Call For Applications: USAID Strengthening Civil Society and Media Systems (Sawt) Core Grants

USAID’s Strengthening Civil Society and Media Systems (Sawt) activity is launching a two-phase grant selection process to provide Core Grants for qualified and legally registered entities in Jordan.

Sawt Core Grants aim at providing an opportunity for organizations to enhance their institutional strengths, and/or their technical and operational capacities. Under this first phase, Sawt is soliciting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from organizations with missions and mandates aligning with Sawt’s scope described in Section 3 – Scope of Expression of Interest.  

Upon submission of the EOIs, Sawt will shortlist organizations based on the evaluation criteria provided under Section 4 – Eligibility, Evaluation, and Selection. Only shortlisted organizations will be notified, and then invited to participate in the second phase. Those organizations will be requested to submit a full application. The issuance of this EOI does not commit Sawt to make an award to any applicant responding to this EOI.

Figure 1: Illustrative Diagram of two-phase process for Sawt Core Grants

1. Background

Sawt is a five-year (2022-2027) cooperative agreement funded by USAID and implemented by Internews in partnership with Mercy Corps and the International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL). Sawt will create a Virtuous Cycle of Civic Engagement. Sawt aims to improve community knowledge on their rights and relevant issues through access to fact-based, trusted, and reliable content from digital media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other civic spaces. Sawt aims to increase opportunities for citizens to participate in regular constructive civic dialogue through building CSO and citizen advocacy capacity, and through support to intersectional CSO coalitions contributing to increased trust and government accountability. Sawt will work on building the resilience of partners to operate in a challenging political and legal environment. Sawt will ensure underrepresented voices are included, heard, represented fairly, and can safely access and use resources.

Sawt will design and implement activities under three main pillars:

  • Advocacy: Civil society amplifies citizens’ voices through digital media and national and local advocacy initiatives.
  • Public Policy: Civil society and digital media have a trusted collective role in the public policy-making processes.
  • Capacity Building: Civil society and digital media have greater organizational and technical capacity to improve and sustain their work and operations.

2. Scope of Expression of Interest

Under Sawt Core Grants, Sawt will provide core funding support to organizations to enhance their institutional strengths, and/or their technical and operational capacities. Core funding will be provided for organizations that work in one or both of the following areas, and in line with Sawt objectives:

  • Objective 1: Good Trusted Information: Citizens and civil society build knowledge through access to and ability to engage critically with accurate and fact-based information.
  • Objective 2: Civil Society Participation and Advocacy: Citizens and CSOs in Jordan effectively participate in civic spaces and advocate for policies through collective action.
Core funding may be used as per following illustrative examples:
  • Developing strategic plans and/or addressing strategic priorities of the organization.
  • Enhancing gender and inclusion at the organization through developing a gender strategy, inclusion plans, etc.  
  • Developing new programs as well as expanding or improving existing services.
  • Enhancing engagement with constituents.
  • Developing and /or strengthening internal systems such as internal policies and processes, and/or procurement of licenses, software, etc.
  • Enhancing the financial sustainability of the organization. 

Award Amount and Duration:

Sawt will issue core grants with a total of USD 500,000, the grant floor will be USD 50,000, and ceiling of USD 200,000 over up to two years.

3. Eligibility, Evaluation, and Selection

Eligible applicants are registered for profit or not-for profit entities in Jordan that share a similar scope of work to Sawt’s objectives. Branches of international organizations are not eligible for this grant.

Sawt will form a Grant Evaluation Committee (GEC) to review EOIs in line with the evaluation criteria outlined below, and per the score allocated for each of the questions in the EOI template:

1. Organization’s mission and programs align with the objectives outlined in this Request for EOIs.
2. Organization demonstrates a need for core funding to address clearly identified organizational challenges.
3. Organizations demonstrate programmatic achievement in the past three years relevant to the scope of this Request for EOIs.

4. Submission of Expression of Interest

Interested organizations should submit the following:

  • EOI as per the template provided below.
  • Certificate of registration.
  • The applicant’s strategic plan and annual work plan (if applicable).

EOIs must be submitted electronically by February 5, via email to: [email protected]. Successful candidates will be notified within 20 days of the EOI closing date. Due to the expected volume of applications, Sawt’s team will only respond to short-listed applications. The issuance of this EOI does not commit Sawt to make an award to any applicant responding to this EOI.

5. Submission guidelines:

EOI should be submitted per the following:

  • Font type: Calibri Light, Font size 11.
  • The language of submission is English.
  • EOI should not exceed a total of 3 pages. Anything beyond the three-page limit will not be considered.
  • EOIs must be sent to [email protected] indicating in the subject line: “Sawt Core Grants EOI-001-023 – [your organization’s name]”. Applicants will receive a confirmation of submission.
  • Applicants must use the template and fully answer questions provided.