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Small Grants Programme

We are not currently accepting grant applications. If you would like to be notified about the dates of future application windows, then please complete our organisation form here.

This page explains the principles, criteria and processes around how we make grants of up to £4,000. 

Priorities for Support

The Board of Trustees have determined that the priorities for funding will be to support primary and secondary education in Malawi through the following two themes:

1. Removing barriers to education for girls


Potential project areas of focus include:

  • Support for girls, particularly those in the older classes where many girls drop out of education

  • Girls reproductive health projects where they directly relate to improving attendance or results at school


What’s not included in this theme:

  • Projects which do not specifically prioritise girls education

  • Projects which are not aimed at school age girls

We encourage a component of projects to be beneficial in some way to boys as well, in order to promote inclusivity and avoid any perceived issues of favouritism towards girls over boys.

2. Improving results

Potential project areas of focus: 

  • Improved access to learning materials

  • Classroom equipment (such as desks)

  • Lighting (to enable homework and revision classes)

  • Technology 

  • We also welcome applications for project types which will improve educational results for primary or secondary school learners. We particularly encourage projects for secondary schools. 

  • Projects relating to nutrition will be considered, though feeding programmes may not be prioritised as other NGOs such as Mary’s Meals are able to support these at scale. We believe that this scale is likely to give better value and financial sustainability than small-scale projects.

  • Support for parents groups or after school/revision clubs


What’s not included in this theme:

  • Teacher training 

  • Construction

  • Accommodation

  • Transport

To ensure Think Malawi’s resources are used solely to further its charitable objectives, and it can report on the impact of grants, trustees normally expect that all grants will have one to three measurable objectives agreed at the beginning of the funding period as part of the grant offer.


The lowest amount that a grant will normally be made for is £500. Applicants should be mindful that for our smaller grants programme, the grant will not exceed £4,000.

Think Malawi does make infrequent grants of over £4,000, for which there is a separate application process, please contact for details.

There are two parts to the application process and two forms to complete:


1. A form about your organisation

This form need only be completed once. Completing it and ticking the box to confirm you’re happy to receive communications from us means that you will be on our mailing list for future application windows, which could be for larger grants or targeting different areas of education than our current two target areas.

Please complete the online form if you are able to. A Microsoft Word version of the organisation form can be downloaded here so that you can prepare your answers. If you are unable to complete the online form then a completed Word version of the form may be emailed to us at


2. A form about the project you are applying for funding for

This form needs to be completed each time you apply for a project. You may apply for more than one project in an application window. We will make this form available to complete when application windows are open. 

Grant-making process

Trustees aim for the grant-making processes to be transparent and to address the interests of applicants and the wishes of donors and funding partners. To this end, all eligible external grant requests go through a three-stage process as follows: 

STAGE 1 - Organisation assessment

Organisations applying to partner with Think Malawi must complete our organisation assessment form. The partner organisation is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the project, as well as for monitoring it and providing the required reporting to Think Malawi. The project itself may benefit a third party organisation, such as a government school. Our organisation assessment criteria are as follows:

  • Registration with the Malawi government as a not-for-profit organisation (preferred), or registration with the Malawi government as a business or community organisation.

  • Having Child Safeguarding, Non-discrimination and Anti-bribery policies in place. Think Malawi may be able to advise organisations without these policies on how to set them up.

  • Organisations will be asked to provide financial information on their previous two years of operation.

  • References for the organisation and for key project team members may be requested

  • As our resources are limited, we will seek to support projects which benefit the largest number of the neediest people in the most impactful way.

  • We will not fund non-Malawian organisations, or Malawian organisations which are a subsidiary of an international organisation.

  • Partner organisations must have strong links with the local community and relevant organisations such as Ministry of Education representatives or traditional authorities.

  • The organisation must have its own dedicated bank account.

STAGE 2 - Project application


The Think Malawi project team determines whether each application should be shortlisted for support. Shortlisted applications will be informed and reviewed in greater detail. 

Our project selection criteria are as follows:

  • Evidence of the organisation having successfully completed projects of a similar type and/or scale

  • Project is focussed on primary or secondary education

  • Project is focussed on government school learners (preferred)

  • There is a clear plan set out which details the desired outcomes for the learners, along with evidence of the need for this and activities which will result in the outcomes

  • The project will have a measurable impact which is detailed in the application

  • We will seek to support projects which don’t currently have access to funding outside of Malawi

  • Environmentally friendly projects will be prioritised

  • Key milestones should be achieved within 1 year 

  • Projects will be prioritised which  incorporate a contribution from the local community in funding or some other way, such as by providing labour or raw materials

  • Projects inspired by an evidenced need identified by the local community will be strongly prioritised

  • Projects which have a long-term benefit or are sustainable beyond the end of the intervention will be prioritised

  • We strongly recommend that a minimum of 5% and a maximum of 10% of the project budget may be used for overheads such as project staff salaries, travel and office costs or project management costs.

STAGE 3 - Decision

Think Malawi will aim to write to all applicants informing them of the outcome of their application for funding within 30 days from the bid deadline. 


In addition to responding to external grant requests, the Board of Trustees may, at their discretion, invite or commission proposals, or provide funding in collaboration with others or by combining fund contributions. 


Think Malawi may choose to make grants to projects outside of this process at the discretion of the Think Malawi programmes team and the Think Malawi board of Trustees.

Further information

The Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for all grant-making decisions, in line with the Think Malawi’s charitable purposes and any restrictions agreed with donors and funding partners.

Further guidance including monitoring, reporting and promotional activities will be supplied to successful applicants, or can be viewed here.

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