REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS (RFA): “Rolling Innovation Fund Grants”

23.05.2024. / 15:24

REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS (RFA)

 “Rolling Innovation Fund Grants” 

USAID’s Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness
While Advancing Resilient Development (BMAP Forward)

 

Publication Date:  May 23, 2024

Grant amount for individual grants: up to $2,950.00

Grant amount for registered entities: up to $7,000.00

Duration: 3-6 months

Deadline for Applications: June 13,2024

Cycle 4: Thursday, June 13, at 17:00 CET

The Balkan Media Assistance Program to Foster Organizational Readiness While Advancing Resilient Development (BMAP Forward), funded by USAID and implemented by Internews as a part of the PROGRESS Human Rights Support Mechanism, is reopening a call for its Rolling Innovation Fund.     

What is the Rolling Innovation Fund?

The Rolling Innovation Fund is an ongoing grant opportunity under USAID’s BMAP Forward, open to individuals, civil society organizations and media based in the five Western Balkan BMAP Forward countries (see eligibility criteria below). BMAP Forward promotes continuous idea generation and supports regional linkages throughout its project implementation.                         

The Fund will support projects and ideas based on advancing women and LGBTQAI+ rights using recent technological and digital solutions and trends relevant to the media community in the region.

We are looking for ideas that enhance media with technological innovation and localized tools, as well as solution-oriented projects that will help tackle challenges women and LGBTQAI+ face in digital environment across the Western Balkan Region.

The Fund welcomes fresh ideas which could include, but are not limited to, activities such as:

  • Development and/or localization of open source tools
  • Social media applications to engage women and LGBTQAI+
  • Training AI models to detect hate speech and biases in local languages
  • Localization of bot-detecting tools
  • Detection of gendered surveillance and data exploitation
  • Investigating dis/misinformation and attacks on diversity during Pride month
  • New formats of human rights reporting and content production
  • Mapping gender data gaps in the Western Balkans
  • Training LLMs to reduce gendered disinformation
  • Exploring the intersectionality between women, the LGBTQAI+ community and environmental justice

The Fund can also support the creation of a webinar or workshop; starting a podcast or advocacy campaign; or any other work that would strengthen the media environment in the Western Balkan Region. 

Who is Eligible?

The Rolling Innovation Fund is open to teams and individuals based in the five Western Balkan BMAP Forward countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), including BMAP Forward Key Media Partners, other independent media organizations, teams of individuals, freelancers, and professionals working with media such as journalists, editors, civil society/NGO representatives, IT developers, designers, and artists eager to come up with innovative ideas.

The Fund is available to individual applicants (up to $2,950.00 each) and to registered entities (up to $7,000.00 each).

What Costs Can the Fund Cover?

These grants will cover costs of labor for the production and design of different software, tools and apps; subscriptions to tools, apps and software required for project implementation; and related small equipment upgrades.

Examples of eligible costs under this grant call:

  • Time of staff members/consultants working on the proposed project
  • Applicable fringe benefits (income tax, health insurance)
  • Materials and supplies needed to complete the project
  • Services needed to complete the project
  • Local travel associated with project implementation.

Indirect costs (those necessary to for running the organization but which are not directly tied to the activities proposed in the project application) may be eligible for reimbursement. Applicants may dedicate 10% of their budget to covering indirect costs.

USAID’s BMAP Forward staff will work with applicants whose proposals are selected for grants to determine exact eligible costs.

These costs are NOT eligible under this grant call:

  • Capital expenditures
  • Scholarships and fellowships
  • Meal allowances for trainers, trainees, consultants, contactors, experts, etc. They are only available to direct employees of the applicant
  • Registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training programs
  • International travel
  • Construction

Applications evaluation

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated on a range of selection criteria as follows:

  • Quality and innovativeness of the proposed idea (50%)
  • What is the novelty that your project proposal offers
  • How will your proposal contribute to women and LGBTQAI+ visibility, safety, protection and/or empowerment
  • How will your proposal change the way product/content is consumed or monetized
  • What makes your idea different from other available solutions

 Impact, feasibility and sustainability (40%)

  • Why is your idea important?
  • What will the impact be?
  • What are the possible risks?
  • What is the expected deadline for implementation?

Budget reasonability and clarity (10%)

  • What resources will be needed?
  • Assessment of direct and other costs of project.

How to apply

All applications must meet the following requirements:

  • Applications, including supporting documents, should be submitted in English.
  • All applications must be submitted by Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 17:00 CET time.
  • All applications must be completed and submitted in the designated Application Form.
  • A detailed budget must be included, using the provided Budget template. Any applications submitted without using the designated budget template will be disqualified.
  • For individual applicants: must be citizens or residents in one of the five (5) Balkan countries eligible for this call. Individuals must submit a short CV, including links to sample work and two reference contacts.
  • For legal entities: applicants must be registered in one of the five (5) Balkan countries eligible for this call. Please send scanned registration certificate. Legal entities must submit a portfolio of previous relevant work (links).
  • Applications and supporting documents must be submitted through the Balkansmedia.org platform.  

Technical difficulties with submission through the platform will not be considered an acceptable reason for late submission of the application. We recommended that you submit application well before the deadline so that you can troubleshoot any issues and ask questions if you are having difficulty submitting through the web platform. Applications submitted via e-mail will not be considered except in exceptional circumstances with the written permission of the Internews grants staff.

Inquiries

All questions regarding this grant call should be directed via email to Balkans-BMAPF-Grants@internews.org  with the subject “Inquiry on BMAP Forward Rolling Innovation Fund.” Our team will try to help you in shaping the best idea and polishing the administrative side of the application. We will not accept inquiries via phone.                     

Reporting on Use of the Grant

Awardees are required to submit periodic and final programmatic and financial reports. Narrative and financial reports will be submitted at least twice over the life of selected projects, but the frequency and type of reporting will depend on duration of selected projects. All reports will be submitted in English language.

Attachments

1. Subgrant Application Template

2. Subgrant Detailed Budget Template

APPLY HERE

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