2019 MEPI Local Grants Program to bring Positive Change in MENA Region

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Deadline: 21 May 2019

Applications are now open for 2019 Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Local Grants Program to foster meaningful and effective partnerships between citizens, civil society, the private sector, and governments to resolve local challenges and promote shared interests in the areas of participatory governance and economic opportunity and reform.

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Focusing on promoting stability and prosperity in the region, MEPI supports partnerships through projects that are responsive to emerging opportunities by being field-driven, applying evidence-based decision-making, and designing results-oriented projects.

The MEPI Local Grants Program seeks projects that build links between and among citizens, civil society, government, and the private sector, and are responsive to emerging opportunities at the local level in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The program supports projects that align with U.S. foreign policy goals and promote U.S. interests in the region, enhancing stability, and increasing prosperity across MENA.

Objectives

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Its objectives are to support civil society organizations in

  • developing, promoting, and implementing locally-designed solutions to self-identified environmental, economic, or social problems;
  • promoting inclusive economic growth that reaches marginalized communities, youth, and women;
  • advancing participatory governance through promoting citizens’ engagement and decision-makers’ willingness to work with citizen groups and civil society organizations;
  • improving civil society’s representation of the needs of citizens through collective action on the local level;
  • working towards gender parity in economics and politics;
  • increasing youth engagement in meaningful economic and civic activities; and
  • fostering innovative approaches to solving social, economic, or political issues.

Goals

  • Develop and promote locally designed solutions to environmental, economic or social problems.
  • Foster inclusive economic growth that reaches marginalized communities, youth and women.
  • Encourage citizens’ engagement in participatory governance and decision-makers’ willingness to work with citizen groups and civil society organizations.
  • Increase civil society’s representation of the needs of citizens through collective action on the local level.
  • Work towards gender parity in politics and/or economics.
  • Increase youth engagement in meaningful economic and civic activities.
  • Foster innovative approaches and solutions.

Priorities Area

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These grants are designed to support two priority areas of the MEPI Strategic Framework:

  • Participatory Governance: Enable civil society to effectively interact with government officials to increase responsiveness to citizen needs. Enhance citizens’ ability to actively participate in their governments and develop a more informed citizenry. Enable government officials’ engagement with, and responsiveness to, their citizens to resolve issues of shared concern.
  • Economic Reform: Enable citizens, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector with the skills and resources to provide economic opportunity, foster economic growth, and promote improved business enabling environments.

Funding Information

  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $6,000,000
  • Award Ceiling: $500,000
  • Award Floor: $50,000

Eligible Countries and Territories

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Project Design

In addition to the overarching MEPI objectives and requirements identified above, projects must meet country-specific project priority areas as outlined below:

  1. Algeria
    • Country Priorities:
      • Economic Growth: Increase youth employability through job placements and/or the creation of effective and sustainable businesses. Applicants should have established relationships with employers, demonstrated through a letter of intent or formal partnership. Sample activities under this priority could include but are not limited to:
        • Equip youth, especially in rural areas and areas with high unemployment rates, with soft and technical skills and place them in long-term employment opportunities.
        • Develop policies and procedures related to job-related training to align with identified market needs based on employer feedback and job placement outcomes.
        • Provide opportunities for targeted young entrepreneurs to start new businesses.
      • Support for Civil Society: Enable CSOs to reach out to both constituents and local and national government counterparts in order to increase citizen participation in decision-making processes and governance. Sample activities under this priority could include but are not limited to:
        • Improve membership representation, outreach, and public relations for targeted CSOs.
        • Strengthen CSOs’ communication and outreach strategies in interacting with government counterparts and advocating for policy goals.
        • Conduct advocacy activities to advance specific policy goals resulting in demonstrable outcomes and impacts during the project timeframe.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Projects must target at least one of the following populations: youth or women. Priority will be given to geographic areas outside the main cities and to MEPI alumni. Applicants must demonstrate the process of assessing the implications for women, men, and other groups of any planned action at social, economic and political levels in their project narrative through implementation and evaluation.
    • Specific eligibility requirements:
      • Eligible applicants include: Local civil society organizations, non-profit organizations, community groups, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, private sector organizations, and universities based in Algeria, which have obtained all required registrations.
      • Priority will be given to applicants who have previously implemented or managed international awards in an amount of at least $50,000.
  2. Bahrain:
    • Country Priority: Projects awarded under this announcement will support CSOs to engage in political discourse by representing citizen’s and youth’s needs. To date, youth have been marginalized in the political discourse, thus targeting increased youth engagement and meaningful economic and civil activities will also contribute to internal stability.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Proposals are open to all populations and policy areas.
    • Specific eligibility requirements: Partnerships must have at least one organization officially registered as a civil society organization, professional association, private sector organization, or academic institution.
  3. Israel
    • Country Priorities:
      • Economic empowerment of disadvantaged groups through advocacy, skills training that lead to job placement, regional cooperation, and industrial/tech zones.
      • Strengthening national security and policing partnerships with local authorities and relevant key stakeholders.
      • Building leaderships skills through non-partisan projects for diverse political and social activists.
      • Promoting awareness of rights and civic education within the Bedouin community, with particular emphasis on women.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Target beneficiaries will be from periphery communities and disadvantaged groups, as well as relevant key policy figures.
    • Specific eligibility requirements:
      • NGO’s or non-profit institutions including academia with headquarters based in Israel
      • Must be registered with the Israeli Ministry of Justice
      • Implementers of a MEPI Local Grant with a current MEPI project still under implementation by August 1, 2019 are not eligible to apply to this funding opportunity.
      • Applicants are encouraged to have at least two years of experience.
      • Applicants are encouraged to have existing private sector or government partnerships when relevant.
  4. Jordan
    • Country Priority: Projects awarded under this program must aim to improve communication by expanding government outreach efforts, improving civil society advocacy targeting local needs, and enhancing civic engagement across the country. At the same time, expanding economic opportunities for youth – and gender gaps in representation in the workforce – must be addressed in parallel to build the needed trust in government.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Priority will be given to projects that target disadvantaged areas including but not limited to:
      • Governorates in the South (Aqaba, Ma’an, Tafileh, and Karak governorates) and the North (Zarqa, Irbid, Ajloun)
      • East Amman and Central Badia (Amman governorate) Thematic areas can include but are not limited to:
      • Outlets for civic discourse;
      • Youth political participation;
      • Civic education;
      • Youth involvement in civic engagement;
      • Improved civil society advocacy;
      • Entrepreneurship, including the role of technological innovation in creating new opportunities; and/or
      • Career/job-skills training that lead to job placement.
  5. Kuwait
    • Country Priorities:
      • Building coalitions around priority issues with diverse civil society organizations; and
      • Promoting human rights for all groups including but not limited to:
      • Women’s empowerment;
      • Worker’s rights;
      • Treatment of minorities; and/or
      • Freedom of expression.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Proposals that target minority rights and that aim to engage citizens are encouraged. Specific eligibility requirements:
      • Non-profit civil society organizations (registered or unregistered) are eligible to apply.
      • Established partnerships with the government or private sector are encouraged.
  6. Lebanon:
    • Country Priorities:
      • Electronic governance or e-governance through the use of information communications technology (ICT) in delivering government services, exchange of information, communication transactions or automation of services and forms, and government-tocitizen (G2C) procedures.
      • Building the capacity of key national governmental institutions to combat corruption and improve transparency, and/or improving the transparency of their engagement of the private sector.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Proposals should target all areas of Lebanon and not be limited to one governorate. Proposals could include, but are not limited to, any sector of governance, including public sector engagement of the private sector through tendering and contracting. Projects should align with the following goals:
      • Promote stability by discouraging external interference, strengthening government institutions and processes, and supporting an engaged civil society.
      • Increase the government’s capability to respond to the needs of all people in Lebanon through democratic elections, functioning government institutions, and transparent processes.
    • Specific eligibility requirements:
      • Registered civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a proven track record of project delivery.
      • Public-Private partnerships are encouraged.
      • Applicant organizations should have a letter of intent, and later a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the related government bodies (Ministries or Commissions) they anticipate partnering with on the proposed project.
  7. Libya
    • Country Priority: Proposed activities could include, but are not limited to:
      • Encourage small and medium businesses to provide employment opportunities and attractive incentives for young women and men.
      • Design training and reskilling plans for the benefit of the unemployed young men and women taking into account the actual needs of labor markets and available jobs.
      • Conduct information and awareness campaigns on the value of work in all its aspects among young people, including blue-collar jobs, and the role of work in building the spirit of citizenship and values of self-reliance and community participation.
      • Raise awareness of the roles of girls and women in the workforce to build new generations empowered by the culture of equality and awareness of the rights of girls and women.
      • Design mechanisms for integrating young women into local development projects and raising the importance of education, employment, and participation of young women.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Priority will be given to projects that include women and/or youth as intended beneficiaries. Specific eligibility requirements: Applicants should demonstrate experience and innovative approaches to accomplish the activities proposed.
  8. Morocco
    • Country Priorities:
    • Foster inclusive economic growth that reaches marginalized communities, youth, and women: Proposals must focus on creating jobs, as well as bridging the gap between the education system and the job market, with a focus on areas outside of the major cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tangier.
    • Priority will be given to projects that focus on youth and women residing outside of major cities. Activities could include but are not limited to:
      • Promoting the creation of small- and medium-size businesses by providing technical assistance to address challenges to private sector development, including legal procedures, and difficulties in accessing finance; and/or
      • Improving job seekers’ skills and employability through technical and skills training that lead to placement in internships and employment opportunities.
    • Encourage citizens’ engagement in participatory governance and decision-makers’ willingness to work with citizen groups and civil society organizations: Proposals must be innovative, sustainable, and actively support increased dialogue between citizens, civil society, and local government with the goal of effectively addressing the needs of the community.
    • Activities could include but are not limited to:
      • Expanding local civic education efforts that promote transparency, public safety, gender equality, and a deeper understanding of citizens’ rights in innovative, measurable, and sustaining ways.
      • Increasing citizen awareness and participation, particularly among young women and men, of avenues of participation and communication with local government. This could include knowing who to contact for various services or educational information. Ideally, youth-led organizations would find innovative ways to engage youth on issues that matter the most to them, and provide innovative ways for youth to interact with peers and local government bodies.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Proposals should focus on areas outside of the major cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tangier.
    • Specific eligibility requirements: Applicant organizations must be registered with the Government of Morocco.
  9. Qatar
    • Country Priorities:
      • Strengthening Women’s Political Participation: Shura Council elections, which could take place as early as 2019, present an opportunity for women to engage in the political process. Recognizing these will be the first national elections in Qatar, women will need the skills to potentially participate as candidates or campaign managers, and increase their knowledge on the voting process and how to engage citizens on issues of priority. Proposals should develop innovative programs to engage and strengthen the skills of women to participate in the decision-making process, making use of the upcoming elections as an opportunity to partake effectively in political life.
        • Successful applications will focus on electoral and campaign skills development, voter education, young female leadership development, and other approaches to strengthen women’s participation in future Qatari elections and political life. Projects should support participation of women in various sectors of Qatari society.
      • Strengthening Women’s Economic Participation: Proposals for increasing female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on recent momentum and more effectively engage in business opportunities are encouraged. Proposals should focus on developing innovative projects to engage and strengthen the skills of women to participate in the business community and/or STEM fields. Potential project activities could include but are not limited to: strengthening women entrepreneurs’ budget and management skills; developing marketing, recruitment, and long-term business strategies for women businesses; and/or building a network of women entrepreneurs or STEM professionals engaged in advocating for priority issues.
        • Successful applications will not rely solely on training. Instead, where appropriate, training should be used as a mechanism to address a larger priority issue or issues detailed in the proposal. While not required, projects are encouraged to engage with young women as future leaders.
        • As an outcome, Qatari women will strengthen their skills to participate in political and economic processes either as future Shura council candidates, campaign managers, or business leaders. These projects will help highlight Qatar’s position in the region as a country actively committed to women’s political and economic empowerment.
    • Specific eligibility requirements:
      • Project applications are open to all Qatari civil society, non-governmental, and private organizations.
      • Applicants should have prior experience working in Qatar on the issues their projects are seeking to address.
  10. Tunisia
    • Country Priorities:
      • Transparency and Accountability: Projects will expand the government’s proactive provision and response to information. Projects will work with local organizations to help them participate effectively, claim quality services, and bring people closer to their local authorities by increasing the latter’s transparency and the former’s participation. Proposals addressing this priority would have two objectives:
        • Citizens and civil society have direct access to information about government institutions’ work.
        • Increase effectiveness and accountability of government institutions through improved access to information mechanisms and management tools.
      • Entrepreneurship: Projects will help create the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators leading to job creation by instilling an entrepreneurial mindset through practical and results-oriented approaches. Proposals addressing this priority should respond to at least one of the below objectives:
        • Participants design, implement, and carry out small, entrepreneurial projects that improve their communities or solve a need, giving them experience in selfstarting and project management that are critical to subsequent entrepreneurship.
        • Participants contribute to launching or expanding businesses through conducting final year internships within startups or by offering services to already established Small and Medium Enterprises.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus: Proposals should focus on areas outside of the capital.
    • Specific eligibility requirements: Applicants must be registered in the official Gazette of the Tunisian government. Applicants may also need professional development, but they have to demonstrate experience in successfully managing projects, have established management structures, official registrations, community support, and clear organizational goals and objectives.
  11. Yemen
    • Country Priorities: Proposals that focus on encouraging citizens’ engagement in participatory governance and improving decision-makers’ willingness to work with citizen groups and civil society organizations are encouraged. We encourage MEPI projects to develop and promote locally-designed solutions to economic and social problems, while being as inclusive as possible.
      • Activities may include, but are not limited to:
      • Promote a social and political system that adheres to agreed-upon rules and procedure on the local level.
      • Increase and institutionalize the participation of women, youth, and other underrepresented groups in the political transition process, political parties and other major stakeholders, and transitional governance bodies.
      • Organize citizen campaigns to engage the public in administering services such as education and security.
      • Engage segments of society in public dialogue over shared goals and vision for a Postwar political order. Identify entrepreneurial opportunities including the use of technological innovation in creating new solutions.
    • Geographic/Thematic Focus:
      • Proposals should come from as wide a geographic area as possible. Applicants should avoid focusing on any one region.
      • Gender equity is a key program goal, including in terms of outreach and representation, as is regional representation.

Eligibility Criteria

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  • Eligible applicants include local civil society organizations, non-profit organizations, community groups, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, private sector organizations, and universities based in Algeria, Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia, and Yemen.
  • NEA/AC is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its programs and activities.
  • NEA/AC welcomes applications irrespective of an applicants’ race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. We encourage applications from organizations working with underserved communities, including women, people with disabilities, and youth.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply online via given website.

For more information, please visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=315083

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