GPSA Fourth Call for Proposals

FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

A. Eligibility and Application Requirements

B. GPSA Grant Funding Amounts and Application Budget

C. Covered Themes, Sector and Areas in Country Calls and Grant Proposals

D. Grants Selection Criteria

 

A. Eligibility and Application Requirements

1. Who can apply?

ONLY Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from opted-in countries included in the current call for proposals are eligible to apply. CSOs include legal entities that fall outside the public or for-profit sector, such as non-government organizations, not-for-profit media organizations, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional organizations, labor unions, workers’ organizations, associations of elected local representatives, foundations and policy development and research institutes. E.g.: If your organization is a non-profit international inter-governmental organization, it is not eligible to apply for a grant.

 

2. What were the criteria for shortlisting these six countries?

The six countries included in this call were selected after a thorough consultation process, led in close collaboration with the World Bank’s Country Offices. The main criteria prioritized for selecting them were:

  • Demand for GPSA support from World Bank Country Offices (Country Management Units), coupled with a comprehensive citizen engagement strategy integrated into the World Bank’s country strategy (“Country Partnership Frameworks”).

  • Synergies with the World Bank’s ongoing or pipeline projects: the GPSA experience with previous grants has shown that coordinating grant activities with the World Bank’s sector work has proven critical for long-term results in several GPSA projects.

  • Country’s potential to raise or leverage complementary funds to those of the CfP. 

  • The identification of a theme – defined as a concrete governance or development challenge- whereby the GPSA grant would add value in the country by supporting new, innovative ways of strengthening social accountability through civil society-government collaborative engagement

 

3. How can my organization apply to this call for proposals? What are the administrative documents required? 

You will find all the information required to prepare your proposal in the Application Guidelines available here [LINK], and the application form here [LINK].  Please note that all applications, without exception, must be submitted in English. We regret not having the capacity to translate proposals from many different languages to English. Applicants may still work off-line in their local language and have the proposal translated before sending to: GPSAcall4proposals@worldbank.org

 

4. Are there other requirements besides holding legal status in the country where the proposal will be implemented (in one of the eight participating countries in this call)?

Yes, the other eligibility requirements for applicant CSOs are:

  • Have at least 3 to 5 years of proven experience in the social accountability field. The applicant will have to provide information about its past and current experience.

  • The organization must also comply with the following requirements related to management autonomy: 

  • Prepare the Proposal Budget on the basis of the organization’s local budget only. 

  • Confirm that the organization manages its budget with autonomy (financial autonomy). The use of GPSA funds is restricted to the activities included in the proposal budget, should the proposal be selected.

  • The organization has a local bank account in the country where the proposal will be implemented (and where it holds legal status) and is able/authorized to receive grant funding directly from the World Bank, should the proposal be selected. GPSA funds cannot be transferred to affiliates of the applicant CSO located in other countries.  

  • The main applicant has a representative that is authorized to sign a grant agreement on its behalf with the World Bank, should the proposal be selected. 

Eligibility requirements are also described in the Application Guidelines here.

 

5. Can more than one organization pair up in a joint proposal?

Yes, the GPSA encourages partnerships amongst CSOs based on the idea that social accountability processes require various types of civil society expertise and capacities in order to be effective. Please note that applications can only be submitted by ONE organization (the lead applicant CSO). You will be asked to describe the partnership scheme in the application form. There is no limit of participating partners in a certain project.

Only the lead applicant (CSO submitting the application form, legally established in one of the eight countries) may be the recipient of GPSA grant funding and thus fiduciary responsible for such funds.

The GPSA allows grantee CSOs to share grant funds with partner or mentee CSOs. Depending on the type and scope of partners’ involvement in project implementation, lead CSOs may enter into an implementation agreement with partner CSOs, or they may enter into a contract for specific activities.

If your organization is a nascent organization with limited experience on social accountability and has an idea or project that is aligned with the priority areas defined in one of the country calls for proposals, we suggest that you contact the World Bank Office in your country in order to seek assistance in looking for a Mentor-partner CSO that could be a good match with your organization. Alternatively, you could seek for partners outside your country that would complement in some way what your organization would like to implement. You should also check the list of GPSA Global Partners available at the GPSA website www.thegpsa.org to look for a potential mentor. 

More information about partnership arrangements can be found in the Application Guidelines.

 

6. Can we submit an application on behalf of a network of CSOs? How does the GPSA consider partnerships and networks of CSOs for the grant application?

CSOs may propose a partnership arrangement with other CSOs for the purposes of preparing and submitting a grant application to the GPSA (please see question above regarding partnerships and who can submit the application.) In this case, partners must be identified in the proposal, and their roles and responsibilities must be spelled out as part of the proposal’s (i) implementation arrangements, (ii) project team, and (iii) budget sharing scheme. For instance, partner CSOs may be responsible for implementing one or more components, or for specific roles, such as project management or training, among others. In these cases, depending on the scope of partners’ responsibilities, the main applicant may sign an implementation agreement with the partner CSO(s) or may sign a contract (for consultant or training services). In both cases, the main applicant CSO is fiduciary responsible for the funds transferred to the partner. The GPSA-WB might determine the need to review partner CSOs’ fiduciary capacity, as well as the implementation agreement.

In the case of existing CSO networks, a network might be able to receive funds from the main applicant if (i) it has a formal role and responsibility over some of the proposal’s activities, and (ii) it can receive payment against specific deliverables, in which case it will need to have legal status and the scope of implementation responsibilities might require the preparation of an implementation agreement. In some cases, CSO networks can also be included as informal partners, without being expected to receive funds, even if they are expected to take part in some of the activities to be implemented.

 

7. Can international NGOs, with presence in a number of countries, apply to the call for proposals in more than one country? 

In this case, the international NGO’s national affiliates based in the participating countries are eligible to apply if they have legal status in those countries. A multi-country proposal would be eligible as long as (i) the main applicant is registered as a legal entity in one of the participating countries where the proposal will be implemented; (ii) another affiliate or partner CSO has legal status in the other countries included in the proposal, and can provide evidence of the organization’s experience in said countries; and (iii) all the proposed activities must be aligned with the themes included in each one of the individual country calls.

 

8. Can a similar project be implemented simultaneously in two countries? Can an organization submit more than one proposal for different countries?

Although it seems an unlikely case, a similar proposal might be implemented simultaneously in two countries as long as the overall approach and activities are tailored to each country, particularly to the specific theme and issues defined in the respective country call. Moreover, the proposal would have to provide a sound explanation with regards to why an identical set of activities would work in each country, given different contexts.

A CSO may submit more than one proposal for different countries as long as it complies with the eligibility requirements set out by the GPSA:

  • Have legal status as a nonprofit organization in the country where the proposal will be implemented (part of the eight participating countries in this call)

  • Have at least 3 to 5 years of proven experience in the social accountability field. The applicant will have to provide information about its past and current experience.

  • The organization must also comply with the following requirements related to management autonomy: 

  • Prepare the Proposal Budget on the basis of the organization’s local budget only. 

  • Confirm that the organization manages its budget with autonomy (financial autonomy). The use of GPSA funds is restricted to the activities included in the proposal budget, should the proposal be selected.

  • The organization has a local bank account in the country where the proposal will be implemented (and where it holds legal status) and is able/authorized to receive grant funding directly from the World Bank, should the proposal be selected. GPSA funds cannot be transferred to affiliates of the applicant CSO located in other countries.  

  • The main applicant has a representative that is authorized to sign a grant agreement on its behalf with the World Bank, should the proposal be selected. 

Eligibility requirements are also described in the Application Guidelines here.

 

B. GPSA Grant Funding Amounts & Application Budget

9. Does the funding range represent the total envelope for a country or what one CSO can get?

The funding range refers to available funding for CSOs’ grant proposals, not to the total envelope for each country.

 

10. Can we subcontract work? Should we readily indicate this in the proposal?

Yes. Allowable expense categories include international and national-based consultants (individuals or firms). Please see the Application Guidelines for more information.

 

11. Will we be expected to report to Government what we are doing and account to them on financial expenditures?

Recipients of GPSA funding are responsible for grant’s technical and financial reporting to the World Bank only.

 

12. Can a CSO hire government officials or pay public institutions for service provision? 

No. GPSA grants follow World Bank fiduciary guidelines; procurement guidelines do not allow grant funds benefitting civil society organizations to be used for the purposes of hiring public officials or public institutions. 

 

13. Can we allocate required budget for rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities without which they can't effectively participate? 

No, this is not an allowed expense category.

 

C. Covered Themes, Sector and Areas in Country Calls and Grant Proposals

14. Can we cover other themes, areas or sectors not included in this call?

No, grant applications can only address the themes, areas and sectors determined by each country call for proposals.

 

15. Do we need to have previous experience in the theme, area or sector indicated in the country call for proposals?

Having previous experience in the theme, area or sector indicated in the country call will help to strengthen your proposal. However, in some cases, CSOs with experience on social accountability processes lack experience in a certain theme or sector. In previous calls for proposals, many CSOs have partnered with others in order to complement their expertise and capacities. There are projects whereby CSOs with extensive social accountability experience have partnered with CSOs with extensive sector experience, such as in education or health.

 

16. Can proposals focus on implementing activities at the sub-national level only?

CSOs from GPSA shortlisted participating countries may propose to implement social accountability initiatives or programs at the national or sub-national level. Irrespective of the scope, activities must be aligned with the priorities defined in each shortlisted country. In general, the themes prioritized in each country also include references to linking and coordinating social accountability efforts with public sector institutions at the national level. Thus, even if implementation of social accountability activities takes place at the sub-national level, the proposal must connect them to broader processes, particularly to reform efforts led by central-level ministries or other public sector institutions beyond limited geographic areas.

The GPSA supports efforts by CSOs to scale-up and expand social accountability processes beyond “pilot” or micro-areas. If the proposal targets a specific sub-national area, you must explain why this area is targeted, and how will project activities link to national-level policies and to efforts to establish sustainable social accountability mechanisms at a large scale.

 

17. Would it be acceptable for one organization to present two independent proposals on two different areas?

There is no limit to the number of proposals that individual CSOs may submit. However, each proposal must respond to the theme(s) included in the country call for proposals.

 

18. The Application Guidelines indicate that the GPSA ‘Knowledge Platform’ offers a global space for facilitating the advancement of knowledge and learning on social accountability. How important is it to design a global space over a local space?

The GPSA program consists of 2 Components (different from a proposal's components): 1) funding (grants competition) and 2) a Knowledge Platform on social accountability. The GPSA Knowledge Platform is global in scope, meaning it aims to generate and share knowledge on social accountability at the global level, so that everyone can learn about social accountability, what works and what doesn't.

A different type of knowledge and learning component is included in grant projects. The GPSA requires applicant CSOs to include a component for harnessing and systematizing the project’s learning. First, this learning is expected to be used to improve implementation (“adaptive management and learning”), and second, it is also expected to generate knowledge that can be shared at the country and global levels.

Grantee CSOs are thus expected (1) to contribute to advance knowledge and learning on social accountability in the sector relevant to the grant project, and (2) to share such knowledge with local stakeholders as well as through the GPSA’s Knowledge Platform. You can find more information about the Knowledge Platform here.

 

D. Grants Selection Criteria

19. What are the technical criteria used for selecting the grant applications?

As indicated in the Application Guidelines, proposals are assessed based on the following criteria:

Focus on specific governance and development challenge

 

  • Ability to focus on a concrete governance and/or development challenge in the form of a well-defined public policy problem or issue, using supporting data evidencing it and showing the relevance of the proposed target problem to the areas prioritized in the country call for proposals.

Approach to state-civil society collaborative engagement

  • Ability to reflect GPSA’s problem-solving, solution-driven approach by providing well-articulated and convincing answers to three key questions:
    • Which public sector institutions can solve the problem and what are they already doing to solve it?
    • Why will they be interested in establishing a collaborative framework with CSOs to produce meaningful feedback and support citizens’ active participation in service delivery and public decision-making?
    • What type of problems will this collaborative framework help them to solve in public institutions and across service delivery chains?

 

Justification of social accountability approach

  • Ability to provide a sound rationale for the need to establish new or strengthen existing social accountability mechanisms and processes:
  1. Why the proposed approach will work better than past or existing initiatives -or add value to an existing initiative- to promote citizens’ active participation through social accountability
  2. Key aspects that will help the approach to become sustainable after the project’s closing, as well as the aspects considered to expand or scale up the approach (through both state-led and civil society-led actions and mechanisms)
  3. Roles of public sector institutions, CSOs and citizen groups throughout project implementation, and how the roles will evolve as the social accountability process becomes sustainable or is scaled up
  4. How the proposed approach will complement and add value to public service delivery and institutional/management processes. In which ways will social accountability mechanisms help to make a difference in the sector?
  5. How the approach will combine multiple, inter-connected actions and tactics, including at the sub-national and national levels, to promote state’s responsiveness and accountability

 

Collective action through partnerships and coalition-building

  • The proposal acknowledges the need to engage different stakeholders within and outside government to address the stated challenges. It includes formal or informal partnership arrangements with a clear allocation of functions according to each actor’s expertise, outreach capacities and influence.
  • The proposal includes partnership arrangements with other CSOs based on complementary expertise and outreach capacities. It puts forth a reasonable and fair scheme to share grant funds with partner CSOs, according to implementation roles and responsibilities.

 

Appropriate Budget

  • Clarity and reasonableness of the proposal’s budget as reflected in (i) the balance between the proposal’s duration and the requested budget, (ii) a realistic allocation of budget resources amongst the applicant CSO and any partner CSOs with clear and specific roles, including less-experienced CSOs that are included as “Mentee CSOs”

 

 

20. How does the GPSA define Social Accountability?

Social accountability is a form of citizen engagement defined in World Bank reports as the “extent and capability of citizens to hold the state accountable and make it responsive to their needs” (World Bank 2012, 30-31, cited in Grandvoinnet et.al, 2015) Grandvoinnet et.al. (2015) conceptualize social accountability as the interplay of five constitutive elements: citizen action and state action, as well as information, interface, and civic mobilization.

In practice, social accountability takes places as a process within dynamic socio-political contexts, and entails the use of public spaces and fora, mechanisms and “tools”, including formal (i.e., mandated by laws and regulations) and informal (set up or organized by CSOs and citizen groups themselves) for engaging people and communities in meaningful and  inclusive participation and deliberation aimed at public problem-solving, and, ultimately, at increasing public transparency and accountability as well as improving public governance and accelerating development.  There can be, however, other outcomes and results expected of social accountability processes, such as empowering citizens to claim their rights and demand accountability or reducing corruption, among others.

The GPSA’s approach to social accountability emphasizes several key elements:

  • Solution-driven approach → In order to address specific governance and service delivery problems that affect peoples' well-being, the starting point is the identification of problems whereby meaningful citizen participation and feedback is needed to better understand their causes and to develop appropriate solutions. 

  • Context-specific → Issues and problems are set within an understanding of the context of actors, institutions and processes already involved in them, including those that have an interest or are affected by the issue, those that oppose or propose certain solutions.
     
  • Collaborative engagement → Both the informed, inclusive participatory process and the actual feedback that is generated through social accountability must be shared and discussed with relevant public sector institutions and actors, primarily those with the decision-making power to translate the feedback obtained into actual changes aimed at improving governance and development processes. CSOs can establish terms of collaboration with public sector institutions for information-sharing, capacity-building and joint action aimed at problem-solving. Terms must be clear and periodically revised in order to protect and preserve civil society’s independence.
  • Multi-stakeholder coalitions and partnerships → The complexity of governance and service delivery problems calls for the concerted action of actors that have direct and indirect interests in supporting their resolution. It also requires the combination of diverse types of expertise, outreach capacities, and influence in order to work simultaneously on the range of dimensions involved.

The approach thus assumes that, in order to be effective, social accountability processes must engage both citizens and public sector institutions, especially those with decision-making power to address the issues raised by citizens and CSOs. It is a double-way process, and as such, it cannot rely only on assumptions based on citizen action only. Therefore, the proposed process must be as explicit regarding the actions on the part of public sector institutions (and of other relevant stakeholders such as the private sector, the media, etc.) that will be required for it to be considered a plausible and realistic approach.

For civil society organizations and groups, the choice of social accountability mechanisms and tools is grounded on several considerations, such as a cost-benefit analysis of alternatives and sustainability prospects, an analysis of the political-institutional context, an assessment of needs and problems regarding the service delivery chain or the management process, among others, as well as of “entry points” for introducing the process, particularly when there aren’t any existing formal mechanisms or spaces such as those established by law. An assessment of existing capacities and incentives of the actors to be engaged, including service users, CSOs, service providers and public sector institutions is another critical consideration when determining social accountability strategies.

For more information, please check the Application Guidelines, or the GPSA’s Knowledge Platform.

 

21. Would collaboration with policy-makers (ie. government) be an important consideration in the selection process?

Yes. For the GPSA it is critical that the information generated through social accountability mechanisms be used by public institutions as a basis for improving specific public services, programs and management processes. You will see that there are very concrete questions about this in the application template.

The idea of “collaborative social accountability” has evolved overtime based on the GPSA’s experience supporting CSOs through grants. The GPSA supports social accountability processes and mechanisms that respect and preserve civil society’s independence and autonomy while at the same time promote collaborative civil society-state engagement. Public sector institutions can go beyond the Government or Executive branch. They may include Parliaments, Supreme Audit Institutions, Regulatory Agencies, Ombudsman, etc. 

For more information, please check GPSA grant projects here.

 

22. Who will evaluate the proposals? 

The first screening will be carried out by World Bank Country Offices to check applications’ alignment with country’s priority areas and applicants’ eligibility. Eligible applications will then undergo a technical review that will be carried out by a Global Roster of Experts. Please see the Application Guidelines for more information on the applications’ review process.