major way in which Act! is able to undertake its capacity development and
organizational development is through issuing grants to partner organizations
to enable them undertake and achieve their own developmental objectives. Such
financial resources enable those organizations cater for their operational
costs (including salaries for the proct being funded by Act!) as well as
project implementation costs.
Step by step description of the Act!s' Grant Management Process
management can be summarized into the following phases:
a.) Selection of grantees:
generally selects its partners through competitive processes e.g. Annual
Program Statement (APS), Request for Application (RFA) or through Limited
Request for Application. Such modes of procurements are advised through either
the leading dailies in the country, radio, Act! website or through circulating
call for application usually provide crucial information to the potential
applicants such as eligibility, types of activities to be funded, number of
grants to be issued and their amounts, how selection will happen, how to submit
an application etc.
in some rare instances, a non competitive selection of a partner may be applied
e.g. where there is an issue that need urgent response OR when the issues that
need to be responded to are of technical nature that would only be responded to
by specific partners.
b.) Review and selection
- Act! ensures
evaluation of partners happens not only in most fair manner but also with a
target of getting the most competitive applicants.
- Review and selection
is usually classified into two levels:
(a). Compliance review:
which is more of a veto criteria of evaluation (e.g. checking adherence to the
basic requirements of the call such as adherence to deadline, submission of
necessary documents, page limits etc)
(b). Technical review:
this entails all compliant concept papers being read by a team of technical
reviewers. All technical reviewers are provided with same information including
scoring guidelines. These technical reviewers are expected to provide their
scores and recommendations to the grants team who will consolidate the scores,
do average and convene a meeting where the technical reviewers deliberate on
which organizations should be funded. The team does not only narrow down on
scores, but rather factor in issues to do with geographical coverage, inclusion
of the marginalized, uniqueness of approach, coverage of issues etc.
c.) Pre-award and
this phase the selected applicants are expected to develop their detailed proposals
and budgets factoring in recommendations provided by the technical review
committee. Act! reviews the proposals
and budgets and once they are deemed well written are forwaded to the donor (if
required) for concurrence before the grants are signed.
pre-award phase, Act! conducts a risk assessment of the partners through a
process commonly referred to as Management Control Assessment (MCA) where it
visits the potential grantee office and conducts the assessment through a tool
called Management Control Assessment Tool (MCAT).
d.) Award Phase:
is the phase where a grant is officially signed between Act! and partner’s
representative. It’s only upon signing this agreement that a grant is
considered as having been officially awarded. The agreement contains general
matters of the project e.g. project start and end date, grant amount, grantee
reporting requirements, project activities to be implemented etc.
A number of things
happen in this phase:
advances are done in this phase.
of activities by the partners happen.
such as (Monitoring & Evaluation, Technical training (e.g. on advocacy),
Finance & Grants management) are facilitated by Act! in a forum attended by
the partners representatives.
by partners on progress in implementation of activities as well as funds
expenditure takes place in this phase.
site visits happens in this phase (e.g. financial reviews, Organization
Development follow ups, Monitoring & Evaluation, Program visits).
building to partners happens through the site visits, trainings and other
is the phase where Act! and grantee determine whether all activities have been
implemented as per the agreement; all outstanding financial issues are
resolved, final reports (both programmatic and financial including audit (where
required)) are submitted by grantee to Act! and thereafter grant is
administratively closed out.
Some of the reasons why Act! has been successful in grants
1. The organization has
competent, experienced and highly qualified grants staff who attend regular
trainings on donor regulations.
2. Act! has a policy on
grants management which stipulates on its procedures of grants management.
3. The functions of the
grants unit are distinctively separated from general finance functions thus
making it more efficient.
4. Act! has variety of
tools it applies in grants management (e.g. Management Control Assessment Tool
5. The grants unit applies
adequate risk mitigation measures in management of awards to prevent
misappropriation of funds at the grantee end (e.g. site visits, disbursement of
funds in small bits).
6. Act! has over the past
10 years learnt and gained experience thus has built on measures to counter
check any mistakes it may have made on various grants management issues.