DRL Supporting Environmental Defenders in Latin America

Funding Agency:
Department of State

In furtherance of the Biden Administration’s foreign policy objective to “defend and protect human rights and address discrimination, inequity, and marginalization in all its forms,”1 the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), within the U.S. Department of State, announces an open call for proposals to strengthen support for environmental defenders in Latin America.

DRL’s goal is to meaningfully stem the violence against environmental defenders in Latin America and enhance their capacity to hold governments accountable for enforcing environmental laws and implementing commitments outlined in relevant regional and international agreements. Elevating and protecting the voice of women environmental defenders will be central to this effort. To this end, DRL seeks proposals for a $2,000,000, 24-month program to advance three key objectives: (1) strengthen environmental defender networks and capacity to promote justice in environmental matters; (2) bolster the ability of women environmental defenders to address gender-specific threats and challenges in the field; and (3) enhance measures to prevent and increase accountability for violence against environmental defenders. To advance these objectives, competitive proposals will substantiate the theory of change and supporting activities with findings from applied research, academia, impact evaluations or other learning tools to ensure an evidence-based approach reaching beyond a single organization’s experience in the field. Applicants should also describe the concrete impact they plan to achieve in each of the three key objectives and how they plan to monitor and measure that impact.

DRL seeks a regional or subregional scope for this program, prioritizing countries and communities in Latin America where violence against environmental defenders is most acute. Proposed activities must include a participatory design process with environmental defenders and local civil society organizations in target communities to ensure activities under Objectives 1 and 2 are locally designed and led. Applicants are encouraged to include a flexible fund line item in their proposal budgets to support future activities that emerge from the participatory design process. To inform this consultative process and enable effective participation in environmental decision-making, applicants should outline measures to increase durable and easy access to environmental information among defenders and their communities. Lastly, competitive proposals will facilitate environmental defender engagements with private sector stakeholders—nationally and internationally—as appropriate, to increase awareness of goods derived from the illegal exploitation of natural resources and/or human rights abuses and how they may be filtering into legitimate export streams. This engagement should seek to prompt tangible actions from private sector stakeholders to mitigate exploitation and abuse in their supply chains.

Primary organizations can submit one application in response to the NOFO. Interested applicants from within Duke should contact dukeiln@duke.edu as early as possible.

Deadline: April 23, 2022

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.



Funding Type





Environmental & Life Sciences
International Opportunities
Social Sciences

External Deadline

April 23, 2022