The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is a grant making and advocacy foundation that is part of the global Open Society Foundations Network. OSIWA works to support the creation of open societies in West Africa marked by functioning democracy, good governance, the rule of law, basic freedoms, and widespread civic participation. Its headquarters is in Dakar and it has offices in Abuja, Monrovia, Freetown and Conakry.

OSIWA only supports innovative interventions with effective strategies that respond to the broader deep-seated political, justice and socio-economic roadblocks to open society in West Africa. We seek to seize new opportunities and deploy novel methods, including technology, to address open society challenges.

OSIWA seeks proposals aimed at achieving the following specific themes:

  • Economic Governance and advancement – Strengthen food security system and agriculture in the context of climate change; Increase the effectiveness of natural resource management frameworks; Enhance citizens’ social demands for accountability and effectiveness in public service delivery in health and education; Strengthen regional economic integration processes as well as tax, investment and trade justice; Promote transparency & accountability in the public sector and support alternative, ICT and arts-based means for fighting corruption.
  • Drug Policy – Reduce the impact of drug trafficking on governance and contribute to reducing the vulnerability of West African states to the threat and the impact of drug trafficking.
  • Human Rights & Democratic Practice – Support civic engagement and inclusive participation in democratic governance; Strengthen electoral system; Ensure inclusive constitutional review processes and strengthen prevention and early warning information systems to reduce militancy and violence; Enhance citizenship and documentation of identity and promote the adoption, implementation and compliance of freedom of/right to information laws.
  • Justice Reform & The Rule Of Law –  Advance the inclusion and legal empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities; Promote the use of transitional justice mechanisms; Improve criminal justice and the administration of justice.
  • Journalism, Information & Digital Rights – Promote investigative journalism and free, quality & independent media.

The detailed OSIWA strategy is available on the OSIWA Website.


OSIWA primarily awards grants to local organizations based in West Africa. In rare and limited circumstances, it provides support to West Africa-based international organizations with a strong commitment to transfer knowledge to local groups they partner with. It provides grants to government institutions as well as regional and sub-regional organizations working in its core priority areas. OSIWA requires all organizations seeking funding to submit a complete proposal, budget, a monitoring and evaluation plan, and other relevant documents including leadership information (list of Board members, trustees and management staff who will be involved in the project), proof of registration and banking details. Applications that are not submitted with all the relevant documentation may be delayed.


Proposals should be sent directly to: and will be accepted until April 30th 2016. OSIWA encourages the early submission of proposals. Submitted proposals will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The time required to review a proposal varies according to the complexity of the proposal, the problem being addressed, and the number of proposals being reviewed. Generally, it can take up to three to six months from the time a proposal is received to the date a final decision is made. OSIWA strives to be as expeditious as possible in its review of inquiries and proposals. Please keep this in mind when planning.


By Dotun Roy is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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