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IAD Africa Community Grant


Application Deadline: May 1st, 2023

The Institute for African Development (IAD) is accepting grant applications for innovative community development projects (up to $10,000) to be implemented in Africa during the summer/winter of 2023-24. Continuing graduate students (alumni) are also eligible to submit proposals for projects that engage Cornell students (undergraduate or graduate) in the area of community development throughout the African continent. Applicants are broadly encouraged to submit proposals for ideas that will have tangible impacts on improving the well-being of African communities. Prospective applicants should take note of the following themes in crafting project ideas and proposals: 

  1. Grassroots & Community-Driven: Projects should demonstrate a clear community support measure. Local communities should be engaged in the planning and implementation of the proposed projects. The project grant will not fund start-up projects or academic research. 
  2. Commitment: Local community must demonstrate their commitment to the project and their ability to manage it successfully, openly, and honestly. The project’s budget must also include a 25% community contribution helping to ensure longevity and buy-in.
  3. Sustainability: The proposed project must be achievable within a reasonable time frame, and include a plan for the local community to continue in the future without the support of outside partners. Proposals should highlight any knowledge transfer needed to aid in sustainability.

Awards are made exclusively to Ph.D., M.S., or M.P.S. candidates across all Cornell colleges for overseas fieldwork expenses associated with their impact projects. Proposals should be for the actual implementation and travel expenses rather than for academic research. Undergraduates may apply for future internships communicated via our website. Projects in West Africa are highly encouraged to apply. 


Completed applications and supporting documents should be submitted electronically via the Institute for African Development’s online portal. You may also submit completed applications to the grant committee at in both Microsoft Word/PDF formats. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals in advance of the deadline as late applications will not be accepted. All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications by May 1st, 2023.


The project proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Relevance, Significance and Sustainability

Does the proposed project support the five research priorities of IAD? Will the proposed project have meaningful and sustainable impact for local community? 

  • Strength and Feasibility of Methodology

Is the project design clear? Do the inputs, outputs, and outcomes have a tangible impact for the proposed community project?

  • Clarity of Work Plan and Outputs:

Does the proposal clearly state the output/outcomes and deliverables? Does it provide guidelines on how to meet milestones? How is the local community involved in the project? 

  • Feasibility of the proposed budget: 

Does the budget account for reasonable expenses, and add up to the amount available ($10,000)? How much detail does the budget include? Is the 25% community contribution included?

Additional Information

Academic Type

  • Program