Breaking into DFAT: Advice for startup NGOs

By Lisa Cornish 07 November 2016

Relief supplies provided by Australian and UNICEF Pacific reach communities in Tailevu, Fiji. Photo by: DFAT / CC BY

Abt Associates, Adam Smith International, Cardno, Coffey International and Palladium. These are the big names that garner the most work from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

But the Australian aid program is not solely the domain of the giants in development. There are many opportunities for smaller organizations, startup NGOs and social enterprises to secure funding.

Of the 420 Australian aid contracts published since Nov. 1, 2015, more than half were contracts valued at less than $100,000. There were 178 unique suppliers providing services to the aid program including 46 sole traders — even former DFAT secretary Peter Varghese made the list of small business providers.

DFAT and the Australian government have a policy of finding the best fit for a project. Suppliers could come from the government, NGOs, the research community or private sector. They could be Australia-based or not, big or small.

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About the author

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Lisa Cornishlisa_cornish

Lisa Cornish is a Devex reporter based in Canberra, Australia. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane and online through news.com.au. Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.


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