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New Grants Competition: 2020 Local Elections Coverage

High-Quality Local Elections Coverage

January | February, 2020

Internews’ Media Program in Ukraine (MPU), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), invites Ukrainian media organizations, media outlets and civil society organizations to submit project proposals to the 2020 Local Elections Grants Competition.

Internews will support projects that contribute to the Media Program Objective 1 of increasing high-quality, engaging content throughout Ukraine, particularly in the East and South, and especially improving elections coverage:

• Support and promote free and transparent local elections;

• Improve local elections coverage to bolster public debate on matters important to local communities through media; 

• Support media independence, increase the variety of high-quality, balanced news;

• Tackle disinformation through debunking, networking journalists around the country, or creating critical thinking tools to aid voters in making an informed choice. 

This grants competition is a focused but flexible mechanism that provides opportunities to design innovative, experimental short-term projects. Grantees should demonstrate plans for soliciting the opinions of and/or reaching out to women and minority groups, with a focus on citizens in the East and South. Project selection will be based on applicants’ ability to demonstrate concrete achievements that show impact in the media sector.

Applicants must coordinate with other election-related programs run by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Civil Network OPORA, for example, to ensure that media and citizens are informed about the most up-to-date information on local elections procedures.

The average amount of awarded grants will be around US$30,000 for projects of up to 10-months duration but larger proposals will be considered if concepts, budgets and time-lines are well justified.

Proposed projects may include (but are not limited to) the following illustrative activities:

• Producing balanced professional media content that engages with audiences and seeks to foster public debate on various issues that local communities find as socially-significant.

• Organizing local candidate/party debates.

• Encouraging young and first-time voters to exercise their right to vote.

• Providing legal assistance for journalists covering elections. 

• Producing content or organizing activities that promote inclusivity, through women’s participation in elections (as voters, candidates and other stakeholders) as well as that of minority groups that face discrimination. 

• Supporting activities related to media monitoring to assess the quality and impartiality of local media coverage, as well as covert attempts to manipulate public opinion.

• Carrying out monitoring of social media networks and YouTube channels.

• Training journalists and media specialists in fact-checking, journalistic ethics and how to cover local elections in ways that build public confidence.

Grant Proposal Writing Instructions:

All proposals should be submitted in Times New Roman, 12 point, single space.  The proposal structure includes the following sections:

I.  Cover Page – 1 page

This page should contain the following information:

A. Project Title

B. Brief Project Description.  In one paragraph, clearly and concisely summarize your project

C. Organization.  Name and contact information – mailing address, e-mail, phone, cell phone and website

D. Project Coordinator.  Full name and contact information – e-mail and cell phone

E. An additional contact person who will follow the project’s progress.  Full name and contact information – e-mail and cell phone

F. Project Duration (in months)

G. Amount Requested from MPU; in USD

H. Your organization’s cost share contribution (10% of the amount requested from MPU) in USD.

II. Program Description – 5 Pages Maximum

A. Description of project goals and objectives connected to MPU objectives

B. Activities to achieve project goals

C. Expected results, outcomes, outputs and project impact: write about what impact your project will have and explain how you will show that your project had this impact (e.g. consider what method you will use to track your results; think of what success you will achieve).

D. Content marketing and sales plan: If you are producing or helping to produce media content, explain how you will analyze your target audience, organize sales and marketing around the content/targeted audience, and how you will invest any earnings back into project development.Timetable (monthly) that explains project logic and implementation

E. Partners

F. Organization background – two paragraphs maximum

III. Budget – Excel Format – Must Use Attached Template

The budget should describe major expense categories that show clear cost-effectiveness. The suggested cost share should be no less that 10 percent of the requested sum of the grant. Justification for each cost (budget line) should be inserted to the right of the tab.

BudgetTemplate_Internews_Oct2019

IV. Capacity and Previous Experience in Project Implementation – No More Than One Page:

A. Business or Project Management Experience

B. Previous Grants Received

Internews encourages newly established organizations to submit proposals.  If your organization is new to media project implementation, please refer to other relevant projects you have carried out, indicating the competence of primary employees and consultants to be responsible for implementing the proposed project.

Deadline: Project proposals, in English and Ukrainian, marked “USAID-Internews 2020 Local Elections” to be submitted no later than February 28, 18:00 (Kyiv time). 

Proposals should be sent electronically to UA-MPU@internews.org.

Telephone enquires can be made on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 pm to 4 pm at this number: 044 – 334-56-49/39.

Proposal Evaluation

Proposals which do not correspond to MPU’s priority activities and requirements will not be considered.

A jury of independent experts will evaluate all proposals, compile a short list and select the winners. Please, note that only shortlisted and winning applicants will be contacted.

Internews may contact an applicant organization if any additional information regarding the submitted proposal is required.

Please note the project consideration process can take one calendar month.

All awards are subject to available funding and USAID approval.

Grant Selection Criteria

Each proposal will receive an appropriate number of points according to the following criteria:

1. The cost share is no less that 10 percent of the requested amount.

2. The proposal offers an innovative approach for achieving the Media Program in Ukraine’s priorities.

3. The project can achieve expected results in the referenced period of time.

4. Recommended types of activities make achieving expected results possible.

5. The applicant demonstrates sufficient technical skills, experience and capacity to achieve the proposed activities.

6. The project budget is reasonable and cost effective.