What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls: Impact at Scale (What Works 2)


1.    What are the types of grants open under the What Works 2 funding window 1?
Under funding window 1, there are two types of open competition grants to apply for: Innovation Grants and Scale Grants. Please read carefully the guidance note for each grant type before applying. The guidance note contains important information on eligibility criteria. Both sets of guidance can be found  for Innovation grants and here for Scale Grants.

2.     What is the process for me as a new applicant?
For innovation Grants, there is a two-stage process: concept note; and request for full proposal. All Concept Notes will be reviewed by more than one reviewer to ensure fairness and transparency and will be approved by a selection panel. Only successful applicants at Concept Note Stage will be invited to apply for the Full Proposal. For additional information, please refer to the Innovation Grants Guidelines as above.

For the Scale Grants, there will be only one stage, a Request for Full Proposals, with a similar review panel as described above. For additional information, please refer to the Scale Grants Guidelines as above.

3.    Why a funding window instead of a rolling application system?
By accepting all new applications at the same time we can:

  • Respond faster to applicants, because we can plan and align the grantmaking processes better;
  • Be more transparent about grants decisions, by indicating the priorities and expected number of grants for each funding window;
  • Review and compare applications with each other, so that there is a fairer selection process.

4.    What are the areas which the What Works 2 programme is interested in?

  • Prevention of violence against the most marginalized groups, particularly women and girls with disabilities and LBT persons.
  • Prevention of VAWG in conflict and crisis, including non-partner sexual violence (this could include adapting evidence-based approaches from non-conflict settings).
  • Prevention of violence against children and its links to violence against women to stop the transmission of violence across generations.

4.1 Does the proposal need to consider all the areas of intervention?
No, it needs to at least cover one of them.
4.2 Would application with primary outcome to reduce child early forced marriages and unions will be considered?
It could be considered if it fits all the criteria of an innovation grant.
4.3 Do applying organizations need to show in their status that it’s a feminist group?
No. However, it would be great if you could demonstrate on how your intervention aligns with the What Works 2 Feminist Principles (please see Innovation Grants Guidance Note (link is provided in Q1)

5.    Are there specific regions that are prioritized for the What Works 2 programme?
Yes, the three priority regions are: Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and MENA. Please follow the link for a full list of eligible countries.

5.1 Are organisation based in Sudan, South Sudan, Philippines, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, India, Burundi etc. eligible to apply’?
Yes, please refer to the list of ODA countries for the three priority regions of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Middle East and North Africa.

5.2 What should be the criteria of selecting districts within a country?
The organisation should determine on how to select the districts, but ideally, they should have means to visit the project in the selected districts.

6.    Can applications propose interventions in more than one country?
Yes. Applicants may propose interventions in more than one country or region, provided that all countries are classified as a low- or middle-income country (LMICs) and are based in the three priority regions. All shortlisted applications will be required to provide further details of all the locations and countries for the proposed intervention at full proposal.

 Also, applicants need to demonstrate a holistic approach on how scale is effective/impactful project cross the multi-country

7.    Can all organizations apply (either alone or as part of a consortia) or only those that were part of What Works 1 can apply?
All organizations can apply if they meet the criteria, the open competition is not exclusive to the organizations that were part of the What Works 1 programme.

8.    What is What Works 2 definition of innovation in the field of prevention of violence against women and girls?
The definition for what constitutes innovation for the What Works II innovation grants is:
The development and implementation of new or existing ideas with the transformative ability to contribute impact with potential for future scaling.

8.1 What is What Works 2 definition of violence against women?
Please see our definition in this guidance note.

8.2 What would you consider as conflict area/situation? how about refugee camps or processing centers?

We use the definition given by the World bank that can be found here: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/fragilityconflictviolence/brief/harmonized-list-of-fragile-situations

8.3 How do we know where our project fits better? In other words, how do we know what your organization considers "innovative" (so we can apply for a suitable grant)?
We define innovation as above. And we define scale as follows Scale is expanding and / or deepening evidence based VAWG prevention programming and policy efforts in partnership with organizations, institutions and communities who share a commitment to sustainable change. Please read the RFP to understand further.

9.    Are current / ongoing projects/interventions eligible to apply for Innovation grants?
Yes. However, during the concept note stage, applicants must indicate how the integration of a new, meaningful innovation component to a current or ongoing project will work to improve our understanding and add to the evidence base of how to prevent and/ or respond to VAWG in LMICs. Further information on the eligibility criteria can be found in the Innovation grants concept note guidance.

9.1 Does an applicant need to already have implemented an approach / intervention in previous programming necessarily? Or can we try something new, under What Works 2?
For an innovation grant, an organisation does not need to have already implemented an approach / intervention, it can try something new and proven to be working. Please refer to the innovation RFP for details on selection criteria.  

10.    Can a local NGO be allowed to empower women economically through cash transfer services?
If your idea is innovative and can prove that your intervention will lead to a reduction in VAWG you can apply. Please refer to the innovation RFP for details on selection criteria.

11.    If an applicant proposes to scale-up an intervention piloted by another organization, does the applicant need to inform that organization during the proposal stage / work with them during the proposal stage (including proposals to scale up interventions from What Works 1)?
Yes, they will need to inform them and to budget for originator TA.

11.1 What if we have a very successful intervention proven to work (through scientific evidence) but not focusing on sexual violence (the priority for this window) - can we scale up our intervention bringing in the sexual violence element? Can still be considered evidence that it works?
Please present your intervention and provide the information requested in the template to show it has been evaluated and how you intend to bring in the sexual violence element. It will be reviewed based on the 5 criteria of effectiveness, cost efficiency, sustainability, enabling environment.

11.2 Is there a particular body that should evaluate projects, or one can submit a project that has been evaluated by its project management team?
As long as there is robust evidence from the evaluation conducted by the project management team to support the proposed intervention one should apply. Refer to the respective scale and innovation RFPs for details on eligibility and selection criteria.

11.3 Could you define the terms originator and TA please?
For Scale interventions originally designed by different organizations to the applicant, 10 % of the grant budget will be provided to support Technical Advice from the ‘originator’. Originator means the organization or person who developed the model or intervention you are proposing to scale up. TA is technical assistance/ capacity support from the originator to help you understand the model or intervention.

11.4 There is only one grant in through this call? What is expected time line for the restricted scale up grant which will be invited from What Works 1 successful intervention?
There are 3 scale grants, one to be awarded in the open call and two to be awarded by invite-only. The invite only is currently being scoped and is not restricted to successful interventions from What Works 1.

11.5 Just wondering if we have not heard yet should we assume we are not being considered / invited to apply? Or is that decision on who might be invited still being made?
Invite only scoping is ongoing.

11.6 Can the application be a hybrid of an "innovation" and "scale" categories?
No. You can only apply for one type of grant.

11.7 I am still not sure what "have already been proven to work" means.
It means that whatever you are proposing to scale up has been evaluated and found to reduce or prevent violence through a previous randomized controlled trial or previous rigorous testing in lower-and middle-income countries. Refer to the scale RFP for details.

11.8 Will sexual violence be a priority of all the funding cycles for scale-up grants?
We do not have information on all funding cycles at this stage. However, it is anticipated that sexual violence will be a priority, if there is sufficient evidence of interventions addressing sexual violence that have been proven effective in preventing or reducing it.

11.9 In early iterations of what What Works 2 might look like / Early Market Engagements, there was talk of inviting some proven interventions to be part of the scale up - is this still the plan or will all scale ups be identified through this open procurement?
See Answer to 11.4 and 11.5

11.10 Can you unpack what you mean by 'organizations who work in direct implementation' while discussing about eligibility criteria. Many INGOs work in partnership with local implementing agencies. Will this model be applicable for this call?
This means that applicants implement programmes on VAWG prevention in communities and not through partners. If applying in consortia, all roles should be clearly defined, specifying the organisation working in direct implementation of VAWG prevention.

11.11 If an applicant proposes to scale-up an intervention piloted by another organization, does the applicant need to inform that organization during the proposal stage/work with them during the proposal stage (including proposals to scale up interventions from What Works 1)?
Yes, the applicant will need to inform the originator of the intervention they are proposing to scale and budget for some originator TA. See 11.3

12.    Can applicant partner with local government units to apply for grant?
No, government partners are not eligible to receive a grant, however demonstration of relationships with governments and working alongside as key stakeholders as part of the intervention is welcomed.

13.    Can an organisation submit more than one application?
No. Organizations are only eligible to apply for one What Works 2 project in each funding cycle.

13.1 Can an INGO be a subrecipient (partner) on the innovation grant *and* then lead an application for the impact at scale opportunity?
Organizations can only submit one application, regardless of if they are a sub or lead, for either innovation or scale. This decision does not impact on their eligibility to submit for either scale or innovation grants in the second funding window.

13.2 Can an organization be in more than one consortium?
No, one organization cannot be in more than one consortium. This is to ensure equity and fairness across applicants.

13.3 Does What Works 2 consider the offices of an international nonprofit organization separately or as one entity?
What Works 2 considers them separate entities, but we will look at their legal registration during the due diligence process.

14.    What is the funding amount for each grant type in Funding Window 1?
For the Innovation Grants, the budget amount is up to GBP 500,000 each, for a duration of 3 years; for Scale Grants, the budget amount is up to GBP 4,000,000 for a duration of 3 years. Here is no minimum ceiling for each of the grant types.

14.1 How many innovation grants will the What Works 2 fund?
It will depend on the number of applications and their required budget amount; our maximum amount is GBP500,000 but it is likely that we will receive applications for less than this amount, so we will need to consider all applications to make a final decision.

14.2 How many NNGOs targeted to receive funding in each of the three regions?
We are looking at an equitable distribution across the 3 regions, but we will need to assess the number of applications/their quality etc.

15.    How many Scale grants will be allocated on the What Works 2 fund?
For the Scale grants funding window, one grant will be allocated on the Open Competition process; and 2 grants will be allocated via an invite only process, following an extensive scoping exercise.

16.     Who is eligible to apply for funding? Refer to the innovation and scale RFP for eligibility criteria, summarized below:

  • For Innovation grants, eligible lead applicants are not-for-profit national or local level women-led feminist WROs from the Global South, who may choose to partner with other organizations (e.g. NGOs, SMEs); International NGOs (INGOs) are only eligible as part of a consortia led by WROs; Funding organizations are not eligible, for example a women’s fund.
  • For Scale Grants, eligible lead applicants could include a mix of WROs who are programme implementers, as well as INGOs, NGOs, multilaterals, SMEs; eligible applicants in consortia should include at least one WRO from the Global South.

16.1 Can a non- WRO organisation apply for the grant?
An organisation not led by a majority of women can apply in a consortium but cannot lead the project. The lead must be a women's rights organisation with majority leadership being women at governance and senior leadership levels

16.2    Can academic partners apply as part of a WRO-led consortium?
Academic partners cannot apply. The What Works 2 programme has a research partner who will work with the grantee partners to determine the research questions that need to be answered and receive support for evaluations from the research partner.

16.3 Is conducting action research an eligible activity?
Research is not an eligible activity for the grant funding, and it will be conducted by the research consortium in coordination with the implementation partners.

16.4 Are for-profit firms / organizations eligible to submit applications?
No, SMEs and other profit-making organizations can be part of a consortium but not the lead applicant organisation. If you decide to partner with an SME / ME, then please demonstrate the role of the SME in the proposed intervention. Also, please note the % of funding to the SME/ME, so it does not become disproportionate in relation to the rest of the consortium, in particular to the WROs.

16.5     How does What Works 2 define SMEs?
There are no specific criteria for SME for Scale grants, but you will need to consider what would a SME role be in a scale grant. A partner or partners who apply for scale grants needs to determine if their proposed intervention is best achieved through partnerships with an SME. The lead applicant needs to provide a delivery chain mapping and if possible, also submit details on how the SME is working responsibly and follows the local labor laws/ prevents exploitation etc. These are some of the details we would like to see in the proposal.

16.6    Are multi-lateral agencies allowed to apply?
No, multilateral agencies are not eligible to apply as leads for Innovation or Scale grants.

16.7    Are the non- registered WROs able to apply?
It is an FCDO compliance requirement for organizations to have legal registration in the country of operation. The basic eligibility screening section in the innovation grant concept note template includes the requirement for the applicant to confirm if they are ‘duly registered or has the legal basis/mandate as an organization and is compliant with national and local laws and regulations; if applicant is not registered, please confirm on how funds would be received and accounted for; WROs can include  their old registration documents (in case they are expired or cannot be renewed)  and include any information on the current country situation that they are safe to share, e.g., information on why they have never been able to register etc.

16.8 Are WROs regional networks eligible to submit application? Can registered CBOs apply?
Yes, WROs regional networks can submit applications as well as registered CBOs.

16.9 Can a newly start-up apply?
No, it’s needed to have been in existence for at least 3 years.

16.10 Can an NGOs who is dedicated to peacebuilding / social cohesion/ trafficking and migration victim /legal support lead the application?
Yes, if the NGOs believes that their proposed intervention is innovative, in line with the priorities in the RFps and are open to the project being evaluated.

16.11 Is there any limitation on the number of local women led WROs partners in a consortium application?
There is no limitation on the number of WROs in one consortium.

16.12 Is it ok if each consortium partner works in different locations / regions in the country and prevents different types of crises led VAWG?
It is ok for each WRO to work in different areas/districts as long as the project can demonstrate how VAWG is articulated and impactful.

16.13 In country in which they have a FCRA rule, that does not allow sub-granting or forming coalitions, how they may apply?
Organizations applying for innovation grants do not have to do so in a consortium. They can apply alone. If they decide to apply as a consortium, they should have an MoU between the organizations.

16.14 Are What Works 2 Programme Consortium partners and Consortium partner affiliates eligible to apply?
No, all What Works 2 Programme Consortium partners and Consortium partner affiliates are not eligible to apply.

17.    How much should an organization have as annual budget to qualify?
What Works 2 doesn’t have a budget threshold for organizations. We do expect that the organization has capacity and resources to manage the project budget that it applies for. We do expect however that the organization has financial records of the last 3 years of operation, or a justification for not having such records.

18. Should the proposed budgets include indirect costs?
Yes. Non-Project Attributable Costs (NPAC) also called indirect, core, central or support costs are permitted. You are required to calculate the total annual NPAC of your organisation in line with the following budget cost categories:

  • Administration costs
  • Support Staff Costs  
  • Governance Costs

Please refer to the NPAC guidance on how to calculate NPAC. You will find this guidance on the ‘FILE’ tab after you register on the Grants Portal.

18.1 What other admin cost refer to?
‘Other admin costs’ is intended to cover an appropriate and justifiable apportionment of the grantee’s (and any implementing partner’s) administrative costs expended in support of the grant, where these costs are not covered by the other budget classifications.  Administrative costs should be 'actuals' and apportioned across the project portfolio.

18.2 What is the percentage of admin costs from the overall cost? What about NPAC? Is there any flat rate?
No, there is no flat rate for admin costs, but we expect the costs to be reasonable. ‘Other admin costs’ is intended to cover an appropriate and justifiable apportionment of the grantee’s (and any implementing partner’s) administrative costs expended in support of the grant, where these costs are not covered by the other budget classifications.  Admin costs should be actuals and evidenced by supporting documentation.

18.3 Does Admin cost also include the organization overheads? What would be the overhead %?
There is no % threshold of admin costs. These costs are intended to cover an appropriate and justifiable apportionment of the grantee’s (and any implementing partner’s) administrative costs expended in support of the grant, where these costs are not covered by the other budget classifications.

18.4 Would the organization need to provide receipts for admin costs?
Admin costs should be actual costs as apportioned to the project and with supporting documents e.g receipts for rent

18.5 What should be the percentage of project direct costs, salaries and operations?
We do not prescribe what these costs should be, but we expect that they are appropriate and proportionate to the size of the grant as well as not include any of the ineligible costs.

18.6 When does the full budget need to be submitted?
For the innovation grant, the full budget is required on the full proposal stage and not on the concept note stage. For the scale grants, the budget needs to submitted within the full proposal

18.7 Is it possible for an NNGO to apply without matching cost?
What Works 2 doesn’t ask for match costs, regardless of the type of the organization

18.8 Is co-funding allowed (e.g. within an ongoing project)?
No. We are not interested in co funding. We want a project that is specific to the What Works 2 project for purposes of evaluation

18.9 Are there any budget headings required?
The budget template has been provided as part of the proposal documents. The budget template has the budget headings discussed during the webinar. There is more financial guidance after your registration at the Grants portal.

18.10 What can I include as an overhead?
Overhead costs, or Non-Project Attributable Costs (NPAC), are the costs that must be incurred in order to deliver a project or programme but cannot be directly attributed to a specific programme. These costs include running costs of the organisation such as HR and Finance functions, Head Office costs and Governance costs. After you register on the Grants Portal, please refer to the NPAC guidance on how to calculate NPAC. This guidance can be found on ‘FILE’ tab.

18.11 What is the budget allocation for the overhead cost?
It is not allowed to use a flat rate to charge for overheads or for admin costs. Non-Project Attributable Costs (NPAC) are overhead costs that relate to the overall operations, management, and identity of the delivery partner rather than to programme services. These should be calculated using the template provided with the budget template. You will find the template and more guidance from our portal after registration.

18.12 Can we use an agreed flat NPAC rate?
No. However, if your organisation has already agreed an NPAC rate with FCDO this financial year, you can submit the same tab with the budget for your new grant. Once the NPAC rate has been agreed they can use this rate over the life of the programme unless there has been a material change to the organization’s costs base that would materially impact the NPAC rate.  

18.13 How should organizations with complex structures (i.e. multiple offices, devolved offices, not stand-alone entities) allocate costs?
It is not possible to capture all the different ways organizations may be structured across different offices, but the key principle is that no cost should be double counted (i.e. included in both NPAC and direct costs).    

Organizations with multiple offices should complete the budget, including the NPAC tab for the office that will be leading the project considering costs incurred by other parts of the organization. The approach taken will depend on how the organization’s accounts are structured.

18.14. Can the cost of preparing funding applications be included as an overhead cost?
No. This is an ineligible cost as per the FCDO eligible cost guidance.

18.15 As lead partner of a consortium, should I apply our NPAC rate to the total direct costs of the project?
No. The NPAC rate should be applied to an organization’s proportion of the direct costs only, not including payments made to any consortium or downstream partners. Partner organizations should apply their own overheads to their direct costs.  

18.16 Can we use our NICRA rate instead of using FCDO’s new overheads approach?
No. NICRA and NPAC are not compatible because USAID and FCDO use different methodologies.

18.17. Why is there a % allocation for Advocacy and MEL activities?
These are two key areas that will demonstrate project impact; thus, applicants are asked to include up to 10% for Advocacy activities; and up to 10% for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. Please see full budget guidance for additional information. Grantees should – at minimum - budget for (a) baseline data collection; (b) ongoing data collection and monitoring during project implementation; (c) and end line data collection.

18.18 Who should I contact with finance related queries or feedback?
For any budget related questions or how to complete your NPAC tab (this is only applicable for Scale Grants Request for Full Proposals), please send an email to WW2.info@rescue.org  

19. What is the Contracting mechanism for the selected grantees?
The contracting mechanism for the selected project grants will be an FCDO Accountable Grant Arrangement (AGA).  As a final stage in the application process prior to signing the grant agreement, IRC, acting on behalf of FCDO as the fund manager, will conduct a due diligence assessment to identify any development needs and assign actions to mitigate against the risk to the FCDO funding. This is a collaborative review and analysis of the selected grantee’s organizational, programmatic, financial, and operational capacity to implement the proposed project. Further guidance on the due diligence process will be available on the What Works 2 website.

20. Where can I access templates for Concept Note (Innovation Grants), Full Proposal (for Scale Grants), budget, logframe, risk register?
To access these documents, you must first create a profile on IRC What Works 2 Grant Management System (GMIS) and officially begin your application, please go to File tab and click view all to access the templates
All templates can be completed online, however you will be able to access templates for budget, logframe, workplan and risk register. Furthermore, the application is interactive and guides you through with help text in each of the required fields.  If you have limited or no digital access, please contact us via email: WW2.info@rescue.org  

21. What is the official language for the application?
English is the only accepted language for the application submission.

22. When is the due date for accepting the innovation grants concept note?
23.59 GMT on 23 September 2022. Please check the website and the Grants portal for any extension to this deadline.

23. When is the due date for accepting the Scale grants full proposal?
23.59 GMT on 30 September,2022. Please check the website and the Grants portal for any extension to this deadline.

24. Are there records/presentations for the innovation/ scale up grant webinars?
Yes, you can find all the webinar recordings here.

25. Is there any step-by-step manual /guidance on how to register and how to apply?
Yes, you can find a guidance note on how to register and apply here.

26. How can we address our questions? Is there any deadline?
You can use the 'chatter' function on the Grants Portal; or you can send us an email. There is no deadline to submit your questions. Outstanding questions may be addressed to WW2.info@rescue.org. We will aim to respond within 5 working days.

27. We had already submitted our application. We have just received information that we did not have at the beginning. How can we amend the application?
Please send us an email requesting to amend your application to WW2.info@rescue.org. We will aim to reply withing 5 working days

28. Could the deadline be extended?
See 22. and 23. All updates to changes in submission dates will updated on Website and Grants Portal accordingly.

29. May applications be submitted through email?
No. Applications must be submitted through the IRC What Works 2 Grant Management Information System (GMIS) platform. Any applications received through another means will be rejected at point of receipt. Additional guidance on how to apply can be found on What Works 2 website. However, if you have any accessibility issues and/or are screen readers, please contact us at WW2.info@rescue.org and we will send you the application form templates.
Also, for organizations based in South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine/Crimea, please send us an email WW2.info@rescue.org requesting the offline application forms and templates, as due to licensing issues, you will not be able to complete the applications online.

This FAQs will be updated regularly, please check the What Works 2 website for updates. Before reaching out the What Works 2 team for assistance, kindly read the guidelines for each grant type to ensure you understand the grant application and review process. Grant Application Guidelines are also available in Arabic and French.

To maintain the impartiality and fairness of the process, the What Works 2 is unable to provide one- on-one feedback on concept note and/or full proposal ideas.