Practitioners and policymakers in the peacebuilding field often focus on studying the causes and consequences of conflict at the expense of examining the causes of peace. To help societies to become more peaceful, it is necessary to have a better understanding of why some regions, countries, states or communities are able to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflict, while others are not. This requires a deeper and evidence-based analysis of what governing processes, social institutions, contextual factors and other practices work to enhance resilience, contribute to a sustainable peace and decrease fragility.


USIP’s Africa team is seeking concept notes that examine a specific example of learning from peace, drawing examples from sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, the Africa team is interested in understanding a range of phenomena, including resilience to violence in conflict situations (violent extremism, inter-ethnic violence, sexual and gender based violence, election and politically-motivated violence), effective practices for prevention and successful mechanisms for reconciliation and sustainable peacebuilding. The methodology may be quantitative or qualitative through comparative analysis, surveys, focus group research, key informant interviews or other forms of action research.

The USIP call for concept notes on “Learning from Peace in sub-Saharan Africa” falls under the grantmaking program of USIP’s Middle East and Africa Center (MEA). It is designed to support research in Africa. Priority will be given to local organizations, though U.S. and international organizations and universities with a strong history of work in the region may also apply.

Eligibility and Guidance

  1. In their concept notes, applicants should make clear why the case or cases they propose are priorities when considering the topic of learning from peace.
  2. All U.S. and foreign non-profit organizations and universities are eligible to apply for funding, although preference will be given to local organizations in the region. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have personnel and organizational capacity in the area where the project would be implemented.
  3. Support cannot be provided to government agencies or to individuals working for government agencies.
  4. Current USIP grantees are not eligible to apply. Individuals working as USIP contractors may or may not be eligible to apply depending on the nature of the contract.
  5. An organization can only submit one proposal for each individual call for proposals. Applicants can submit proposals for more than one call for proposals at a time, but they must clearly indicate doing so in all applications. Proposals submitted to multiple calls must ensure that as long as project personnel do not work on more than one project.
  6. The Institute of Peace does not provide funds for the creation of a new organization, for the construction or maintenance of an office, for direct social services, or for microenterprise projects.
  7. Funding is not available for degree work (payment of tuition fees or support for M.A. of Ph.D.-related work). Requests for dissertation research support should be directed to USIP’s Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar Dissertation Program.
  8. Applications that list as participants, consultants, or project personnel members of USIP’s Board of Directors, staff or fellows will not be accepted.
  9. Any application that lists USIP as a collaborator in the project will not be accepted for review.
  10. The Institute does not provide funds to support the establishment of a new organization. Organizations may only seek funds for a specific project, and the applying organization must already be properly registered with the relevant authorities. Please read the entire Application process and Frequently Asked Questions “FAQ” sections for detailed information on whether you are eligible to apply.

How to Apply

This Call for Proposals involves a two-step application process. The first step in the process is to submit a mandatory concept note. Please use the sample concept note form. Concept notes should be no longer than 3 pages. The concept note template will guide you through the process and help you formulate your proposal narrative in the following sections:

  1. The research question and how the proposed project seeks to address the topic of learning from examples of peace;
  2. The proposed research approach and dissemination plan
  3. The anticipated impact of the project on filling a gap in knowledge, advancing practice and/or improving policy making;
  4. How the project will be monitored and evaluated;
  5. The qualifications of the organization and the project team; and,
  6. The estimated cost and timeline of the project. (A full budget is not necessary)

Concept Notes should be submitted to the At the top of the concept note and within the body of the email, please provide the name of the implementing organization, the name of the contact person, and the email address and telephone number of the contact person.

After a review of the concept notes, a select number of applicants will be contacted and asked to submit a full proposal. USIP Grants staff will provide the application forms.


February 2016 Notification
Concept notes may be submitted beginning immediately, and will be considered as they arrive.
The deadline for submitting concept notes is Monday November 9, 2015. We will invite selected applicants to develop their concept note into a full application by Friday November 20, 2015, and full applications will be due no later than Wednesday December 6, 2015.

Final award notification is announced on February 16, 2016. Please feel free to be in touch with specific questions or for additional information as you submit concept notes. Do not submit a full application unless you have been invited to do so. USIP will not review unsolicited applications. All submissions will receive a response. You may submit your questions to

Proposal Guidance

Stronger project proposals will include or reflect:

  • A clearly articulated link to USIP’s conflict resolution and peacebuilding mandate.
  • A demonstrated-awareness of previous and current related work being implemented by other organizations, and an explanation of how the proposed project offers a unique contribution.
  • A well-developed project logic, with clearly-defined objectives aligning with the problem to be addressed, and clearly-defined activities that relate to the objectives.
  • A demonstrated- organizational capacity and, where relevant, personnel based in the countries where the grant funds are being applied.
  • A demonstrated- awareness of possible risks and security challenges, as well as strategies to mitigate them.
  • A thoughtful monitoring and evaluation plan that will provide evidence on whether the project achieved its objectives.
  • A demonstrated- ability to engage men and women equally in their programing as appropriate to the scope of the project.


Subject to available funding, current plans for this solicitation are as follows:

  • Total funding Allocation: $200,000
  • Number of projects funded: 2 - 3
  • Grant range: $25,000 (minimum) to $100,000 (maximum)

Final decisions regarding funding will be made by the United States Institute of Peace Board of Directors. If you have any questions, please email Raya Barazanji at Please note that concept notes should only be submitted to the address

About the United States Institute of Peace

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress to increase the nation's capacity to manage international conflict without violence. To learn more, please visit