Ideas for RFPs

Because many people making funding decisions related to TJ may not be TJ “experts," the suggestions below offer some guidance on the types of civil society strategies and activities on TJ that might be useful to fund. These suggestions can be used directly in RFPs or invited proposals, or as a resource to “check” proposals against once they have been received.

1. Before TJ  2. During TJ  3. After TJ

Before a TJ process starts, donors might seek proposals that…

  Foster collective civil society participation in the development of a TJ policy or a national dialogue on TJ. Could require a joint application from a number of civil society partners.
  • Look for cooperation with social movements (youth, labor, etc.), as well as religious, media, and other cultural actors—not just human rights NGOs
  • Try to enhance “linking” capital between national civil society actors and local communities, as well as groups that may be more marginal (women, indigenous peoples, minorities, victims, etc.)

Family members of the missing in Uruguay

Promote peer-to-peer learning with other countries that have experienced TJ by supporting study visits or the organization of an international workshop on TJ. Again, consideration should be made for ensuring that not only the “usual” national CSOs are represented, and the RFP could require a joint application among a diverse set of partners.
  • Consider the need for intensive capacity building on TJ, especially in contexts where civil society has been severely repressed and there may not as yet be clear leaders (or the capacity to take leadership roles) on TJ.
  • Ensure that resources are in place for vulnerable/marginalized groups to participate effectively. This may include child care (or reimbursement for it), per diems, and small funds for travel between regions and the capital.
Support documentation efforts (usually undertaken by local NGOs) related to oral history, land deeds, statements that may be used for future criminal accountability processes, etc. Also, link existing documentation efforts with regional or international NGOs that can advise on international best practices, so that documentation can be readily used by a subsequent TJ measure initiative. Collect data using social scientific techniques, that can be used to monitor a TJ process, including the degree to which a state is fulfilling its obligations as well as the perceptions of victim populations.

While a TJ process is ongoing, donors might seek proposals that…

Monitor TJ processes, through joint action by a group of CSOs.

Support community-based efforts as well as national-level efforts, sometimes in innovative fields like the arts, psychology, etc.

Communicate about TJ processes, through various types of media: radio, TV, social media, community forums, etc.—whatever may be most relevant to the context.

Put in place public data, archives, and records-keeping systems that may be accessed by civil society actors later on, and build local capacity to administer and manage these systems.

Link TJ initiatives to activism on other social issues, for example, poverty reduction, religious freedom, women’s rights, LGBTI rights, youth, etc.

Cambodia’s popular “Duch on Trial” TV show, covering the first trial at the ECCC (in English and Khmer)

When a TJ process is finishing, or is already finished, donors might seek proposals that focus on nonrecurrence, including…

Support collective civil society monitoring of the state’s progress on implementing recommendations from a truth commission, implementation of a reparations program, or similar.

childrens room

The Children’s Room at South Africa’s Constitution Hill heritage site

Support civil society initiatives to create both public and academic history, to “narrow the range of permissible lies” about past human rights violations.

Engage schools, churches, media, and other social institutions to disseminate information and foster dialogue about the past.

Promote programs that link historical memory and coming to terms with legacies of gross human rights abuses to citizen education efforts, from school age on up

Please keep in mind that these suggestions are by no means exhaustive and also that they should be taken in conjunction with the practical steps described above. Critical among those practical steps are:
  • Understanding that TJ is a long-term, political process
  • Promoting a balanced TJ strategy that includes both perpetrator- and victim-centered approaches
  • Ensuring inclusion of victims, survivors, and other marginalized groups
  • Making gender a crosscutting issue
  • Taking steps to make RFP processes more inclusive of all civil society actors, not just professional CSOs