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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Grant Proposals: Human Rights and Democratization Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The Office for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL/PHD) announces an open competition for assistance awards. Organizations may submit grant proposals that address programs and activities that foster democracy, human rights, press freedoms, and the rule of law in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Awards are contingent upon the availability of Fiscal Year 2003 funds. The Bureau anticipates awarding between 2-4 grants in amounts of $250,000-$500,000.

Background: The Human Rights and Democracy Fund (HRDF) supports innovative, cutting-edge programs which uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and build civil society in countries and regions of the world that are geo-strategically important to the U.S. HRDF funds projects that have an immediate impact but that have potential for continued funding beyond HRDF resources. HRDF projects must not duplicate or simply add to efforts by other entities.

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The Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor has identified the following issues and countries as priorities.

1. Support independent media and access to information. Inform population of legal rights and responsibilities. Enhance public awareness of human rights, democratic processes, through print, radio, television and the Internet. Support and advocate freedom of the press, encourage greater social responsibility in reporting, and protect journalists. (Countries: Angola, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe)

2. Judicial reform to strengthen rule of law and reinforce mechanisms to ensure accountability for human rights abuses. (Countries: Angola, Cameroon, Start Printed Page 48985Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe)

3. Develop and implement long and short-term strategies for ensuring free and fair elections; strengthen political parties, establish and support the work of independent electoral commissions and develop campaign training and overall support for political pluralism. (Countries: Angola, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda)

4. Support, strengthen and enhance civil society's capacity to advocate, monitor, develop or support human rights rule of law, and the democratic process, good governance or conflict resolution through innovative campaigns (Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda)

5. Increase national reconciliation in post-war countries through strengthened civil society and political institutions. (Angola, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan)

6. Sensitize men and women to the destructive and debilitating nature of female genital mutilation. (West Africa)

Project Criteria:

  • Project implementation should begin no earlier than March 2004.
  • Projects should not exceed two years in duration. Shorter projects with more immediate outcomes may receive preference.
  • Project activity should take place in Sub-Saharan Africa. U.S-based or exchange projects are strongly discouraged.
  • Projects that have a strong academic or research focus will not be highly considered. DRL will not fund health, technology, environmental, or scientific projects unless they have an explicit democracy, human rights, or rule of law component. Conferences likewise will not be highly considered.
  • Projects should include a follow-on plan that extends beyond the grant period ensuring that Bureau-supported programs are not isolated events.

In order to avoid the duplication of activities and programs, proposals should also indicate knowledge of similar projects being conducted in the region and how the submitted proposal will complement them.

Applicant/Organization Criteria: Organizations applying for a grant should meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. non-profit organization meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3). Applicants must submit proof of its non-profit status in the application at the time of submission.
  • Have demonstrated experience administering successful projects in the region in which it is proposing to administer a project.
  • Have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with in-country organization(s).


Organizations are welcome to submit more than one proposal, but should know that DRL wishes to reach out to as many different organizations as possible with its limited funds.

Budget Guidelines: Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

Deadline for Proposals: All proposals must be received at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Tuesday, September 16, 2003. Please refer to the PSI for specific delivery instructions.

Review Process

The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will review them for eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the PSI. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements.

Review Criteria

Eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. Further explanation of these criteria is included in the PSI. These criteria are not rank-ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation: quality of the program idea; program planning and ability to achieve program objectives; multiplier effect/impact; institution's record/ability/capacity; cost-effectiveness.

Some grants may be awarded under the aegis of the Father John Kaiser Memorial Fund which endeavors to advance the work and values of Father John Kaiser with respect to solving ethnic conflict and promoting government accountability and respect for human rights.

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The Office for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL/PHD). Please specify Karen Gilbride 202-647-1458 on all inquiries and correspondence.

Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

To Download a Solicitation Package via Internet: The Solicitation Package includes this RFP plus the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) which contains detailed award criteria, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. The entire RFP and PSI may be downloaded from the HRDF section on the Bureau's Web site at​g/​drl/​.


The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFP 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 and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements. Final technical authority for assistance awards resides with the Office of Acquisition Management's Grants Officer.


Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.

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Dated: August 5, 2003.

E. Michael Southwick,

Assistant Secretary for Democracy (Acting), Human Rights Labor, Department of State.

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[FR Doc. 03-20936 Filed 8-14-03; 8:45 am]