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At workshops around region, NGOs prepare to scale

19 10 1

When U.S. officials announced at the beginning of September that a new quarter-billion dollar fund for Israeli-Palestinian partnerships would start accepting project proposals immediately, hundreds of non-governmental organizations working in the field had to organize quickly. The announcement marked the start of a multi-year effort under the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020 (MEPPA).

For the NGOs, the stakes felt high. In this first call for proposals, USAID planned to distribute at least $15 million, which is the largest single investment the peacebuilding field has ever seen. Organizations were ready and eager to grow, especially after years of budget cuts and coronavirus interruptions. They also wanted to prove early on that the long-term program would succeed.

But first, many leaders within the peacebuilding field felt that they had to understand what USAID was looking for. Some wanted to brainstorm with peers about successful models for expanding their programs. Others hoped to find like-minded organizations who could be project partners to enable larger scale efforts and impact than a single organization could deliver.

The need to prepare and convene quickly became clear to our team at the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), the umbrella that unites over 150 of these peacebuilding NGOs. For over twelve years, ALLMEP had led the campaign in Washington to create this new U.S. funding in the first place. Now, we needed to help our members and, by extension the U.S. government, deliver.

Meeting in Jerusalem, Beit Jallah, and Ramallah, ALLMEP’s Israeli, Palestinian, and international staff immediately got to work. Within a month, the team had developed and scheduled a series of “Innovation, Scaling, and Partnership” workshops, spread around the region to enable maximum participation. Just weeks later, by the beginning of February, about 40 organizations had already participated in the sessions.

What exactly are they looking for? Can my project get funding?

The first half of........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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