How to win DFAT funding: Tips for local organizations

By Manola De Vos 02 October 2015

Local government officials in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka take part in STEPS, an AusAID-funded English learning program. With the cutbacks in Australia's foreign aid budget, the Direct Aid Program, a flexible small grants scheme, offers a strategic source of funding for local nonprofts. Photo by: Conor Ashleigh / AusAID / CC BY

In a drive to ensure value for money, Australia’s foreign policymakers have recently embarked on a series of austerity measures which have left many nonprofits hanging by a thread. But if you are a local development organization, the cutbacks shouldn’t discourage you from seeking funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The axing of Australia’s foreign aid assistance has been years in the making, and the magnitude of the cuts were confirmed earlier this year: By 2017-2018, Canberra’s foreign aid spending is expected to plunge to a record low of 3.7 billion Australian dollars ($2.6 billion), down from AU$5.7 billion in 2013-2014.

For those implementers which rely on Australian government funding to carry out critical programs, the announcement came as a major blow. Yet a more careful look at the budget reveals that nongovernmental organizations both inside and outside Australia may have dodged a bullet — at least for now.

After bracing itself for a 20 percent reduction in funding, the Australian NGO Cooperation Program — a primary source of financial support for Australian NGOs — is slated to receive AU$130.4 million in 2015-2016. This is just AU$6.8 million less than last year.

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About the author

Devos manola
Manola De Vos

Manola De Vos is a development analyst for Devex. Based in Manila, she contributes to the Development Insider and Money Matters newsletters. Prior to joining Devex, Manola worked in conflict analysis and political affairs for the United Nations, International Crisis Group and the European Union.


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