L’Initiative’s SOFIA support fund supports the development of civil society organizations that respond to pandemics. It provides financial support and customized technical assistance to bolster their capacity.

The SOFIA support fund (in French: Structuration des Organisations de la Société Civile : Financement, Impact et Accompagnement) is L’Initiative’s new, dedicated fund for civil society organizations (CSOs). It targets organizations that cannot respond to our calls for projects because they are relatively small.

An integral part of The Accelerator”, the SOFIA support fund builds the capacity and skills of local CSOs by subsidizing all or part of their running costs and providing them with customized technical assistance. The format, frequency, and mechanisms of support are tailored to the needs of each organization, delineated after a technical and structural assessment of the organization.

SOFIA seeks to empower CSOs so that they can access more substantial and diversified funding, improve the implementation of their activities, and ramp up their capacity to carry out advocacy. This will allow them to take their rightful place in the national debate and voice the opinions of the communities they serve, in particular, to ensure that gender issues and human rights are taken into account in public health policies.

Conditions to access the SOFIA support fund

We provide both financial and operational support for organizations that are eligible for the SOFIA support fund.

Financial support via a grant

€50,000 to €75,000

Of delineated grant, mainly designed to cover running costs, human resources, and activities.

On 15 months

Which may be renewed a maximum of 3 times (4×15 months at most).

Support for the organizations  throughout the grant period

Assessment of the organization

To help the organizations to clearly define their capacity building plan and serve as a blueprint for the expenses in the context of the grant.

Technical assistance

Customized support to build skills and capacities will be provided: onsite expertise, one-off or intermittent support, training, etc.

Eligibility criteria for organizations

The SOFIA support fund targets medium-sized organizations that are working to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, to strengthen health systems, and/or to ensure access to health for key populations, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

For its launch in 2023, the support fund focused on five countries: Benin, Djibouti, Guinea, Chad, and Togo. For its second rotation in 2024, the support fund is open to four eligible countries: Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Republic of the Congo.

  • Status: The organization must be a non-profit CSO that works independently from the government;
  • Registration: The organization must be a legal entity with a board of directors/executive committee and head office registered in one of the eligible countries;

  • Period of existence: The organization must have been legally formed at least two years ago;

  • Human resources: The organization must comprise at least three people (employees and/or voluntary positions);

  • Finances: The organization’s annual budget must be between €30,000 and €310,000 (total expenditure in 2022 as indicated in the organization’s 2022 overall financial report).

Information and applying to the support fund

Once the annual call for expressions of interest (CEI) is closed, a preselection of the applicants takes place through an internal assessment process, in order to identify and inform the chosen CSOs.

L’Initiative then conducts an initial assessment of preselected organizations and ultimately provides recommendations on whether support is appropriate, as well as a proposed technical assistance plan for each preselected organization.

Once the final selection of organizations has been made, the contractual and grant payment phases take place. As well as ensuring that the grant is used effectively, the CSOs will receive support and technical assistance as required.

CSO fund, L'Initiative