Democracy Commission Small Grants Program

Program Office:
Public Affairs Section, U. S. Embassy, Ashgabat Funding Opportunity Title:
Democracy Commission Small Grants Program Announcement Type:
Grant or Cooperative Agreement Executive Summary:
The U. S. Embassy Ashgabat Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U. S. Department of State

is pleased to announce that funding is available through the Embassy’s Democracy Commission Small Grants Program.

This program supports the development of the country's democratic institutions and civil society by competitively awarding small grants to nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and associations, to nonprofit civil society organizations (CSOs), and to independent local media organizations in Turkmenistan.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit joint proposals with another NGO, such as a regional NGO collaborating with a Ashgabat-based organization, to build partnerships and strengthen civil society capacity.

Background:
The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U. S. Embassy in Turkmenistan is soliciting Statements of Interest for grants from Turkmen civil society and independent media organizations that focus on one of the priority areas/themes specified below.

Applicants should pay close attention to PAS priority goals, program areas, target audiences, and geographic location when developing their proposals.

Statements of Interest, including the short budget proposal, cannot exceed three pages.

Note:
A specific goal and objectives for each theme are listed below.

Please ensure you pay close attention to each of the goals, objectives, and target audiences when developing your proposal.

Priority Themes:
1. Non-governmental organizations (NGO) capacity buildingThe Turkmen NGO sector is limited, and many NGOs lack essential capacities, especially in rural areas, that limit their impact.

The registration process is opaque, complex, and difficult to navigate.

Previous PAS-funded projects have focused on empowering cooperation between local governments and civil society, strengthening advocacy efforts and raising awareness on universal human rights, especially among vulnerable and marginalized populations.

This funding opportunity seeks to promote more inclusive and accountable democracy by addressing specific current challenges:
● limited knowledge of the importance of the rule of law, civic engagement, civil society, and advocacy; ● limited CSO capacity in strategic planning, project design and management, monitoring and evaluation, public relations and organizational communications, building partnerships, and organizational and financial sustainability, especially in rural areas; and/or ● limited cooperation between rural civil society and local government.

Project Goal:
Create strong, representative, and independent civil society organizations to hold government and all institutions accountable, deter corruption, and increased CSO capacity to respond to social needs in Turkmenistan.

Project Audience(s):
Potential and current urban and rural NGOs, including youth organizations, rural youth and university students aged 14-28, their families and community leaders, local and state government officials.

Project Objectives (Project proposals may address one or more of these objectives.

While these numbers are suggestions, grantees may select different targets as they see fit.) Within 12 months:
1) Increase the number of institutions engaged in the civil society sector that report making positive organizational changes.

2) Increase awareness of the importance of civil society career opportunities among at least 60 secondary school students or university students through activities like debate, advocacy, speaker programs, and rule of law and leadership programs 3) Promote sustainable civic education practices, engagement, and leadership involving a minimum of 60 high school students so that youth more actively and positively participate in civic, social and economic life and contribute to the development of their families and communities through long-term partnerships with governing bodies and local civil society organizations; 4) Increase opportunities for youth decision-making and contribution to governance through supporting at least 7 regional youth leadership initiatives on environmental challenges and/or governmental accountability implemented with local self-governments and local councils; 5) Improve access to public services in rural communities through strengthened partnership between civil society and local government bodies to support the needs of underserved communities; 6) Establish robust communication plans and strategies for at least 8 rural (or relatively low-capacity) CSOs to improve their skills utilizing traditional and social media for outreach campaigns, in support of program goals; and/or 7) Engage a minimum of 8 rural NGOs working with youth, women, and other underserved groups to develop better connectivity with each other and with local government bodies, as well as better-formulated strategies resulting from associated networking and mentoring programs.

2. Advancing Human Capacity and EntrepreneurshipThe economy of Turkmenistan relies heavily on external factors, contributing to the country’s economic instability in recent decades.

The limited economic opportunities and high level of poverty, especially in rural locations, led to mass labor migration, which caused additional socio-economic problems within communities.

The pandemic has presented further economic challenges.

The ability to speak and read English is an important first step to improve economic opportunity for individuals in Turkmenistan because it increases access to key information and opportunities in higher education, business, trade, and a host of other fields.

In addition to English language, it is essential to enhance entrepreneurship skills to expand economic opportunity and secure economic independence, particularly for vulnerable populations.

Previous PAS-funded projects have focused on strengthening English language, academic preparation and alumni development initiatives by providing beneficiaries with necessary tools and knowledge; increasing the level of financial literacy and business skills; and providing English-related training programs and vocational courses to ensure economic independence and self-sustainability.

This funding opportunity seeks to continue to support projects that strengthen the enabling environment for economic growth by addressing specific current challenges:
● high level of poverty in rural locations; ● insufficient number of academic slots in Turkmenistan; ● lack of English skills to successfully matriculate into U. S. universities; ● lack of core competencies and skills needed in the modern workplace; and/or, ● lack of economic opportunities and resources.

Project Goal:
To support socio- economic empowerment of youth in Turkmenistan through educational and professional development opportunities Project Audience(s):
Youth and university students aged 14-28, their families and community leaders, local and state government officials, alumni and underserved and vulnerable populations, especially in rural regions.

Project Objectives (Project proposals may address one or more of these objectives.

While these numbers are suggestions, grantees may select different targets as they see fit.) Within 12 months:
1) To strengthen English language skills and academic prep for at least 80 recent high school graduates (ages 17-21) to successfully enter university and create future economic opportunities.

2) Increase knowledge, skills, and available tools for at least 50 secondary high school students or university students through activities like debate, advocacy, speaker programs, entrepreneurship and leadership programs, 3) Increase capacity of at least 20 young women and men (age 18-28) from rural communities to improve entrepreneurship skills through providing training, mentorship support and/or internship with local companies; 4) Improve understanding of sustainable business practices through mentorship/speakers/exchange programs for at least 30 youth (ages 18-28) and small business owners to learn and apply innovative approaches in sustainable business development; 5) Increase awareness of at least 50 potential youth entrepreneurs on ways to use online digital resources or other new resources to promote their businesses through hands-on training.

STATEMENT OF INTEREST SUBMISSION INFORMATION:
FIRST ROUND Please follow all instructions below carefully.

Statements of Interest that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Application Deadline:
All Statements of Interest must be received by April 11, 2022, 11:59 p.m.

Ashgabat time as determined by the time-stamp when received by PASAshgabatGrants@state.gov or, for any submissions by Grants.gov, the time-stamp provided by Grants.gov.

This deadline is firm and is not a rolling deadline.

If organizations fail to meet the deadline noted above, their application will be considered ineligible and will not be considered for funding.

Each Statement of Interest must:
1. Clearly indicate the grant priority area to which it is being submitted for consideration; 2. Focus on the key audiences specified in the areas (i.e., women, youth, etc.), and note key geographic areas and other indicators of focus populations; 3. Clearly delineate how elements of the program will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant; 4. Identify specific outcomes to be achieved by the end of the grant period; 5. Provide a plan for program outcomes, including social media outreach and monitoring, where applicable; and 6. Provide an approximate funding amount along with a short budget proposal.

Content and Form of Statement of Interest Submission Please ensure:
The Statement of Interest clearly addresses the goals, audiences, and objectives of this notice.

Applicants may choose to use the attached Statement of Interest template (Attachment 1) to submit their concept paper application.

All documents are in English.

All budgets are in U. S. dollars.

Applicants are encouraged to use the Budget Proposal template in Attachment 1 to submit the short budget proposal.

All applicant authorized signatures are provided where indicated on the various required forms.

Statements of Interest, including the short budget proposal, cannot exceed three pages.

All Statements of Interest should address the following areas:
Explain the problem your project will address and why this project is needed.

Give a short summary that outlines your proposed project.

List your project goal and objectives.

The “goal” describes what the project is intended to achieve.

The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals.

These should be achievable and measurable.

Describe a sample project activity and how it will help achieve the objectives.

Describe the expected results of the program.

Provide a short, but clear overview of expected costs/expenses associated with the project activities.

Application Submission Process:
There are two application submission methods available to applicants.

Applicants may submit their application using Submission Method A or Submission Method B outlined below.

● Submission Method A:
Submitting all application materials directly to the following email address:
PASAshgabatGrants@state.gov.

Applicants opting to submit applications via email to PASAshgabatGrants@state.gov must include the Funding Opportunity Title and Funding Opportunity Number in the subject line of the email.

● Submission Method B:
Submitting all application materials through Grants.gov.

For those opting to apply through Grants.gov, thorough instructions on the application process are available at http://www.grants.gov.

For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 (U. S. toll-free number) or for international callers:
1-606-545-503 5. Technical support may also be available at https://www.grants.gov/support.html or via email at support@grants.gov.

Please note that PASAshgabatGrants@state.govn is unable to assist with technical questions or problems applicants experience with Grants.gov.

Full infomation is provided in the attached NOFO.

Related Programs

AEECA/ESF PD Programs

Department of State


Agency: Department of State

Office: U.S. Mission to Turkmenistan

Estimated Funding: $50,000


Who's Eligible


Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories



Obtain Full Opportunity Text:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-22-012.html

Additional Information of Eligibility:
The following organizations are eligible to apply: ■ Not-for-profit organizations, ■ Civil society/non-governmental organizations, and ■ Media organizations.

For this announcement, only organizations based in Turkmenistan are eligible to apply.

Organizations unique to Turkmenistan will be prioritized over local branches of international NGOs/CSOs.

Full Opportunity Web Address:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-22-012.html

Contact:


Agency Email Description:
Democracy Commision team

Agency Email:


Date Posted:
2022-02-24

Application Due Date:


Archive Date:
2022-05-11



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