NOFO: DRL Holistic Mentorship and Support for Defenders in Exile

Deadline Date: April 10, 2024

Donor Name: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL)

Grant Size: $10,000 to $100,000

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting a proposal for a collaborative program that provides medium-term support to exiled human rights defenders (HRDs).

DRL envisions a program that would increase the resiliency of exiled HRDs, enabling them to continue to advocate for fundamental freedoms, despite forced relocation due to threats or attacks they have faced for their work.

The successful proposal will demonstrate the applicant’s ability to develop a holistic/integrated curriculum with activities that can be conducted via either in-person and/or online and personalized for each HRD based on their specific needs and/or location. Competitive applicants will demonstrate a proven trauma-informed methodology, and the requisite staff expertise in such programming approaches. The curriculum should address:

  • Increasing the resiliency of HRDs at both an individual and organizational level in order to better recognize, manage, and mitigate against the impact of stress and secondary traumatization related to work and displacement;
  • Increasing the capacity of HRDs to collaboratively develop and implement high quality, strategic advocacy campaigns or other programmatic interventions related to their specific human rights issues of concern; and
  • Increasing HRDs’ capacity to identify and respond effectively to changing threat environments that may otherwise compromise their staff, organization, and strategic effectiveness.

Applicants must demonstrate the ability support the participation of 20 HRDs annually, selected by and/or in consultation with DRL. It is anticipated that two cohorts of 10 HRDs will be supported each year with medium-sized grants ($35,000-$50,000). Applicants must also demonstrate strong, existing financial controls, policies, and procedures, including the ability to transfer funding in a variety of challenging operating environments. Competitive applicants will also- provide opportunities, for long-term/ongoing engagement for program alumni networking and solidarity, including through financial support.

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;
  • 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.

Funding Information

  • Total Funding Floor: $2,000,000
  • Total Funding Ceiling: $2,000,000
  • Anticipated Number of Awards: 01
  • Period of Performance: 18 months

Eligible Applicants

  • DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernmental 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.

For more information, visit Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

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