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Global Grants: Resource Center

Ending malaria is only achievable if we all work together. That’s why we encourage Rotarians to start their own malaria malaria elimination projects through Rotary’s Global Grants program. The process of launching, applying for, and implementing a Global Grant can seem daunting–whether this is your first Global Grant or just your first malaria project.

 

To make the process easier, we’ve compiled a resource center to get you started, including Rotary resources on the process, as well as learnings from our Board Members with deep Global Grant experience.

The Basics and General Resources

What is a Rotary Global Grant?

A Global Grant is a tool for Rotary Clubs around the world to support large-scale service projects. It connects a host club that helps enact the project on the ground, and a partner club that helps fund and manage the project abroad. Global grants have a minimum budget of $30,000 and a maximum World Fund award of $400,000. Grant sponsors can use a combination of District Designated Funds (DDF), cash, and/or directed gifts and endowment earnings to fund a global grant. The Foundation will provide an 80 percent World Fund match for all DDF contributions.

Both the district or club in the country where the activity is carried out and the international partner district or club must first become qualified before applying for a global grant. Your club and district Rotary Foundation chairs can help you plan how to use your District Designated Funds and learn how to qualify your club.

Explore the links below to see more Rotary Resources around the grant requirements, process, and other basics as a place to start:

What are the Global Grant requirements?

For a successful application, Rotary requires that all grants be sustainable, measurable, respond to real community needs, actively involve Rotary and community members, and align with at least one of Rotary’s areas of focus.

Making your Grant…

Additional Resources

Below we’ve included some additional helpful resources as you start building your own Global Grant.

Making your Grant…

Q&A with Malaria Partners International Board Members

Our Experience

MPI is honored to have many Rotarians as founders and active Board Members with extensive experience leading and managing malaria control projects, including many global grants. Malaria-specific projects often include area-specific knowledge. For those who are passionate about helping to fight malaria, but have never done a project themselves before, we asked three of our fantastic Board Members to help share some of their best advice, experiences, and other learnings from their years of working with global grants.

Read on in the Q&A below for more.

Meet Our Global Grants Experts

To read more about Jim, Adriana, or Bill, or get to know our other Board Members, click here.

Jim Moore

Board Member
RC Seattle 4

Adriana Lanting

Immediate Past Chair
RC Long Beach

Bill Feldt

Board Member
RC Federal Way

What is a global grant? More specifically, when you're looking at doing a project, why would you choose a global grant over a district grant or an MPI small grant? What puts a project over the edge into requiring that larger budget.
 
Bill Feldt:

Well, a Global Grant has a much bigger funding capacity. It’s much bigger than one of our small grants, and in capacity much bigger than a district grant as well. So it’s a size issue, really. And as Jim knows well—I mean, he got $400,000 in funding. Thanks in part to, not just Rotary, but we were able to get that amount, with a lot of funding from both the Gates Foundation, which we’ve been able to build a relationship with over many years, as well as Rotary International and other sources. When you add the matching funds from Rotary, you get to a serious scale, and that to me, that’s the big deal.

 

Jim Moore:

It’s really scale. I’d say I’d say a project of $50,000—Rotary says $30,000, but I think a project of $50,000 or more would be where you start to think about a global grant. Remember, though, in order to get any matching funds from the rotary foundation you have to be able to have district development funds available and added to it. And that’s a change—previously you could match club funds. You could match contributions from an MPI or a Gates Foundation, 50 cents on the dollar from The Rotary Foundation. Now, the only thing they match, and at 80%,is our district designated funds.

 

Adriana Lanting:

You know, every district is a little bit different. And for me, in my district one of the reasons that you would want to do a global grant, as opposed to a district grant, is because our district grants cannot go out of California or Mexico. So we’re not able to do anything international, (other than Mexico) with the district grant. So that would be another factor that would make us want to do a global grant, which is not the case for Jim and Bill’s district—they have a very cool district! But for those interested that come from other districts around the world, there’s a lot of different reasons a person could want to go to a global grant.

How can we make the most impact? What kind of projects do well on a larger scale versus maybe trying something smaller at first?

 

Jim Moore:

So the basic requirement is that you need to have an international club and a host club (in-country club) as partners in the project. If you have a global grant in malaria, you will also need to have an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the government participating, the Rotary club participating, and the international club—and those MOUs can take a long time because typically they, and is the case for our current grant, have to be signed by all parties, as well as go through the Attorney General’s office first, then  be signed by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health in Zambia (or that country’s equivalent), and that’s much more bureaucratic in general.

 

Bill Feldt:

If you’ve got strong government support and a good Rotary club, and an experienced Rotary club in a country that has a big need—and I think virtually every sub-Saharan African country has big needs and gaps that their government, the Global Fund, or Presidents’ Malaria Initiative cannot fill—my sense is that the opportunities are almost limitless with the right conditions, a good strong government commitment, and then great Rotarians, and then obviously partners can be a great benefit. But ultimately, there are tons of opportunities.

As Jim mentioned, though, there can be a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy involved. For example, our Grant in Zambia, we spent many months working on the MOU with the various stakeholders in the Zambian government, before we finally received government approval and submitted the application to The Rotary Foundation. I think we’ve finally broken through and expect an approval on this pending grant, but it can be a long process and a big commitment.

 

Adriana Lanting:

You know, for me, as far as what makes a good global grant I would say that sustainability is key. From an application standpoint, The Rotary Foundation will not approve the grant without a compelling sustainability section. It’s a big investment, so it’s important at that scale to make sure the project will have a lasting impact after you’re gone.

All global grants must be measurable. So, for the projects you've been involved in, how did you approach measuring outcomes and making sure that you had a good data tracking system for what you were accomplishing?

 

Bill Feldt:

With the Community Health Worker grants in Zambia, the information system is ready made with years of past funding from the Gates Foundation, and with that, you know, there’s a state-of-the-art tracking system on malaria cases—so we are very fortunate in that regard. If we were to talk about indoor residual spraying or net distribution, there’s no standard measurement for that kind of an intervention. Typically, it’s the number of nets distributed and percentage of the population, but in terms of strict follow-up on proper usage of the nets, there’s no capacity to really do that. It could possibly be built in, though I don’t know of anybody who’s done a large scale net distribution project where they have a really good tracking system.

 

Jim Moore:

Think of the sustainability part from the start. The community needs assessment is baseline. So to start, you need baseline information regarding the factors you’re going to measure. The only exception is that if you’re training Community Health Workers, you generally wouldn’t have baseline information. And you would, in addition to the malaria baseline, track the training of Community Health Workers. For example: How many were trained? How many were posted in the field? What was their turnover over the course of the project? Those kinds of things need to be tracked, but, as Bill said, for the for public health impacts, there is a very well developed, and actually quite widely used in Africa, system called District Health Information System and it involves a malaria component.

The difference between countries is that many, many countries don’t have the ability for their Community Health Workers to report, or have the system to report the data. So that’s one of the things that’s necessary. We have a project in formation in the Gambia, that is a Community Health Worker training project with PATH, along the Senegalese border. And that will bring those capabilities to those Community Health Workers and their supervisors. That’s itself is part of the project. That’s something that hopefully, we’ll start in January of next year. That won’t be a global grant, but it will be large enough that we could have chosen to make it a global grant.

 

Adriana Lanting:

I would just add that, if you’re questioning about a writing a global grant, Jim and Bill are absolutely right that those things need to be in place already if they’re going in to do a global grant somewhere. It’s important when it comes to measurability to pick something they can measure when designing the project from the start. So for example, say they’re finding out how many people have malaria, or how many people went to the event they’re doing, pick something that they can measure. Don’t pick something that’s a pie in the sky project, and try to figure out the measurability afterwards. So somebody that’s coming in with a new grant, kind of like our small grants, they need to pick something that they can measure and then measure it. Otherwise it’s just going to look like they failed.

Global Grants also must be sustainable. What are some of the ways you can incorporate that element into your project and make sure that it's going to continue on past your project timeline?

 

Bill Feldt:

You cannot always count on the resources from the government of that country, and we have lobbied or advocated quite loudly for commitment from the Government, and they have improved dramatically, thanks in part to Rotary and Jennifer Jones’s intervention. You know, when she visited Zambia in August 2022, she, and our Malaria Partners Zambia executive director, Martha Lungu, and Rotary International Director, Patrick Chisanga met with the President of Zambia, and they really got after him. We have much bigger commitments now, but there’s still gaps.

And, you know, we didn’t have a clue. We just assumed that the Government would have the resources to take over and we weren’t advised otherwise. So we were in there with a very tight budget, and so finding out reality, which many clubs had put a lot of money into, was a hard lesson to learn. Now in our last year of Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia, we are putting more focus on social behavior change: on developing a data-driven culture at the health facility level, at the community health worker (CHW) level, and at the district and province level, so that as a whole, the culture is just very focused on the information that the CHWs and health facilities are developing. As Jim says, sustainability is built into the project. For example, if you do only indoor residual spraying, that’s a one-off, because buildings need to be re-sprayed regularly. That’s why CHWs can be more self-sustaining, as long as the right interventions and reinforcements are there.

Jim Moore:

You could make the argument that having CHWs there, as long as the government is able to maintain the supply chain of their working materials (i.e. test kits, medicines, and information), and then support from the facility level, that there is sustainability in the effort. However, the other element of sustainability is in these projects that have a component of social behavior change, and can help change the attitudes, essentially, of the people in the target population regarding malaria, and they need to be alert and aware of how, if they have malaria, they can be infecting other people by mosquitoes, biting them and then biting their family and neighbors. That kind of education program is a great sustainable aspect to the project.

What are some of the best ways to approach finding partners clubs or funding clubs? In addition to online resources like the Matching Grants website (linked above), how do you make those connections?
 

Bill Feldt:

You know, I think, ultimately, that it’s got to be personal outreach. If you’re doing a global grant, you have to get the clubs in your district excited about it, and you have to network with other clubs. Get your District Governor on board, and network with other districts as well to make it a multi-district project. It’s not an easy process, but I think that’s by far the most effective.

 

Jim Moore:

I think you need to go and have club advocates in the district that can help you promote the project and the cause in general. You’ve got club contributions, and then they pull in district funds (depending on your district). In our district, the district will match club contributions from 5030 clubs, which can be a huge resource. In almost every case, you’re also doing a presentation to a club or to their International Service Committee (sometimes called World Service Committee). However, once you have made those connections and have clubs you have partnered with on previous malaria grants, those clubs are already receiving updates on what their funds are helping accomplish with previous projects, so you could approach those clubs virtually/electronically since you already have a relationship.

 

Adriana Lanting:

First of all, there is a website where clubs can post their global grants called Matching Grants [linked in the resource library above], which can be a great way to get your grant out there and reach new audiences. However, I think that it’s really important if somebody is trying to figure this out that they reach out their individual district leadership and say, “Okay. What’s our matching policy?” Because each district is totally different, some could match 1:1 or some could do  a smaller match. They should reach out before they even start this project and begin developing the project scope, so they can figure out what they can depend on from their district and what needs to be raised. Beyond that, it’s all about meeting as many Rotarians as you can and making personal connections.

What is one of the biggest obstacles you overcame in some of your past malaria global grants, key learning moments, or something you would do differently?

 

Bill Feldt:

Well, I have to confess, I think that at first we just totally undershot the sustainability aspect for the Copperbelt Phase I. We were in there with a tight budget, and we had very little money to deal with sustainability. Fortunately, because of our partnerships, both with Rotary and other global health organizations, we’ve been able to build out a more robust system for data and tracking.

Also, when you partner with larger non-profit organizations, as a cooperating partner or implementing partner, you need to have a really clear understanding of who is doing what. For Rotary, it’s extremely important to them that Rotarians are the ones implementing the projects, so the Rotary presence needs to be strong where you are working. And some other partner organizations might not be as keen to share leadership implementation. So if you are looking at including strategic partnerships, you need to understand how you’ll work together, and make sure that it aligns with Rotary’s requirements as well.

 

Jim Moore:

When you’re doing a global grant project, if this is from the viewpoint of the Host Club, then as a Host Club you want to make sure that you have the bandwidth to be able to manage it to conclusion, including the accounting for the project. If it’s a very large project, it pays you to have someone, part time at least, doing your accounting so that if you are ever audited you have all your ducks in a row. But the main thing: do you have the bandwidth? This is why Rotary Clubs these days are not doing large-scale bed net projects, and those are being left more to national organizations. The scale of these commodity projects and indoor residual spraying on a large scale are like that. They’re expensive, very expensive. You know, for example, Zambia has a population of around 19 or 20 million, and there’s a bed net distribution campaign that’s underway (or will be underway) that has 12 million nets associated with it. That’s way beyond was a Rotary club is capable of managing effectively, especially as a volunteer organization.

Another issue I’ve faced is that sometimes you think you have a commitment from a district or club for a certain amount of money, and sometimes by the time an MOU is signed or you are submitting the grant, either not as much money is available anymore or perhaps the leadership has changed and the next District Governor isn’t as keen on the project.

 

Adriana Lanting:

Working on one of our most recent grants, I ran into many of the issues that Bill and Jim mentioned: you work really closely and work hard to get everything together, and then you start running into MOU issues. The second thing I’ve learned is how important it is to get the Rotaractors involved. If you get Rotaract clubs involved, they are really ready to jump in. Actually—more than half the population of Africa is under 30, and Rotaract (especially in Africa) is really strong.

Lastly, and this is for Global Grants in general, a mistake I see is forgetting to file a final report. You’re going along, You’re all happy. You do your grant. Well, afterwards, it’s easy to overlook sending the final report. And that’s a big problem, because that can affect your chances of receiving future Rotary grants.

Working on Global Grants that are malaria-focused versus other types of projects, what are the ways in which the process differs. Are there differences in how you setup the project? Or any areas you need to focus on specifically?

 

Bill Feldt:

The main difference that I would point out is that it is more difficult to properly address the sustainability aspect with malaria projects. In many cases, projects need continuous funding and you need to think critically about how to make sure your grant has a lasting impact. So it’s different and unique, and frankly tougher, from a fundraising and sustainability perspective.

 

Jim Moore:

This is for any kind of disease treatment and prevention project, the area of focus category for malaria projects, along with women and child health. Any of these have more of a challenge in the sustainability component. Unless you’re doing something like vaccinating, where you are really preventing the disease from recurring, it’s more challenging to put together a project that meets that criteria. Hopefully one day we’ll get there with the malaria vaccine as it continues to advance.

 

 

Adriana Lanting:

Personally, I’ve mostly done many Global Grants around water projects. Water projects tend to be more sustainable, and it’s easy to get the local Rotarians involved. Malaria is very specialized, and there is a lot of medical and technical knowledge that you don’t in many water projects.  Malaria can be tricky in the sense that you need some technical knowledge for many types of projects. If a club is looking to do a project in an area where we have an MPI Affiliate, they can certainly help them craft a small grant as a first step to gain familiarity with malaria-focused projects.

 

If you could give one piece of advice, one primary learning, to a first-time Global Grant applicant, or applicants doing their first malaria project, what would it be?

 

Bill Feldt:

You want to make sure that you have a good, honest government you’re working with. You want a capable government and more important a motivated government, ideally one with some basic resources in place. There is a lot of need and having a government that can be a true partner to you will really help your projects succeed.

 

 

Jim Moore:

Persistence and patience.

Beyond that, if this is an international club, the first thing is to get your training. You’re required to be trained in grants to be able to get District Grant money for rotary foundation grant money, and that’s done at the district level. Each district does training, and that you’re supposed to have 2 people trained per club every year. Second, after getting that training, is to find someone in your district that has done a successful global grant before, they can make a great resource. Lastly, when you look for a partner club in a country where you’re doing a malaria project, it should be a club that you have experience with and confidence in.

 

 

Adriana Lanting:

If you’re not passionate? Don’t even go there.

In all seriousness, Global Grants take a huge amount of time and dedication to do successfully. All of that is completely worth it if you are passionate about the project and the cause, but it’s no small endeavor.

If someone is passionate about the project, but is just dipping their toe into malaria-control projects, many organizations like MPI offer travel programs where you can learn about the work they are doing and make a great opportunity to get more involved with that organization.

 

If you are interested in traveling with MPI, you can learn more about our upcoming trips on our website here.

 

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