082 560 0066 or 011 029 0006