The Small Projects Fund

The Small Projects Fund offers financial support to initiatives led by non-profit organisations in the field of decentralised renewable energy. The Fund can enable small projects and contribute to realising project ideas located in sub-Saharan Africa that contribute to sustainable development.

The Fund is looking for concrete solutions based on an identified local need. The expected impact and likely success of the proposed solutions to overcome social, ecological and/or economic challenges in the energy sector will be analysed by an assessment committee. A specific focus is sustainability meaning benefits pursued in the framework of the project’s timeframe shall continue beyond implementation. Additional thematic priorities are on training, productive uses of energy, electrification of social infrastructure and partnerships.

The Fund prioritises electricity-based solutions from within the nine focal countries of the initiative: Ethiopia, Benin, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.

How to apply?

The application process is divided into two steps:

  1. You fill out our forms (to be found at the bottom of this page) and send the complete documents to:

    Based on these documents a steering committee of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) decides, whether your project shall be supported within the framework of the Small Projects Fund or not. The decision process is based on the conditions and selection criteria mentioned listed below. 

  2. Applicants of projects that have been found to be eligible are then invited to prepare a full proposal. This must comply with the quality demands and funding requirements of the Small Projects Fund. BMZ can revoke funding approval anytime.

Once the contract has been signed, implementation can begin. An evaluation is planned at the end of the project.


The steering committee is expected to convene on the following dates:

  • 1. July 2021
  • 1. October 2021
  • 1. December 2021

Your project application can only be considered if it is submitted at least four weeks prior to one of the above dates.

Eligibility conditions and criteria

Conditions to be met by the applicant and co-applicant

  • The applicant must have a fixed location (registered office) in the target country and have been active there in projects with a similar context for at least three years.
  • The applicant must be a legal entity with legal capacity as an organisation or institution and act for the public benefit.
  • The intended use of funds by the project must qualify as achieving a tax-privileged purpose (e.g. for the public benefit).
  • If the applicant plans to manage funds independently, an appropriate accounting system with qualified personnel must be in place. If the organisation does not have an appropriate accounting system, book-keeping may be carried out via a partnership with another appropriate organisation.
  • There must be no allegations of corruption or investigations against the applicant’s executives or management. The applicants and activities involved must not breach the United Nations’ or European Union’s sanctions regime.
  • Only complete applications will be considered.


If you have further questions, look at out FAQ:

Our conditions and criteria can also be downloaded here in pdf format:

Criteria to be met by the project

  • The project’s target region must be in sub-Saharan Africa. Projects will be supported primarily in the initiative’s focus countries (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia).

In addition to the focus countries, projects can also be funded in countries with a GIZ country office and energy program in place. This includes: Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo.

For all other countries funding is only possible for very experienced organisations which are eligible for GIZ Grant Agreements.

  • The project must aim at improving decentralised energy supply. Projects related to cooking energy will not be funded by the Small Projects Fund.
  • Installation of plants and systems can be funded only if the use of technology is a means to an end (e.g. construction of a plant for training purposes).
  • Cooperation is a key element of the initiative and must be integrated into the project. The project proposal must clearly indicate how local stakeholders, e.g. municipalities or local councils will be involved. Cooperation with other organisations and stakeholders is of special attention to the steering committee.
  • The project must meet a local need. The local target group must be clearly defined and involved as actively as possible.
  • Goals and activities must be clearly defined and measurable.
  • The project must aim to achieve sustainable impact and results and be capable of self-sustaining beyond the funding period. Standalone feasibility studies and needs analyses cannot be financed by the Small Projects Fund.
  • Project management must be clearly defined, efficient, independent and effective.

  • Latest project end is June 2023.
  • The budget must be plausible and appropriate to the project’s aims.
  • Contributions from the Small Projects Fund can cover up to 80% of the total project costs and must not exceed EUR 200,000. In-kind contributions by the applicants are accepted as contributions.
  • All elements to be funded must be clearly laid out. All construction measures must be documented in detail.
  • Any funding support is contingent on the approval of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Start your project application now!

Please use the following documents in order to submit your project application. We need:

A) The documents mentioned in the administrative profile so that we can assess your organisation.

B) Your project proposal in order to evaluate your approach.

C) Your project budget in order to examine your calculation and compare it with other proposals.

Download application files

All forms can be downloaded here. Please follow the directions within the documents.

All done?
Feel free to use our checklist to see if your documents are complete:

We look forward to receiving your project application at 

Please note our Data Protection Declaration.