U.S. Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): DRL Promoting Internet Freedom in Ukraine


March 8, 2019

United States Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO):
DRL Promoting Internet Freedom in Ukraine
  • This is the announcement of funding opportunity number SFOP0005589
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
  • Type of Solicitation: Full and Open Competition
  • Application Deadline: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST
  • Funding Floor (lowest $$ value): $500,000
  • Funding Ceiling (highest $$ value): $1,180,500
  • Anticipated Number of Awards: 1-2
  • Type of Award: Grant and/or Cooperative Agreement
  • Period of Performance (example 12-18 months, 2 -5 years): 1-3 years
  • Anticipated Time to Award (pending availability of funds): 3-6 months
A. Project Description

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 programs that promote Internet freedom in Ukraine. In support of the National Cyber Strategy for the United State of America, DRL’s goal is to promote an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet by promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the free flow of information online.

DRL requests proposals for a program to empower cross-sector Internet freedom champions to advocate for policies that promote freedom of expression online in Ukraine. The program should bring together technology experts, lawyers, civil society, media, and private sector representatives to discuss and debate Internet freedom trends, challenges, and policies. The program should build the knowledge and advocacy capacity of these groups in order to support cross-sector engagement on domestic Internet freedom issues and to combat regional and domestic threats to freedom of expression online. The program should have a strong focus on consensus-building among Ukrainian stakeholders on freedom of expression during conflict, specifically addressing the issues of self-censorship and the intersection of national security concerns with freedom of expression online. The program should also connect domestic Internet freedom champions with international experts.

Program activities may include advocacy training and mentorship for local civil society and Internet freedom activists; building and/or strengthening cross-sector coalitions; convening events, forums, and public awareness campaigns to promote best international practices related to upholding freedom of expression and human rights online; analysis of current and pending legislation and policies related to Internet freedom issues in the current environment; and engaging in effective advocacy campaigns, both domestically and internationally. In addition, the program should provide stakeholders with digital security assistance and encourage the adoption of digital security best practices, building on the successful accomplishments of previous USG-funded programs in this space.

For all programs, projects should aim to have impact that leads to reforms and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. Programs should seek to include groups that can bring perspectives based on their religion, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity. Programs should demand-driven and locally led to the extent possible. DRL also requires all of its programming to be non-discriminatory and expects implementers to include strategies for integration of individuals/organizations regardless of religion, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity.

Where appropriate, competitive proposals may include:
  • Opportunities for beneficiaries to apply their new knowledge and skills in practical efforts.
  • Solicitation of feedback and suggestions from beneficiaries when developing activities in order to strengthen the sustainability of programs and participant ownership of project outcomes.
  • Input from participants on sustainability plans and systematic review of the plans throughout the life of the project with adjustments made as necessary.
  • Inclusion of vulnerable populations.
  • Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities.
  • Systematic follow up with beneficiaries at specific intervals (3 months, 6 months, etc.) after the completion of activities to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.
Activities that are not typically allowed include, but are not limited to:
  • The provision of humanitarian assistance;
  • English language instruction;
  • 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.


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