The purpose of the Democracy and Human Rights Fund (DHRF) is to strengthen democratic institutions, improve governance, and promote respect for human rights in Cameroon. The DHRF provides assistance to Cameroonian organizations that seek to implement short-term, highly targeted activities designed to show measurable results. For more than twenty years, DHRF funding has supported organizations in all ten regions of Cameroon. Typical DHRF grants are approximately USD 10,000 (or about 5 million francs FCFA); they may not exceed USD 25,000 (or about 12.5 million francs FCFA). A single group may not apply for more than one grant in a given funding period. Organizations that have successfully partnered with development agencies in the past and can provide audited financial statements will be more competitive for this program and stand a better chance of receiving DHRF funding.
The U.S. Embassy will give priority to proposals that are creative and innovative and that utilize technology and modern media to reach a wide audience. In comparison, programs that are not activity-based, such as workshops, will be less competitive.
Basic Project Requirements
The U.S. Embassy will consider funding only those projects that:
are initiated by Cameroonian organizations (excluding the executive branch of the Cameroonian Government);
promote political pluralism and respect for human and civil rights;
benefit a large number of people;
include activities, expenditures and timelines that are consistent, reasonable, and within the ability of the organization to implement;
can be completed within one year, without requiring further DHRF assistance; and
respect environmental norms.
Project Categories and Acceptable Activities and Items
Human Rights: Advances protection of international human rights by supporting governmental and nongovernmental organizations efforts to protect, promote, and enforce human rights. Projects under this category could include but are not limited to:
Protection and Human Rights Systems and Policies Support systems to prevent and address human rights violations through early warning, monitoring, investigating, and reporting. Promote respect for human rights and support human rights defenders through utilization of national, regional, and international legal systems for human rights protection and enforcement. Harmonize domestic laws and policies with international human rights standards; promote the adoption and implementation of human rights and labor standards; and sponsor legal aid and other assistance for victims of human rights violations. Support the work of National Human Rights Commission[s]. Integrate human rights into training for security sector actors, teachers, civil society leaders, journalists, religious leaders, and government officials.
Human Rights Education and Training
Human Rights Advocacy
Elections and Political Processes: Provide assistance that enables citizens to select and replace their leaders through periodic, inclusive, accountable and free and fair elections. This includes:
Support for Legal and Regulatory Frameworks
Open and Effective Election Administration
Broad public participation and civic awareness
Societal oversight of electoral processes, and
Accountable procedures for election-related grievances and appeals
Civic Participation: Strengthens the legal, regulatory, institutional, and information environment which protects and enables the growth in associational life and the development of independent and sustainable civil society organizations. Builds the capacity of civil society organizations to act as agents for reform and support their participation in democratic decision-making through engaging in service delivery, and advocating for issues which become part of the public agenda and are reflected in public policies. Encourages the strengthening of a civic culture which supports democratic institutions and processes, active participation in political and civic life, and the civic virtues of tolerance, pluralism, compromise, trust, and respect for individual rights, including gender equality. Projects under this category could include but are not limited to:
Civil Society Legal and Regulatory Frameworks
Civil Society Capacity for Democratic Processes
Citizen Participation and Oversight, and
Civic Education and Democratic Culture
Unacceptable Activities and Items
DHRF funding may not be used to conduct the following activities or purchase the following items:
Paramilitary activities, and prohibited from supporting police and other law enforcement forces (even if the proposed activity is consistent with programs described above.)
construction of buildings;
purchase of vehicles;
long-term (12 months or more) recurring administrative costs such as building or equipment maintenance, rent, office supplies, or administrative salaries;
travel outside of the immediate region;
conferences or workshops that lack a specific and clearly-articulated goal;
research projects without a results-oriented component;
humanitarian assistance or support for refugees (unless human rights related);
activities that do not directly encourage or promote increased respect for civil and human rights;
purchase of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, or fertilizers;
activities to influence the outcome of elections; or
training or advice, or support for police, prisons or other law enforcement forces, military or any program of internal intelligence or surveillance.
Selection and Award Process
The program is highly competitive; historically, less than ten percent of applicants receive funding each year. If a project is selected for consideration, someone from the U.S. Embassy will contact the applicant and verify the information. The selection committee will base its decision on the potential impact, feasibility, and financial soundness of the proposed activity. The committee will consider the track record of the organization proposing the activity as well as its contribution to the project.
Application deadline: May 31 of the current year. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Selection period: June – July
Award period: August – September
How to Apply for Funding
Complete and send the application form to the U.S. Embassy. Click here(PDF – 148KB) to download the application. You can also request the application by mail or in person through the DHRF Office. The Democracy and Human Rights Application Form is FREE of charge and the Embassy DOES NOT require any payment to receive and evaluate a project.
Address: Democracy and Human Rights Fund
Embassy of the United States of America
B.P. 817 Yaoundé
Telephone: 22220-1500 Ext. 4171
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm and
Friday 7:30 am – 12:30 pm
Visit the embassy’s website here