U.S. Department of State announces Funding to support Religious Freedom in the EAP Region

Deadline: 28 May 2019

The United States Department is seeking applications for its grant program entitled “DRL East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Religious Freedom Solicitation 1: Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia”.

DRL’s goal for religious freedom in the EAP region is to promote diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and inclusive societies that respect the rights of all people.

Applications should propose specific approaches that transform the increasingly constrained environment for religious freedom, which fuels intercommunal distrust, hostility, and violence. Proposals should note how they will complement existing efforts in-country by the wider NGO community. Where possible, projects should address needs in underserved regions and communities.

“Religious freedom” refers to the right set out in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the freedom to adopt a religion or beliefs, change your beliefs, to not believe or decline to participate in belief communities, practice and teach your beliefs (which may include through publications, public and private speech, and the display of religious attire or symbols), gather in community with others to worship and observe your beliefs, and teach your beliefs to your children.

Proposed programming must be responsive to restrictions on religious freedom, and must be in line with the U.S. Government’s religious freedom, democracy, governance, and human rights goals.

Proposals should focus on the constrained environment for religious freedom created by official practices and policies that fuel instances of abuses and discrimination, intercommunal or intra-communal distrust, fear, hostility, or violence. Proposals focus on a single country.

Ideas for successful program activities could focus on one or more of the following, but are not limited to:

  • Strengthen education on critical thinking skills, equal citizen rights, mutual respect, and nondiscrimination among official leaders and decision makers at the local level.
  • Create advocacy and outreach strategies to address abusive laws, policies and government practices at national or subnational level to ensure that individuals are free to adopt a religion or beliefs, change their beliefs, express their beliefs (including through publications, public and private speech, and the display of religious attire or symbols), gather with others who share their beliefs, construct places of worship, and teach their beliefs to their children. This includes the prevention of discrimination against individuals and groups on the basis of belief or non-belief.
  • Engage government actors (judicial sector, security officials, parliamentarians, etc.) to advocate for revisions to restrictive religious freedom laws and policies to bring such laws into conformity with international standards. This may include forming or broadening networks or caucuses of government actors to promote religious freedom.
  • Educate judicial sector actors to be better informed about rights and protections for religious freedom under international law.
  • Expand the capacity of civil society organizations and religious communities to document abuses.
  • Monitor application of laws regulating religious communities and identity in order to compile suggested areas for improvement by policy makers and officials who interact with the public. Additionally, use this data to create constructive national and local advocacy campaigns promoting greater and more nuanced respect for religious freedom.
  • Engage individuals representing a diverse range of communities and viewpoints, including women, youth, and non-believers, to promote respect and coexistence, including outreach on how government officials can more effectively respect the right to religious freedom among diverse populations, and particularly members of minority groups.

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.
  • Inclusion of vulnerable populations.
  • Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities.
  • Systematic follow up with beneficiaries at specific intervals (3 months, 6 months, etc.) after the completion of activities to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.

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

  • 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;
  • Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
  • Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
  • Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.

Funding Information

  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $1,000,000
  • Award Ceiling: $1,000,000
  • Award Floor: $500,000

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.

How to Apply

Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on the given website.

For more information, please visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=314790

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