Accessing SGP Regular Grants involves the following steps:
1. CONTACT THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR
An eligible organization interested in becoming a project proponent should first contact the National Coordinator. The National Coordinator provides the Country Programme Strategy as well as project application guidelines and forms. The project proponent should review this Strategy in detail, to ensure that the idea for a project meets the eligibility requirements. The proponent organization can also discuss an idea for a proposal with the NC since he/she can also offer strategic advice on how to better plan a proposal.
2. DEVELOPMENT OF A PROJECT CONCEPT
Once a project idea has been identified and responds to the eligibility for the country, its objectives, expected outputs, outcomes and impact, as well as the budget, should be detailed. The budget should include the amount requested for SGP funding and co-financing contributions (in cash and in-kind). These elements should be developed into a brief project concept, with the assistance of the National Coordinator.
Although the development of a project concept may be simple for some proponents, it may be challenging for others.
3. REVIEW OF THE PROJECT CONCEPT PAPER BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR
The National Coordinator reviews all concept papers received. He/she must ensure that the proposals meet the eligibility criteria and the objectives agreed in the Country Programme Strategy. Project concepts may be screened by the National Coordinator or jointly with the National Steering Committee.
4. DEVELOPMENT OF A PROJECT PROPOSAL
Once the project concept has been selected, the proponent organization is asked to develop a project proposal. A project proposal template needs to be completed. The proponent organization develops the project proposal, making sure that all consultations and partnerships to maximize community ownership have been secured, and key elements have been considered.
The National Coordinator will assist proponents by informing them on how the project proposal can further meet the eligibility criteria and other requirements. Some organizations, however, may require additional assistance. In these cases, two options may be considered – partnering with a capable NGO to help in project development and implementation or using a planning grant to access the expertise needed. If a partnership with an intermediary NGO is established, the NGO should usually be a well-established partner that has a track record with the SGP. As for any other SGP grant, a planning grant requires a project document, describing the activities to be undertaken and the responsibilities of the partners involved. The National Steering Committee usually approves planning grants, and in some exceptional cases, can delegate approval to the National Coordinator.
Once completed, the proponent organization submits the project proposal to the National Coordinator.
5. REVIEW OF THE PROJECT PROPOSAL BY THE NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE
The National Coordinator compiles all completed project proposals. He/she then submits all proposals to the National Steering Committee (NSC) for their review. The NSC analyzes how each project proposal helps achieve the objectives and targets set by the Country Programme Strategy. In many cases, a checklist for project review and approval for the NSC has been developed to ensure that all key criteria have been met and there is coherence with the strategic initiatives of the CPS. The checklist also ensures consistency with UNDP’s Social and Environmental standards.
After the revision of the project proposal, the NSC can either approve it outright or provide conditional approval and return it to the proponent organization with a recommendation to formulate and further refine the project. A project proposal is rejected outright when it is seriously deficient in meeting requirements, or there are limited funds available for grantmaking in the given period and country programme. Those projects approved by the NSC enter the national SGP portfolio.
SGP does not charge a fee at any stage of the selection process for a project grant.
6. PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
Once a project is approved, the grantee organization signs a Memorandum of Agreement with the UNDP Country Office (on behalf of UNOPS). The budget and the timeframe included in the proposal becomes part of the binding agreement between the GEF SGP and the grantee organization responsible for its implementation.
SGP projects normally have a duration of between one and three years. The amounts and schedules for funds disbursement may differ, depending on the nature and length of project activities. However, SGP grants are usually paid in three instalments –an up-front payment to initiate the project, a mid-term payment upon receipt of a satisfactory progress report, and final payment on receipt of satisfactory project completion and final report. Only when a project has been successfully completed, a grantee can submit another one. However, no organization can receive more than US$50,000 in the same operational phase.