ARISA: Civil society organisations

Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Thursday, 13 February, 2020
Opportunity type: 

ARISA is a five-year USAID funded regional program that aims to improve the recognition, awareness, and enforcement of human rights in the SADC region, including the protection of the most vulnerable and marginalized. Freedom House (FH) together with its collaborating partners—the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA/ABAROLI), Internews and Pact will support national level interventions in support of regional work in eight (8) countries in SADC with the view to achieving the following objectives:

  1. Improving the enabling environment for the promotion and protection of human rights;
  2. Strengthening the capacity of regional and local civil society actors to seek redress of rights violations;
  3. Increasing public demand for improved rule of law and human rights protection; and
  4. Fostering South-to-South communities of practice for knowledge and resource sharing to advance efforts to address human rights violations.

Thematic and Focus Areas

As part of its efforts to strengthen the capacity of regional and local civil society actors to achieve the above objectives, ARISA will provide financial support to partners at a regional and national level in the following ARISA thematic areas:

  • Women’s Customary Land Rights;
  • Indigenous People’s Rights;
  • Media Freedoms and Digital Rights; and
  • Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

The Approach

Influencing policy, advocacy, strategic litigation and legal aid are important approaches in securing redress for rights violations. ARISA therefore seeks to support civil society organisations with a history of using advocacy and litigation, both at national and supranational levels, as an approach in protecting and promoting the rights of vulnerable and marginalised communities and individuals.

Freedom House and the American Bar Association (ABA) are seeking applications from civil society organisations as follows:

  • The ABA will provide support to organisations undertaking litigation, from both a strategic and access to justice perspective under the above thematic areas.
  • Freedom House will provide support to organisation seeking to influence policy through advocacy under any or all of the above thematic areas.

Grantee Qualifying Criteria

To qualify for a grant, applicants must meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. Must be a non-profit, non-governmental organization working in or with the capacity to work in one or more of the above thematic areas from a human rights perspective;
  2. Must be a registered SADC regional organisation or registered to work in any of the eight (8) ARISA Programme countries, namely; Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar,  Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa;  (NB: Unregistered organisations that can provide justifiable reasons for lack of such registration may also be considered); 
  3. Under the ABA grants, organisations with the capacity to undertake both strategic and access to justice public interest litigation at both national and supranational levels will be given priority;
  4. Under the Freedom House grants, organizations engaging in human rights advocacy campaigns at national and supranational levels will be given priority;[1]
  5. Smaller organisations that are in need of extra resources to strengthen and improve their capacities will also be considered;
  6. Must have never been convicted or currently the subject of any legal proceedings related to the mismanagement of funds or had a public transaction terminated for cause of default; not bankrupt; not a political party or politically affiliated organization.

ABA grants will range from $5,000 - $15,000 over a period of 12 months (1 year)
FH grants will range from $10,000 - $100,000 over a period of 12-24 months (1-2 years)

Applicants are encouraged to apply for both Litigation (ABA) and Advocacy (Freedom House) support in order to complement their litigation work with the requisite advocacy strategies.

Application Process
Qualifying organisations must submit a two to three-page Concept Note as the first step in the application process.

The concept note must provide the following information:

  • Name and contact (telephone, email and physical address of the organisation);
  • The aims and objectives of the project with specific activities identified, duration of the activities and how the activities align with the ARISA objectives and thematic areas as well as the resultant outcomes you wish to achieve;
  • An indicative budget;
  • A brief history and description of the organisation; including governance/management structure;
  • Information / documentation on past experience/activities relevant to this call for proposals and how this work aligns with the ARISA program objectives and thematic areas.

Prospective partners are encouraged to contact ARISA on the email addresses indicated below, should they need any clarifications during the concept note writing process.
All submitted concept notes will be assessed and successful applicants will be requested to submit full applications.
Applications / Concept Notes must be submitted to the following email addresses:
Please include Grant Application Reference Number: SOUT-01132020-001

Freedom House:
Applications must be clearly referenced/marked “ARISA Call for Proposals 2020”
Application Close Date: 12 Midnight CAT on 13 February.
Review and Selection 
ARISA will review all proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of project conception / idea;
  • General approach and proposed interventions;
  • Cost effectiveness;
  • Sustainability and impact potential;
  • Organizational strength and past performance.

Freedom House will award grants to the most qualified applicants until resources allocated to this call for proposals have been exhausted. All funding is subject to availability of funds.

[1] For both advocacy and litigation initiatives, organisations may litigate / engage with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) Human Rights Mechanisms on any of the thematic issues listed above.

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