Canada Fund for Local Initiatives

For close to three decades, Canada has funded modest-scale development assistance projects in over 120 countries through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). The program is unique within the array of Canada’s international assistance programs as most of the decisions are made at missions. The projects are conceived and designed locally, making the CFLI highly responsive to local needs and interests.

Over the years, CFLI has provided significant assistance to people in the developing world, and has helped to forge Canada’s relationships with individuals and community organizations around the world.

See below for information on recent projects funded in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Call for Proposals

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) supports small-scale but high-impact projects in developing countries, which align with the one of the action areas that guide the Government of Canada’s international assistance.  The program is directed at projects conceived and designed predominantly by local partners. Projects are selected and approved by the relevant Canadian Embassy or High Commission.

The High Commission of Canada in South Africa manages the CFLI in the following countries: South Africa, Madagascar, Lesotho, Namibia and Mauritius.

Thematic Priorities

All projects must align with at least one of the following CFLI thematic priorities:

  • Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
  • Inclusive governance, including diversity, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
  • Human dignity, covering health, education and nutrition.
  • Growth that works for everyone, including women’s economic rights, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, investing in the poorest and most vulnerable, and safeguarding economic gains.
  • Environment and climate action focusing on adaptation and mitigation, as well as on water management.

Organizations eligible to apply for CFLI Funding

Within the context of eligible countries, eligible recipients include:

  • local non-governmental, community and not-for-profit organizations,
  • local academic institutions working on local projects,
  • international, intergovernmental, multilateral and regional institutions, organizations and
  • agencies working on local development activities,
  • municipal, regional or national government institutions or agencies of the recipient
  • country working on local projects, and
  • Canadian non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations that are working on local
  • development activities.

The majority of CFLI funding is to be directed toward local civil society organizations (including

non-governmental organizations) and other institutions working at the local level. Other entities,

such as international, intergovernmental, multilateral and regional organizations can be eligible for funding, provided they are working with local partners and on local projects that are consistent with the objectives of the CFLI. Similarly, municipal, regional or national government institutions may receive funding, provided that their projects are essentially local in nature. The CFLI is always looking to fund innovative projects, which deliver measurable results.

NEW! Gender-Based Analysis (GBA)

In 2017, Canada adopted a Feminist International Assistance Policy to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as the most effective way to reduce poverty and build a more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world. In alignment with this policy, a Gender-Based Analysis will be a required element of the CFLI project application process. The purpose of this change is to enhance the gender equality outcomes of the CFLI Program.

A Gender-Based Analysis will require applicants to: a) consider how women, girls, men, and boys are affected differently by the problem their project is aiming to address, including to ensure the project does not cause harm, b) consult women and/or girls in the development of their project proposal, and c) ensure that those views inform the project design. 

*Consultations can include, but are not limited to: speaking to women and girls from the local community; speaking to women and other individuals who work for civil society organizations that have worked in the local community; speaking to female and male decision and change-makers, who have knowledge of the local community.

Inadequate completion of a Gender-Based Analysis may affect the consideration of your proposal. 

Eligible Costs

The following costs are eligible within projects for CFLI funding:

  • administrative and overhead costs specifically related to the project,
  • capital and/or operating expenditures related to the lease and/or purchase and/or building of infrastructure,
  • installation, maintenance, shipping and/or transportation costs, including fuel, computers and communication devices,
  • civic education costs,
  • conference and event expenditures,
  • hospitality costs, excluding alcoholic beverages
  • training and capacity building expenditures,
  • costs of services received by recipients,
  • outreach, communication and information dissemination costs,
  • environmental assessment costs,
  • advocacy and lobbying related costs,
  • legal costs,
  • accounting costs,
  • medical costs,
  • publishing costs,
  • radio and television broadcast fees,
  • facilities and equipment rental charges,
  • research-related costs,
  • salary costs relating to the project,
  • security costs,
  • translation and interpretation fees,
  • travel expenses, using lowest fares possible but not exceeding full fare economy class (international travel expenses must receive prior approval from the CFLI Unit)
  • lease or rental of vehicles,
  • vehicle and equipment operation, installation and/or maintenance,
  • website development and related costs,
  • miscellaneous expenses integral to the project. 

The following costs are NOT eligible for CFLI funding:

  • nuclear technologies and facilities,
  • assistance to military or paramilitary organizations,
  • gifts,
  • luxury goods,
  • direct fiscal support to a government,
  • core funding or recurrent costs of an organization,
  • international travel (without prior approval from the CFLI Unit),
  • revolving funds, (that is, funds used to advance loans to individuals, i.e. microfinance),
  • expenses incurred prior to the signing of the CA, or after it expires.

Available Funding

The majority of the funded projects will receive between CAD $10,000 to $25,000.

Term of Projects

The majority of projects must be completed between the date of signature of the Contribution Agreement and 28 February 2019. Projects spanning two fiscal years (April 2018- March 2020) may be permitted depending on the project objectives and complexity of activities. 

Process to Submit a Proposal

  • To request an application form, send an e-mail to Please ensure that the proposed project meets one of the above mentioned priorities.
  • Once the application form is complete, please submit them electronically to the following e-mail address:
  • When emailing your application, use the subject line: CFLI proposal – COUNTRY – ORGANIZATON NAME
  • Financial proposals should be presented in Canadian Dollars (CAD). The currency converter can be found at
  • Each organisation is limited to the submission of one proposal. Only those proposals using the CFLI application forms will be considered.
  • Proposals must be completed in English or French.
  • Applications will be assessed for approval on their merits by a Selection Committee. Final selection of projects will be made by the Head of Mission.
  • Deadline for application is 31 May 2018

Project applications are kept on file at missions in accordance with Global Affairs Canada’s information management policies.

Due to the high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

Previous CFLI projects

2015-2016 CFLI Projects supported by the High Commission of Canada to South Africa

South Africa

  • Developing a transparent and robust internal control system to enhance community participation and good economic governance: With CFLI funds, WWF-SA improved the ability of fishers in the Kogelberg region of the Western Cape to participate in the marketing of their catches and in so doing improved the sustainable use of local marine resources.
  • Young researchers’ leadership program to promote human rights and youth participation in democratic processes and environmental sustainability: With CFLI funds, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) engaged youth on issues of environmental sustainability research and policy making.


  • Strengthening Community Groups through assistance in the formation of Cooperatives for freer market access and an effective enabling environment for local businesses: Through CFLI funding Send a Cow Lesotho conducted training for community cooperatives to increase their bargaining power, gain access to new markets, and reduce risks associated with new enterprises.
  • Strengthening Community’s Structures’ Capacity to fight Child Early and Forced Marriage: With funding from CFLI, Grow Lesotho improved the capacity of community support structures to deal with cases of child early and forced marriage and increased access of girls to community based support services.
  • Building a ‘GIRL4ce’ Movement to Champion Girls’ Rights in Lesotho in order to prevent child, early and forced marriage and sexual and gender based violence: Through CFLI funding, Help Lesotho built community engagement and mobilized a girl-led movement to prevent child, early and forced marriage and sexual and gender-based violence, increasing girls’ ability to champion girls’ rights.


  • Sensitisation and empowering youth leaders on human rights: With CFLI funds, Young Queer Alliance carried out youth leadership conferences and art projects to empower and sensitize young people about human rights, including of LGBT individuals.


  • Expanding the democratic participation of girls in social, economic, cultural and political development efforts in Madagascar through a National Leadership Summit for Girls: With funding from CFLI, Youth First organised a National Leadership Summit to empower girls to participate and take leadership in democratic development.


  • Empowering communities, in particular young people, in the Hardap and Karas regions of Namibia to prevent Gender Based Violence: Through CFLI funding, the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) raised awareness of the services available to victims of gender-based violence and helped prevent gender-based violence.

2014-2015 CFLI Projects supported by the High Commission of Canada to South Africa

South Africa

  • Raising awareness and understanding of LGBT issues through community engagement: With CFLI funding, the Waterberg Welfare Society worked toward protecting fundamental freedoms by engaging communities in Limpopo in focus group discussions about human rights, in particular the rights of LGBT persons. The project increased awareness and acceptance of diversity. 
  • Improving response to rape and gender-based violence through response system and training: With funds received from CFLI, the Viva Foundation of South Africa developed and distributed a community-based sexual violence prevention system, including developing and delivering training on gender equality. The project built the capacity of women and girls in the Alaska community in Mamelodi to understand their rights and to prevent sexual and gender based violence.
  • Empowerment of sexual crime victims through better knowledge of information rights and further development of the Road to Justice Information System (RJIS): With CFLI funds, the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) conducted community capacity building sessions on information rights for victims of crime to ensure individuals have the knowledge and information to demand better treatment before, during and after they have reported an incident of violence or a sexual assault. ODAC continued development of a mobile phone based application that can be used for victims of crime to track and monitor progress of their cases through the justice system (the Road to Justice Information System).  
  • Sensitizing paralegals on LGBT issues to raise awareness of LGBT rights: With CFLI funds, the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre brought together legal practitioners and community leaders for training sessions and dialogues on LGBTI issues and how to protect and promote the rights of LGBT persons in the region. The project improved access to information on human rights and legislation as it affects LGBT persons.
  • Improving accountability in Emfuleni municipality: With CFLI funding, the Community Initiative for Social Enhancement (CISE) increased community participation in municipal processes especially in matters of financial accountability. CISE achieved these objectives through social accountability public dialogues, public debates, capacity building workshops and community meetings. In addition, a Local Government Task Team was formed to represent the community in meetings with the Municipality. The project increased collaboration between civil society and local authorities and helped improve public service delivery.  
  • Providing institutional support to five land reform projects: With funds received from CFLI, Lima Rural Development Foundation provided training and support to five Community Property Associations in KwaZulu-Natal on how to manage their land and run businesses – including training sessions on business governance, finances, and administration. The training helped strengthen operative and financial governance within the Associations making them better able to promote economic development in their communities.  
  • Masisukumeni victim empowerment project: With funds received from CFLI, Masisukumeni Women’s Crisis Centre worked to prevent sexual violence and early marriage through public awareness education and advocacy.


  • Creating community dialogues on democracy in Lesotho:With CFLI funding, the Transformation Resource Centre worked to strengthen political parties and civil society groups’ understanding of coalition governments. In addition, the project established women’s community forums within selected councils to ensure that women enjoy equal participation and opportunities in community decision-making processes. The project helped improve governance at local levels.
  • Encouraging acceptance of diversity and awareness of the violations directed toward LGBT individuals:With CFLI funds, the Matrix Support Groupworked through public dialogues and facilitated film screenings to increase acceptance of diversity, increase awareness of and respect for the rights of LGBT persons and to encourage an inclusive and open environment for LGBT persons in Lesotho.  
  • Promoting protection of women and children from sexual violence and early forced marriage in Lesotho:With funding from CFLI, the Federation of Women Lawyers-Lesotho (FIDALES) advanced the promotion of human rights of women and children. The project included public outreach activities to educate communities about the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act, 2011 and the Sexual Offence’s Act, 2003, which has resulted in an increased number of reported cases by women and children who are victims of sexual violence and early forced marriage.


  • Promoting political transparency and integrity: With CFLI funds, Transparency Mauritiusengaged the private sector, as well as youth to participate in the fight against corruption. Transparency Mauritius encouraged private sector CEOs to support transparent and accountable political financing. In addition, Transparency Mauritius engaged with youth clubs to promote issues of transparency and accountability. 
  • Awareness-raising campaign to improve acceptance of the LGBT community of Mauritius: With funds from CFLI, Collectif Arc-en-Ciel held an information campaign to stop prejudice and discrimination against LGBT persons in Mauritius. The campaign included a publicized launch, informational billboards in public places, press conferences and media interviews. The project empowered people to be aware of and address prejudices.


  • Increasing understanding of corruption and supporting victims of corruption: With CFLI funds, Transparency Madagascar contributed to the fight against corruption in local government and promoted the rule of law by providing an information framework and legal support to victims and witnesses of corruption and abuse. The project strengthened the commitment among community leaders to take action against corruption. 
  • Strengthening democracy through citizenship education in Antananarivo:With CFLI funding, ONG Lalana encouraged the participation of vulnerable groups, in particular women in local politics. The project inspired awareness and innovation within the community to identify and develop solutions to challenges they are facing.


  • Action campaign for promoting the rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBT) in Namibia: With funds received from CFLI, Gender Links Namibia conducted a pilot Sixteen Day campaign at the local level with a focus on educating local communities on the rights of LGBT persons. Community training workshops, dialogues and cyber dialogues were conducted. The project increased awareness of and respect for the rights of LGBT persons.

2013-2014 CFLI Projects supported by the High Commission of Canada to South Africa

South Africa

  • Building entrepreneurship and leadership skills of vulnerable youth: With CFLI funding, the African Leadership Academy developed the skills, abilities, and confidence of disadvantaged youth in order to help them independently solve problems, develop their communities, and become ethical leaders. 
  • Promoting human rights through community radio: With CFLI funds, using radio as a platform for change Bush Radio produced programs to promote human rights, including women’s rights, LGBTI rights, and disabled people’s rights. 
  • Strengthening civil society’s contribution to the electoral process: With funds received from CFLI, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa worked with civil society organisations to develop voter education materials with a specific focus on youth and to train facilitators, who then provided voter education sessions to members of their communities. 
  • Addressing sexual and gender-based violence through training by peer educators: With funds received from CFLI, Africa Unite provided training and engaged youth in dialogues to increase the understanding of issues of equality between men and women as well as to promote prevention of gender-based violence. 
  • Increasing women’s capacity to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence: With CFLI funding this project by Play at Heart created awareness of gender based violence and empowered women to prevent and address it. 
  • Support for traders who are refugee or asylum-seekers, through development of a manual and training on licensing requirements: With funds received from CFLI, Lawyers for Human Rights provided training and support to shop-owners to ensure that their businesses are lawfully compliant and that, with proper recordkeeping and business practices, the traders can protect their businesses from loss due to attacks and violence.


  • Increasing election education: With CFLI funding this project bythe Institute for Public Policy Research raised the level of awareness among Namibian voters about key issues relating to the conduct of elections in Namibia.


  • Support for election education in Madagascar: With CFLI funds the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa helped to promote equal opportunities and capacity for Malagasy women to be represented in decision-making positions; promoting gender equality in governing and decision-making processes.

2012-2013 CFLI Projects supported by the High Commission of Canada to South Africa

South Africa

  • Promoting social cohesion through conflict resolution mechanisms and peace building initiatives: With CFLI funding this project by the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa trained religious leaders in Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal on conflict resolution and peace building mechanisms including engaging in advocacy to promote the safety of non-nationals. 
  • Right and Responsibilities training for refugees and other stakeholders in the Eastern Cape: With funds received from CFLI the Refugee Rights Centre contributed to creating a just and rights-based environment for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the Eastern Cape. This was done through training sessions on the rights and responsibilities of refugees and the obligations of government departments in terms of the Refugees and Immigration Acts and International legislation. 
  • Community building through strengthening Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) rights in KwaZulu Natal: With CFLI funding the Gay and Lesbian Network were supported in their efforts to expand services in Greater Edendale in Pietermaritzburg.


  • Empowering young mothers in rural Lesotho: With funds received from CFLI, Help Lesotho helped to improve the health status of young mothers by providing access to information and training sessions on maternal health and nutrition, as well as psychosocial support. The project also raised awareness on how to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. 
  • Promoting citizen participation in governance: With CFLI funding the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) empowered citizens and community based organizations to better engage with community councils, to monitor budget expenditures and service delivery, and to hold the councils accountable. 
  • Enhancing the Capacity of the National Assembly Ethics Committee: With funds received from CFLI, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa increased the capacity of National Assembly members by supporting the Lesotho Parliament Ethics Committee and by increasing awareness of ethical practices among parliamentarians.


  • Community empowerment through disability engagement: With CFLI funding the Disability Economic Empowerment Project (DEEP) increased the support they provide to disabled community members in Oshakati by providing means of transport, improving income generating opportunities, and increasing awareness of DEEP’s services. 
  • Election education: With funds received from CFLI, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) supported democracy in Namibia by raising the level of awareness among voters on key issues related to the conduct of elections and by providing a platform for discussion on the electoral process as well as election issues.


  • Safeguarding the integrity and transparency of the electoral process: With CFLI funding the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa provided training on how to conduct electoral observation and developed manuals for use during future elections.