Georgian Logo

USAID სამართლის უზენაესობის პროგრამა

Header Sponsore Logo

Strategic Litigation Grants Competition



April 5, 2024




On January 1, 2022, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) commenced a five-year activity entitled the USAID Rule of Law Program in Georgia. The Program is implemented by the East-West Management Institute Inc. (EWMI), 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. The Program has the following objectives:

Objective 1: Independence and effectiveness of justice system institutions strengthened

Objective 2: Equal access to justice for all enhanced

Objective 3: Citizen and institutional oversight of justice institutions increased

Objective 2 aims to improve access to justice for all in Georgia, including vulnerable groups of women, children, people with disabilities, minorities, and other marginalized persons. For this purpose, the Program announces a grants competition to support strategic litigation initiatives. In 2022, the Program announced the first round of strategic litigation grants competition and issued eight grants. Detailed information can be found here.

Grant Program Goals

As part of the Rule of Law Program’s Objective 2, the Program is pleased to announce a request for applications that will use strategic litigation to improve the Georgian public’s enjoyment of its rights. The Program will support Georgian NGOs’ pursue strategic litigation in the following area: freedom of expression and assembly; media and journalists; right to a fair trial; environmental rights; protection from violence against women and sexual harassment; rights of the child; rights of persons with disabilities; and rights of marginalized groups, including ethnic and religious minorities, and the LGBTQIA+ community. The strategic litigation can be supported by advocacy, and awareness-raising activities including field-work.

The primary goal of the grant program is to help local organizations identify and pursue strategic litigation cases that promote the rights of the one or more target groups before the common courts, Constitutional Court, or international institutions (e.g., UN bodies, ECtHR). Strategic litigation refers to litigating cases that can bring about legislative and policy changes with implications beyond a single case. The litigation could include problematic areas, such as: freedom of speech; freedom of expression and media; right to assembly; right to a fair trial; discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, or belief, political or other opinion, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation; protection from violence; assistance to those under threat of underage or forced marriage; protection of child’ best interest; etc.

Given that strategic litigation is a means for policy advocacy through the courts, and that such advocacy entails other tools as well, the funded projects can have advocacy/awareness raising components. The advocacy should be primarily directed towards supporting enforcement of decisions and recommendations by domestic courts, ECtHR and other international bodies that address systemic failures in the protection of rights. The awareness raising should be directed at equipping the relevant groups with the necessary information and tools (including those won through prior strategic litigation) to improve their exercise of rights and to identify the most appropriate strategic litigation cases.

Partnerships and active cooperation between CSOs conducting strategic litigation and media organizations, including regional media representatives (especially in regions with significant minority populations), is encouraged. These partnerships should help ensure that the services and advocacy of the grantees reach both the intended target groups and the general population.

The applicants will be expected to demonstrate both a deep understanding of the legal gaps they intend to address, as well as strong linkages and engagement with the intended beneficiary groups throughout the projects. Proposals are encouraged to identify at least some specific legal/policy failings that will be the subject of strategic litigation. Applicants should provide a detailed and results-oriented list of the activities for the advocacy and awareness-raising elements of the project. The grant recipients are expected to communicate the results and outcomes of their strategic litigation to relevant government stakeholders and support the establishment of best practices.

This support to strategic litigation activities is made possible by the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Any services and products created as a result of this grants competition will not represent the US Government’s official position, nor of the East-West Management Institute and will constitute the responsibility of the respective grantee.

Selection Criteria

Grants will be awarded to projects exhibiting the following:

  1. Demonstrated need for strategic litigation on the proposed subject matter(s);
  2. Qualified staff of legal professionals, which includes experience litigating before the common courts, Constitutional Court, UN bodies, and/or the European Court of Human Rights;
  3. Proven record of providing legal services to the selected segment(s) of the Georgian population and experience conducting awareness-raising activities;
  4. Capacity to continue strategic litigation of the initiated cases beyond the end of the project, in case of need;
  5. In-depth understanding of the thematic area(s) the project is addressing and proven track-record of advocacy in the area(s);
  6. Innovative, results-oriented, and feasible action plans for all components of the projects;
  7. For the public awareness component of the project, a clear plan that explains how the proposed activities will increase public awareness of the legal means to protect the relevant rights;
  8. A monitoring and evaluation plan that includes detailed information on how the project’s outputs and outcomes will be measured;
  9. For Tbilisi-based organizations, partnership with a regional NGO and/or media outlet will be considered an advantage.

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

  1. Degree of compliance with the objectives and requirements of the competition (20%);
  2. Scope and relevance of the project’s impact (20%);
  3. Innovativeness of strategies and methodologies, including demonstrated partnerships with other NGOs and the media (10%);
  4. The relevant qualifications of proposed personnel (10%);
  5. Past successful experience in the field (10%);
  6. Capacity of project leadership to manage a grant-funded project and its finances effectively (10%).
  7. Cost-effectiveness of the project and proposed co-funding (10%);
  8. Effectiveness of the monitoring and evaluation plan (10%).

Selection Process

To ensure an objective selection process, proposals will be reviewed in accordance with 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 from the applicant.

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 organization submitting the proposal, and neither EWMI nor USAID will reimburse organizations 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 $180,000, with project activities lasting up to 24 months.

Grant funds may be used for the following:

  1. Expenses related to the collection of data and evidence;
  2. Direct costs for project-related events;
  3. Visibility and communication (e.g., media products; phone, internet);
  4. Pro-rated portion of salaries for key project implementors (e.g., director, accountant);
  5. Transportation of project participants;
  6. Purchase of a limited amount of equipment (e.g., computer, software) and stationery;
  7. Other expenses directly related to project implementation (e.g., court fees).

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

It is required to provide cost share for the projects equal to at least 5% of the requested funding. Higher contributions are welcome. 

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 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; or
  6. Capital construction projects.


The applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Legally registered as a CSO in Georgia with at least three years of operational experience (newly founded organizations will also be eligible where the management and service providers have significant prior experience);
  2. 3+ years of strategic litigation experience for the litigation team members.

Proposal Submission Process

The applicants must present all of the following documents:

  1. A proposal in English, written according to the application form;
  2. A detailed, itemized budget and budget notes, using the provided forms;

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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 in our records. The Program does not use 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.

Proposals must include information about:

  1. Recent, current, or expected projects of the applicant related to legal aid delivery/strategic litigation;
  2. Reliable data to measure the outputs and outcomes of the applicant’s project.

Application must be submitted to with “Strategic Litigation Grants Competition” written in the subject line.  

Written questions must be submitted to with “Strategic Litigation Grants Competition Questions” written in the subject line.  

Application Forms can be obtained from here. The questions will be collected and responses will be posted on the USAID Rule of Law Program Facebook page.

Competition Timeline

Announcement: March 4, 2024

Submission of written questions from potential applicants: March 11, 2024 at midnight (Georgia time).

The Program response to submitted questions: March 18, 2024

Deadline for submission of applications: April 5, 2024 at midnight (Georgia time). Late applications will not be considered.

Award announcement: on or about May 31, 2024

Contact Information

The USAID Rule of Law Program is located at 5 Marjanishvili Street 0102 Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel (995 32) 2505404


Sexual Harassment Prevention & Elimination Mechanism