USAID-Islamabad: Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment (“Transform”) Activity

Deadline: 27 May 2019

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is inviting applications fopr a Cooperative Agreement from qualified entities to implement the Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment (“Transform”) activity.

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USAID’s Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment (“Transform”) activity seeks to reduce the gender gap in economic and social opportunities between Pakistani men and women. This project will work primarily in the Newly Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (NMD/KP, the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), as well as other priority geographies to help women earn higher incomes, reduce inequality in economic and social participation, and reduce genderbased violence.

Program Objectives and Expected Outcomes

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Through Transform, USAID aims to empower women economically and socially, to reduce the economic gender gap and increase women’s access to information, resources, support, and institutions. The activity will engage men, boys, and community stakeholders to create an enabling environment that will support women in society and additionally reduce the incidence of gender based violence. The activity will also amplify the voices of women in their communities, and enhance their control over their lives at home, at work, and in society at large, and strengthen the role of women as peace-builders and advocates for stability.

To achieve this goal, this activity has the following three objectives:

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  • Increased incomes for women-owned micro businesses and women workers,
  • Expanded women’s economic, social participation, including in roles as peace builders in local communities, and
  • Reduced gender based violence risk through advocacy and community engagement, particularly with men and boys.


USAID envisions three primary components that support each objective of its new Transform activity:

  • Increased incomes for women-owned micro-businesses and women workers
    • Component 1 seeks to help women earn higher incomes through targeted assistance to womenowned micro-businesses and women workers in selected value chains. Higher incomes, including from less volatile sources, is one of the key results of economic empowerment. It enables women to generate additional financial resources to support their well-being and to reinvest in their own productivity. It contributes to reduced economic insecurity, household poverty, and national development.
    • Target beneficiaries will be the most economically vulnerable women in focus geographies, including in rural and urban areas. Micro-businesses and entrepreneurship represent challenging yet promising avenues for these women to raise their incomes and develop new skills in the process. Such economic ventures may include creating products, providing services, or reselling other products.
  • Expanded women’s economic, social participation, including in roles as peace builders in local communities
    • Component 2 seeks to partner with local communities to expand women’s economic and social participation, as well as their roles as peace builders. Economic activity takes place against a backdrop of legal, regulatory, and cultural systems and practices. These systems and norms can create or limit economic opportunities for women as well as shape the incentives for women to pursue them. USAID believes that local communities are therefore key partners in overcoming structural obstacles and attitudes that limit greater women’s participation in the economy and larger society.
  • Reduced risk of gender based violence through advocacy and community engagement, particularly with men and boys
    • Component 3 seeks to reduce the risk of gender-based violence through advocacy and community engagement, particularly with men and boys.

Funding Information

  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $19,800,000
  • Award Ceiling: $19,800,000
  • Award Floor: $5

Geographic Focus

  • This activity will have a special geographic focus on NMD/KP and KP. As conditions allow – or as opportunities become present – the activity may additionally be implemented in other geographic focus areas, including Southern Punjab, Northern Sindh, Karachi, and Baluchistan. Geographic targeting is expected to be flexible, adaptable, and ultimately undertaken in collaboration with USAID.

Key Issues to Address

  • Sustainability: USAID’s journey to self-reliance development policy promotes sustainability, which encompasses both the sustainable achievement of development results and the use of environmentally sustainable practices.
  • Gender: Among other findings and recommendations, USAID/Pakistan’s gender analysis (see Annex III ) for its 2018-2023 Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) noted that successful approaches to gender equality must focus specifically on gender-specific roles, relationships, social norms, attitudes, behavior, and balance of power.
  • Engaging the Private Sector: The private sector has a critical role to play in achieving sustainable outcomes. With a growing population and access to technology, private sector engagement is essential to find practical ways of making a fundamental difference in the lives of Pakistani citizens, particularly women.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Consistent monitoring and timely assessment of activities as well as the overall program are essential for successful implementation.

Eligibility Criteria

  • All qualified U.S. and non-U.S. organizations (to include the United States, the recipient country, and developing countries other than advanced developing countries, but excluding any country that is a prohibited source) are eligible to apply. Pursuant to Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 200.400(g), it is USAID policy not to award profit under assistance instruments such as cooperative agreements, and as such, for-profit organizations must waive profits and/or fees to be eligible to submit an application. Forgone profit does not qualify as cost-share or leverage.
  • To be eligible for award of a Cooperative Agreement, in addition to other conditions of this NOFO, organizations must have a politically neutral humanitarian mandate, a commitment to non-discrimination with respect to beneficiaries and adherence to equal opportunity employment practices. Nondiscrimination includes equal treatment without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and political affiliation.
  • Applicants must have established financial management, monitoring and evaluation processes, internal control systems, and policies and procedures that comply with established U.S. Government standards, laws, and regulations. The successful applicant(s) will be subject to a responsibility determination assessment (Pre-award Survey) by the Agreement Officer (AO). The Recipient must be determined a responsible entity in order to be awarded the cooperative agreement. The assessment will determine whether the prospective recipient has the necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls, and technical skills – or ability to obtain them – in order to achieve the objectives of the program and comply with the terms and conditions of the award.
  • The applicant is reminded that U.S. Executive Orders and U.S. law prohibits transactions with, and the provision of resources and support to, individuals and organizations associated with terrorism. It is the legal responsibility of the Recipient to ensure compliance with these Executive Orders and laws. This provision must be included in all sub-awards issued under this Cooperative Agreement.
  • Applications will not be accepted from individuals.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted by email at the address given on the website.

For more information, please visit

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