Catalyst 2030 Awards

For Systemic Change

Bilaterals and Multilaterals Judging Criteria | 2024

About the Award

This award celebrates teams or project units within bilateral/multilateral donors that have deployed capital to support project(s) or initiative(s) to achieve systems change. Within this award, there are four sub-categories that inform the final award, leveraging the Catalyst 2030 Funder Diagnostic Survey. These categories were informed by the Embracing Complexity Report. This award is the first of its kind to focus on the funding of systems change entrepreneurs.

Since bilaterals and multilaterals can be confusing, here is an accepted definition of the two categories:


Bilateral organisations receive funding from the government in their home countries and use the funding to aid developing countries. For example: NORAD, SIDA, FCDO, DANIDA, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), USAID, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trend (DFAT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and so on.


Multilateral organisations obtain their funding from multiple governments and spend it on initiatives in various countries. Some examples include: WHO, UNICEF, UN Women, UNDP, African Development Bank and World Bank.

1. Leader in Learning: Embrace a Systems Mindset

Demonstrate public promotion of lessons learned in supporting systems change. Embrace failure as a learning process, and fund research to support learning and better practices for systems change.

2. Leader in Trust: Support evolving paths to systems change, prepare for long-term engagement

and provide multi-year unrestricted funding. Take time to build trust with their grantees including through regular honest and respectful discussions, and/or simplify and right-size the application and reporting effort.

3. Leader in Partnership: Work in true partnership

Acknowledge and work against power dynamics, demonstrate an approach that is relational over transactional, listen to what systems change leaders need and provide targeted financial and non-financial support in an effort to co-create the desired impact.

4. Leader in Collaboration: Collaborate with other stakeholders

Coordinate action, build strong networks with other system stakeholders, and/or leave the leading role to systems change leaders. This includes support for collaboration infrastructure – for example funding for coordination facilities, funding for the overhead associated with collaboration.

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