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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Proposals: Supporting Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law in Pakistan

May 19, 2014


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 for Pakistan


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 and human rights in Pakistan.

PLEASE NOTE: DRL strongly urges applicants to access or 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


DRL invites organizations to submit proposals outlining program concepts and capacity to manage projects targeting the following:

Strengthening the Human Rights Capacities of Provincial Governments (approximately $1,500,000)

DRL’s goal is to develop and strengthen the capacity of Pakistan’s provincial governments in Sindh and Punjab to promote human rights and responsibly address abuse of these rights. The bureau seeks proposals for programs that will 1) review relevant laws, legislation and other documents to understand the role and responsibilities of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights and the Ministry of Religious Affairs at the national level and their relevant departments at the provincial level as they relate to human rights; 2) use this knowledge to address current gaps and limitations by fostering and strengthening the relationships between the provincial-level Departments and the relevant human rights civil society organizations in each province; and 3) build a comprehensive working relationship between the federal and provincial human rights offices. Competitive proposals will 1) indicate an existing organizational presence in Sindh and Punjab; 2) focus on simultaneous engagement with both civil society groups and provincial government offices; and 3) include emphasis on women’s rights, religious freedom, and freedom of expression. The program implementation timeline should be at least two and a half years.

Human Rights Small Grants Program (approximately $800,000)

The bureau seeks proposals for a cooperative agreement that will develop and administer a small grants program focused on addressing human rights issues that impact local communities in Sindh, South Punjab and Balochistan. A successful proposal will illustrate how the small grants program will be advertised, outline the selection process for awards, provide a monitoring plan to ensure that program activities are on track and that change on the ground can be observed and reported, and describe how the organization will mentor the organizations that receive awards. Small grants should address areas including, but not limited to, multi-media messaging to promote human rights, advocacy for fundamental freedoms defined as freedoms of association, assembly, expression, and religion, mitigation of sectarian violence; and documentation of religious freedom abuses. No more than 35 percent of the budget should be allocated toward administrative costs. The program implementation timeline should be at least two years.

Improve Labor Rights to Enhance Protection and Security of Journalists (approximately $850,000)

DRL’s goal is to promote decent and safe employment for rural, district-level journalists and media workers. The Bureau seeks proposals for programs that will strengthen and/or develop a journalists’ trade union or non-traditional workers’ association to: (1) promote formal employment mechanisms, including access to social protections (e.g., health insurance, workers’ compensation, maternity-leave benefits, etc.) from the media organizations that profit from the journalists’ work; (2) address the physical safety and digital security challenges of rural journalists through services such as member education and training, awareness raising, advocacy, and safety funds; (3) overcome specific challenges associated with female journalists, especially gender discrimination with respect to employment; (4) organize and empower rural journalists to advocate on these issues with both media organizations and government agencies, while also encouraging meaningful and constructive bipartite and tripartite dialogue; and (5) provide ongoing advice and support to journalists and media workers needing assistance in areas including, but not limited to contracts, grievance disputes and legal representation. By strengthening organizational capacity of journalists’ and media workers’ associations, program outcomes may include: functioning mechanisms to more effectively engage with media organizations and government officials; robust rights, safety and security trainings; and development of a standardized basic contract for district-level journalists to use with employers.

Furthering FATA Reforms (approximately $800,000)

DRL’s objective is to ensure that the citizens of FATA are active and educated participants as the region implements the FATA reforms, as amended in 2011. A successful program will include a public education campaign that informs citizens of the reforms and how these changes impact democratic processes, rule of law and their fundamental freedoms and will educate citizens on their right to participate in the political process. The program should also provide opportunities for debates and discussions that connect populations with elected leaders and build citizens’ expectations for political participation. The program should also ensure that citizens are able to publicize when rights are not being upheld and use these incidents to help determine areas for future advocacy and reform. Activities should emphasize the value of civil society engagement in democratic processes and educate the general populace on fundamental freedoms, and its role in both holding the government accountable and protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens.

Promoting Peace-building among Religious and Community Leaders (approximately $500,000)

DRL’s objective is to promote engagement among both religious leaders and key community leaders in Pakistan toward an understanding of peace through tolerance, inter- and intra-faith harmony and nonviolent conflict resolution. A successful program will focus on dialogue and action among religious leaders and also including civil society actors, educators, and other influential community leaders; will address topics including a rights-based approach to women’s rights and coexistence among religious, ethnic, political and cultural groups; and will facilitate nonviolent resolution of conflicts and constructive problem-solving to address various community issues. The program should build relationships among religious and secular community leaders and educators to foster combined discussions and actions toward building peace in Pakistani communities.

Strengthening Journalism Programs in Universities (approximately $2,000,000)

DRL’s objective is to improve the reach, quality, and quantity of news and information programming by strengthening the journalism degree programs offered by universities. The bureau seeks proposals that focus on the long-term development and/or enhancement of journalism departments in universities based in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Northern Areas. The proposal should: 1) identify partner universities along with the rationale for inclusion; 2) include a needs assessment or provide the results of one that has already been undertaken; and 3) provide a phased strategy for curriculum development, training, and implementation. Competitive proposals will consider comprehensive journalism landscape including print, radio, television, and social media; demonstrate the ability to gain commitment from the highest levels of proposed universities to support the project; and ensure that curriculum development and training is tied to the provision of any necessary equipment. A competitive proposal will also include a detailed plan to ensure sustainability once the program is complete. The program implementation timeline should be at least two years.

Unless otherwise noted, all proposed programs must be at least 18 months in duration. Proposals must demonstrate awareness of similar USG-supported programming in Pakistan and how the proposed program would complement ongoing efforts. Letters of support from potential sub-grantees are recommended. Key program staff should have a permanent presence in-country.


Please refer directly to DRL’s posted Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), updated in November 2012, available at

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.

Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via or by June 30, 2014 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.

An organization may submit no more than two [2] proposals (one per theme). Proposals that combine target themes will be deemed technically ineligible. Proposals that request less than the award floor ($500,000) or more than the award ceiling ($2,000,000) may be deemed technically ineligible.

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

NOTE: In order to process final awards, approved applicants will need to register with


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 in Pakistan. 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 and/or . 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 non-governmental organizations.

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


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.

This request for proposals will appear on or and DRL’s website,


Should you have any questions regarding the solicitation, please feel free to contact Inna Pletukhina at; or Rozina Damanwala at or 202.431.9305. 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.

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