Request for Applications No. P4767-2021-05

LINKING, ADVOCATING, COLLABORATING: SUPPORT TO CSO REFORM INITIATIVES

(Support Issue-Based Civic Initiatives on National, Regional, and Local Level)

Pact is a leader in building the capacity of non-government organizations, networks, and intermediary organizations. Pact’s mission is to help build strong communities globally that provide people with an opportunity to earn a dignified living, raise healthy families and participate in democratic life. Pact achieves this by strengthening the organizational and technical capacity of grassroots organizations, coalitions, and networks, and by forging linkages between government, business, and citizens to achieve social, economic, and environmental justices.

This Request for Applications (RFA) is part of the Enhance Non-Governmental Actors and Grassroots Engagement Activity funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in Ukraine by Pact (USAID/ENGAGE). The purpose of USAID/ENGAGE is to increase citizen awareness of and engagement in civic activities at the national, regional, and local level. More detailed USAID/ENGAGE Activity description can be found here.

Background

USAID/ENGAGE aims at fostering effective national, regional, and local civic coalitions and initiatives to promote democratic reforms. ENGAGE activities include supporting national CSOs in their efforts to engage and integrate local-level counterparts as well as local and regional activists and organizations to address local issues and influence national-level policies.

USAID/ENGAGE provides support to CSOs and informal civic initiatives to establish mechanisms for cooperation between civil society and government entities, build multi-level networks, and conduct oversight and monitoring through issue-based grants. Issue-based grants will be provided for moving forward the agenda of the reforms including anti-corruption, rule of law, decentralization, civic education, government accountability and transparency, electoral process, inclusive development (of persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons (IDPs), lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) and other vulnerable groups), EU integration, and other topics that are important to citizens and CSOs.

Goal of the Request for Applications

The goal of this RFA is to foster effective national, regional, and local civic coalitions and initiatives to promote democratic reforms through support of advocacy, networking, civic education, and private sector engagement activities. Different types of projects are expected under the different lots of this RFA to ensure tailored support of advocacy activities, relationship building, civic education, and private sector engagement.

This RFA is issued as a public notice to ensure that all interested, qualified, and eligible entities have a fair opportunity to submit applications for funding. Via this RFA Pact offers project support to established CSOs, as well as unregistered groups and informal civic initiatives.

Thematic Priorities

With this RFA, USAID/ENGAGE aims at addressing civil society’s challenges in extra-curricular civic education and reform promotion by supporting advocacy, networking, civic education, and private sector engagement, which build on ongoing and new citizen initiatives nationwide.

In the framework of this RFA, the primary priority themes will include (but will not be limited to):

  • anti-corruption
  • civic education
  • government accountability and transparency
  • electoral process
  • decentralization
  • the rule of law
  • EU integration
  • Environment
  • public health
  • other topics of interest to citizens.

Under this RFA, support for networks and coalitions is a priority for USAID/ENGAGE that seeks to link national, regional, and local civic initiatives throughout Ukraine, as well as support increased levels of information sharing and the development of joint initiatives among local CSOs and new grassroots civic initiatives, via a ‘bottom up’ approach to coalition and network building. Thus, special focus will be made on projects, supporting coalitions of organizations in their efforts to foster the reform progress on regional and local level.

Activities to be supported under this RFA need to demonstrate ability to leverage financial and in-kind contributions from the private sector, citizens, or the government. Proposed activities should include sustainability plans which articulate how activity or activity results will continue after initial support is received. Activities which demonstrate actual or potential opportunities for public-private partnerships will be prioritized for funding.

Geographic Area

USAID/ENGAGE will provide support to national, regional, or local organizations and coalitions, including established CSOs, as well as unregistered groups and informal civic initiatives nationwide, prioritizing those providing activities in the South and East of Ukraine, including in USAID/ENGAGE focus oblasts (Kharkiv, Kherson, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia).

Description of the RFA Tracks

USAID/ENGAGE offers project support to national, regional, or local organizations and coalitions, including established CSOs and unregistered groups and informal civic initiatives, through full and open competition comprised of four Tracks:

Track 1: USAID/ENGAGE is soliciting CSO initiatives to conduct issue-based policy advocacy, civic oversight, and watchdog activities of the progress of the reforms, awareness raising about the reforms and progress in their implementation.

Objectives of the Track:

  • Implement effective civic advocacy and oversight campaigns.
  • Include issues advocated for by civil society in government policies and legislation.
  • Institutionalize CSO and citizen feedback mechanisms at national and local levels.
  • Increase civic engagement in anti-corruption efforts.

Illustrative activities:

  • Ensuring citizen engagement and communication between various stakeholders in policy-drafting and advocacy for necessary policy changes on national and regional levels.
  • Public awareness, strategic communication campaigns for reforms and progress in their implementation.
  • Civic oversight campaigns engaging citizens to the monitoring of the progress of the reforms.
  • Community-led initiatives targeted at increasing civic engagement in anti-corruption efforts.
  • Promoting inclusive development and making all voices heard for ensuring inclusivity in the reforms process including engagement of vulnerable groups and youth into policy dialogue.
  • Community-led initiatives targeted at enhancing the scope of regional and local outreach to engage a wider range of constituents.
  • Initiatives aimed at development of citizen feedback mechanisms at the regional level.

Expected results:

Upon completion of the proposed project, applicants will have to demonstrate achievement of some or most of the following results:

  • Effective civic advocacy and oversight campaigns implemented.
  • Issues advocated by civil society included in government policies and legislation.
  • Increased civic awareness of corruption.
  • Institutionalized CSO and citizen feedback mechanisms at national and local levels.
  • Increased civic engagement in anti-corruption efforts.
  • Improved constituent outreach of CSOs.
  • Increased use of ICT by CSOs to share information and engage constituents.
  • CSOs’ ability to constructively engage with traditional and social media institutionalized.
  • Increased citizen awareness and understanding of government reforms.
  • Increased citizen awareness of role and importance of civil society organizations.
  • Improved public trust in CSOs.
  • Improved organizational capacity of anti-corruption CSOs.

Track 2: USAID/ENGAGE is soliciting CSO initiatives to establish and strengthen national and local horizontal networking, cross-regional collaboration, and CSO-local government collaborations to link national, regional, and local civic initiatives throughout Ukraine around USAID/ENGAGE’s overarching themes.

Objectives of the Track:

  • Foster collaboration among national, regional, and local civic initiatives throughout Ukraine around reform promotion.
  • Increase horizontal and vertical linkages between national, regional, and local CSOs.
  • Ensure CSO-local government collaborations for reforms implementation.
  • Increase civic engagement in national, regional, and local civic coalitions and initiatives.
  • Increase information sharing and networking among local level CSOs/ grass roots initiatives/ civic activists.

Illustrative activities:

  • Convening or strengthening issue-based or multi-issue coalitions and networks around reform topics of community concern.
  • Establish collaboration among grassroots CSOs and local government to ensure effective reform implementation.
  • Engage citizens into the advocacy or communication campaigns conducted by CSO-led networks and coalitions.
  • Organization of networking activities aimed at mobilizing local activists to join civic initiatives and connecting active citizens and volunteers with the formalized CSOs for joint projects.

Expected results:

Upon completion of the proposed project, applicants will have to demonstrate achievement of some or most of the following results:

  • Issues advocated by civil society included in government policies and legislation.
  • Strengthened horizontal and vertical linkages between national, regional, and local CSOs.
  • Increased civic engagement in national, regional, and local civic coalitions and initiatives.
  • Increased information sharing and networking among local level CSOs/ grass roots initiatives/ civic activists.
  • Improved constituent outreach of CSOs.
  • Increased use of ICT by CSOs to share information and engage constituents.
  • CSOs’ ability to constructively engage with traditional and social media institutionalized.
  • Increased citizen awareness and understanding of government reforms.
  • Increased citizen awareness of role and importance of civil society organizations.
  • Improved public trust in CSOs.

Track 3: USAID/ENGAGE is soliciting applications for extra-curricular CSO-led direct civic education and engagement and for traditional and innovative local constituency-building activities. The priority will be for those initiatives focusing on topics relevant to anti-corruption and democratic governance.

Objectives of the Track:

  • Increase citizen participation in extra-curricular civic education initiatives.
  • Increase citizen understanding of fundamental roles and responsibilities within a democratic society.
  • Increase visibility of creative approaches to increasing civic education among Ukrainian citizens.
  • Develop sustainable framework for delivery of informal civic education initiatives.
  • Increase civic awareness of corruption.

Illustrative activities:

  • Mentoring support and trainings to grassroots activists focused on raising awareness regarding issues of anti-corruption.
  • Rolling out fellowship programs for youth raising their awareness of good governance and conscious electoral choice.
  • Linking different civic education actors, both from civil society and public sector, around joint initiatives.
  • Support to public service announcements.
  • Outreach initiatives to under-represented and marginalized groups at the national and local level.
  • Developing platforms for long-lasting and goal-oriented networking among formal and informal civic education CSO partners.
  • Conducting creative and innovative engagement by organizing respective events at the grassroots level.
  • Piloting innovative informal civic education tools and methods.

Expected results:

Upon completion of the proposed project, applicants will have to demonstrate achievement of some or most of the following results:

  • Established public and private partnerships built around civic initiatives.
  • Increased citizen understanding of fundamental roles and responsibilities within a democratic society.
  • Increased civic awareness of corruption.
  • Increased civic engagement in anti-corruption efforts.
  • Increased citizen participation in extracurricular civic education initiatives.
  • Increased availability of sector specific, practicum modules to supplement formal civic education.
  • Increased visibility of creative approaches to increasing civic education among Ukrainian citizens.
  • Improved constituent outreach of CSOs.
  • Increased use of ICT by CSOs to share information and engage constituents.
  • CSOs’ ability to constructively engage with traditional and social media institutionalized.
  • Increased citizen awareness and understanding of government reforms.
  • Increased citizen awareness of role and importance of civil society organizations.
  • Improved public trust in CSOs.

Track 4: USAID/ENGAGE is soliciting applications to support local partnerships between CSOs and local private sector actors. USAID/ENGAGE also will consider matching support to CSO projects that have already mobilized at least 30% domestic resources via direct monetary, in-kind, crowdfunded, or other domestic sources of income.

Objectives of the Track:

  • Increase financial readiness of advocacy and watchdog CSOs to implement their programs.
  • Support civic initiatives which involve public and private partnership opportunities.
  • Support civic initiatives which leverage financial or in-kind contributions from sources other than USAID/ENGAGE prioritized for support.

Illustrative activities:

  • Organizing the environmental or inclusion campaigns and activities in partnership with private sector actors.
  • Conducting fundraising campaigns for projects of social importance.
  • Establishing partnerships between CSOs and local private sector actors around issues of community concerns.

Expected results:

Upon completion of the proposed project, applicants will have to demonstrate achievement of some or most of the following results:

  • Established public and private partnerships built around civic initiatives.
  • Increased citizen awareness of role and importance of civil society organizations
  • Improved public trust in CSOs.
  • Increased financial readiness of advocacy and watchdog CSOs.
  • Partnerships between relevant government bodies, private and civic sectors committed to advancement of civic education initiatives created.

All applications under this track must:

  • Emphasize and increase active citizen participation in democratic decision-making, turning more passive awareness into active engagement.
  • Not only build on existing experiences and relationships but also show clear intention to embark on unexplored paths to address unmet needs, especially by reaching vulnerable and marginalized constituencies.
  • Leverage financial and in-kind contributions from the private sector, citizens, or, when practical and not presenting a conflict of interest, the government.
  • Include sustainability plans that articulate and evidence the legacy of activities after USAID/ENGAGE support ends.
  • Demonstrate with evidence opportunities for or prior-established public-private partnerships.

Eligibility:

  • Via this RFA, Pact offers project support to established CSOs, as well as unregistered groups and informal civic initiatives;
  • As part of this competition, Pact cannot award grants to business organizations, political parties, government institutions, or individuals.
  • Applicants must have a DUNS* number (a nine-digit identification number required for all procurement-related activities);

Selection Criteria:

  • Relevance to the stated goals of the RFA and feasibility of program design;
  • Demonstrated ability of constituency outreach and citizen engagement, as well as ability to mobilize and involve a wide range of non-governmental stakeholders, including in USAID/ENGAGE focus oblasts (Kharkiv, Kherson, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia);
  • Feasibility of proposed indicator targets and the plan to use the data for reflection and learning;
  • Feasibility of the terms and the schedule of the project implementation;
  • The evidence opportunities for or prior-established public-private partnerships;
  • Demonstrated ability of leveraging financial and in-kind contributions from the private sector, citizens, or, when practical and not presenting a conflict of interest, the government;
  • Ability to achieve sustainable results that will last beyond the project period.

Tentative Duration of the Grants: up to 18 months.  Independent of their start date, all proposed projects must end before June 30, 2023.

Grant Amount: average grant amount is up to $50,000. Outstanding ideas may receive bigger financial support if they are reasonable and well-justified.

The future agreements will be signed in Ukrainian currency, UAH, so applicants should submit their budgets in UAH.

Please note! Pact makes payments to its subawardees only via wire transfer, so unregistered groups and informal civic initiatives should apply for this competition in partnership/consortium with an officially registered CSO that agrees to administer the initiative’s funds.

Deadline for Submission of the Applications

Upon availability of funding, selection of awards will be made on a quarterly basis in four cycles (September 2021, December 2021, March 2022, June 2022).  To be considered within these cycles, applications must be submitted by September 25, 2021, at 24:00 Kyiv time, December 15, 2021, at 24:00 Kyiv time, March 15, 2022, at 24:00 Kyiv time, June 15, 2022, at 24:00 Kyiv time, correspondingly.

Applications submitted after June 15, 2022, at 24:00 Kyiv time will not be reviewed.

Application Process

Submit completed applications by e-mail to grants.engage@pactworld.org with the subject: “Response to RFA P4767-2021-05.”

Important:

  • Applications must be submitted in Ukrainian or English.
  • An application should include a project proposal for one lot only (one application = one lot).
  • An applicant can submit more than one application.
  • A minimal acceptable application package should consist of the following documents: (1) application, (2) budget, (3) budget narrative, (4) SRRA Snapshot FORM for Subrecipients (either in Ukrainian or in English); and (5) (a) for registered organizations: proof of legal status; (b) for unregistered groups or informal civic initiatives: MOUs, support letters, guarantee letters, or other documents between the applying group and their CSO partner. The necessary templates should be downloaded by this link.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • Paper copies of the applications will not be accepted.
  • Applicants will be notified of the status of their application in writing by e-mail.

Review Process

Pact will establish a technical review committee that includes representatives from various company departments and external staff. All technical reviewers will be subjected to a screening process to eliminate any conflict of interest. Evaluation will be based on the criteria set forth above. Selection of awards will be made on a quarterly basis in four cycles (September 2021, December 2021, March 2022, June 2022). The review panel will rate applications and make funding recommendations to the program’s grants management unit.

To facilitate the review of applications, please use the application format provided by Pact.

Terms and Conditions

Standard provisions: The Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations as applicable will apply to these grants.

Permission for use and disclosure: By applying under this RFA, the applicant consents to the disclosure of the documents submitted by the applicant to the reviewers involved in the selection process. Please note that all reviewers are bound by non-disclosure agreements.

Disclaimers:

  • Pact may cancel the solicitation and not award any funds.
  • Pact may reject any or all applications received.
  • Issuance of solicitation does not constitute award commitment by Pact.
  • Pact reserves the right to disqualify any application based on applicant’s failure to follow solicitation instructions.
  • Pact will not compensate applicants for their response to the solicitation.
  • Pact reserves the right to issue an award based on initial evaluation of applications without further discussion.
  • Pact may choose to award only part of the activities in the solicitation or to issue multiple awards based on the solicitation activities.
  • Pact reserves the right to waive minor application deficiencies that can be corrected prior to award determination to promote competition.
  • Pact may contact applicants to confirm contact person, address, and that the application was submitted for this solicitation.
  • Pact may contact listed past performance references without notice to the applicant. Pact also reserves the right to contact other past performance information sources that the applicant did not list in the application.
  • By applying, the applicants confirm they understand these terms and conditions.

Questions?

If you have questions, please submit them electronically to grants.engage@pactworld.org.

The email subject line should read “Questions to RFA P4767-2021-05 – name of organization submitting the question.”

Questions to this RFA will be answered on a rolling basis. The Q&A document will be added to this RFA package and updated on a rolling basis.


* In line with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA or Transparency Act) you are required to obtain an individual DUNS Number to be the recipient of a U.S. Government-funded subaward. A DUNS number may be obtained online via fedgov.dnb.com/webform. A DUNS number is not required for application, but will be required for receipt of award. If you need a detailed instruction on receiving the number, please write to grants.engage@pactworld.org.

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