New Funding Opportunity - USAID Southern Africa "Promoting Human Rights in Southern Africa"

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa-Pretoria has released a new funding opportunity called “Promoting Human Rights in Southern Africa”, solicitation number 674-16-00001. Proposed activities should last between 12 months and 3 years.

Funder: the opportunity is funded by USAID, the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies, as part of its Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Strategy (DRG).

Eligibility: applications should be from qualified U.S. or non-U.S. entities, such as private, non-profit organizations, or for-profit companies willing to forego profits. Local organizations are strongly encouraged to apply.

Due date: November 23, 2015 at 9am Pretoria time

Questions due date: November 9, 2015 at 9am Pretoria time

Award ceiling: $750,000

Cost share: no requirement

Goal: USAID seeks applications for projects that respond to urgent or unanticipated human rights challenges or emerging windows of opportunity in the protection and promotion of human rights.

DRG’s Human Rights Division generally describes three pillars of programming that can support human rights promotion and protection. They will prioritize applications that explore ways to protect marginalized and vulnerable populations, conduct violence and atrocity prevention and strengthen the rule of law. USAID/Southern Africa is looking for approaches that strengthen the capacity of civil society to demand accountability of government to citizens, particularly through civil society networks and coalition building.

The following are illustrative of the types of programs that will be supported:

  1. **Environment building**: **focuses on strengthening the normative frameworks (laws and policies) and institutional architecture that help states respect their human rights obligations, as well as building the capacity of non-state actors to promote those rights, monitor compliance and demand accountability.** Examples include but are not limited to: (1) drafting and implementing laws, policies, strategies and safeguards that help countries meet international obligations and commitments; (2) strengthening the capacity of National Human Rights Institutions and human rights defenders; (3) supporting formal or informal rights education efforts; (4) efforts to ensure constitutional and legal frameworks do not institutionalize gender inequality or other forms of discrimination; (5) advocating for institutional safeguards that prevent development efforts from violating the rights of the poor, indigenous peoples, and others; and (6) fostering constructive dialogue and reform efforts around Universal Periodic Review(s).
  2. Response: refers to short- or medium-term assistance actions that can be taken to help mitigate the immediate impact of widespread and/or systematic violations or abuses, regardless of our ability to end them or “set them right.” Examples include but are not limited to: (1) protecting members of at-risk groups such as political opposition, indigenous peoples, populations vulnerable to human trafficking or forced labor, ethnic, religious or other types of minorities – including those based on sexual orientation or gender identity – through increased monitoring and reporting; (2) assistance for frontline human rights defenders who are under threat; (3) efforts to improve the safe and secure documentation of atrocity crimes and rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, to potentially support future accountability efforts; and (4) raising awareness and understanding of human rights violations by public and private actors in order to prompt a policy response and prevent further harm.

  3. Remedy: includes those actions that assist individual victims to access justice and efforts that help societies recover from past violations or abuses (i.e. transitional justice). Effective remedies may involve both judicial and non-judicial measures to provide redress to individual victims of human rights violations or abuses, and may play a role in broader accountability and transitional justice efforts. Examples include: (1) efforts to assist victims of human trafficking or gender-based violence with prosecution or other legal remedies; (2) support truth and reconciliation efforts in countries that have experienced mass atrocities; (3) support for strategic litigation such as cases seeking to compensate indigenous peoples and others who have been forced from their land; and (4) provide trauma healing for victims of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment

Reporting: the exact format for, preparation of, and timing for submission of all reports will be determined by USAID/Southern Africa at the time of award.