OFID considers grant financing to be an important instrument of development. Its grant program is thus tailored to support initiatives that enhance livelihoods by addressing challenges in areas such as education, energy poverty, food security, public health, water supply and sanitation, which may not be directly funded through other financing windows.
OFID’s grant program includes technical assistance for small-scale social schemes, sponsorship for research and other intellectual pursuits, and humanitarian aid. In addition, OFID runs special programs for health, Palestine and energy poverty. The latter is a particular priority and complements the financing provided through other mechanisms in support of OFID’s Energy for the Poor Initiative. As of December 31, 2016, OFID had provided some US$632.5m in outright grants across all programs, working with UN agencies and a host of international and national NGOs, among many other partners, to meet the needs of the vulnerable, marginalized and very poor. This figure includes grants approved through obsolete programs and special contributions to other organizations such as the Common Fund for Commodities and IFAD.
Activities in 2016
In 2016, an aggregate US$11.7m was approved under OFID’s various grant programs for a total of 42 operations in some of the most disadvantaged regions of the world. Projects in the agriculture, energy, water & sanitation and education sectors accounted for over 60% of new grant commitments, which is consistent with the results achieved in 2015 and in line with OFID’s strategic priorities. Technical assistance projects attracted US$2.5m, chiefly for activities to improve food security and access to basic services. Six grants totaling US$2.8m were drawn from the special program for Palestine in support of a broad range of interventions designed to improve the quality of life in marginalized communities. Approvals under the energy poverty program amounted to US$4m and involved the provision of solar energy solutions in eight countries. Two grants totaling US$1m were committed under the special health program, while US$1.9m was allocated in research grants, mostly to sponsor conferences and similar events, but also to help fund a number of small-scale education and capacity-building schemes. The remaining US$1.4m was given in humanitarian aid.
Also noteworthy in 2016 was the completion of 52 projects financed with US$20.2m of previously approved grant resources and benefiting 52 countries.