The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for a program to strengthen independent Cuban civil society on-island through improved collaboration with recently exiled human rights defenders, including artists, journalists and activists.
- Strengthen independent Cuban civil society on-island through improved collaboration with the recently exiled community of human right defenders, including artists, journalists and activists.
- To achieve this, DRL seeks proposals for a program to support recently exiled Cuban activists to navigate resettlement challenges and to continue work with their networks and counterparts in Cuba to rebuild and restore an active independent civil society on-island.
- Total Funding Floor: $750,000
- Total Funding Ceiling: $750,000
- Anticipated Number of Awards: 1-2
- Period of Performance: Minimum of 24 months
- Anticipated Time to Award, Pending Availability of Funds: 5-6 months
Lines of effort under this program will include:
- Administration of a small grants mechanism: Competitive applicants will outline an efficient grant-making process to support short-term, targeted initiatives to strengthen coordinated efforts between activists on and off island. Small grants should support on-island led initiatives but may also include timely international advocacy initiatives aligned with on-island partner efforts. The small grant mechanism must include an advisory board or other form of consultation with Cuban activists to foster collaboration, democratic decision-making and to inform funding decisions. Implementing this component may include, but is not limited, to the following activities:
- Conducting an outreach process to ensure broad reach and awareness of the small grant mechanism.
- Organizing the application and grant-making process for short-term, targeted projects.
- Determining criteria by which to evaluate the competitiveness of applications.
- Administering a selection process (to include input from Cuban activists and final approval from DRL).
- Issuing and conducting oversight of small grants to off-island groups or individuals
- The small grant mechanism should operate in a flexible and responsive manner, while still ensuring compliance with U.S. government regulations. Competitive proposals will demonstrate the applicants’ experience and institutional capacity to manage large portfolios of small grants, each requiring close oversight to ensure compliance and effectiveness. DRL will also assume substantial involvement in the design of the application process, selection of small grant recipients, and monitoring and evaluation of the small grants mechanism.
- Legal assistance and capacity-building for recently exiled human rights defenders: This component will support individuals and organizations recently exiled in their efforts to resettle and to resume democratic activism and advocacy for human rights in Cuba. Implementing this component may include, but is not limited to the following activities:
- Providing legal assistance to Cuban human rights defenders recently exiled to establish themselves in diaspora communities and expedite their resumption of democratic activism and advocacy for human rights in Cuba.
- Providing technical assistance to support organizing efforts among recently exiled human rights defenders and the professionalization of their work.
- When applicable, improving human, technical and financial capital necessary for long-term organizational strengthening, including financial and grants management support, accurate and timely progress reporting, and monitoring and evaluation; and
- Providing ongoing assistance and mentorship to small grantees in the implementation of their projects.
- The support to off-island human rights defenders and groups must align with their efforts to continue work with their networks and counterparts in Cuba to rebuild and restore an active independent civil society on-island. Pending successful implementation and availability of funding, this program may be cost extended in future procurement cycles.
- All programs should aim to have impact that leads to reforms and have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way.
- 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;
- 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.
- 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.
For more information, visit Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL).