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Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find the right answer in the Instruction Guide for Applicants or among the questions & answers below, please send your question using the contact form.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Currently, there are eight (8) participating countries for SIFA: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.

SIFA funding is available for projects in these participating countries only. Calls for Proposal are opened for each country individually and are announced on the website.

SIFA funding is available for applicants in the participating countries. Applicants must be experienced stakeholders in the field of skills development. One responsible Lead will always form a consortium with either one or two partners, according to the eligibility criteria for each Funding Window.

For Funding Window 1: The Lead must be a domestic entity and a public or private accredited training provider. The primary partner needs to be from the domestic private sector.

For Funding Window 2: The Lead must be an international company. The primary partner needs to be a domestic public or private accredited training provider.

For Funding Window 3: The Lead must be a domestic public or private entity. If the Lead is public then one of the partners needs to be private.

Individuals are not eligible to apply.

A Funding Window is a funding category with a specific goal. Each funding window has specific criteria defining who is eligible to apply and what type of project can be funded, as well as maximum grant amounts.

There are three (3) funding windows under the SIFA Financing Facility. They are summarized here: SIFA Funding Windows

Eligible Projects for Funding Windows 1 and 2

A combination of 5 technical and didactical interventions:

  1. Procurement of training equipment
  2. Construction, rehabilitation or expansion of learning infrastructure
  3. Training of trainers*
  4. Curriculum design*
  5. Learner scholarships*

*The activities 3-5 can be funded only in combination with the core activities 1 and/or 2 and only up to 5 % of the total project cost.

Eligible Projects for Funding Window 3

Smaller, innovative (pilot) projects, such as the following technical and didactical interventions:

  • Image campaigns for promoting skills development
  • ICT-based approaches to skills development
  • Entrepreneurship/mentorships programs
  • Equipping of workshops, classrooms, alternative/innovative learning spaces
  • Student or Learner Scholarships
  • Curriculum design
  • Training of Trainers Program (excluding recurrent costs)
  • No private sector involvement
  • Project budget above maximum budget
  • Contradictory and unclear proposal
    Please check the details in the instruction guides for Window I, Window II, Window III

Each Applicant must provide the following evidence as proof of eligibility of the consortium:

  • Copies of documentation of legal status / registration showing that the Lead and its Partners belong to the list of eligible entities
  • Copies of accreditation documents of training providers
  • Audited or certified financial statements of the Lead for the last three years
  • Number and qualifications of relevant staff
  • At least one reference of a project with a financial scope that is similar to the proposed project idea
  • Commitment letter for counterpart funding, showing breakdown of estimated value of proposed complementary (in-kind) measures

RECEIVED QUESTIONS

The application requirements and modalities for Funding Window 3 are currently under revision. Updated information on Funding Window 3 will be published on the website www.skillsafrica.org soon. Please check the current status of calls for proposals and submission deadlines at https://skillsafrica.org/apply#funding.

1. La rubrique 1.2 porte sur l’entité du partenaire principal et son expérience en général, alors que la rubrique 1.4 porte sur le projet proposé par le candidat pour l’obtention d’une subvention SIFA.

2. « Justification ou explication des états financiers » : Cette case peut être utilisée pour fournir des explications sur les documents fournis si besoin, par exemple si les années des documents fournis ne correspondent pas à celles désignées au niveau des cases de téléchargement dans le formulaire.

3. Non, il n’y a pas de modèle pour la lettre d’engagement pour le financement de la contrepartie du candidat. La lettre doit au minimum :

  • Spécifier la valeur totale de la contrepartie ;
  • Spécifier quelle(s) option(s) de financement est/sont proposée(s) pour la contrepartie (voir options I-IV décrites dans le Guide de candidature) ;
  • Pour l’option II « Mise en œuvre de mesures en nature liées au projet » : détailler les mesures liées au projet (en nature) proposées, avec répartition de la valeur estimée ;
  • Pour l’option III « Paiement de taxes » : indiquer le numéro d’enregistrement TVA.
  • Facultatif: spécifier l’engagement / le rôle de chaque partenaire au sein du consortium.

4. Non, la rubrique 11 ne se limite pas au(x) partenaire(s) associé(s), mais porte également sur d’autres mesures d’implication du secteur privé prévues dans le cadre du projet proposé.

Yes, if your Lead Partner is an accredited training provider (according to the Eligibility Criteria for Funding Window 1), you can apply as a Secondary Partner.

Yes, currently (as of May 2019), only calls for Funding Window 1 are open and only in selected countries. Please check the current status of calls for proposals and submission deadlines at https://skillsafrica.org/apply#funding, and check the “News” section of the website for updates.

Call openings for all Funding Windows will be announced on the website www.skillsafrica.org. Please check the current status of calls for proposals and submission deadlines at https://skillsafrica.org/apply#funding, and check the “News” section of the website for updates.

SIFA’s policy is to offer fair and transparent opportunities to all applicants. Therefore, we cannot provide personal consultations or review documents sent to us via e-mail. If you have specific questions, please send them to us through the contact form on the website www.skillsafrica.org. The questions and answers will be published on the "FAQ" section of the website.

For detailed information about SIFA, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download from the “Apply” section of the website.

The deadline for submission of Concept Notes for SIFA Funding Window 1 in Kenya is 05 August 2019.

Please note: In the online application system SmartME, the exact deadline for each call is displayed as a countdown on the “My Applications” page.

Concept Notes can be submitted via the online application system SmartME only. To start creating your Concept Note, please register in SmartME at https://www.skillsafrica.org/register. If you already have an account, you can login through the “Sign in” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org. In the application form, you will need to fill requested information about the Lead and Partner entities as well as the proposed project, and upload required supporting documents.

For detailed information about the application process, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants, available to download from the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

In Ghana, the legally mandated agency for accrediting skills training institutions (NGOs and private training providers) is the Council for TVET (COTVET).

Funding Window 1 is designed for well-established training institutions that are experienced in skills development. Hence a yet-to-be established skills development centre cannot apply for funding under Funding Window 1.

However, Funding Window 3 may provide an opportunity to apply. For detailed Eligibility Criteria please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download from the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

For detailed information about SIFA, please check the Instruction Guide and the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

SIFA’s policy is to offer fair and transparent opportunities to all applicants. Therefore, cannot not provide personal consultations. If you have specific questions, please send them to us through the contact form on the website. The questions and answers will be published on the FAQ section of the website.

SIFA does not provide funding for start-ups or individuals.

Eligible projects must be skills development initiatives proposed by experienced stakeholders in the area of skills development. For detailed eligibility criteria, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download from the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

If you did not receive an email with the confirmation link after registering in SmartME, please check your "junk mail" folder and make sure your mailbox is not full. If you still have not received the confirmation e-mail, please repeat the registration process and make sure you enter your e-mail address correctly.

There is no provision in the SIFA guidelines for the use of intermediaries at the concept note stage. Applicants may use the services of experts to write their proposals but at their own cost, unlike the case of SDF in Ghana where intermediaries are paid. The use of such intermediaries/consultants is not a guarantee for success, and they remain anonymous in the SIFA concept note application process.

However, applicants whose concept notes have been shortlisted may benefit from SIFA support to complete their Full Proposals under certain conditions.

An overview of the steps of the application process is provided in the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org. For detailed information, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants, available to download from the "Apply" section of the website.

The Concept Note is the first stage of the application process. It is intended to be brief, focusing on the fulfilment of the eligibility and selection criteria of the proposal/applicant and introducing the key aspects of the activity proposed to be supported.

Concept Notes must be submitted via the online application system SmartME, in the format provided by the system. Applicants need to fill requested information about the Lead and partner entities as well as the proposed project, and upload required supporting documents. To start creating a Concept Note, please register in SmartME at https://www.skillsafrica.org/register.

For detailed information about the application process, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants, available to download from the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

We currently cannot foresee if and when more countries will join the SIFA program, as this depends on negotiations between governments and the African Union Commission. Please check the “News” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org for updates.

For detailed information about SIFA, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of the website.

The activities 3, 4 and 5 (Training of Trainers, Curriculum design, and Learner Scholarships) must not constitute more than 5% of the total cost for the entire project, which is to be supported by a SIFA grant. This is given that your counterpart contribution is not higher than the required minimum (10% for Funding Windows 1 and 3, and 30% for Funding Window 2).

You are of course free to add/increase any of the above mentioned activities at your own cost i.e. by increasing your counterpart contribution to the project.

Yes, this constellation is possible, given that both entities are registered as required for the respective Funding Window:

  • Window 1: Lead + Primary Partner must be domestic
  • Window 2: Lead must be international, Primary Partner must be domestic
  • Window 3: Lead must be domestic

For more details please check the eligibility criteria described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

Si, lors de votre inscription sur SmartME, vous n’avez pas reçu d’e-mail avec le lien de confirmation, consultez votre dossier "courrier indésirable" et assurez-vous que votre boîte aux lettres électronique n'est pas pleine. Si, après avoir effectué cette vérification, vous n’avez toujours pas reçu d’e-mail de confirmation, répétez le processus d’inscription en vous assurant de saisir correctement votre courrier électronique.

For more information on call openings and submission deadlines, please check the current status at https://skillsafrica.org/apply#funding, and check the “News” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org for updates.

For more information about the estimated timelines of the application process for each call, please check the chapter “Call Schedules and Timelines” in the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website.

If you have further questions, please send us a message using the contact form on the website.

Yes, a private college accredited with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is eligible to apply under Funding Window 1.

For detailed information about SIFA, please check Instruction Guide for Applicants freely available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

Uganda is not one of SIFA’s participating countries, thus applicants based in Uganda presently cannot apply for SIFA funding. For more information about SIFA, please check our website www.skillsafrica.org.

For detailed information about SIFA funding please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org. Please check the status of calls for proposals at https://skillsafrica.org/apply#funding and consult the News section of the website for updates.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org for details about the application process and the requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects.

The call for proposals for Funding Window 1 in South Africa is scheduled to open on 17th April 2019. Please check the News section of the website www.skillsafrica.org for further updates.

Prière de consulter le site Web www.skillsafrica.org, rubrique « Soumissionner », pour plus de détails sur le processus de candidature. La date limite de soumission des notes conceptuelles pour le Guichet de financement 1 en Tunisie est fixée au 31 mai 2019.

Individual skills capacitation is not part of the SIFA program. For detailed information about SIFA, please check our website www.skillsafrica.org.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects, described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

Please note that SIFA cannot provide support to potential applicants in finding suitable partners for their initiative/project. It is the responsibility of potential applicants to form a partnership (consortium) according to the eligibility criteria if they wish to apply for SIFA funding. For detailed information about the eligibility criteria, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects, described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects, described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

Regarding the Counterpart Contribution: For Funding Windows 1 and 3, Applicants must contribute to the project with their own funds for at least 10% of the total project cost. That means out of the total 100% project cost, maximum 90% can be financed through the SIFA grant and minimum 10% must be financed through your counterpart contribution. For example, if the total cost of your project is 1,000,000 EUR, the grant you can apply for is up to 900,000 EUR and the counterpart contribution must be at least 100,000 EUR. To apply for the maximum grant amount of 3,000,000 EUR for Funding Window 1, your counterpart contribution must be at least 333,333 EUR so the total project cost would be at least 3,333,333 EUR.

With regard to the counterpart contribution, the available options are:

  1. Co-financing of invoices
  2. Implementation of project-related (in-kind) measures that can be quantified in cash terms (e.g. use of project-related specialized workshop/training equipment, or use of project-related specialized facilities owned or long term leased by the applicants, like dormitories or kindergartens for children of female trainees/learners)
  3. Payment of taxes (e.g. VAT, import duties and other public charges) on works, goods and services rendered to the project
  4. Recurrent costs, such as salaries for additional project-related staff, and utility charges (e.g. water, electricity, heating) for the duration of the project

At Concept Note stage, Applicants must submit a commitment letter for the counterpart contribution. At Full Proposal stage, evidence for the (estimated) costs for the counterpart contribution must be submitted. During the course of project implementation, evidence needs to be provided for all counterpart contributions.

Regarding the closing date for applications: Calls for proposals for Funding Window 1 are opened for each participating country individually, thus deadlines for submission are also different for each country. Please check call status at https://skillsafrica.org/apply#funding and the News section of our website www.skillsafrica.org for updates. In the SmartME online application system, the specific deadlines are clearly shown for each call. Applications cannot be submitted after the deadline.

Uganda is not one of SIFA’s participating countries, thus applicants based in Uganda presently cannot apply for SIFA funding.

For detailed information about SIFA, please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants freely available to download on the “Apply” section of our website www.skillsafrica.org.

Le compte SmartME doit être créé par une personne physique. Une fois connecté au compte, vous pourrez choisir l’appel à projet pour lequel vous voudrez soumissionner. C’est dans le formulaire de candidature qu’il faut fournir des détails sur l’entité (personne morale) et sa personne de contact. Ceci aussi bien pour le partenaire principal que pour le(s) partenaire(s) associé(s).

La personne qui doit signer la lettre d'engagement de la contrepartie est la personne qui est désignée comme Partenaire principal (ou Lead) dans le système de candidature SmartME.

Prière de consulter le Guide de candidature et la « Foire aux Questions » (FAQ) sur le site www.skillsafrica.org pour plus de détails sur SIFA. Si vous ne trouvez pas la bonne réponse, veuillez nous contacter en utilisant le formulaire sur le site, rubrique « Contact ». Les questions (sous forme anonyme) et réponses seront publiées dans la rubrique FAQ.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the detailed requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects, described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

Prière de consulter le Guide de candidature sur le site www.skillsafrica.org, rubrique « Soumissionner », pour plus de détails sur le processus de candidature et les critères d’éligibilité pour une subvention dans le cadre de l'Initiative Compétences pour l'Afrique (SIFA).

Ghana has recently become one of SIFA’s participating countries. The information on the website www.skillsafrica.org and in the Instruction Guide for Applicants have been updated accordingly. The Call for Concept Notes in Ghana will open on Monday 8th April 2019. Please check the website for further updates.

SIFA finances skills development projects in selected African countries only. India is not one of SIFA’s participating countries, thus applicants based in India cannot apply for SIFA funding.

Please note that submitting a proposal via e-mail is not permissible and will not be accepted. All proposals must be submitted in the application format in the SmartME online management system, as explained in the Instruction Guide for Applicants freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

Please go to www.skillsafrica.org/signin if you wish to create and submit an application.

Yes, as accredited skills development provider in South Africa you are eligible to apply for a SIFA grant in all three Funding Windows. Your consortium and your project must fulfill the eligibility criteria for the respective Funding Window. For details please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants available to download on our website www.skillsafrica.org.

You can submit an application once the call for proposal for the respective Window is opened in your country. Call openings will be announced on the website.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the detailed requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects, described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

Les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) et associations sont tout à fait éligibles si elles sont habilitées à donner des formations.

Pour plus de détails sur les critères d’éligibilité veuillez consulter le Guide de Candidature, disponible pour téléchargement sur www.skillsafrica.org.

If you would like to apply for SIFA funding, please check the detailed requirements for eligible applicants and eligible projects, described in the Instruction Guide for Applicants freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

You can apply once the call for proposals is opened in your country. Call openings will be announced on the website. To submit an application, please register on our online application system (SmartME) at www.skillsafrica.org/signin.

Applications for SIFA can be submitted via our online application system (SmartME) only. To register on SmartME, please go to our website www.skillsafrica.org and follow the link provided in the section SIGN IN.

For more details about the application process, please check the Instruction Guide freely available to download from the website.

SIFA finances skills development projects in selected African countries only. Applicants must be experienced stakeholders in the field of skills development, and form a consortium consisting of 2 or 3 eligible entities, according to the eligibility criteria for each Funding Window. Individuals are not eligible to apply.

For detailed definitions of eligible applicants and eligible projects for each Funding Window, please refer to the Instruction Guide freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

Oui, les candidats peuvent soumettre les états financiers des 3 dernières années disponibles (ou moins) et ajouter des notes explicatives dans les cases correspondantes.

SIFA Funding Window 3 is designed to finance smaller, innovative (pilot) projects such as image campaigns for skills development, ICT-based approaches to skills development, and entrepreneurship/mentorship programs. For detailed conditions, please check the Instruction Guide freely available to download on the website.
Calls for proposals for Funding Window 3 will be launched in SIFA’s participating countries at a later stage, and openings will be announced on the website.

We have fixed these issues. Please try again and get back to us if you still encounter these or other problems. For purely technical issues, please use the HelpDesk in SmartME (accessible when logged into your SmartME user account).

Ethiopia is one of SIFA’s participating countries, thus applicants based in Ethiopia will be able to apply for SIFA funding once a Call for proposals is launched in Ethiopia. Call openings will be announced on the website www.skillsafrica.org. Please check the Instruction Guide for Applicants for detailed eligibility criteria.

Oui, selon les critères d’éligibilité spécifiées dans le Guide de candidature, les Ministères en charge des questions d'emplois des Jeunes peuvent être Partenaire principal ou Partenaire associé secondaire pour le guichet de financement 1, s’ils sont chargés de la coordination de l’offre en EFTP ou engagés dans le développement des compétences.

Comme spécifié dans le Guide de candidature dans la section « Critères d’éligibilité », chaque candidat (consortium) doit fournir moins une référence d’un projet d’envergure financière similaire à celle du projet proposé. Cela veut dire qu’il est suffisant si seul le partenaire principal dispose d’une telle expérience.

Concernant la capacité financière, seul le partenaire principal doit obligatoirement fournir des copies des états financiers audités ou certifiés des trois dernières années.

As specified in the Instruction Guide, eligible applicants for Window 1 include “Incubation center or company involved in product development” as primary partner. This means functioning incubation centers that have the capacity to incubate new products or technology processes. Start-ups as well as start-up incubators that have never done any incubation activity are not eligible.

For detailed information on eligibility for each Funding Window, please refer to the Instruction Guide freely available to download on the website www.SkillsAfrica.org.

To become a participating country of SIFA, the national government of the country must send an official Expression of Interest to the Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology (HRST) of the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for consideration. Only countries can apply to join SIFA, not individuals or institutions.

Funding through SIFA Financing Facility is available only through the 3 Funding Windows as presented on www.skillsafrica.org.

Botswana is not one of SIFA’s participating countries, thus applicants based in Botswana presently cannot apply for SIFA funding. For detailed information on eligibility for each Funding Window, please refer to the Instruction Guide freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

Funding Window 1 will be launched in all participating SIFA countries, but Calls for Proposal are opened for each country individually. Currently, only the call for Cameroon has opened. Call openings for the other participating countries including South Africa are expected at a later stage and will be announced on the website.

Uganda is not one of SIFA’s participating countries, thus applicants based in Uganda presently cannot apply for SIFA funding.

Funding Window 1 will be launched in all participating SIFA countries, but Calls for Proposal are opened for each country individually. Currently, only the call for Cameroon has opened. Call openings for the other countries are expected at a later stage and will be announced on the website.

  1. Oui, les Instituts Privés d'Enseignement Supérieur (IPES) sont éligibles aux projets SIFA, selon la définition des candidats éligibles dans le Guide de Candidature, disponible pour téléchargement sur www.skillsafrica.org.
  2. Pour évaluer vos chances de réussite, veuillez vous référer aux critères d’évaluation des propositions, qui sont notamment : Viabilité et prêt à être mis en œuvre ; Innovation ; Pérennité ; Impact régional et réplicabilité ; Implication du secteur privé ; Accès pour/impact sur les femmes, les jeunes et les groupes vulnérables ; Qualité globale de la proposition ; Pertinence. Les critères sont décrites en détail dans le Guide de Candidature et dans la section « Critères d'évaluation » sur https://skillsafrica.org/fr/soumissionner.
  3. Les options de financement de la contrepartie du candidat sont décrites en détail dans le chapitre « Contrepartie du candidat » dans le Guide de Candidature. Ainsi, l’option I (« Mise en œuvre de mesures liées au projet en nature pouvant être quantifiées en espèces ») et l’option IV (« Prise en charge de coûts récurrents ») pourraient inclure par exemple des frais de logement ou des bourses d’études. Par contre, la contrepartie du candidat ne peut pas provenir d’investissement d’un autre fond.

For detailed information, please check the Instruction Guide available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org, and the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section on the website.

If you have specific questions, please send them to us through the contact form on the website. The questions and answers will be published on the FAQ section of the website.

Funding Window 1 will be launched in all participating SIFA countries, but Calls for Proposal are opened for each country individually. Currently, only the call for Cameroon has opened. Call openings for the other countries are expected at a later stage and will be announced on the website.

Pour des informations détaillées, veuillez consulter le Guide d’instruction et la « Foire aux questions » (FAQ) disponibles sur le site Web www.skillsafrica.org.

La politique de SIFA est d’offrir des opportunités équitables et transparentes à tous les candidats. Par conséquent, nous ne pouvons pas offrir de consultations personnelles. Si vous avez des questions spécifiques, veuillez les envoyer via le formulaire de contact disponible sur le site Web. Les questions et réponses seront publiées dans la section FAQ du site Web.

1. Anyone with a potential concept note fulfilling the overall requirements for a call can submit an application. For detailed definitions of eligible applicants and eligible projects for each Funding Window, please refer to the Instruction Guide freely available to download on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

2. At the Concept Note stage, eligible candidates have to provide audited or certified financial statements of the Lead for the last three available years. Certified financial statements are normally signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors or the Chairman of the Governing Board of the training institution. This may be compared with the externally audited financial statements which are signed by the External Auditor. At the Full Proposal stage, shortlisted applicants will be required to submit their 3-year audited accounts.

Funding Window 1 will be launched in all participating SIFA countries, but Calls for Proposal are opened for each country individually. Currently, only the call for Cameroon has opened. Call openings for the other countries are expected at a later stage and will be announced on the website.

For detailed information, please check the Instruction Guide and the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) on the website www.skillsafrica.org.

SIFA’s policy is to offer fair and transparent opportunities to all applicants. Therefore, cannot not provide personal consultations. If you have specific questions, please send them to us through the contact form on the website. The questions and answers will be published on the FAQ section of the website.