Small Grants Scheme

Please click HERE to access Australia Awards Pakistan Alumni Forum.

Small Grants Scheme

Monday, 5 January 2015


The Small Grants Scheme is an initiative of the Australia Awards to facilitate alumni working towards sustainable development in Pakistan. Under this scheme, all Australia Awards alumni across Pakistan will have an opportunity to access a small grant to assist in executing an approved development activity related to the Australia Awards priority sectors of maternal, neonatal and child health services, basic education services, rural development and food security and governance with a particular focus on improving pro poor service delivery.



The Australia Awards are aimed at improving sustainable, pro-poor service delivery and governance in the priority geographical locations of Balochistan, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, in line with the country’s development priorities. This is achieved through building the technical and leadership capacity of men and women working in designated sectors. Qualified professionals working in Australia Awards priority sectors are competitively awarded scholarships to Australian universities to develop their knowledge and technical skills, and gain exposure to and learn from international best practices needed for progressive development.

Upon return to Pakistan, alumni are encouraged and are ambitious to bring about change in the existing systems pertaining to the sector in which they are working; however, there are usually many challenges creating barriers to the conduct of activities needed to bring about such changes. Consequently, many feasible, practical and highly-needed development plans remain unutilised



The small grants are designed to assist proactive alumni to implement activities contributing to sustainable development in Pakistan. Alumni can propose a development activity related to improvements in service delivery in one of the Australia Awards priority sectors; maternal neonatal and child health services, basic education services, rural development and food security and governance with a particular focus on improving pro poor service delivery. The activity could be related to research, advocacy, developing and implementing new practices or processes for increased efficiency or improving existing systems. The expected outcomes of successful proposals are:

    • Increased sustainability of development in Pakistan aligned to the program objectives and the achievement of the MDGs, through alumni contribution, either individually or in a group.
    • A pooling of the capacities of skilled professionals to achieve common development objectives.
    • A platform for sector specialists/organisations to develop linkages/consortiums that can continue to work with or without the support of a small grant.


Eligibility Criteria

a) Eligible alumni are those who commit to:

  • the development and implementation of sound policies and practices focused on the achievement of MDGs in Pakistan

  • networking amongst alumni and across the public and private sectors and civil society for development benefits

  • taking ownership of the proposed activity

b) Eligible alumni must have successfully completed a master degree or a short course under the Australia Awards.

c) Eligible alumni must be registered with the Australia Awards Alumni - Pakistan database at the time of application.

d) Eligible organisations are those who employ alumnus/alumni of the Australia Awards program.

e) Applications from employing organisations must be endorsed by the organisation head.

f) An alumnus/group of alumni /alumni-employing organisation which demonstrates that receiving a grant is a step on the way to self-sufficiency and sustainability of the activity will be rated more highly than those which are unable to demonstrate this.

g) Grants to employing organisations are resources that complement those already available to the organisation, enabling a greater development benefit than would otherwise have been possible. Grants are not provided as a substitute for organisational funds.

h) Grants to individual alumni may allow them to deliver or organise a one-off professional development opportunity including symposia, workshops, conferences and courses in Pakistan for the benefit of relevant professionals, field workers and communities within the priority fields.

i) Applications that are carefully targeted to achieve maximum impact and measurable outcomes will be favoured.

j) Applications must be fully completed and submitted during the call for proposal periods as advertised in Australia Awards website at 

k) Successful applicants will be required to acquit funds according to the given guidelines, which will be provided as part of the process of confirming the grant.

l) Recipients of a grant will:

  • Confirm a simple approach to monitoring and evaluation as part of the application.

  • Provide a report on the application of the funding in a format agreed with Australia Awards (this format will be determined according to the requirements of the proposal).

  • Participate in further monitoring and evaluation if Australia Awards wishes to carry this out as part of broader impact assessments.

m) The proposed activity must coincide with Australia Awards priority sectors.


Grants can be used for the following:

  • Organising in-Pakistan professional workshops or short training courses, focusing on Australia Awards’ priority sectors (maternal, neonatal and child health services, basic education services, rural development and food security and governance- with a particular focus on improving pro poor service delivery) to transfer/share knowledge/skills gained from Australia adaptable to Pakistan’s context.

  • Advocacy activities aimed at improving community awareness of issues relevant to advancing development in Australia Awards’ priority sectors.

  • Supporting an in-Pakistan research study or component of a study in one or more of Australia Awards’ priority sectors that can inform future policy development or promote or facilitate better practice.

These grants will not support:

  • Pre-investment/feasibility studies or pilot demonstration projects related to potential commercial activities.

  • Academic or short course training for individual alumni in-country or in any other part of the world (The grants will not be awarded for individual capacity building).



In the 2nd round of the Small Grants Scheme, up to five small grants of a maximum value of AUD 5,000 may be awarded to registered alumni. In case there are no qualifying applications, no small grant may be awarded in this round. Proposals may be submitted by an individual alumnus, a group of same sector alumni or an organisation employing Australia Awards alumni working towards a common development goal. All proposals will be assessed under the defined criteria, standards and procedures aligned with the overall Australia Awards objectives. The proposed activity must be completed within a period of 12 months.

An individual, group of alumni or alumni employing organisation can only submit one proposal in one grants cycle. Applicants may apply again in the next grants cycle whether they have been awarded a grant(s) previously or not.

The process of acquiring a Small Grant is as follows:

  • Submission of application: When the Small Grants Scheme is announced, applicants will have a period of one month to submit their application to Australia Awards Managing Contractor (MC) in Pakistan. The application must be complete, attaching all of the required documentation at the time of submission for it to be considered. 

  • Shortlisting of applications: One representative from Australia Awards in Pakistan and two members of the Australia Awards Scholarships Alumni – Pakistan Executive Committee will shortlist the applications. This shortlisting will be done using a ‘Proposal Scoring Sheet’ Proposals achieving above 70% on the scoring sheet will be shortlisted for final selection. 

  • Final selection of proposal for awarding a small grant: The shortlisted proposals will be sent to DFAT - aid program for final selection. DFAT may award up to five small grants in one cycle. The Assessment panel at DFAT will comprise of the Australia Awards Officer, an A-Based officer and an Australia Awards alumni.

On request, the Australia Awards Scholarship Alumni – Pakistan Executive Committee (EC) will facilitate monitoring the proposed development activity to ensure results are being achieved as per the proposed plan. This monitoring will be done by reviewing timely progress reports, meetings with project team (face-to-face/Skype/etc.) and/or inviting project team(s) to EC meetings.


Proposal Assessment Standards

Proposals will be assessed on the following standards:

  • Proposals are realistic and supported by a well-defined work plan and timeline for execution.

  • Proposals are linked to the knowledge and skills gained through the Masters course(s) or short course(s) undertaken in Australia.

  • Proposal must demonstrate how the activity will add value to existing systems or processes that delivers developmental benefits to Pakistan.

Priority considerations will be given to proposals as follows:

  • Proposals that complement and contribute to the outcomes/objectives of the Australia Awards program.

  • Proposals that include a financial contribution and/or a contribution in kind from the alumnus/group of alumnus/alumni employing organisation. 


Monitoring and Reporting

The following reports will be required from Grant recipients once the approved activity has started:

  • Progress Report/Interim Report to be submitted every quarter (for activities that extend more than six months). For activities with duration of more than three months but less than six months, an interim report must be submitted at 3 months. These reports should provide a brief overview of the activity achievements against what was anticipated in the application. Any significant problems encountered should be described as well as action(s) taken to overcome these problems. In addition, recipients are required to advise of any problems outside of the reporting cycle to maximise their chance of overcoming the problem in a timely matter.

  • Completion Report to be submitted within one month of activity completion. Recipients must submit an activity completion report for each proposal using the Activity Completion Report template. Where a group of alumni is the recipient of a Grant, a single Activity Completion Report is sufficient.

Recipients may be contacted by Australia Awards at any time to seek information on the implementation and progress of activities for audit/review purposes. If for any reason, the proposed activity or any activities included in the proposal cannot proceed as originally approved, the Australia Awards in Pakistan Office must be informed immediately in writing. In such situations, Australia Awards will require any unexpended funds to be returned. The outcomes of the Small Grant activities will be evaluated biannually, as a component of the Australia Awards in Pakistan Monitoring and Evaluation strategy.



The value of a Small Grant for a single activity will be up to AUD 5,000. A detailed budget of activities must be provided using the given template along with the proposal as per the budget template (part of Application form). 

Financial Requirements and Disbursements

The following budget items are not eligible for financial support under the Small Grant Scheme:

  • Payments to non-Pakistani nationals for services rendered.

  • Fees/salaries to alumni for any work/tasks carried out by alumni who are involved in the execution of the approved proposal.

  • Alumni will not be compensated for writing the proposal, whether it gets approved or not.

Grants will be disbursed in Pakistani Rupees in two installments as follows: 

  • On approval, 80% of grants sum will be disbursed to the recipient.

  • The final 20% (or actual outstanding funds required up to 20%) will be disbursed once DFAT and The Managing Contractor are satisfied with the outcome/s of the activity as reported in the Activity Completion Report and the Financial Acquittal Report. The Financial Acquittal Report should include official receipts for each approved item of expenditure.

The grants money will be transferred to grantee(s) bank account depending on the type of application being awarded a small grant.

  • In case of single alumnus, his/her bank account will be used.

  • In case of a group of alumni, one member will be nominated by the group whose bank account will be used.

  • In case of an organisation, the organisation’s bank account will be used.

For activities involving a grant for a single activity requiring an amount less than AUD 2,500, the full amount may be disbursed at the one time. 

In case of non-delivery of the agreed activity, a thorough investigation by the Australia Awards team will be carried out to assess the cause(s) of failure. Situation will be considered under the following guidelines:

  • In case of failure due to Force Majeure, the grantee(s) will not be liable to return the grant. However, if there are any unexpended funds, the grantee(s) will be obligated to return these to the Australia Awards.

  • In case the activity needs to be re-scheduled, the grantee(s) must provide substantial evidence to support the request in order to hold the unexpended funds.

  • In case the activity has failed to occur due to the grantee(s) own negligence, the grantee(s) may be requested to return the total amount of funds or any unexpended funds. If it is possible for the activity to take place at a future date, the grantee(s) will be expected to complete the activity without providing any additional funding through this scheme.

  • In case grantee(s) fraudulently try to use the small grants funds for personal benefits, the grantee(s) maybe be black listed from all future alumni activities and a process will be initiated to recover the full amount of the grant in accordance with DFAT’s ’s Fraud Policy ‘ Fraud Control Plan 2012/13 – 2014/15.


Submitting an Application

Please submit your applications at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Hard copies of the applications not required. For further information call at +92-51-2600186-9 


Applications are now Closed 

Small Grants Scheme - Frequently asked questions