Frequently asked questions


Who is eligible to apply for a UN Trust Fund grant?

  • The UN Trust Fund’s Call for Proposals 2019 under the Spotlight Initiative is restricted to Spotlight target countries in the regions of Latin America and Africa.
  1. Latin America: Single Country Project Proposals from Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa: Single Country Project Proposals from Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
  3. Multi-Country Project Proposals from all other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Countries under category 2 are not eligible for multi-country project proposals.

Applications from other countries than those enlisted above will be disqualified and not taken under exam.

  • All civil society organizations, especially women-led and women’s rights organizations that have specialized knowledge, expertise and track record of working in women’s human rights and prevention and/or elimination of violence against women and girls. Supporting documents are required (constitutions, by-laws, organigrammes) to enable the UN Trust Fund to determine whether the organization is women’s right and/or women-led.
  • Regional/international civil society organizations and networks. Organizations must have national presence in the country and/or territory of implementation. The proposal must be focused on how the proposed intervention will contribute to national change and/or capacity development and ownership of national and local women’s organizations in the implementation.
  • Do I need to be a legally registered entity/organization to apply?

Yes. The Applicant Organizations must have legal status with the competent national authority (of an eligible country). This requirement does not apply to women’s funds that may be headquartered regionally or globally, especially when they are working to advance the needs and priorities of groups of women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. A proof of legal registration (or legal status) are a required attachment for any grant application. Applications without clear proof of legal status will be considered incomplete and will be withdrawn from the application process. Note that articles of incorporation are not proof of legal status.

  • Can organizations that are not legally registered apply?

No, organizations that are not legally registered are not eligible to apply.

  • Can an eligible organization submit more than one application?

No, an organization may not submit more than one application.

  • For international civil society organizations, can more than one local, affiliate or associate office apply?

No, only one office may apply per funding cycle, and that office must be legally registered in an eligible country and/or territory of implementation.

  • Can several organizations apply together?

Yes, organizations may work with relevant co-implementing partners to complement their expertise, outreach capacity and build the capacities of grassroots organizations. In these cases, grant proposals must clearly indicate which organization will take lead responsibility for project management and contractual obligations.

  • If several organizations are applying together, how should they divide up the roles and responsibilities?

The roles and responsibilities of all implementing partners should be described in the proposal – for example, the implementation of specific components of the proposed intervention. However, the lead applicant (whose contact details are provided in the proposal) is accountable for project management and contractual obligations. If successful for a grant, only the lead applicant is, per the terms of contract with UN-Women on behalf of the UN Trust Fund, accountable for the management of the awarded grant in its entirety. It is the responsibility of each lead organization to make sure that its co-implementing partners understand the requirements and obligations of the UN Trust Fund grant and that this information is shared with them in a timely and comprehensive manner.

  • What kinds of initiatives does the UN Trust Fund support?

UN Trust Fund grant-making focuses on supporting the implementation of existing laws, policies and action plans that address violence against women and girls. By way of example only, grants support:

  • primary prevention strategies to stop violence from occurring in the first place (including empowering women and girls; working with youth, adolescents, men and women; engaging men and boys as partners; enlisting religious and traditional leaders; engaging in public outreach and mass communications; etc.);
  • Expanding survivor access to support services (including safety and protection, access to health, legal, property and inheritance rights, and economic security and rights);
  • Securing budgetary and policy commitments for implementation (ranging from standardized data collection to political advocacy to developing capacities of government officials and other stakeholders charged with implementation or enforcement of laws).

Please note that is not an extensive list of initiatives that can be funded. For more examples, please see the Call for Proposals document.

  • What strategies are prioritized by the UN Trust Fund?

The UN Trust Fund places priority on initiatives that:

  • highlight holistic multi-sectoral approaches and collaboration between various stakeholders;
  • emphasize engagement of often underserved beneficiaries and strategic groups;
  • invest in systematic and comprehensive monitoring aimed at generating an evidence base on “what works” to end violence against women and girls.
  • Does the UN Trust Fund support regional or international projects?

The UN Trust Fund is accepting multi-country proposals on an exceptional basis under the Spotlight Initiative. These proposals can only include up to three specific countries from Sub-Saharan Africa. The list of eligible countries can be found in the Call for Proposals.

  • What kinds of activities are not funded by the UN Trust Fund?

The UN Trust Fund will not consider requests to fund:

  • activities where a substantial part of the budget is allocated for travel and/or conferences;
  • activities where a substantial part of the budget covers institutional recurrent costs and/or personnel costs;
  • infrastructure or construction (for example: purchase of land or property; repairs; building of shelters or short-stay homes; etc.);
  • funding gaps’ for ongoing initiatives/projects;
  • providing Anti-Retroviral Therapy or other such services;
  • humanitarian aid.
  • Can grantees with ongoing projects funded by UN Trust Fund apply for new grants?

No, current grantees must wait for three years after their funded project has ended in order to apply for a grant.

  • Can an organization that has received a grant in a previous funding cycle submit a new proposal?

Yes, given that the previous initiative was operationally and financially complete and closed by 2017.

  • Can an eligible organization submit the same proposal to another funding source besides the UN Trust Fund? If yes, what about if two or more funding sources approve the same proposal for a grant?

Yes. Eligible organizations are encouraged to submit their proposals to additional funding sources, as the UN Trust Fund is extremely competitive and receives many more proposals than it is able to fund. In the case of two or more funding sources approving the same grant, organizations would be expected to communicate:

  • Whether funding from the UN Trust Fund and additional sources cover the entire cost of the proposed project;
  • Whether there is still a funding gap, and the organization’s proposed strategies to bridge that gap;
  • Whether the amount received exceeds the resources required for the project, and the exact amount that will be needed from the UN Trust Fund.
  • The contributions of the various donors and what budget lines are financed through each contribution.

Application and appraisal process

  • How can I find information about the application process?

Every year the UN Trust Fund puts out a Call for Proposals. This Call is published on the UN Trust Fund’s and UN Women‘s website and is also distributed through list-serves and networks maintained by the UN Trust Fund Secretariat. It is further disseminated by the global inter-agency Programme Advisory Committee members, as well as sent to relevant UN inter-agency working groups and past UN Trust Fund applicants and grantees.

  • How can I apply?

Applicants submit initial proposals in the form of a brief concept note. Applicants must apply using the UN Trust Fund’s web application system at All applications must be submitted online. The UN Trust Fund will not accept applications submitted via e-mail, regular post and/or facsimile

  • What language can I submit my application in?

Applications may be submitted in English, French or Spanish

  • What is the process for appraising and short-listing concept notes?

The first round involves the submission of a Concept Note that are assessed by independent experts and a subset of applicants are invited to submit a Full-Fledged Proposal.

  • What is the process for shortlisted applicants?

Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit full-Fledged proposals that are appraised and a smaller group selected as grantees. The UN Trust Fund then enters into a contractual agreement with the grantee organization. Once agreements are signed, first year funding is disbursed to the grantee.

  • What makes a strong Concept Note and Full-Fledged Proposal?

In general, the most successful concept notes include the following components: They focus on specific forms of violence against women—as opposed to addressing all forms of violence—thus ensuring more effective and dedicated interventions; they demonstrate sustainability, reflecting a deeper understanding of how competencies will be institutionalized and relationships strengthened, for example, between civil society and governments; they specify partnerships, especially that of women’s groups and networks and describe their specific roles in the project; they indicate both qualitative and quantitative mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation; and lastly, they demonstrate a clear, logical, and realistic chain for achieving results. This includes articulating what results should be achieved, for and with whom, where and how, and for what ultimate purpose.

  • Why was my application not successful? Can I receive feedback on how to improve it?

Due to the high volume of proposals received, only a small percentage of applicants will be successful in the UN Trust Fund application process. This large number of applicants also means it is not possible to offer individual feedback on specific proposals. For advice on components of a strong concept note, please see the previous question “what makes a strong concept note?“

  • How are unsuccessful applicants informed?

The UN Trust Fund informs applicants of their status via email. The email is sent to the email addresses provided by applicants in the online application.

Budgets and Funding Requests

  • Is there a recommended range for funding requests?

Yes, for large civil society organizations budget requests should be within the range of a minimum of US$ 150,001 to a maximum of US$ 1 million total for duration of three years. For small civil society organizations, especially small women’s organizations and networks or youth-led organizations, budget requests will also be considered for a minimum of US$ 50,000 – US$ 150,000 for duration of three years. Determination of budget requests should be made based on an organization’s operational and absorptive capacity.

  • Must applicants contribute to the project budget?

While all applicants – whenever possible – are encouraged to make financial and/or in-kind contributions, it is not a requirement to do so.

  • What costs are covered by a UN Trust Fund grant?

In general, some project personnel, basic necessary equipment, and technical assistance services are supported by a UN Trust Fund grant. Personnel costs constitute the expenditures for managing the project. These do not include costs related, for example, to technical assistance which can be budgeted under the technical services category. Small women’s organizations requesting US$ 150,000 or less are also eligible to core costs and self-care costs. For additional details, please refer to the Budget Guidelines.

  • What costs are not covered by a UN Trust Fund grant?

The UN Trust Fund does not support costs of infrastructure such as purchase of land, property, acquisition of office space, construction or repair of existing buildings or offices, including for example, the building and furnishing of service facilities, shelters or short-stay homes.

  • What are the UN Trust Fund auditing requirements?

Each selected project may be subject to an audit during its lifetime by a UN Women designated auditor. A provision at 3.5 per cent (3.5%) of the total amount requested should be included in the first year of implementation to cover this cost.

  • Is creating additional budget lines permissible?

The existing budget lines should be used to detail all costs relevant to the satisfactory completion of the project.

  • Can a budget submitted with a concept note be increased when developing a full-fledged proposal

No. The budget submitted with a concept note represents the total funds available and allocated for the full-fledged proposal. However, budget lines may be modified as long as the budget details the activities in line with the approved strategy.

  • Can the budget of a selected intervention be increased after the final budget is approved?

No, requests for budget increases cannot be accommodated.

Online Application Technical Questions

  • I don’t remember my user password.

To retrieve your password, click on the link that says “forgot your password?” on the application front page. An automated message will be sent to the email address associated with your account with instructions on how to reset your password.

  • Can I switch the language of my application once I have begun filling out my application?

Yes. You can change the language of your application by

  1. a) Changing your language using ‘My Account’ settings (or)
  2. b) Selecting the language from the top right corner of your application
  • Do I have to fill out the application in order?

No, the application does not have to be filled out in order. Use the navigation links on the right side of the application to move from section to section. Please note that data you enter into the form is only saved when you hit the “Save” or “Save and Logout” buttons on the right side of the application. Make sure to save your work often.

  • Do I have to fill the application out at once?

No, the application does not have to be filled out in one sitting. With your user name and password, you can log in as many times as needed to complete your application before the deadline.

  • Can I print my application?

Yes. If you have a PDF printer installed on your computer, you can print the full document (for free PDF creation software visit

  • How do I know when I have completely filled out my application?

Once a section has been completed, a check mark will appear next to it (under the “Application Sections” on the left side of the application form). Check marks must appear for Sections I. through V. for the application to be considered complete.

  • What do the green checkmarks next to the application sections mean?

The green check marks in the navigation bar signify that a section has been fully completed. Check marks must appear for all required sections for the application to be considered complete.

  • What do the red circles next to the application sections mean?

Sections in the navigation bar with a red circle signify that there are mandatory questions that are either unanswered or answered incorrectly in that particular section. The number in the red circle indicates the number of questions unanswered or answered incorrectly. You may click on the red circle to investigate and address the questions that need to be filled out in order to complete a particular section.

  • What is the Application Inspector?

The Application Inspector (located under the navigation bar on the right side of the application form) is a tool that assists users in accurately completing application forms. The Application Inspector vets an application to ensure that all required fields are completed. Any required fields that are left blank or contain an invalid answer will be flagged in red ink. You must then go to the relevant question or section and correctly fill in the required fields to pass the Application Inspector. All online forms must pass the Application Inspector before submission. You can run the Application Inspector at any time and as many times prior to submitting your application as you like.

  • Can I make changes to sections that I have already completed?

Yes, you may edit any part of your application as many times as you want before submitting it. It is not possible to make any changes after an application has been submitted.

  • How do I submit my application?

Once your application is complete (see question above), you will be able to click on the “Submit Application” link on the left side of the application form.

  • Can I make changes to my application after I have submitted it?

No, it is not possible to make changes to a submitted application under any circumstance.

  • What if I only have my documents (audit reports, annual financial reports, etc.) in hard copies, not on a computer?

For hard copies, please scan your documents and upload them as PDFs. No mailed documents will be accepted.

  • I am trying to upload a file, but am having problems. What should I do?

Your files cannot exceed 50 MB in size. If your file is larger than 50 MB, please split it into two parts and upload them separately. If the files are still larger than 50 MB, consider scanning only the pertinent sections and re-trying. If you are still having problems, please send an email to with the following subject line: “APPLICATION HELP: Country of implementation / Organization name”.