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USAID სამართლის უზენაესობის პროგრამა

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Call for Justice Engagement Projects: Advocacy Through People-Centered Justice Approach



June 13, 2024



The USAID Rule of Law Program is a five-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the East-West Management Institute, Inc. (EWMI). EWMI is a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization with extensive experience in supporting legal and judicial reforms around the world.

The goal of the USAID Rule of Law Program is to strengthen the rule of law in Georgia by building the independence and effectiveness of justice sector institutions, enhancing access to justice for all segments of society, and increasing citizen and institutional oversight of justice sector institutions.

In pursuit of the above-mentioned objectives, the Program announces a grants competition to support projects seeking to improve the administration of justice in Georgia through initiatives that promote access to justice, court-community engagement, and people-centered approaches.

Problem Statement

Justice is pivotal to achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Without enhanced justice, efforts to eradicate poverty, diminish inequality, prioritize marginalized groups, foster sustainable prosperity, and cultivate peace and inclusivity will fall short. SDG16.3 aims to ensure universal access to justice by 2030, advocating a shift from a system that serves only a select few to one that tangibly improves justice for all. This necessitates a new approach that places individuals at the core of justice systems and integrates justice into sustainable development efforts.

USAID’s 2023 Rule of Law Policy “sets forth a new paradigm for its programming to advance the rule of law in partner countries: people-centered justice. This is an explicit change in how we think and work, shifting our perspective from the institutional to the individual. People-centered justice places the person affected—regardless of whether the issue is civil, criminal, or administrative—by the law at the core of the policies, processes, and practices that constitute justice systems and services.”

People-centered justice (PCJ) focuses on understanding people's legal needs and transforming justice institutions [1] and services to meet those needs. The OECD Framework and Good Practice Principles for People-Centred Justice provide a comprehensive guide for ensuring that justice systems place people at the center of justice systems. The framework advocates for inclusivity, emphasizing the importance of accommodating diverse needs, including those of vulnerable and marginalized groups. It promotes tailored approaches to meet the unique challenges faced by these populations. According to the report “Measuring the Justice Gap” approximately 5 billion people, almost two-thirds of the world’s population, face unaddressed justice needs worldwide, encompassing those unable to access legal resources for everyday problems and those who are excluded from legal opportunities, enduring severe injustices.  To achieve justice for everyone, societies must address people's legal issues, proactively prevent injustices, and facilitate full participation in these spheres.

Similar to global trends, Georgian citizens also face barriers while accessing justice, defined as people's ability to resolve legal problems and exercise their rights in line with human rights standards. According to the World Justice Project’s report on “Global Insights on Access to Justice” 33% of the Georgian population experienced a legal problem during 2016-2018 years, but only  5% of them turned to an authority or third party to help resolve the problem. The 2021 study by the Social Justice Center groups these problems into institutional and legislative barriers; barriers related to the level of legal awareness; physical, infrastructural, and geographical barriers; financial barriers; and social and cultural barriers. The same study shows that these problems vary across the regions of Georgia, depending on geography, level of economic development, or presence of ethnic minority groups. The 2023 study by Georgian Court Watch assesses the effectiveness of Georgian courts, singling out the issues related to the quality of the courts' websites; accessibility of court buildings and service quality; the effectiveness of case management; efficient performance of the court human resources; and overall transparency of courts.

PCJ initiatives can be used to address these problems, as they seek to increase the engagement of communities with the local courts and other justice institutions, while at the same time strengthening the transparency and accountability of the justice system through the processes of consultation, adaptation, and innovation.

PCJ initiatives are not new to Georgia; however, the existing level of engagement between the courts/other justice institutions and local communities remains limited, resulting in a lack of awareness about their role in resolving people’s justice needs. Greater engagement between the justice system and local communities is crucial for bringing different perspectives to resolving people’s justice needs through practical and innovative solutions. Greater engagement also promotes institutional innovation and development within the court/justice system, by allowing the courts/other justice institutions to address the community’s legal needs.

This competition provides an opportunity for Georgian CSOs, unregistered groups, and universities operating in the regions of Georgia [2] to acquire funding for innovative PCJ projects, which can contribute to improvements in services and treatment received by court and other justice institutions’ users and local communities. 

Grant Program Goals and Objectives

The goal of this competition is to increase access to justice for the citizens of Georgia by supporting local advocacy initiatives and local communities’ greater interaction with the justice institutions to make them more transparent and responsive to the needs of citizens. 

The supported PCJ initiatives should be aimed at:

  1. Improving citizens’ understanding, engagement, and trust in the justice system;
  2. Improving the communication and informational exchange between citizens, legal experts, community service organizations, [3] and the courts or other justice institutions;
  3. Identifying and addressing the needs of citizens in their experiences with the judiciary/other justice institutions;
  4. Strengthening the responsiveness of the judiciary/other justice institutions to the needs of citizens, particularly, vulnerable groups, such as the poor, women, children, people with disabilities, and minorities;
  5. Developing effective innovations in the justice sector to improve user experience (UX).

The projects eligible for funding support may include the following types of activities:

  1. Innovative projects informing local communities about the work and responsibilities of courts/other justice institutions (‘Other justice institutions’ in each of these examples refers to the broad system of institutions and organizations responsible for administering and upholding justice within a society – see footnote 1) of relevance to community needs. This can be a community-accessible blog; an informational forum about topical legal issues that community members face in the courts/other justice institutions; or an interactive platform [4] explaining the process that a case needs to go through before it comes to a final resolution;
  2. Organizing professionally facilitated sessions, speaker programs, and informal meetings (themed around specific areas, e.g. legal issues affecting women’s rights, or self-represented litigants, etc.) involving judges and/or other justice system experts and community groups, universities, or high schools; 
  3. Establishing community advisory boards, or local justice groups to discuss justice-related issues of interest or concern to local communities and develop strategies and action plans for improving courts’ and other justice institutions’ responsiveness to those concerns;
  4. Initiatives promoting cooperation among non-state and state legal service providers, which can also involve organizations providing non-legal support services for local communities that are intended to improve justice outcomes (such as counselling, youth upskilling, neighborhood, or minority support services). Such initiatives may also include formal or informal cooperation with courts or other justice sector institutions;   
  5. Innovative solutions that can simplify and speed up legal procedures for members of the community;
  6. Campaigns aimed at improvements in access to justice sector services, including physical accessibility, transparency, language barriers, access to legal information, or any other community legal needs;
  7. Limited research activities to identify local legal needs. Any proposed research cannot be detached from practical considerations, while the findings must meaningfully contribute to addressing local legal needs through subsequent supporting initiatives. Applicants are encouraged to focus on justice sector users’ practical needs and perspectives, instead of considering institutional setup issues, the interpretation of the law, or making research-based comparisons between legal standards. The projects should aim to find practical and attainable solutions to existing problems followed by advocacy components to inform stakeholders and the general public about the identified findings and recommendations.

The examples given above are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to limit the types of initiatives that can be proposed under the rules of the competition.

Selection Criteria

The following general criteria will be used to assess the projects:

  1. Degree of compliance with the objectives and requirements of the competition (10%);
  2. Scope and relevance of the project’s impact (20%);
  3. Effectiveness of the project methodology, including soundness of research methodologies (if relevant) and strategies for engaging the relevant courts or other justice institutions (20%);
  4. Capacity to implement the project as demonstrated by:
  1. Sustainability of the project (please note that sustainability can refer to activities, structures, knowledge, and outcomes that result from the project implementation) (5%);
  2. Innovativeness of the proposed initiatives (5%)
  3.  Effectiveness of the monitoring and evaluation plan (5 %);
  4. Cost-effectiveness of the project (5%).

Selection Process

To ensure an objective selection process, proposals will be reviewed by the rules and procedures of the USAID Rule of Law Program. The grant award decision will be made by the USAID Rule of Law Program, with the approval of USAID. During the review process, additional information may be requested. Applicants will be asked to present any requested additional information within five working days.

The USAID Rule of Law Program anticipates multiple awards under the competition. The Program reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. All costs associated with preparing proposals are the sole responsibility of the organizations/unregistered groups submitting the proposal, and neither EWMI nor USAID will reimburse organizations/unregistered groups for costs incurred in preparing proposals. Before the final award, applicants may be required to go through security and risk assessments.

Grant Funds

The maximum budget for grants will be $15,000 with project activities lasting up to 12 months. The proposed project duration and expenses should be well justified. The applicants are encouraged to provide cost-share for the projects.

Grant funds may be used for the following:

  1. Direct costs for project-related events;
  2. Visibility and communication, e.g., phone and internet;
  3. A prorated portion of salaries for key project staff, e.g., director, team coach(s), accountant;
  4. Transportation of project participants;
  5. Purchase of a limited amount of equipment (e.g., computer, software) and stationery;
  6. Other expenses directly related to project implementation.

Grant funds may be used only for activities directly related to the implementation of a grant project. Grant funds cannot be used for ongoing expenses, construction expenses, the purchase of real estate, or to reduce an organization’s debt. A clear justification must be provided for project staff salary levels and hours dedicated to project activities.

The following program activities cannot be supported by the USAID Rule of Law Program:

  1. Support for or lobbying on behalf of a particular political party;
  2. Religious activities; however, the USAID Rule of Law Program may support a religious organization for non-religious aims if its proposal corresponds to project objectives;
  3. Humanitarian activities;
  4. Theoretical research;
  5. Individual or group travel grants;
  6. Capital construction projects; or
  7. Website creation: The program does not support funding for the initial development or design of websites. However, cost-sharing opportunities are available for content development.


Applications will be accepted from civil society organizations (CSOs) unregistered citizens' groups and academic/education institutions operating in the regions of Georgia [5];

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with other organizations/unregistered groups and may submit joint proposals.

Only one application will be accepted per applicant.

Proposal Submission Process

At the first stage:

Applicants must present the following documents:

  1. Grant proposal concept in English or Georgian, written according to the application form;
  2. A simplified budget in English or Georgian, written according to the simplified budget form.

At the second stage:

The applicants who are chosen for the second stage of the competition must present the following documents in English:

  1. A detailed proposal, written according to the application form (to be provided later);
  2. A detailed, itemized budget and budget notes, using the provided forms (to be provided later).

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

A proposal can be conditionally approved, with the applicant being required to submit more detailed information. Proposals submitted to the competition must be the original and sole work of the applicant. Any plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification from the competition.

The USAID Rule of Law Program will retain all materials submitted through the competition for our records. The USAID Rule of Law Program does not use the information presented by applicants for purposes other than review and does not provide this information to any outside persons or institutions, except when required by law or requested by the donor.

The application must be submitted to with “PCJ Engagement Projects” written in the subject line.  

Applicants can request additional information as well as application forms, electronically, by addressing the USAID Rule of Law Program at

Competition Timeline

Announcement: April 1, 2024

Registration on Informational sessions: To participate in the information meeting, fill out the given registration form.

Place and date for Informational Sessions: (1) Kutaisi - April 3, 2024, 11:00, Network of Centers for Civic Engagement Office, Tsereteli str. 69; (2) Batumi - April 4, 2024, 11:00, Hotel Le Méridien Batumi, Ninoshvili/Zhgenti Street; (3) Akhaltsikhe - registered persons wishing to participate in the meeting will be notified of the time and place later.

Submission of written questions by email from potential applicants: April 25, 2024, at midnight (Georgia time).

The Program’s response to submitted questions: May 2, 2024 (answers will be provided on the USAID Rule of Law Program Facebook page)

Informational Webinar on PCJ: May 1, 2024 (If you are interested in attending the webinar, fill in given registration form)

Deadline for submission of applications: June 13, 2024, at midnight (Georgia time). Late applications will not be considered.

Award announcement: August 15, 2024 

Contact Information

USAID Rule of Law Program

5 Marjanishvili Street 0102 Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel (995 32) 2505404



[1] The justice institutions/sector refers to the broad system of institutions and organizations responsible for administering and upholding justice within a society. It encompasses a wide range of entities that are responsible for applying the law and collectively work to ensure fairness, equity, and the rule of law:  Judiciary; Prosecutors' office and prosecutors; Law Enforcement Agencies/Police; Legal Aid Service (LAS); defense lawyers; Correctional Services and its rehabilitation centers; Institutions and programs that provide education and training for legal professionals, judges, and other personnel within the justice sector; Regulatory Bodies; Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) institutions that offer alternatives to traditional court processes, etc.

[2] See below the Eligibility requirements.

[3] Community Service Organizations refer to non-profit entities or groups that provide various forms of assistance, support, and programs to meet the needs of a particular community or communities. These organizations operate with the primary goal of serving the well-being and interests of the community, addressing social issues, and improving the quality of life for residents. These organizations may engage in direct service delivery, providing a range of services such as healthcare, education, social services, environmental initiatives, cultural programs, and more.

[4] Restrictions apply to the development of new websites. The Program may support the content creation for electronic platforms (see below the activities cannot be supported by the USAID Rule of Law Program).

[5] In the context of this grant competition these are the entities that are based and actively functioning within the regions of the country. They have headquarters or some kind of operations within the specified geographic area (at least one employee based there), have a significant presence and engagement with the local community, and preferably, demonstrate a track record of effective and relevant work in the region.  

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