Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Proposals: Protecting Human Rights and Increasing Community Engagement in Burma.
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 citizen engagement in Burma.
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 an 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 targeting the following issues:
Burma (approximately $890,000 available)
To promote increased democratic and human rights in Burma’s fluid political environment, DRL seeks proposals that improve human rights protections and increase community engagement in democratic and economic decision-making. DRL’s overarching goal is an empowered, broad-based civil society which presses for social inclusion in decision making to further Burma’s democratic and economic transitions; we support programs which provide technical/informational support, increase citizen participation, and offer subgrant opportunities for civil activists and local communities to implement activities across Burma. DRL seeks to fund two distinct programs: 1) Empowered and increased citizen engagement in Burma’s economic development, and 2) Building constituencies for religious diversity and tolerance.
1. Empowered and increased citizen engagement in Burma’s economic development (approximately $395,000 available). In the context of increased investment by international financial institutions (IFIs), governments, and the domestic and international private sector corporations, informed and strategic advocacy by Burmese peoples is needed. DRL seeks proposals with activities that will:
a. Assist communities understand and participate in human rights, social, and environmental impact and risk assessment consultation processes, and assist communities track and analyze information so they can hold government and businesses accountable to international standards of responsible business and investment practices.
b. Help economic activists and local communities leverage upcoming political events, such as Burma’s Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 2015 Parliamentary elections, to promote inclusive economic development.
c. Assist communities and community advocates to understand the economic forces that influence their communities, for example: international and national trade and investment laws, economic and development and economic transition practices, potential return of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, land laws, and solutions to the problem of confiscated land.
d. Increase skills needed for informed advocacy on economic issues. Programs should include: skill-building to help communities and activists effectively advocate their positions on economic issues to governments, international media, and private corporations, and how to avail themselves of international mechanisms for redress, remediation, and monitoring. Proposals should discuss the methods of imparting skills to activists and community leaders including a variety of advocacy strategies, tactics, and techniques of strategic nonviolent action, meant to increase community involvement on economic development and investment projects in Burma.
2. Building constituencies for religious diversity and tolerance (approximately $495,000 available). DRL seeks proposals that support government officials and local communities with conflict adjudication and resolution tools, and skills to build constituencies in support of a diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. DRL seeks proposals with activities that:
a. Support grassroots conflict resolution activities involving civil society, government officials, religious and community leaders, women, and youth in ways that bridge ethnic and religious divides and increase tolerance and acceptance. This could include developing networks of trained conflict resolution specialists to conduct activities in their communities.
b. Work with government officials and local communities to design ways to recognize and alleviate community tension before it escalates into violence, including, but not limited to, communication strategies and skills. Activities could also address the after-effects of communal violence and the rebuilding of social fabric and community institutions.
c. Promote mutual respect through awareness activities meant to increase understanding and acceptance about the diversity of peoples in Burma; this could be at local levels and/or larger national campaign efforts to promote tolerance and respect for all individuals.
d. Develop the capacity of local civil society organizations to document abuses and violence through sound methodology and to subsequently liaise with government authorities to end them. Program activities could include capacity building with organizations on representation and negotiation, skills for local and international media outreach, as well as the use of strategic nonviolent action.
For both program areas, competitive proposals will: 1) Foster linkages between civil society organizations and relevant government officials; 2) Foster linkages between activists and communities in the core and peripheral areas of the country, and activists representing a variety of issues; 3) Include a variety of ethnic, national, religious groups, and Burmese populations in program activities and leadership opportunities; 4) Incorporate women in training and leadership development; 5) Demonstrate flexibility by discussing how proposed activities can expand or contract under changing political conditions; 6) Prioritize working with a variety of local actors, while identifying how the program will not overwhelm existing absorptive capacity of organizations; 7) Include an output- and outcome-driven program with a strong monitoring and evaluation plan; 8) Outline how your organization will select and vet government officials participating in program activities; and 9) If working in Burma, organizations should discuss how this proposal complements or expands upon existing projects.
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 two  proposals; organizations choosing to address objectives in two program areas must submit separate proposals.
Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) Arrive electronically via www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov by Friday, April 25, 2014 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 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.
The Bureau anticipates awarding grants in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2014 (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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Should you have questions regarding the solicitation, please contact Linnea Beatty at BeattyLM@state.gov and 202-632-2065, or Jennifer Cohen at CohenJM2@state.gov and 202-261-8129. 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.