Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Proposals: Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law in Europe and Eurasia (Azerbaijan, Moldova and Turkey)
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 Europe and Eurasia.
PLEASE NOTE: DRL strongly urges applicants to access www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov as soon as possible 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 http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.
REQUESTED PROPOSAL PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
DRL invites organizations to submit proposals outlining program concepts and capacity to manage projects targeting one of the following issues:
Minority Empowerment in Moldova (approximately $300,000 available): DRL's objective is to strengthen the capacity of minorities in Moldova to advocate for and improve their social, economic and political conditions. This program should focus on one of three areas: Civic Engagement, Social Inclusion or Education. Proposals should focus on more than one minority group and may include the Roma, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Gagauz, Jewish or other communities. Proposals should clearly indicate which of the three categories they will address. DRL also encourages proposals which address more than one of the categories.
Civic Engagement – Civic Engagement proposals should focus on developing minority civil society capacity to engage at the local and national level to promote equal rights and tolerance. Activities could include, but are not limited to: training minority civic leaders and NGOs to effectively engage in political advocacy and to participate in the decision-making process; providing opportunities for participants to network with other minority leaders both within Moldova and through regional civil society networks; and targeting training for civic leaders and NGOs on advocacy skills, legal rights and enforcement, organizational management, or communication skills.
Social Inclusion – Social Inclusion proposals should focus on minority acceptance and improving inter-ethnic relations in Moldova. The proposal should promote inter-ethnic communication, tolerance, and understanding through components such as inter-ethnic youth activities or cross-cultural education. The program could raise awareness and knowledge of minority cultures and values. Proposals should involve minority interaction with the majority group in joint activities.
Education – Education proposals should focus on improving educational outcomes for minorities in Moldova either through activities such as mentorships, after-school programs, summer camps, internship opportunities, or language training. The program should focus on minorities who are disadvantaged in terms of educational opportunities and outcomes.
Connecting Civil Society, Citizens and Government (approximately $500,000 available): DRL’s objective is to build the voice of civil society in ongoing debates about public policy and increase citizens’ awareness that they should be informed about and participate in the political process. The program should support civil society in advocating for stable democratic institutions, the rule of law, and protection of fundamental freedoms; and educate citizens on their right to participate in the political process. The program should build coalitions among diverse civil society groups and NGOs to bring together disparate voices, including traditionally marginalized groups, to advocate for respect for fundamental freedoms and government accountability. Activities should emphasize the value of civil society engagement in public policy debates and encourage these coalitions to educate their constituents and the general populace on fundamental freedoms, and their role in both holding their government accountable and protecting their rights and freedoms. Proposals should take advantage of traditional and new methods of outreach to help citizens share their views and build citizens expectations for political participation. Successful proposals will also demonstrate a strong knowledge of the political environment for civil society in Turkey and an established ability to work with diverse civil society groups.
Civil Society Empowerment in Azerbaijan (approximately $500,000 available): DRL’s objective is to strengthen the role of civil society in enhancing government accountability and respect for fundamental freedoms and rule of law in Azerbaijan. The program will encourage more collaboration among civil society efforts to promote an inclusive, accountable, just and participatory democratic system of government. The program should also support the efforts of civil society in human rights and anti-corruption advocacy, while assisting civil society leaders and NGOs in increased public outreach. Proposals should identify best practices in efforts to promote democratic reforms and rule of law, and assess the needs of independent democracy activists and NGOs. Program activities could include, but are not limited to: technical assistance to build the capacity of Azeri democracy and human rights activists and NGOs in key communities to engage in effective public outreach and advocacy; support for activities to encourage results-oriented, constructive debate and advocacy by citizens and civil society organizations; linking NGOs and activists advocating for justice, accountability and/or fundamental freedoms together within and among Azerbaijan’s regions to enhance their effectiveness. Small-to-medium sized grants to independent NGOs to conduct public outreach and grassroots organizing/advocacy to promote justice, accountability and/or fundamental freedoms would be an essential component of a successful proposal. Successful proposals will also demonstrate a strong knowledge of the environment for civil society in Azerbaijan and an established ability to work with regional independent civil society.
DEADLINE AND TECHNICAL ELIGIBILITY
Please refer directly to DRL’s posted Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), updated in November 2012, available at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.
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.
An organization may submit no more than three  proposals (one per country/theme). Proposals that combine target countries and/or themes will be deemed technically ineligible. Proposals that request less than the award floor ($300,000) or more than the award ceiling ($500,000) may be deemed technically ineligible.
Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov by Wednesday, December 18, 2013 before 11:59 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 www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov 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 www.grantsolutions.gov.
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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Should you have any questions regarding the solicitation, please feel free to contact Erin Spitzer at SpitzerEM@State.gov. 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.