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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) - Request for Proposals for International Labor Rights Programs in Cameroon and Pakistan

February 14, 2013


Note: The deadline for this Request for Proposals has passed.

Department of State

Public Notice

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Proposals: Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law for Cameroon and Pakistan.


The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) announces a Request for Proposals from organizations interested in submitting proposals for projects that promote democracy, human rights, and rule of law in Cameroon and Pakistan.

PLEASE NOTE: DRL strongly urges applicants to access or immediately in order to obtain a username and password to submit your application. For more information, please see DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), updated in November 2012, available at


DRL invites organizations to submit proposals outlining program concepts and capacity to manage projects targeting the following issues:

Cameroon (Approximately $400,000): DRL requests proposals that will provide technical assistance for trade union capacity building and will promote internationally recognized labor rights, particularly freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively. The overall objective of the program should be to strengthen the capacity of trade unions in order to better advocate for worker rights in addition to increasing trust among workers, government, and employers. Qualified local organizations are encouraged to apply. Strong program proposals may include:

  • The implementation of leadership trainings that target women;
  • The development of collective bargaining agreements that more adequately protect the rights of workers;
  • Trade union capacity building that increases the ability of unions to better represent its workers;
  • Awareness raising activities that increase workers’ knowledge of labor rights, with a particular focus on relevant labor legislation;
  • Activities that increase trust among workers, employers, and government;
  • Activities that increase the level of transparency, democracy and responsiveness to worker needs within trade unions;
  • The sharing of promising practices among unions with an aim to reduce competition and advance efficiency;
  • A detailed plan for sustainability beyond the life of the project, which may include a training-of-trainers component or the establishment of a training forum or center;
  • Partnerships with local organizations.

Pakistan (Approximately $300,000): DRL seeks proposals to create a reliable source of clean bricks for donor-supported projects that will ensure workers receive at least a fair wage and access to adequate health care, in addition to children attending school rather than working. Proposals should leverage international donor funding to promote decent work for brick-makers and reduce child and bonded labor. The project should create a consortium of independently monitored brick kilns, which set fair market prices for bricks while respecting the basic rights of the brick-makers. In return, the implementer must ensure donor-projects pledge to source bricks from the consortium. Project proposals will demonstrate a thorough understanding of brick kiln worker and employer perspectives, as well as a sound plan for achieving partner buy-in. Applicants currently engaged in related programs should explain how additional funding will complement or expand ongoing activities. Preference will be given to organizations with in-country offices and a history of implementing successful worker rights projects in Pakistan.

Background: Brick kiln workers are among the most exploited workers in Pakistan and lack voice and representation at all levels of the workplace and broader society. Recent efforts to improve working and living conditions for brick kiln workers have generally failed to produce meaningful progress partly because of a lack of enforcement and partly because employers stifle reform efforts while uneducated and illiterate brick-makers remain unaware of their basic rights. Bricks sourced for international donor-supported projects provide an opening to meaningfully engage with employers, workers, donors to promote decent work in the brick kilns. Despite well-intentioned codes of conduct, donor-supported projects likely use bricks made by workers facing severe exploitation because they lack a process to verify the source of bricks.


Please refer directly to DRL’s posted Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), updated in November 2012, available at

Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted at any time. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in this document and the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI).

To ensure all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL Review Committee will review the first page of the requested section up to the page limit and no further. DRL encourages organizations to use the given space effectively.

Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via or by Friday, March 15, 2013 before 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST); 2) heed all instructions contained in the solicitation document and Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), including length and completeness of submission; and 3) do not violate any of the guidelines stated in the solicitation and this document.

It is the responsibility of all applicants to ensure that proposals have been received by or in their entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

Once the Request for Proposals deadline has passed, U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas may not discuss competing proposals with applicants until the review process has been completed.

NOTE: In order to process final awards, approved applicants will need to register with


The Bureau anticipates awarding grants in the third quarter of FY 2013 (according the USG fiscal year calendar). Programs that leverage resources from funds internal to the organization or other sources, such as public-private partnerships, will be highly considered. Projects that have a strong academic, research, conference, or dialogue focus will not be deemed competitive. DRL strongly discourages health, technology, or science- related projects unless they have an explicit component related to the requested program objectives listed above. Projects that focus on commercial law or economic development will be rated as non-competitive. Cost sharing is strongly encouraged, and cost sharing contributions should be outlined in the proposal budget and budget narrative.

DRL will not consider proposals that reflect any type of support, for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization, whether or not elected members of government.

The information in this solicitation is binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the solicitation does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program evaluation requirements.

This request for proposals will appear on or and DRL’s website,


Should you have any questions regarding the Cameroon solicitation, please contact Marissa Brescia at For questions regarding the Pakistan solicitation, please contact Mitchell Alva at Once the deadline has passed, State Department officials and staff—both in the Bureau and at embassies overseas—may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.

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