The US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE) is pleased to announce the launch of its 2021 project competition. Teams composed of at least one US and Russian non-governmental organization are invited to propose innovative bilateral initiatives that will benefit both countries and address a common social issue in one of the thematic areas identified below. Project partners must directly engage with communities in both countries to tackle a pressing social challenge and demonstrate how their collaboration resulted in a specific and measurable impact at the end of the project period.
Project teams are expected to be more than a collection of individuals working in parallel. Instead, they should foster dynamic collaboration in which project team members from both countries are exposed to the diverse aspects of each other’s professional expertise and work together toward shared goals.
Projects should provide US and Russian partners the opportunity to work collectively through a complex problem and produce meaningful deliverables. Products may take several forms, including bilingual training curricula, community toolkits, published guides and articles, curated exhibitions, instructional video lessons and webinars, documentary videos, community services and strategic solutions for community needs.
- Arctic and environmental conservation
- Indigenous peoples’ empowerment
- Disability and inclusion
- Public health (including public health education and intervention strategies to support vulnerable groups)
- Open Thematic Area (OTA)
Open Thematic Area
In addition to the four thematic areas, project teams may propose a project under OTA. Projects must meet all SEE eligibility requirements and must not address political issues or suggest political reforms. Proposals submitted under OTA should explore new topics beyond the aforementioned thematic areas. Partnership teams cannot apply to both OTA and one of the thematic areas identified above.
Details on specific eligibility criteria, project design requirements, and submission instructions are specified in the official Request for Applications (RFA), which is detailed below.
Project teams may request up to $50,000 in funding for a period between six and nine months. The deadline to apply is 11:59 pm EST on November 1, 2021.
Request for Applications
Through this Request for Applications (RFA), U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange invites applications from U.S. organizations seeking to establish collaboration with Russian partner(s) in joint pursuit of solutions to social issues of importance to both countries.
EF is accepting applications for projects that have a broad bilateral impact in the following thematic areas: Arctic and environmental conservation, Indigenous peoples’ empowerment, Disability and inclusion, Public health, and Open Thematic Area. Projects should avoid topics related to political activism or activity, or public policy reform.
EF will fund innovative ideas that leverage U.S.-Russian cooperation to implement unique solutions to pressing social problems in the above thematic areas. Projects may request funding of up to $50,000 for projects that focus on various topics, including but not limited to creating initiatives encouraging local conservation efforts in the Arctic and other communities, empowering Indigenous communities, increasing involvement of people with disabilities in social life, employment, and sports; and developing initiatives focused on public health responses for local communities, including marginalized groups. Projects must be between six to nine months in length.
All applications should be submitted by 11:59 pm EST on November 1, 2021, to be considered for funding.
Projects must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Projects must address one or more of SEE’s five thematic areas (Arctic and environmental conservation, Indigenous peoples’ empowerment, Disability and inclusion, Public health, or Open Thematic Area).
- Projects must include one U.S.-based partner and one Russia-based partner as implementing organizations. Lead partners may also include other organizations/individuals as additional implementers to assist with project activities as necessary.
- Project applications must be submitted by the U.S.-based partner on behalf of the partnership. EF will only disburse funds to the U.S. lead organization to manage on behalf of the partnership.
- Projects must achieve clear and measurable impact with equal or near-equal benefit to both the U.S. and Russia.
- Projects must impact at least 250 direct beneficiaries* in each country (500 total).
- Projects may not engage in political activism, public policy reform, or the influence of public opinion.
- Russian federal, regional, state, and local government bodies; government-funded social institutions (e.g. orphanages, nature preserves); as well as federal academic and research institutions are not eligible to serve as project partners (except for student groups, which may do so).
- While partnerships that previously received EF funding are eligible to apply, preference will be given to projects submitted on behalf of new partner organizations. If one of the applying organizations have previously received EF partnership project funding but is now applying with a different partner, this partnership would be eligible to apply.
Projects aimed primarily at research and academic collaboration are ineligible to apply.
* “Direct beneficiaries” are identifiable individuals who receive measurable benefit from project activities (e.g. obtain new knowledge or skills by attending a training, gain access to new community resources generated or enhanced by the project, or increased understanding of an issue due to project outreach).
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, rapidly developing situation. The SEE Program is closely monitoring the situation and following the guidance of federal, state, and local health organizations and government mandates. Our staff remains committed to supporting any program implementors that receive SEE funding with successfully carrying out projects in accordance with health and safety regulations. We will assist implementors in any needed adjustments to projects and will work closely with project teams throughout the life cycle of the award. When you submit your proposal, we ask applicants to consider alternatives to any activities that require travel, and demonstrate the team’s ability to adapt travel-dependent activities to an online format should travel not be feasible.
Project teams that plan to integrate international travel into their projects should keep the following requirements in mind while planning their project activities:
- Due to significantly increased wait times for both U.S. and Russian visas, the project team should allot enough time for visa processing in advance of any international travel (at least 60 days in advance for travel to Russia and 90 days in advance for travel to the US). Project teams should begin planning international travel as soon as funding is awarded.
- Project teams must create their own arrangements for obtaining U.S. visas for Russian citizens. Effective May 12, 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow will no longer offer any non-diplomatic nonimmigrant visa services. For more information, please consult the U.S. Embassy in Moscow’s website here.
- The project team will be responsible for making all travel arrangements associated with the project (e.g. lodging, domestic and international transportation, interpretation services, per diem/living allowance, health insurance, visa services).
- All participants traveling internationally must take part in an EF online orientation before their departure from their home countries.
USE OF FUNDS
Project funding may only be used for activities directly connected with the implementation of the project, such as:
- Direct costs of project-related events (e.g., organizing meetings, rental of conference facilities, translation services);
- Communication between partner organizations (e.g., phone, email, web conferencing);
- Travel expenses associated with the project (e.g., transportation, accommodation, per diem, health insurance, visa fees, interpretation and other related expenses);
- Funds used to conduct outreach and marketing activities, and dissemination of project deliverables (e.g., publications, email marketing, social media promotion, website maintenance costs);
- Prorated portion of salaries for project team members;
- Modest honoraria for key project experts;
- Other expenses directly related to project implementation.
In accordance with EF policy, funding may not be used for the following costs: an organization’s ongoing expenses; construction expenses, purchase of real estate, alcoholic beverages, entertainment, business/first-class travel, and the repayment of debts. Applicants are advised that EF funding may not be used to directly benefit (monetarily or non-monetarily) the Russian federal, regional, state, and local government bodies; government-funded social institutions (e.g. orphanages, museums, nature preserves); as well as federal academic and research institutions.
The U.S. lead organization will conclude an official funding agreement with Eurasia Foundation and accept sole legal responsibility for the project on behalf of the project team. Teams will use their funding for direct expenses related to the project as designated in the project budget, and cannot use EF funding for sub-awards with Russian organizations.
All applicants must use EF’s online grant management system. The application process has one stage, and requires project teams to upload a detailed project narrative, completed logical framework form, letter of commitment from the lead organization in the other country, resumes for all key personnel, detailed project budget form, budget narrative, and application certification form.
Project narratives should not exceed five single-spaced pages using 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Margins should be one inch or greater. While the applicant may determine the concept note’s format, please ensure that all the following questions are addressed:
- Elaborate on the issues and opportunities to be addressed by this project, including any supporting data or previous research;
- Explain the main objective(s) of the project;
- Provide a timeline of activities that will help the project reach its objective(s);
- Define the target groups in both countries that will indirectly and directly (at least 500 beneficiaries who actively engage in project activities) benefit from this project;
- Explain which strategies you will employ to ensure you have the necessary supporting documentation to track project impact;
- Describe how the U.S. partner plans to learn from the Russian partner’s experience and vice versa;
- Provide any strategies you might use to mitigate potential risks connected with implementation, travel, security, etc.
If this is the first time that an applicant has applied to an EF funding opportunity using the online grant management system, a representative from the organization must create an account on the grant management system by following the instructions on the right of the login page linked above. If an applicant already has an account, they may simply log in without creating a new account.
Upon review of initial applications after November 1, 2021, prospective applications will be invited to submit a financial management questionnaire and attend an interview with the SEE team.
Semi-finalists will have a chance to consult directly with the SEE team during the interview process.
To be considered for funding, the application must be submitted by 11:59 pm EST on November 1, 2021.
Applicants will receive notification by email upon successful submission of the application. If you encounter difficulty in completing the application process, please contact [email protected] immediately for assistance. Before proceeding with the application, candidates are strongly encouraged to read the Partnership Projects section of the SEE website and the Frequently Asked Questions for Partnership Projects.
All materials and documents submitted in connection with this competition will be retained by Eurasia Foundation during the review process and will not be returned to the applicant. Eurasia Foundation does not use the information presented by applicants for purposes other than review and does not provide this information to any outside persons or institutions, except in such cases where it is required by U.S. or Russian law, or by donor agreements with Eurasia Foundation.
September 27, 2021: Proposal-Writing Webinar for prospective applicants. Interested applicants can watch a recording here
November 1, 2021: Full application deadline
November 8, 2021: Clarifying questions and Financial Management Questionnaires assigned and interview invitations sent to applicants
November- December 2021: Final review period
December 2021: Applicants selected for SEE funding
January 2022: Partnership Projects launch
CRITERIA FOR PROJECT EVALUATION AND SELECTION
The following criteria will be used to evaluate project applications:
- Extent of demonstrated need for the project among target groups;
- Clarity and impact of the project objective and activities;
- Relevance of proposed activities for achieving the project objective;
- Overall extent of project impact in the U.S. and Russia and on collaboration between the two countries;
- Potential for project sustainability beyond the proposed funding period;
- Capacity of lead organizations and other project team members to successfully implement the proposed project.
After registering on EF’s grant management system, you will need to enter an access code to view the application form. Please use the following access code to access the application form: SEEPROJ22.
If you encounter any issues with accessing the form, please contact [email protected] for assistance. We strongly recommend that you start working on your application as early as possible. If you encounter technical issues with your application and contact us less than 48 hours before the final deadline, we might not be able to assist you on time.