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Call for Proposals: DRL Combatting Discrimination Against Women in Mauritania


The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that combat gender discrimination in Mauritania.

DRL’s goal is that ​​​Mauritanian women are better protected through the implementation of legal reforms and greater access to services that mitigate the effects of GBV. In support of this goal, programs should work towards the following programming objectives.

  • Objective 1: Civil society advocacy contributes to the advancement and implementation of legal reforms and policies that address and prevent gender discrimination.

    • Civil society advocacy has contributed to the advancement of greater legal protections for women in Mauritania, the most significant of which is the long-awaited draft law targeting violence against women and girls.  Despite recent successes, more reforms are needed for the promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ rights, such as facilitating access to education, healthcare, employment, land, protection from violence, official state records (including national identification), credit, and political participation.

    • DRL understands that reform is political and cultural.  As such, applicants are encouraged to focus on feasible reforms, policy, and behavioral changes that combat gender discrimination, even if that means some goals might not be achieved during the project’s period of performance.  Applicants may propose illustrative areas for change at the proposal stage but should be flexible in their approach so they can be adaptive to the political and cultural contexts.  Applicants are encouraged to take a holistic approach to influencing the political will for reforms and cultural changes, working through the executive, parliament, political parties, universities, religious, community and traditional structures, to build consensus among stakeholder groups on relevant reforms and policies.  The voices of marginalized girls and women should be elevated throughout the life of the program.  DRL expects applicants to have a strong knowledge of the civil society space and social dynamics that can influence political will, reform, and behavioral changes in the country.

  • Objective 2: Women’s groups in Mauritania increase access to basic services and legal recourse for survivors of gender-based violence.

    • One of the major issues holding women back from fully participating in political and social life in Mauritania is GBV.  Women who report rape face charges of adultery and could face years of imprisonment.  Despite the 2017 adoption of a new law on reproductive health and of a General Code on Children’s Protection, Mauritanian law does not adequately define and criminalize sexual violence.  The lack of a formal definition of rape and other forms of sexual assault in domestic law heightens the risk for survivors that they themselves may be prosecuted. 

    • Applicants should leverage recent democratic openings to increase access to prevention and response services for GBV that target girls and women at risk of and affected by GBV and assist the government in implementing laws that combat GBV, including capturing data on GBV prevalence.  Activities for this objective can include but are not limited to strengthening the institutional resilience and self-sufficiency of women’s groups; raising awareness about existing legal protections and other services for women; providing psychosocial and legal support for survivors of GBV; and assisting women to gain access to official state records. 

Funding Information
  • Total Funding Ceiling: $1,250,000

  • Total Funding Floor: $1,250,000

  • Anticipated Number of Awards: 1

  • Period of Performance: 16-24 months

  • Anticipated Time to Award, Pending Availability of Funds: 3-6 months

  • Activities that are not typically allowed include, but are not limited to:

    • The provision of humanitarian assistance;

    • English language instruction;

    • Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;

    • Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;

    • External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;

    • Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary per security concerns;

    • Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;

    • Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;

    • Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.

Eligibility :

  • DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernmental 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.

Post Date: January 10, 2024

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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
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The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor was created in 1977 to help advance individual liberty and democratic freedoms around the world. It a ... Learn More

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