Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Cultural Grant Assistance
August 19, 2014
Many developing nations are making solid efforts toward nation-building in ways that include not only socioeconomic development but cultural and educational development as well.
Cultural Grant Assistance is a part of Official Development Assistance (ODA), provided to contribute to the promotion of cultural and higher educational activities and preservation of cultural heritage in developing countries. It is administered through two schemes: Cultural Grant Assistance and Grant Assistance for Cultural Grassroots Projects. To date, expressions of gratitude have been forthcoming from more than 120 countries throughout the world from persons concerned with, and from institutions actually involved in, cultural and higher education and the preservation of cultural heritage.
Type of Cultural Grant Assistance
Cultural Grant Assistance
- Purpose: Promotion of culture and higher education, preservation of cultural heritage
- Content: Provision of equipment, Construction/Rehabilitation of facilities
- Subject: National government agencies
- Purpose: Promotion of culture and higher education, preservation of cultural heritage
- Content: Provision of equipment, Construction/Rehabilitation of facilities, subsidy for transportation costs (e.g. incurred in transport of pre-owned judo uniforms, etc.)
- Subject: local public bodies, NGOs, etc.
- Grant limit: 10 million yen per project
Note: Cultural Grant Assistance was launched in FY 1975 to provide material support for the promotion of a wide variety of cultural and educational projects. In FY 2000 Japan expanded the scope of its cooperation by introducing Grant Assistance for Cultural Grassroots Projects, a system for detailed cooperation on small-scale projects, along with Grant Assistance for Cultural Heritage which enabled support for larger projects dealing with cultural heritage. In FY 2005 Cultural Grant Assistance and Grant Assistance for Cultural Heritage were merged to establish Cultural Grant Assistance, which provides support not only for large projects dealing with cultural heritage but also for large-scale projects to promote culture and higher education.
I. What is Cultural Grant Assistance?
Cultural Grant Assistance is a scheme whereby funds are granted to cover the cost of procurement, transportation and installation of equipment and construction or restoration of facilities used for various cultural and higher educational activities and the preservation of cultural heritage. From the start of this scheme in FY 1975 to FY 2013, Japan's Cultural Grant Assistance has supported a total of 1,410 projects, disbursing 64,570 million yen. The equipment and facilities provided to developing countries through Cultural Grant Assistance are used in a wide range of activities, including Japanese-language study and the study of Japan at various colleges and universities; promotion of sports, such as traditional Japanese martial arts like judo; promotion of cultural activities and the fine arts, including events at theaters, museums and art galleries; and the preservation of cultural heritage.
Some examples of specific projects:
- The Project for the Improvement the Project for the Construction of the Kharakhorum Museum (approx. 406 million yen)
- The Project for the Improvement of Japanese Language Learning Equipment of Tobilisi State University (approx. 19 million yen)
- The Project for the Improvement of TV Programs of the Radio and Television State System of the Republic of Panama (approx. 42 million yen)
- The Project for the Improvement of Equipment for Hominid Fossil Related Facilities of the National Museum of Ethiopia (approx. 40 million yen)
- The Project for the Improvement of Judo Equipment of Zambia (approx. 36 million yen)
As a general principal, developing countries with a per-capital gross national income (GNI) of US$6,885 or less are eligible to receive Cultural Grant Assistance.
As aid is provided in the form of grants for the governments of recipient countries, recipients are national government agencies of recipient countries.
The organization acting as the liaison for the recipient country (for example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) must compile target projects for that country and make a blanket application to the Embassy of Japan.
II. What Is Grant assistance for Cultural Grassroots Projects (GCGP)?
Grant assistance for Cultural Grassroots Project (GCGP) provides nonrefundable financial assistance to support the implementation of cultural and higher education projects conducted by non-profit organizations (including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities, research and higher education institutions, etc.) that are active at the grass-roots level in developing countries.
GCGP directly supports the promotion of culture and higher education at the grass-roots level in each country, while also acting as cooperation which encourages understanding of and cultural exchanges with Japan.
As a general principle, developing countries with a per capita gross national income (GNI) of US$6,925 or less (for FY2012) are eligible to receive GCGP (82 eligible countries as of April 2013).
Any type of non-profit organization is eligible to be a GCGP recipient. The requirement is that it be a non-profit organization implementing projects for the promotion of culture or higher education (including sports) at the grass-roots level in eligible countries (individuals and profit-making companies are not eligible).
The following are examples of potential recipients: NGOs that are active in the local region (regardless of their nationalities), local authorities, and non-profit organizaitons such as universities. In particular cases, governmental institutions may also be eligible for assistance.
(1) As long as a development project for the promotion of culture and higher education in an eligible country is geared to grass-roots assistance, it is eligible for financing under the GCGP. The following types of projects are being implemented.
Some examples (not an exhaustive list) of eligible projects are:
- Japanese language education equipment (LL equipment, etc.) for the Japanese language departments at universities
- Sound and lighting equipment for theaters
- Sports equipment for sports facilities and organizations (including martial arts)
- Audio-visual equipment for art galleries and museums
(2) Priority areas and detailed conditions shall be determined by the Japanese embassy or consulate in each eligible country according to the specific needs for cultural or higher education areas.
GCGP funds are provided to the recipient organization after an examination and evaluation of each application by the Japanese Government on an annual basis.
The grant amount per project is generally under 10 million yen. Prospective applicants should note that the following budget items cannot be financed: consumables, operating and maintenance costs of facilities and equipment, and the administrative costs of the recipient organization.
How to Apply
If your organization satisfies the conditions described above and you want to receive GCGP funds in order to implement a project for the promotion of culture or higher education in an eligible country, you should submit an application form to the Japanese embassy or consulate in said eligible country. The application form must be accompanied by a detailed breakdown of the budget for the project, a map showing the project site, a feasibility study for the project, estimates for the goods and services that will be purchased by the grant (from three different suppliers), document introducing the applying organization (such as brochures) a copy of its regulations, and the annual budget of your organization.
Flow Chart of GCGP
When submitting your application form, please note the following points:
(1) In selecting projects for funding, the Japanese Government places a high priority on the impact and sustainability of the project. You must convince the Japanese embassy or consulate that your organization can manage the project well. A detailed description of the past achievements of your organization would therefore be appreciated.
(2) The Japanese Government cannot provide funds for salaries and other recurrent operational expenses. The recurrent costs from the implementation of the project shall therefore be independently financed by your organization. In order to convince the embassy that you can maintain the project, you must show that your organization has sufficient funds to cover running expenses.
(3) Pro forma estimates must be supplied for each budget item so that we can ensure value for money. Wherever possible, you should submit estimates from three different suppliers.
The Japanese Government cannot support every project that is submitted. Funds are provided to appropriate projects after detailed examination and evaluation by the Japanese Government.
After a Japanese embassy or consulate receives the application form and accompanying documents from the applying organization, the embassy or consulate will take the following steps:
(1) Examination of the project: When the application is received, the project is examined by embassy or consulate staff, who pay particular attention to the objectives, impact, and cost of the project. On this basis, potential projects for grant assistance are selected.
(2) Site visit: The embassy (or consulate) staff will visit the site of the potential project.
(3) Approval of the project: The embassy (or consulate) will send an application for the potential project to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will conduct further examinations and issue its approval.
(4) Grant Contract: The Japanese embassy (or consulate) and the recipient organization will then sign a Grant Contract. The Grant Contract contains the title and objectives of the project, the name of the recipient organization, the rights and obligations of each party, the maximum amount that will be provided for the implementation of the project, the submission date of interim/final reports, and the completion date of the project.
(5) Disbursement of funds: The recipient organization must submit a request for payment with the relevant documents to actually receive the funds.
(6) Implementation of the project: The grant should be used properly and exclusively for the purchase of the products and/or services specified in the application form of the approved project. Once the grant funds have been disbursed, implementation of the project is expected to proceed in a timely manner and in conformity with the agreed-upon timetable (in principle, within one year).
(7) Changes from the original plan: If the recipient organization needs to modify the project plan for any reason, it must consult with the embassy (or consulate) and seek its prior approval (both the consultation and approval must be in written form).
(8) Reports: An interim report during implementation and a final report at the end of the project are required (in certain cases, the recipient organization may be asked to submit additional interim reports).
(9) Auditing: Outside auditing is required for all grass-roots grant assistance above 3 million yen.
(1) Funds received must be used exclusively for the implementation of the project. The Japanese embassy or consulate reserves the right to claim a refund of the grant if the funds are used for any purpose other than for the implementation of the project.
(2) It would be preferable if the recipient organization could manage the funds for the project separately, such as by setting up an exclusive bank account, in order to facilitate auditing of the grant.
For further information please contact a Japanese embassy or consulate.