Australian High Commission
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Also accredited to the Republic of Maldives

Direct Aid Program Sri Lanka and Maldives - 2017


The Direct Aid Program

The Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a flexible small grants program available on a not-for-profit basis to provide immediate relief for marginalised communities. The DAP aims to advance developmental objectives and address humanitarian hardship where it is needed most.

In Sri Lanka and Maldives, DAP funding is available to legally registered community groups and NGOs, academic institutions and local government institutions engaged in development activities on a not-for-profit basis. Applications are generally for one year and valued up to LKR 3 million.

The Direct Aid Program is currently open for applications until 6 April 2018. All applications should be submitted online via the Smartygrants platform. 

To apply in English, please click here:

To apply in Sinhala, please click here:

To apply in Tamil, please click here:

Please note that we receive a high volume of excellent quality applications and we take the time to consider the merits of each.

Focus Areas

We accept high quality applications that have a strong development focus and are aimed at strengthening communities in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

DAP projects should be aimed primarily at achieving practical and tangible outcomes, such as:

  • poverty alleviation;
  • community health;
  • schools/education;
  • small-scale infrastructure;
  • rural development;
  • gender equality,
  • environmental benefits including managing or adapting to climate change;
  • ad hoc humanitarian relief.

The focus should be on activities that have a direct impact and may include capacity building projects, particularly in the areas of governance and human rights engagement.

Projects that support people with disabilities to improve the quality of their lives through accessing the same opportunities for participation, contribution, decision-making, and social and economic well-being as others are strongly encouraged.

Selection Process

The Direct Aid Program is governed by number of guidelines that applications must adhere to in order to be considered for funding. These include:

  • Applications should clearly detail the expected developmental impact of the project, for example in terms of promoting community development, education, health, gender equality, disadvantaged groups, and environmental sustainability.
  • DAP projects must be sustainable, oriented towards self-help and should not rely on future DAP grants. Submissions should demonstrate a commitment on the part of the local community to implement the activities and sustain them, and the approval of local authorities for the project.
  • Applications should include an itemised budget of realistic and reasonable costs, and contact details for referees and previous donors who can speak positively and knowledgably about your organisation.
  • DAP recipients are expected to make a reasonable contribution of their own to the activity in either cash and/or kind.
  • Appropriate institutional support arrangements must be described, for example, the level of recurrent costs generated and evidence of capacity to sustain these costs in the longer term.
  • Applications should explain how you will acknowledge the source of funding (you may allocate a small amount of funding to help badge your program as Australian Government funded, e.g. stamping donated books or media outreach)
  • Applications should contain measurable performance indicators and monitoring mechanisms.
  • Building or construction related projects should meet Australian standards. Asbestos must not be used as a building or construction material.
  • If a project involves working with children, the organisation must implement a child protection policy.

Further information about the DAP Guidelines is available here.


The following areas will not be funded by DAP:

  • Conferences in Sri Lanka and Maldives or overseas study tours
  • Academic training in Australia
  • Items of a recurrent nature such as staff salaries, office rentals and utility costs
  • Spare parts, supplies, maintenance and repairs
  • Payment of consultants and advisers, where they constitute a major cost component
  • Micro credit schemes
  • The administration cost of the project must be less than 10% of the value of the project. DAP will not fund salaries, rent or other overheads of NGOs. Only costs related to project will be funded.

Accountability, Transparency and Reporting

The Australian High Commission requires a high degree of transparency and accountability of any project that is received DAP grants. Proposals must demonstrate that the risk of wastage, administration costs and other costs not delivering direct benefit to the target community will be minimised.

An organisation receiving DAP funding will be required to:

  • Sign a contract with agreeing to the terms and conditions of the grant;
  • Keep full financial records of all expenditure (including receipts)
  • Submit a progress report within six months of receiving your funding
  • Submit a full financial report on completion of the project, including receipts


Queries in relation to the DAP Program should be addressed to or to the DAP Coordinators on + 94 11 246 3200.