ARISA: Call for Expression of Interest

Advancing Rights in Southern Africa (ARISA)
Opportunity closing date: 
Sunday, 28 February, 2021
Opportunity type: 


  1. Media Freedoms and Digital Rights

  2. Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Advancing Rights in Southern Africa program (ARISA) is a five-year USAID funded regional program that aims to improve the recognition, awareness, and enforcement of human rights in southern Africa, including the protection of the most vulnerable and marginalized. Freedom House (FH) together with its collaborating partners—the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA/ROLI), Internews and Pact support national and regional interventions in eight countries in the region (Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Madagascar, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa) to achieve the following objectives:

  • Improving the enabling environment for the promotion and protection of human rights;
  • Strengthening the capacity of regional and local civil society actors to seek redress of rights violations;

  • Increasing public demand for improved rule of law and human rights protection; and

  • Fostering South-to-South communities of practice for knowledge and resource sharing to advance efforts to address human rights violations.

 ARISA has a small pool of funds to sub-grant (ranging from $10,000 - $30, 000 over a period of 12-24 months) to further its aim and objectives and support interested national and regional civil society organizations.
We are seeking applications from organizations working on (i) Media Freedoms and Digital Rights or (ii) Indigenous Peoples’ Rights as outlined below:

Media Freedoms

The internet and the development of the right to freedom of expression online has had a particularly enormous impact on the right to freedom of assembly. It has created opportunities for new communities of people to interact regardless of their physical location or other social constraints, to organise and mobilise, and to document protests in real time, including documenting efforts of repression or intimidation. In response, governments in the region have sought to clamp down on citizens ability to freely express themselves online. Laws and policies governing these areas are of increasing concern in the ARISA geographic countries of Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia and South Africa.
In seeking to protect online freedoms, ARISA will provide support for national and regional advocacy initiatives for media freedoms and digital rights in line with the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly and the right to privacy. This support will be to improve the enabling environment for the promotion and protection of human rights in the digital space.
ARISA will support organizations to participate in legislative proceedings and/or engage in advocacy with national and regional legislatures and  committees, which will result in specific pieces of human rights-related legislation or implementing regulations related to media freedoms and digital rights being amended, proposed and/or adopted.
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
The objective of Freedom House’s work on Indigenous Peoples Rights  is to empower and strengthen the capacity of IPOs and communities to more effectively respond to poor service delivery and the human rights effects of the pandemic, monitor and highlight rights violations in the context of COVID-19, and advocate for transparent government responses and inclusive engagement that take into account the lived realities of IPs.
The work includes capacity development and support for Indigenous People’s Organizations (IPOs) for communication, information sharing, advocacy and legal support to strengthen the rights of indigenous groups, a gap that has been further amplified by the secondary level effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, ARISA aims to provide support to:

  • Improve the enabling environment for the promotion and protection of human rights by developing and disseminating informational materials, including videos, audio messages, and digital pamphlets, that are culturally respectful and gender inclusive to IPs in indigenous languages to mitigate the secondary level effects of COVID-19;

  • Engage in consultations, collaboration and community dialogue initiatives;

  • Advocate for effective resource management and livelihoods and development of a policy brief;

  • Support indigenous women’s leadership and participation in local politics and governance through a training of trainers (TOT) program on women’s rights, including human rights awareness and access to basic services such as health and legal support;

  • Develop a program of community-based counselling on gender-based violence through a TOT program to support the establishment of in-community counselling on GBV in San communities;

  • Develop skills and generate knowledge for indigenous youth by providing funding support for internships and scholarships and support the provision of work experience for indigenous youth within academic institutions, and other relevant organizations where possible, in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa;

  • Train paralegals.

 Grantee Qualifying Criteria
To qualify for a grant, applicants must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Must be a non-profit, non-governmental organization working in or with the capacity to work in one or more of the above thematic areas from a human rights perspective;

  • Must be a registered SADC regional organisation or registered to work in any of the eight (8) ARISA Programme countries, namely; Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar,  Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa;  (NB: Unregistered organisations that can provide justifiable reasons for lack of such registration may also be considered); 

  • Organizations engaging in human rights advocacy campaigns at national and supranational levels will be given priority;

  • Smaller organisations that need extra resources to strengthen and improve their capacities will also be considered;

  • Must have never been convicted or currently the subject of any legal proceedings related to the mismanagement of funds or had a public transaction terminated for cause of default; not bankrupt; not a political party or politically affiliated organization.

 Application Process
Kindly send a short concept using the template below and anticipated budget to Roshnee Narrandes on before 12 midnight CAT on 28 February 2021. The email and concept note must be clearly marked with the thematic area being applied for and must briefly describe the project, objectives, activities and anticipated outcomes.
All submitted concept notes will be assessed and successful applicants will be requested to submit full applications. No late applications will be accepted. In the event you have not heard back from us by 30 April 2021 kindly note that your application has been unsuccessful.
Review and Selection
ARISA will review all proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of project conception / idea;
  • General approach and proposed interventions;

  • Cost effectiveness;

  • Sustainability and impact potential;

  • Organizational strength and past performance.

 ARISA will award grants to the most qualified applicants until resources allocated to this call for proposals have been exhausted. All funding is subject to availability of funds.

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