Call for Applications: UNICEF Impact Catalyst Fund

Grant Size $100,000 to $500,000   ,   Closing Date


The UNICEF is accepting applications for its Impact Catalyst Fund (ICF), a strategic initiative of the UNICEF Evaluation Office which aims to support high-quality impact evaluations in priority thematic areas of the UNICEF Strategic Plan 2022–2025.

By emphasizing the critical role of evaluation in guiding future programmatic investments, the ICF will help UNICEF programmes to allocate limited public resources to the greatest need and at the lowest cost.

The ICF aims to achieve the following overarching objectives:

  • Fill knowledge gaps by expanding a rigorous evaluative evidence base on outcomes and impacts in a strategic, methodologically coherent way under a priority thematic ‘window’ of UNICEF work.

  • Improve programmatic effectiveness and allocative efficiency by incentivizing the use of rigorous scientific methods of test programme theory in a variety of contexts.

  • Strengthen institutional and national capacity by integrating evaluative thinking, requirements, and credible processes from the onset of the programme planning process.

Evidence generated with ICF support will strengthen UNICEF advocacy and contribute to further innovation and global learning for children.


Meeting the ICF mandate to match rigorous impact evidence on UNICEF-led interventions with more efficient resource allocation decisions and national, regional and global learning, this call has the following primary objectives:

  • Objective 1 Allow UNICEF COs and national partners to make scientifically grounded decisions to scale up ‘high gain’, transformative interventions to reduce child marriage and eliminate harmful practices in the ‘Decade of Action’.

  • Objective 2 Solidify the institutional and global evidence base on child marriage and other harmful practices through a methodologically harmonized and strategically selected portfolio of rigorous impact evaluations.

  • Objective 3 Stimulate longer-term planning of impact evaluations (c. 4–5 years) and better alignment of programmatic and evaluative objectives for the most innovative approaches and models.

  • Objective 4 Strengthen national capacity in impact evaluations through collaborations with national experts and partnerships with academic institutions.

What does ICF 2023 offer to UNICEF COs?
  • ICF 2023 will provide matching grants of up to $400,000 to support the design and primary data collection (at least two rounds) for rigorous impact evaluations (preferably randomized controlled trial (RCT) design). The size of the matching financial support will be determined on a case by case basis taking into account the national and programme conditions, local capacity and specific design requirements. With the increasing use of alternative and complementary data collection modalities, such as phone surveys or administrative data, UNICEF expects some supported impact evaluations to receive matching grants below this maximum amount.

  • Each selected IE project will also receive expert advice and dedicated technical support throughout the duration of the IE (e.g., on formulating measurable outcomes and evaluation questions, developing feasible evaluation designs, sampling calculations, instruments, selection of qualified evaluators and/or implementing academic partners, etc.). It is expected that up to four impact evaluations will be supported through the ICF 2023 Call for Proposals.

Geographical coverage
  • Countries with ‘high-burden’ status (>50% prevalence of child marriage (e.g., Niger (76%), Bangladesh (59%), Mozambique (53%), Burkina Faso (52%)) and West and Central African countries.

  • Geographic hot spots (including cross border) and highly vulnerable populations (e.g., rural, high poverty, low education – where there is some evidence of child marriage increasing).

  • Fragile and humanitarian settings (e.g., post disaster or climate shocks, in the Sahel region or other settings – or among refugee and displaced populations) with application of non-traditional or innovative models to influence social norms.

Programmatic coverage
  • Interventions that focus on learning, achievement and perceived post-school options including labour market interventions.

  • Girl-level empowerment programmes which are able to ‘unbundle’ a specific component of programmes.

  • Interventions that evaluate a key influencer’s role in norm change (e.g., religious leaders, role models).

  • Interventions that incorporate and evaluate men and boys’ role in norm change.

  • Edutainment, radio, social media with targeted audiences (highly scalable and cost-effective).

  • Health and protection services taking a systems-level approach with explicit child marriage objectives.

  • Diverse forms of family economic support plus gender norm change components.


  • UNICEF COs can apply for an ICF grant with interventions and programmes planned or implemented jointly with other UN agencies or national or international NGOs. In such cases, the UNICEF CO remains the grant recipient accountable for meeting the implementation and quality assurance requirements. It has to ensure, however, that key implementing partners are involved in the governance and technical process through mechanisms specified by the UNICEF Evaluation Policy 2018.

  • The Call for Proposals invites UNICEF country offices (COs) to submit a proposal to conduct a rigorous impact evaluation for the planned or ongoing programme/intervention. The ICF 2023 Call for Proposals is open to any UNICEF country offices with relevant programmatic priorities.

Post Date: 23-Mar-2023

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