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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) - Request for Proposals Protecting Transgender Persons From Violence and Combating Impunity


March 28, 2013

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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: The Secretary’s Global Equality Fund: Programs to Protect and Promote the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Persons

SUMMARY

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces a Request for Proposals (RFP) from organizations working to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT people. Launched in December 2011, the Secretary’s Global Equality Fund aims to support the work of civil society organizations working on LGBT issues around the world. Programs attributed to the Global Equality Fund are part of DRL’s broader initiative to support and empower marginalized populations, including women, children, persons with disabilities, religious and ethnic minorities, and LGBT persons. This program will focus on providing protection to individuals who experience violence due to their real or perceived gender identity.

PLEASE NOTE: DRL strongly encourages applicants to access immediately www.grants.gov as indicated in the Proposal Submission Instructions in order to obtain a username and password. It may take up to a week to register with grants.gov and grantsolutions.gov. Please see the section entitled, “DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS” below for specific instructions.

Protecting Transgender Persons from Violence and Combating Impunity (approximately $450,000, pending availability of funding):

DRL seeks to support programs that increase protection of transgender persons who face acute forms of violence and harassment. DRL’s overall goal is to ensure that incidents of violence are documented and investigated and that victims receive appropriate legal redress through domestic, regional, or international human rights mechanisms. DRL seeks proposals that will: (1) strengthen civil society organizations’ efforts to both document incidents of violence and the investigation process (or lack thereof); (2) ensure transgender persons have adequate legal representation; (3) support local civil society organizations to seek redress through regional and international human rights mechanisms; and (4)where feasible/appropriate, sensitivity training for law enforcement agencies.** Competitive proposals will link documentation, training and legal representation efforts as a means of promoting accountability and combating impunity. Proposals are encouraged to include components that focus activity at the local and/or community level, and should include sub-grants to local transgender organizations. Organizations may also want to consider different forms of inclusive sub-granting, such as advisory committees for grant selections. Proposals may consider, but are not limited to, activities such as documentation of incidents of violence and investigation processes, legal assistance for victims, improving capacity of lawyers and civil society organizations to assist transgender persons, sensitivity training for law enforcement agencies, and support for advocates to utilize domestic, regional, and international human rights mechanisms to promote accountability for human rights violations. Other activities which support the goals noted above may also be considered.

Organizations may submit proposals for any region or country in the world. Proposals for activities in the following regions are strongly encouraged: Eastern Europe and Central and South America.

Project and Budget Periods:

DRL grants generally must be completed in one to three years.

Background Information on general DRL funding:

DRL supports programs that uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and build civil society around the world. Funds are available to support projects that have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms. Projects should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources. Projects must not duplicate or simply add to efforts by other entities.

** Law enforcement agencies included in program activities need to be vetted by the Department under the Leahy law. The grantee will be responsible for collecting and providing individual and unit identification information to DRL in order to conduct Leahy vetting.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

Proposals should conform to DRL’s posted Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), as updated in November 2012, available at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm. (For this solicitation, applicants must use the Revised PSI dated November 2012.)

DRL is committed to the containment of administrative expenses, consistent with overall program objectives and sound management principles. Additional budget guidelines are explained in the PSI. In any cases where the guidelines in the PSI differ from this request, this document takes precedence.

NOTE: 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Programs that leverage resources from funds internal to the organization or other sources, such as public-private partnerships, will be highly considered. 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 DRL representative. Explanatory information provided by DRL that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the solicitation does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. DRL 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 www.grants.gov and DRL’s website, www.state.gov/j/drl.

APPLICANT/ORGANIZATION CRITERIA

Organizations submitting proposals must meet the following criteria:

* Be a U.S. non-profit organization meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c) (3) or a comparable organization headquartered internationally, or an international organization.

* Have demonstrated experience administering successful and preferably similar projects. DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on organizations that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards. These applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.

*Be a registered user of www.grants.gov.

* Have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with in-country entities and relevant stakeholders including industry and non-governmental organizations.

* Organizations may form consortia and submit a combined proposal. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant.

* An OMB policy directive published in the Federal Register on Friday, June 27, 2003, requires that all organizations applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements must provide a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for all Federal grants or cooperative agreements in or after October 1, 2003. Please reference: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/062703_grant_identifier.pdf for the complete OMB policy directive.

* All organizations applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements will need to be registered with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) http://www.ccr.gov/. Your organization's DUNS number is needed to complete this process.

REVIEW PROCESS

DRL will review all proposals for eligibility. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance of Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final signatory authority for assistance awards resides with the Department’s Grants Officer. DRL and the Grants Office reserve the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial information regarding the proposal.

Proposals will be funded based on an evaluation of how the proposal meets the solicitation review criteria, U.S. foreign policy objectives, and the priority needs of DRL. A Department of State Review Committee will evaluate proposals submitted under this request. Each proposal will be rated along the six criteria as detailed in the November 2012 Proposal Submission Instructions, available at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.

DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Applicants must submit proposals using www.grants.gov by 11:30 p.m., Washington, D.C. time, on May 2, 2013. DRL will not accept proposals submitted via email, fax, the postal system, or delivery companies or couriers. Applicants may submit more than one application; however, each application should be submitted only once.

Several of the steps in the www.grants.gov registration process can take several weeks. Therefore, applicants should check with appropriate staff within their organizations immediately after reviewing this solicitation to confirm or determine their registration status with grants.gov.

All applicants are encouraged to submit applications via www.grants.gov. This website is available to all applicants, but DRL especially encourages foreign NGOs and public international organizations to submit proposals through this web site.

Interested organizations using grants.gov for the first time should register on the www.grants.gov site to create a new Applicant account as soon as possible because this process must be completed before an application can be submitted. To register with grants.gov, follow the “Get registered” link. Organizations that have previously used www.grants.gov do not need to register again. If an organization that has previously used www.grants.gov is not able to access the system, please contact Customer Support for help in gaining access (see contact information below).

Each organization will need to be registered with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) http://www.ccr.gov/, and you will need to have your organization's DUNS number available to complete this process. For more information regarding the DUNS number, please visit www.dnb.com or call 1-866-705-5711. After your organization registers with the CCR, you must wait approximately three to five business days before you can obtain a username and password. This may delay your ability to post your proposal.

Therefore, DRL strongly urges applicants to begin this process on www.grants.gov well in advance of the submission deadline.

No exceptions will be made for organizations that have not completed the necessary steps to post applications on www.grants.gov .

Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your internet connection. In addition, validation of an electronic submission via www.grants.gov can take up to two business days. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through www.grants.gov.

The www.grants.gov website includes extensive information on all phases/aspects of the www.grants.gov process, including an extensive section on frequently asked questions, located under the "For Applicants" section of the website. DRL strongly recommends that all potential applicants review thoroughly www.grants.gov, well in advance of submitting a proposal through the www.grants.gov system.

Direct all questions regarding www.grants.gov registration and submission to:

www.grants.gov Customer Support

Contact Center Phone: 1-800-518-4726

Business Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 hours a week

Email: support@grants.gov

Applicants have until 11:30 p.m., Washington, D.C. time, on May 2, 2013 to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to www.grants.gov. There are no exceptions to the above deadline. Applications uploaded to the site after the application deadline date will be automatically rejected by the www.grants.gov system and will be technically ineligible.

Please refer to www.grants.gov for definitions of various "application statuses" and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from www.grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via www.grants.gov can take up to two business days. DRL will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications.

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

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

NOTE: Approved applicants will be processed via www.grantsolutions.gov. DRL will provide award point of contact and Signator access to www.grantsolutions.gov. In order to use this portal, please follow the instructions on www.grantsolutions.gov.

CONTACT INFORMATION

GrantSolutions.gov Help Desk:

For assistance with www.grantsolutions.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please contact Customer Support at help@grantsolutions.gov or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.

Grants.gov Helpdesk:

For assistance with Grants.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email support@grants.gov. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.

See http://www.opm.gov/Operating_Status_Schedules/fedhol/2012.asp for a list of federal holidays.

For programmatic questions related to this solicitation please contact DRLProgramInfo@state.gov. Once the deadline has passed, State Department officials and staff - both in DRL and at embassies overseas - may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.



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