The Office of the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) seeks proposals in support of its goal of promoting prosperous societies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where education, specialized skill training, and an environment conducive to business development inspire innovation and
create a foundation for long-term economic growth and an internationally competitive private sector.
Through this Request for Applications (RFA), MEPI seeks to support organizations promoting sustainable economic growth for entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises; provide assistance to growing numbers of the unemployed, marginalized, and disenfranchised persons; and support those individuals and organizations advocating a more liberal and transparent economy in the Middle East and North Africa.
This RFA is consistent with President Obamas May 2011 speech on the Arab Spring, in which he stated, Just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of individual opportunity, successful democratic transitions depend upon an expansion of growth and broad-based prosperity. In that speech, President Obama referred to the importance of involving the people of the region in the economy:
The greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people
That energy now needs to be channeled, in country after country, so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street. Through this RFA, MEPI seeks to fund programming that will spur economic growth across the MENA region.
MEPI considers the following, long-term objectives critical to achieving this goal:
Entrepreneurship increases; A conducive environment for trade, investment and business development exists; and Merit-based employment of target populations increases MEPI welcomes applications from any registered U. S. or foreign non-profit organization; non-governmental organization; private institution; institutions of higher education (non-profit or for-profit); commercial entity; or small business with functional and regional experience in the areas of economic governance, organization strengthening, and entrepreneurship and workforce development in the MENA region.
Applicants should specify their key competencies in these specific areas and outline their regional and country-specific expertise.
Applicants may submit one proposal to each of the following program priority areas:
Economic Advocacy; Skills Training and Opportunities for Aspiring Professionals and Entrepreneurs; Support for Commercial Development Organizations in the Maghreb Applications should specify countries, activities, priority area(s), and partner organizations (if applicable).
Proposals should provide particular detail on how activities will contribute to building the capacity of MENA-based organizations and entities and, where appropriate, capitalize on womens and young peoples participation in the economy.
Applicants should indicate explicitly how activities will achieve positive impact and how outcomes related to economic growth will be measured.
Applications should present a realistic timeline and outline specific plans for how the activities will continue to have an impact after the award ends.
MEPI invites creative and detailed proposals that also factor in the contributions of underserved communities including women, people with disabilities, and youth as change-makers and contributors to economic advancement.
In all projects, supporting local leadership of activities is essential.