U.S. Mission to India -- Rural Youth Volunteers

Funding Agency:
Department of State


The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section in New Delhi is soliciting proposals for a cooperative agreement that meets the specifications stated in Section II from legally-recognized non-profit, nongovernmental organizations that meet U.S. and Indian technical and legal requirements to develop and implement public diplomacy programs as specified by Section II below. Information about the Public Affairs Section can be found at: https://in.usembassy.gov/

Despite the fact that approximately 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas, the bulk of attention is focused on urban elites. Ethnic and caste-based discrimination, drug abuse, school drop outs, trafficking in persons, gender inequality, social discrimination and other social woes prevalent in rural communities at least partly stem from their isolation and poverty. Connecting rural populations to relevant communities beyond their immediate environs and providing them with alternatives and new perspectives will help them not only break the cycle of poverty but also create a more just, equitable and tolerant society. This project is designed to send pairs of Indian and American volunteers to work with existing rural-focused NGOs on social entrepreneurship projects that serve to help the rural communities help themselves in an economically sustainable, socially responsible fashion. In addition, by connecting these communities to the world, the project serves to change the world view and attitudes of the volunteers as well as members of the communities within which they work. 

For a 3 month period, paired volunteers (one from the US, the other from India- ages 21-27) contribute to economic and social entrepreneurship projects in 2-4 different rural communities that address issues such as empowering women and girls, career planning, education, countering social discrimination, renewable energy, drug abuse, trafficking in persons or gender-based violence among others. Internships should be organized for a minimum of 8 pairs (16 participants in total). The Indian member of the pair should come from a part of India with no connection to the rural community where he/she is to be placed and should be fluent in Hindi and thereby able to act as a language bridge for his/her American counterpart. The projects themselves, developed and implemented (at least initially) by the volunteers and relevant community members, should serve to address the isolation of these communities by connecting them to the world beyond. 

Following a three day orientation in New Delhi, the pairs are placed with grassroots organizations in rural communities. Each pair stays with a local family in the community. Upon completion of the 3 month program, the pairs return to New Delhi for a final “assessment of their experience”. During this time, they also map out an action plans which they will jointly implement in their home communities upon return. These plans could serve to further the social entrepreneurship projects they worked on through fundraising, campaigning and/or advocacy activities, thereby increasing public awareness of issues facing rural India. 

Deadline: July 17, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility is open to all non-profit, non-governmental organizations. Individuals are not eligible for an award under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Organizations may sub-contract with other entities, but only one, non-profit, non-governmental entity can be the prime recipient of the award. When sub-contracting with other entities, the responsibilities of each entity must be clearly defined in the proposal. 



Amount Description

Minimum (“Floor”) Award Amount: $150,000

Maximum (“Ceiling”) Award Amount: $168,000 

Funding Type





International Opportunities
Social Sciences

External Deadline

July 17, 2017