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Judicial Reform in Uzbekistan Project Grants Program

uz.usembassy.gov/
24 February 2020

Judicial Reform in Uzbekistan Project Grants Program
Request for Applications (RFA)
No.: RFA-2020-001

 

1. Introduction

Tetra Tech DPK (Tt DPK) is the implementing partner for USAID’s JUDICIAL REFORM IN UZBEKISTAN PROGRAM (JRUP) pursuant to the authority contained in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, and in accordance with USAID Task Order No. 72011518F00005.

Tt DPK invites Uzbek non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to participate in a competitively – awarded small grants program.  The competition process will consist of two stages. During Stage 1, NGOs are required to submit Concept Papers (see Attachment 1 for instructions and template) in response to the Grant Objectives/Goals outlined in Section 3 and the eligible activities described in Section 4. If an NGO’s Concept Paper is approved by JRUP, the NGO is then invited to continue to Stage 2 and submit a full Grant Application.

The detailed process of participation is outlined in Section 8.

Tt DPK is not obligated to fund any of the applications submitted.

To be considered, the Concept Paper must respond to the submission requirements identified below as well as the goals and activities identified in Sections 3 and 4.

2. Background

Uzbekistan has entered a period of historic economic and political liberalization and is enacting a series of sweeping reforms in all sectors. Changes to the justice sector and the legal enabling environment for civil society are far reaching and there are new mechanisms for public input and oversight.  If implemented, these reforms will impact all those involved; citizens, civil society, courts, prosecutors, lawyers and judges.  JRUP is designed to support the justice sectors actors, citizens and civil society to further these reforms.

3. Grant Objectives / Goals

The overall objective of the JRUP Grants Program is to support legal reforms in Uzbekistan and increase access to justice for the most vulnerable populations. This objective can be achieved through developing and disseminating information on new laws, regulations and procedures relevant to civil society, support for free legal aid to citizens, trainings for legal professionals, and citizen oversight and public input mechanisms.

4. Eligible activities

To achieve this objective JRUP will implement a grants program that is locally led and uses grants to support Uzbek NGOs to embark on citizen engagement and awareness campaigns.  The organization’s work may include strengthening oversight and monitoring of delivery of justice at the local level, including outside Tashkent.  We will give special attention under the grants program to organizations that provide gender equality and serve vulnerable populations, such as victims of violence, individuals with low income, persons with disabilities, migrants, orphans, among others.

Grants activities may include:

  • Providing legal aid, including mobile legal aid clinics to rural populations and legal support to victims of violence (including domestic violence), persons with disabilities, vulnerable groups and individuals;
  • Training programs for legal professionals that serve vulnerable populations;
  • Training programs aimed at improving the quality of legal assistance including alternate dispute resolution;
  • Public awareness campaigns on new laws and alternate dispute resolution;
  • Non-government organization oversight and monitoring of legal reforms;
  • Other innovative and cost-effective programs to address priority rule of law related challenges and to promote access to justice for vulnerable populations including gender equality; or
  • Technical capacity building programs to support new and emerging civil society organizations and community groups in the rule of law sectors, exclusively in connection with activities in the above categories that support the overall program goals.

Grant applications may propose activities in one or more of the above categories but need not propose activities in all.

5. Duration and Location of Grant Activities

Grants will fund activities throughout Uzbekistan. Grant applications may propose activities in more than one region within Uzbekistan. Grant applications may propose activities up to 12 months in duration.

6. Eligibility

To be eligible for grant funding an NGO should have:

  • Past experience of working effectively to improve the rule of law, access to justice or protection of citizens’ rights in Uzbekistan;
  • A reputation for integrity, non-discrimination, and political independence; and
  • Sound financial and administrative procedures, and a clear commitment to further organizational development.

Applying organizations should have at least 12 months experience. However, an exception may be made if the applicant can provide sufficient evidence that the organization’s Director(s) have adequate prior experience and the applicant organization is proposing to fill a gap or address legal needs of a community that has been underserved in the past.

Interested organizations must attach a copy of their current Uzbekistan registration to the Concept Paper.

The following entities are not eligible for JRUP grant funding:

  • Political parties and their subsidiaries or affiliates;
  • Organizations that appear on the System for Award Management List, Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List, or the UN Consolidated Sanctions List;
  • Organizations that promote or engage in illegal activities or anti-democratic activities;
  • Faith-based organizations whose objectives are for discriminatory and/or religious purposes, and whose main objective of the grant is of a religious nature;
  • Host country governmental entities;
  • International NGOs and
  • Public International Organizations (PIOs).

In the event an organization affiliated with Tt applies for a grant, the employee(s) with the affiliation will recuse themselves from the application process.

7. Priority Considerations

Grant applicants are especially welcome to seek support for projects that:

  • Propose to expand rule of law services, as described in section 3 of this RFA, to geographic areas and populations within Uzbekistan that currently lack such services and that demonstrate high need for rule of law;
  • Demonstrate an innovative yet realistic approach to enhance rule of law in targeted locations on a sustainable basis;
  • Describe how grant funds will be used to increase the organization’s technical capacity (such as hiring of qualified administrative and/or technical staff, training of staff, engaging consultants to strengthen technical programs and internal technical expertise, and related areas), in addition to funding program activities;
  • Demonstrate strong understanding of the target communities and tailor approaches to the local population including addressing information channels, language, and literacy issues;
  • Engage with women and disadvantaged / vulnerable groups of population;
  • Demonstrate synergies, resource leveraging, and complementarity with other development programs in the geographic location including community and economic development programs; and
  • Build and improve on existing projects that are shown to have been effective.

 8. Application Submission Process and Schedule

For Stage I, applying organizations are required to submit a 5-page Concept Paper (in Russian DOCX 45 KB or English DOCX 43 KB) including an initial budget estimate according to Attachment 1.  Each organization can submit more than one Concept Paper.  The Concept Paper may be submitted in hard copy or electronically (via e-mail to JRUP-UZ.grants@jrup-uz.com). If in hard copy, they must be delivered by hand (in person or by courier service) in both hard and soft (electronically on CD) copies to this address:

Attention: Ms. Elena Semenova, “ARD Inc.” Representative Office, 29, Nukus St, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Upon receipt, Concept Papers will be reviewed and evaluated to the following six mandatory requirements in order to proceed into the next stage, which means to be invited to submit a full grant application:

  1. Does the concept address the objectives/goals of the grants program?
  2. Are the proposed activities reasonable in their scope, approach, and/or expected results?
  3. Does the proposed activity include a gender component so that, at a minimum, women beneficiaries are identified?
  4. Does the organization present proof of a minimum level of organization capability, especially as it relates to finances?
  5. Are the items in the project budget reasonable, allowable, and allocable?
  6. Is the organization eligible to receive USG funding?

Organizations whose Concept Papers meet the six mandatory requirements will proceed to Stage 2 and will be requested to submit a completed Grant Application and will have the opportunity to participate in an orientation Applicant Workshop in Tashkent. Those organizations whose Concept Papers do not meet the mandatory requirements or are ineligible according to the above criteria will be informed in writing within 30 days after the evaluation.

Request for Application (RFA) Distribution – February 24, 2020

Concept Paper Submission deadline – March 24, 2020

Concept Paper Evaluation deadline – March 31, 2020

Applicant Workshop – April 6, 2020

Application Deadline – May 6, 2020

Application Assessment – May 18, 2020

Evaluation Results – May 29, 2020

Grant Award Signing – Approximately July 30, 2020

9. Grant Application Formats (Stage 2)

Grant applicants are required to use JRUP’s format for the Application and Budget. These documents are required for a complete grant application.

General limit for application is 25 double-spaced typed pages, not including the budget or attachments.

10. Maximum Grant Value

All grant budgets should be expressed in USD. Each grant budget may not exceed USD 150,000. Grant applicants must submit budgets within this limit.

11. Grant Application Selection Criteria (Stage 2)

Grant applications meeting the requirements set forth above, and which include all required forms, documents and information per the proposal guidelines and instructions will be considered by a Grant Review Committee consisting of specialist staff from JRUP and USAID. The Committee will select proposals on a competitive basis. The Committee will meet and evaluate each application according to the criteria described below. JRUP will inform all applicants of the result of their applications.

The following selection criteria will be used to evaluate each application, with the different weight given to each based on the value listed below after each individual criterion.

  • Strategic Fit of Proposed Activities with JRUP/Scope of Work – 30 Points
  • Quality of Technical Approach Proposed in Application – 30 Points
  • Past Performance/Organizational Capacity of the Applicant – 20 Points
  • Gender/other technical focus incorporated into Technical Approach – 10 Points
  • Cost Effectiveness/Budget Realism – 10 Points

Budget

Costs will not be scored numerically but will be evaluated in terms of feasibility, cost effectiveness, and allowability (e.g., reasonable, allocable, and necessary for project activities).  Proposals that maximize direct activity costs and that minimize administrative costs will be more favorably considered, if all other factors are equal.

Terms of Payment

Payment will be made depending on the results of the mandatory pre-award survey, which JRUP will conduct on short-listed grantees.

Grant Cancellation

Any Grant Agreement may be terminated at the discretion of JRUP based on violations of any material terms in the Grant Agreement by the grantee or as a result of the reduction of funding from USAID. Further, USAID retains the right to terminate any grant activity unilaterally in extraordinary circumstances.

Certifications

If awarded a grant, the applicant will be required to sign the mandatory certifications as a precondition for receiving a grant.

DUNS and SAM Registration

For grants above $25,000, JRUP requires that Grantees must obtain a DUNS number and register at SAM.gov before signing a grant agreement.

Environmental Compliance

Per requirements detailed in 22 CFR 2016, JRUP will ensure environmental soundness and compliance in design and implementation of the proposed grant activity by the Grantee.

Executive Order on Terrorist Financing

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 grant recipient to ensure compliance with these Executive Orders and laws. This provision must be included in all subcontracts issued under any Grant Agreement.

USAID Disability Policy – Acquisition (December 2004) 

a) The objectives of the USAID Disability Policy are (1) to enhance the attainment of United States foreign assistance program goals by promoting the participation and equalization of opportunities of individuals with disabilities in USAID policy, country and sector strategies, activity designs and implementation; (2) to increase awareness of issues of people with disabilities both within USAID programs and in host countries; (3) to engage other U.S. government agencies, host country counterparts, governments, implementing organizations and other donors in fostering a climate of nondiscrimination against people with disabilities; and (4) to support international advocacy for people with disabilities. The full text of the policy paper can be found at the following website: http://www.usaid.gov/about/disability/DISABPOL.FIN.html.

b) USAID therefore requires that the bidder not discriminate against people with disabilities in the implementation of USAID-funded programs and that it makes every effort to comply with the objectives of the USAID Disability Policy in performing this anticipated contract. To that end and within the scope of the contract, the contractor’s actions must demonstrate a comprehensive and consistent approach for including men, women and children with disabilities.

12. JRUP Grants Management

JRUP is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). JRUP promotes competition in the award of all its grants to ensure transparency and to identify the best projects that can help meet the objectives of the program. Grant awards are contingent upon the availability of USAID funding. JRUP reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted.

U.S. government procurement and spending regulations apply to all JRUP grantees. Grants will be administered according to the regulations contained in ADS Section 302.3.4.13, Grants under Contracts, ADS Chapter 303, Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Mandatory and Required as Applicable Standard Provisions for Non-US Nongovernmental Organizations, which can be found on the worldwide web at https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1868/303mab.pdf

In addition to carrying out the program activities, Grantees will be subject to various recordkeeping and reporting requirements pursuant to USAID regulations and the JRUP contract. Depending on their past experience with USAID grants, grantees may need to attend an orientation workshop by JRUP on USAID grants management prior to finalization of a grant agreement.

A main purpose of the grants is to build capacity and expertise of Uzbekistan civil society organizations. Therefore, grantees will be expected to collaborate closely with JRUP staff and experts, and actively participate in various JRUP seminars and capacity building initiatives. JRUP intends to cover the costs for grantees to participate in seminars and other initiatives.