Call for Canada Applications for Resilient Health Systems for All – Concept Notes ( upto $250,000,000)

Call for Canada Applications for Resilient Health Systems for All – Concept Notes ( upto $250,000,000)

The Resilient Health Systems for All Call is a 2-stage application process contributing to Canada’s 10-Year Commitment to Global Health and Rights. As a first step, eligible organizations are invited to submit Concept Notes that describe how their projects will sustainably strengthen and build the resilience of health systems in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly at the community and primary health care facility levels.

Call for Canada Applications for Resilient Health Systems for All – Concept Notes ( upto $250,000,000)

Selected applicants will subsequently be invited to submit a full application package. Selection and funding decisions will be made based on an assessment of a full application package only. An invitation to submit a full proposal is not a guarantee of funding. 

The total amount of funding available under this Call for proposals is up to $300 million over 7 years. Global Affairs Canada (GAC) may fund any number of proposed projects or none, up to the maximum funding available.

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Two funding envelopes

Under this Call, two funding envelopes are available. Through the first envelope, we are looking for project ideas that would aim to strengthen health systems using proven approaches or through the scale up of innovations that were previously tested and yielded positive results. Through the second envelope, we are seeking project ideas to test promising approaches to health system strengthening, or in other words approaches that try to do things differently.

  1. Up to $250,000,000 for Health Systems Strengthening 
  • Estimated number of projects to be funded: 8-20
  • Size of project(s): from $10,000,000 and up to $30,000,000
  1. Up to $50,000,000 for Testing Promising Approaches to Health System Strengthening
  • Estimated number of projects to be funded: 5-8
  • Size of project(s): from $5,000,000 and up to $10,000,000

You must submit your application through the Partners@International portal before the deadline. If you are applying in consortium with other organizations that would co-sign the funding agreement with GAC, please ensure that each organization is registered in the Partners@International portal and has uploaded all required documents. Please see details under the “Organization eligibility” section below.

We will not accept any late submissions. To ensure that technical difficulties do not prevent you from submitting your concept note on time, we strongly suggest that you submit your application at least 3 working days before the deadline of 12 p.m. (noon) Eastern Time on June 29, 2023. Please read all portal instructions carefully.


This Call will fund projects supporting sustainable health systems strengthening, including improved health system resilience in order to face stressors (such as pandemics, but also climate change, democratic deficit, weak governance) that weaken those systems, and delivery of quality, gender-responsive health care services. These projects should enable the people living in the most vulnerable conditions, in particular women, adolescents and children, and persons with disabilities, to achieve improved health and nutrition outcomes, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), as defined by the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission.

Your application must demonstrate how your project will address local health system gaps and strengthen 1 or more of the inter-related 6 building blocks of health systems as per the World Health Organization: (i) service delivery, (ii) health workforce, (iii) health information systems, (iv) access to essential medicines, (v) financing, and (vi) leadership/governance. The application should also demonstrate alignment with local health system gaps and priority needs. It should detail how your project will take an integrated and sustainable approach, grounded in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, to improve the quality and accessibility of health services for the most marginalized.

The Call’s expected outcomes derive from the 10-year health commitment results framework. Applicants must develop their own project-specific expected outcomes, which need to align with the ultimate outcome and 1 or more intermediate outcomes below. 

Ultimate outcome

  • Enhanced equal enjoyment of health and health rights for those experiencing poverty, marginalization and/or vulnerability

Intermediate outcomes

  • Increased use of gender responsive quality health services
  • Improved healthy behaviours and practices that support women’s autonomy and decision making
  • Strengthened equal protection and promotion of health rights by governments and key stakeholders

The expected outcomes should align horizontally at the same level of the results chain – this means that the Call’s ultimate outcome informs the project-level ultimate outcome, and the Call’s intermediate outcomes inform the project’s intermediate outcomes.

The project’s ultimate and intermediate expected outcome statements must be informed by the evidence stemming from the situational analysis and grounded in the reality of your project’s context, scope, and theory of change, and be more specific in terms of:

  • What will change;
  • Who will experience the change? The intermediaries or beneficiaries? (at a minimum, disaggregated by sex); and
  • Where the change will take place.

Applicants are encouraged to be as specific and clear as possible on where and how they are intervening in the health system.

Note that applicants should also develop the project level immediate outcomes that logically lead or contribute to their respective intermediate outcomes at the concept note phase.

Refer to the Results-Based Management for International Assistance Programming at Global Affairs Canada: A How-To Guide to ensure that your outcome statements respect GAC’s syntax structure for outcomes and definition of ultimate, intermediate and immediate outcomes. Further, applicants should refer to the Feminist International Assistance Gender Equality Toolkit for Projects when developing the concept note.

Important noteWe will reject all concept notes prepared by applicants who have copied and pasted the expected outcome statements asis, without adapting them to the reality of the proposed projects.

Organizations that receive funding under this Call will be expected to work with GAC to ensure relevant result and indicator frameworks are put in place for efficient monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning. Where appropriate, applicants should use the Feminist International Assistance Policy Indicators, and other globally recognized health sector indicators. GAC will share additional guidance with successful applicants on reporting, including the use of key performance indicators, following the concept notes step.

Organization eligibility

Applicants should review the eligibility screening requirements to ensure that they are eligible for funding under this Call. GAC will not pre-assess or comment on the eligibility of specific potential applicants. To be eligible, you must meet each requirement and, where stipulated, provide supporting documentation. If your organization is submitting a concept note in consortium with other organizations, each of which would co-sign the funding agreement with GAC, then each organization (i.e., co-signatory) must meet the eligibility requirements and provide documentation that demonstrates they meet these eligibility requirements.

Eligibility screening requirements are the following:

  • Your organization is a Canadian organization, which means for the purpose of this Call that your organization is legally incorporated in Canada with a Canada Revenue Agency business number.
  • Your organization is registered in the Partners@International
  • You must provide separate financial statements for your organization’s 2 most recent fiscal years. Audited statements are preferred. If this is not possible, statements must be signed by a member of the board of directors or delegate, or by the owners. As financial statements usually provide comparative information from the previous year, these statements will be used to do a 3-year trend analysis.
  • As a signatory, you may submit only one application under 1 of the 2 funding envelopes available through this You may also participate as a non-signatory partner on other applicants’ concept notes/proposals.
    • If your organization submits more than 1 application under this Call, either on your own or as a co-signatory to a funding agreement, we will only consider the application with the earliest submission time stamp.
  • You must provide an Organization Attestationsigned by your organization’s chief financial officer, financial director or president. 

If you are unable to meet any of the above requirements, your organization will be deemed ineligible to apply under this Call.

Required project parameters

Carefully review the parameters of this Call and determine whether your project idea conforms to them. We will not respond to questions about the eligibility of your project idea. In order for your application to be considered for funding, you must be able to answer “yes” to all of the following statements:

  • Value:You are requesting GAC funding for at least $10 million and no more than $30 million for projects submitted under the Health System Strengthening funding envelope; and at least $5 million and no more than $10 million for projects submitted under the envelope for Testing Promising Approaches to Health System Strengthening. Please identify to which of the 2 funding envelopes you are applying to under the “Project Parameters” section of the application form.
  • Duration:Your proposed project lasts 7 years if submitted under the Health System Strengthening funding envelope; and up to 5 years for projects submitted under the envelope for Testing Promising Approaches to Health System Strengthening. Only in very exceptional circumstances will extensions be entertained.
  • Geographic alignment:Your proposed project takes place in one or more official development assistance-eligible countries. Approximately 50% of the overall funding from this Call will be allocated to projects that include activities taking place in Sub-Saharan Africa. Individual projects do not have to have a minimum of 50% of funding in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Gender Equality: Your project integrates gender equality (GE-02). There is at least one intermediate gender equality outcome. This outcome will achieve observable changes in behaviour, practice, or performance that will contribute to gender equality. Activities, outputs, and indicators must reflect adequate resources and support towards designed gender equality outcomes.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Your project fulsomely considers and integrates environmental sustainability and climate resilience, including in planned project activities, outcomes and indicators as relevant. Refer to the Tip Sheet on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): Health and Nutrition.
  • Cost share:Your organization will provide at least 5% of the total eligible direct project costs over the life of the project in cash and/or in-kind in accordance with GAC’s Policy on Cost-Sharing for Grant and Non-Repayable Contribution Agreements.
  • Beneficiaries:Your proposed project must be designed to benefit people living in the most vulnerable and marginalized conditions. Please make sure to provide disaggregated data (at a minimum, disaggregated by sex) and clear analysis linking specific needs of local population to proposed interventions.
  • Not-for-profit project:Your proposed project would not generate a profit for your or any other implementing organization.
  • Language:Your application package documents are presented in either English or French. 

Your proposed project will be considered for funding under this Call if it conforms to all the above parameters.

Your project may also include:

  • Construction activities:Refurbishment, structural and nonstructural works will be considered where pertinent and necessary, such as if required for meeting site-specific and worker-specific water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and biomedical waste management needs in existing health facilities (i.e. discharging blood, fluids and sanitary products to sanitary sewers or septic tanks). These activities should not exceed 20% of the total proposed budget. Construction activities will only be eligible for projects funded under the Health Systems Strengthening envelope.

Required project experience

You must be able to demonstrate in your application that your organization has the required capacity, as noted below, to be considered for funding under this Call. The signatory partner(s) must provide 1 or more examples of recent past projects in the application form. Collectively, the example(s) provided under the “Organizational Capacity” section of the application form must demonstrate the following, as appropriate:

  • at least 3 years of cumulative experience working in health systems and gender-responsive health service delivery in the same country(ies) – or in a comparable context – as those targeted by your concept note.
  • at least 3 years of cumulative experience working on SRHR from a human rights-based approach in the same country(ies) – or in a comparable context – as those targeted by your concept note for applicants seeking to address relevant SRHR-related health system strengthening issues, if applicable.
  • at least 3 years of construction experience in developing countries, for applicants seeking to undertake structural works, including WASH, if applicable. 

Please demonstrate how you meet these required project experiences, as appropriate, under section “3 – Organization capacity” of the concept note form, along with the other assessment criteria found in the equivalent section below.

Canadian organizations that do not meet the required project experience(s) are encouraged to partner with other applicants.

Applicants unable to fulfill the above requirements are not eligible to apply under this Call.

Additional guidance

GAC is looking forward to funding a diversified portfolio of projects. Preference may be given to applications that:

  • Support the following SRHR neglected areas: safe abortion and post-abortion care, comprehensive sexuality education, family planning and contraception, and SRHR advocacy.
  • Adopt a multisectoral approach to comprehensively addressing the health of diverse groups of women, adolescents and children, working in conjunction with other key sectors, and to increase demand, use of and access to primary health care services.
  • Demonstrate that the project is supporting localization by: providing evidence that the project responds to local needs; being jointly developed with at least 1 local partner; demonstrating that the capacity of local partner(s) will be reinforced, and; ensuring that local partner(s) will be involved in co-managing the project over its life cycle.
  • Demonstrate clear strategies for sustainability and local ownership, such as by applying a feminist Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) approach within projects and ensuring that knowledge generated through MEL activities are gender-sensitive, owned and used by beneficiaries and implementing partners in support of their social change agendas. 
  • Support the scale up of previously tested innovations, that are well adapted to the specific implementation context and adopt new and informed strategies to strengthen health systems’ capacity to face emerging challenges (Health Systems Strengthening envelope only). Further information on innovation can be found on GAC’s Innovation in international assistance

How we assess your concept note

Concept notes submitted under this Call will first undergo an eligibility check to verify that they meet all organization eligibility requirements and required project parameters identified on this Call page.

Next, eligible concept notes will be assessed to ensure that applicant organizations demonstrate the required project experience. Concept notes that do not meet all organization eligibility requirements, demonstrate required project parameters or project experience, will not be further assessed. You will be notified if your organization is found to be ineligible or if it does not meet the project experience requirements.

Applications that meet these requirements will be assessed, based on how well their concept note addresses the following 3 core components:

  • development challenge
  • solution
  • organization capacity

1-  Development challenge

Briefly describe the development challenge your proposed project will address, in relation to the objectives of the Call that you are applying to.

  • Explain how your proposed project aligns with GAC’s, and related Call, programming and policy priorities, (including Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy) as well as the host country’s international of national commitments.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the issues related to gender equality (e.g. gender equality gaps, inequalities and barriers), human rights andenvironmental sustainability that pertain to your proposed project.
  • Note any prior formal or informal discussions with local stakeholders and beneficiaries (rights holders), including women’s rights organizations, or other ways that you are ensuring your proposed project will be based on local needs and priorities.
  • Describe your development challenge using fact-based evidence (i.e. cite your sources).

2-  Solution

Briefly describe how your proposed solution presents a logical and realistic way to sustainably address the development challenge(s) identified.

  • Identify an ultimate outcome and intermediate outcomes that address the problem identified, and which align with the Call Objectives, and GAC’s international assistance programming approach to Results-Based Management. Clearly label them with the following formatting: Ultimate Outcome: [insert outcome] and Intermediate Outcome: [insert outcomes].
  • Identify intermediaries and beneficiaries (rights holders) and estimate how many, if possible.
  • Explain how your solution will address the gender equality, human rights and environmental considerations that you identified in the development challenge section.
  • Include consultations or discussions already undertaken, e.g., in the course of an ongoing project or other contacts, with potential partners or local stakeholders and beneficiaries (rights holders), including women’s rights organizations, to support your decision to design your project in a certain way and/or why you believe it will solve the development challenge sustainably.
  • Clearly describe the risks associated and potential unintended consequences with your proposed project that could have the greatest impact on the achievement of development results.
  • If relevant, highlight any innovative elements in your proposed project and how they align with Canada’s approach to innovation in international assistance.

Reminder: applicants must develop their own project-specific expected outcomes that align to the Call’s ultimate outcome and one or more intermediate outcome. See the following for additional guidance: Results-based ManagementResults-based Management for International Assistance Programming: A how-to guide; and RBM Tip Sheet 2.1.

3-  Organization capacity

Briefly describe why you believe your organization has the capacity to implement the proposed project successfully.

  • Indicate experience managing 1 or more projects that achieved expected outcomes in the same country, in a comparable context, and/or sector. The example should be evidence based (i.e., cite your data sources).
  • Indicate experience managing 1 or more projects that achieved expected outcomes of a similar value and with comparable financial complexities as the proposed project.
  • Reminder to refer to the Required project experience section above for details on additional mandatory experiences.

We may:

  • review your organization’s history of consistently delivering reports on-time, that are deemed complete and acceptable for other projects funded by GAC, where applicable.
  • check your organization’s record of fiduciary risk.

Invited applicants will have approximately 8 weeks to submit a full proposal after they receive an invitation letter from GAC.

Available resources

Many resources are available online to help you develop your application package. We encourage you to read the following tools and guidance before beginning the application process.

How to submit your concept note

In order for your concept note to be considered in this Call, you must submit your complete application package in the Partners@International portal before 12 pm (noon) Eastern Time on June 29, 2023. Your application will not be considered for funding if you fail to meet the mandatory requirements, minimum standards and deadlines detailed below.

Your application package must include all of the following documents:

  • Completed concept notes form, with validated label showing on first page;
  • Completed Logic Model form that includes the Call’s ultimate and intermediate outcomes adapted to your project, as well as associated preliminary immediate outcomes. Detailed outputs and the outputs and activities matrix are not requested at the concept note phase;
  • Separate financial statements for the two most recent fiscal years from each signatory. See “Organization eligibility” section above for more information;
  • Completed Organization Attestation form (separate forms for each organization that would sign the funding agreement with GAC, if applicable)
  • Letter of Incorporation or proof of legal status; and
  • Completed Local Partner(s) – Information form.

As explained in How to apply for funding through a call, submitting a concept note or proposal through a Call does not guarantee funding. Funding decisions will be made on the merit assessment of your application.

Accessing and using PDF forms

Use only Adobe Reader/Adobe Acrobat and Internet Explorer to work on the standardized PDFs to be submitted with your application package. If you use other software, the data you enter may not appear once submitted to the department, and the application will be considered ineligible.

If you are having difficulty downloading the concept note form, see GAC’s Help web page for guidance. Once downloaded, open the form directly in Adobe Reader only. Other software installed on your computer may try (and fail) to open the form using your default settings.

Questions on using the Partners@International portal

Please read and follow all the instructions for using the Partners@International portal (linked on the right-side menu). Do not open multiple windows within the portal as this may cause technical problems.

Do not try to register in the portal or upload documents at the last minute as this may have an impact on your ability to meet the deadline for submitting a concept note.

It may take up to 10 business days to register your organization. If you encounter technical difficulties while registering or trying to submit a concept note, send an email to partners-partenaires@international.gc.ca. Please note: During the last 2 weeks before a Call closes, the service standard for replying to your enquiry is 3 business days. Technical support for the portal is only available between 9 am and 4 pm ET, Monday to Friday.

Questions specific to this Call

If you still have questions about this call after reading the general Questions and answers about applying for funding page, and the Questions and Answers page for this Call, please send them to correspondance.pid@international.gc.ca by 12 pm (noon) Eastern Time on Thursday, June 8, 2023. We will not respond to questions received after this deadline or questions on specific organizational circumstances or specific project concept notes/proposals. Applicants who submit questions will not receive emails with responses to their questions. Instead, answers will only appear on the Questions and Answers page specific to this Call to ensure that all applicants have access to the same information at the same time.

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