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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Request for Proposals: Programs in Iraq for Youth Engagement and for Capacity Building of Service Providers Addressing Gender Based Violence


June 27, 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: Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law in Iraq.

SUMMARY

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 www.grants.gov in order to obtain a username and password. It may take two full weeks to register with www.grants.gov. Please see the section entitled, “DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS” below for specific instructions.

REQUESTED PROPOSAL PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

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

Technical Capacity Building to Service Providers in Gender Based Violence Programs (approximately $1,500,000 available)

DRL seeks proposals for programs to increase the technical capacity of service providers (both governmental and non-governmental) in Iraq that focus on protections for victims of gender-based violence (GBV), pursuant to the goals and objectives of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally.

In the broadest terms, “gender-based violence” is violence that is directed at an individual based on his or her biological sex, gender identity, or his or her perceived adherence to socially defined norms of masculinity and femininity. It includes physical, sexual, trafficking in persons, and psychological abuse; threats; coercion; arbitrary deprivation of liberty; and economic deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life. Women and girls are the most at risk and affected by GBV. However, boys and men can also experience GBV, as can sexual and gender minorities, such as men who have sex with men and transgender persons. Strengthening the physical, material, and human resources of institutions that aim to assist victims of GBV is an essential first step in addressing this issue.

Proposed programs must directly target those service providers engaged with or training to engage with victims of domestic violence and other forms of GBV, including sexual violence, early and forced marriage, honor crimes, perceptions of gender that may lead to violence, and/or female genital mutilation (e.g., social workers, NGO workers, shelter staff, health care providers, and/or students in university programs focusing on human rights, counseling, or social work).

Training activities must, at minimum, include:

  • ensuring privacy of victims
  • sensitizing staff
  • de-stigmatizing victims of violence
  • addressing attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs of GBV counselors
  • understanding the legal framework
  • training health care providers, including in forensic examination and documentation
  • improving danger assessment
  • providing safety planning
  • providing emergency services to survivors of sexual violence
  • developing educational and informational materials for training GBV service providers.

The ability to assemble partner organizations and actors to develop and adopt standards and protocols will be highly valued. The engagement of non-traditional stakeholders such as men and boys, and religious and community leaders, is encouraged. The successful implementer should be able to target, assemble, and obtain buy-in from partners to facilitate knowledge-sharing; and be able to provide technical assistance and coaching through frequent, regular communication and regular site visits to partner facilities.

An ability to implement programs in Iraq must be demonstrated. The proposal must realistically address the challenges and limitations the applicant would likely face in Iraq. The duration of proposed programs must be between twelve to eighteen months. Applicants may request between $750,000 and $1,500,000.

Targeting at-Risk Youth in Violence Prevention (approximately $1,000,000 available)

DRL requests proposals for programs that seek to target youth at risk for involvement in violent conflict. Successful programs will work with international and local actors in areas that may be prone to violence to provide young people with concrete alternatives to violence and pathways to contribute to building sustainable peace.

To address youth marginalization, programs must reach youth from rural areas; young women; and at-risk youth whose voices are the most underrepresented. To strengthen young people’s social and civic values, programs need to support sustained involvement of youth in positive areas of engagement in alternative paths to violence.

Programs should target both urban and rural youth, ages 15-24, inclusive of both girls and boys. Projects may include small investments of seed money to mobilize youth-led initiatives. Programs may focus on the following areas or others:

  • Expanding opportunities for youth in public service, community engagement, or volunteerism;
  • Developing soft skills – leadership, the ability to work independently and in teams, problem solving, and effective communication;
  • Promoting constructive engagement by young people in their communities, including advocacy with local government.
  • Developing capacities of local institutions and NGOs to respond to the needs of youth within the justice system.

The successful implementer must be able to link concretely how the projects’ activities will help to prevent or dissuade youth engagement in violence. The engagement of non-traditional stakeholders such as religious and community leaders is encouraged. An ability to implement programs in Iraq must be demonstrated. The proposal must realistically address the challenges and limitations the applicant would likely face implementing this program in Iraq. The duration of proposed programs must be between twelve to eighteen months. Applicants may request up to $1,000,000.

TECHNICAL ELIGIBILITY

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

Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via www.grants.gov by July 17, 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.

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. 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: 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.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

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

Please note: In order to safeguard the security of applicants’ electronic information, www.grants.gov utilizes a credential provider to confirm the applicant organization’s credentials. The credential provider for www.grants.gov is Operational Research Consultants (ORC). Applicants MUST register with ORC to receive a username and password, which you will need to register with www.grants.gov as an authorized organization representative (AOR). You will be authorized to submit grant applications through www.grants.gov 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 (www.dnb.com). 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 www.grants.gov can take up to one month. 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 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 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. DRL strongly recommends that all potential applicants review thoroughly the www.grants.gov website well in advance of submitting a proposal through the www.grants.gov system.

Direct all questions regarding www.grants.gov registration and submission to the Grants.gov Contact Center, www.grants.gov, support@grants.gov, 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 17, 2013 to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to the www.grants.gov 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 www.grants.gov system as technically ineligible.

Please refer to the www.grants.gov 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 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. 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 www.grants.gov in their entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

PROPOSAL REVIEW PROCESS

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: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/index.htm

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Should you have any questions regarding the solicitation, please contact Negina Sawez – Sawezn@state.gov 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.

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 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 www.grants.gov and DRL’s website, www.state.gov/j/drl.

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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