The U.S. Embassy Cotonou Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Department of State announces a Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI) from organizations interested in applying for funding for program proposals that strengthen ties between the peoples of the United States and Benin through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation.
PDS Cotonou invites SOIs for programs that strengthen ties between the people of the United States and the people of Benin through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation. All programs must include an American cultural element, or a connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.
Examples of PDS-funded programs include, but are not limited to:
- Academic and professional lectures, seminars, and speaker programs;
- Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions;
- Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs;
- Professional and academic exchanges and programs;
- Experiential learning activities (e.g. Model UN, Model Government).
Priority Program Objectives and Audiences
Project proposals submitted through this APS should address one of the following Priority Program Objectives:
- Shared Democratic Values: Activities that draw on case studies from both Benin and the United States to promote a better understanding of the value and function of democratic tools to improve people’s lives. Target audiences include: motivated youth leaders across Benin who lack a formal civics education; and/or youth and young adults active in their communities in northeastern Benin. (Up to three awards anticipated, maximum $20,000 each)
- Investigative Journalism: Activities that link Beninese journalists to American journalists or media institutions, and/or promote competition among Beninese journalists producing high-quality reporting on topics of shared U.S.-Beninese interest (e.g. the impact of climate change, effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance programs, diversity visa scams, human trafficking, etc.), in order to strengthen free press and journalism as an institution in Benin. Target audience: mid-career journalists. (One award anticipated, maximum $30,000).
- U.S.-Benin Partnership: Activities featuring popular American and/or Beninese artists, musicians, cultural figures, and other influencers in order to promote a deeper understanding of the United States’ long support for improving health and prosperity in Benin, as well as habits that lead to healthier and more prosperous lives (e.g. antimalarial campaigns, COVID-19 prevention, promoting U.S.-Benin trade, etc.). Target audiences include: youth and young adults who use social media or listen to radio as their primary source of information; and/or educated urban adults unaware of U.S. initiatives to support Benin’s development. (One to three awards anticipated, maximum $15,000 each).
- Skills for Success: Activities to promote learning American English, especially through soft skills (such as resume writing, digital communications, basic financial literacy, public speaking, entrepreneurial skills) and digital literacy, drawing on American and Beninese examples, in order to encourage successful participation in the global economy. Applicants are strongly encouraged to partner with English Clubs, American Spaces, or U.S. exchange program alumni to conduct these activities. Target audiences include: underemployed and unemployed youth who will soon complete or have completed formal education; female microentrepreneurs; and/or graduate/undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math with a strong interest in improving their English or pursuing graduate study in the United States. (One to three awards anticipated, $20,000 each)
- Length of performance period: 6 to 12 months
- Number of awards anticipated: varies (dependent on amounts)
- Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $20,000
- Total available funding: $128,000 (Anticipated Subject to Availability of Funds)
The Public Diplomacy Section encourages applications from U.S. and Beninese:
- Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/nongovernmental organizations with programming experience;
- Non-profit or governmental educational institutions;
- Governmental institutions.
- For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.