Topic-driven financing and bilateral cooperation
The IKI uses a two-pronged strategy to support its partner countries. On the one hand, this involves ideas competitions with a thematic focus: these include large-volume thematic selection procedures (thematic calls) as well as two small-scale project programmes, namely IKI Small Grants and IKI Medium Grants. All three types of ideas competition utilise a call-for-proposals model for funding priorities that are set each year with no focus on individual countries. Based on their expertise and experience, implementing organisations propose project activities in countries that are a good match for the funding priorities.
On the other hand, the IKI also works bilaterally in key areas with 15 priority countries. Part of this cooperation involves the country-specific, large-volume selection procedures (country calls). Working in close consultation with the partner governments, ideas competition is again used here to select projects for two specific and urgent thematic fields.
With the exception of the IKI Small Grants, ideas competitions are organised into two stages. A shortlist of projects is compiled from all the project outlines submitted. The shortlisted applicants are requested to prepare a detailed project proposal. This proposal is then used as the basis for the final funding decision. Two key features of the IKI set it apart from conventional approaches to development cooperation. One is the competitive model for the funding programme and the other is the inclusion of NGOs as implementing organisations. None of IKI funds flow to government institutions in partner countries.