Small grants making a big difference during the pandemic – Corra international micro grants reach nearly 50,000 people in nine countries

By 22nd March 2021 Covid 19, International, News

In spring of 2020, as governments and communities around the world grappled with uncertainty and infection control, it became clear that the organisations Corra supports were facing significant challenges due to the pandemic.

As part of Corra’s response, its Board approved funding for a new initiative. A series of coronavirus response micro grants were created to help organisations respond to these extreme and unusual circumstances.

In April 2020, Corra made 29 coronavirus response micro-grants to organisations which were already known to be doing good work with overseas partners in the international development field. These £500 unrestricted grants were to help organisations, mostly small Scottish charities, support their partners to respond to the many new challenges they were facing.

The micro grants supported work in nine countries and reached nearly 50,000 people. Over 9,000 people directly benefitted from resources they received as individuals, such as a food parcel or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Others benefitted from information or resources which the grants generated, such as a facility for handwashing at a community centre or public health information posters.

Victor Malambo, On Call Africa (OCA)’s Zambia Project Manager, describes how OCA used the Corra micro grant to fund public health awareness activities:

“It was really important work, because at the time we started this, COVID19 was just coming to Zambia and people didn’t know what to do. I think it really helped people to understand social distancing, hand washing and masking up, and how this could help them to stay safe while doing their daily tasks.  We have not seen many cases around Livingstone, and I am sure this helped.”

Fiona Duncan, Corra Foundation Chief Executive, said:

“It’s been hugely impressive to see how charities and communities, in Scotland and internationally, have responded to the challenges created, or worsened, by the pandemic. Small, easily accessible grants have played an important role in enabling this social action to happen and we’ve had the privilege of hearing many stories of how this has made a big difference.

 The pandemic is a global challenge. International partnerships and solidarity between communities and across distances will be central to recovery and building a fairer society beyond this crisis.”


For further information please contact: Shelley Gray (Head of External Relations) at 

Notes to Editors


  1. While there was no formal reporting requirement for the micro-grants, all organisations have shared information and feedback on the grants with Corra, allowing us to prepare an overview of how they helped. This report is available here 
  2. Three case studies on how organisations and their partners used the micro-grants in Malawi, Pakistan and Zambia are here 
  3. More information on Corra’s international development grantmaking is available
  4. Corra Foundation exists to make a difference to the lives of people and communities. It works with others to encourage positive change, opportunity, fairness and growth of aspirations which improve quality of life. Corra wants to see a society in which people create positive change and enjoy fulfilling lives.

In 2020 Corra launched a ten-year strategy. It is long term because making a different on the big challenges will take time. At its heart is the strong belief that when people find their voice, they unlock the power to make change happen. You can read the full strategy here:

  1. Corra Foundation has over 35 years’ experience as one of Scotland’s leading grant-makers, distributing more than £159m through nearly 16,000 grants to charities.
  2. For more information on Corra Foundation, please visit


Share this...