General Information

What is being funded?

The Inequality Challenge will support projects that develop and test innovative approaches, methods and tools that focus on inequality and LNOB. The funding includes financing, commissioning of consultants, events and studies.


The procurement of goods shall not account for more than 20 percent of the total budget. The salaries of political partners as well as their operational costs are excluded from the funding. The funded projects must not already be covered by existing commissions. In general, the Orientation and Rules of GIZ apply.

Amount of funding

Project funding is limited to a maximum of 100,000 EUR.

Duration of implementation period

The project implementation period is up to 15 months. Projects may start in July 2018 at the earliest and must end in September 2019 at the latest.

Who can apply?

The Inequality Challenge is open for applications from:

  • bilateral, regional and global technical cooperation projects (GIZ projects);
  • political partners of technical cooperation projects (GIZ projects);
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs, incl. civil society organisations, think tanks, networks etc.) whose main office is located in partner countries of German development cooperation.

Applications from GIZ projects

GIZ projects can apply individually or in cooperation with another GIZ project, political partners or NGOs.

Applications from political partners

Usually, political partners apply together with a GIZ project that is already cooperating. In this case, the GIZ project submits the joint application and names the respective partner in the application. If the political partner plans co-financing for the project, additional preference will be given to the application.

In the exceptional case that a political partner applies individually, it must meet certain commercial and legal requirements to enter into a financing agreement with GIZ. Please see the ‘Special requirements for individual applications by political partners and NGOs’ for details.

Applications from NGOs in partner countries of German development cooperation

NGOs can apply either individually or in cooperation with a GIZ project. If an NGO applies together with a GIZ project, the latter submits the joint application and names the respective NGO in the application. Funding for the NGO will be provided in the form of local subsidies, managed directly by the cooperating GIZ project in the partner country.

If an NGO applies individually, it has to prove that it fulfils legal and administrative criteria to receive a grant from GIZ. In doing so, it is required to meet certain commercial and legal requirements. Please see ‘Special requirements for individual applications by political partners and NGOs’ for details.

Formal requirements for all applications

Applications are to be submitted online through this website.

While applying online, all applicants have to answer five key questions and submit a budget plan. Please only use the provided budget plan template!

In case of an individual application by political partners or NGOs, applicants are required to submit the Due Diligence Checklist.

The winners of the application process will participate in the kick-off workshop in Berlin on 14-15 June 2018. Please make sure you are available on these days.

All successful applicants will be requested to submit a progress report in December 2018 and a final report by the end of the implementation period (September 2019 at the latest).

Special requirements for individual applications by political partners and NGOs

If a political partner or NGO applies for funding individually (without a GIZ project), it applies either for a financing agreement (political partners) or a grant agreement (NGOs). For both types of contracts, the political partner/NGO has to fulfil certain commercial and legal requirements. Therefore, the political partner/NGO has to complete the separate Due Diligence Checklist form, and upload it while applying online.

Before answering the detailed questions in the checklist, please see the following overarching legal and administrative criteria. The institution/organisation submitting the application must meet all of these criteria in order to receive a financing agreement or grant agreement from GIZ. If it does not meet one or more criteria, it is not eligible to apply for funding individually. This means that the checklist does not need to be filled out.

  • Own legal status
  • Non-profit status
  • Accounting system by qualified personnel according to national standards
  • Competitive tendering procedures according to national law and international standards
  • Internal and external audits
  • Positive experiences with a grant from GIZ or from another international organisation

Application criteria

In order to be successful, the submitted applications must take into account the following four criteria. The criteria also form the basis for the five key questions all applicants have to answer when applying online through this website.

Target group

The fund focuses on people or groups that are left behind according to the LNOB principle and those affected by inequality. They are often also discriminated against in multiple ways, which makes it harder for them to participate in society and escape poverty. They belong to the lower 40 percent of society and have only limited access to or suffer from unequal distribution of goods and services (e.g. education, health, water, electricity, political participation).

Possible target groups can be women and girls, ethnic/religious/sexual minorities, the elderly, people with disabilities, refugees or internally displaced persons. Moreover, target groups can be people/groups who suffer from socio-economic discrimination or live in areas where they are not able to benefit from the general development of their country.

Applications to funding must name a specific target group and clearly state how the target group is affected by inequality or left behind according to the LNOB principle.


Innovation means creating something new or significantly improving an existing product, for example by combining existing elements into something new. To find innovative solutions, it is fundamental to look at the problem from the perspective of the target group and test the idea directly with the target group to gain valuable feedback to further improve the idea.

Therefore, applicants must illustrate conclusively what is new and innovative as well as particularly relevant about their idea and how it should impact the target group’s problem. Furthermore, they must have already tested or prototyped their idea in an initial, small-scale manner.

Overarching sectoral and/or regional approach

Engaging people from different disciplines is an integral part of user-centred and innovation-promoting approaches. Therefore, the idea shall tackle different countries (regional approach) and/or different sectors.

Sustainable anchoring and use in German development cooperation

An innovation only becomes effective if it is applied and implemented. Therefore, applicants are asked to describe how their idea could be scaled up or applied in international cooperation and thereby anchored sustainably in the portfolio of German development cooperation.

Key questions

The key questions of our Inequality Challenge are as follows:

1) Please describe your idea and specifically point out what is new and innovative about it. On which tested approaches is your idea based and how do you intend to achieve the proposed change?
2) Who is the target group? Where do they live and how are they affected by inequality or left behind according to the LNOB principle?
3) What results do you intend to achieve with regard to the target group’s needs and challenges?
4) What is your motivation? How will you structure your team to implement the idea? If you are planning to implement the project with a local partner, how will you include them in the implementation process?
5) Please describe how your idea can be scaled up in other regions, countries and sectors/areas.

Application deadline and next steps

Applications can be submitted online via the website until 31 March 2018.

After the deadline for applications has ended, the Steering Committee will decide on the best innovative ideas. The winners will be informed by the beginning of May. They are required to participate in the kick-off workshop in Berlin on 14-15 June 2018.

The call for applications is now closed!