I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs’ Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) seeks proposals that take specific, measurable action to address one or more structural challenges limiting Algeria’s economic growth. Examples of possible areas of focus are: employability skills for youth and women, improving the linkage between higher education and employers to address a skills gap in available jobs, access to finance for startups and small businesses, entrepreneurship activities for children or college students, or work to improve the overall investment climate. Proposals should justify the chosen area of focus and relate relevant experience your organization has in that field.
A. PROBLEM STATEMENT
Algeria’s economic development is slowed and impeded by a set of related but distinct challenges. For example, startups and small businesses are often the drivers of economic growth and job creation around the world, however a thriving small business sector requires clear and transparent regulation, access to credit, and a cultural backdrop which sees the private sector positively. Women often face additional challenges, from unequal inheritance and property ownership laws to social stigma associated with having a career or being the primary earner for a family. Women’s participation in the work force stands at only 20%, as compared to 60% for Algerian men. Unlocking higher rates of consistent economic growth will require simultaneous efforts across multiple fronts.
B. ACHIEVABLE OBJECTIVES
Applications to this NOFO should address and clearly demonstrate how project-specific objectives and activities contribute to the program objectives outlined below. Working primarily on the local level, and using an evidence-based approach, at least one of the following objectives MUST be achieved:
- Develop and promote locally designed solutions to economic problems.
- Foster inclusive economic growth that reaches marginalized communities, youth, and women.
- Work towards gender parity in the workforce.
- Improve employability and address skills gap of target group, including youth, women, and historically underrepresented groups.
- Increase access to credit for startups and small businesses.
- Improve the investment climate to enable domestic and international investment into Algeria.
C. PROJECT DESIGN
This solicitation invites applications in support of addressing underlying factors limiting Algeria’s economic growth.
Funds are available to support projects with potential to promote this objective, including (but not limited to) activities that improve employability among key demographics, increase access to credit for startups and small businesses, increase women’s participation in the work force, and addressing the mismatch between available skills among workers and demanded skills among employers.
Competitive applications will include clear, detailed project strategies that illustrate the logic behind each project’s design. All proposed project activities must clearly demonstrate how they will produce impact.
D. Gender Integration
NEA/AC requires that all activities fully address gender considerations, ensuring that both men and women benefit from support where applicable, and that gender awareness is a built-in component of project activities. This should be documented through gender analysis in the project narrative that identifies any relevant gender gaps and ways the proposed activities will address those gaps. Proposals should demonstrate how addressing relevant gender gaps will enhance the project’s goals and objectives. Applicants who are unfamiliar with integrating gender in foreign assistance programing should view the training video located here:https://encompassworld.com/elearningfiles/DOS/DOS_Gender_Integration_E-Course/story_html5.html
The following are definitions of activities accepted under this announcement:
“Employability” is defined as the quality of being suitable for paid work. In the context of this project, activities focused on improving employability should look to deliver training which will allow participants to access higher paid positions or positions which more closely match their personal aspirations. Specific activities related to improving employability could be, but are not limited to, technical/vocational training, soft skills, computer skills, professionalism, and English language.
Increasing Access to Credit:
In the modern economy, access to credit is essential for good inventory management, controlling cash flows, and being able to take advantage of opportunities for growth when they come along. Providing loans to small businesses and startups is inherently risky due to their relative lack of proven track record of profits and higher likelihood of bankruptcy. Activities relating to increasing access to credit could be, but are not limited to, assisting business owners in the creation of business plans, budgets, and other materials which are necessary to secure lines of credit as well as assisting banks and credit unions learn new methods of risk evaluation which enable them to effectively evaluate creditworthiness of startups and small businesses in non-traditional sectors.
II. MEASUREMENT OF RESULTS
Applicants shall provide a logic model or a theory of change to demonstrate how the proposed project (including activities, the project design, and the surrounding context) will achieve the stated objectives. The logic model or theory of change statements can be generated using the template in Appendix II. Please see Section VI below for more information.
Successful applicants will work with the NEA/AC program and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) teams to create a plan based on the proposed logic model/theory of change to measure qualitative and quantitative indicators as part of the award negotiations process. The successful applicants will be responsible for collecting data against these indicators, which will be monitored throughout the period of performance of the award to gauge necessary modifications to the project’s design, and assess the results of the project’s success in meeting expected outcomes.
All projects funded as a result of this NOFO will be required to complete a final evaluation of the project at the end of the period of performance with support from the NEA/AC M&E team.
III. Award Information
Funding Mechanism Type: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: 4-5
Estimated Total Program Funding: $1,000,000
Estimated Award Ceiling: $360,000
Estimated Award Floor: $100,000
Cost-Sharing or Matching: Encouraged; NOT Required
Estimated Length of Project Period: 12-36 Months
pplication Deadline: May 31, 2022
For additional information and how to apply: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=339087
MEPI advances participatory governance in viewing citizens’ role as direct deliberative engagement with decision-makers and processes. Broader citizen participation in governance ensures inclusive decision-making and transparent political processes, promotes stability and enhances citizen confidence in government. MEPI empowers citizens to engage with governments in shaping their demands for services and opportunities on the local, regional, and national levels. MEPI bolsters civil society to effectively interact with government officials to increase their responsiveness to citizen needs and with citizens to channel their participation in decision-making. MEPI supports government officials’ efforts to increase their engagement with and responsiveness to citizens to resolve issues of shared concern.
- Increase citizens’ civic engagement to foster partnership and mutually beneficial dialogue with civil society and public officials.
- Strengthen individuals, including youth, with knowledge and skills to advocate for their interests at all levels of government.
- Utilize MEPI leadership training programs to provide economically disadvantaged individuals the opportunities to build their leadership skills to effectively engage with civil society, the private sector, and/or government actors.
- Professionalize civil society organizations and build their organizational and communication capacity to connect effectively with decision makers and/or citizens.
- Strengthen civil society’s ability to act as a credible mediator between governments and citizens, and channel citizens’ concerns in an effective manner.
- Enhance governments’ efforts to be representative of, responsive to, and trusted by their citizens.
- Support governments’ efforts to increase their transparency, access, and accountability.
- Increase women’s representation in government institutions, and promote their civic and political participation.
Economic opportunity and reforms are cornerstones for fostering partnership between citizens, civil society, the private sector, and governments. MEPI partners with the U.S. private sector in areas of mutual interest to promote business enabling environments, entrepreneurship, and a skilled labor force to help cultivate broad-based opportunities.
- Improve business-enabling environments through economic reform, especially in higher-income and non-traditional development countries.
Support governments’ efforts to increasing financial transparency and implement economic reforms.
- Improve government policies and procedures that expand opportunities for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises for economic growth and job creation.
- Bolster social entrepreneurship initiatives that develop, fund, and implement solutions to social issues, and facilitate their collaboration with citizens, civil society and governments.
- Partner with investors, entrepreneurs, and consumers to create institutions, and craft regulations that encourage broad-based economic growth.
- Increase workforce employability and skill level, and improve citizens’, including youth, access to higher value opportunities through demand-driven vocational training and targeted, localized job placement, primarily in the private sector.
- Promote economic growth through increasing women’s participation in economic activities and reducing the gender income and employment gap.
In addition to these core objectives, MEPI’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program prepares future community and business leaders in the MENA region. The Congressionally-directed program supports scholarships for underserved and qualified students at select U.S.-accredited universities and emphasizes a strong civic engagement component.
MEPI does not fund programs with a primary focus on:
- Human rights
- Humanitarian Assistance
- LGBT rights
- Religious freedom
- Journalist training
- Basic and secondary education
- English language training
- College Prep
- Countering violent extremism
- Public diplomacy/cultural heritage activities
MEPI adopts a distinct approach that:
- Fosters development of civic and business leaders by providing opportunities at various stages of their professional development.
- Encourages “intellectual risk taking” by engaging in innovative projects and exploring new initiatives with potential for scaling up.
- Operates at the local level and builds the organizational capacity of nascent civil society organizations.
- Designs regional programs to connect individuals and organizations across MENA.
- Promotes collaboration between the private sector and civil society.
- Partners with middle and high income countries to improve the investment climate through targeted legal and regulatory reforms that further U.S. economic objectives.
- Adopts a methodological approach that focuses on the long term and a geographical connectivity that draw from the experience of experts and thought leaders in the region.
- Remains committed to providing flexible and timely responses to emerging priorities that advance U.S. strategic interests in the region.
This strategic framework is operationalized through country-specific strategies that align these priorities with Post’s Integrated Country Strategies (ICS), other State Department and interagency strategies to guide projects designed to further U.S. foreign policy in the region. The country strategies further inform the prioritization of projects implemented through one of the following four mechanisms:
- Country-focused grants (typically managed by MEPI-DC);
- Locally focused grants (typically managed by Regional Offices);
- Cross-cutting regional grants (typically managed by MEPI-DC); and
- Interagency Agreements (IAA – managed by another U.S. government agency).