Monday, April 7, 2014

New Cuba grants: $4 million up for grabs

The State Department is looking for contractors to carry out $4 million in democracy programs targeting Cuba.
Grants range in value from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
Contractors must submit statements of interest by April 18. Both non-profit and for-profit companies are eligible.
Excerpts of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor announcement are below:
  • Advocating for Rule of Law and Human Rights should emphasize creating opportunities for professional capacity building and engagement, such as targeted training sessions, internships, short-term fellowships, or participation in international events or professional organizations. Areas for professional training/engagement may include, but need not be limited to: human rights monitoring; rule of law; frameworks and mechanisms for addressing human rights abuse; governmental transparency and accountability; provision of direct, non-profit legal or social services; civic education; political monitoring and reporting; consensus-building processes; elections and political processes; civil society sector development and sustainability; or public policy analysis as it pertains to and rule of law and human rights, advocacy, or reform.
  • Facilitating Free Expression should emphasize support for Cuban citizens and groups who seek to initiate independent civic activities outside of officially-sanctioned channels or frameworks. Activities could include, but need not be limited to, public awareness campaigns; initiatives designed to increase Cuban citizens’ on-island engagement with social and political themes; or support for the development of activities outside official governmental channels on the island, including civic and cultural events or programs.
  • Facilitating Free Flow of Information should emphasize support for free flow of information to, from, and within the island. Activities could include, but need not be limited to, training in established mass communication protocols and technologies; independent media; development of rapid cross-border information dissemination systems; or strategies to counter Cuban government propaganda and disinformation campaigns.

Activities that are typically given serious consideration for funding include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Concrete initiatives that reflect ongoing dialogue with Cuban civil society and demonstrate the capacity to operate effectively on the island;
  • Where appropriate, initiatives that emphasize capacity strengthening for Cuban civil society in developing effective outreach and engagement strategies for domestic and international audiences in both the short and medium term. Those opportunities may include increased participation in domestic, regional, and international networks; and improved capacity to implement conduct community engagement and advocacy;
  • Under initiatives that include external activities for Cubans, opportunities that prioritize South-South exchange and/or reflect the linguistic needs and capabilities of target beneficiaries;
  • Under initiatives that incorporate capacity-building, concrete plans that monitor the impact of increased capacity among Cuban civil society;
  • Organizational assistance to Cuban civil society to improve management and development, strategic planning, and sustainability;
  • Technical assistance that assists Cubans in accessing digital tools, including software, that is freely available in other countries with high speed and/or uncensored internet;
  • For purposes of facilitating implementation and improving monitoring and evaluation, baseline surveys or analyses amongst target beneficiaries and/or key stakeholders;
  • Comprehensive solutions to democracy development and human rights challenges on the island, which include partnerships with Cuban and international civil society and which reflect an innovative, multi-dimensional response to conditions and current needs on the island.

Activities that are not typically funded include, but are not limited to:

  • The provision of large amounts of humanitarian assistance;
  • English language instruction;
  • Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware specific to Cuba; 
  • Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
  • Excessively long external exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
  • Off-island activities for Cubans that are not clearly linked to on-island initiatives and impact;
  • Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues in Cuba, including programs aimed primarily at research and evaluation;
  • Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
  • Activities that go beyond an organization’s demonstrated competence, or fail to provide clear evidence of the ability of the applicant to achieve the stated impact;
  • Initiatives directed towards the Cuban diaspora rather than current residents of Cuba.

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