What is the Sound Connects Fund?

The Sound Connects Fund is a multifaceted initiative aimed at developing the creative sector in Southern Africa – focusing on the broad creative sector including, but not limited to, performing arts (music, dance, theatre and other stage-based industries), visual arts, gaming, animation, film, photography and videography.

The Sound Connects Fund offered financial support in the form of grants of various sizes between 2021 and 2023, it ran its last call for applications in January 2023 which was open to eligible creative and cultural industry organisations operating in selected countries in Southern Africa. The fund also offers a comprehensive capacity-building programme to its awardees.

Where can I find full information about the Sound Connects Fund?

We have set up as your one-stop portal for all information related to the Sound Connects Fund.

When is Sound Connects Fund accepting grant applications?

The Sound Connects Fund is no longer accepting applications. It ran its third and last call in January 2023.

Who can apply for grants?

The following eligibility criteria were applicable for applicants who wanted to apply to the fund:


  • To be eligible for financial support, applicants must be formally registered in the local country, for example as an NGO /NPO, association, close corporation , private company etc.
  • For clarity, the basis is that the applicant must be an official/ legally registered entity in its local country. Organisations is used as a broader term to refer to any business entity such as a company, an institution, association etc. The list may include (non-exhaustive); arts organizations, arts venues, festivals, creative hubs and incubators, media houses, mobility circuits, recording studios, theatres, arts markets, fairs and conferences, creative sector businesses etc.
  • The organisation must have a proven history of operating in the creative sector in Southern Africa.
  • The organisation must have been in operation for at least three years on the day of application.
  • The organisation must be registered and operating in any of the following eligible Countries:
    • Angola
    • Botswana
    • eSwatini
    • Lesotho
    • Malawi
    • Mozambique
    • Namibia
    • Zambia
    • Zimbabwe
  • Similarly, the planned action must take place in the eligible countries only.
  • The organisation must have directly implemented, at least one project in the cultural and creative sector, for at least 50% of the amount of the grant requested.
  • An organisation may only be awarded a SCF grant once. Thus, beneficiaries of a SCF grant may not apply again. Previous beneficiaries are welcome to collaborate with other grantee projects on the condition that there is no financial gain.
  • An organisation can partner or collaborate with another organisation from a non-eligible country provided that there is no financial benefit to the organisation from the non-eligible country that is derived directly from the awarded SCF grant.
  • Capacity building training for grantees – one of the key goals of the Fund is to offer a robust capacity building programme to grantees. Grantees should therefore be willing to actively participate in this programme which will broadly include accessing learning initiatives, virtually and where possible face-to-face (travel).

      All applicants shall be required to indicate their key training needs or leaning interests.

Eligible countries and projects

The premise of the call was that the action must take place in the eligible country(s) and it must be clear in the proposal and implementation that the beneficiaries of the action are based in an eligible country. Projects that included participation of beneficiaries in activities outside the eligible country (e.g. conferences, markets, festivals etc.) would remain eligible on the condition that there is a clear demonstration of how such an action benefits the eligible country(s).

How much can I apply for?

For the third and last call, grant applications could be valued between €45 000 and €70 000 only, however The Sound Connects Fund is no longer accepting applications.

What kind of programmes or projects will be considered for funding?

Programmes or projects that align with the ‘Sound Connects’ theme and work towards accelerating development and increasing the capacity of the cultural and creative sectors in Southern Africa, including:

  • Improving the capacity of creative professionals, leaders and organisations to enhance their contribution to the social and economic development of the cultural and creative sectors in Southern Africa.
  • Improving access to financing to support the creation and sustainability of businesses and organisations in the cultural and creative sectors.
  • Increasing visibility and market access for cultural and creative practitioners and artists from Southern Africa.

Programmes or projects must focus on one or more of the following areas:

Professional development for culture and creative sector practitioners in Southern Africa.

       Capacity building programmes that offer learning in 1 or more of the following areas:

  • Business and management skills to support the identification of new markets, responding to market needs, and identifying income streams for cultural and creative products and services.
  • Better understanding of intellectual property creation, protection, and exploitation.
  • Technical skills to support the sector such as digital skills, sound engineering, sound and video editing etc.
  • Cultural journalism skills development.
  • Self-promotion for cultural and creative sector practitioners.
  • Activities could include training and capacity building programmes, secondments, mentoring, bursaries, support to hubs to extend their existing training offers and other short courses

Programmes that deliver incubation of talent and services in the performing arts.

  • Programmes might include residencies, artist exchange, new talent programmes and competitions. Organisations or individuals delivering incubation programmes will be expected to outline how initiatives offer sustainable impact for the creative professionals engaged and/or the sector in Southern Africa more broadly.

Programmes offering more affordable and greater access to professional services and facilities.

  • Provision of existing facilities and professional services such as low cost or free use of venues, recording or editing facilities. In particular services or facilities that influence quality and quantity of products, especially within underrepresented groups. Services and facilities might include access to professional studios, rehearsal facilities, access to high quality venues, access to key services including legal assistance, videography, photography, publicity and other services, and access to formal education or training.

Platforms that offer sustainable opportunities for showcasing quality products to wider audiences while facilitating the rapid mobility of practitioners and exchange among practitioners.

  • Showcasing platforms might include festivals, venues (that provide regular showcasing opportunities e.g. residences, concerts, theatre performances etc.), trade fairs, festival circuits (that actively develop sustainable mobility ecosystems for creatives), conferences, and other network building platforms.

Creation of platforms (digital and non-digital) that offer long-term awareness, discovery and distribution of local products and services.

  • Platforms might include streaming platforms (audio-visual), development of apps that offer professional services to practitioners, development of online distribution channels, including websites and digital interventions, radio platforms, podcasts, TV platforms, chat platforms and other innovative platforms.

Export-focused initiatives to support distribution of cultural and creative sector goods and services from Southern Africa to regional, continental and international markets.

  • Initiatives might include strategic partnership programmes, trade missions, market development programmes and trade events

Supporting business startups and organisations that are able to develop sustainable services.

  • Including initiatives that offer services (e.g. app development, effective distribution and publishing models, intellectual property management etc)

Development of cultural and creative education programmes aimed at engaging young people in the sector.

  • Activities might include new audience development for cultural education, especially among young people, educational projects that focus on educating young people, women and other underrepresented groups, especially at a young age, encouraging and supporting the introduction of visual literacy in state educational and civil society programmes

Research that creates awareness and understanding of creative economy opportunities, impact and context.

  • This might also include research relating policy and legal frameworks effecting the cultural and creative sector and advocacy initiatives to engage government in dialogue around it.

Creation of best-practice-based digital platforms that enable practitioners to learn about financing mechanisms and innovative technological approaches in the digital age.

  • The platform should act as a ‘one stop shop’ consolidating information about all funding opportunities from all sources

Support for creators/artists by providing advice, tools, resources and funding to help them start their own businesses.

  • The platform should act as a ‘one stop shop’ consolidating information about funding opportunities from different sources, also on a regional, continental and international level.

Will Music in Africa have any rights over the work/items/content produced?

No, all copyright and intellectual property remain in the ownership of the applicant. The Music In Africa Foundation only reserves the right to broadcast any created content on its own platforms.

May I seek additional partners or sponsors for my proposed project?

Yes, applicants could have additional partners for the delivery of their proposed projects. However, there had to be one clear lead partner who would sign the grant contract with the Music In Africa Foundation and ultimately be responsible for the implementation of the project.

Applicants could also secure additional sponsors for the project. However, this must be done in line with the Music In Africa Foundation’s publicity guidelines.

Will I have to pay back the grant should my application be successful?

The Sound Connects Fund is not a loan but a grant that will allow beneficiaries to implement the projects that they have proposed. This is all that is expected in return for receiving the grant. However, in the event that an organisation that has received a grant does not implement the project as per its proposal, the organisation may be requested to pay the grant monies back to the Music In Africa Foundation.

How will my application be adjudicated/scored?

Grant Evaluation Committee

Applications will be adjudicated and awarded by the SCF Evaluation Committee appointed by the MIAF board. The evaluation committee will be comprised of representatives from the Sound Connects Fund project management team and external experts as follows;

  • Music In Africa Foundation representative (1)
  • Goethe-Institut South Africa representative (1)
  • External Panelist (5)

Preliminary & eligibility review

  1. This is a preliminary review where all eligible projects are prepared for evaluation at project team level.
  2. All ineligible applications are also identified and automatically disqualified. It is important that you read the guidelines carefully and supply all the required documents in your application.

Evaluation Criteria and Guidelines

  • Eligible applications are submitted to the evaluation committee and scored against the criteria outlined in the guidelines. The committee also receives all copies of ineligible applications for verification.
  • A scoring mechanism shall be used to inform the selection process. Broadly, this process will consider the following;
  • Quality and relevance of the solution with reference to the objectives outlined in the call for proposals, as well as the challenges identified in your proposal.
  • Sustainability of the proposed action.
  • Potential reach and impact.
  • Presentation, logic and clarity of the proposal.
  • Cost, value and financial model
  • Consideration will also include aspects of innovation, originality and inclusiveness e.g. with regards to underrepresented groups.


The following will lead to automatic disqualification:

  • Applicants who do not meet the eligibility criteria as stated in these guidelines.
  • Projects that will be implemented outside the eligible counties as specified in these guidelines.
  • Provision of dishonest and inaccurate information.
  • Incomplete submission of Application Form, Proposal and/or Compliance documentation.
  • Submission of applications that do not adhere to the format and length guidelines established.
  • Late submission of any and all documentation.

Will the Music In Africa Foundation support our efforts to promote the projects supported by this fund?

The extent of the Music In Africa Foundation’s promotional support is limited to no less than 1 share/mention to the Foundation’s network. It is ultimately the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their project receives adequate promotion and publicity, including across social media and traditional media.

What are the payment tranches and implications?

  • Applicants should note that the grant will be paid in tranches as follows:
    • Tranche 1: 50% on signing of contract and fulfilment of admin requirements.
    • Tranche 2: 30% on completion of specified project milestones and submission of mid-project report.
    • Tranche 3: 20% on completion of project and submission of final project report.
  • Final tranche payments (up to 20% of the action) will only be made once the financial report has been audited and approved.
  • This means that to avoid cash flow challenges, the grantee should be able to advance up to 20% of the requested grant amount.

What is the Sound Connects Academy and who can join?

The Sound Connects Academy is a compulsory capacity-building and skills-sharing programme that will support grant recipients with the knowledge and tools required for the successful delivery of their projects.

The Sound Connects Academy is also available to organisations and individuals that are not eligible for grant applications. Interested parties can sign up here.


Is South Africa an eligible country to apply for the SCF grant?

No, South Africa is not an eligible country for the SCF grant. South Africa is not considered a developing country by the ACP- EU who is the main funder of this programme. 

South African organisations can look for other opportunities that the Music in Africa Foundation have by visiting  

Can I submit my application without any compliance or supporting documents?

No, the submission portal will not allow you to submit an application without attaching all the required documents. Submitting irrelevant documentation in order to be able to submit the application will serve as automatic disqualification, therefore it is important to read the application form and name the supporting documents accordingly.

Are you accepting applications in English only?

  1. Applications must be filled out in English only using the provided templates and annexures.
  2. Submissions must be made in English only on the official SCF Application Submission Form.
  3. All project reports and supporting documentation must be in English only.
  4. All communications from the SCF team to applicants will be in English only including email, telephonic or otherwise.
  5. Applicants from Angola and Mozambique (only) may apply in Portuguese if they so wish. To download the Portuguese application form and Portuguese annexures, go to and click on the “Portuguese Application Pack” tab.

When will successful applicants be notified?

  • The result of the adjudication shall be published within sixty (60) working days after closing date.
  • All successful applicants shall be notified in writing prior to the results being publicised.
  • Unsuccessful applicants shall not be notified.

Can my project budget be in my local currency?

The proposed budget submitted for your application should be in Euro (€) only.

Will my project be audited if I am successful?

All project reports shall be audited by an independent auditor appointed for the entire action.

Successful applicants shall be required to;

  • Attended pre-audit sessions for the purpose of aligning financial reporting processes with final audits.
  • Providing complete project financial reports including evidence of expenditure. 

Can I apply for more than one project in the same grant open call?

No, only one application per organisations were accepted per grant call. However, organisations were not restricted from applying in each of the three (3) grant calls, unless they had been awarded a grant already in a previous call.

Who can I contact to find out more about the Sound Connects Fund?

You can email all your questions and enquiries to our dedicated Sound Connects Fund team at