Australian High Commission
Port Vila

Direct Aid Program

The Direct Aid Program

The Direct Aid Program – Round applications

The Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a flexible small grants program managed by the Australian High Commission. The program aims to support projects with a strong development focus that complement Australia's broader development program to contribute to sustainable economic growth and social development in Vanuatu. DAP supports projects that provide direct benefits to those most in need in the local community, including vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, women, children and youth and people with disabilities. From time to time, DAP also supports one-off initiatives to community groups with discrete inputs such as books for libraries or school furniture.

Who can apply?

DAP funding is available to communities, individuals, local registered NGOs, academic institutions or other organisations engaged in development activities in Vanuatu. DAP funding is not available to any projects where there is government involvement, including provincial governments.

Projects should preferably originate from communities.  It is important that communities support the project, and they should ideally be involved in the design, development and implementation of the project.

How much can I apply for?

Applicants can apply for a maximum of AUD20,000 (around VUV1,500,000) over the life of the project. 

Applications requesting more than AUD20,000 (VUV1,500,00) will not be accepted.

What activities are eligible for DAP Support?

DAP activities should primarily aim at achieving practical and tangible outcomes of high development impact. DAP is able to fund activities that have a direct, practical and immediate impact, including capacity building programs in the areas of governance, climate change and humanitarian engagement.  We will favourably consider projects that:

  • are located in disadvantaged rural areas
  • encourage communities to become self-reliant
  • have a significant local contribution, for example labour, materials, freight or additional financial contributions made by the community
  • address one of the following priority funding areas:
    • projects that assist the development of health and education opportunities in rural communities
    • water, sanitation and hygiene (poly tanks & small water supply projects, latrines, waste management systems)
    • projects that support the empowerment of women and girls, culturally, economically or socially
    • projects that support the promotion of climate change action; practical actions to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities and strengthen resilience.

We will generally NOT fund the following:

  • commercial ventures (except if profit generated flows to the community rather than an individual or family)
  • trucks and other vehicles
  • boats and outboard motor engines
  • spare parts or maintenance and repairs
  • wages for project workers
  • travel (domestic or international)
  • office rental costs, telephones or any routine or recurring running costs
  • school/course fees
  • government offices (including provincial governments)
  • promotional events
  • sport uniforms.

Expectations for accountability, transparency and reporting

We require a high degree of transparency and accountability in all projects. Applications must demonstrate that the risk of wastage, administration costs and other costs not delivering direct benefit to the target community will be minimised.  

Should your project be successful, you will be required to:

  • sign a contract specifying 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 final report at the project’s completion
  • allow and facilitate a visit by Australian High Commission representatives to the project site.


When can I apply?

The Australian High Commission’s DAP program operates on the Australian financial year (1 July to 30 June). This year we are running one DAP round:

  • DAP Round: 16 February to 01 March 2024

We will not be able to accept applications outside these timeframes.

How will applications be assessed?

After the submission deadline, the DAP Committee will assess the applications against the following criteria:

  • the costs and the development benefits of the project
  • whether it has achievable and sustainable outcomes
  • the soundness of the project's objectives and design
  • the practicability of the proposed implementation arrangements
  • whether the project conforms to the objectives of the Direct Aid Program.

During this process, we may ask the applicant for more information.

It typically takes around 8 weeks from the submission deadline for all applicants to be notified of the success of their application, and for funding to be transferred to successful applicants.

How can I apply?

All applications for the 2023-24 DAP program must be submitted through Smartygrants, our online grants management system. Smartygrants operates on a web-based platform and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Apply here - follow the link to begin your application process

To preview the application form, see

What do I do if I need help?

If you have any questions while completing your application, please contact us on 22777 (Port Vila) or at [email protected] during business hours. Make sure to include your application number in your email subject.