Concept Note Development

Concept note is the document that details the applicant’s request for the Global Fund resources for HIV, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and/or health systems strengthening (HSS). Usually, a concept note presents a funding request over a three year period. This funding request is reviewed by the Technical Review Panel (TRP) and the Grant Approvals Committee (GAC) before being submitted to the Global Fund Board for approval.

A Concept note should be articulate an ambitious and technically sound response, drawing from relevant Health Sector Strategic and National Strategic Plans and other appropriate documentation. It should explain what a country needs to do to fully address the problem it faces and how much this would cost. Concept note also should explain what part of the response the Global Fund resources should focus on to maximize impact against the diseases. It is very important that the Global Fund resources are invested strategically in order to support program that can reach the most people, and provide the most effective response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

The preparation phase of the concept note plays an important role for its success. The preparation should start as soon as possible, even before the funding allocations are announced. Thorough and well documented concept note preparation will ensure the applicants have thought through the information they need and the stakeholders that should be involved. That will lead to a better, more impactful plan and stronger funding request. During the concept note preparation phase, the CCM should review the national strategic plan, plan for inclusive dialogue, plan when to apply, review CCM governance and request Technical Assistance to conduct the assessment on CCM eligibility, begin negotiation on increased governmental commitments, agree on how to split funds from Global Fund across eligible diseases and health systems strengthening activities, begin discussion on appropriate implementation arrangements, get familiar with the online system.

The concept note consists of 4 elements, all of which must be completed and submitted together. Those are:

  1. Online concept note form
  2. Online financial gap analysis and counterpart financing table
  3. Online programmatic gap table
  4. Online modular template


Role and Responsibilities for Concept Note Development:

Country Coordinating Mechanism should:

  1. Guide the translation of country’s national strategy plan and programmatic/financial gap analysis into a targeted request for funding from the Global Fund using the relevant concept note template,
  2. Writes or arranges for a designated drafting team to write the concept note, ensure engagement of key stakeholders in the process in line with the country dialogue process and Country Coordinating Mechanism eligibility requirements. This process must be documented and submitted with the concept note,
  3. Arrange for human rights/gender considerations to be taken into account in the prioritization of the intervention, especially regarding barriers to access,
  4. Ensure applications outline the implementation role of community sector and faith-based organization relating to service delivery and community monitoring/accountability efforts, and ensures that appropriate community systems strengthening measures are included to support these activities.
  5. Check that the funding request highlight financial/health commodity gaps and explains why the additional resources are needed.
  6. Identifies and select grant implementers

Implementers (Principle Recipients and Sub Recipients) should strive to provide un-biased views on the feasibility of the program and provides accurate and recent information on cost that can be used to develop the summary budget.

Civil Society and Key Populations (as implementers or beneficiaries) should ensures that the prioritization of the requests for funding and the recommended interventions take into account the needs and perspectives of key population groups consistent with the socio-epidemiological context of the country, and actively engages in country dialogue around concept note development, whether as implementers or beneficiaries.


The Global Fund has defined dates for concept note submissions and associated review windows. There are 9 windows for concept note submission over 2014-2016.

Year Concept Note Submission Date
2014 15 May
15 June
15 August
15 October
2015 15 January
15 April
15 August
15 October
2016 15 April

As a part of concept note submission, the Global Fund requires evidence of endorsement of the final concept note. All CCM members must endorse and sign the attachment according to the concept note guidelines. In cases where a CCM member is unwilling to endorse the concept note, that member must promptly inform the Global Fund in writing ( about the reason for not endorsing, to ensure that the Global Fund understands the member’s position.

What happened once a concept note is submitted?

Once submitted into the Global Fund secretariat, the concept note is translated into English (if needed) and reviewed. The translation and review process takes 4 to 6 weeks. The Global Fund secretariat review is focused on two areas: screening for CCM eligibility requirements as well as documentation requirements, and review of the concept note to ensure completeness and to address any issues which could otherwise present future grant making or grant implementation bottlenecks. In some cases, a concept note may be sent back to the country for further development.