Request for Concept Papers

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Request for Concept Papers

Expanding Participation of People with Disabilities

Issuance Date of this Solicitation: November 15, 2013

  1. Purpose Statement

USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina is accepting applications for grants to increase participation of people with disabilities (PWDs) in USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina projects and activities and to strengthen the capacities of disabled people’s organizations (DPOs).

Funds should be used to support projects and programs that will increase the participation of people with disabilities within the programs and strategy of USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Program areas could include, but are not limited to, education, government, civil society building, rule of law, and livelihoods. Capacity building programs for DPOs may include organizational capacity, advocacy efforts, coordination, and leadership.

Subject to the availability of funds, the total estimated level of funding available for awards worldwide is approximately $5,000,000 over an 18-24 month period.

We expect to fund individual programs in an amount ranging from $200,000 to $600,000.

Applications should be from qualified U.S. or non-U.S. entities, such as private, non-profit organizations (or for-profit companies willing to forego profits), including private voluntary organizations, universities, research organizations, professional associations, and relevant special interest associations. Local DPOs are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to qualified local DPOs and/or any of the above organization types that directly collaborate with and/or award sub-grants to DPOs while meeting the requirements for funding. Awards to U.S. organizations will be administered in accordance with (1) 22 C.F.R. 226, (2) OMB Circulars and (3) the USAID Standard Provisions for U.S. Nongovernmental Recipients. Awards to non-U.S. organizations will be administered in accordance with USAID Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Recipients.
Additional information on funding and the concept paper process can be found at the end of this solicitation.

  1. Background

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15% of any population has some form of disability with a higher incidence of disability in countries that are post conflict or disaster-stricken areas. Of the estimated 1 billion people throughout the world who have a disability, 80% live in less resourced nations.

People with disabilities have been marginalized from traditional development activities due to discrimination and environmental barriers, which have limited their access to health care services, education, employment, and society at large.
Previously, emphasis has been put on developing separate programs for people with disabilities, rather than trying to integrate them into existing development activities. Although it may be necessary at times to develop separate programs to target specific needs of some individuals, the needs of people with disabilities are much like everyone else’s and must be considered from the program start.
In 1997, USAID adopted a disability policy that advanced a clear vision and framework for the Agency’s efforts in the area of disability inclusion. The policy states that USAID will not discriminate against people with disabilities and will work to ensure the inclusion and active participation of people with disabilities in USAID-funded programs and activities. The policy also calls on USAID missions to reach out to partners, host country counterparts and other donors to lead a collaborative effort to end discrimination against, and promote equal opportunity for, people with disabilities.
In July 2009, the United States signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ensuring its commitment to the human rights of people with disabilities around the world. To date, several of the countries in which USAID operates have also signed/ratified the Convention signaling a global movement towards the full realization of the rights of people with disabilities and their role in the international development community.
For more information about USAID and the Agency’s Disability Policy, visit: and the new DRG Strategy 

  1. Areas of Interest

The two main objectives of the disability funding are to increase the participation of people with disabilities in USAID programs and to strengthen the capacity and services of local DPOs.

Ideally, activities should complement the Mission’s strategic objectives as articulated by the Country Development Cooperation Strategy ( and be guided by the values and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The lists provided under each heading are only illustrative. Other innovative ideas are welcome.
A. Increase participation of people with disabilities in new USAID programs.


  1. Promote participation of people with disabilities in democratic processes and elections.

  2. Foster inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in mainstream education programs through teacher-training programs, adaptive technology, community outreach, etc.

  3. Increase employment and economic opportunities for people with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities.

  4. Improve national laws and policies, and their implementation, to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the country. 

B. Strengthen the capacity and services of DPOs.


  1. Improve the organizational capacity, financial management, human/material resources, strategic planning, fundraising, leadership and coordination of DPOs.

  2. Support the development and/or strengthening of national and regional disability networks and coalitions.

  3. Support the establishment and/or strengthening of consumer-controlled disability resource centers (often referred to as “Independent Living Centers” in the U.S.) that promote the full independence and participation of people with disabilities in society.

  4. Build advocacy skills of DPOs to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in programs funded by USAID, host governments and other donors.

  1. Available Funds

Proposed programs are encouraged to be complementary in nature with existing USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina projects, and activities.

Concept papers of $200,000 to $600,000 will be considered. Any requests over $600,000 for the total project period will not be reviewed.

Concept papers will be considered “one time grants,” with no expectations for follow-on funding.

  1. Concept Paper Process

  1. Applicants must submit concept papers to USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina by the closing date below. Applications must be submitted in English and use the application form available at (as attachment 1) under the tab: Working with Us, Business Opportunities.

  2. USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina will send the concept paper(s) they are interested in supporting to USAID/Washington after internal evaluation by USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina has taken place following the evaluation criteria included in this document. A review panel in USAID/Washington will select concept papers submitted by USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina, and will recommend allocation of funds to USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina according to the results of that process.

  3. USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina will contact the applicant of the selected concept papers to develop a full application.

  4. Selected recipients will have to comply with USAID regulations.


Concept papers for projects and/or activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be submitted to USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina before December 20th, 2013, 3:00 pm local time. They will be reviewed on a first-come first serve basis and funds allocated according to merit of the program.

Non-conforming concept papers will not be reviewed. Due to the volume of anticipated concept papers, respect the 9.25-page limit of the required standard application form, which is available on the USAID web page ( or upon e-mail request to contact persons listed at the bottom of this document.
The following criteria will be used in reviewing concept papers.


To receive a full score of 20 points the organization will have:

    • Extensive involvement in disability inclusion or be a Disabled People’s Organization.

    • Previous experience in project management or managing activities related to those proposed in the concept paper.

    • A clear understanding of the disability landscape and situation of people with disabilities in the country/region of programming.

    • A clear set of objectives and an orientation in line with proposed activities.


To receive a full score of 60 points the project must:

    • Show a clear link between the described need and the proposed activities.

    • Describe the impact of the proposed project on existing USAID programs, activities or strategies.

    • Define who will benefit from the project (children, youth, adults; people with disabilities or not; government institutions, families, local community, schools, etc.; disaggregated by sex).

    • Provide an activity schedule that is well-defined and realistic.

    • Document what indicators (beyond the core indicators under IIP 3.3.2) will be used to show the project impact.


To receive a full score of 20 points the organization will:

    • Show evidence of linkages with existing disability programs or organizations in the country where activities are being proposed.

    • Illustrate how people with disabilities have been/will be involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of the program.

    • Ensure that women and girls with disabilities will participate in and benefit from activities.

Issuance of this announcement does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. Government, nor does it commit the U.S. Government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a concept paper or an application. In addition, final award of any resultant grant(s) cannot be made until funds have been fully appropriated, allocated, and committed through internal USAID procedures and successful evaluation of concept papers or applications are fully completed. While it is anticipated that these procedures will be successfully completed, potential applicants are hereby notified of these requirements and conditions for award. Concept Papers and Applications are submitted at the risk of the applicant; should circumstances prevent award of a cooperative agreement, all preparation and submission costs are at the applicant’s expense.

USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina is interested in concept papers from organizations to implement a program for Inclusion of People with Disabilities as more fully explained above, subject to the availability of funds. This solicitation and any resulting award are authorized in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.

The Recipient will be responsible for ensuring achievement of the program objectives.

Pursuant to 22 CFR 226.81, it is USAID policy not to award profit under assistance instruments. However, all reasonable, allocable, and allowable expenses, both direct and indirect, which are related to the grant program and are in accordance with applicable cost standards (22 CFR 226, OMB Circular A-122 for non-profit organizations, OMB Circular A-21 for universities, and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 for-profit organizations), may be paid under the agreement when awarded.

Concept papers must be received by the closing date and time via e-mail with attachment to Ela Challenger at and Mirela Begic at at USAID/Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Questions concerning this document must be submitted in writing to Ela Challenger at and Mirela Begic at by December 1, 2013.

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