Financing NGO projects

AFD and civil society organizations (CSOs) work together towards a common objective: strengthen civil society’s contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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Technical college, students, learners, education, vocational training, Nouakchott, Mauritania
The direct financial cooperation between AFD and CSOs today covers a wide range of instruments tailored to the specific characteristics of CSOs and their added value: support for innovation (Sectoral Innovation Facility for NGOs, financing from the French Facility for Global Environment, FFEM), financing for operations in fragile, crisis and post-crisis contexts (APCC), and support for their initiatives, via the CSO Initiatives mechanism.


Guatemala, population, street


Financing for projects initiated by French CSOs working for international solidarity is based on an annual grant budget allocated by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. It is managed by the CSO Partnership Division in AFD’s Strategy, Partnerships and Communication Department.

This mechanism recognizes the right of initiative and independence of CSOs. Its main objective is to cofinance field projects or programs led by French CSOs, which focus on structuring and building the capacities of local civil society organizations.

It also cofinances actions of general interest conducted by French CSOs, particularly in terms of structuring French associations and development education actions in France.

The eligible CSOs are associations under the Law of 1901 or non-profit associations governed by the Alsace Moselle Law, trade unions under French law (Law of 21 June 1865) conducting development actions, and French non-profit foundations that implement international solidarity actions.

Every year, a call for expressions of project intentions invites CSOs, for two months (May-June), to submit a financing request for the following year. Once their project intention has been preselected, CSOs can submit their project in due course, according to their own timetable.


Fishermen from Hessi Jerbi, meeting, discussion, Tunisia


Two facilities to support CSOs and small-scale projects are supported by AFD.

  • The first is managed by the Agency for Micro Projects (for amounts lower than EUR 300,000), which also assists project initiators in preparing, monitoring and evaluating their initiatives. Find out more
  • The second is managed by the Forum of Migrant International Solidarity Organizations (FORIM) via the Program to Support Immigrant Communities’ International Solidarity Organizations (PRA/OSIM), which cofinances and supports local development micro-projects led by OSIMs. Find out more


Mangrove vegetation, biodiversity, Gabon


The French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), whose secretariat is managed by AFD, has a mandate to support innovative operations in the fields of climate change, biodiversity, international waters and land degradation.

FFEM focuses on integrated and cross-cutting approaches for all global environmental issues. Its activities give a group of actors – CSOs, research institutes, companies, local authorities – a better understanding of issues that link the environment and development. Within this wide range of development actors, FFEM seeks to strengthen sustainable partnerships between CSOs, donors and governments, as they ensure that the actions it supports are maintained over time.


Through its Small-Scale Initiatives Program (PPI), FFEM supports CSOs in African countries working to protect biodiversity and fight against climate change. In this way, the program contributes to improving the governance of these processes, which gives it significant recognition in the African sphere of conservation.


Balcony, street view, Côte d'Ivoire, man, Terdjman


FISONG, which is managed by AFD’s Operations Department, is a “call for ideas” based on themes defined in consultation with NGOs, with the aim of bringing about innovative practices led by both French and non-French civil society.

This financing tool is complementary to the CSO Initiatives mechanism. It is launched via biannual competitive calls for projects open to international CSOs. It finances a maximum of 90% of project amounts or innovative methodologies. In addition, since 2016, CSOs which benefit from FISONG can have free assistance (awareness-raising, personalized follow-up, capitalization, etc.) to ensure that gender is taken better into account in their project.

FISONG projects focus on capitalization to ensure that methods and results are disseminated among other development actors, create synergies between AFD and international solidarity organization on themes, sectors and geographical areas of common interest, and improve the coordination of public policies with the initiatives of non-governmental cooperation.

Young Syrian refugees, Lebanon


Since 2013, AFD has been developing a wide range of instruments to provide a more effective response to fragile contexts, which include the Crisis and Post-crisis Calls for Projects (APCC). These instruments have been developed taking international good practices into account and in the context of a close dialogue with French CSOs, with the aim of defining appropriate tools.

The APCC have been developed to be complementary to the other CSO financing tools of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Emergency Humanitarian Fund of the Crisis and Support Center) and AFD. Based on specifications defined by AFD, they allow projects to be built jointly with CSOs or other French and international non-profit organizations. AFD also promotes a diversification in partnership frameworks between international CSOs, local CSOs and public authorities in partner countries. This allows mechanisms to be adapted to the needs of each situation in a dynamic manner over time.

Since 2013, EUR 83.5m have been allocated via the APCC to international CSOs (often in consortiums) and local CSOs. While these calls for projects are open to international CSOs, they have mainly benefited French CSOs, reflecting their expertise, their knowledge of the areas in question, and the strength of the local partnerships which have been developed.

The APCC are managed by AFD’s Operations Department and have often been financed by delegations of funds from the European Union, such as the Emergency Trust Fund (ETF) and MADAD Fund. They will also be financed in the future by the Peace and Resilience Fund.


Non-governmental organizations are often involved in AFD projects due to their technical expertise, operating methods and knowledge of local contexts and actors. They can support the appraisal, supervision, evaluation and implementation of projects.

During the stages of a project appraisal, NGOs are consequently regularly involved in the design, feasibility studies and search for innovative approaches with AFD teams.

Similarly, NGOs are sometimes selected, via bid invitations, by national contracting authorities (State, public or parapublic structures) for the implementation of AFD-funded projects. They can therefore act as project managers or support project managers in fields such as vocational training, structuring actors in the agriculture sector, preventive healthcare, access to water and sanitation, etc.

Access the notices of invitations to tender for AFD-funded contracts

million euros, the total invested since 2008
the maximum financed by AFD for each project
projects selected since 2008
Find out more
Loans: AFD’s main financing tool
Infotep, vocational training in Dominican Republic

AFD allocates different types of loans. Their terms are determined by the nature of the project and its environment (political, economic, social, environmental impact and context) and the quality of the borrower (sector of activity, rating, guarantees).

Grants: For the development of the poorest countries
Distribution of drinking water in Kinshasa

AFD uses grants to finance actions in the social sector (health, education), rural and urban development initiatives, and infrastructure projects. 

C2D: A mechanism to relieve indebted countries
"Excellence Learning school" in Niamey, Niger

The Debt Reduction-Development Contract (C2D) is a tool to restructure the debt of certain countries. In practical terms, once a Heavily Indebted Poor Country has signed a C2D with AFD, the country continues to service its debt until repayment. At each payment on the due date, AFD transfers the equivalent amount to the country in the form of a grant. This amount is used to finance poverty reduction programs.

FEXTE: A cooperation instrument
Woman on a building site of construction, Colombia

FEXTE meets the development needs of middle-income countries, feeds into dialogue on public policies, and promotes French expertise.

Guarantees: An instrument to mobilize local instruments
Sewing workshop in Abidjan neighbourhood, Niamey, Nigeria

The guarantees allocated by AFD facilitate financing for small businesses and microfinance institutions in developing countries. They also help French SMEs set up abroad. This means that they are an effective tool for promoting investment and job creation.

Adapt'Action: Working together to tackle climate change
Brazil, Curitiba, Souza

Following the Paris Climate Agreement, AFD has launched Adapt’Action to support countries seeking technical assistance for the institutional, methodological and operational implementation of their commitments to the fight against climate change.