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The Secretary’s Innovation Award

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May 2010
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The Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls seeks to find and bring to scale the most pioneering approaches to the political, economic and social empowerment of women and girls around the globe. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the award is part of the State Department’s continuing emphasis on public-private partnerships, and is administered by its Office of Global Women’s Issues. The award, and the office, are founded on the premise that the major economic, security, governance and environmental challenges of our time cannot be solved without the full participation of women at all levels of society. The Rockefeller Foundation, as part of its mission to expand opportunity and promote more equitable growth, seeks to identify innovative approaches that can be scaled to address these challenges.

The purpose of this announcement is to invite interested parties to submit a concept paper that describes innovations that have proven to have a positive impact on the lives of women and girls politically, socially, or economically. The concept paper should: (1) describe the innovation, (2) how it has been successful, and, (3) how it can be supported and enlarged with additional financial support to empower women and girls in their communities.

All concept papers will be reviewed by State Department staff, and selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals. The full proposal will include detailed implementation and budget plans. A jury panel, co-chaired by Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, will assist in the selection of two award winners in 2010. Jury members include Cherie Blair, Beth Brooke, Paul Farmer, Noeleen Heyzer, Anne Mulcahy, Sheryl Sandberg, Sheryl WuDunn, and Muhammad Yunus. The final awardees will be invited to attend an award ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., and each will receive a grant of up to $500,000 to fund their project.

How to Prepare Concept Papers
Concept papers are due by June 1, 2010, to SGWIRFPInnovation@state.gov. The concept paper should be a short, informal proposal that should not exceed five (5) double-spaced pages. It should describe a potential solution to challenge(s) facing women and girls, including, but not limited to, the areas of poverty, legal and customary constraints, health, education, violence, food security, or climate change. The innovation could be a tool to empower women and girls socially, economically, politically, legally and/or normatively. The paper also needs to explain how the innovation could be replicated, scaled up, and made sustainable.

Concept papers are to be organized as follows:
1. Describe the primary problem(s) concerning women and girls that your innovation or concept addresses.2. Describe the solution, concept or innovation.3. What stage is your concept in?• Idea phase• Operating for less than a year• Operating for 1-5 years• Operating for more than 5 years4. If your innovation has been operating for more than a year, tell us about the specific activities you have undertaken as part of your innovation, and their impact on women and girls. Please include both statistics (if appropriate) and specific examples as evidence of this impact.5. How have you been able to sustain this innovation so far?6. How will the award funding help expand the success of your project? Describe the expected results over the next three years.

Review Criteria
Concept papers and subsequent full proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
* Innovation: the applicant’s activity, product or process should represent a new strategy, or current strategy applied in new ways, for achieving improvements in women and girls’ empowerment.
* Impact on women’s and girls’ empowerment: the applicant should clearly articulate a specific intended effect on the status or welfare of women and girls.
* Measurable results: the applicant should provide milestones and clearly describe the quantitative methods that will be used to monitor progress toward their stated goals.
* Capacity: the applicant should demonstrate the capacity to take their innovation to greater scale, either on their own or with the assistance of additional resources and partnerships.
* Sustainability: the applicant must identify the inputs or resources that will enable the innovation to continue to scale beyond the time when award funds have been expended.

Next Steps
The U.S. Department of State will review the concept papers according to the criteria described above, and select those that best meet the criteria and objectives of the award. Those applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. We wish to thank in advance all those who submit a concept paper for their participation in this program.

Please complete the following questionnaire and include it with your concept paper by June 1, 2010.
Applicant (if individual)
First name:
Last name:
Email:
Website URL:
Country:
Applicant (if organization)
Organization Name:
Organization Website:
Organization Email:
Organization Phone:
Organization Address:
Organization Country:

Is your organization (please delete those that don’t apply):
* A non-profit/NGO/citizen-sector organization* A for-profit* A governmental institution* not registered/none of the above
How long has this organization been operating (please delete those that don’t apply)?
* Less than 1 year* 1-5 years* More than 5 years
What is this organization’s annual budget (in USD. Please delete those that don’t apply)?
* Less than $499,999* $500,000-$2,000,000* More than $2,000,000
Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board? (no/yes)
Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with NGOs? (no/yes)
Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses? (no/yes)
Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with government? (no/yes)

Funding sources.

Please check all that apply:
* Friends and family* Individual donations* Foundations* Businesses
If other, please provide information about your funding sources.
Source: http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/innovation/rfp/index.htm

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