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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society



The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is a grant making and advocacy foundation that is part of the global Open Society Foundations Network. OSIWA works to support the creation of open societies in West Africa marked by functioning democracy, good governance, the rule of law, basic freedoms, and widespread civic participation. Its headquarters is in Dakar and it has offices in Abuja, Monrovia, Freetown and Conakry.

OSIWA seeks proposals aimed at achieving the following specific objectives:

  • Strengthen the institutional and operational capacities of civil society organizations, 
  • Advance the inclusion and legal empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities, 
  • Strengthen regional economic integration processes as well as tax, investment and trade justice
  • Promote the use of transitional justice mechanisms
  • Improve Criminal justice and the Administration of justice
  • Strengthening the health system’s capacity to respond to emergencies 
  • Reforming the governance of health care systems: improving access and quality of health services
  • Enhance citizens’ social demands for accountability and effectiveness in public service delivery, especially in the health and education sectors
  • Support alternative, ICT and arts-based means for anti-corruption enforcement
  • Increase the effectiveness of natural resource management frameworks
  • Reduce the impact of drug trafficking on governance 
  • Strengthen prevention and early warning information systems to reduce militancy and violence; and
  • Ensure inclusive constitutional review processes.

The detailed OSIWA strategy is available at


OSIWA primarily awards grants to local organizations based in West Africa. In rare and limited circumstances, it provides support to West Africa-based international organizations with a strong commitment to transfer knowledge to local groups they partner with. It provides grants to government institutions as well as regional and sub-regional organizations working in its core priorities areas. OSIWA requires all organizations seeking funding to submit a two page concept paper using the template available on the OSIWA website.

If this concept is in line with OSIWA’s strategic objectives, applicants will be asked to submit a detailed proposal, budget, work plan monitoring and evaluation framework and other relevant documents including leadership information (list of Board members, trustees and management), staff who will be involved in the project, proof of registration and banking details. Applications that are not submitted with all the relevant documentation will be delayed. A request to submit a detailed proposal does NOT necessarily mean the project will be approved and funded by the Board.

Submission and Deadlines

The concept must be received by March 30th 2015. Detailed proposals will NOT be accepted after May 30th 2015. The concept and the detailed proposal should be sent to: OSIWA encourages the early submission of proposals. Submitted proposals will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The time required to review a proposal varies according to the complexity of the proposal, the problem being addressed, and the number of proposals being reviewed. Generally, it can take up to three to six months from the time a proposal is received to the dates a final decision is made. OSIWA strives to be as expeditious as possible in its review of inquiries and proposals. Please keep this in mind when planning.

The application documents are available at

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  • Jay Exodus Flanjay

    Would like receive information on grant for school operation.

  • Edna Kuma

    After reading the notes above I clicked onto your web-site and read OSIWA Application 2016. Can AWLA apply?. Where is the document on the Contribution of NGO's in the sub-region Thanks . Sent on behalf of AWLA -Ghana.

  • Henry Smith

    Dear Sir, We would like to know the status of SEC application. Indeed, we used concept note format containing full project information. hanks

Resource Centre

The Institute has a resource centre that is open to civil society actors in the region. It serves as a library of civil society documents, research reports and edited volumes that are accessible to both individuals and organisations. The Institute has partnered the Foundation Centre to provide online learning resources and a database of grant giving institutions in the United States of America.

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