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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Request for Proposals: Programs in Iraq for Media Reform and the High Commission for Human Rights

June 27, 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 in Iraq.


The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) announces a Request for Proposals for projects that promote human rights and the rule of law in Iraq.

PLEASE NOTE: DRL strongly urges applicants to access immediately in order to obtain a username and password. It may take two full weeks to register with Please see the section entitled, “DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS” below for specific instructions.


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

Supporting Reforms to the Media Framework in Iraq (approximately $1,000,000 available)

DRL seeks proposals for programs to support freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and independent media frameworks in Iraq.

The successful program will:

  • Support the Iraqi government in the drafting and adoption of new and revised laws that enshrine freedom of information and expression, media plurality, and public service broadcasting.
  • Strengthen the independent functioning of the Iraqi media regulator (the CMC) by improving its operating procedures, public messaging, and relationship with broadcasters, journalists, and civil society, and ensuring the proper accreditation of journalists regardless of their independence, union or syndicate affiliation.
  • Promote greater freedom of expression by increasing transparency, consistency, and clarity of the legal framework to help ensure that broadcasters are compliant with regulatory requirements and professional standards.
  • Combat attempts to restrict the physical movement of journalists and cameras to safeguard access to information through the legal framework in Iraq.

The successful implementer will be able to work directly with the Iraq Parliament; specifically, the Culture and Information Committee; the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), as well as media outlets and editors-in-chief; the judiciary; leading journalists; and other organizations working within the realm of media freedoms and human rights promotion in Iraq.

The duration of proposed programs must be between twelve to eighteen months. Applicants may request up to $1,000,000.

Technical Support to the High Commission for Human Rights (HCHR) in Iraq (approximately $1,000,000 available)

DRL requests proposals to strengthen the ability of the High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq to fulfill its mandate to:

“ensure the protection and promotion of respect for Human Rights in Iraq; protect the rights and freedoms stipulated in the Constitution, international laws, treaties and conventions ratified by Iraq; [and to] strengthen, promote and develop human rights principles and culture.” Law 53, Government of Iraq.

The proposed program must develop the capacity of the HCHR to function as an independent and effective body. Program activities should involve not just the Commissioners and staff, but also the Commission’s strategic partners in civil society, the Iraqi government, and the international community.

Specifically, the successful project will support the HCHR in:

  • Proper record-keeping, monitoring, and investigative and legal functions, including regular reporting to the GOI, civil society, and international community.
  • Promoting a culture of human rights, including for Iraq’s minority populations throughout Iraq;
  • Developing procedures for receiving, documenting, investigating, and following up on allegations of human rights violations;
  • Coordinating and collaborating with civil society organizations and governmental institutions involved in the promotion and protection of human rights in Iraq.

Applicants may also propose additional training and technical assistance to the members of the HCHR.

Proposals must address how the proposed activities for the HCHR either build off of knowledge and skills gained through previous programs, or represent an innovative direction or approach.

All programs should create tangible training instruments for future use and sustained replication. Programs should be outcome oriented with clear performance management plans that monitor and assess changes in behavior, concrete deliverables. Proposed programs must address the participation of women and persons with disabilities in all program elements.

An ability to implement programs in Iraq must be demonstrated. The proposal must realistically address the challenges and limitations the applicant would likely face conducting this project in Iraq. Organizations may request between $500,000 and $1,000,000 for this program.


Proposals should conform to DRL’s posted Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), as updated in March 2012, available at (For this solicitation, applicants must use the Revised PSI dated March 2012.)

Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via by July 15, 2013 before 11:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT); 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.

Proposals that do not meet the requirements of the announcement and Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) may not be considered. Proposals that combine target countries and/or themes may be deemed technically ineligible. Proposals that request more than the award ceiling will be deemed technically ineligible. Award floor and ceiling for each program area are detailed in the descriptions above.

The information contained herein is to assist you as a general reference for completion of the proposal submission. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all of the material submitted in the grant application package is complete, accurate, and current.


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 NOTE: This process can take up to one month for new organizations so please register early. See additional details below.

* 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: 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) Your organization's DUNS number is needed to complete this process.


The U.S. Department of State requires proposals be submitted electronically via

Please note: In order to safeguard the security of applicants’ electronic information, utilizes a credential provider to confirm the applicant organization’s credentials. The credential provider for is Operational Research Consultants (ORC). Applicants MUST register with ORC to receive a username and password, which you will need to register with as an authorized organization representative (AOR). You will be authorized to submit grant applications through on behalf of your organization.

Each organization must be registered with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), for which you will need your organization's Duns & Bradstreet DUNS number ( After your organization registers with the CCR, you may obtain a username and password after 3-5 business days.

PLEASE be advised that completing all the necessary steps for obtaining a username and password from can take up to one month. DRL strongly urges applicants to begin this process on 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

Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application varies 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 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

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

Direct all questions regarding registration and submission to the Contact Center,,, or 1-800-518-4726 (local toll free) 24 hours/day and 7 days/week. For international callers, please use 606-545-5035. IPortal: Top 10 requested help topics (FAQs), Searchable Knowledge Database, self-service ticketing and ticket status, and live web chat available 7:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m. EST.

Applicants have until 11:30 p.m., Washington, D.C. time on July 15, 2013 to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to the site. There are no exceptions. Applications uploaded to the site after 11:30 p.m. of the application deadline date will be automatically rejected by the system as technically ineligible.

Please refer to the website 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 upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via 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. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable request for proposals (RFP) and these instructions.

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


DRL strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by the Department of State (DOS) Review Committee. The Committee will evaluate how the proposals meet the solicitation request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. Panelists review each proposal individually against the evaluation criteria, not against competing proposals.

In most cases, the Department of State Review Committee includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate DOS regional bureau, as well as USAID Washington. DRL requests feedback on the proposals from the appropriate U.S. Embassies and USAID Missions for the panelists’ consideration. At the end of discussion on a proposal, the Committee votes on recommending the proposal Bureau approval.

Department of State Review Committee panels may make conditions and recommendations on proposals to enhance the proposed programs, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of limited DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify and/or justify costs and program activities, including ensuring reasonableness of implementation within the proposed time period.

For further information on the DRL grants process, please see the DRL website:

NOTE: Approved applicants will need to register on in order to process final awards. In order to use this portal, please follow the instructions to register on


Should you have any questions regarding the solicitation, please contact Negina Sawez – or 202-261-8003. 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.


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 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 and DRL’s website,

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.

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