Granting guidelines

Granting guidelines 

End Water Poverty operates on the principle that social change starts with civil society: without human rights defenders, there are no human rights.

We specialise in funding community-led direct civil society action that advances accountability, justice and human rights.

Each year we provide grants of £1,000-£5,000 through our core campaign Claim Your Water Rights so civil society can support people to claim their rights to safe water and sanitation.

Who is eligible for funding?

Every EWP member is eligible to apply for a grant. Each member can only submit one concept note per application cycle; multiple submissions from the same member will be discarded. Members applying for grants must be able to receive funds from international organisations according to their national laws and processes.

Over the course of each financial year we strive to reflect the geographic spread of our membership through our grants. Since 2019 we’ve funded 43 organisations in 17 different countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. To ensure funds are distributed fairly among EWP’s  membership, we will not fund the same organisation in consecutive granting cycles. This means that your organisation is not eligible to apply for further funding if you were one of our October 2023 grantees. We will provide a maximum of two grants per country each cycle so submitting joint concept notes with other members in your country or region could strengthen your chances of receiving funding.

Given the dearth of international funding for local advocacy, we devote most funds to grassroots campaigns. We will not fund applications from INGO members unless they are submitted jointly with members working at sub-national level.

What will we fund?

Claim Your Water Rights enables members to advocate on a range of different issues related to the human rights to water and sanitation – whether it’s accessibility, affordability, availability, acceptability or quality of service. We will also fund action that strengthens other related human rights – such as environmental rights, health rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and civil and political rights. Claim Your Water Rights aims to support members’ long-term advocacy objectives or to catalyse campaigning action on new or emerging issues. This means members can adapt their focus and tactics to their local or national context while working in global solidarity under one banner. 

While Claim Your Water Rights is designed to embrace diverse aims and approaches, we have identified eight themes that are strategically important to the coalition and of common interest to members working across different countries and continents. To serve as many members as possible, we select applications that engage with at least one of the following themes:

    • Climate justice:  countering depletion and pollution; protecting watersheds and environmental rights; securing funding for adaptation
    • Corporate accountability: business and human rights; upholding obligation of extractives, big business and private providers to respect rights
    • Expanding civic space: participation; protest; legal empowerment; freedom of expression, assembly and association; unionisation
    • Feminism and women’s rights: women-led advocacy; WASH in healthcare; sexual and reproductive health; period taboos and taxes
    • Financing and tax justice: quality tax-funded public services; debt cancellation; combatting corruption, illicit financial flows, tax evasion
    • Public control of water and sanitation services: resisting commodification, financialisation and privatisation; strengthening public ownership
    • Strengthening national and international human rights institutions: building allies; lodging complaints; supporting investigations and redress
    • Supporting marginalised communities to claim their rights: examples include asylum seekers and refugees, indigenous communities, informal settlement residents, LGBTQI+ communities, rural communities, sanitation workers, waste pickers, women and girls, etc.

    Claim Your Water Rights strategies are designed and delivered by our members. In the past five years, members have employed varied and creative rights claiming actions. These include:

      • Artivism: advocacy through music, theatre, film, visual arts, writing
      • Community mobilisation and community-led campaigning
      • Data documentation, disaggregation and dissemination
      • Elections advocacy, government engagement, insider lobbying
      • Litigation
      • Lodging complaints to regulators or human rights institutions
      • Media influencing
      • Organisation, association, unionisation
      • Policy advocacy and research
        • Protest, demonstration, occupation

          This list is not exhaustive or prescriptive. We will fund campaigns that utilise a variety of tactics.

          What won’t we fund?

          • Partisan political actions
          • Provision of services and infrastructure development
          • One-off events that do not instigate further action
          • Unsolicited proposals from non-EWP members

          What do we expect from members who receive funds?

          We expect all members who receive funds to:

          • Seek value for money.
          • Proactively share campaigning experience and expertise with other EWP members at national, regional and international levels. This could include speaking at learning exchanges, contributing written case studies or organising joint events.
          • Publicise work online, tagging @EndWaterPoverty on social media.
          • Send regular updates to End Water Poverty’s senior engagement officer, including pictures, videos, documents, news clippings, and weblinks.
          • Submit a final project report that covers the activities and aims stated in your concept note with links to outcomes and outputs.
          • Complete campaign activities within the agreed timeframe.


          How do I apply for a grant?

          End Water Poverty opens calls for concept notes at least once a year. Download and complete the concept note form and submit it to [email protected]. The secretariat adjudicates against the above published criteria and provides written feedback to members whose applications are unsuccessful.

          EWP typically receives a number of high-quality proposals, many of which we are unable to fund due to budget constraints. We understand that preparing thorough funding applications often takes a lot of time and effort. To avoid unnecessary additional work for members, you are welcome to resubmit concept notes from previous application cycles if you received positive feedback and if the proposed campaigning actions remain pertinent.