Proposal Instructions

Your proposal must be submitted via the online platform by August 5, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Applications must be submitted in English. Complete instructions regarding how to submit applications are provided on the application platform.

Step One: Log in or Register.

The application platform for USAID's RISE Challenge is SMApply. When you click the link to apply, you will be directed to the SMApply login page. If you have an existing SMApply account, type in your login information and click LOG IN. You will be redirected to the RISE application. Under Your Tasks, click Acknowledgements and Eligibility to begin your application.

If you do not yet have an SMApply login, click REGISTER in the upper right corner. When you have registered for an account, you will be redirected to the RISE application. Before you begin filling out the application, be sure to verify your email address by clicking the link in a verification email sent by SMApply. You will then be able to return to your RISE application. Under Your Tasks, click Acknowledgements and Eligibility to begin your application.

For detailed guidance on how to access the RISE Challenge SMApply application system for first time users, existing users, and when you forget your password. click here. If you have other questions about SMApply, please contact rise@usaid.gov.

Step Two: Apply to the RISE Challenge.

The full application and cost proposal requirements can be found in Annex B and C of the Request for Applications. Applicants will be expected to submit basic information, upload relevant forms, and answer a series of technical questions that will total approximately ten pages.

Basic Applicant Information:

  • Organization information; Country where registered; Country where project will be implemented; Application Point of Contact; Title of Project.

  • Challenge Approach: Indicate if the application is ‘Program Integration’, which seeks  funding to integrate a new GBV component into an existing program, or a ‘New Program.’

  • Requested funding amount and duration: Please indicate the amount of funding your project requires, up to $300,000, and the proposed project duration, up to 18 months.


Application Technical Narrative:

  • Problem statement, project description, & hypotheses (750 words): Provide a detailed description of the problem and proposed intervention, specifying its goal, activities, expected results, and assumptions that must hold true for the project to succeed. The applicant must draw on evidence to explain why and how the intervention will address GBV and lead to improved environmental outcomes. The applicant must specify the type(s) of GBV that will be addressed and provide a clear rationale as to why. The applicant should also indicate how the project will contribute to the evidence-base USAID seeks to build.

  • Contextual awareness, human-centered interventions, and sensitivity (500 words): Describe and demonstrate a deep understanding of the culture, power dynamics, gender norms, and environmental conditions where the intervention is taking place. If the applicant is adapting a proven methodology or approach used in a different sector or geography, explain how it will be adapted and why it is well-suited to address GBV in the applicant's local context. If applying a promising methodology or approach, describe how it will be integrated into existing or new programs to address GBV and improve environmental outcomes. In support of this requirement, we will be looking for proven or promising tools, methodologies, approaches, procedures, and partnerships that demonstrate contextual awareness, human-centered approaches, and sensitivity. These could include, but are not limited to, needs assessments, gender assessments, and conflict analysis.

  • Partnership plan and organizational capacity (500 words): Demonstrate a partnership plan that leverages the capacity, expertise, and existing relationships across relevant environmental organizations, gender and GBV organizations/experts, indigenous peoples organizations, and/or local communities. The applicant should detail the role of each partner and how the partners will work together to implement the intervention and achieve expected outcomes. Additionally, the applicant should outline the principal personnel on the project and their ability to perform the responsibilities outlined.

    This includes proposed engagement with GBV organizations, environmental organizations, women’s and girls’ organizations, indigenous peoples communities/groups, youth, local partners, and other vulnerable populations. Partnerships with research, academic, or evaluation organizations with the capacity to support evidence collection are also highly encouraged.

  • Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning (MEL) (500 words): Describe how the proposed intervention will incorporate monitoring, evaluation, and learning to test the intervention’s hypotheses and assumptions, evaluate progress and program effectiveness, and assess the effect of applying GBV interventions to environmental programming for both GBV and environmental outcomes. Applicants should describe practically and methodologically how they will measure gender and environmental outcomes, and articulate specific indicators that will be (New Project) or are being used (Program Integration) to evaluate change. The applicant should indicate in what timeframe they expect gender and environmental outcomes to be achieved. Applicants should also detail how the data and learning will be used to identify what interventions are and are not working and adapt program design accordingly. 

    Applicants are encouraged to review the RISE Monitoring and Evaluation Framework in Annex A of the Request for Applications when addressing this question.

  • Pathway to integration (250 words): State how the learnings from your intervention will be captured and communicated to stakeholders, colleagues, organizational headquarters, and the challenge managers. Describe how your insights from your intervention could be applied to other geographies, other contexts within your organization, or beyond. Speak to the potential for this intervention to become sustainable or replicated in future programming.

Concept Note Supporting Annexes:



Competitions for Development

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