Leveraging UNESCO Networks to Address the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Design, and Math (STEAM) Gender Gap in Africa

Funding Agency:
Department of State

The U.S. Mission to UNESCO (USUNESCO) announces the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for a new program to design and administer a three-year grants program aimed at identifying, developing, and expanding the most promising grassroots-led initiatives in Africa to help address the persistent gender gap in science, technology, engineering, arts/design, and math (STEAM) fields.  The targeted African countries for the proposed grants program would be:  Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.  This program aims to make progress toward eventually achieving gender parity in STEAM-related fields so that more African women and girls are empowered by the socioeconomic benefits derived from acquiring expertise in these fields and so that more women and girls contribute to innovation by creating, rather than just using, technology.

The applicant will be expected to design a program that would utilize UNESCO’s extensive networks, broad reach, and respected reputation in Africa to support innovative, community-driven initiatives aimed at engaging and sustaining the interest of adolescent girls in STEAM-related fields.  Though the ultimate beneficiaries for the grants would be adolescent girls in the targeted African countries, the target audience of small grantees would be schools or school districts, local NGOs, universities, government entities, or other organizations working in partnership with, or with the express support of, UNESCO-affiliated entities in Africa, including inter alia:  UNESCO Member State Delegations, UNESCO National Commissions, UNESCO ASPNet schools (of which there are more than 1800 across 42 countries in Africa), UNESCO Chair Institutions, UNESCO Clubs, and UNESCO Category II Centers.  

Successful proposals for administration of this three-year grants program should be structured with maximum impact, scalability, and sustainability in mind.  Examples might include venture capital models whereby a larger number of ideas receive small amounts of funding at first and then show their impact to compete for larger amounts in subsequent funding rounds.  Successful proposals should clearly explain what mechanisms will be used to maximize the pool of small grant applicants.  The program should also incorporate elements to build the capacity of grassroots organizations to apply for and successfully manage grant funding and to design interventions for maximum impact.  Successful programs will also include indicators that would be used to measure the success of small grantees as defined by their impact on reducing the STEAM gender gap in their communities.  

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.  

  • Duke Internal Deadline: December 28, 2016
  • Sponsor Deadline: January 31, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for this NOFO is limited to:  educational and research institutions; foreign public entities; U.S. not-for-profit/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) subject to section 501 (c) (3) of the U.S. tax code, and foreign not-for-profits/NGOs/social enterprises.  



Funding Type





Arts & Humanities
Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
International Opportunities
Social Sciences

Internal Deadline

December 28, 2016

External Deadline

January 31, 2017