Women in the Middle East and North Africa have made much progress in recent years, progress the United States wishes to encourage and support. That is the goal of the U.S. State Department's Women Leaders Program. Sponsored by the Office of Middle East Partnership Initiative, or MEPI, the program will award up to one-million-eight-hundred-thousand dollars over a span of two years to support efforts by women leaders to advance their human rights, legal status, political participation, and economic empowerment.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative is seeking applications from organizations with functional and regional experience in the areas of women's empowerment, civil society strengthening, and leadership development in the Gulf, as well as North Africa, to include Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. Proposals are particularly sought that are not only innovative but avoid replication of projects currently being implemented in the region. Preference will be given to program ideas that focus on substantive partnerships with indigenous organizations and address reform opportunities as identified by local partners.
MEPI seeks to identify partners with demonstrated competency in developing programs that feature skills building activities for young women between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five. Programs should include activities that focus on empowering young women as agents for change, particularly at the community level. Preference will be given to activities that strengthen women journalists, enhance political skills for female officials and political leaders, and develop women's rights advocates among businesswomen and legal professionals.
Applications may be submitted online via http://www.grants.gov. Submissions must be made before midnight eastern standard time on August 15, 2008. Promoting women's political and economic participation is an important element of U.S. foreign policy. The Women Leaders Program is another example of the U.S. commitment to that goal.