Social Impact Fund – Guidelines

Introduction

The Cook Islands Social Impact Fund (SIF) provides combined Cook Islands and New Zealand government support to Cook Islands Civil Society Sector under a three year funding agreement.

Purpose 

The SIF provides for the delivery of quality services by Civil Society organisations on behalf of the Cook Islands Government to meet the needs of those most  vulnerable and is focused on the following areas:

  • Gender equality,
  • Children and youth,
  • Disabilities,
  • The Elderly,
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental health. 

Funding Principles and Practices

The fund is guided by the following principles:

  • Selection will be based on the merit of proposals received, with assessments made against the aid effectiveness principles: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results and mutual accountability 
  • Support and training will be provided in results-based planning, delivery and reporting on funded projects and programmes to enable organisations to more effectively account for contracted outcomes. 
  • Allocation of resources will reflect greater emphasis on programme funding 
  • Accountable, consistent and transparent processes throughout the whole funding cycle 
  • In recognition of the value of multiyear funding, long term partnerships will be sought with CSO’s

CSO’s and community groups that receive funding from the Social Impact Fund are expected to maintain high standards of governance and conduct, and to satisfactorily meet their reporting and accountability obligations.

In addition funding will be allocated in an equitable and contestable process, consistent with the Cook Islands Government standards of accountability and transparency as per Part C, section 8 of the Cook Islands Government Financial Policies and Procedures Manual.

Goals, Outcomes and Outputs

The goal, outcomes and outputs of the fund are as Follows:

Goal
Improved wellbeing of vulnerable peoples through the contribution of Civil Society 
Outcomes and Outputs 
Long Term 
  • Targeted needs of vulnerable peoples met through delivery of quality services by Civil Society
Medium Term 
  • CSO’s are delivering quality services in priority areas that are aligned to community needs and complement government services 
Short Term
  • Strategic and targeted support to CSO’s
  • Improved capacity of CSO’s to deliver targeted programmes and projects
  • CSO’s monitor activities and demonstrate results through results based reporting
Outputs
  • Cook Islands Civil Society Policy
  • Social Impact Fund administration processes and documents
  • Training and support to Cook Islands CSO’s

Structure

The SIF has two contestable components. Component one: Programme Funding is for the delivery of services by registered CSO’s for up to three years. Component two: Project Funding is for small scale one off initiatives for up to one year.

Fund Beneficiaries

Organisations are expected to deliver services and projects that directly benefit those groups and communities most vulnerable in society. This fund is focussed on the following priority areas: gender equality, disabilities, the elderly, children and youth, domestic violence and mental health

Applications must indicate which priority area their proposal aligns to and which outcome/s the proposed service or project will contribute to.

Eligibility Criteria – Programme Funding

Programme funding is for the delivery of targeted services to a specified priority area for up to three years. Grants between $50,000.00 to $150,000.00 will be considered. Applicants should itemise the full cost of service delivery and include a budget to this effect.

Applicants must:

  • Be registered as a Civil Society Organisation, an Incorporated Society or Trust with the Ministry of Justice
  • Demonstrate a proven track record in delivering services aligned with the priority areas
  • Have sound operating policies and procedures in place that may include a volunteer policy. Fundraising policy and /or a strategic plan
  • Have strong financial management, monitoring, evaluating and reporting systems in place

Eligibility Criteria – Project Funding 

Project funding is for short term one-off initiatives. Grants between $5,000 – $50,000 will be made. Only one project per organisation is to be funded in a given financial year (1 July – 30 June). Eligible projects include:

  • Community education projects
  • Training
  • Workshops
  • Awareness raising activities
  • income generation
  • Organisational strengthening
  • Infrastructure projects and international travel are not encouraged, but will be considered on a case by case basis

Groups and organisations eligible to apply for project funding must have an established bank account where funds can be deposited that requires two signatories and may include the following:

  • Registered Civil Society Organisation (CSO)
  • Civil society groups, sports and faith based organisations
  • Community groups

Applications based on partnerships between CSO’s, community groups and other organisations to address priority areas will also be considered. This may include applications made by peak (umbrella) CSO’s on behalf of affiliated members.

Where applications are submitted by CSO”s or community groups operating or intending to operate in the Pa Enua then endorsement by the Island Council is required.

Non-Eligible Activities and Costs

Activities and costs that will not be supported by SIF include:

  • Prizes
  • Cash
  • Gifts and awards
  • Micro credit loans
  • Social functions
  • Scholarships
  • Political/religious/evangelical activities
  • The purchase of humanitarian aid (e.g food and relief supplies after cyclones)
  • Projects which benefit only individuals or individual families,
  • The purchase of vehicles
  • Agricultural chemicals in large quantities

Application Process

There will only be one funding round per financial year for each component (If there are still funds available  after round one, then there might be a second round).Workshops and briefings will be held to familiarise applicants with fund criteria and application processes. It is expected that MOIA Welfare Officers will also assist in this process.

Application submissions date will be announced via the local media, at least one month before the scheduled closing date. Applicants will be notified of the outcome within 4 weeks of submission.

A similar but not identical application process will be administered for the programme and project components. Application forms for each component will vary according to the funding sought. More information and greater levels of evidence will be required for programme applications. MOIA will be responsible for developing application forms, templates and information guides to be approved by the SIF Board prior to the opening of the funding round(s).

A two-step application process will be put in place for programme funding. Prospective applicants will be invited to register “intent to apply” with the SIF Manager, A one step Application process will be put into place for project funding.

Proposals and completed applications forms are to be submitted to the SIF Manager, Ministry of Internal Affairs, clearly labelled SIF Funding, within the allocated timeframe.

Application Forms can either be picked up from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or can be

e-mailed or downloaded from the MFEM and or MOIA website. Funding decisions will be communicated within 4 weeks of the round closing date.

Successful applications

  1. All successful applicants will be required to sign an Agreement which will outline details of the project to be funded; agreed outcomes to be achieved, identify responsibilities, contact/liaison person; the time frame for implementation of the project, branding and promotion requirements, monitoring, financial management and reporting requirements
  2. Funds will be paid only into organisational bank accounts that require at least 2 signatures, or will be paid directly to suppliers. No funds are to be paid into an individual’s account.
  3. The Organisation funded will be responsible for maintaining a full record of all monies received and all expenditure and will be accountable for the appropriate use of the funds in accordance with the terms of each agreement.
  4. Any unused money will be returned to MOIA
  5. MOIA reserves the right to perform audits required under this agreement and/or to conduct a financial review, or evaluation. Or to take any other actions that it deems necessary to ensure the accountability of funding use and to monitor compliance with the terms of this agreement

Unsuccessful Applications

All Board decisions are final. There will be no formal appeal process. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply at a later date.

Funding Management

The Fund is managed by the MOIA through an appointed SIF Manager responsible for implementation. The MOIA reports every 6 months to the SIF Board detailing progress against an annual work-plan, funding decisions made, expenditure date, issues and risks. The MOIA is responsible for the recruitment of the Manager and contractual arrangements meeting financial management, fund implementation, monitoring and reporting requirements.

The MOIA is responsible for developing application material and detailed guidelines and templates for the Board.

A communication plan will be developed by MOIA

Governance

The SIF Board is responsible for governance of SIF. The role of the Board is to oversee the development and implementation of the fund. This includes:

  • Confirming relevant policy, analysis and application material
  • Considering and approving applications
  • Providing Policy directions on the SIF to MOIA on development and implementation that is consistent with the NSDP, government and development partner policies and strategies, the Cook Islands Government MFEM Act and Financial Management Policies and Procedures Manual
  • Overseeing monitoring and evaluation of SIF
  • Approving six monthly reports for submission to MFAT

A sitting fee is to be paid to Non-government or Civil Society representatives. The rate is $150 per sitting for the ordinary member and $200 for the Chairperson per sitting.

Membership

SIF Board membership includes three Non-government or Civil Society representatives (one position is reserved for a Pa Enua representative) along with one representative each from the Cook Islands (MOIA) and New Zealand Government (NZHC). MFEM is an ex-officio on the Board. The Board represents a range of necessary experience and skills. Essential skills and experience include:

  • proven understanding of the issues and work of CSO’s and community groups
  • familiarity with local, national, regional and international level priorities and issues
  • financial management
  • project management
  • experience with geographic and/or thematic issues

The MOIA manages the selection and appointment of the Civil Society Board members through a public nomination process.

Overall financial administration is assigned to the Aid Management Division as the representative of the MFEM. Transfer of funding from MFAT to the CIGOV follows the standard monthly acquittal/forecast process. Arrangements are detailed in the Grant Funding arrangement.

 Monitoring& Reporting

Overall monitoring and reporting on the Funds performance and progress is the responsibility of the Board and SIF Manager as specified in the Results Framework. The MOIA, through its welfare officers, has an established network to support and monitor funded activities undertaken in the Pa Enua.

Approved Project Funding applications

Recipients must monitor progress according to agreed objectives and outcomes and provide timely reports on the performance of the funded activity.

  • A brief mid-term progress report (including financial summary of expenditure to date, invoices and expenses against budget outputs)
  • A final completion report
  • An itemized financial summary must be submitted at the progress completion stage showing expenditure against budget outputs and invoices

The project must be started within one (1) month of receipt of funding and must be completed within one (1) year.

Approved Programme Funding applications

Organisations receiving programme funding are required to monitor activities and operations according to the agreed results framework. Six monthly reporting against progress and financial expenditure is required. On satisfying the reporting requirements, funds will be released according to the payment schedule in the contract with the MOIA.

Leave a Reply