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DRL supporting Civic Oversight of the Security Sector in Ukraine

DRL supporting Civic Oversight of the Security Sector in Ukraine

Deadline: 19-Jul-24

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 projects that support civil society efforts to provide effective civic oversight of the Government of Ukraine’s (GOU) armed forces, security services, and the law enforcement.

This project will seek to ensure that civil society is well positioned to serve as a viable partner for and a watchdog to the security sector. From the outset, the project should seek to identify avenues for dialogue and establish effective coordination mechanisms with relevant GOU entities. It should also facilitate an inherent understanding within the government as well as among civil society and the public that civic oversight of the security sector is critical. Transparent and accountable governance is vital to Ukraine’s European Union accession and its future as an independent, peaceful, and democratic society.

All programs should aim to have impact that leads to reforms and 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.

DRL is committed to advancing equity and support for underserved and underrepresented communities. In accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities, programs should implement strategies for integration and inclusion of individuals/organizations/beneficiaries that can bring perspectives based on their religion, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, national origin, age, genetic information, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, political affiliation, or veteran’s status. Programs should be demand-driven and locally led to the extent possible.

DRL requires all programs to be non-discriminatory and expects implementers to include strategies for non-discrimination of individuals/organizations/beneficiaries based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, or veteran’s status.


  • Project objectives may include, but are not limited to:
    • galvanizing public demand for increased civic oversight of the security sector;
    • establishing effective monitoring and feedback mechanism(s) that encourage dialogue between civil society and GOU structures as an oversight platform; and
    • creating and operationalizing a comprehensive roadmap for public oversight over the security sector during wartime and in the aftermath of the war.
  • The project should facilitate regular consultations between civil society and the government at the national and local levels, including liberated territories.


  • When developing competitive proposals, applicants should consider the following elements:
    • Leverage ongoing efforts in the security sector reform space in Ukraine, inclusive of all relevant stakeholders. Coordinate with existing initiatives and bodies working locally in Ukraine as well as internationally in this space, specifically including efforts funded by the United States such as USAID and INL-supported programming.
    • Include rigorous risk analysis as well as security and contingency plans that take into account a wide range of outcomes, including a possibility of further military escalation.
    • Integrate a trauma-informed, do-no-harm approach into the program design and overall implementation. Such an approach will recognize the unique traumas affecting target beneficiaries, including civil society actors but also security sector entities themselves; fully integrate trauma-informed approach into policies, procedures, and practices, and seek to actively avoid re-traumatization. In a practical sense, the program should seek to build in mental health and psychosocial support for project staff, partners, and beneficiaries, and make appropriate allocations in the proposed project budget.
    • Consider also budgeting for a support fund, and develop clear selection criteria, to account for possible emergency needs of project staff, partners, and beneficiaries.

Funding Information

  • Total Funding Ceiling: $789,343 FY23 AEECA Supplemental
  • Total Funding Floor: $789,343 FY23 AEECA Supplemental
  • Period of Performance: 24-36 months
  • Anticipated Time to Award, Pending Availability of Funds: 4 months
  • Anticipated Number of Awards: 1

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;
  • Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities;
  • Systematic follow-up with beneficiaries at specific intervals after the completion of activities to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.


  • Activities may include, but are not limited to:
    • monitoring of and reporting on incidents of human rights violations such as use of excessive force, failure to investigate, and discrimination;
    • detecting and addressing overreach and abuse of unfettered administrative discretion by the authorities;
    • reducing opportunities for government corruption related to the security sector;
    • training civil society on best practices for security-sector oversight and developing a coordinated approach to data collection so that clear statistics can be generated and reported;
    • conducting advocacy regarding implementation of existing reforms, as appropriate during wartime, and, if possible, for development of new rights-respecting reforms in the security sector in consultation with societal stakeholders;
    • educating different audiences, including the public, lawyers, journalists, and security forces through tailored interventions on human rights topics related to security sector’s operations;
    • creating opportunities to share experiences and learning from relevant wartime and post-war contexts with regard to civil society oversight of the security sector in a similar operating environment; and
    • undertaking a limited degree of research to guide the development of effective civic oversight mechanisms, including parliamentary oversight.

Eligibility Criteria

  • DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
  • Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards.

For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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