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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.

The purpose of this page is to set out the principles, criteria and processes that govern how Think Malawi makes grants of up to £3,000.  A grant is defined as a financial award made by Think Malawi to support charitable activities, usually to registered charities or charitable community groups, but sometimes to other bodies or individuals authorised by the Board of Trustees.  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.

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:

  • 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 £3,000.

Think Malawi does make infrequent grants of over £3,000, 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. This assessment only need be done once, though then Think Malawi may ask for older assessments to be updated if a project is shortlisted. 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.

  • Malawian organisations will be prioritised, in order to help build capacity and expertise within them.

  • 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

  • Evidence may be required of having explored other avenues of funding for this project

  • 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 source a proportion of funding from elsewhere, or 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

  • Up to 10% of the project budget may be used for overheads such as project staff salaries, travel and office 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.

Monitoring, Reporting and Publications

Before a grant can be confirmed, conditions will be stipulated appropriate to the work to be carried out and establish agreed targets and/or milestones (The Grant Agreement). If the grant is payable in instalments, then payment of subsequent grant instalments will be dependent on satisfactory progress having been demonstrated and the Board of Trustees reserve the right to withdraw the grant on receipt of unsatisfactory progress reports. Failure to submit reports at the time specified by the Board of Trustees may also jeopardise the continuation of support. In addition to reports detailing progress, grant recipients will be expected to provide: 


  • A statement of how the monies awarded by Think Malawi have been spent for the year; and 

  • Details (where appropriate) of any other funds applied to the same project. 


Monitoring visits by representatives of Think Malawi may be arranged during the period of a grant, or after it is completed. 


Grant recipients may be asked to take part in any publicity for the promotion of Think Malawi and its work which may include – but is not restricted to – their name and photograph being used on social media, the Think Malawi website and email newsletters. Any photographs and videos supplied to Think Malawi may be used for promotional use unless agreed otherwise.


Following the conclusion of the project, the grant recipient will (where appropriate) be expected to submit a final report, normally within three months of the end of the grant, detailing the full results and outputs from the project. The grant recipient should inform Think Malawi of any extenuating circumstances whereby the submission of the final report is delayed, to allow a mutually acceptable date for submission to be agreed.


The Board of Trustees may vary the terms of this programme from time to time.

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