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Example Grants

Writing a grant proposal can be an intimidating process, especially if you have never written one before. To help you write a better grant application we are providing some examples that clearly illustrate what makes a good grant application, and what applications will require further work. Remember that this is an application process—if your first try isn’t perfect, we’ll work with you to improve those aspects of the grant that have caused concern.

Grant #1: An example of a grant plan that is incomplete:

Women’s group sewing project


The Women’s group from the AIDS Project met and decided to do an income generating project. They soon realised that they would be unable to even begin to put their plans in action, unless they could find start up funding for the material and to pay a tailor. The tailor would teach them how to measure the children, make a pattern, cut the material and then sew the material into a uniform. Because there are boys and girls at the Nursery School, two different types of uniforms will be needed to be made. The girls will wear a checked blouse with a solid blue jumper over it. The boys will wear a checked shirt and a solid pair of shorts.

The parents of the children that attend the nursery school have agreed to buy the uniforms and most of them have ordered two complete sets. The majority of the parents of the children attending the Nursery school work at the mission hospital or teach at the primary or secondary schools around the mission.

The women’s group have met again, and are anxious to get started on the this project. They are all willing to learn to sew and are excited about learning a new skill. They are planning a marketing lesson soon, so that they will be able to use the profits to reinvest in more material. In that way, after they have learned to sew the uniforms by themselves, they will no longer need the help of a tailor. Then, their profit margin will make this a sustainable project.

The staff of the nursery school has been very helpful in talking to the parents and they have been back to us to request that the uniforms be made as quickly as possible. The parents are excited and asking for them. Just today, the teacher came to give us a list of students’ names and how many sets of uniforms they would like. We were able to ask some of the parents if they would agree to pay the price of K550 for each uniform and they were agreeable. Many of the parents have preordered two sets.

There are currently sixty-eight students and many of the parents have requested 2 uniforms. We have decided that we will request enough material to make one complete uniform for each child. We are hopeful that after we will have enough profit to buy more material for the rest of the requested uniforms. There are always new students enrolling in the nursery school, that, and the fact that the children, ages 2-4 are usually hard on their clothing, should ensure the sustainability of the project.

The women are ready and willing to start this project. The tailor, also a woman, has been contacted. She is currently without a job and can start as soon as soon as the material can be purchased.

We will be anxiously awaiting your reply.

Why would we not approve this grant as it was presented to us here? There is a lot of information missing from this description. The description does not tell us 1) who, specifically, in the community would benefit from the income generating activity, 2) how the money generated by the activity would be tracked, or 3) how we would know that the activity had succeeded (also known as a long term goal).


Grant #2: An example of a well-planned grant.

Milepa Home Based Care Chicken Business
Justification and Description

Capsule Summary

The Milepa Home Based Care (HBC) Group is an HIV positive group based at Milepa Health Center in Chiradzulu , Malawi . The group is very active and volunteers its time to educating the community about HIV at schools, hospital clinics and youth clubs. The group is resourceful in finding medicines (they started a medicinal garden) but the group still needs a source of funding to buy necessities for patient care (i.e. soap, food items) as well as a bicycle with an attached stretcher so that patients who are very ill can be transported to the hospital. Kristen George, a Peace Corps volunteer based at Milepa Health Center , agreed to help the group write a proposal to start a chicken-rearing business that will support their financial needs on a long-term basis. The community is supportive of the project and pledged support in the form of materials, transport and labor.

Organization Background Summary

The Milepa Home Based Care Group is a self-formed club that began in 2001. All members of the group are HIV positive and participate on a voluntary basis. There are 22 members, both male and female. All of the members do VCT promotion and HIV education at various sites including schools, antenatal clinics, family planning clinics, under-five clinics and youth club meetings. They also do condom distribution and disseminate literature when available. Several of the members are trained and active Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) counselors with Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF). These counselors volunteer their time several days each week at the health center and are always willing, and eager, to work additional days when needed.

In December of 2002, the group took an active part in World AIDS Day in Milepa Trading Center . They organized and operated an information table where they disseminated information about HIV and distributed condoms. The key speaker of the day was a member if this group.

It was in late 2002 that Kristen George, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, began working with the group to help them to identify and solve some of the group’s problems. Among these identified were: lack of money to buy food items and soap for the sick, lack of medicines (to treat the associated illnesses) and a bicycle with an attached stretcher to transport patients when they are too ill to walk to the health center.

In order to deal with these problems, the group first registered with Malawi Network of AIDS Service Organizations (MANASO) so that the group can collaborate with similar groups and be a part of any trainings or activities that occur in the region. As of February 2004, the group is officially a community-based organization (CBO).

It was also decided that that the group would start learning about herbal medicines so that they can be more proactive with their overall health, and learn ways that they can treat themselves when medicine is scarce. Since that time, they have undergone one training on how to make herbal medicines from local plants (with others planned in the coming months), and they have started an herbal garden.

To address the issue of lack of money to buy the small essentials for HBC, such as food and soap, and, eventually, the bicycle, it was decided that the group should start generating its own income.

Justification and Description of Proposed Project

The Milepa Home Based Care group is organized and self-motivated but lacks some of the initial capital to begin generating income. A chicken raising business would provide the group with the small amount of income it needs to support itself.

The goal of this project is to financially sustain the Milepa HBC group on a long-term basis. The objective of the project is to start a chicken-rearing business that will consistently generate funds to finance the group’s needs. This project is in two phases: the first phase is to reaserch the khola (finished) and submit to F.O.M. to receive funds to build the khola. The second phase is to train the group in matters of finance and chicken-rearing, and then to buy the chickens and materials to begin rearing. Funding for phase II was found through another donor. The project activities, responsible person(s) and time-frames are as follows:





Phase I:




Research khola

Entire group, Ms. George @ Charles Stewert Day-old Chicks and Blantyre

2 weeks

March 2004 (1 st and 2 nd weeks)

Build khola (chicken house)

Builder, and Mr. Musisi, Mr. Yapuwa, Ms. George as supervisors

2 weeks

May 2004 (or upon receipt of money)

Phase II:




Financial management training

Ms. George

2 days

April 2004

Chicken-rearing training

Mr. Manjomo

2 days

April 2004

Buying chickens + supplies (separate funds)

Musisi + Ms. George

1 day

30-31 May

Begin 1 st 38-week cylcle

Entire group


1 June 2004

Qualifications of persons listed (above):

  • Mr. M’Mwala (Builder): Respected builder in the community, built school blocks. (Quotes from other builders were received and considered, this was the chosen builder.)
  • Mr. Manjomo (Teacher): Voluntarily assisting the group by acting as an advisor and sharing his experiences with chicken-rearing. Knows how to administer vaccinations.
  • Mr. Musisi (Chair of Milepa HBC Group): Overall organizer of meetings and coordination of all people involved, including chiefs and the Hospital Committee.
  • Mr. Yapuwa (Health Assistant, Milepa Health Center ): Project experience and active member of the community.
  • Ms. George (Peace Corps volunteer): Assisting the group in proposal writing and financial training. Experience with grant fund management (recently managed for funds of a $6,000 grant in Malawi ).

The direct beneficiaries of the project will be the 20 members of the Home Based Care group. They will be able to buy the basic items to support a HBC group, such as food and soap, and eventually, a bicycle with an attached stretcher so that they may transport a patients to the hospital when they are too ill to walk. The indirect beneficiaries will be the entire HIV+ community, who has the option of joining the group and receiving the same benefits. The other beneficiary is the entire community who will have access to eggs (and chicken meat, once the layers finish laying and are sold). Presently, there is no chicken-rearing business in Milepa, and eggs are scarce.

The community is aware of the project and its benefits to the entire community and has pledged support in the form of labor, transportation and materials. Several shop owners, including the wholesale store, have offered to donate a share of costly materials such as nails and cement.

Why do we like this grant so much? It clearly tells us who will benefit from the project (the 20 members of the Home Based Care group), what the goal of the project is (money to purchase basic items for the HBC group, such as food, soap, and eventually a bicycle), and it addresses the issue of accountability (the second phase is to train the group in matters of finance and chicken-rearing).

Be sure to check out the photo of the completed khola!


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