Application guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Application guidelines

Application time-line

Information for successful applicants

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Application guidelines

Applications must be written in English.

All applications must be submitted through the online submission system, and use the Application Form.

Applications must be received before  31 January 2019.

Applications must be signed by an authorized representative of the library.  

The full application must include –

  • Completed "Grant Application” form. The Grant Application form can be downloaded here: Application Form (doc).
  • A letter of support confirming matching funds from co-funder.
  • A letter from each partner, attached to the application. The letter/s must be signed by the partner organisation/s, confirming their role and contribution to the project.
  • If relevant, evidence / letters or other documentation confirming additional funding of the project budget.

In order to avoid errors and incomplete information, we encourage applicants to complete the following steps before submitting an application:

(1) Read and understand the eligibility and selection criteria.

(2) Fill out and sign the "Grant Application" form. The Signature Page can be scanned and added as an attachment.

(3) Include the required attachments.

If you have technical problems, or have any queries, please contact us at The communication language is English.

Application time-line

The call launch on 1 October 2018 – close 31 January 2019

Evaluation and selection of proposals: February – March 2019

Project start: 1 April 2019

Projects end: 31 December 2019

Final report due: 31 January 2020

Information for successful applicants

Grantees will be expected to look for opportunities and publicize their projects through local and national media, online, and at relevant library events, like conferences and meetings, during and after implementation of the project.

We also expect you to regularly communicate news and information about your project with EIFL-PLIP staff, so that we can also share the information through our publicity channels.

Through communication, we will raise awareness about innovative library services, and the ways in which they can change lives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What libraries may apply?

The call is open to Zambian libraries that took part in the EIFL-PLIP capacity building programme in Zambia in 2018.

What advice do you have for writing a good proposal?

Here are some tips for writing a proposal –

  • Think about and research the needs of your community. Before applying, conduct a needs assessment to show that your project idea will address a real need. See the Tip Sheet for Needs Assessment.
  • Think about the results and impact of your project to your target group and on the wider community. See Tip for Defining results and impact.
  • Think carefully about how to integrate your library’s computers into the project. If you will be adding new technology explain why you are choosing it for this particular service. Consult with people or organisations that can advise you if you are not sure about the best technologies to use.
  • Consider whether your library has the capacity to deliver the proposed project.  While developing your proposal, assess librarians’ skills. Does the library have enough (the right) space for the project? Is the library accessible to the target group, or is distance a barrier? If distance is a barrier, how will you overcome the problem? Think carefully about any other issues related to capacity, and include eligible costs.
  • Choose partners carefully and consult your partners before you submit your application. Show partners your implementation plan; discuss roles, commitments and costs – including costs they may contribute. Listen to what they have to say about it and include their input.
  • Budget carefully – watch out for hidden costs. Make sure that your budget is realistic, well planned and accurate, and includes only eligible expenses. Research prices carefully, and be sure your budget reflects local market prices. Make sure requested funds from EIFL do not exceed 50% of project’s budget and that you have also secured 50% matching funds / support from other sources to implement the project. 

Common mistakes and some recommendations on how to improve the proposals

  • An abstract is incomplete or inconsistent with information provided in other fields of the proposal. You should work on the summaryafter all other fields in the proposal are filled. Make sure the summary provides an accurate and well-structured description of your project. The easiest way is to follow the brief instruction provided above the field.
  • The target group needs and problem are not well defined, documented, or understandable. The target group needs and problem statement should be supported by data and evidence collected during the needs assessment. Without a proper understanding of community needs, or with just minimal evidence, there is no way to arrive at clear and measurable objectives and demonstrate with confidence that your idea will work. If you fail here, you cannot shape other fields of your proposal.
  • The description of the community  is missing or is incomplete and the library profile is focused on the historical evolution of service. The latter usually has little or no relevance at all to the project. Instead, it is better to provide an accurate and concise list of your current services and present specific achievements and strengths of your library that make you different from others. For example, successes in attracting more users or working out a strategy for specific hard to reach groups; building a strong infrastructure and competent staff / volunteer corpus through prior projects and effective partnership; winning an award or other recognition for exceptional services. 
  • The objectives are not specific or measurable, and there is no obvious link between the problem statement and objectives. This is usually a consequence of 1) lack of clarity on the community / target group’s needs, 2) an ill-defined problem and 3) an inadequately justified approach or solution/s.
  • Not clear benefits of technology selected for this particular project. Often it is also not clear what technology is available in the library or could be brought in by a partner organization and is to be added to create a proper infrastructure for service delivery. It is essential to explain, why specific equipment, software or other digital resources have been selected for this particular case, how it will be used, maintained and sustained, and what value it adds to meeting your objectives. If you build on existing programme / service, based on technology use, explain what new benefits your project creates.   
  • Partners are not identified or, if they are, key personnel and their responsibilities and time commitment to the project are not explained. The project team consists not only of library personnel but also of partners staff, who usually bring in the missing competencies, experience, tools, and resources that make the new service possible, efficient, and sustainable. Donors or funders are not partners. Donors and funders are interested in seeing the project implemented, but limit their participation in providing funding and follow up on results; partners work shoulder to shoulder with the library first to develop a proposal and then to reach stated objectives. Ask partners to provide a letter of intent or preliminary agreement to guarantee their involvement and commitment.
  • The action plan is too general and lacks details. Many plans do not include the preparation work and tasks that were essential for successful launch of the new service or programme. For example, if you plan to do some kind of technology-based vocational training for girls and women in your community to increase their income or employability, before you start  training, you have to acquire additional equipment and supplies (if it is not available); identify staff who will do the training and make sure they have or gain adequate competencies in time to do the training; build/adapt/develop the training curriculum; engage pilot group and test the curriculum; and improve the curriculum and approach based on the feedback of the pilot group. Your work plan should include all key tasks your team will work on to make sure the expected results and objectives are fulfilled. Please make sure you do not forget activities and tasks related to assessing the impact of your service at the end of your project (it might also require base-line evaluation prior start of your service), analysis of data, and report preparation.
  • Results and impact are too abstract, and ways of measuring results are not defined. This field of the proposal should clearly address the question of what will happen after you start running your service, and what specific changes it will bring to the target group, community, and the library. Avoid promising to change the world as this is not possible with a 10-12-month project with relatively little funding. Make sure you state results that can be achieved during the project time period (i.e. they are concrete and practical); and you will be able to obtain data and solid evidence on results and impact of your work (i.e. your results are measurable). You can conclude this field of the proposal with one or two sentences on how you envision to continue the service in the long-term and increase the benefit after you run out of the grant funds.
  • The budget is not supported by the narrative, and matching funds availability is not explained. All specific items (equipment, supplies, remuneration to staff, consultants, trainers) should be explained in relation with your project objectives and activity plan. You should provide your assumptions on prices and logic of costs calculation, demonstrating that you have done market research and accurately assessed costs. For matching funds, you should clearly and accurately identify funders / donors and their input in cash or in-kind support to the project. Please provide time and evidence of received support in the form of a confirmation letter. If you cannot provide a confirmation letter at the time of submitting an application, in the budget narrative you can still add a statement on when, in what format and under what conditions you expect additional funding or in-kind support to be provided.