Applications are now available for download (at the bottom of this page) and at the Information Desk on the 1st floor of the Student Centre!

The application period for this semester runs from March 1st until April 1st, 2015.

The IDIF was created by the International Development Studies Undergrad Society through a SMUSA Referendum in 2010. It is designed to fund Saint Mary’s students who will be participating in development initiatives both at home and abroad. Funding is available to all SMU students.

This information must be read by all potential IDIF applicants before they apply to the fund. It is intended to clarify what the IDIF will fund, and what it will not. All applicants are also encouraged to review the IDIF Policy Outline, available on the IDIF SMUSA website. Any further questions may be directed to the Fund Director (contact information is listed below).

The International Development Initiative Fund defines “Development Project” as: Any initiative created by a Saint Mary’s Student or already operating that seeks to meaningfully improve the quality of life for persons within a Developing Country, which shall be defined as such based on the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), by improving foreign aid, governance, healthcare, education, poverty reduction, gender equality, racial or ethnic equality, disaster preparedness, infrastructure, economic stability, human rights, food security, environment and any issues associated with these categories.

Note: Initiatives that focus on Human Development rather than only economic concerns are of particular value for development projects. The project must take place in a developing country or have an immediate benefit to a developing country if it is a local initiative. Also any research by an Undergraduate or Graduate student at Saint Mary’s that seeks to advance knowledge or offer solutions for any of these categories is eligible for funding so long as it still benefits a developing country or the study of that topic within a certain developing country. All other stipulations and regulations of the IDIF must also be met in order to be deemed a “development project” that will qualify for funding.

Things to remember:

  • Projects must take place in a developing country or have an immediate benefit for a developing country.
  • Projects must have a minimum duration of 30 days
  • Projects must begin a maximum of 6 months from the application period end date. (ex: if you apply for the November 1 round you must go on your project on or before May 1 the following year)
  • All application documents are to be submitted electronically to the IDIF director ( except the signed project counterpart letter and 2 reference letters which are to be mailed to the Fund Director in sealed envelopes.

Examples of things IDIF does NOT fund:

  • You invent a medical device that has potential applications in developing countries and wish to go to a conference to present it or wish to use the IDIF for R&D costs.
  • You wish to work in a hospital in a developing country where you will be working a job as you would be in a developed country.
  • You wish to help an orphanage in a developing country for 1-2 weeks.
  • You wish to work at a stock exchange in a developing country.
  • You wish to work in a military institution in a developing country.
  • You wish to teach languages in developing countries.
  • You wish to use IDIF funding solely to present or participate in a conference.

Examples of things the IDIF DOES fund:

  • You are an undergraduate researching food security in a developing country with a SMU professor.
  • You are working with an NGO that works to provide medical equipment and training to a hospital or hospitals in a developing country.
  • You are working at an orphanage in a developing country for 1 month or more.
  • You are a graduate student conducting field research on a development related topic.
  • You wish to create your own NGO or non-profit, which is based in Canada, that will aid people in a developing country, for example, supporting women that wish to leave the sex industry in Cambodia.
  • You design and produce a medical device that can aid people in a developing country and wish to use it as a form of aid rather than a business venture and want to create an organization to distribute said device- the IDIF can be used to create the organization.
  • You wish to work for an organization that cleans waterways in a developing country.

For any further clarification do not hesitate to contact the Fund Director at


 What you need to apply:

  • A completed application form (PDF format, available on this webpage)
  • A CV (PDF format)
  • Proof of enrollment (retrieved from Student Centre, scanned, PDF format)
  • Letter of intent (PDF format)
  • 2 Academic reference letters
  • A project counterpart letter

The purpose of a counterpart letter is to prove that you are going to be participating in the development project or initiative that you claim to be working with in your application. It must be written by someone officially involved with your project. For example, if you were doing research with a SMU prof, they could write a letter confirming you’re doing research with them. Another example is if you are working at an organization in a developing country than the person who hired you or the manger/owner/director of where you will be working/volunteering/researching can write the letter.

The counterpart letter can also include anything that the organization believes will reinforce your application to the IDIF. If the organization believes you will be doing meaningful development work, and describes it as so, than the IDIF is likely to believe this as well. This letter must be signed.

  1.  Applicants will fill out and download the PDF IDIF Application from:
  2. Applicants will scan their proof of enrolment form to a PDF file (Proof of enrolment is available from the Service Centre, McNally Main 108).
  3. Applicants will email their completed Application form, CV, Letter of intent and proof of enrolment form in PDF Format to with the email subject line as: IDIF Application <Student’s name>
  4. Counterpart letters and reference letters will be mailed or dropped off (in a sealed envelope) to:

International Development Initiative Fund

SMUSA Student Centre Building, 5th floor, Room 553

923 Robie St.
Halifax, NS, B3H 3C3

C/O Ross Grant, Funds Director

International Development Initiative Fund Winter 2014 Policy Outline (Updated March 14th)

IDIF Application Form (Spring 2014) [Microsoft Word] / IDIF Application Form (Spring 2014) [PDF]