How to Find the Grant for Research and Travel in Africa

 By: Shashikant Nishant Sharma 

Helping scholars in getting research grants and writing proposals. Finding grants for travel in Africa can involve several steps. Here's a general guide to help you in your search:

  1. Define Your Purpose:

    • Clearly define the purpose of your travel. Are you attending a conference, conducting research, participating in a project, or volunteering? Knowing the specifics will help you narrow down potential grants. Defining your purpose involves providing a clear and detailed explanation of the reason for your travel. It requires specifying the primary objective or goals you aim to achieve during your time in Africa. Here are the key components of defining your purpose:
      1. Attending a Conference:

        • If your purpose is to attend a conference, state the name, location, and focus of the conference. Highlight how your participation contributes to your professional development, knowledge enhancement, or networking within your field.
      2. Conducting Research:

        • If your travel involves research, outline the nature of your research, its significance, and the specific areas or topics you plan to investigate. Explain how your research contributes to existing knowledge and the potential impact it may have.
      3. Participating in a Project:

        • If you are participating in a project, describe the project's goals, objectives, and the role you will play. Clarify how your involvement contributes to the project's success and any anticipated outcomes or benefits.
      4. Volunteering:

        • If your purpose is volunteering, specify the type of volunteer work you will be engaged in. Provide details about the organization or community you will be supporting, the tasks you will undertake, and the expected positive impact of your volunteer efforts.

      In summary, clearly defining your purpose involves articulating the specific nature of your activities, whether they are conference attendance, research endeavors, project participation, or volunteer work. This clarity is essential for identifying grants that align with your goals and ensuring that your applications accurately reflect the purpose of your travel.

  2. Research Organizations and Foundations:

    • Identify organizations and foundations that support travel-related initiatives in Africa. Look for both international and local entities that may offer grants for your specific purpose.
    • Researching organizations and foundations involves identifying entities that provide financial support for travel-related initiatives in Africa. Here's a more detailed breakdown of this step:

      1. Online Research:

        • Begin by conducting online research using search engines and relevant databases. Look for organizations and foundations that focus on travel, international collaboration, or specific areas related to your purpose (e.g., education, healthcare, community development).
      2. International Entities:

        • Identify international organizations that have a presence in Africa or fund projects on the continent. Examples include global foundations, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), and intergovernmental organizations. Check their websites for information on grant programs and eligibility criteria.
      3. Local Entities:

        • Explore local organizations based in the countries you plan to visit in Africa. These could be NGOs, community foundations, or government agencies that support initiatives aligned with your purpose. Local entities may have a deep understanding of the specific needs and opportunities in their regions.
      4. Thematic Focus:

        • Consider the thematic focus of each organization. Some may prioritize education, healthcare, environmental conservation, or other specific areas. Choose organizations whose priorities align closely with the goals of your travel.
      5. Professional Associations:

        • Look into professional associations related to your field. Many associations have foundations or funds that support international travel for research, conferences, or collaboration. Check if membership is a prerequisite for applying.
      6. Collaborative Platforms:

        • Explore collaborative platforms that connect individuals with funding opportunities. Websites like ResearchGate,, or professional social media platforms may have discussions or announcements related to travel grants.
      7. Government Agencies:

        • Investigate government agencies both in your home country and the destination country in Africa. Some government departments offer grants or collaborate with international partners to support travel for various purposes.
      8. Community Foundations:

        • Community foundations, especially those based in the areas you plan to visit, may offer grants for projects that benefit local communities. Research their grant programs and see if they align with your travel objectives.
      9. Review Past Recipients:

        • Check the list of past grant recipients for each organization. This can provide insights into the types of projects and individuals they typically support. It also helps you gauge the competitiveness of the grant.
      10. Contact and Inquire:

        • Reach out to the identified organizations and foundations. Contact them directly to inquire about their grant programs, application processes, and any specific requirements. Establishing communication can also help you build a relationship with the funding entities.

      By systematically researching and identifying potential organizations and foundations, you increase your chances of finding grants that align with your travel objectives in Africa.

  3. Use Online Resources:

    • Explore online databases and grant directories. Websites like GrantWatch, GrantStation, and Idealist can be helpful in finding relevant grants. You can search for grants based on location, purpose, and other criteria.
    • Exploring online resources involves utilizing specialized databases and grant directories to identify potential funding opportunities for your travel in Africa. Here's a more detailed breakdown of how to use online platforms effectively:

      1. GrantWatch:

        • Visit the GrantWatch website and create an account if necessary. This platform aggregates a wide range of grants, including those related to travel and international initiatives. Use the search function to filter grants based on location (Africa), purpose (e.g., conference attendance, research), and other relevant criteria.
      2. GrantStation:

        • Access the GrantStation database and explore the available grant opportunities. This platform provides a comprehensive database of grants, allowing you to search for funding based on specific parameters. Narrow down your search by selecting filters related to your purpose and location.
      3. Idealist:

        • Visit the Idealist website, a platform that focuses on connecting individuals with opportunities for social impact, including grants. Use the search feature to find grants related to travel in Africa. Specify your purpose, and explore the results to identify relevant opportunities.
      4. Other Grant Directories:

        • Explore additional online grant directories that cater to your specific needs. Examples include Foundation Center, ProFellow, and Pivot. These platforms often allow you to customize your search based on criteria such as location, purpose, and target audience.
      5. Utilize Search Filters:

        • When using these online resources, make use of search filters to refine your results. Filter grants based on geographical location (Africa), the purpose of your travel, preferred funding amount, and any other relevant criteria. This helps you narrow down the options to those most aligned with your needs.
      6. Read Grant Descriptions:

        • Carefully read the descriptions of the grants you find. Pay attention to eligibility criteria, application requirements, and deadlines. Ensure that the grants you are considering are a good fit for your travel purpose and align with your goals.
      7. Set Up Alerts:

        • Some platforms allow you to set up alerts based on your search criteria. This way, you can receive notifications when new grants matching your specifications are added to the database. Setting up alerts helps you stay informed about the latest opportunities.
      8. Check for Updates:

        • Regularly check the websites for updates and new grant listings. Grant opportunities may be added or modified, and staying informed ensures that you don't miss out on potential funding sources.

      By leveraging online databases and grant directories, you can efficiently identify grants that match your travel objectives. These platforms offer a centralized and organized way to explore a wide range of funding opportunities for your specific purpose in Africa.

  4. Government Grants:

    • Check with government agencies in your country and the country you plan to visit. Some governments have travel grants or funds for individuals engaged in specific activities, such as research or cultural exchange.
    • When exploring government grants, particularly from your country and the destination country in Africa, it's crucial to follow a systematic approach. Here's a detailed breakdown of how to check for government grants:

      1. Identify Relevant Government Departments:

        • Determine which government departments or ministries in your home country and the target country are likely to be associated with your travel purpose. For example, if you are conducting research, check with departments related to education, science, or foreign affairs.
      2. Visit Government Websites:

        • Access the official websites of the identified government departments. Look for dedicated sections related to grants, funding opportunities, or international collaborations. Government websites often provide detailed information about available grants and application procedures.
      3. Check Foreign Affairs or International Relations Departments:

        • Explore the website of the foreign affairs or international relations department in both your home country and the destination country. These departments often manage grants and programs related to cultural exchange, research collaborations, and diplomatic initiatives.
      4. Research Grant Programs:

        • Investigate specific grant programs that align with your travel objectives. Some governments have programs designed to support individuals engaged in research, educational exchange, or projects that promote international cooperation. Take note of eligibility criteria, deadlines, and application processes.
      5. Contact Government Representatives:

        • Reach out to representatives or offices within the government departments responsible for grants. You can contact them via email or phone to inquire about available opportunities, specific eligibility requirements, and the application process. Government officials can provide valuable information and guidance.
      6. Explore Bilateral Agreements:

        • Investigate any existing bilateral agreements or partnerships between your home country and the destination country. Governments often allocate funds for initiatives that strengthen ties between nations. Look for grants that may be available under these agreements.
      7. Check Embassies and Consulates:

        • Visit the website of the embassy or consulate of the destination country in your home country. Embassies often provide information about grants, scholarships, and programs that support cultural exchange and collaboration. Contact them directly for detailed information.
      8. National Research Foundations:

        • In some countries, national research foundations or councils oversee research grants. Explore the websites of such organizations to identify potential funding opportunities for research-related travel.
      9. Review Previous Grant Recipients:

        • Look for lists of previous grant recipients on government websites. This can provide insights into the types of projects that have been funded and help you tailor your application accordingly.
      10. Stay Informed about Policy Changes:

        • Keep an eye on any changes in government policies related to international travel and collaboration. Governments may introduce new initiatives or modify existing programs that could affect the availability of grants.

      By thoroughly researching government grants through official channels and direct communication with relevant authorities, you can gather the necessary information to apply for funding that aligns with your travel purpose in Africa.

  5. Professional Associations:

    • If your travel is related to a specific profession or field, check with relevant professional associations. Many associations offer travel grants to support their members' professional development or research.
    • When exploring travel grants offered by professional associations, it's essential to navigate the resources and opportunities specific to your field. Here's a detailed guide on how to approach this:

      1. Identify Relevant Professional Associations:

        • Determine which professional associations are pertinent to your field or specific profession. These may include organizations related to your academic discipline, industry, or area of expertise.
      2. Visit Association Websites:

        • Access the official websites of the identified professional associations. Look for sections related to grants, funding, or support for professional development. Associations often provide detailed information about travel grants, eligibility criteria, and application procedures.
      3. Membership Requirements:

        • Check whether membership in the professional association is a prerequisite for applying for travel grants. Many associations reserve such opportunities for their members. If you're not already a member, consider joining to access these benefits.
      4. Explore Professional Development Opportunities:

        • Professional associations often offer travel grants to support activities such as attending conferences, workshops, seminars, or engaging in collaborative research. Explore opportunities that align with your travel purpose.
      5. Check for Research Grants:

        • If your travel involves research, investigate whether the professional association offers specific research grants. Some associations allocate funds to support members conducting research in their respective fields.
      6. Review Grant Guidelines:

        • Carefully review the guidelines for each travel grant offered by the professional association. Pay attention to eligibility criteria, deadlines, required documentation, and any specific focus areas or themes for which grants are available.
      7. Contact Association Representatives:

        • If you have questions or need additional information, reach out to representatives or members of the professional association. They can provide insights into the application process and offer guidance on how to enhance your chances of securing a travel grant.
      8. Attend Association Events:

        • Attend events organized by the professional association, such as conferences or workshops. These gatherings may provide opportunities to network with association members and learn more about available travel grants.
      9. Collaborate with Peers:

        • Engage with peers within the professional association who have successfully obtained travel grants. Seek advice, learn from their experiences, and gather tips on preparing a compelling application.
      10. Stay Updated:

        • Regularly check the association's website or subscribe to newsletters for updates on new grant opportunities, changes to existing programs, or additional funding initiatives. Associations may introduce new grants or modify existing ones over time.

      By actively exploring the offerings of relevant professional associations and engaging with their resources, you can identify and apply for travel grants that support your professional development or research endeavors in Africa.

  6. Nonprofit Organizations:

    • Look for nonprofit organizations working in Africa that might offer travel grants. These organizations may focus on issues such as education, healthcare, or community development.
    • When seeking travel grants from nonprofit organizations in Africa, it's important to focus on entities aligned with your purpose and field of interest. Here's a detailed guide on how to identify and approach nonprofit organizations for potential funding:

      1. Identify Relevant Nonprofit Organizations:

        • Research and identify nonprofit organizations operating in Africa that align with your travel purpose. Focus on organizations that work in areas such as education, healthcare, community development, or other fields related to your goals.
      2. Explore Online Directories:

        • Utilize online directories, such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator, to identify and learn more about nonprofit organizations in Africa. These platforms often provide information about an organization's mission, projects, and financial transparency.
      3. Research Organizations' Websites:

        • Visit the websites of identified nonprofit organizations. Look for dedicated sections related to grants, funding, or support for individuals. Pay attention to their focus areas and ascertain whether they offer travel grants for purposes like research, conferences, or collaboration.
      4. Check for Specific Initiatives:

        • Investigate whether the nonprofit organizations have specific initiatives or programs that support international travel. Some organizations may have grant programs designed to facilitate knowledge exchange, partnerships, or collaborative projects.
      5. Review Grant Guidelines:

        • Carefully review the grant guidelines provided by each organization. Understand the eligibility criteria, application process, deadlines, and any specific requirements. Ensure that your travel purpose aligns with the organization's mission and grant objectives.
      6. Contact Organizations Directly:

        • Reach out to the identified nonprofit organizations directly. Use contact information available on their websites to inquire about travel grants. Ask about the availability of grants, application procedures, and any additional information required.
      7. Network with Nonprofit Professionals:

        • Attend events, conferences, or webinars related to your field where nonprofit professionals may participate. Networking with individuals from nonprofit organizations can provide valuable insights into available travel grants and how to approach the application process.
      8. Collaborate on Shared Goals:

        • Emphasize how your travel aligns with the organization's mission and goals. Highlight potential areas of collaboration or how your activities can contribute to the organization's work in Africa.
      9. Check Community Foundations:

        • Explore community foundations operating in the specific regions you plan to visit. Community foundations often work closely with nonprofit organizations and may have grant programs supporting local initiatives, including those involving international collaboration.
      10. Stay Updated on Opportunities:

        • Regularly check the websites, newsletters, or social media channels of nonprofit organizations for updates on new grant opportunities, application deadlines, and changes to existing programs.

      By systematically researching and engaging with nonprofit organizations, you can identify travel grants that align with your goals and contribute to meaningful initiatives in Africa.

  7. Universities and Research Institutions:

    • If you are a student or researcher, explore grant opportunities provided by universities and research institutions. Many academic institutions have funds available for students and faculty engaged in international projects.
    • When exploring grant opportunities from universities and research institutions for international projects, it's crucial to navigate the specific offerings of academic institutions. Here's a detailed guide on how to identify and approach universities and research institutions for potential funding:

      1. Identify Relevant Universities and Research Institutions:

        • Research and identify universities and research institutions that align with your field of study or research interest. Focus on institutions known for international collaboration and projects.
      2. Explore University and Institution Websites:

        • Visit the official websites of identified universities and research institutions. Look for sections related to research funding, grants, or international projects. Academic institutions often provide detailed information about available grants and application procedures.
      3. Check Research Office or Grants Office:

        • Explore the research office or grants office within the university or research institution. These offices typically manage research funding and can provide information on grants specifically designed for international projects.
      4. Review Funding Programs:

        • Investigate specific funding programs offered by universities and research institutions that support international projects. Look for grants that facilitate collaboration, knowledge exchange, or research in the regions you plan to visit.
      5. Consider Student-Specific Grants:

        • If you are a student, check for grants specifically designed for student researchers. Some universities have funds dedicated to supporting student travel for research, conferences, or experiential learning opportunities.
      6. Check Faculty Development Grants:

        • If you are a faculty member, explore faculty development grants that universities may offer to support international engagement, research, or collaborative projects. These grants are often designed to enhance faculty members' professional development.
      7. Review Eligibility Criteria:

        • Carefully review the eligibility criteria for each grant program. Ensure that your project aligns with the goals of the grant and that you meet the specified requirements. Some grants may be restricted to certain disciplines or research themes.
      8. Contact Research Administrators:

        • Reach out to the research administrators or grant officers within the university or research institution. They can provide guidance on available grants, application processes, and any additional information required for a successful application.
      9. Explore Joint Initiatives:

        • Investigate whether the university or research institution has joint initiatives or partnerships with institutions in the regions you plan to visit. These collaborations may open up additional funding opportunities for international projects.
      10. Attend Research Seminars and Events:

        • Participate in research seminars, workshops, or events organized by the university or research institution. These gatherings can provide opportunities to learn about available grants, network with researchers, and gain insights into successful application strategies.
      11. Stay Informed about Deadlines:

        • Keep track of deadlines for grant applications. University and research institution grant cycles may have specific timelines, and staying informed ensures that you submit your application in a timely manner.

      By actively engaging with universities and research institutions, you can identify and apply for grants that support your international projects and contribute to the academic and research goals of these institutions.

  8. Networking:

    • Attend conferences, workshops, and events related to your field. Networking with professionals and peers can provide valuable insights into potential grant opportunities. You may also learn about grants through word of mouth.
    • Networking is a crucial aspect of discovering potential grant opportunities and gaining valuable insights into your field. Here's a detailed guide on how to effectively network to uncover grant possibilities:

      1. Identify Relevant Events:

        • Research and identify conferences, workshops, and events related to your field or area of interest. Look for gatherings that attract professionals, researchers, and experts in the specific domains that align with your travel purpose.
      2. Attend Conferences and Workshops:

        • Actively participate in conferences and workshops relevant to your field. Attend presentations, engage in discussions, and take advantage of networking sessions. Conferences often provide opportunities to connect with professionals and peers who may share information about available grants.
      3. Participate in Networking Sessions:

        • Make the most of dedicated networking sessions during conferences. Introduce yourself to fellow attendees, exchange contact information, and discuss your interests and goals. Networking can open doors to valuable information about grants and funding opportunities.
      4. Engage with Presenters and Speakers:

        • Connect with presenters, speakers, and panelists at conferences. These individuals often have valuable insights into the latest trends, research funding, and grant opportunities in your field. Attend Q&A sessions or approach them during breaks to initiate conversations.
      5. Join Professional Associations:

        • Become a member of professional associations relevant to your field. These associations often host events and provide platforms for networking. Attend association conferences, webinars, and local chapter meetings to build connections with professionals who may be aware of grant opportunities.
      6. Utilize Online Platforms:

        • Join online forums, discussion groups, and social media communities related to your field. Platforms like LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and Twitter can be valuable for connecting with professionals and staying informed about grant announcements and opportunities.
      7. Build Relationships with Peers:

        • Establish relationships with peers in your field. Networking isn't just about connecting with established professionals; fellow students, early-career researchers, and colleagues can also share information about grants and funding opportunities.
      8. Attend Industry Events:

        • Explore industry-specific events and trade shows. These gatherings often bring together professionals, businesses, and organizations. Attendees may share information about funding initiatives, collaborative projects, and grant opportunities.
      9. Participate in Workshops and Training Programs:

        • Attend workshops and training programs that focus on skill development and professional growth. These events provide opportunities to interact with professionals who may have insights into grants and funding sources.
      10. Connect with Alumni Networks:

        • If applicable, engage with alumni networks from your academic institution. Alumni may have experiences with travel grants or be aware of funding opportunities for individuals in your field.
      11. Word of Mouth:

        • Actively engage in conversations with your professional network. Share your travel plans and research interests. Word of mouth is a powerful way to learn about grants that may not be widely advertised but are known within specific circles.
      12. Express Your Goals:

        • Clearly express your goals and intentions during networking interactions. Let others know about your travel plans, research objectives, and interest in securing funding. Professionals may offer advice or direct you to relevant grant opportunities.

      By actively participating in professional events and building a strong network within your field, you increase your chances of learning about grant opportunities that may not be readily available through traditional online searches. Networking provides a dynamic and interactive way to stay informed about the latest developments in your field and connect with individuals who can offer guidance on potential funding sources.

  9. Local Embassies and Consulates:

    • Contact the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit. They may have information on grants or programs that support cultural exchange, research, or educational activities.
    • When reaching out to local embassies and consulates for information on grants or programs that support cultural exchange, research, or educational activities, it's important to approach the communication strategically. Here's a detailed guide on how to effectively contact embassies and consulates:

      1. Identify the Relevant Embassy or Consulate:

        • Determine the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit. Make sure to contact the specific diplomatic mission responsible for your destination. Embassy websites usually provide contact details and information about their areas of focus.
      2. Visit the Embassy or Consulate Website:

        • Explore the official website of the embassy or consulate. Look for sections related to cultural exchange, educational programs, or grants. Many diplomatic missions provide information about initiatives that support international collaboration.
      3. Check for Cultural and Educational Programs:

        • Specifically, look for information about cultural exchange programs, educational initiatives, or grants that the embassy or consulate may administer. There might be dedicated programs aimed at fostering relationships and supporting activities like research or academic exchanges.
      4. Find Contact Information:

        • Identify the contact details for the cultural affairs or education department of the embassy or consulate. This information is often available on the official website. If in doubt, you can also contact the general inquiries office and ask to be directed to the relevant department.
      5. Craft a Professional Email:

        • Draft a professional and concise email introducing yourself, explaining your travel purpose, and expressing your interest in any available grants or programs. Clearly articulate how your project aligns with the goals of cultural exchange, education, or research.
      6. Include Relevant Details:

        • In your email, include specific details about your travel plans, such as the purpose of your visit, the duration of your stay, and any affiliations with academic institutions or organizations. Providing this information helps the embassy or consulate understand the context of your request.
      7. Inquire About Grant Opportunities:

        • Politely inquire about any grant opportunities, scholarships, or programs that may support individuals engaged in cultural exchange, research, or educational activities. Ask if there are specific application procedures or eligibility criteria you should be aware of.
      8. Express Willingness to Provide Additional Information:

        • Convey your willingness to provide any additional information or documentation required for the embassy or consulate to evaluate your request. Offer to submit a more detailed proposal or attend an interview if necessary.
      9. Follow-Up if Necessary:

        • If you don't receive a response within a reasonable time frame, consider sending a follow-up email. Diplomatic missions are often busy, and a polite follow-up can demonstrate your continued interest and commitment.
      10. Consider Phone Communication:

        • If appropriate, you may also consider making a phone call to the embassy or consulate to inquire about grant opportunities. Speaking directly with a representative can provide additional clarity and facilitate a more personal connection.

      Remember to adapt your communication style to be respectful and professional, and tailor your inquiries to the specific cultural and educational initiatives promoted by the embassy or consulate. Building a positive and cooperative relationship with the diplomatic mission increases the likelihood of obtaining valuable information about potential grants or programs.

  10. Read Grant Guidelines Carefully:

    • Once you find potential grants, carefully read the guidelines and eligibility criteria. Ensure that your project aligns with the grant's objectives, and follow the application instructions closely.

Remember to start your search well in advance, as the application processes for grants can take time. Additionally, tailor your applications to the specific requirements of each grant to increase your chances of success.