Q&A's grant policy framework Strengthening the Humanitarian Sector 2024-2027

Questions and answers on the Grant Policy Framework Strengthening the Humanitarian Sector 2024-2027.


1. In terms of eligibility - what do you class as an NGO?

An NGO is a non-governmental organization, which is a not-for-profit organization which possesses a legal personality under civil law and serves a public interest, neither established by a public authority nor connected to a public authority either de facto or under its constitution. If it has been established by a public authority, it should have become fully autonomous.

2. Are non-Dutch NGOs eligible for funding under this grant framework?

Yes, non-Dutch NGOs may be eligible for funding under this grant framework.

3. Can you confirm that consortia are not eligible? Does this mean that the MFA does not accept any joint application, for example, from two NGOs?

As stated in chapter 6 and threshold criterion D.2 of the Grant Policy Framework, applications made on behalf of, as well as by a consortium are not eligible for this programme grant. The applicant needs to submit the application as an independent applicant.

However, applicants may engage third parties for the implementation of the activity. This can include sub-granting financial means to a different entity (either local or international), as part of the activities of the programme and can include sub-contracting contractors for technical delivery concerning the implementation of specific aspects of the programme.

It is the individual applicant that needs to meet the different threshold and quality criteria.

4. Does the one application per organization mean one application per legal entity?

Yes, only one application per legal entity is allowed.

5. Are INGO networks or federations with multiple headquarters, chapters and offices in different countries considered a single entity and therefore entitled to apply for this grant as one; or are they considered as multiple entities and therefore not allow to apply together as they would need to form a consortium?  If they are considered as multiple entities, is it possible for more than one network/family member to submit an independent proposal?

This depends on the organization. We consider an organization as one entity if it is one legal entity. If the different members, chapters and offices are separate legal entities, then it is possible for more than one network/family member to submit an independent proposal. Whether an organization is or is not a separate legal entity, should become clear from its constitution and registry.

6. Can an organization submit a proposal on behalf of a federation?

One cannot submit a proposal on behalf of a federation unless you are one legal entity. Only one application per legal entity is allowed. However, for those applicants being a federation (and one legal entity), the network that comes with working within a federation structure should be mentioned in the application, as this is important for threshold criterion D3.

7. Our organization relies on a hosting agreement with a sister organization to ensure it has capacity to retain presence in its countries of intervention and direct overall supervision of activities. This hosting agreement implies a funding transfer to cover costs related to the hosting and we would like to understand, given the hosting partner is pre-identified but not taking part in any direct supervision of activities if this would be considered a consortium.

If your organisation is an independent legal entity and neither governed by the sister organisation, nor does the hosting organization take part in the proposed activities, you will be considered as an independent applicant. The transfer to the hosting organisation will be considered to be ‘sub-contracting’.

8. Our team hosts an entity that has an interest in responding to a funding call for this framework, however, we wanted to know if this would count as being a submission from the host or from the entity itself?

If the entity is a truly separate legal entity, it has to submit the application. However, if it is not a separate legal entity from the hosting organisation, the host itself has to submit the application.

9. Are international organizations eligible to apply under this call from their head office which has been established only currently. But branch offices in other countries have years of experience?

Generally speaking, the applicant needs to be a separate legal entity. This legal entity needs to meet the different threshold and quality criteria. The criteria cannot be lived up to by referring to other legal entities. The application though, may in its intervention logic refer to sub-granting to and/or sub-contracting of other entities.

The years of experience will only be considered in case the branch offices are governed by the international organization and the international organization bears the end responsibility for the programmes delivered.

10. Can an organization submit a direct application for this tender AND another application where it is a sub-recipient under a different lead NGO?

Refer to question 3. Applications must be submitted by single applicants, applications submitted on behalf of/by a consortium are not eligible. Furthermore, each applicant may submit only one application and needs to meet the threshold and quality criteria. Please refer to threshold criteria D.2 and D.8.

11. Do sub-grantees need to meet the same criteria as the main applicant? How much information do we need to provide of the third parties subcontracted in the different countries?

We only look at the (main) applicant when we assess the proposal.  It is the individual applicant that needs to meet the different threshold and quality criteria.

You do not have to provide any information on the third parties subcontracted in the proposal. You need to make sure that the threshold criteria and especially the quality criteria are responded to thoroughly. For this you may want to indicate how you would do sub-granting, but we are not going to assess the sub-grantees itself. Nevertheless, what needs to be clear from the application is how you plan to execute your activities. If the testing and piloting requires sub-granting, then that needs to be described in such a way that the criteria are met and the intervention logic is substantiated.

12. Can a local NGO with no international presence apply directly or do they need to partner with an INGO?

If the NGO is operates only in one country, and one setting, then they are not eligible. As mentioned in the above QAs, the intervention needs to cover multiple countries or crises (threshold criterion D.15). The applicant also needs to have connections to international humanitarian networks and organizations that play a role in regional and/or global processes and negotiations on humanitarian action, and implements programs, or has done so, and/or have active networks in countries currently and/or regularly affected by humanitarian crises (threshold criterion D3).

13. If we already receive a grant  from the MFA under an existing partnership, are we then completely excluded to apply for this grant framework?

No, you can still apply. However, as set out in threshold criteria D.19, activities for which  grant funding or a contribution has already been awarded directly or indirectly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are not eligible. On the basis of the information provided in the application it must be clear such activities do not form part of the activities for which a grant is requested within the scope of the grant policy framework Strengthening the Humanitarian Sector 2024-2027.

14. Are public universities eligible as grant applicants?

Only NGOs are eligible for funding under this framework. As defined in chapter 2, for the purpose of this grant framework the following definition of NGO applies: 

“An NGO is a not-for-profit organization, which possesses legal personality under civil law and serves a public interest, neither established by a public authority nor connected to a public authority either de facto or under its constitution, or which after its establishment by a public authority has become fully autonomous”

Universities that are established by a public authority or connected to a public authority either de facto or under its constitution, are therefore not eligible.

15. If we are an initiative or organization that falls under a university, are we eligible for this grant? And do the criteria related to the grant need to be fulfilled by the whole university or just by our specific initiative? For example, criteria related to the annual renumeration or the need for evidence of a focus on one of the policy objectives within the multi-annual strategic plan or vision?

Please see question 14 for general eligibility of universities. In terms of the criteria, this depends on whether the initiative or organization is a separate legal entity. If it is, then the criteria and requirements only apply to the initiative or organization. If it is not a separate legal entity from the university, then the university as a whole will need to meet the requirements.

16. Is an institute within the United Nations University eligible to apply for this grant as an International Organization?

As only NGO’s can be eligible,  it's up to the applicant to show to meet all the elements of an NGO. However, an intergovernmental organization as such, which is not an NGO, cannot apply.

17. Are social profit organizations eligible for this programme grant?

Social profit organizations are eligible if they meet threshold criteria D1 until D10  concerning the applicant in the Grant Policy Framework. Criteria D1 stipulates that only NGOs are eligible (see definition under part 2 terminology), which needs to be a not-for-profit organization. The organization should therefore be able to demonstrate that it has not making financial profit as an aim. This should be evidenced by the constitution and financial statements.


18. The grant period can be between 1st January 2024 and 31st December 2027. However, decisions as to whether applications are successful will potentially not be provided until the 1st March 2024. This automatically removes 3 months from the potential implementation period. Therefore, would a proposal for 48 months still be valid? If projects didn't start until 2nd March 2024, then a 48 month project would not finish until 1st March 2028, outside the allotted period. 

Though the Ministry plans to communicate their decision on timely submitted applications before 1 March 2024, the Ministry may issue Grant Decisions that are effective from 1 January 2024 onwards. Against this background, the applicant has the following options:

  • Start the activities as per 1 January 2024, at own risk. This implies that in case of a rejection of the application, costs incurred by the applicant will not be reimbursed.
  • Schedule the activities within the budget approved for a period of maximum 46 months (running from 1 March 2024 to 31 December 2027) .

19. The latest decision point is 1 March 2024, and we currently hold an existing grant from the MFA (not under this Policy Framework) finishing at the end of December 2023. Would it be permitted to give the project start date as 1 March and to request an extension to the existing grant until 29 February? Meaning we would hold two grants within the same year but one would end before the other starts?

A budget-neutral extension could be an option, since the Ministry will not approve additional funding for this. Please refer to Q.18 for alternative options.

The Ministry will not consider a request for an extension of existing grants beyond 29/02/24. With an extension to February 2024, new, subsequent activities may start no earlier than 1 March 2024. Without an extension of the current activities, the new activities may use 1 January as starting date.

20. The application form accompanying the grant application requires a recent registration certificate from the Business Register. Does it imply that certificate must be issued by the NL Business Register or is it possible to apply with an equivalent registry document from other countries?

The Ministry is aware of the differences between countries. In the Netherlands, the Chamber of Commerce has been assigned by the government to register NGOs. Please use a comparable certificate from the assigned agency in your country where your legal entity has been founded and officially registered, and add a translation in English if it is not already in English (this does not have to be an officially certified translation).

21. For countries where the applicant's business registration does not mandate annual renewal, and the certification was issued before January 1, 2023, will this be admitted?


22. Are there requirements about spending under the grant in ODA eligible countries and non-ODA eligible ones?

Please refer to threshold criteria D14. If direct humanitarian aid is provided that forms part of initiatives under policy objectives 2 or 3, it can only be provided in countries that are mentioned in the most recent List of Recipients of Official Development Assistance as established by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Assistance. For other forms of spending, that does not include direct humanitarian aid, there are no specific requirement regarding ODA eligible countries.

23. Concerning criterion D.7 and the gross remuneration of individual management and board members - in the application form 1 (Excel Document), there is a column (F76) to be completed concerning working hours per week. If our organisation counts working hours per year, and not per week, is it possible to enter this or will it be considered as not meeting the criterion?

Not necessarily, but in that case the Ministry will correct this number to the official number of working days times 8 hours (by analogy with a standard full-time working week for civil servants of the central government in the Netherlands).

24. Is an ORIA needed at this stage?

Yes, an Organisational Risk and Integrity Assessment (ORIA) (appendix 2.3), or an ORIA update form (appendix 2.1), or an ORIA light form (appendix 2.2) is required. In the ORIA assessment guidelines (appendix 2) explanation is provided as to which organization must submit which information. Please read these carefully.

25. In the document 2.1 ORIA update form, at the start of section D, it says: ‘If one of the following questions is answered Yes, the corresponding ORIA paragraph of the valid ORIA of the organization will have to be updated.’. May we check if it is correct that we have to adapt sections in the ORIA that we submitted in 2020?

Indeed, if you answer “Yes” to one of the questions in section D, the corresponding ORIA paragraph of the valid ORIA of the organization will have to be updated. This relates to changes to your legal framework, objective and strategy, structure and/or governance, human resources policy, MEL, financial and administrative management.

26. Whilst filing the ORIA assessment, we have come across that the organizations need to fill in information concerning both the supervisory and executive bodies. However, we have a one-tiered Board, and we do not have the Executive Board. Instead, it is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors which operates in the Terms of Reference to be submitted along with the ORIA assessment. The responsibilities of the Board are set out in Article 6 of the Deed of Incorporation. We believe this should not pose a problem, as we are registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, and there was no requirement for a two-tiered Board. We would like to make sure that filling information for the Supervisory Board will be sufficient.

Yes, this will be sufficient.

27. Our organisation has an ongoing contract with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and own an ORIA validated in 2021. Could you please confirm that we have to submit an ORIA update document and make a reference to our ongoing contract/activity number?

Yes, that is correct.

28. Regarding the ORIA, when I download the file and save it as a word document the formatting and numbering goes wrong. This is caused by the file type being an 'odt' file. Does this matter as I can't rectify it without reformatting the whole document. Please clarify.

No, this does not matter as long as the whole form is completed.

29. Does the ORIA annex for strategy have the same restrictions as the equivalent annex in the proposal, i.e. have to be established prior to April 1st 2023 – as organisationally we would want to annex and explain our live strategy which was approved and established shortly after this date?

For the purpose of the ORIA you can submit the actual strategy or vision document, even if this has been approved later than the 1st of April.

30. Can you also please clarify a question in regard to the ORIA. In section 3 structure and governance, there is a question 3.1.2 about the Executive board, then there is a yes / no Question, and then a statement that says: "Please indicate how the supervision of the Executive Board is arranged and include the questions asked under 3.1.3." Can you please clarify if we need to provide an answer to this statement, and if so, where should we do this as there is not a box for an answer?

As stated in the ORIA form, in case the answer is ‘Yes’ the applicant has to provide a further explanation in the box under 3.1.

31. Our NGO has an ORIA and is currently receiving funding from the Netherlands’ MFA, which started in 2020 and will end in 2024. Could you please confirm that we do not need a new ORIA-process?

Yes, in that case you only need to submit an ORIA update document and a reference to your valid ORIA (e.g. MFA activity number or name of the grant programme you applied for with this ORIA).

32. If an applicant does not possess the ORIA/PARTOS-ISO-9001 certificate and has not undergone the ORIA assessment for any of the previous Dutch government funding that we have received, should the Full ORIA be submitted before or along with the proposal?

It should be submitted along with the proposal. It will be evaluated before the proposal is assessed.

33. If an applicant chooses not to hire an external third party to complete Part C of the Full ORIA, will an authorized representative of the Ministry’s budget holder complete Part C following our submission of the full ORIA?

Yes, an authorized representative will complete Part C.

34. Is it correct that if you need an ORIA update, it is not obligatory to have an external assessor? If yes, this means part C (and D) does not need to be filled?

It's not necessary to have an external assessor. The MFA will complete part C&D.

35. If we have submitted an ORIA in 2018 for a proposal, which satisfied the requirement at the time, do we only need to fill in the ORIA update form?

No, an ORIA is only valid for 4 years. This means that an ORIA submitted in 2018, is no longer valid. You will need to submit the full ORIA.

36. Concerning annex ii and criterion D.4: you mention that it must be evident that in the strategic document, there is a substantial focus on one of the policy objectives included in the grant. (i) does this focus have to be on the objective(s) that the applicant will address in its project proposal or can it focus on one of the objectives without taking into account the objectives chosen by the applicant? (ii) how do you consider that the focus is evident in the document (should it be mentioned as such, should it be the subject of a chapter, etc.)?

The substantial focus meant in D.4 concerns the focus of the applying organisation, independent of the policy goal the proposed activities are aimed at. This focus has to go further than just a mere mention of one of those objectives and has to be an integral part of the overall strategy/vision.

37. Concerning annex ii: the multi-annual vision or strategy document: (i) does this document have to be an organisational document (the vision or strategy of the NGO) or can it be a strategic document of an internal department or directorate of the NGO? (ii) does it have to be a document published outside the organisation or can it be an internal document?

An organizational vision/multi annual strategy document is required or a more detailed vision/strategy document. This can also be a strategic document of an internal department or directorate. However, two conditions then apply : (1) this strategic document is clearly connected to the overall organizational strategy (proof for this has to be provided) (2) also proof has to be provided that this document has been formally approved by the responsible entity in your organization (e.g. board, management etc.) no later than April 1, 2023. External publication is not a requirement.

38. Is it absolutely required to have organizational vision/multi annual strategy document or equivalent that shows that the applicant has a substantial focus on one or more of the specific policy objectives of this grant policy framework? Is there some flexibility to replace this document with work examples spanning many years to document the topic’s strategic priority?

No, there is no flexibility in this regard as this is a hard requirement as part of the threshold criteria. This is needed to show that the respective policy objective(s) is an integral part of the applicant’s work.

39. The RFP asks for a strategy document dated before 1 April 2023. 2023 is the last year of our current strategy and we will publish a new strategy soon. The old strategy will not cover the period of the policy framework, what can we do?

The requirement is that the document referred to was adopted before the first of April 2023. It doesn't necessarily need to cover the whole period of the policy framework.

40. If the new way of working is really a new concept, and not included in an earlier strategic plan or multi-annual plan, is it still eligible?

Whilst some of the aspects of the policy objective might be new and uncharted territory, the problem areas/statements/challenges, as defined in section 4, are not. You need to clearly show that you have worked on the problems as defined in section 4 of the framework, and this need to be apparent from the vision document or the multi-annual strategy.

41. On the requirement to submit the most recent vision/strategy before April 1st, 2023, our strategy we can submit has a focus on many components pertaining to our chosen objective but as it is a broad organisational strategy it doesn’t go into the niche detail (for example, risk and capacity sharing) of the policy objective. Is this still acceptable and, if not, can you advise?

Please see QA 40 and Q 37 for further guidance on this issue.

You need to clearly show that you have worked on the problem areas/statements/challenges as defined in section 4 of the framework, and this need to be apparent from the vision document or the multi-annual strategy. These problem areas/statements/challenges are a bit broader than the policy objectives and need to be an integral part of the organisational strategy. They cannot just merely be mentioned in the strategy. However, whether the focus is substantial enough can only be assessed once we have received your application.

As mentioned in QA 37, the vision/strategy can also be a strategic document of an internal department or directorate. Certain conditions apply in this case, please refer to QA 37.

42. Do policies which were begun as a process before the given date, but published after, count towards evidence for criterion ? For example internal governance policies, which can take a long time to be put in place or updated but can show evidence of an intent that has been there for a while even if the final signed off documents come a bit later.

No, the 1st of April 2023 is the final date on which the document should have been adopted or published.

43. Regarding the show case and track record:

  • Can we present more than one show case?
  • Can the show case(s) be a project that is ongoing?
  • Should the track record be linked to the countries where new working methods will be tested?

We only want one show case to be presented. This show case can be of an ongoing project, as long as you show sufficient evidence of impact of results already achieved.  Regarding the track record, this does not need to be linked to countries or crisis where you plan to work. The track record should describe the applicant’s previous experience with the type of interventions that tackle challenges addressed by the grant policy framework and that through a combined set of interventions at both local/national/crisis level as well as regional or global level help to strengthen or transform the humanitarian sector. Please refer to chapter 10, sub iv.

44. To allow applicants to describe as fully as possible their previous experience, can the showcase highlight a combination of initiatives at local/ national/ crisis/ regional and global levels financed by multiple donors over a period of time?

Yes, within the showcase one can highlight a combination of initiatives at different levels and within different countries, as long as these are part of a common objective and broader intervention.

45. The grant policy requires a track record of max 2 pages, including a showcase. Our assumption is that the showcase is one part of the track record. However the template provided (annex 5a) only provides space for a showcase and not for general track record information. Could you please clarify?

For the track record we only require one showcase, not a general track record. However, as mentioned in question 44, within the showcase one can refer to several initiatives at different levels and within different countries, as long as these are part of a common objective and broader intervention.

46. With reference to Appendix 5B, Section 2, line: “Indicate the quantitative/qualitative outcomes and outputs with corresponding indicators and/or success criteria” Does this mean we can/should include a brief logic model table?

You can include this, if you believe this is the best way to show the outcomes and outputs with corresponding indicators. However, this is not a requirement and if other formats are better suited, such as a narrative, then this sufficient.

47. For aspects of the proposal that are particularly complicated or process driven, such as grant funding selection processes, do you accept/anticipate applicants to include additional annexes that further elaborate on these processes/ideas?

No, we do not expect additional annexes for the application. These will only be needed once the inception phase starts. Additional attachments referred to in the question above, in case submitted with the application, will not be considered.

48. Question related to the application form: Is there a limited number of words for explaining each criteria?

No. The explanations have to be understandable.

49. Are footnotes included in the word limits for the narrative sections of the application? Can hyperlinks to additional documentation be included?

Yes, footnotes are included in the word limit. Additional documentation, referred to in hyperlinks within the footnotes or narrative sections will not be taken into account for the assessment and should not be included.  

50. Can we add a visual diagram into the proposal? 

Yes, you can add a visual diagram if this helps clarify the proposal. This will be part of the wordcount.

51. We also would like to confirm whether additional annexes, other than those required in the call for proposals is accepted.

No other additional annexes are accepted. If they are sent along with the application, they will not be reviewed

52. Can you confirm if there are any restriction around font type, size, margin size, etc. to ensure the proposal remains in the 15 pages? And would words included in tables and diagrams count toward the wordcount?

The font size cannot be smaller than 8pt, as its needs to be legible when printed. There are no other restrictions concerning the formatting. Words included in the tables and diagrams count towards the word count.

53. Can we send all the documentation in PDF format through a secure link of the organization to the email provided in the grant regulations, through which the team in charge will have access?

Yes, as long as this is accessible to MFA, you can send it through a secured link.

54. What are the criteria to be considered a subgrantee?

There are no specific criteria. Please refer to QA 11. Please be reminded that we do not assess the subgrantee as part of the proposal. The individual applicant needs to fulfill all the criteria, as set out in the grant framework.

55. Is there a minimum percentage of activities that would be required to be considered the applicant, and/or a maximum percentage possible to subgrant?

No, there are no minimum and maximum percentages.

Content and Scope Grant

56. What policy objectives can the applicant address through their activities?

Please refer to threshold criterion D.11: the applicant can address either :

  • Policy  objective 1, or
  • Policy objective 2, or
  • Policy objective 3 , or
  • Policy objectives 2 and 3 (in that case: through the same intervention, please refer to threshold criterion D.12)

57. Our bid responds to objective 3, however our organization also delivers against objectives 1 and 2. Can we include deliverables against objectives 1 and 2 even if our bid is for objective 3 only?

No. Please refer to threshold criterion D.11 and QA 56. If you include other objectives when you are only bidding for objective 3, these will not be taking into consideration as part of the assessment of your application.

58.  Can you please define what humanitarian work is? Would work on reintegration of migrants and returnees fall under this?

Humanitarian work is assistance that is used to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity during and in the aftermath of man-made crises and natural disasters,. Humanitarian action should be guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity; impartiality, neutrality, and independence. Humanitarian action includes the protection of civilians and those no longer taking part in hostilities, and the provision of food, water and sanitation, shelter, health services and other items of assistance.

No. Work on reintegration of migrants and returnees are not the focus of this tender. Here you can find other tenders and programme funds available.  

59. Can the humanitarian crises addressed by the proposed activities be located in the same country?

No. This Grant Policy Framework is aimed at the transformation and improvement of the humanitarian system as such. It is not primarily focused on directly addressing humanitarian needs. Direct provision of humanitarian aid is only eligible if being used to test and disseminate new ways of working, meeting policy objectives 2 and/or 3 (threshold criterion D.14).  These new ways of working need to be tested in more than one setting and country. Therefore, activities which are aimed at only one country or crisis are not eligible (threshold criterion D.15).

60. Are there prioritized territories or country restrictions for this grant, or is it a global call for proposals?

No, there are no prioritized territories or country restrictions. However, the intervention needs to cover multiple countries (threshold criterion D.15). Also, if direct provision of humanitarian aid is included in the intervention strategy (only eligible if being used to test and disseminate new ways of working, meeting policy objectives 4.2 and/or 4.3) this aid can only be provided in countries that are mentioned in the most recent List of Recipients of Official Development Assistance as established by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Assistance (threshold criterion D.14)

61. What is the imagined scope and preference for potential pilots and how does this relate to research and broader influencing?

This grant policy framework is not meant for research as such. It is meant for efforts aimed at developing new ways of working. If you want to develop new ways of working, you need to test those new ways of working in different settings and different circumstances. There is considerable scope for piloting to gather such experience and to consequently translate that experience into tools or ways of working that can feed into the broader humanitarian system, as long as this is for testing and disseminating new ways of working, meeting the policy objectives.

62. In the call for proposal the possibility to implement small pilot projects is mentioned, if linked to the research activities; can you provide some specifics on the kind of pilot projects that can be implemented ? Are there any specific requirements for the pilots?

As mentioned above, pilots are aimed at testing the new ways of working that is proposed in the intervention. There are no specific requirements for the pilots, as long as the use of pilots is adequately embedded and explained in the intervention logic and you clearly show how it contributes to one of the three policy objectives.

63. Can an organization include a country/countries that they have not worked in before?

Yes, the proposal can also refer to a country or a crisis setting which the organization has not worked in before. However, the applicant has to have experience in more than one setting and more than one country and/or have active networks I countries currently and/or regularly affected by humanitarian crises (criterion D3) and should aim its application at more than one country or crisis (criterion D15)

64. On policy objective 4.2 (anticipatory action), does the MFA intend to exclude funding interventions which focus on anticipation of naturally-caused hazards? Must interventions be directly conflict-related?

This policy objective is aimed at facilitating initiatives for anticipatory humanitarian action to be used more effectively in, and in the run-up to, crises caused or exacerbated by people. Within the context of this grant policy framework, this refers to crises that are caused or exacerbated, at a relatively short term and directly, by human action or lack thereof, as opposed to natural disasters or crises as a result of among other climate change (even if in these last forms of crises human action can be seen as a cause of those crises over a longer period of time and indirectly). The specific focus needs to be on the elements of anticipatory action as outlined in Chapter 4.2.

65. Though you are not aiming to address humanitarian needs alone, can you confirm that funding for humanitarian action could be requested if its purpose is to give local/national NGO agency to deliver and lead on the ground?

Funding for humanitarian action can be requested if it is being used to test and disseminate new ways of working and this aid can only be provided in countries that are mentioned in the most recent List of Recipients of Official Development Assistance as established by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Assistance (threshold criterion D.14) The purpose needs to be the transformation of the way in which the humanitarian system as a whole currently functions

66. Given the global scope of the call and the piloting elements, is there a minimum or a maximum number of contexts, countries or regions in which individual project initiatives must be piloted?

The minimum is two. There is no maximum, but you have to clearly show that you are able to manage the amount of pilots you intend to implement. 

67. A question on policy objective 1 "Access": Do you also consider access to assistance by affected people a relevant issue to cover or do you see the grant primarily focused on access by responders/aid worker safety and IHL question?

The issue of humanitarian access has a multiple dimensions, so we consider both aspects to be relevant for this policy objective.  Please see the definition of humanitarian access, as laid out in chapter 2: humanitarian access refers to the space and/or opportunity for neutral humanitarian actors to reach people in need during a conflict, crisis or (natural) disaster to provide humanitarian assistance and to the space and/or opportunity for affected communities to receive aid.

68. Can proposals be submitted under policy objective 1 that are related to accountability initiatives concerning international humanitarian law and humanitarian access?

Yes, but these accountability initiatives cannot stand on their own and only focus on evidence-gathering, but need to contribute more broadly to the strengthened applicability of international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles and strengthen the overall jurisprudence on this issue. These initiatives must pursue these objectives in more than one specific crisis, and also translate and operationalise the information, insights and working methods collected for use in regional or global negotiations or developments extending across several different crises, including beyond the timeframe of the grant period.

69. For Challenge 1: Obstacles to Humanitarian Access; will applications that focus on specific areas of access, i.e. health, be eligible?

Yes, applications that focus on specific areas of access may be eligible, as long as they clearly show how they fit into and contribute to the broader policy objective on humanitarian access.

70. For piloting in countries/context, how does this relate to MFA focus countries?

It does not. There's only the OECD country list.

71. How much space is there for model development within the grant period i.e. models with limited proof of outcomes/impact - due to their infancy?

No conditions on this have been formulated or published in this policy grant framework. Your application needs to be convincing, in line with the quality criteria on intervention logic etc.

72. Netherlands MFA has in the past funded several dedicated humanitarian innovation funds, is the ministry expecting to launch additional Request for Proposal’s beyond this that continue your strategic focus on innovation?

No, we do not expect to launch any additional request for proposals on the subject of humanitarian innovation, at least till 2027 when this grant framework comes to an end.

73. Are grant-making activities within the scope of this framework?

Yes, providing a grant to an organization so that they may carry out certain activities (grant-making) can be in the scope of the framework, if it is clearly shown why and how this contributes to the policy objectives. The granting may only be meant for direct provision of humanitarian aid, if it forms part of initiatives under policy objectives 2 or 3, and is used to test and disseminate new ways of working with regard to these policy objectives, and is provided in countries that are mentioned in the most recent List of Recipients of Official Development Assistance as established by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Assistance.

74. We would like to confirm that the government of the Netherlands agrees with UNHCR, DRMKC – INFORM and most governments that the humanitarian crisis affecting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is distinct from the crisis affecting internally displaced persons in Myanmar (not including Rakhine state), and that proposed activities in these two crises would be eligible under the funding call entitled: “Programme grant Strengthening the Humanitarian Sector 2024-2027”.

Yes, we consider these to be two distinct crises and those would eligible.


75. We want to submit a proposal for policy objective 2. Considering this is about anticipatory action, it is a challenge to provide a detailed budget at this stage. A lot will depend on the countries where we will actually conduct the pilots, as for example salaries differ quite a bit between countries. Would it be possible to provide a range in the budget?

No, you cannot provide a range. As mentioned in Appendix 5 (budget proposal) you have to elaborate the budget into a detailed budget for the first twelve months of the grant period only. For the remainder of the period a financial estimate suffice for the project application. In the following years of implementation together with the annual plans an annual detailed budget has to be submitted. In the inception phase as well as with the annual plans budget amendments can be made.

76. Can you provide clarification on the application of the maximum remuneration requirement for 2023, detailed in section 12.2 Threshold Criteria, paragraph D7 (b) of the grant policy framework detailing the gross remuneration of individual management and board members of applicant organizations. Are organizations whose management salaries exceed those thresholds still qualified applicants, so long as those costs are not being funded in the proposal budget?

The gross renumeration thresholds apply to any applicant and are not related to whether or not these costs are covered in the proposal budget. If the remunerations for the members of management and board in your organization exceeds the amounts mentioned in threshold criterion D.7, your organization is not eligible for this grant.

77. Do the ceilings for gross remuneration of individual management and board members also apply to co-applicants / sub-grantees, or only to the lead applicant?

No, they only apply to the applicant, so only the applicant will be assessed on this criteria.  Please note that a co-application is not allowed. The applicant needs to submit the application as an independent applicant. Please refer to question  3 and 11.

78. Regarding “Financial statements, or a summary of the applicant's financial situation for the past three years (2020, 2021, 2022)”. Will the MFA accept financial statements from our previous host organisations as evidence of our financial management?

Assessing the financial statements will be part of the assessment of threshold criteria D.6 (at least 25% financing from other sources) and D.9 (ORIA assessment). Depending on the level of detail the statements of the previous host organisations provide on the activities of the applicant, this could be sufficient.  The Ministry will assess this on a case by case basis.

79. Will the total amount proposed by an applicant have an influence on the decision-making process?

No, we don't look at the size of the requested amount. We evaluate proposals based on quality. However, the requested amount has to be within the limits, as stipulated in the threshold criterion D.16.

80. Is the grant application required to have a minimum size of 8 million euros? Can organisations apply for a lower grant amount?

In case of applications aiming at policy objective 2 or 3, or a combination of those, no, they cannot. The exact amount depends on the Policy Objective, but 8 million is the lowest threshold for applications aiming at policy objective 2 or 3. For applications aiming at a combination of those two objectives the minimum is 10 million. For applications aiming at policy objective 1 the minimum is 3 million. Please refer to criterion D16.

81. With regard to ICR – is the maximum rate of 15% annual?

The 15% is the maximum rate that may be applied to  the overall period of implementation. This flexibility allows for years where the ICR (slightly) may exceed the 15%, as long as it is compensated in other implementing years.

82. What does the MFA expect to be included under indirect costs as opposed to programme costs?

The 15% overhead includes the overhead the organization needs, and if you're sub-granting, includes the overhead of the sub-grantees. In the proposal it is important to clearly indicate what the different types of indirect foreseen costs entail and explain why these are needed, in order to ensure full transparency.

Generally speaking indirect costs entail costs that cannot directly be linked to the activities. They cover most headquarter costs, like HRM, financial management, regular monitoring and other support costs. An exception to this is dedicated time of professionals, like programme managers or time dedication of thematic specialists, which can be budgeted separately as direct costs. The costs for externally contracted evaluations and financial audits can be budgeted too as direct costs. Furthermore, all other costs, such as programme staff, office rent outside the premises of the applicant, travel, etc., that can be invoiced to the programme, qualify as direct costs.

83. What would be the acceptable support/activity and HR/other costs ratios in the budget?

There is no specific applicable ratio of support and HR-activity costs or other ratios.

84. Could you be so kind to let us know whether the ICR limit is applicable to the internal costs of the subcontractor, or only to the costs of the applicant for managing the grant/subcontracting?

ICR of 15% applies to both the applicant and their subcontractor(s). This implies that both the applicant and the subcontractor(s) will have to meet the 15% requirement independently.

85. If partnering with national/local entities is allowed, are there specific requirements, thresholds, rules to transfer money to partners?

The applicant is and remains our point of contact, even if they pass the money on to a partner. The money must be traceable and the money must get to the partners in the most inexpensive and efficient way possible.

86. The budget format has a line for “granting local NGOs”. What is the definition of local? Does it include national as well as subnational?

Local includes both national as well as subnational in-country partners, legally established in the target countries.

87. We don’t currently report on IATI, but provide a lot of the information there publicly. Are we still eligible to apply if we don’t currently report on IATI.

Yes, you are still eligible. However, if you do get awarded a grant, you will need to report in IATI.

88. We would like to clarify what is meant by having the annual report audited. Is that the activity report or the annual financial report?

This relates to the annual financial report.

89. Is a yearly audit obligatory?

Yes, an annual yearly financial audit is obligatory.

90. Is the ICR audited as well?

ICR (overhead) is subject to annual audits.

91. ICR: the budget form suggests that 15% ICR is added to every budget line. Or should we perceive it as 15% ICR over the total?

First of all the form does not mean to suggest to add a standard ICR of 15%. The ICR follows from a thorough mapping process of the applicant’s ledger accounts. So there’s no free choice concerning the ICR. If it proves to be higher than 15%, it has to be capped at 15%. Furthermore the ICR following from the mapping process should be applied to the total direct costs.

92. Is there flexibility in budget expenditures between budget lines (for instance between national/international staff) after implementation has started?  

Yes, in the inception phase as well as with the annual plans budget amendments can be made.

93. Are there certain requirements/protocols around the audits? More specifically, does the audit need to be conducted in NL, or are local audits allowed, whereby the NL auditor only assesses whether the local audits meet the requirements, and the reports have been consolidated by the main applicant?

In general terms, the audits have to be carried out by an auditor who is registered on the AIA list of qualified accountants. Please be aware that only applications of a single applicant will be considered, who is the sole responsible one for meeting the requirements.

94. Do you have a clear definition of national staff and international staff? Is it about nationality versus location? Or the scope of work (country level vs. regional or global level)? For instance, if a person is from African country X and works in African country Y, would that person be considered national or international staff?

For practical reasons, International Staff will be defined as: HQ-staff working at HQ or contracted by HQ to work in a third country.

95. We have some questions related to the budget:

  • Equipment: which expenses should be included here?

Costs of equipment are allowed when they are directly related to implementation of the activities. E.g. IT-equipment, supplies or movable property such as inventory. Depreciation or residual values are not allowed to be applied.

  • Travel: which expenses should be included here: international flights, domestic flights, in-country travel by car, etc.?

All travel necessary to carry out the activities proposed, excluding travel from home to work v.v., which resorts under staff costs.

  • Other direct programme costs: which expenses should be included here?

As the title suggests: all other costs directly related to implementation of the activities, necessary to carry out these activities, that do not fit under the predefined categories; e.g. MEL or evalution studies. This has to be motivated.

  • Project evaluation as part of MEL: what are the requirements? Is it correct to assume that these costs are part of the “Other direct program costs”?

Yes, see previous question.

96. Will further instructions and regulations be given on how the ICR needs to be calculated once a grant has been allocated?

Yes. After approval of the grant a more detailed programme budget will be requested, with corresponding instructions and definitions.

97. Under staff you ask for average cost x number of units. If 1 person works full time (1 FTE) for 4 years with salary EUR 50.000 per year, how do we fill in the columns 'Cost' and '# units' in Year 2-4? Do we:

  • fill in the average time dedication (1 FTE) in # units, and as Average Cost the salary cost of 3 years?
  • or do we fill in the average cost per year and the total time dedication over the 3 years (3 FTE) for this staff member?

(Known) costs for Year 1 + Expected (average) costs over Year 2-4

98. Within “2. Income overview (in EUR)” of Appendix 5C: Template Budget Proposal, are sources of income over Year 1 to 4 just for the proposed programme itself? And if so, is there expectation for co-financing that hasn’t been specified within the guidance document?

If you have not secured additional income from other sources than the funds requested under the Grant Policy Framework, please answer DNA (Does not Apply). Table 2 is only relevant in case Table 1 includes costs covered by other sources or in case the proposed activities generate (some kind of) income.