Human Rights and Democratization Initiatives in Iran

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Grant Proposals: Human Rights and Democratization Initiatives in Iran.

SUMMARY
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.

DRL seeks to provide grants to educational institutions, humanitarian groups, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals inside Iran to support the advancement of democracy and human rights. Due to current sanctions on Iran, United States Government funds may not be used for activities involving the Government of Iran.

Organizations may submit grant proposals that focus on promotion of democracy and human rights in Iran. While this RFP does not solicit proposals targeting concerns in other countries, DRL will consider proposals that include other countries when 1) for security or other reasons it is necessary to invite Iranians to neighboring countries, or 2) exposure of Iranians to individuals or groups in other countries is of direct benefit to Iranians. In this later regard, while DRL prefers new program ideas, the Bureau would consider ideas to expand current successful human rights and democracy programs to include Iranians.

Awards are contingent upon the availability of Fiscal Year 2005 funds. Up to $3,000,000 may be available under the Economic Support Fund for projects that address Bureau objectives in Iran. The Bureau anticipates awarding between 3 - 12 grants in amounts of $250,000 - $1,000,000.

BACKGROUND

DRL/PHD supports innovative, cutting-edge programs that 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 United States. The Human Rights and Democracy Fund (HRDF) supports projects that have an immediate impact but that also have potential for continued funding beyond HRDF resources. HRDF projects must not duplicate or simply add to efforts by other entities.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Taking advantage of limited special authority recently granted by Congress to advance democracy and human rights inside Iran, in 2004 DRL/PHD awarded its first Iran grant and the Bureau presently has authority to provide additional support.

Among other applicable legal restrictions, under the Iranian Transactions Regulations – 31 C.F.R. Part 560, organizations working inside Iran must seek a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before exporting or re-exporting most goods or technology to Iran. While we encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with current restrictions pertaining to Iran (many of which are available at http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sanctions/t11iran.pdf), applicants that plan to conduct activities or transport materials subject to sanctions under U.S. law are not/not required to have OFAC or other licenses at the time of proposal submission. DRL will work with those applicants whose proposals are funded to ensure that any required licenses are obtained.

Iran

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor is interested in supporting projects in Iran.

Our democracy and human rights priorities include but are not limited to:

  • Political Party Development: Projects that provide institutional capacity building. Projects should assist in developing competitive and representational political movements, help political movements participate effectively in elections and govern responsibly. Programs that establish structures of political parties to enable more representative internal democratic practices. Projects that work with political movements in their role as the opposition.
  • Media Development: Projects should facilitate operation of press, journalism, promotion of an open and free media environment, including use of new technologies, i.e. satellite and Internet;
  • Labor: Projects should support basic human and labor rights by assisting workers gain a voice in their own political systems. Such programs should help unions gain a greater voice in the reform process and assist members in the promotion of transparency and to participate more fully in political reform.
  • Civil Society: NGO development, networking, advocacy as it pertains to democracy, political empowerment and increasing overall citizen participation in the political process. Promote capacity building and/or networks of women or women’s organizations. Working with students/supporting student movements.
  • Human Rights: Projects that promote respect for human rights, including tolerance and the fight against discrimination in all its forms, advocacy training, monitoring and reporting on law enforcement abuses and combating law enforcement abuses. Projects that promote respect for women’s human rights and those of other disadvantaged groups.
PROJECT CRITERIA
  • Project implementation should begin no earlier than July 1, 2005.

  • Projects should not exceed 2 years in duration. Shorter projects with more immediate outcomes may receive preference.

  • Projects should include detailed plans for evaluation and assessment of impact; plans may utilize qualitative and/or quantitative methods and should address both project outputs and outcomes.

  • Projects should include a follow-on plan that extends beyond the grant period ensuring that Bureau-supported programs are not isolated events.

  • Project activity should take place abroad. 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 and human rights component. Conferences likewise will not be highly considered.
In order to avoid the duplication of activities and programs, proposals should also indicate knowledge of similar projects being conducted in the regions 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 USC 501(c)(3), or otherwise be able to demonstrate a capacity to administer U.S. assistance. Applicants must submit proof of non-profit status in the application at the time of submission.

  • Have demonstrated experience administering successful projects in the country/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 that have not previously received and successfully administered U.S. Government grant funds will be subject to additional scrutiny before an award can be granted.
NOTE: 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 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Wednesday, May 18, 2005. Please refer to the PSI for specific delivery instructions.

REVIEW PROCESS
The Bureau will review all proposals 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; program evaluation plan; institution's record/ability/capacity; cost-effectiveness.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT
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), Lisa Kaplan (202-647-1025) or Ramiro Martinez (202-736-7018) on all inquiries and correspondence.

Please read the complete 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
This Request for Proposals will appear on the Bureau's website at
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/ under Human Rights and Democracy Fund and on www.grants.gov. The Solicitation Package consists of this RFP plus the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI). The PSI contains detailed award criteria, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. The PSI may be downloaded from the HRDF section on the Bureau's website at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/.

NOTICE
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.

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




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