Open Society Initiative for West Africa Grant

Open Society Initiative for West Africa

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Anticipated deadline: Apr 30, 2021

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Criminal Justice System Reform Social Justice / Human Rights Agriculture Natural Resources Economic Rights & Justice Economic Services & Development Health Policy & Advocacy Crime Prevention & Justice Journalism Governance & Democracy Show all

Applicant type: Indigenous Group, Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Benin, Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia Show all

Location of residency: Benin, Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia Show all

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NOTE: OSIWA encourages early submission of proposals. Submitted proposals will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is a grant making and advocacy foundation that is part of the global Open Society Foundations Network. OSIWA works to support the creation of open societies in West Africa marked by functioning democracy, good governance, the rule of law, basic freedoms, and widespread civic participation. Its headquarters is in Dakar and it has offices in Abuja, Monrovia, Freetown and Conakry.

OSIWA only supports innovative interventions with effective strategies that respond to the broader deep-seated political, justice and socio-economic roadblocks to open society in West Africa. We seek to seize new opportunities and deploy novel methods, including technology and the arts, to address open society challenges.

OSIWA seeks proposals aimed at achieving the following specific themes:

Economic Governance and Advancement
Our work under this theme will strive to reaffirm the imperative of economic advancement, accountability and equality, while supporting voices and providing alternative avenues to truly realize broad socio-economic rights for every West African. OSIWA will strive to put people at the forefront of all economic activities, including smallholder farmers and small agri-businesses that are affected by climate change and food insecurity, while helping to create opportunities for economic improvement and equitable tax systems and accountable investments of tax revenues. We plan to promote economic regional integration and the responsible management of natural resources.

Justice Reform and Rule of Law
Our goal is to promote respect for the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice, particularly for poor and marginalized persons. We hope to reduce barriers to fair and accessible pre-trial justice systems. To do this, we will promote alternative sentences to detention; encourage the decriminalization of petty offenses and encourage synergies between formal and informal justice systems as well as better data management; and sensitize and advocate for reforms in the police.

Free, Quality and Independent Media
OSIWA seeks to help local media organizations improve their ability to perform investigations into local and national governance practices, while increasing access to information among local populations and promoting a freer environment for journalists to work in. Key to this will be training journalists to better analyze forensic evidence and data, and improve the quality of their published works, while simultaneously ensuring reporters can share information without fear of reproach.

Equality and Anti-Discrimination
The Foundation aims to support the enforcement of national and international standards on the protection of women and marginalized and vulnerable groups, and empower them to claim their rights. We also plan to promote citizenship rights and access to identification documents.

Democratic Practice 
OSIWA will support election promise tracking as a new form of citizens’ demand for accountability. We will help organize promise trackers and fact checkers in a practitioners’ network to share best practices on a regular basis. Linked to our anti-corruption work, we will work toward the effective implementation of political party and campaign financing provisions. We also hope to engage in work aimed at interrogating the current thinking on democracy in West Africa and provide platforms to debate and discuss how we can improve on it and look at the role of judiciaries and constitutional courts in the electoral process.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • OSIWA primarily awards grants to local organizations based in West Africa.
    • In rare and limited circumstances, OSIWA provides support to West Africa-based international organizations with a strong commitment to transferring knowledge to local groups they partner with.
  • Our grants also go to government institutions as well as regional and sub-regional organizations working in our core priority areas.
  • OSIWA requires all organizations seeking funding to be legally incorporated in their countries of intervention and interested organizations must submit a completed application proposal, budget, and other relevant documents including governance and leadership information (list of Board members, trustees and management staff who will be involved in the project, and proof of registration).


  • OSIWA does not give grants to individuals. OSIWA only works with institutions. Individuals operating on their own are not eligible for OSIWA funding.
  • As a general rule, OSIWA does not give funding to international organizations. The Foundation primarily awards grants to local organizations based in the ten countries in West Africa where OSIWA works.
    • In rare and limited circumstances, it provides support to West Africa-based international organizations with a strong commitment to transfer knowledge to local partner groups.
  • OSIWA does not provide scholarships to individuals to pursue studies.