Grant Opportunities

USAID’s Resilient, Inclusive, & Sustainable Environments Challenge: Any Organization can apply for Grants of up to $300,000

USAID’s Resilient, Inclusive, & Sustainable Environments Challenge: Any Organization can apply for Grants of up to $300,000

Deadline: 5 August 2020

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is pleased to announce its Resilient, Inclusive, & Sustainable Environments (RISE) Challenge in order to identify and fund the innovative application of promising or proven interventions that prevent and respond to gender-based violence across programs that address the access, use, control, and management of natural resource.

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The Problem

Gender-based violence (GBV) is estimated to affect more than one in three women worldwide. This widespread problem takes a variety of forms, including sexual, psychological, community, economic, institutional, and intimate partner violence, and in turn affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life, including health, education, and economic and political opportunities. At the same time, environmental degradation, loss of ecosystem benefits, and unsustainable resource use are creating complex crises worldwide. As billions of people rely on these natural resources and ecosystems to sustain themselves, the potential human impacts are dire, with disproportionate effects on women and girls.

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GBV and environmental issues are interlinked, and so their interactions are complex, diverse, and multi-layered. In some contexts, they form feedback loops where gender-based attacks, harassment, and discrimination worsens the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem resources, and this environmental deterioration triggers new, more damaging forms of violence. In other contexts, preventing and responding to GBV unlocks opportunities for enhanced environmental action, as well as for women’s and community empowerment.

About the Challenge

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Responding to GBV can provide opportunities for both enhanced environmental action and women’s empowerment, but tackling one issue without addressing the other is unlikely to succeed. USAID’s RISE Challenge aims to identify and implement interventions to reduce GBV in environmental programming.

This challenge aims to fund organizations to innovatively adapt and implement promising or proven practices that have been used to effectively prevent and respond to GBV in other sectors to environmental programming. The challenge will draw insights from other development and humanitarian sectors that have proven or promising practices to address GBV. It incentivizes partnerships between environmental organizations, local communities, indigenous peoples organizations, and gender and GBV experts who can help bridge knowledge gaps and work to build an evidence base of effective GBV interventions.

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The challenge also aims to celebrate and spur a broad range of interventions that are sustainable and integrable into USAID and partners’ environmental programming and investments.

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Challenge Approach

This challenge supports two approaches to address GBV in programs related to the access, use, control, and management of natural resources. These two approaches include either of these options:

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Integration into existing programs

Applicants seeking additional funding for the innovative application of proven or promising GBV interventions into an existing environmental program related to the access, use, control, and management of natural resources. The existing program could be in the design or implementation phase. The existing program does not need to be USAID-funded but must be undertaken with the express support of the original underwriter. This additional grant will fund new interventions, such as GBV- integrated training, policies, partnerships, M&E collection and communication, and/or other activities to be determined by the applicant.

Developing new programs

Applicants seeking funding to implement the innovative application of proven or promising GBV interventions into a new environmental program. In this case, the grant will support the unique development of a new natural resources management program that incorporates promising or proven GBV prevention or response interventions. It is expected that the grant will support natural resource stewardship activities, staffing, and overhead, as well as integrated GBV training, policies, partnerships, M&E collection and communication, and/or other activities to be determined to test and learn the effects of a program that incorporates GBV interventions from the outset.

Why Participate?

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For winners of this challenge, USAID will feature their interventions, facilitate access to funding and networking opportunities, and provide technical assistance to support the proposed activity in achieving measurable results and impact.

USAID will award up to three Fixed Amount Awards (FAA) between $100,000 and $300,000, subject to the availability of funding. Each FAA will be funded based on milestones and an implementation plan that are mutually agreed upon. Grant-funded activities must be completed within one to two years.

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Challenge winners will be announced by December 2020.

Funding Criteria

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This challenge is seeking interventions that:

Adapt or iterate from proven or promising interventions used in other sectors or geographies to address GBV.
Build on existing or new environmental programs to strengthen interventions and evidence collection on GBV.
Promote institutional learning on good practices and lessons learned of addressing GBV in environmental programming that can lead to addressing GBV at scale within implementing organizations.
Present innovative interventions that address knowledge gaps of how to address GBV across environmental sectors, including but not limited to, land tenure, biodiversity conservation, fisheries.
Leverage favorable enabling environments to implement innovative interventions to reduce GBV. This could include implementing in geographies that have favorable legislation, infrastructure, or political will to address this issue.
Foster meaningful partnerships between environmental, gender equality, indigenous peoples, and/or community-based organizations to address GBV in environmental programming.
The RISE Challenge will not fund interventions that:

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Are strictly research focused.
Are in the idea phase with no demonstration of application.
Center around the provision of free equipment, construction, or building new infrastructure.
Focus on a single component of the issue (i.e. standalone programs that address GBV that are not connected to access, use, control, and management of natural resources).
Do not establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders (i.e. environmental organizations/groups, local/indigenous community groups, gender/GBV organizations, and relevant experts).
Interventions that run a significant risk of exacerbating GBV while improving environmental outcomes; harming environmental outcomes; or exacerbating both GBV and environmental harm.
“Integration into an existing program” approaches that do not have written support from their original underwriting organization.
Have previously received RISE funding.
Are affiliated with a political party or engaged in political activity.
Are focused solely on religious or faith-based activities. Are operational in geographies in which USAID does not operate or currently fund work in.
Eligibility Criteria

Prospective competitors must meet the following requirements to participate in the RISE Challenge. All applications will undergo an initial eligibility screening to ensure they comply with the eligibility criteria. A.

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Organization type: RISE is open to all organizations regardless of type (e.g. NGO; for profit; not-for-profit; national, regional, community and indigenous people’s organizations; foundations; faith-based organizations; women-owned/women-led enterprises).
Organization size: All organizations regardless of size are eligible to apply.
Partnership model: Applicants must demonstrate a partnership model that leverages the capacity, expertise, and existing relationships across relevant environmental sector organizations, gender and GBV organizations, indigenous people’s organizations, relevant experts, and local communities for the geography and sector of interest. Partnerships with research, academic, or evaluation organizations with the capacity to support evidence collection are also highly encouraged. The RISE Challenge requires supporting documentation to verify partnerships.
Local presence: All applicants must use the funds to implement interventions in geographies where USAID is currently operational. For the full list, click here. Applicants must either already have a presence in that country or must have a local partner. See partnership model requirement above. The RISE Challenge will require supporting documentation to demonstrate legal status to operate where the intervention is taking place.
Willingness to capture and share evidence and learning: All applicants need to describe a clear and actionable plan for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning that articulates how the applicant will test hypotheses, generate evidence, and use learning to adapt programming, which will feed into the evidence base that USAID is creating. Sharing learning includes sensitively balancing being transparent about sharing setbacks while protecting vulnerable populations from exposure to harm. Grantees will be expected to participate in quarterly reporting and peer-to- peer learning and may be asked to contribute to the development of open-source tools. All people-level indicators must be sex-disaggregated.
Topical: Applicants should present interventions that address the objectives of the Program Statement outlined in Section A.
Gender analysis: We strongly encourage all applicants to complete a rigorous gender analysis prior to applying, but this is not mandatory. Successful awardees who have yet to complete a gender analysis will be required to do so as one of their initial activities under the grant.
Eligible to receive USAID funds: Catalyst will conduct a responsibility determination prior to award to ensure that the applicant has the organizational and technical capacity to manage a USAID funded project.
Language: Applicants must submit their entries in English. While entries will be decided on the strength of the content, we encourage applicants to invest in translation or have someone with strong English skills review their submission in order to ensure that they are showing their work to their best advantage.
Completeness and timeliness: Entries will not be assessed if all required fields have not been completed. This applies to any stage of submission and relates to missing documentation that may have been requested. Late entries may not be accepted.
Ineligible applicants:

The following organizations are not eligible for the RISE Challenge:

Organizations that have previously received RISE Challenge funding;
Political parties, groupings, or institutions, or their subsidiaries or affiliates;
Organizations that appear on the List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement and Non- procurement Programs, U.N. 1267 list, or have an active restriction or exclusion on the SAM list;
Organizations that advocate, promote, or engage in illegal activities or anti-democratic activities;
Any entity that has been found to have misused USAID funds in the past;
Any entity affiliated with USAID or Resonance, its officers, directors, employees, the Catalyst Project, or their family members;
Any government organization; and
Still have questions? Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.

Let’s understand in brief how the evaluation criteria and selection process works, visit this link.

Want to learn about Proposal Instructions? Click here.

You can also view the current winners of the RISE Challenge here.

For more information, visit

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