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[NOFO] Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Mekong
April 23, 2021



Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)


Announcement Type: New Announcement

Assistance Type: Grant

Funding Opportunity Title: Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Mekong

Funding Opportunity Number: SFOP0007985

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 19.124

Total Available Funding: $395,061

NOFO Issuance Date: April 16, 2021

Deadline for Receipt of Questions: June 4, 2021 at 5:00PM Eastern Daylight Time

Application Deadline: June 15, 2021 at 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time

Eligibility Category: U.S. Non-profit/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, or overseas-based non-profit/non-governmental organizations, and U.S. and overseas private/state institutions of higher education (See full eligibility criteria below in Section C).

Executive Summary:

The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) Office of Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (DOS), announces this Notice of Funding Opportunity (“NOFO”) for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Mekong (Burma, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam).

A grant for up to $395,061 U.S. Dollars (USD) in FY 2020 Economic Support Funds (ESF) will be awarded (pending availability of funds) for work that will support women’s economic empowerment in the Mekong by providing financial literacy training and support to women seeking microinsurance to support women entrepreneurs’ small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The period of performance is 2-3 years. Funding authority rests in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.

Contact Person: See Section G.
Please read carefully the entire solicitation package if you plan to submit an application; there are steps that you should take immediately in order to make your submissions by the deadline.


A.1. Background

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), Office of Multilateral Affairs (MLA), announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to support women’s economic empowerment in the Mekong through providing financial literacy training and support to women seeking microinsurance to support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This project should increase the access of women entrepreneurs and business owners to financing, market opportunities, and training to help establish and grow their businesses while providing health insurance protections to women- owned MSMEs. This project supports the Mekong-U.S. Partnership’s goals of increasing economic connectivity and growth by supporting MSMEs, and human resource development by including support for human capitol development and women’s empowerment in the Mekong. It is expected that this project will benefit two or more Mekong countries.

Low-income women are disproportionately affected by economic upheavals. Micro-insurance availability is especially critical to women’s economic resilience and recovery in the context of the current global health pandemic. In light of COVID-19, it becomes increasingly vital that women are afforded the opportunity to seek and treat medical conditions without the fear of increased economic hardship for women entrepreneurs and their families. Not only is it important to seek medical treatment during the global pandemic, but a habit of seeking medical care for maladies best serves women’s health and wellbeing in the long term. As such, project proposals should include provisions for women’s economic and health benefits.

A2. Program Goals

This project will facilitate female-owned MSMEs access to micro-insurance products to help prioritize business and health needs for the entrepreneur and her family.

Objective 1: Increase the access of women entrepreneurs and business owners to finance and market opportunities while also providing health benefits; and

Objective 2: Increase the financial literacy of women entrepreneurs and business owners.

A3. Expected Results

Specific results could include the following:

  • Women entrepreneurs will gain increased access to finance opportunities and sound financial teaching; and
  • Women entrepreneurs will gain increased access to medical care;
  • Unbanked and underbanked women in the Mekong enroll in financial banking productsand services;
  • Women entrepreneurs and business owners learn “core skills,” including communication, leadership, self-confidence, and other abilities needed for success.

A4. Main Activities

To achieve the goals and expected results, the program could include the following:

  • Provide a product and training that are gender-responsive in design and execution; (EAP defines gender responsive as to outcomes that reflect an understanding of gender roles and inequalities and which make an effort to encourage equal participation and equal and fair distribution of benefits. Gender responsiveness is accomplished through gender analysis and gender inclusiveness).
  • Provide a local support network and education for the products and services, including those offered through other U.S. government and likeminded partner programs, available to each female MSME;
  • Provide a premier health care package as a bundled option to financial products;
  • Support grassroots entrepreneurship to build competitive markets in the Mekong;
  • Incorporate “core skills” training to include communication, leadership, self-confidence building and other abilities needed for success;
  • In addition, per the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, it is a U.S. government- wide priority to expand and apply gender analysis, as appropriate, to improve the design and implementation of U.S. government-funded programs. A gender analysis helps consider the different ways in which programs might impact and be impacted by the community, country, and region where activities take place. EAP encourages organizations to tailor these questions to ensure perspectives based on religion, disability, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity are meaningfully considered and included in the program design, budget, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan.

A5. Performance Indicators

The project should monitor and report on performance indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time-bound. Establish, where possible, performance baseline data and expected performance targets for each expected result, and include details on what sources of data will be used to document performance, how the indicators will be measured, frequency of measurement, and units of measure. Where possible, indicators should also allow for sex disaggregation. Indicators should reflect key project outputs or outcomes that reflect on the primary goals or objectives of the project and that the implementer can collect with high quality data.

Applicants must fill out the table below and insert it into the proposal document. Additional non-Department of State (DOS) indicators may be added that are relevant to the project by adding rows to the chart.

All applicable indicators should be included in the proposal and subsequent to the award, routine, periodic reporting of all indicators will be required. The implementer will be responsible for quarterly progress reporting on each performance indicator included in the award agreement as well as analysis of progress or impediments to reach indicator targets.

See the full funding opportunity announcement here: SFOP0007985_DOS_EAP_Final (PDF, 322kb)