U.S. Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs – Economic Empowerment in Dakhla, Laayoune, and the Surrounding Regions

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs’ Office of Assistance Coordination’s (NEA/AC) Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) seeks proposals that support inclusive economic growth in Dakhla, Laayoune, and the surrounding areas. Competitive proposals will support activities targeting specific demographics: women, youth, and People With Disabilities (PWD). The beneficiaries should receive some combination of soft-and job-skills along with English language training. Proposals that have an innovative approach and/or have concrete outcomes such as jobs obtained or businesses created will be looked on favorably. Relevant past experience can also be referenced in the proposal.

This project will support civil society and local governance in Dakhla, Laayoune, and the surrounding areas by developing the professional and language skills of the participants. Incremental progress in these areas is made possible through an informed and empowered population. The project will also help create the economic conditions which allow associations and businesses to organize and approach local officials on questions important to them, whether resource allocation or gender equity.

This program seeks to specifically address the lack of skilled workers, and provide them with skill sets appropriate for current and future economic opportunities. A program with training specific to one industry may not transfer well to other sectors. Therefore a program which is more general or provides broadly useful skills is needed. Similarly, English language training serves a dual purpose of providing a direct employability benefit to many good jobs while also increasing the ability of participants to interact with the rest of the world.

Achievable objectives :

A successful project will result in :

  • Increase in participants’ knowledge of technical, work readiness, or soft skills, which are relevant in the workplace.
  • A measurable increase in participants’ English skills.
  • New jobs obtained and/orbusinesses created by participants.

Activities :

Project activities should include :

  • English language training, with a focus on basic proficiency and relevance in the workplace.
  • Soft skills training (possible examples being workplace professionalism, practice interviews, communication skills, conflict resolution,how to advocate for yourself, sales skills, et cetera).
  • Identifying private sector partners willing to clarify needed skills and provides internship and job opportunities for graduates of the program, or assists participants in starting their own business.

The following activities and costs are not allowed under this announcement :

  • Exchange activities with other countries or territories;
  • Social welfare projects;
  • Paying to complete activities begun with other funds;
  • Activities that appear partisan orthat support individual or party electoral campaigns;
  • Academic or analytical research (if not necessary as part of a larger project);
  • One-time events, such as stand-alone conferences and one-off round tables;
  • Medical and psychological research and clinical studies;
  • Projects of a commercial or profit-makingnature;
  • Cultural presentations, cultural research, cultural clubs, or festivals, etc.;and
  • Entertainment costs (e.g., receptions, social activities, ceremonies, alcoholic beverages, guided tours).

Eligible Applicants :

Eligible applicants include : U.S. or foreign Non-profit organizations; For-profit organizations; Private institutions of higher education; Public international organizations; Small businesses with function and regional experience in the areas of education and human development in the MENA region.

Local Partners Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit projects that include partnerships with local organizations that would work together on specific programmatic objectives or priorities and that utilize local expertise. In particular, NEA/AC strongly encourages applicants not based in the MENA region to partner with local organizations.


Deadline : May 9, 2021

Funding : $400,000 – $450,000

Further information

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Départ de Pierre Salignon – responsable DPA-OSC