Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: Global Religious Freedom Programs

Deadline:  28 October 2016

The United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) is seeking applications from eligible organisations for a program entitled “DRL Global Religious Freedom Programs” with an aim to promote and protect religious freedom globally.


EAP Region

  • Malaysia Program: $400,000 — DRL’s objective is to address increasing interreligious tensions and the politicization of religion in Malaysia.
  • Indonesia Program: $400,000 — DRL’s objective is to leverage Indonesia’s traditions of tolerance to address restrictions on religion and persistent societal hostilities towards religious minorities.
  • Vietnam and Laos Program: $700,000 — DRL’s objective is to encourage reforms to policies, practices, regulations, and laws on religion in Vietnam and Laos to bring them in line with international standards.

EUR Region

  • Regional EUR Program: $450,000 — DRL’s objective is to have a direct and lasting impact in combating discrimination and intolerance on account of religion or belief in Europe. DRL will support projects that propose cross-border approaches and activities (in several countries); use traditional and new media to achieve the best project visibility; introduce other creative and innovative approaches; and build coalitions between important stakeholders (NGOs, host/transit communities, immigrant populations).

SCA Region

  • Sri Lanka Program: $500,000 — DRL’s objective is to empower civil society to press government and law enforcement to implement policies supportive of religious freedom at the local or national level in Sri Lanka.
  • Bangladesh Program: $500,000 — DRL’s objective is to develop an early warning system in Bangladesh that ensures communities and individuals targeted by government authorities, law enforcement, societal, or other non-governmental actors based on their religious beliefs are better equipped to respond to threats, mitigate violence, and provide adequate reporting on religious freedom violations.
  • Regional Central Asia Program priority countries include – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan: $500,000 — DRL seeks to support civil society in Central Asia as it plays a key role in advocating for human rights and ensuring accountability of state and security institutions. DRL’s project objectives are the following: (1) support the right to peaceful religious practice, including the right to participate in religiously-based organizations; and (2) prevent radicalization to violence as a result of human rights abuses, including religious freedom abuses.


  • Global Parliamentary training program to include focus countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia: $500,000 — Projects should seek to accomplish two objectives: 1) provide technical training to parliamentarians about how to use their unique position and powers through the legislative process to bring domestic laws into conformity with international standards on freedom of religion or belief. 2) Empower parliamentarians to create regional networks and work through existing regional institutional fora to engage oppressive governments and press them to change laws and policies that limit religious freedoms or discriminate against religious minorities.

Funding Information

  • DRL anticipates having approximately $3,950,000 available to support approximately eight successful applications submitted in response to this NOFO, subject to the availability of funding.
  • Applications should not request less than $200,000 and no more than the amount indicated for each potential program.
  • Applicants should include an anticipated start date between January 2017 – June 2017 and the period of performance should be between 18 months to 36 months.

Eligibility Criteria

  • DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment 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.
  • Applicants must have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in-country partners, entities and relevant stakeholders, including private sector partners and NGOs, and have demonstrable experience in administering successful and preferably similar projects.
  • DRL encourages applications from foreign-based NGOs headquartered in the geographic regions/countries relevant to this NOFO. Applicants may form consortia and submit a combined application. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant with the other members as sub-award partners.
  • DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on applicants that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards, and these applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.
  • DRL is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its projects and activities.
  • DRL welcomes applications irrespective of an applicant’s race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other status. DRL encourages applications from organizations working with the most at risk and vulnerable communities, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, members of ethnic or religious minority groups, and LGBTI persons.

How to Apply

Interested applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply at the address given on the website.

For more information, please visit grants.gov.


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