The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) has announced an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that support strengthening civil society in Sri Lanka.
DRL seeks proposals for programs that promote and enable space for civic engagement in Sri Lanka. Proposals should assess freedoms of association and assembly following the 2019 Presidential and 2020 Parliamentary elections, help strengthen the capacity for civil society to influence and monitor the role of the government, and provide targeted technical assistance to ensure resilient civic engagement in a closing space with government to ensure all voices are represented, including marginalized populations.
Program activities may include but are not limited to:
- Create new or strengthen existing networks of like-minded Sri Lankan CSO’s to improve their communication and coordination after the elections.
- Support Sri Lankan civil society organizations with organizational development, management, legal support, and other forms of capacity building, in addition to technical program support
- Support civil society to engage with elected officials and advocate for issues of key concern at the local and national level.
- Develop public-awareness and advocacy campaigns that can be implemented via multiple media and social platforms.
Where appropriate, competitive proposals may include:
- Opportunities for beneficiaries to apply their new knowledge and skills in practical efforts;
- Solicitation of feedback and suggestions from beneficiaries when developing activities in order to strengthen the sustainability of programs and participant ownership of project outcomes;
- Input from participants on sustainability plans and systematic review of the plans throughout the life of the project, with adjustments made as necessary;
- Inclusion of vulnerable populations;
- Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities;
- Systematic follow up with beneficiaries at specific intervals after the completion of activities to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.
Activities that are not typically allowed include, but are not limited to:
- The provision of humanitarian assistance;
- English language instruction;
- Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
- Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
- External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
- Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary per security concerns;
- Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building 3 for local civil society;
- Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
- Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.
- Award Ceiling: $950,000
- Award Floor: $700,000
- DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses.
- DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
- Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process.
- Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs.