Q&A - Combating Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa through Civil Society 2023-2028

The Q&A page will be updated as new questions are answered.
Question 1: How many applications can an organization submit? 

Answer 1: Organizations may not submit more than one application as a main applicant/consortium lead, and no more than two in total.


Question 2: Does an application that contains two or more countries need a joint results framework, or should each country have its own results framework?

Answer 2: For phase 1, no separate results framework is needed, only a four-page concept note.


Question 3: Is any preference given to multi-country projects versus those that work in multiple locations within the same country?

Answer 3: No preference is given to multi-country projects versus one-country projects. Applications will be assessed based on the criteria outlined in the call for proposals. An application may include several projects, but the applicant should have an overall strategic plan which justifies thematic and geographical priorities.


Question 4: Is registration as an NGO in Norway a requirement?

Answer 4: No.


Question 5: Can a local NGO be the applicant?

Answer 5: Local NGOs may apply as long as they meet the eligibility criteria in section 7 of the call for proposals, as well as the other application and organizational requirements laid out in the call for proposals.


Question 6: Is an international non-profit organization allowed to lead on an application?

Answer 6: The lead applicant must be a not-for-profit legal entity meeting the definition of civil society organization outlined in the call for proposals. Eligible recipients for this call for proposals are civil society organizations such as network organizations, non-governmental organizations, trade and farmer unions, independent media, religious organizations and sports organizations.


Question 7: An INGO network, working in different countries has projects carried out by different implementing HQs. There are up to three implementing HQs that have their own independent board, CEO, etc. When it comes to submitting proposals for this call for proposals, is the network considered as one organization, or are individual HQs?

Answer 7: For the purposes of this call for proposals we will be considering a network/alliance/federation as one organization and subsequently encourage the network/alliance/federation to submit a joint proposal, with one of the HQs as lead for a consortium.


Question 8: Can an institution hosted by another organization be eligible for this opportunity, by providing the host agreement as evidence of its existence (legal status) in the country?

Answer 8: If the host organization is an eligible applicant it may apply on behalf of the coalition. Please note that the agreement would need to be signed by a legal registered organization i.e here the host.


Question 9: If different organizations decide to join forces to cover more of the priority countries indicated in the call for proposals, would it be considered a consortium?

Answer 9: Yes.  One organization must be the consortium lead (main applicant), the others can be members of the consortium.


Question 10: Can an individual apply for funding under this call for proposals.

Answer 10: No. Individuals are ineligible. Please see the eligibility requirements in the call for proposals.


Question 11: Can international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organizations apply for funding for this call for proposals?

Answer 11: Inter-governmental actors are categorized as multilateral actors and are therefore ineligible to apply for funding for this call, which is only open to civil society organizations. 


Question 12: Is it necessary to give a budget overview in the proposal?

Answer 12: Yes. Please see section 8 of the call for proposals for budget requirements.


Question 13: Does Norad require the applicant to cover a percentage cost of the budget? Either with own funds or co-financing from other donors?

Answer 13: There is no co-financing/own contribution requirement for this call for proposals.


Question 14: What is the timeline for applicants who move on to phase 2 (full proposal)?

Answer 14: Norad tentatively expects full proposals to be submitted by the end of August 2023, with a final decision made by Norad in November 2023. The relevant applicants will receive more information about phase 2 in early June 2023.


Question 15: Can Norad indicate the start date of the proposed projects?

Answer 15: The earliest possible start date is 01 September 2023.


Question 16: Where can I find information about the Agriculture for Development program?

Answer 16: Please click here for more information.


Question 17: Can research institutions be co-applicants/consortia partners?

Answer 17: Yes, provided they are non-profit.  Please see section 7 in the call for proposals. 


Question 18: If the minimum amount to apply for is NOK 25 million per year, and you apply for a five-year project, the total amount will be NOK 125 million. Does criterion e) indicate that the organization must then have ongoing activities within the thematic area of a minimum of 25 MNOK or are ongoing activities required for the minimum total amount, which would then be 125 MNOK?

Answer 18:  As we require documentation from the latest annual financial statements, the on-going agricultural programs in ODA countries must be at a minimum of NOK 25 million annually.


Question 19:  For federations/networks/alliances: can an organization's amount for ongoing activities within the thematic area be added together with a country office's amount for ongoing activities within the thematic area to meet the minimum amount of NOK 25 million annually?

Answer 19: If the country offices are co-applicants/consortia members, then the amount of ongoing relevant thematic programs can be counted together.  If the country offices are only subgrantees, and there is only one applicant organization, then it will only be the applicant organization’s funding that is counted towards the minimum amount.


Question 20: Is there a preference for INGOs, local NGOs, or a partnership of an INGO and a local NGO?

Answer 20: There is no preference, as long as all the other eligibility criteria are met.


Question 21: We are an advocacy organization and want to know if we are eligible?

Answer 21: Please see the call for proposals for complete eligibility criteria for applicants, including organizational form.


Question 22: How are indirect costs/overhead calculated? What costs are eligible?

Answer 22: Please see this link for specific information on what costs are eligible and further guidance on indirect costs/overhead costs: Guidelines-for-handling-indirect-operating-costs-in-connection-with-grants-norad-002.pdf 


Question 23:  While our agriculture programs certainly are above the threshold in section 7e, our annual audit reports do not go into that much detail, i.e. do not show how much money goes to what type of project. Is that criteria specifically tied to agriculture programs in the audit report or is there any other way to provide proof for this?

Answer 23: Norad will consider documentation, through other reports, of the annual volume of funding of agricultural programs.  However, the applicant must also document the link between these reports and the audited annual financial statements that are submitted to Norad.


Question 24: Does the 5 years thematic experience refer to each country the applicant applies for i.e. it has to be documented in each of the countries of implementation in the case of multi-country proposals? Or is related to the overall experience of the applicant in the sector ?

Answer 24: When it comes to the five years of thematic experience, we refer to the lead applicant, as it is the lead applicant's experience that we are interested in.  It is five years of relevant thematic sector experience that we require.


Question 25: Does the eligibility criteria of 5 years thematic expertise also apply to partner organizations in a consortium?

Answer 25: When it comes to the consortium partners’ experience, the lead applicant must primarily show that the consortium partner has the necessary competence and capacity to carry out "their" task in the consortium.  For example, if you need very specific expertise and bring in a partner then the lead applicant must argue why they set it up like this.


Question 26: By « applicant » do you mean the consortium as a whole (lead applicant and partner organizations)? Or only to the leader of the consortium ?

Answer 26: “Applicant” only refers to the leader of the consortium, the lead applicant who will submit the application via our Grants Portal.


Question 27: Could I request a copy of the terms and conditions that this grant would fall under, including payment terms?

Answer 27: Please see the links below:



part-iii-procurement-provisions-reg-i-and-ii----ngo-eng.pdf (norad.no)


Question 28: What is the maximum size for consortium partners for this call?

Answer 28: There is no limit on how many partners a consortium may have. 


Question 29: Can we include scholarship programs for postgraduates and master level students in the fields of agriculture, agronomist, and agri-business to support the local government in counties applied for?

Answer 29: Scholarships are not an activity that we initially thought of as relevant – please refer to the list of possible interventions in section 5 of the call for proposals. If you wish to include scholarship schemes, you must show how such capacity building will lead to the achievement of results on the targets for the call for proposals within the indicated agreement period.


Question 30: We have read through the full call for proposals but couldn’t find the role of the private sector, other than local businesses. Can a Norwegian private company lead or be part of the consortium?

Answer 30: The call for proposals applies to civil society and the same applies to co-applicants.  Where relevant, an applicant may work together with a local private business. We can confirm that this call for proposals is not intended to cover the entire strategy, and that other parts of the strategy are followed up in other ways, but we currently do not have more information about any additional calls for proposals specifically for the private sector.


Question 31: Can soya bean can be included as a crop under a proposed program?

Answer 31: Norad has no preference for crop variety proposed.


Question 32: How does Norad intend to handle budgets and overhead costs for Norwegian public sector university and research partners?

Answer 32: For Norwegian public sector actors, we approve the use of full cost. This is based on the fact that they are part of the same state accounts as Norad, and that they are subject to the Auditor General’s control requirements. Applicants must be able to show the calculations behind the rates, and the rates must be updated annually. The applicant must also take responsibility for ensuring that the subsidy goes to the purpose of the call for proposals, and that cross-subsidies do not take place through their timekeeping system.


Question 33: Where can I find the proposal template?

Answer 33: The proposal template is only available online through our Grants Portal: Combating Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa through Civil Society - Insights (mfa.no)


Question 34: How do I submit the concept note:

Answer 34: The concept note should be submitted through our Grants Portal: Combating Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa through Civil Society - Insights (mfa.no)


Question 35: What language should the concept note be submitted in?

Answer 35: Only concept notes submitted in English will be considered.


Question 36: Can an advocacy organization or network organization apply?

Answer 36: Yes, provided they are non-profit as Norad defines them as civil society organizations.  Their non-profit status must be confirmed in the registration documents to be attached to the application.


Question 37: Regarding criteria e) : “the applicant’s/consortia’s on-going agricultural programs in ODA countries must at a minimum be of the same value in Norwegian kroner (NOK) as the budget applied for in the application”. In case of a consortium : Is it a criteria applicable to the consortium as a whole (therefore to the sum of all the consortium’s members on-going agricultural projects), or a criteria for each organisation member of the consortium, or a criteria applying to the lead only) ?

Answer 37: If the partners are co-applicants/consortia members, then the amount of ongoing relevant thematic programs can be counted together (the sum of all the consortium members on-going agricultural projects).  If the partners are only subgrantees, then it will only be the applicant organization’s funding that is counted towards the minimum amount.  Co-applicants/consortia members have the same requirements for eligibility as the main applicant, with the exception of non-profit research institutions. National-level sub-grantees can be governmental or business actors, but not co-applicants/consortium members, and therefore their ongoing programs do not count towards the total value.


Question 38: As the call focus on 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, is there a minimum number of countries to be targeted by the project?  

Answer 38: One country is the minimum.


Question 39: Does the difference made in the call between “the 5 priority countries” and “the 6 partner countries” need to be reflected in terms of share of activities implemented/ budget per country?

Answer 39: No preference is given between the 11 countries.


Question 40: The call refers to the first two objectives of Norway’s strategy for promoting food security in development policy.  Does the project need to address the two objectives, or can it focus on one objective only?

Answer 40: The project may address one or both objective, it is up to the applicant.


Question 41: Can the administrative documentation proving that the applicant meets the call’s eligibility criteria (for example statutes, anti-corruption policies, PSEAH guidelines, etc.), be submitted in another language than English?

Answer 41: In addition to English, Norad will accept administrative documentation in French, Spanish, Danish and Swedish.  The concept note must be submitted in English.


Question 42: In terms of composition of the consortium, is it mandatory to include a Norwegian NGO, as lead, or as partner?

Answer 42: There is no requirement to include a Norwegian NGO in any capacity.


Question 43: Is "Combatting Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa through Civil Society" expected to contribute to the AfD program, given that there will be no additional call for proposals for CSOs on that program?

Answer 43: Yes, but it is not a requirement that applications must contribute to the AfD program.   


Question 44: Considering this call for proposals can also include funding for activities that may contribute to AfD, how should this be reflected in the budget?

Answer 44: We do not expect that this is detailed in the budget at this stage.


Question 45: At what stage of the application process should activities that may result in synergies with the AfD program be described?

Answer 45: This should be described briefly at the concept note stage.


Question 46: Could Norad confirm that documents can be annexed to the concept notes that further justifies the proposed project?

Answer 46: The only document that can be annexed to the concept note is the budget and the audited accounts for the latest year available.  No further documents that justify the proposed project will be allowed. 


Question 47: What is the limit to project scope between terrestrial and coastal production. E.g. would mangrove environments not be included in this call?

Answer 47: Food security and food production is at the center of this call for proposals.  All concept notes should this as their focus, regardless of the locale it is implemented in. 


Question 48: Are non-profit research partners required to be national/local institutions, or are international non-profit research partners also permitted?

Answer 48: Both national and international research partners are permitted. 


Question 49: Will Norad require using certain indicators to measure changes in food security, climate resilience, or benefits to women?

Answer 49: Norad will not require specific indicators.  Guidelines for reporting will be provided to applicants who continue to phase 2.


Question 50: Does Norad plan to prioritize specific interventions or results when evaluating proposals?

Answer 50: No.


Question 51: Is it possible to use Euro instead of NOK to complete the budget form, using the current exchange rate?

Answer 51: The currency used in the budget should be the functional currency of the project. This means the currency that is mainly used in the project, or the currency used by the organization in its reports.  In your case, Euro.

The grant amount in the agreement will however be given in NOK, and this is the maximum amount that may be disbursed under the agreement. Therefore, the section of the budget template that specifies NOK must be filled in with NOK, and the remaining sections can be filled in with the functional currency of the project.


Question 52: In the call documents the following is stated:  "Efforts should be aimed at increasing food production for local consumption and provide incentives for food producers to produce mainly for local markets rather than exports."
When referring to exports, does this refer to exports which leave the African continent, and would exports within the region be acceptable, or are all export related activities discouraged, including those between African nations?

Answer 52: We are open to all types of export but prefer production for local markets based on the focus on self-sufficiency in the strategy. With that in mind, regional exports are probably ranked higher than exports to Europe etc in a hierarchy of preferences.


Question 53: Can we submit the outline of the ToC as a visual ToC (in diagram form)? If yes, will you allow an exception from the demand of using font size 11, 1.5 line spacing?

Answer 53: Yes, you may have an image/diagram in your concept note, as long as the four page limit is respected.


Question 54: Are applicants required to submit the full budget at the concept note stage, i.e. both the overall budget and HQ tabs?

Answer 54: Yes, the full budget template including all tabs must be submitted at the concept note stage.


Question 55: On the budget period, can you clarify whether the annual budget periods will follow the calendar year? Ie. as the start up for projects under this call will be later in 2023 – should the first year budget include cost for calendar year 2023 only, and continue with annual budgets starting 01.01. - with the last one ending 31.12.2028?

Answer 55: The annual budget periods will follow the calendar year.  The first year budget may include costs for what remains of the calendar year 2023 or applicants may choose to set 2024 as the first budget year if they wish.


Question 56: Though there are no co-financing requirements, if a concept has some co-financing included, will this factor be a priority or considered favorably during the assessment process?

Answer 56: Co-financing provided for a proposal will not be considered in Norad’s assessment.


Question 57: We are a research organization that has been asked to be part of multiple applications.  Can we be part of more than two applications, which is the limit?

Answer 57: Research institutions may only be co-applicants/consortium members and not main applicants. These roles are limited to two applications.  Applicants would not be able to be part of any further applications in a role as co-applicant/consortium.  The only other option for a research organization after being part of a submission for two applications, would be to be a sub-grantee, provided you meet the remaining relevant eligibility requirements (i.e. local partner) in the call for proposals.  Please see the guidelines and Q&A for more details as to the eligibility requirements for the various roles.


Question 58: Can we include a CSO fund component in the proposed project?

Answer 58: CSO funds are not an activity that we initially thought of as relevant – please refer to the list of possible interventions in section 5 of the call for proposals. If you wish to include these types of funds, you must show how they will lead to the achievement of results on the targets for the call for proposals within the indicated agreement period.


Question 59: Does Norad have a detailed evaluation grid for how it will evaluate proposals?

Answer 59: Applications will be evaluated against the criteria in the call for proposals.


Question 60: Can Norad indicate the number of countries where it expects that grants will be made, and the number of grants per country?

Answer 60: The selection of projects will reflect the quality of the proposals as well as a balance between different geographical areas and types of interventions. Norad expects to enter into 4-8 agreements in total.


Question 61: Can Norad provide more details about the 10% crisis modification budget line?

Answer 61: This information will be provided to applicants who move to phase 2.


Question 62: What is the minimum project period?

Answer 62: The minimum project duration is four years.


Question 63: What does the statement “Applications should not exceed 100 million NOK annually” mean? It would read as if an application can have a total project value of 400 million NOK, say if proposed for a 4 year-implementation cycle. Similarly, please clarify what the statement “Applications below 25 million NOK annually will not be accepted” mean?

Answer 63: Norad will not accept applications that are less than 25 million NOK per year or more than 100 million NOK per year.  An applicant must set their annual budget between these two values.


Question 64: How is “thematic field” defined in the context of the call? 

Answer 64: A thematic field is a field that is in line with section 2 in the call for proposals.


Question 65: Is a multi-country proposal e.g (Mali, Niger and South Sudan) by one lead organization eligible this call?

Answer 65: Yes, organizations may submit multi-country proposals.


Question 66: Can a joint application between local NGOs only (in eligible countries) be allowed (consortium of only local NGOs).

Answer 66: As long as all the other eligibility requirements are met, local NGOs may apply in consortium.


Question 67: We understand that a possible inclusion of impact evaluation also in the budget will come in phase 2 if one continues to phase 2? Will costs for impact evaluation then be budgeted for the relevant research institution or will it be added to the civil society player’s budget as a top-up or other?

Answer 67: You may budget for the impact evaluation already now, but please be aware that Norad wants only one contracting party (the applicant). We may consider a top-up for particularly good evaluation proposals, but it is not a given that everyone who progresses to phase two will be offered it.


Question 68: What is the difference between consortia partner and sub-grantee?

Answer 68: Below are the formal definitions for some of the types of actors and modalities that may be relevant:

  • Agreement Partner: The legal entity that by signature of the agreement has consented to be bound by the content of the agreement.
  • Consortium: A cooperative arrangement entered into by like-minded organizations intent on pursuing a common goal. Even if the grant is to be awarded to the consortium, one organization within the group must serve as the lead agency and assume responsibility for administrative oversight of the grant (Agreement Partner).
  • Cooperating Partner: Includes sub-grantees but also consortium members that receive funds from the grant recipient on grant terms. The cooperating partner is accountable to the grant recipient for the use of the funds provided. Does not include suppliers.
  • Grant Recipient: Legal entity that receives a grant for a specific purpose and on specific terms. In development cooperation normally referred to as partner. The grant recipient is not always the same entity as the agreement partner, cf. the definition above.
  • Sub-Grantee: A legal entity that receives funds from the Grant Recipient on grant terms and assumes responsibility for implementing part of the project. The sub-grantee is accountable to the grant recipient for the use of the funds provided.
  • Sub-Granting: When a Grant Recipient transfers funds to a partner with which the Grant Recipient is cooperating to achieve the agreed project results. The partner (sub-grantee or cooperating partner) assumes responsibility for implementing a part of the agreed project. The term includes financial assistance when provided by any legal agreement, even if the agreement is called a contract, but does not include procurement of goods and services.
  • Supplier: The company that provides goods and/or services and receives remuneration accordingly. May also be called service provider, consultant, seller, distributor or vendor. Normally procured through a tender process.

Question 69: Is there a maximum amount for hourly rates?

Answer 69: Norad does not have specific amounts for personnel costs. It is up to each agency to budget for accordingly.


Question 70: Do you include the budget of consortium members or sub-Grantee under the HQ sheet of the budget? Or do we include their budgets in the Overall budget sheet under "direct project direct project costs (regional/country office/other level)?

Answer 70: Only the lead applicant should have their budget under the HQ sheet. The other consortium members and/or sub-grantees should be entered under direct project costs (regional/country office/other).


Question 71: There is a research institution that we are considering partnering with in one of the countries we are planning to implement the project. The research institution (not-for profit and working in a number of countries) has its head-office in another DAC country that is not in our portfolio and has no Board of Directors at the national level. Do they qualify as a local partner, or do we have to include them as a consortium member?

Answer 71: They would qualify as a consortium member and not a local partner.


Question 72: As we still have not yet confirmed our choice of partners at this point, is it possible to change the partners between the concept note and full proposal stage?

Answer 72: You will need to specify in the concept note that “partners are not yet confirmed”. Please note however, that we assess partner choice as part of the assessment of concept notes.


Question 73:  Do we need to fill in the brief descriptions in the grants portal now before submitting or can this be done at a later stage?

Answer 73: All fields in the grant portal requestion information must be filled in before submitting.


Question 74: Should we add the information in in italics in the budget template, om the HQ sheet?

Answer 74: In the HQ sheet of the budget template, all the text in italics, i.e. in lines 6-8, 17 etc, is example text, as are all the figures provided since they contain formulas. What should be included in this section is any relevant information as explained in column G.


Question 75:We are expected to provide a “brief outline of expected results”. Currently we are planning to provide a Theory of Change with anticipated outputs and outcomes. Should we also include specific KPIs indicating how to quantify project results?

Answer 75: It is up to each applicant how they want to present their expected results in the concept note.


Question 76: Regarding proof of concept: We realize that there is no space where we can upload documents that relate to previous interventions, evaluations and concepts. Should we provide links or these documents? If yes, where should we provide these?

Answer 76: In terms of proof of concept, kindly provide links in the concept note, either as hyperlinked text or as footnotes. Please keep in mind the four page limit.

Published 27.02.2023
Last updated 06.03.2023