Previously awarded SPA projects are described elsewhere on the MEPI website at http://mepi.state.gov.
Applications should include cost sharing, leadership on the part of local NGOs or local governments in the region, a public diplomacy outreach plan, and an alumni network component. MEPI is looking for creative ideas that can be implemented relatively quickly to produce concrete results.
Proposals may be for individual countries or for programs with regional scope. Individual country programs may be proposed in: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. MEPI will also consider opportunities to include Iraqis, Syrians, and Libyans, in regional programs, where legal and appropriate. However, where the USG is currently supporting or has supported extensive bilateral programs, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Israel, West Bank and Gaza, MEPI will act to avoid program duplication.
Regional programs that span national borders in addressing reform issues are encouraged. MEPI strongly supports programs that build networks of reformers within and across national boundaries and use local organizational capacity to leverage opportunities to advance reform. MEPI encourages programs that are designed to progressively transfer project management to organizations in the region, as they are able to sustain new activities. When a U.S. based NGO leads project, we encourage partnerships that produce local organizations that are suitable, vibrant, and self-sustaining.
MEPI is a Presidential initiative to promote positive change in the Middle East and North Africa through diplomatic efforts and through results-oriented programs, both regional and specific to individual countries. Reform is of strategic, long-term importance to the national security interests of the United States and to the U.S. goal of ensuring that the people of the region experience the benefits that come with more open economies, greater educational opportunities, and political freedom. A key element of MEPI is creating links and partnerships with Arab, U.S., and global private sector businesses, civil society, and governments to jointly achieve sustainable reform.
MEPI works in four priority areas:
The economic pillar pursues a reform agenda that promotes private-sector-led growth. To help lay a firm foundation to support business development and job creation, MEPI has adopted a top-down, bottom-up strategy, working with regional governments to help identify and implement needed reforms and building upon these activities with the private sector to support reform efforts and promote opportunities that emerge from them. MEPI is providing technical assistance for the Middle East Free Trade Area to help governments open their markets to the region and beyond. The Partnership for Financial Excellence will work with governments in the region to improve regulation of the banking sector and with the banks themselves, helping them to improve client service and access. Similarly, the Commercial Law Initiative will work to improve the business environment by bolstering confidence in the courts and alternative dispute mechanisms. Finally, MEPI has established a group of programs that foster entrepreneurship through mini-MBA training courses and longer-term internship programs.
To complement but not duplicate existing programming, MEPI is seeking creative ideas that build upon our partnership with the region by:
? Linking MEPI pillar programs with indigenous efforts to support trade, financial and commercial law reforms.
? Building local NGO capacity, through business, professional and women's associations to support these reform efforts and help those at the grass roots benefit from them.
? Working with local education institutions and professional organizations to offer continuing education programs: one example would be legal associations promoting the use of alternative dispute mechanisms.
? Promoting ties with business training institutes and NGOs in the region to current MEPI Entrepreneurial programs and alumni activities.
? Developing programs that help new entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of increased trade opportunities in the region and help vulnerable economic sectors and businesses adapt to the new commercial environment. For such programs, MEPI will provide technical assistance but not funds for capital.
? Setting up information centers to help small and medium sized businesses develop business and marketing strategies.
? Helping women, unemployed youth and first time entrepreneurs gain access to existing resources.
The political and civil society pillar includes the broad areas of democracy, good governance, independent judiciary, and the media. MEPI seeks proposals for projects that strengthen democratic practices, electoral systems, and civil society including political parties, promote the rule of law and accountable, effective government institutions, and enhance the role of free and independent media in society. Especially welcome are projects designed to promote these kinds of political reforms in the countries of the Gulf region. Examples include, but are not limited to:
? Information centers on citizens? legal rights
? Advocacy coalitions of business, civil society, and media organizations
? Internships for youth in local government
? Standards, codes of conduct and ethics for citizens and governments
? Consumer rights organizations
? Pro bono legal assistance organizations
? Citizens? advocacy councils
? Campaigns for laws supporting citizen participation in government
? Democracy and governance courses in universities
? Regional cabernets to link and support local civil society organizations
? E ?governance activities of local governments and civil society organizations
? Documentary films on local democracy and community leadership
? Matching funds for business-led community service programs
? Student mock parliaments and legislative projects
? Debating clubs and regional/national competitions
? Internships/training programs for student journalists
? Enhancing the professional development and building networks among judicial system practitioners and identifying best practices in judicial institutions.
The Education Pillar seeks to improve access to, and the quality and relevance of education for young people, particularly girls, so they can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in today?s economy and improve the quality of their lives. With an emphasis on primary and secondary education, MEPI supports innovative, scalable, effective approaches to education reform, including those drawn from successful models drawn from other geographic regions. Applications should demonstrate an understanding of the indigenous reform efforts already underway in the region ? such as those ongoing in Jordan, Qatar, and Yemen ? where MEPI support can be most value-added. Examples include, but are not limited to:
? Build local capacity by developing coalitions among public, private, grassroots, community/parental, and professional organizations to drive education reform.
? Introduce and implement education concepts and practices ? such as continuing education for adults and integration of information technology ? that are responsive to social and economic realities.
? Introduce and implement methods ? such as standards and on-going assessment ? to improve student achievement.
? Promote a culture of professional development where teachers and administrators/managers receive regular learning, assessment, training, and opportunities for advancement.
? Leverage successful education and curriculum models from the region and elsewhere and apply them in new and innovative ways and locations.
? Introduce curricula and learning concepts that reinforce MEPI?s civil society, economic, and women?s empowerment objectives ? such as the establishment of mock trading clubs or mock town meetings.
Women?s Pillar projects focus on removing the barriers ? legal, regulatory, political and cultural ? and underlying causes to women?s full participation in society, although MEPI projects across all pillars promote equal rights and equal opportunity for women. Applications, both country-specific and region-wide, should address the consequences of the barriers facing women in the region, and describe action-oriented activities that advance the role of women?s groups and networks in the reform process. Allowable approaches include, but are not limited to:
? Legal rights education and awareness
? Advocacy and skills-building to strengthen participation in the legislative process
? Entrepreneurship training for women
? Professional internships for women
? Advancing women?s role as leaders and citizens in governing institutions at the national and local levels
? Building women?s networks and issue-based coalitions
? Strengthening women?s roles in the media, trade unions, and other civil society institutions.
Who can apply:
Eligible functional categories:
Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
Click on Current Opportunities; click on Standing Program Announcement
If you have problems accessing the full announcement, please contact:
Portz, Anna Mary
Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of Middle East Partnership Initiatives, 2201 C Street, NW Room 4241, Washington, DC, 20520