The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) has announced an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for Promoting and Protecting: Women’s Rights in Marriage, Free and Fair Elections, Rule of Law, and Marginalized Communities.
U.S. human rights and democracy assistance will contribute to a stable Pakistan by promoting governance based on democratic principles, respect for human rights, and peaceful coexistence. It will also provide for the protection of, and advocacy for, the rights of the most vulnerable, including youth, women, religious and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQI persons, as well as mitigate the impact of conflict on Pakistani communities.
DRL invites organizations to submit proposals for programs in the following areas:
Promoting Women's Rights in Marriage: $1,000,000-$1,500,000 for 2 years Many wives-to-be in Pakistan sign their nikah (marriage contract) without knowing or understanding what they are signing, inadvertently waiving their rights. There has been an alarming rise in marriage registers, imams, and families restricting a woman's right to divorce, mehar, or additional financial compensation. Possible program approaches could include:
Assisting with the enforcement of marriage registration laws, with punitive measures if relevant government personnel, Nikah Registrars, or others fail to register either marriage or divorce.
Working with local governments to create a Nikah Registrars' training, including standard procedures to ensure that all marriage contracts provide for women's rights and entitlements under the law.
Promoting Democratic Participation among in Newly Merged Districts: $1,000,000-$1,500,000 for 2 years Pakistan's newly merged districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have the lowest percentage of women and members of margitialited communities as registered voters across the country. Cultural norms and lack of access to National Identity Cards in these remote areas have hindered margjnalited communities' ability to fully participate in elections. Possible program approaches could include:
Training to support women candidates in order to successfully compete for their party's nomination to contest in general seats as well as reserved seats.
Increasing awareness among women and members of marginalized group of the voting process, the importance and benefits of voting, and how to register to vote.
Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution: S1,000,000-$2,000,000 for 2 years Pakistan suffers from an extreme backlog of civil dispute cases, which impedes the delivery of justice to citizens threatening the overall social, political and economic system in Pakistan. In addition, because of the stigma attached to women engaging the courts, many women fmd it difficult to access legal mechanisms that are meant to protect their rights. Possible program approaches include:
Providing free legal aid to socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalited populations utilizing ADR.
Creating a mentorship program for law school students to work with mediators in ADR centers, which will provide practical mediation and legal aid experience.
Training paralegals throughout the country to help aid women and marginalized communities in the ADR process.
Marginalized Populations Small Grants Program: $750,000 for 2 years: DRL's overall goal is strengthen local civil society organizations working to ensure equal political participation and advance and protect the human rights of marginalited communities, such as women, religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQI individuals, persons with disabilities, and indigenous communities. This program will have two main objectives:
Administer a local small grants program, including capacity building for local civil society organizations working to ensure equal political participation and to advance and protect human rights.
Engage with and support the strengthening of marginalized communities through smaller local organizations.
DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovemment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL's preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 UR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures.
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