RSSAF Small Grants for Economic, Political and Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Rhodes Scholars’ Southern Africa Forum (RSSAF) is accepting applications for small grants for economic, political and social development in Southern Africa.

The maximum size of the grant for each grantee is £1,500 and is given to projects which are less likely to receive funding from large donors.

The Rhodes Scholarsí Southern Africa Forum is a UK-based grant-making charity that supports community development initiatives in southern Africa. Founded more than a decade ago by a group of socially conscious Rhodes Scholars at Oxford, RSSAF has grown to support nearly 10 development projects every year.

RSSAF supports public health programs combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and diseases related to dirty water; human rights advocacy for women, the LBGTI community, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and people with HIV/AIDS; rule of law initiatives that promote access to justice in developing democracies; community construction projects to bring shelter, clean water, and sustainable technology to vulnerable or isolated communities; and programs that empower young people through sports.

RSSAFís mission is three-fold: to increase awareness of social, political and economic issues in Southern Africa, to raise and distribute funds to support small-scale community development, and last, to stimulate discussion about the historical relationship between the scholarship and the region.

RSSAF Grant Cycles take place twice during each Oxford University academic year: first during Michaelmas term, and then during Trinity term.

Calls for applications tend to open within the first month of the term.

While the exact dates differ from year to year, the actual months remain the same.
Michaelmas: October- December
Trinity: May- July

There is no one model for the kind of projects RSSAF funds! In fact, we are always excited to see innovative projects that differ from the usual applications. RSSAF funds advocacy projects, educational projects, business-oriented projects

RSSAF prefers to fund projects where we feel our grants will make a big difference. We thus tend to favour organisations that are unlikely to receive any other major funding and that have a small project budget or can demonstrate clearly how our contribution will be used to achieve a specific goal within the larger budget.

Applications are received and looked over by the grants officer(s). They are then sent out to small groups of volunteers from the Rhodes community, who take time to review the applications individually and then meet as a group for discussion. These groups nominate applications to proceed to the final selection round. A final meeting is held to select the organisations which will receive funding. All Rhodes Scholars in Oxford are invited to participate in this final meeting.

The results of the grant cycle will normally be announced within 2 months of the applications deadline. There may sometimes be delays to this process, particularly in the spring cycle (May-June) since this is when Oxford students have exams.

Characteristics of Successful Grant Applications

Focus: Selected projects donít try to do everything at once. They have a clear and specific range of activities and beneficiaries. This isnít meant to discourage innovative projects that try to tackle complex problems, but you must show that you have a clear idea of what the problems are that you are trying to address.

Detail: The more specific you can be about what your project goals and how you will achieve them, the better. Providing specific numbers for how many people you intend to reach, a detailed timeline of implementation, and a clear explanation of how the community is invested in the project will help your application.

Answer the questions asked: Make sure you read the question carefully and answer what it is asking you. You should not find yourself repeating information in your answers to multiple questions. Your organisationís mission and main activities and the project description may overlap, but your answers should indicate a distinction between them.

Community buy-in: Strong applications demonstrate that the project responds to real needs of the target community and that they are invested in the projectís success and sustainability.

For more information, visit this link.