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NOFO: Citizens and Media Against Corruption Activity (BiH)

NOFO: Citizens and Media Against Corruption Activity (BiH)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking applications for a cooperative agreement from qualified entities to implement the Citizens and Media Against Corruption (CMAC) activity.

The purpose of the Citizens and Media Against Corruption (CMAC) Activity (hereinafter referred as the “Activity”) is to strengthen a broad social movement against corruption in BiH and achieve the overarching goal of increased accountability of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Government. This will be achieved by increasing the engagement of citizens in combating corruption. Exposing corruption and its patterns by media, civil society, and activists serves as a catalyst that arms others with the information needed to drive positive change and advance democracy, transparency, and accountability in BiH.Activity Objectives and Illustrative Results
  • Activity Purpose: To strengthen a broad social movement against corruption in BiH.
    • Progress towards achieving the Activity purpose can be measured using the following illustrative indicators:
      • DR.2.4-2 Number of mechanisms for external oversight of public resource use supported by USG assistancePercent of citizens who participated in at least one anti-corruption activity in the last 12 monthsNumber of USG-supported advocacy initiatives that resulted in a public action
    To achieve the Activity Purpose of strengthening a broad social movement against corruption in BiH which unites the efforts of like-minded actors across civil society and media sectors in demanding zero tolerance of corruption, the Activity will have the following three objectives:
    • Objective 1: Citizen engagement in combating corruption strengthened
      • Civil society plays a key role in preventing and fighting corruption. As watchdogs, civil society actors enhance transparency and accountability in the public sector. They also serve as representatives of citizens, relaying their demands and reports of alleged corruption, sub-standard services, and waste and misuse of public funds. Citizens must be empowered to take action and exert pressure on corrupt government activities, and demand a zero tolerance policy for everyday corruption. Public support is crucial, as civil society and independent voices face increasing pressures from authoritarian government actors aiming to silence its critics.This Activity will support informal and formal groups of citizens, helping them to identify and adequately address corruption problems in their communities as well as at higher levels of government. It will continue to support legislative advocacy activities of CSOs related to the key anti-corruption reforms necessary for Euro-Atlantic integration.Illustrative Results
        • Key anti-corruption reforms adopted and implemented with input and engagement of civil society.Increased outreach and effectiveness of CSO-led corruption monitoring tools.Increased citizen awareness of corruption and of the available tools to combat it.
        Illustrative Indicators
        • DR.4.2-2 Number of civil society organizations (CSOs) receiving USG assistance engaged in advocacy interventions.DR.2.4-4 Number of anti-corruption measures proposed, adopted or implemented due to USG assistance, to include laws, policies, or proceduresPercent of citizens stating that citizens can contribute to fight against corruption.
      Objective 2: Outreach of high-quality investigative reporting on corruption increased
      • The second objective focuses on investigative journalism, which together with civil society, play critical, complementary roles in documenting and exposing corruption. Investigative journalism is mostly inconvenient to government officials and politicians because it unearths corruption cases and exposes specifically targeted individuals or institutions to public criticism. This Activity will support selected non-profit independent media outlets and journalists to continue producing highquality, fact-based investigative reports on corruption. In addition, this activity will support media outlets to improve their outreach and connection to the wider public, including youth, by making sure their reports are civic-focused, relevant, and engaging.This objective will also provide legal assistance to media outlets and journalists for politically motivated defamation lawsuits, allowing them to focus their time and attention on producing high-quality, fact-based investigative reports, rather than on political pressures coming from external factors.Illustrative Results
        • Increased quantity of high-quality investigative reporting on corruption.Strengthened and expanded network of media outlets and journalists dedicated to investigative media reporting.
        Illustrative Indicators:
        • Percent of citizens stating they noticed an increase in media reporting on corruption.Number of investigative reports produced by media partners that meet quality criteriaNumber of non-state news outlets and journalists/bloggers assisted by USG
      Objective 3: Collaboration among citizens, civil society, and media in the fight against corruption improved
      • The overarching expectations of the Activity is to increase collaboration and joint actions among media, civil society, and civic activists to disclose corruption and demand effective institutional response. This can be achieved by regular information sharing between investigative journalists and civil society advocates. USAID expects the Applicants to propose a methodology for institutionalized cooperation and strategic messaging among the Activity partners.Illustrative Results
        • Increased collaboration and joint actions by media, civil society, and activists to disclose corruption and demand effective institutional responseIncreased access to safety and security resources for all beneficiaries (digital, physical, legal, and psychosocial)
        Illustrative Indicators
        • Level of networking and collaboration between CSOs and media outlets receiving USG assistance
  • Cross-Cutting Priorities

    • Outmigration represents a serious problem in BiH. People, particularly youth, are leaving the country for better economic opportunities, mostly to countries in the European Union. However, the political instability and particularly prevailing corruption in BiH exacerbates the problem. Youth cite endemic corruption as one of the primary reasons for wanting to leave the country. By assisting civil society and independent media to more effectively engage citizens in the fight against corruption, the Activity aims to increase the BiH Government’s accountability and reduce corruption as one of the key reasons for outmigration.
    Countering Malign Influences
    • USAID support for strong democratic governance will limit opportunities for foreign malign influence. Countering corruption and building an adequate legal framework will counter malign practices outright and provide the basis for implementing EU-oriented solutions for development. These efforts will help BiH make progress along its Euro-Atlantic integration path. By strengthening civil society and independent media’s ability to hold BiH governments at all levels accountable and responsive to citizens’ needs, this Activity will increase the resilience of host governments against malign external threats which capitalize on citizen marginalization.
    Human Rights Protection
    • The recently adopted re-criminalization of defamation and potential adoption of a “foreign agents” law in the Republika Srpska present a direct attack on freedom of expression and assembly. These types of laws limit the space for critical debate, and further narrow an already shrinking civic space in the RS by targeting and stigmatizing independent voices, including independent media outlets, investigative journalists, civic activists, human rights defenders, and CSOs critical of the government. These types of laws can also suppress dissent and hinder the work of civil society organizations, including those collaborating with vulnerable groups, tackling environmental concerns, and advocating for democratic values. The Activity will develop and employ tools to prevent and mitigate the effects of the deterioration of the enabling environment.
    Gender equality
    • Although corruption affects both men and women, due to gender inequalities present in society, in many settings women are exposed to corruption and its consequences more than men. Gendered consequences of corruption on women and their activism against corruption are influenced by deep-rooted traditional prevailing cultural norms and gender roles as well as women’s representation in decision-making bodies and power distribution between sexes. This is particularly true for women in vulnerable groups including women living in poverty and less educated women who are more likely to be unaware of their rights. Moreover, sextortion as a gender-based type of corruption is a serious issue that remains vastly underreported and unaddressed in the country due to a number of reasons including the subject remaining a taboo.
    Locally led development
    • Locally led development is the process in which local actors – encompassing individuals, communities, networks, organizations, private entities, and governments – set their own agendas, develop solutions, and bring the capacity, leadership, and resources to make those solutions a reality. USAID recognizes that local leadership and ownership are essential for fostering sustainable results across the development and humanitarian assistance work. This Activity is expected to fully embrace this principle by building on the existing anti-corruption ecosystems that are in line with the local strategies regarding Euro-Atlantic integration.
    Private Sector Engagement (PSE)
    • The private sector has the potential to play a key role in advancing the objectives of this activity. USAID/BiH’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) encourages strong partnerships with all actors (see also USAID’s PSE Policy), which are key to ensuring that development solutions can be sustained in the long-term by local stakeholders and markets.The ultimate goal of including the private sector is to help solve a development challenge and/or to further advance development objectives by leveraging and applying private sector expertise, capabilities, networks, and other resources. Applicants are encouraged to articulate how they plan to leverage and engage the private sector.
    Funding Information
  • USAID intends to award one cooperative agreement pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity. Subject to funding availability and at the discretion of the Agency, USAID intends to provide up to $10 million in total USAID funding over a five-year period.The anticipated period of performance is five years. The estimated start date is October 1, 2024.
  • Geographic Code
  • The geographic code for the procurement of commodities and services under this program is 937.
  • Eligibility Criteria

    Eligibility for this NOFO is restricted to local organizations (prime applicant) based on the market research as indicated under section B.6 Selection of Instrument of the NOFO.Only local organizations as defined below are eligible for the award. USAID defines a “local entity” as an individual, a corporation, a nonprofit organization, or another body of persons that:
    • Is legally organized under the laws of; andHas as its principal place of business or operations in; andIs
      • majority owned by individuals who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of; andmanaged by a governing body the majority of who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the country receiving assistance.
    For purposes of this definition, ‘majority owned’ and ‘managed by’ include, without limitation, beneficiary interests and the power, either directly or indirectly, whether exercised or exercisable, to control the election, appointment, or tenure of the organization’s managers or a majority of the organization’s governing body by any means.USAID welcomes applications from organizations that have not previously received financial assistance from USAID
    For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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