Open Call for Strategic Development Grants – Media Program in Armenia

  • Funder: Internews
  • Prime Funder: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Funder Project Name: Media Program in Armenia (MPA)
  • Invitation Type: Initial
  • Assistance Listing Number:  98.001 
  • Open to: An open call for all independent media outlets registered in Armenia
  • Grant amount: $25,000 to $100,000 per award
  • Total amount to be disbursed under this call: up to $500,000
  • Total number of projects to be selected: up to 5
  • Deadline for Applications: April 5, 2024, 18:00, Yerevan time
  • Duration: Up to 24 months (The beginning of the project is scheduled for May 1, 2024)
Objectives of the invitation

To provide long-term organizational support through Strategic Development Grants by identifying the strategic needs of the media outlets and enacting complex transformations that require major shifts in its structure, business models or editorial culture.

Program description

Proposed Strategic Development Grants may include, but are not limited to the below illustrative list of possible interventions:

  • Business and/or editorial transformations that require shifts in the staffing, organizational structure, and editorial culture that are complex and time intensive (e.g., re-targeting and re-platforming flagship media products, or transitioning to a digital first/digital only newsroom).
  • Context-relevant media business plans that will outline ambitious, yet achievable audience and revenue growth targets designed to build the foundations for future sustainability.
  • Software and/or hardware for convergent newsroom production and/or optimization of newsroom processes, work streams, and editorial practices.
  • Design and implementation of systems to continuously gather and incorporate audience feedback and contributions into content based on data from audience analytics.
  • Innovation in and upgrades to the content gathering and dissemination process.

This is an illustrative list of activities. The applicant may present other needs and suggest solutions with a solid justification. 

Strategic Development grant finalists will be invited to commit to undergo Media Organizational Capacity Assessments (M-OCAs) and further refine their project proposals through co-development of strategic development plans in concert with the Media Program in Armenia (MPA). A menu of MPA support, which will be tailored to each Strategic Development grant, is provided below:

  • MPA will conduct Media Organizational Capacity Assessments (M-OCAs) for Strategic Development partners. Media OCAs are designed to assess capacity gaps and opportunities and inform the creation of capacity development plans. M-OCA findings will be used to co-create strategic development plans that set goals and milestones for Strategic Development partners. Individual partner plans will be tailored to their needs, focusing on development in a combination of areas related to administration; business planning; editorial, technology, and security support. Mid- and endline Media OCAs will track progress towards milestones and inform course corrections and adaptations to changing markets. Zinc will provide expert oversight, coordination, training, mentorship, and ad-hoc advice to grantees through on-going communication, online and offline consultations, or residencies (up to four weeks).
  • Internews’ Distribution Team will help Strategic Development grantees develop, revamp, and implement individual distribution strategies and plans to improve online distribution, audience engagement, and reach.
  • MPA partner Zinc will explore relevant revenue-generation opportunities with Strategic Development partners and create plans for strategic growth, including staffing plans. Each business plan will have goals, key performance indicators, and clear quarterly milestones.
  • Zinc will also support grantees in their efforts to road-test and introduce new income streams such as crowdfunding and donations, native advertising, syndication, and content sales and subscriptions. To help outlets transition from a news organization to a media company, Zinc will work with the private sector to sponsor content programming.
  • MPA partner YPC will evaluate the media outlets’ adherence to a professional Code of Ethics and/or participation in self-regulation mechanisms, which are an important selection criterion for the grant. MIC and YPC will support Strategic Development grantees to strengthen their editorial culture, standards, processes, and content output and enhance their ethical principles.

Grant support will be conditional on grant finalists’ agreement to undergo M-OCAs and co-develop Strategic Development plans with the support of MPA.


The amount per grant that can be awarded ranges from $25,000 to $100,000.

Indirect costs

The applicant may include de minimis 10% (§ 200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs) of the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) as indirect costs.[1]

Cost share – 15%

The applicants are requested to provide a 15% cost share.

The applicants’ cost share under this award may include project costs incurred by the applicant from their own funds or project costs financed with cash, services, or property contributed or donated to them from other non-U.S. Government sources. The cost share contributions, both cash and in-kind, must be verifiable from the applicant’s records and not be included as cost share contributions for any other U.S. Government (USG)-assisted program.

Disbursements of Strategic Development grants will be tied to the achievement of key milestones.


Subgrants awarded as a result of this Request for Applications (RFA) will include programmatic and financial reporting requirements. Narrative and financial reports will be submitted, per Internews’ instruction, on a monthly or quarterly basis. Audience data and financial information necessary for evaluating the growth of the organization may also be requested.

Subgrant administration

The following regulations and provisions, at a minimum, will apply to subawards issued as a result of this RFA.
• ADS303mab Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Organizations.

Selection and Evaluation process

The project proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by a selection committee. The selection committee may point out problematic aspects of the submitted proposal as needed and offer suggestions for revisions during the selection process. Once the applicant has finalized the proposal in accordance with the selection committee’s suggestions and the committee has accepted that proposal, it will be submitted to the donor for approval. Each applicant can submit one (1) project proposal for this Open Call for Proposals.

How will the applications be evaluated?

Applications will be evaluated by a professional selection committee. Internews aims to award a grant to at least one regional media outlet.

*Please note that pointing out problematic aspects of the submitted proposals does not guarantee funding unless the applicant provides all requested documents and follows the requested procedures.

The following criteria will be used:

CriteriaAllocated %
Development strategy of the organization20 %
Organizational capacity20%
Editorial policy and ethical standards20%
Motivation for strategic transformation of the organization20%
Sustainability (if the proposed plan/approach is sustainable)20 %

Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and cost-effectiveness in their proposed projects, as these factors will be integral to the selection process.

The MPA team will try to get back to you with the preliminary results within 30 business days following the deadline for submission of applications and taking evolving circumstances into account. A final decision is contingent upon donor approval, environmental clearances, and successful vetting of eligibility that may require additional time. The implementation period will start upon the grant agreement’s signing.

Submission of the applications

The application must meet the following requirements:

  • The application should be submitted in English.
    Supporting documents (registration certificate, CVs, etc.) can be in Armenian if English versions are not available.
  • The application must be submitted by April 5, 2024, 18:00, Yerevan time. Late applications will not be considered.
  • The application must be completed and submitted within the designated Application form (Annex 1).
  • The application package must include a preliminary budget using the provided Budget Template (Annex 2). Note that the submitted budget maybe revised based on the results of the M-OCAs described in the ‘’Other benefits available to the recipients’’ section of this RFA.
    Any application submitted not using the designated budget form will be disqualified.
  • Application and additional documentation must be submitted to Monika Mughdusyan via email at [email protected] with the following subject line: ‘’Strategic development grant_Name of the organization’’.

All inquiries can be directed to Anahit Khachatryan at [email protected] with the subject line: “Inquiry_Strategic development grant_Name of the organization.” Internews will organize a Q&A session on Wednesday, March 20. If you are interested to attend the event, please send us the names of participants from your organization and their contact information by March 17 (Sunday). We will send you the agenda and the details of the location.

Award Notification and Responses

The submitted project application will be acknowledged within two (2) days and will note the documents submitted. The applicant is responsible for ensuring and confirming that the emails comprising the application are received by the Internews representatives indicated in the summary above.

The applicant must confirm the acceptance of the selection within five (5) working days of selection notification or the selection will be withdrawn due to non-responsiveness and offered to the next most qualified applicant. 

Once selection is finalized, unsuccessful applicants will be notified that an award has been made.

A notice of selection of the application is not to be construed as a subgrant award. Once the selection is confirmed, a final subgrant agreement will be negotiated and signed with the successful applicant, subject to prime funder approval, environmental clearances, and successful vetting of eligibility.

Other conditions and considerations:

Eligibility Information:

The media outlet must meet the following criteria to be considered eligible for a subaward resulting from this RFA:

  1. Be a local non-state media organization registered in Armenia.
  2. Be in good standing in performance and reporting under any previous subgrants from Internews or any other organization, where applicable.
  3. Be willing and open to working on improving audience engagement and creating content that gains more traction with audiences.
  4. Commit to fostering an independent and professional editorial culture and demonstrate a willingness to enhance and refine it.
  5. Be open to providing accurate information about their organization while undergoing Media Organizational Capacity Assessments (M-OCAs) and work with experts and MPA partners to create their strategic development plans. 
  6. Be willing to increase the number and the quality of produced materials if the proposed project has an editorial development and/or content production component.
  7. Demonstrate a commitment to reporting requirements and deadlines, including monitoring and evaluation requirements, as requested.
  8. Demonstrate the cost effectiveness and sustainability of the proposed activities.
  9. Maintain a bank account in the organization’s name.
  10. Maintain accounting records.
  11. Adhere to additional conditions as applicable/necessary.
  12. Not be listed with exclusions on the UN Security Designation List, Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, System for Award Management (SAM), or Internews List of Debarred Subrecipients.

UEI Number

Prior to receiving any subgrant, selected applicants must have a Unique Entity Identifier (EUI) number assigned by A UEI number is free and may be obtained from the website

The delay in receiving a UEI after submitting an application can vary widely; it is recommended that applicants start the process as early as possible.

What is the Media Program in Armenia?

Armenia has a vibrant media ecosystem that nevertheless faces serious challenges. Resource-strapped public interest media struggle to consistently produce high-quality coverage that reaches broad audiences, including youth, minorities, and residents of rural areas. Few independent media outlets in Armenia are financially viable, which poses a threat to their long-term sustainability.

The USAID-funded Media Program in Armenia aims to strengthen the integrity of the information space in the country. Implemented by Internews in Armenia and its partners: Media Initiatives Center (MIC), Yerevan Press Club (YPC), and Zinc Network, the program will enhance journalistic standards, catalyze the financial viability of public interest media, and foster an enabling environment for a society that is more resilient to disinformation.

[1] MTDC includes all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, and employee and consultant travel.