Monday, February 22, 2016
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
February 20, 2016
The United States commends the Ugandan people for participating actively and peacefully in the February 18 elections. While the vote occurred without major unrest, we must acknowledge numerous reports of irregularities and official conduct that are deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process.
Delays in the delivery of voting materials, reports of pre-checked ballots and vote buying, ongoing blockage of social media sites, and excessive use of force by the police, collectively undermine the integrity of the electoral process. The Ugandan people deserved better. We are also concerned by the continued house arrest of opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye. We call for his immediate release and the restoration of access to all social media sites.
We encourage those who wish to contest the election results to do so peacefully and in accordance with Uganda’s laws and judicial process, and urge the Ugandan government to respect the rights and freedoms of its people and refrain from interference in those processes.
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2016
Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on Civilian Killings in South Sudan
The United States condemns in the strongest terms the violence at a UN compound in Malakal that led to the killing of internally displaced persons, and the burning and looting of a facility that provides refuge and aid to over 40,000 victims of the conflict in South Sudan. We are especially disturbed by credible reports that a large group of South Sudanese Government soldiers entered the compound and opened fire on civilians seeking refuge within the camp. We call on the Government of South Sudan immediately to conduct an investigation of this violence, to identify the soldiers responsible, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. We express our condolences to the families of those killed, including two Médecins Sans Frontières humanitarian workers, and we call on all South Sudanese parties to exercise restraint and avoid retributive violence in the coming days.
The lack of progress by the parties to implement the August 2016 peace agreement, as well as the government’s decree to establish 28 states without local consultations, have undermined prospects for achieving peace. We call on President Salva Kiir to suspend implementation of the decree and on both parties to make rapid progress in implementing the agreement, including establishing the needed security arrangements and forming the transitional government.
Department of State
February 19, 2016
Secretary Kerry spoke over the phone today with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to underscore that Uganda’s progress depends on adherence to democratic principles in the ongoing election process and that the United States stands by the Ugandan people as they undertake this most essential democratic endeavor.
The Secretary expressed his concern about the detentions of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and harassment of opposition party members during voting and tallying, and he urged President Museveni to rein in the police and security forces, noting that such action calls into question Uganda’s commitment to a transparent and credible election process free from intimidation.
Secretary Kerry also expressed concern about the Government of Uganda’s decision to block several popular social media and mobile money sites starting on Election Day, and he urged President Museveni to end this blockage immediately.
Finally, the Secretary noted the delay in the opening of many polling stations. Secretary Kerry said he was encouraged that the Electoral Commission is taking steps to extend polling for certain areas.
February 18, 2016
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon, everybody. It’s my genuine pleasure to welcome my friend Salaheddine Mezouar, the foreign minister of Morocco, here. He and I have met at any number of international conferences, but most importantly, I had the wonderful pleasure of being a couple of times his guest and His Majesty’s guest in Morocco, and I’m very grateful for the extraordinary, very generous welcome.
Morocco – many people in the United States aren’t aware of this – is the first country in the world to recognize the United States after our Declaration of Independence. And we have had a very long and important and good relationship with Morocco. Morocco is a non-NATO ally, but a very important ally in any number of initiatives right now, deeply engaged in leading efforts to bring about peace in Libya. And we are very, very grateful for the meetings that have taken place in Morocco under the stewardship of the foreign minister and His Majesty in an effort to try to see a government emerge in Libya and be able to return to Tripoli and begin to unite that country.
In addition to that, they are a partner in efforts to counter terrorism and also to build stability in the region as a whole. Today we will have a great deal to talk about. In addition to some of the challenges ultimately of the Western Sahara and of our shared commitment on climate change, it’s important for me to recognize that Morocco will be the host of the next meeting – the first meeting after Paris – of all of the countries that came together to reach agreement on an historic agreement to move forward on climate change. So we look forward to their important work in that regard.
So I thank you for taking time to come and visit, Salaheddine, and I look forward to our conversation.
FOREIGN MINISTER MEZOUAR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, John. I’m very happy to meet you in Washington. Of course, we meet each other during various meetings. However, I would like to underscore how happy I am to meet with you here and to have this opportunity to have this exchange with you with all of these issues that are in the news that have interested us, but of course, to talk about our bilateral relations, which, as you said, are excellent relations.
Our two countries are two friendly countries, sincerely friendly, because we share the same values. We share the same ambitions for peace, stability, prosperity, democracy – those values, those human values, and the values of equality. These are fundamental values for Morocco, and we are delighted to be able to work with you for their growth and their development also within our region.
Our relations, of course, are progressing in a structured framework. We have the Strategic Dialogue which exists between our two countries, and this is a model in terms of its form and its workings and also and its ambitions. The meetings between our two heads of state two years ago now was a momentum towards a new dynamic in our relationship. We made commitments on either side, and that demonstrates the seriousness of our relationship and that also demonstrates the value that we attach to this relationship.
Of course, there are things that are happening throughout the world and in our region and exchange political dialogue, exchanges of views, but also perfect cooperation which exists between us in terms of security, in terms of fight against terrorism, in terms of eradication of that which represents the fundamentals of terrorism. These are all things that we share and for which we are working together.
There’s also another component, and in this I would like to congratulate you, John, and congratulate your country for all the work that you have accomplished during COP21 in Paris, because without your commitment, it would have been difficult to conclude the Paris Accord. I would like to underscore that today, because this is a recognition of all the efforts that you have carried out during delicate moments in order to achieve an agreement. And I do believe that without you, it would have been quite difficult to achieve the framework that was the Paris framework.
Of course, we are counting on you for the success of COP22 in Marrakesh, which is scheduled for November 7 to 18. Of course, we are facing a challenge, namely that of signing and ratifying, but also the challenge to move from the agreements to the implementation. The world is awaiting the implementation of concrete projects. The world is awaiting to see that we are not talking about a pious wish; no, what we’re wanting to see is an implementation. And with you and thanks to you and thanks to your support, we will ensure that COP22 will be a COP that will begin the implementation.
I would like to thank you for your availability. I would like to thank you also for your friendship. I would like to thank you also for your personal commitment on all of these issues that pertain the world and all of these issues that affect our region. Yes, we are facing real challenge. We’ll meet them together because we have this ambition that the world can only advance under the framework, of course, of peace, stability, and prosperity.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER MEZOUAR: Thank you.
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
February 18, 2016
The United States is deeply concerned about the increased violence against civilians and the grave humanitarian situation in and around Jebel Marra, Darfur. Initial attacks by the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid opposition group on Sudanese armed forces prompted a response by Sudan’s military that included aerial bombardments despite the UN Security Council demand that Sudan cease offensive military flights over Darfur. These attacks have forced 73,000 people to flee their homes, and thousands more are trapped in the conflict zone of Jebel Marra without access to aid.
The United States calls on both the Government of Sudan and the armed movements of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) to re-commit to their cessation of hostilities declarations for Darfur and in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. We welcome the recent absence of major offensive action in South Kordofan and urge all parties to show the same restraint in Darfur and also in Blue Nile state, where government and opposition forces each carried out attacks last month.
There is no military solution to Sudan’s internal conflicts. We call on the Government of Sudan and the SRF to de-escalate the violence and work with the African Union and others to agree to a comprehensive cessation of hostilities agreement that will allow immediate and unfettered humanitarian access for Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. We also urge the government to create an environment conducive to the participation of armed movements and other political opposition parties in a comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue that addresses systemic governance issues in Sudan.
Exercise of the Right to Freedom of Expression in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
February 18, 2016
The United States is troubled by the harassment and detention of peaceful activists and opposition leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including those detained in connection with this week’s general strike.
These detentions stifle the free expression of diverse political viewpoints, contributing to a closing of political space while undermining the credibility of the Government of the DRC during the electoral period.
We have raised our concerns with DRC authorities, and we call on the government to respect the freedoms enshrined in its own Constitution, which was promulgated 10 years ago today. We also call on the DRC to honor its international human rights obligations and immediately release all those being detained or, short of that, accord them the protections and fair trial guarantees to which they are entitled.
Criminalizing dissent and demonstration violates the DRC’s Constitution and threatens the legacy President Kabila has endeavored to build.
We further underscore the need for all political stakeholders to exercise their rights peacefully and encourage leaders to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric that incites violence.
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
February 16, 2016
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon will travel to Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali on February 16-25.
Ambassador Shannon will visit Rabat on February 16-17, where he will meet with government officials, young entrepreneurs, and teachers and students in a U.S.-supported English Access Microscholarship Program.
On February 18-19, Ambassador Shannon will travel to Tunis to affirm with government officials the growing strategic partnership between our countries, meet with civil society leaders to discuss their important role in ensuing citizen engagement in political processes, and meet with staff in our Libya External Office.
In Algiers on February 20-22, Ambassador Shannon will meet with a range of government officials to review our countries’ strong cooperation, particularly on counterterrorism. He will also meet with local business leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities for continued U.S. investment in Algeria, as well as speak with Algerian youth engaged in some of the English language opportunities offered by the U.S. Embassy.
On February 22-23, Ambassador Shannon will travel to Burkina Faso, where he will meet with President Rock Marc Christian Kaboré, Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba, as well as the Ministers of Security, Justice, Foreign Affairs, and the head of the National Assembly.
Before returning to Washington, Under Secretary Shannon will travel February 24 to Mali, where he will meet with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of National Unity, Humanitarian Action, and Reconstruction of the North, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, and the Minister of National Reconciliation. In both Burkina Faso and Mali, he will discuss key areas of bilateral cooperation in security and development.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
February 12, 2016
This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity, DRLA-DRLAQM-16-055
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
Application Deadline: March 29, 2016
A. Project Description
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that mitigate religious tensions between communities in Tanzania.
DRL’s goal is to mitigate tensions between communities and address drivers of marginalization that exacerbate religious tensions and may contribute to conditions that could lead to violent extremism in Tanzania. Proposals should address and mitigate community tensions, religious or otherwise, and address the drivers of marginalization especially with regards to countering violent extremism. The program approach should seek a durable political process as a solution, including, but not limited to: (1) support at the civil society level including religious leaders and youth on ways to bring together diverse constituencies to promote messages of peace, coexistence, and (2) assisting the implementation of legislation that promotes tolerance and religious diversity.
Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms, and should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources. DRL prefers innovative and creative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build off existing successful projects in a new and innovative way from consideration. DRL also strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable or at-risk populations.
Activities that typically are not considered competitive include:
• The provision of large amounts of humanitarian assistance;
• English language instruction;
• Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
• Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
• External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
• Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or that do not relate to security concerns;
• Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
• Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
• Activities that go beyond an organization’s demonstrated competence, or fail to provide clear evidence of the ability of the applicant to achieve the stated impact;
• Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.
The authority for this funding opportunity is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA).
B. Federal Award Information
DRL anticipates having approximately $600,000 available to support successful applications submitted in response to this NOFO, subject to the availability of funding.
DRL may issue one or more awards resulting from this NOFO to the applicant(s) whose application(s) conforming to this NOFO are the most responsive to the objectives set forth in this NOFO. The U.S. government may (a) reject any or all applications, (b) accept other than the lowest cost application, (c) accept more than one application, (d) accept alternate applications, and (e) waive informalities and minor irregularities in applications received.
The U.S. government may make award(s) on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (though it is not under obligation to do so), however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.
Applications should not request less than $300,000 and no more than $600,000. Applicants should include an anticipated start date between June 2016 – August 2016 and the period of performance should be between 18-24 months.
DRL anticipates awarding either a grant or cooperative agreement depending on the application’s risk factor, or the needs of the program, which is determined by the grant officer for applications that are successful. If it is determined to award a cooperative agreement, DRL expects to be substantially involved during the implementation of the cooperative agreement. Examples of substantial involvement can include:
1) Approval of the Recipient’s annual work plans, including: planned activities for the following year, travel plans, planned expenditures, event planning, and changes to any activity to be carried out under the cooperative agreement;
2) Approval of sub-award Recipients, concurrence on the substantive provisions of the sub-awards, and coordination with other cooperating agencies;
3) Other approvals that will be included in the award agreement.
C. Eligibility Information
C.1 Eligible Applicants
DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
For-profit entities should be aware that its application may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process and that the Department of State generally prohibits profit under its assistance awards to for-profit or commercial organizations. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures. Project income earned by the recipient must be deducted from the total project allowable cost in determining the net allowable costs on which the federal share of costs is based.
C.2 Cost Sharing or Matching
Providing cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not an eligibility requirement for this NOFO.
Applicants must have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in country partners, entities and relevant stakeholders including industry and NGOs and have demonstrable experience in administering successful and preferably similar projects. DRL encourages applications from foreign-based NGOs headquartered in the geographic regions/countries relevant to this NOFO. Applicants may form consortia and submit a combined application. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant with the other members as sub-award partners.
DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on applicants that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards, and these applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.
DRL is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its projects and activities. DRL welcomes applications irrespective of an applicant’s race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other status. DRL encourages applications from organizations working with the most at risk and vulnerable communities, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, members of ethnic or religious minority groups, and LGBTI persons.
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM)(www.sam.gov) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR,1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR,1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally no entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.
D. Application and Submission Information
D.1 Address to Request Application Package
Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on www.grants.gov and www.grantsolutions.gov under the announcement title “Countering Violent Extremism and Interfaith Programming in Tanzania” funding opportunity number “DRLA-DRLAQM-16-055.” Please contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note: reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.
D.2 Content and Form of Application Submission
For all application documents, please ensure:
1) All documents are in English and all costs are in U.S. dollars. If an original document within the application is in another language, an English translation must be provided (please note: the Department of State, as indicated in 2 CFR 200.111, requires that English is the official language of all award documents. If any documents are provided in both English and a foreign language, the English language version is the controlling version);
2) All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments;
3) All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and,
4) All documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Captions and footnotes may be 10 point Times New Roman font. Font sizes in charts and tables, including the budget, can be reformatted to fit within 1 page width.
Complete applications must include the following:
1. Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B, as directed on GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov; completed and signed SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities”(if applicable) (which can be found with the solicitation on GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov and on the DRL website at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm); and your organization’s most recent audit (A-133 audit, if applicable, or standard audit).
2. Table of Contents (not to exceed one  page in Microsoft Word) that includes a page numbered contents page, including any attachments.
3. Executive Summary (not to exceed two  pages in Microsoft Word) that includes:
a) The target country/countries and thematic area;
b) Name and contact information for the project’s main point of contact;
c) The total amount of funding requested and project length;
d) A statement of work or synopsis of the project, including a concise breakdown of the project’s objectives, activities, and expected results; and,
e) A brief statement on how the project is innovative, sustainable, and will have a demonstrated impact.
4. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten  pages in Microsoft Word). Please note the ten page limit does not include the Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, or Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA). Applicants are encouraged to submit multiple documents in a single Microsoft Word or Adobe file, (i.e., Table of Contents, Executive Summary, and Proposal Narrative in one file).
5. Detailed Line-Item Budget (in Microsoft Excel) that includes three  columns including the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and total budget (see below for more information on budget format). A summary budget should also be included using the OMB approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample). Costs must be in U.S. dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for sub-awardees should be included in additional tabs within the excel workbook.
6. Budget Narrative (in Microsoft Word) that includes substantive explanations and justifications for each line item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered. For ease of review, DRL recommends applicants order the budget narrative as presented in the detailed budget. Personnel costs should include a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of key staff, base salary, and percentage of time devoted to the project. The budget narrative should provide additional information that might not be readily apparent in the detailed-line item budget, not simply repeat what is represented numerically in the budget, i.e. salaries are for salaries or travel is for travel. Please see DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
7. Attachments (not to exceed fourteen  pages total, preferably in Microsoft Word) that include the following in order:
a) Logic model – Page 1-2: Please see DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
b) Risk Assessment – Page 3: Please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
c) Narrative of Monitoring and Evaluation Plan – Pages 4-5: Please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
d) Monitoring and Evaluation Performance Indicator Table – Pages 6-9: Please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information. This section can be up to four pages long if necessary.
e) Roles and responsibilities of key project personnel – Page 10: Please include short bios that highlight relevant professional experience. This relates to the organization’s capacity. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
f) Timeline of the overall proposal – Page 11: Components should include activities, evaluation efforts, and project closeout.
g) Additional optional attachments – Page 12-14: Attachments may include further timeline information, letters of support, memorandums of understanding/agreement, etc. Letters of support and MOUs must be specific to the projects implementation (eg from proposed partners or sub-award recipients) and will not count towards the page limit.
8. If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a .pdf file. This document will not be reviewed by the panelists, but rather used by project and grant staff if the submission is recommended for funding and therefore does not count against the submission page limitations. If your proposal involves subawards to organizations charging indirect costs, please submit the applicable NICRA also as a .pdf file (see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information on indirect cost rates). If your organization does not have a NICRA per 2 CFR 200. 414(f) the organization can elect to charge the de minimis rate of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68. The budget narrative should indicate what costs will be covered using the 10% de minimis rate.
Please note: DRL retains the right to ask for additional documents not included in this NOFO. Additionally, to ensure all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL Review Panel will review the first page of the requested section up to the page limit and no further. DRL encourages organizations to use the given space effectively.
Additional information that successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award, may include:
1) Written responses and any revised application documents addressing any conditions or recommendations from the DRL Review Panel;
2) Completion of the Department’s Financial Management Survey, if receiving DRL funding for the first time;
3) Submission of required documents to register in the Payment Management System managed by the Department of Health and Human Services if receiving DRL funding for the first time, unless an exemption is provided;
4) Other requested information or documents included in the notification of intent to make a Federal award or subsequent communications prior to issuance of a Federal award.
D.3 Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)
Applicants must have an active registration in SAM (www.sam.gov) prior to submitting an application, must prove a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number, formerly referred to as a DUNS number, and must continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by the U.S. government.
The Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards. SAM is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements. OMB designated SAM as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance. Under the law, it is mandatory to obtain a UEI number and register in SAM.
SAM requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM and to also maintain its active registration in SAM.
No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance or can participate in any activities in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR Part 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR Part 1989 Comp., p. 235).
DRL may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable UEI and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time DRL is ready to make an award, DRL may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.
An exemption from this requirement may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
1. An applicant is a foreign organization located outside of the U.S., does not currently have a UEI, and the Department determines that acquiring one is impractical given the geographic location; or
2. If the applicant’s identity must be protected due to possible endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
Please note: foreign organizations will be required to register with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) to receive a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code in order to register in SAM. NSPA will forward your registration request to the applicable National Codification Bureau (NCB) if your organization is located in a NATO or Tier 2 Sponsored Non-NATO Nation. (As of January 2015, NATO nations included Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America; and Tier 2 nations included Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, Israel, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Serbia, and Singapore.)
NSPA and/or the appropriate NCB forwards all NCAGE code information to all Allied Committee 135 (AC/135) nations, which as of January 2015 also included Afghanistan, Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Montenegro, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. All organizations are strongly advised to take this into consideration when assessing whether registration may result in possible endangerment.
D.4 Submission Dates and Times
Applications are due no later than 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), on March 29, 2016 on www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov under the announcement title Countering Violent Extremism and Interfaith Programming in Tanzania and funding opportunity number DRLA-DRLAQM-16-055.
Grants.gov and Grantsolutions.gov automatically logs the date and time an application submission is made, and the Department of State will use this information to determine whether an application has been submitted on time. Late applications are neither reviewed nor considered unless the DRL point of contact listed in section G is contacted prior to the deadline and is provided with evidence of system errors caused by www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov that is outside of the applicants’ control and is the sole reason for a late submission. Applicants should not expect a notification upon DRL receiving their application.
If ultimately provided with a notification of intent to make a Federal award, applicants typically have two to three weeks to provide additional information and documents requested in the notification of intent. The deadlines may vary in each notification of intent and applicants must adhere to the stated deadline in the notification of intent.
D.5 Funding Restrictions
DRL will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization. No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance.
Project activities that provide training or other assistance to foreign militaries or paramilitary groups or individuals will not be considered for DRL funding given purpose limitations on funding.
Restrictions may apply to any proposed assistance to police or other law enforcement. Among these, pursuant to section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended(FAA), no assistance provided through this funding opportunity may be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country when there is credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. In accordance with the requirements of section 620M of the FAA, also known as the Leahy law, project beneficiaries or participants from a foreign government’s security forces may need to be vetted by the Department before the provision of any assistance.
Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-Federal award costs; however, the grants officer may approve pre awards cost on a case by case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under DRL awards. For additional information, please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015.
All application submissions must be made electronically via www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov. Both systems require registration by the applying organization. Please note: the Grants.gov registration process can take 10 business days or longer, even if all registration steps are completed in a timely manner.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that it has an active registration in GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov and that an application has been received by GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov in its entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for applicants not being registered before the due date or for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.
GrantSolutions.gov is highly recommended for submission of all applications and is DRL’s preferred choice for receiving applications.
Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons.
Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable solicitation and these instructions.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications via www.grantsolutions.gov.
Applicants using GrantSolutions.gov for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration” as soon as possible. This process must be completed before an application can be submitted. Registration with GrantSolutions.gov usually occurs directly after an applicant submits their registration. To register with GrantSolutions.gov, click “Login to GrantSolutions” and follow the “First Time Users” link to the “New Organization Registration Page.” There are different ways to register your organization, click on the link that fits best.
Upon completion of a successful electronic application submission, the GrantSolutions system will provide the applicant with a confirmation page indicating the date and time (Eastern Time) of the electronic application submission as well as an official Application Number. This confirmation page will also provide a listing of all items that constitute the final application submission. Please save this page for your records.
GrantSolutions.gov Help Desk:
For assistance with GrantSolutions.gov accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.
Applicants who do not submit applications via GrantSolutions.gov may submit via www.grants.gov. It is DRL’s preference that applications be submitted through GrantSolutions.gov.
Please be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from Grants.gov can take more than two weeks
Please refer to the Grants.gov website for definitions of various “application statuses” and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from Grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days.
For assistance with Grants.gov, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email email@example.com. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.
Should an applicant experience technical issues, contacted the applicable helpdesk, and is not receiving timely assistance (e.g. if you have not received a response after 2 days of contacting the helpdesk), you may contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G, who may assist in contacting the appropriate helpdesk but an applicant should document their efforts in contacting the help desk. Also, applicants may contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G if experiencing technical issues with grants.gov or grantsolutions.gov that may result in a late submission.
E. Application Review Information
Evaluators will judge each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications.
Quality of Project Idea
Applications should be responsive to the NOFO, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. DRL prioritizes innovative and creative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build off existing successful projects in a new and innovative way from consideration. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities and how these efforts will be coordinated.
Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives
A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable results-focused and achievable in a reasonable time frame. A complete application must include a logic model to demonstrate how the project will have an impact on its proposed objectives. Applications should address how the project will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate. If local partners have been identified, DRL strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. If applicable, applications should identify target areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of subawardees, among other pertinent details. In particularly challenging operating environments, applications should include contingency plans for overcoming potential difficulties in executing the original work plan and address any operational or programmatic security concerns and how they will be addressed.
Institution’s Record and Capacity
DRL will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record of successful democracy and human rights projects, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives.
DRL strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most at risk and vulnerable populations, including women, youth, people with disabilities, members of racial and ethnic or religious minorities, and LGBTI persons. To the extent possible, applicants should identify and address considerations to support these populations in all proposed project activities and objectives, and should provide specific means, measures, and corresponding targets to include them as appropriate. Applicants should provide strong justifications if unable to incorporate the most at risk and vulnerable populations within proposed project activities and objectives. Applications that do not include this will not be considered highly competitive in this category.
DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate project cost-effectiveness in their application, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. However, cost-sharing or other examples of leveraging other resources is not required and does not need to be included in the budget. Inclusion in the budget does not result in additional points awarded during the review process. Budgets however should have low and/or reasonable overhead and administration costs and applicants should provide clear explanations and justifications for these costs in relation to the work involved. All budget items should be clearly explained and justified to demonstrate its necessity, appropriateness, and its link to the project objectives.
Please note: If cost-share is included in the budget then the recipient must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, DRL’s contribution may be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.
Applications should clearly delineate how elements of the project will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people, workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after DRL funding ceases.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation
Complete applications will include a detailed plan (both a narrative and table) of how the project’s progress and impact will be monitored and evaluated throughout the project. Incorporating a well-designed monitoring and evaluation component into a project is one of the most efficient methods of documenting the progress and results (intended and unintended) of a project. Applications should demonstrate the capacity to provide objectives with measurable outputs and outcomes and engage in robust monitoring and assessment of project activities.
The quality of the M&E plan will be judged on the narrative explaining how both monitoring and evaluation will be carried out, who will be responsible for those related activities. Projects that are at least 24 months or more than $500,000 are strongly encouraged to include an external mid-term and/or final evaluation. Explain how an external evaluation (mid-term and/or final) will be incorporated into the project implementation plan or how the project will be systematically assessed in absence of one. Please see DRL’s PSI for Applicants, updated in July 2015, for more information on what is required in the narrative.
The M&E plan will also be rated on the M&E performance indicator table. The output and outcome-based performance indicators should not only be separated by project objectives but also should match the objectives, outcomes, and outputs detailed in the logic model. Performance indicators should be clearly defined (i.e., explained how the indicators will be measured and reported) either within the table or with a separate Performance Indicator Reference Sheet (PIRS). For each performance indicator, the table should also include baselines and yearly and cumulative targets, data collection tools, data sources, types of data disaggregation, and frequency of monitoring and evaluation; There should also be metrics to capture how project activities target the most at risk and vulnerable populations or addresses their concerns, where applicable.
E.2 Review and Selection Process
DRL strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by a DRL Review Panel. The Department’s Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM) will determine technical eligibility for all applications. All applications for a given solicitation are then reviewed against the same seven criteria, which includes quality of project idea, project planning/ability to achieve objectives, institution’s record and capacity, inclusive programming, cost effectiveness, multiplier effect/sustainability, and project monitoring and evaluation.
In most cases, the DRL Review Panel includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate Department of State regional bureau (which includes feedback from US embassies), as well as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)(which includes feedback from USAID missions). In some cases, additional panelists may participate, including from other Department of State bureaus or offices, U.S. government departments, agencies, or boards, representatives from partner governments, or representatives from entities that are in a public-private partnership with DRL. At the end of discussion on an application, the Panel votes on recommending the application for approval by the DRL Assistant Secretary. If more applications are ultimately recommended for approval than DRL has funding available for, the Panel will rank the recommended applications in priority order for consideration by the DRL Assistant Secretary. The Grants Officer Representative (GOR) for the eventual award does not vote on the panel. All Panelists must sign non-disclosure agreements and conflicts of interest agreements.
DRL Review Panels may provide conditions and recommendations on applications to enhance the proposed project, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify, and/or justify costs and project activities.
F. Federal Award Administration Information
F.1 Federal Award Notices
DRL will provide a separate notification to applicants on the result of their applications. Successful applicants will receive a letter electronically via email requesting that the applicant respond to panel conditions and recommendations. This notification is not an authorization to begin activities and does not constitute formal approval or a funding commitment.
Final approval is contingent on the applicant successfully responding to the panel’s conditions and recommendations, being registered in required systems, including the U.S. government’s Payment Management System (PMS), unless an exemption is provided, and completing and providing any additional documentation requested by DRL or AQM. Final approval is also contingent on Congressional notification requirements being met and final review and approval by the Department’s warranted grants officer.
The notice of Federal award signed by the Department’s warranted grants officers is the sole authorizing document. If awarded, the notice of Federal award will be provided to the applicant’s designated Authorizing Official via GrantSolutions to be electronically counter-signed in the system.
F.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements
The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 CFR Chapter 200 (Sub-Chapters A through F) shall apply to all non-Federal entities, except for assistance awards to Individuals and Foreign Public Entities (for more information on these exceptions, see Chapters 5, Federal Assistance to Individuals, and 6, Federal Assistance to Foreign Public Entities Directive.) Sub-Chapters A through E shall apply to all foreign organizations, and Sub-Chapters A through D shall apply to all U.S. and foreign for-profit entities.
The applicant/recipient of the award and any sub-recipient under the award must comply with all applicable terms and conditions, in addition to the assurance and certifications made part of the Notice of Award. The Department’s Standard Terms and Conditions can be viewed at https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Documents/2015DeptTermsAndConditionsForUSandForeignOrg.pdf.
Applicants should be aware that DRL awards will require that all reports (financial and progress) are uploaded to the grant file in GrantSolutions on a quarterly basis. The Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425) is the required form for the financial reports and must be submitted in PMS as well as downloaded and then uploaded to the grant file in GrantSolutions. The progress reports uploaded to the grant file in GrantSolutions must include page one (signed and completed) of the SF-PPR (Performance and Progress Report); a narrative attachment to the SF-PPR as described below; and the SF-PPR-B: Project Indicators (or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the grants officer) for the F Framework indicators.
Narrative progress reports should reflect the focus on measuring the project’s impact on the overarching objectives and should be compiled according to the objectives, outcomes, and outputs as outlined in the award’s Scope of Work (SOW) and in the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Statement. An assessment of the overall project’s impact, should be included in each progress report. Where relevant, progress reports should include the following sections:
• Relevant contextual information (limited);
• Explanation and evaluation of significant activities of the reporting period and how the activities reflect progress toward achieving objectives, including meeting benchmarks/targets as set in the M&E plan. In addition, attach the M&E plan, comparing the target and actual numbers for the indicators;
• Any tangible impact or success stories from the project, when possible;
• Copy of mid-term and/or final evaluation report(s) conducted by an external evaluator; if applicable;
• Relevant supporting documentation or products related to the project activities (such as articles, meeting lists and agendas, participant surveys, photos, manuals, etc.) as separate attachments;
• Description of how the Recipient is pursuing sustainability, including looking for sources of follow-on funding;
• Any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan with an updated timeline of activities;
• Reasons why established goals were not met;
• Data for the required F Framework indicator(s) for the quarter as well as aggregate data by fiscal year using the SF-PPR-B: Project Indicators or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer. Evaluation indicators from the Foreign Assistance Framework can be found at http://www.state.gov/f/indicators/ ;
• Proposed activities for the next quarter;
• Additional pertinent information, including analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs, if applicable.
A final narrative and financial report must also be submitted within 90 days after the expiration of the award.
Please note: delays in reporting may result in delays of payment approvals and failure to provide required reports may jeopardize the recipients’ ability to receive future U.S. government funds.
DRL reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project information during the award period.
G. Contact Information
For technical submission questions related to this solicitation, please contact Veronica Hernandez at Hernandezv2@state.gov.
For assistance with GrantSolutions.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.
For assistance with Grants.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email email@example.com. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.
For a list of federal holidays visit:
With the exception of technical submission questions, during the solicitation period U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas shall not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process has been completed and rejection and approval letters have been transmitted.
H. Other Information
Applicants should be aware that DRL understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information. However, applicants are advised that DRL cannot guarantee that such information will not be disclosed, including pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar statutes.
The information in this NOFO and DRL’s PSI for Applicationss, as updated in July 2015, is binding and may not be modified by any DRL representative. Explanatory information provided by DRL that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. DRL reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the project evaluation requirements.
This NOFO will appear on www.grants.gov, www.grantsolutions.gov, and DRL’s website http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.
Background Information on DRL and general DRL funding
DRL is the foreign policy lead within the U.S. government on promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally. DRL supports projects that uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, prevent atrocities, combat and prevent violent extremism, and build civil society around the world. DRL typically focuses its work in countries with egregious human rights violations, where democracy and human rights advocates are under pressure, and where governments are undemocratic or in transition.
Additional background information on DRL and its efforts can be found on www.state.gov/j/drl and www.humanrights.gov
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
February 12, 2016
As Uganda nears its national elections on February 18, the United States supports the call by many Ugandans, including thousands of youth, for a peaceful, transparent and credible electoral process, before, during, and after the voting.
Violence or threats of violence from any group or individual are unacceptable, and those who participate in such acts – regardless of which candidate they support – must be held accountable. We call on all parties to refrain from provocative actions or rhetoric that raise tensions and that seek to divide Ugandans rather than bring them together.
We strongly urge the government and electoral authorities to ensure a level playing field and transparent process, including through fair application of the law, so that all candidates have an equal opportunity to express their views and voters have the opportunity to hear them. We look to the representatives of all parties and their supporters, as well as members of the security forces and the Crime Preventers, to support the peaceful and fair conduct of polls free from intimidation.
Uganda’s progress depends on adherence to democratic principles and processes. The United States stands by the Ugandan people as they undertake this most essential democratic endeavor.
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
February 12, 2016
As the Central African Republic sits on the cusp of historic elections that will bring the country’s political transition closer to an end, the United States expresses its solidarity with the Central African people and reiterates our commitment to continuing to help the country find the peace and stability it deserves.
Central Africans clearly demonstrated their desire for a new path for their country, free from the past cycles of violence and instability, during the first round of elections on December 30. In pursuit of that goal, we fully support the Central African people in exercising peacefully and freely their right to vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections on February 14. We strongly urge all candidates, political parties, and party supporters to use the country’s legal system to address any potential disputes.
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
February 11, 2016
U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello has departed for an extended trip that will include stops in Luanda, Angola; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bujumbura, Burundi; Bukavu and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.); and Arusha, Tanzania. The trip is focused on supporting regional efforts to resolve the crisis in Burundi and supporting upcoming elections in the D.R.C.
The U.S. Government continues to believe that the urgent resumption of a full-time, regionally mediated dialogue among all Burundian stakeholders is the best route for resolving the current crisis and restoring Burundi’s hard-won progress over the past decade. The United States encourages the East African Community (EAC) to immediately identify a date for the resumption of the dialogue, building off the December 28 meeting in Entebbe, Uganda. The Special Envoy will engage with regional and Burundian stakeholders and EAC leadership about next steps for advancing the dialogue. In addition, the U.S. Government strongly supports the African Union’s efforts to encourage the dialogue process and to deploy more human rights monitors to Burundi.
The United States is committed to supporting constitutional integrity regarding the scheduling and conduct of elections in the D.R.C., to include a peaceful electoral process that respects Congolese citizens’ freedoms of assembly and expression. The Special Envoy will meet with Congolese stakeholders to discuss how to move the electoral process forward. He will also raise U.S. concerns over the D.R.C. government’s treatment of political opposition and civil society, and the closing of political space more broadly.
The Special Envoy will attend the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Summit in Luanda, Angola as well as the Private Sector Investment Conference in Kinshasa, D.R.C. The trip will culminate in Arusha, Tanzania, where the Special Envoy will meet with EAC members during the Heads of State summit.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
The Capitol Visitor Center, U.S. House of Representatives
February 9, 2016
Good morning everyone. Thank you Representative Bass for that kind introduction. I’m not going to go through protocols. I see all of my Ambassadors here in the room. And they know that we are all working together on Africa policy, so I will just say all protocols observed.
I am so pleased to have the opportunity to speak with all of you today. You really are the friends of Africa. You are the supporters of my efforts and all of our efforts to find a solution to many of the intractable problems we see on the continent of Africa. But more importantly, you are the cheerleaders for Africa’s success, so being in the room with all of you really gives me a lot of energy and a lot of encouragement as we seek to find solutions to problems like Boko Haram. So today, I will discuss the impact of Boko Haram on the region, the U.S. strategy to counter Boko Haram, and additional steps that must be taken by all of us to help Nigeria and the region win this war.
BOKO HARAM’S IMPACT
Boko Haram’s savagery – murder, rape, kidnapping, enslavement, extortion, destruction – seemingly has no bounds or limits. Boko Haram’s members use children in attacks, bomb places of worship, both Muslim and Christian, and they bomb busy commercial centers and raid local communities. They are murderers – pure and simple murderers.
Boko Haram is having a devastating impact in Nigeria and the region. Just last week, Boko Haram attacked the Nigerian village of Dalori and killed more than 65 people. Hear me people – 65 people. There were reports of terrorists firebombing huts, resulting in children being burned alive. Yet sadly, this is not unique – every week over the last few months we hear of attacks by Boko Haram in the region that kill dozens of people. What’s more, there are scores of violent raids that disrupt communities on a daily basis that we don’t even hear about in the news.
So I want to take a moment to extend our deepest condolences of the U.S. government and all of us here in the room to the families and loved ones of the victims of all of those brutal attacks. I feel each one of those attacks every day. I feel them in my heart, and I feel them in my soul, because I know that when these children and these communities are being attacked, behind those numbers are real people – real mothers, real children, real fathers, real people who are suffering from Boko Haram.
Boko Haram started in Nigeria, but its impact has spread throughout the region. They also perpetrate their heinous crimes against the people of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad. There, as in Nigeria, civilians live in fear of the terror that Boko Haram has inflicted on their communities.
The conflict has created a major humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, with some 2.4 million internally displaced people in the region and more than 180,000 Nigerians living as refugees in neighboring countries.
Boko Haram’s connections to ISIL are tenuous: tenuous, but worrisome, and real. Boko Haram leaders declare their allegiance to ISIL. We will need to work together with all states in the region to prevent these ties from getting stronger and break the ties that do exist. This is a global fight – it is not just a Nigerian fight.
U.S. COUNTER BOKO HARAM STRATEGY
Defeating Boko Haram requires fighting this group on all levels – and that’s what we are doing. The fight cannot be won just on the battlefield.
Our counter Boko Haram Strategy is an integrated, interagency effort to help Nigeria and its neighbors in their fight to degrade and ultimately to defeat Boko Haram. This strategy has several focuses, including enhancing the efforts of all of the affected countries to fight Boko Haram; weakening Boko Haram’s capacity, financing, and cohesion; enhancing national, state, and local efforts to engage with civilians affected by Boko Haram; countering and preventing violent extremism; removing underlying drivers of insecurity; and addressing the humanitarian needs of civilians affected by Boko Haram.
On the battlefield, the situation remains challenging and attacks continue, but Boko Haram is being pushed back by the combined efforts and improved coordination among the Lake Chad Basin countries. As Boko Haram loses territory, however, they have turned increasingly to vicious, asymmetric attacks, including the use of children as purveyors of deadly bombs. A key part of our strategy is providing support to the Multinational Joint Task Force, which includes soldiers from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Benin. We are providing advisors, intelligence, training, logistical support, and equipment.
Since President Buhari visited Washington in July last year, we have engaged his military leadership on a range of new and continued security assistance. We expect to inaugurate the first round of U.S. training for an infantry battalion later this month. We have stepped up information-sharing efforts. We are jointly evaluating new efforts to counter improvised explosive devices, developing better tools to assess harm to civilians, and assess the potential for U.S. advisory assistance.
We have sent 90 U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Cameroon, and we are anticipating sending a total of 300. These soldiers are supporting the governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria by providing airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations that help our African partners degrade and defeat Boko Haram.
But the fight against Boko Haram goes way beyond the battlefield, and the security assistance we are
providing our partners cannot fill the gap. Equipment and training are only useful when employed by professional forces that respect human rights and earn the respect of the population. Our bilateral security discussions will continue to be paired with discussions regarding human rights.
Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin countries must address the drivers of extremism that gave rise to Boko Haram. These drivers include weak, ineffective governance, corruption, lack of education, and lack of economic opportunities and jobs for the burgeoning young population. If youth in the region are not offered opportunities to contribute to their countries, they become susceptible to terrorism.
Countries in the region must take individual and collective steps to back up their military successes with police and civil administration to maintain security, restore stability, provide much-needed basic services, establish rule of law and effective governance, and promote the economic development and job creation needed to break the cycle of violence.
The United States, primarily through the tireless efforts of our USAID colleagues, supports Nigeria in its development efforts and continues to help address the existing emergency needs. USAID activities in Nigeria and other parts of the region promote education by improving the quality of teaching and learning, increasing equitable access to education, and integrating peace building and safety into school communities.
And across the region, in 2015 and 2016, the United States is providing more than $195 million in humanitarian assistance for Boko Haram-affected populations, including internally displaced persons and refugees. Among other things, this aid includes a $20-million crisis education response that has already established nearly 300 informal learning centers for children of displaced families and their host communities.
In our interagency effort to help our African partners fight Boko Haram, we are also working closely with our international partners, including the UK, France, the European Union, as well as the African Union.
THE WAY FORWARD
So what is the way forward? The way forward, let me just say, is not going to be easy. You know that. We’ve been going through it for a long, long time. There are no overnight solutions. The challenge of defeating Boko Haram is going to require long-term dedication to this effort.
All of us here in this room have a role to play, and we need your help. We need members of Congress – and we have that, we know, through Congresswoman Bass, but many others, it is bipartisan – we need members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and both chambers to organize events like this one. And I want to thank you, Congresswoman Bass, for hosting this amazing group of people. And we need hearings to get a better understanding of the problem. And we’ve had those hearings, and I want those hearings to continue.
We need academics – thank you, Ambassador Brigety, for being in the room – we need academics to help us understand the underlying conditions that led to Boko Haram. We need think tanks to identify creative solutions. We need the business community to help bring investments in the region and to create jobs and spur greater economic development in the affected areas. We need our Ambassadors.
We need our African Ambassadors based here in Washington to advocate for more resources in the fight against Boko Haram, and greater cooperation among the Lake Chad Basin countries. You need to report back to your governments that there is an intense interest here in Washington in helping them to find a solution to this incredible problem. We need the civil society community to push for improved governance and human rights in the region. We need journalists to report on the depravities of Boko Haram as well as progress the Nigerians and other governments of the region are making on human rights. And we’ll need continued resources from our governments.
It’s also important to note that Africa’s people are central in this fight. I ask every day, Do African lives matter? There’s rarely a protest when we hear that Africans have been killed on the continent of Africa. There’s rarely a protest every single day when we hear that Boko Haram is killing people. We get protests in front of the State Department all the time – protesting all kinds of human rights violations. Protest people being killed on the continent by terrorists. We all need to hear the voices of the people. Ordinary men and women in Africa, the United States, and abroad need to raise their voices and send an unmistakable message that Boko Haram’s violence is intolerable, and it’s unacceptable. The outcry in Nigeria and internationally over the killings of the Chibok school girls was impressive – but it was slow. We waited to hear what people would say. Those protests, once they started, helped greatly to raise awareness of Boko Haram’s brutality. But they were only a start.
We must say something. We must stand up and say that we can no longer accept these monstrosities. Boko Haram does not represent the views of the Muslim populations in Africa. And they do not represent the voices of Africa. And it’s important that we all stand up and say, ‘African lives matter!’
Those are the tasks that confront the region, and those of us who are here must help in addressing these. This will be a long fight that requires perseverance, and it is going to require strong resources.
We all know the stakes are high. We know what the stakes are. Last week’s attack in Dalori was a clear reminder. But now is the time – now is the time for us to work together with our African partners to redouble our efforts to defeat Boko Haram and create the bright future – and it’s a bright future that all of the people of Africa deserve. But I would say in this case, particularly, a bright future for the people of northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.
Thank you very much.
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
American University of Cairo
February 10, 2016
Hello everyone. Salaam Alaykum! Thank you Dr. Shahim for the introduction and to the American University of Cairo for inviting me to speak with you all today.
Before I begin, I’d like to share a somber moment with you and acknowledge the recent murder of Giulio Regeni – the Italian doctoral student and a member of this community. The United States grieves the loss of this bright young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Regeni family, the Italian people, and the AUC community during this tragic time. A university exists to allow inquiring minds to explore, connect, and question. This was Guliani’s quest, and I am confident that you all will continue inquiring in his spirit.
I know this university fostered these qualities in my sister, because I visited her here in 1989. We explored this amazing country together. Two young women, wandering the souk, strolling along the Nile, taking in the energy of an ancient yet vibrant city. We moved about freely and without fear. With minimal Arabic, we spoke frankly with Egyptians from all walks of life. Despite our shaky Arabic, the butcher on Hassan Sabry Street helped us find a Turkey (known here as deek roumi, it turns out) to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving. That is the Egypt I remember – the warmth and openness of its people, themselves an invitation to explore Egypt’s rich and diverse heritage.
It was on that trip that I began to understand why Egyptians call their country Om al dunya – “mother of the world.” It is not simply because their country is such an important religious, cultural, and political force across the globe, but also because that power was, in interesting ways, defined by women.
Women ruled over many of the greatest civilizations – not only in Egypt but all of human history – from Nerfertiti and Cleopatra to the powerful queens of the Fatimid and Mameluke kingdoms. Here in Egypt, women struggled and marched against colonialism, sexism, and discrimination – winning the right to vote, go to school, and fully participate in public life. And here in Cairo in recent years, Egyptian women have taken to the streets alongside men to call for a new future for their country. Over the years, their leadership has inspired women across the region and shaped the course of history.
Their centrality to Egypt parallels the early role of women in Islam – the faith of most Egyptians. As many of you know well, the very first Muslim was a woman – the Prophet’s wife Khadija – and she was also a successful and independent businesswoman in her own right. And while Europe languished in the Dark Ages, Islam shone as a light to women. At that time, Islam offered women more rights and benefits than they could find in other contexts.
During my time here this week, I have met with inspirational women leaders in different facets of society. So I fully appreciate that independent and empowered women are found in both Egyptian and Islamic history, even as the majority of women here and across the globe continue to struggle for equality.
Women thrive when they enjoy freedom and opportunity, and of course this is precisely what institutions like AUC represent. In a few short years, AUC will celebrate its 100th anniversary. That achievement is also a testament to the enduring nature of ties between Americans and Egyptians.
My sister – and her career in international development – is part of that legacy, as are the thousands of Egyptians who study or work in the U.S., the Egyptian writers, musicians, and businesswomen we welcome on exchange programs to our country every year, and the generations of American and Egyptian historians and archaeologists who have worked side-by-side to uncover and preserve our shared human history. The United States, both our government and our people, has a deep and longstanding commitment to helping all Egyptians achieve their fullest potential.
But this is a difficult time for the Egyptian people. Like many countries across the globe, Egypt faces significant economic, security, and political challenges. After a period of national turmoil, Egyptians needs strong economic growth to ensure that young people have the opportunities they deserve to learn, work, and shape their future. Egyptians are also confronted by the new faces of terrorism, in the form of Daesh and other militant groups across the region. And Egyptians deserve to freely lift their voices and enjoy universal human rights, without which no country can achieve lasting security and prosperity.
The question is not whether the Egyptian people can overcome these challenges; the question is how. Around the world, we have seen that no country can overcome these challenges – and achieve the prosperity and security its people deserve – without women.
In terms of the economy, Egypt has great potential. The Nile River basin is among the most fertile in the world, and your economy is among the most diversified in the Middle East. Your regional influence gives you power to set trends in culture and trade. And, of course, Egypt’s ancient treasures have attracted generations of travelers and tourists.
Yet the turbulence of recent years has greatly strained Egypt’s economy. As you know firsthand, Egypt’s tourism and foreign investment have declined significantly. Inflation has increased. Structural reforms are essential to modernize the economy, yet they are challenging to implement. And external trends such as globalization (which increases competition worldwide) and regional instability (which disrupts trade and investment) make it even harder to jumpstart economic growth.
Yet a fundamental requirement for maximum economic growth is tapping into the talents of all Egyptians – and in particular, the untapped resource of women. Egyptian society already has made dramatic gains in other areas: the number of women who die every year in childbirth has dropped by nearly two-thirds over the last fifteen years. In secondary education, UNICEF declared that Egypt has closed the enrollment gap between boys and girls.
These are accomplishments worth celebrating. But that progress has not been matched in the workplace. Today, less than a quarter of Egyptian women work in the formal economy compared to nearly 75 percent of men. The rate of unemployment among women is four times that of men. The world recently learned the story of a mother in Luxor who dressed like a man for forty years just so she could find work to support her daughter after her husband died. To me, that story speaks to not just the perseverance and grit of Egyptian women, but also the tremendous disparities they still face.
Disparities like the one out of three Egyptian women over age ten who cannot read, the dangerous and widespread practice of female genital mutilation and cutting, or the nearly one in five Egyptian girls who marry before age 15 – many forced down this road at great risk to their health and wellbeing, and before they are old enough to finish school and develop skills to support themselves economically. Early and forced marriage and limited education not only limit women’s future, but also those of the next generation of Egyptians who grow up in households with mothers who – despite their every desire – cannot read to their children, assist them with schoolwork, or help them envision an economic livelihood or career.
The challenges for women don’t end there. In countries around the world, corruption and needless red tape hurt women more than men, because they have fewer connections and resources to navigate a broken system. They make it harder for women to enroll in schools, apply for jobs, or secure permits to start new businesses.
Women also have trouble getting loans when banks use baseless fears to demand more money up front – money women rarely have because it’s harder for them to find work. When they struggle to access capital, women have a harder time starting new businesses and creating new jobs. These disparities, which are particularly true for women, needlessly limit Egypt’s economic growth.
The United States certainly remains imperfect with respect to equal roles for women. American women are underrepresented in key sectors of our economy like science, technology, and engineering. They still receive, on average, less income than men for the same work. That’s why President Obama just required all companies that work with the U.S. government to report what they pay employees by gender, so we can help close the pay gap between men and women.
Closing that gap is so important, because when more women participate in the economy – as consumers and employers, innovators and entrepreneurs – it broadens prosperity by creating new markets, products, and patents. Today in the U.S., women are exceling in schools and universities, leading multi-billion dollar companies, and running for president. America’s economic success is inseparable from the contributions of women.
The same can be true in Egypt. The International Monetary Fund estimates that closing the gap between men and women in the labor force would expand Egypt’s economy by 34 percent. That is 2.5 trillion Egyptian pounds of economic growth, or roughly 3,000 pounds per person of greater income, flexibility, and economic security.
It’s simple: Egypt cannot reach its full economic potential – nor achieve its great promise – without women. That is why the United States supports Egyptian women with job training programs, exchanges with businesswomen from America’s tech industry, and workshops and grants to female entrepreneurs.
The United States also provides this support because we know that stifling opportunities for any group – including women – not only holds back the country’s economic potential, but can produce a host of other social problems – from inequality to crime to disengagement from public life.
Across the globe, we have seen how the marginalization of groups, and the perception that there is no path to a better future, creates powerful grievances that terrorist groups like Daesh eagerly exploit. Then, we see horrific violence like the attacks on Egyptian civilians and soldiers in the Sinai, the grisly beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts on the shores of Libya, and the murder of 14 innocent Americans by terrorists last December in California. The killers and their hateful cause threaten us all.
That is why the U.S. has partnered with Egypt against this common enemy of civilization. We applaud Egypt’s contributions to the international coalition fighting Daesh. The United States has also provided aircraft, weaponry, and other equipment to help protect Egyptian lives against Daesh’s network of death.
While military tools will remain critical to fighting terrorism, they cannot address the underlying factors that make people vulnerable to the lure of violent extremism. That is why, when Secretary Kerry was here in Cairo last August for the U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue, he described the need for a comprehensive, long-term strategy to defeat violent extremist groups like Daesh, a strategy to “persuade and prevent young people from turning to terror in the first place.”
This is a new way of thinking about terrorism to expand our efforts to include getting ahead of the terror threat — instead of simply responding to its existence. The comprehensive, preventive effort is called “countering violent extremism,” and Egypt joined a broad group of nations, civil society organizations, religious leaders and private sector representatives last February at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.
Governments around the world are beginning to recognize the value of this approach, even as countering violent extremism – or CVE, as it is known – demands more of governments. CVE prompts states to examine how their own actions might be portrayed in terrorist narratives and how their security efforts in particular could have unintended second-order effects. Furthermore, this CVE approach recognizes that governments need partners to effectively discredit and reject the calls of violent extremism. Civil society – including religious leaders, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations – has a key role to play in securing communities and protecting our vulnerable youth.
Women in particular are an untapped resource in the fight against terrorism. As Daesh calls on women to marry its terrorist fighters and support its nihilistic campaign, women are well positioned to counter that message. What better network to enlist in this struggle than women, who live in every city and village, whose reach extends into every family, and who understand the needs of their community better than many local government officials?
But mobilizing the power of women for this security challenge requires empowering women and women’s groups in all manner of public life. Only then can they speak with the independence, authority, and authenticity needed to effectively push back against terrorist recruitment. So if governments are serious about reducing the threat of terrorism, they need to get serious about including and empowering women.
But for women to fully contribute to a more prosperous and secure society – they need to feel secure
in their day-to-day lives. According to many surveys, over 90 percent of Egyptian women have suffered from sexual harassment or sexual violence. Nine out of ten Egyptian women. Many of these crimes took place not in dark alleys, but in public streets, maydans, and prisons.
The U.S. continues to grapple with this issue as well, in our universities, within our military, and within homes. President Obama has made stopping sexual assault a top priority of our government. So many societies have work to do to ensure safety and freedom for women.
We welcome steps the Egyptian Government has taken to address this issue, like the new National Strategy to Combat Violence Against Women and provisions in the new constitution guaranteeing protection for women from all forms of violence along with equal social, economic, and political rights. But as the U.S. has learned, constitutional commitments and national strategies to promote equality and stop sexual violence – while important – will achieve little unless they are backed up with clear mandates, sufficient resources, strong institutions, and vigorous enforcement.
The Government of Egypt has taken some important steps in this regard, like establishing a new Department within the Ministry of Interior and a new Assistant Minister of Justice to ensure crimes against women are addressed with urgency and professionalism. The government could go further still, for example, by empowering the Ombudsperson’s Office for Gender Equality within the National Council on Women, establishing and enforcing a clear zero-tolerance policy on sexual violence for Egyptian military and police, and increasing resources for investigating and prosecuting those who commit such crimes.
The United States is a ready partner to help the Egyptian government address this pervasive human rights abuse and end cycles of impunity. Already, we have modest exchanges with prosecutors, medical experts, and law enforcement to help develop more effective and coordinated responses for sexual assault. After my visit here, I am convinced that Americans and Egyptians can expand this type of support to strengthen judicial responses for a broader range of human rights challenges.
While the Egyptian government has a critical role in addressing gender inequality and sexual violence, citizens have responsibility as well. Ultimately, progress depends on Egyptians of all backgrounds, and especially men – from politicians to policeman to neighbors – speaking out for equality, inclusion, and protection from sexual violence.
In June 2014, when a young woman was assaulted in Tahrir Square, President Sisi visited the survivor to make an important point. He declared sexual harassment “an unacceptable form of conduct, alien to the best principles of Egyptian culture.” Speaking out against physical violence is critical – but so too is condemning the intimidation of women and other organizations that have a constitutional right to make their voices heard.
No civilized nation should tolerate violence, whether that violence targets people for who they are, what they believe, where they pray, or whom they love. Great nations draw strength from all their people.
Harnessing that strength means tolerating differences that are peacefully expressed. It means including diverse perspectives in decision-making, not just in politics but in every facet of public and private life. That is why, as the United States’ annual Human Rights Report detailed, we are deeply concerned about “the suppression of civil liberties, including societal and government restrictions on freedoms of expression and the press and the freedom of assembly and association…and academic freedom.”
We are concerned because a diversity of views and beliefs – in religion, culture, politics, and academia – do not weaken societies; they strengthen them by adding new perspectives, challenging faulty assumptions, and allowing people to identify and resolve differences. The freedoms of Egyptian scholars and students – to ask and to probe and to question – are also vital.
In the United States, the freedom of our students and universities, our democracy and commitment to human rights and the rule of law – these allow us to negotiate the nation’s path forward, and they sustain our economic vitality, our innovation, creativity, and national collective promise.
Insecurity and fear can prompt governments and peoples to compromise values and principles in a search for control and stability. It can be tempting to pursue these goals by silencing peaceful dissent, limiting academic inquiry, compromising universal values, or abusing the power of the state. But the American experience after the attacks of 9/11, and the experience of many other countries around the world, underscores the cost of compromising fundamental rights and freedoms.
In reality, extremist views are best discredited through open debate, where citizens and religious leaders can challenge them head-on. When debate is shut down in the name of security, it feeds extremist propaganda. And the exclusive or heavy-handed reliance on security solutions is unlikely to address – and may well exacerbate – key underlying factors that increase vulnerability to terrorist propaganda.
As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon recently said, “governments should not use the fight against terrorism and extremism as a pretext to attack one’s critics. Extremists deliberately seek to incite such over-reactions. And we must not fall into those traps.”
When people are tortured, when nonviolent protestors are shot or arrested, it suggests there is no peaceful avenue to express sincere differences. That is how dissidents become terrorists, how democracies erode, how economies wither. These are the lessons of history all nations must bear in mind.
Of course, Egyptians are still writing their own history. This has been a difficult period, but I am confident that the next chapter can be brighter – that Egyptians can thrive in a competitive global economy and cast off the shadow of violent extremism – by bringing the full power of its people to bear, by empowering women and guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and rights of all.
Because there is no challenge before Egypt that lies beyond the power of Egyptians; here and throughout the world, people are the foundation for broad prosperity and lasting security.