Empower Partnership for Inclusive Communities: Call for Applicants!

Deadline: 15 February 2013
Open to: Non-Us and US organizations working on disability-related issues
Grant: Covering full costs (travel, accommodation, food, etc.) connected with the program


The Empower Partnerships project by Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a prestigious, two-way international exchange program for organizations working on or interested in working on disability-related issues and inclusion as articulated in the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). As a partner in the exchange program, you will participate in a three-week professional exchange in three U.S. cities in September and October of 2013. And you will host at least one representative from the U.S. partner organization for a reciprocal professional exchange and field visit. This is a great opportunity for your organization!

Project goals

MIUSA’s Empower Partnerships project goal is to create sustainable organizational partnerships between U.S. and non-U.S.  organizations by expanding the capacity of each organization to promote disability inclusive communities, to advance disability rights through international exchange, and build inclusive communities within participating countries.

The objectives of the Empower Partnerships project are to:

  1. Remove barriers to community opportunities and resources;
  2. Support the ability of individuals and organizations to serve as leading disability advocates and promote policies and programs benefiting people with disabilities;
  3. Promote civil society by enabling individuals and organizations working with people with disabilities to share best practices and facilitate cross-sector cooperation through two-way professional exchanges;
  4. Ensure that people with diverse disabilities and their families and communities benefit from the transformational power of international exchanges; and,
  5. Build or expand sustainable networks of individuals and organizations serving people with disabilities


MIUSA will select 20 U.S. partner organizations, and 20 partnership teams made up of two collaborating organizations from the following eligible countries:

  • Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda
  • East Asia and Pacific: Australia, Burma, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam
  • Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine
  • Near East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen
  • South and Central Asia: Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
  • Western Hemisphere: Argentina, Brazil, Chile , Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Nicaragua

Organizational partner teams

Twenty Empower Partnerships teams will be formed and will include one U.S. organization and two non-U.S. collaborating organizations. Each non-U.S. collaborating team must include:

  • One Disabled People’s Organization (DPO): (disability-led) or other organization advocating for the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities
  • One non-disability-specific business, non-governmental organization, government agency, educational institution, service provider, or other entity that seeks to increase inclusion and achievement of the rights of people with disabilities

Non-U.S. collaborating organizations must apply together as a team, and must meet the criteria

  • Include two organizations from one of the 73 participating countries, and must include:
    – One Disabled People’s Organizations (DPO) or disability rights advocacy organization.
    – One non-disability-specific business, non-governmental organization, government agency, educational institution, service provider, or other entity that seeks to increase inclusion and achievement of the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Be able to send two representatives, one from each organization, to participate in a three week professional exchange in three U.S. cities in September and October of 2013.
  • REQUIRED: Representatives from each organization MUST be able to participate in a fully
    English and/or American Sign Language program.
    o At least one representative nominated for each partner team should be a person
    with a disability.
    o For purposes of gender equity, we also strongly recommend that at least one
    representative be female.
    o For practical reasons, we suggest that you nominate a representative who has a
    valid passport.
  • Be committed to implement a collaborative project designed to promote disability inclusive
    communities and disability rights.
  • Be committed to host at least one representative from the U.S. partner organization for a 7
    – 14 day reciprocal professional exchange and field visit between November 1, 2013 and
    February 15, 2014.
  • Be committed to maintain sustainable relationships between EPIC partner organizations
    beyond the project period and produce lasting changes toward inclusive communities.

U.S. partner organizations must meet the criteria below:

  • Be an innovative organization that has made services and programs accessible and inclusive of children, youth, adults, and elders with diverse disabilities.
  • Be able to host an international partner team for a 10-day professional exchange in September and October of 2013. Exact dates will be established by MIUSA and are not flexible.
  • Be able to attend a 3-day forum in Washington, D.C. in October of 2013.
  • Be able to send at least one representative on a 7 – 14 day professional exchange field visit to the overseas partner country between November 1, 2013 and February 15, 2014.
  • Be able to collaborative with partner organizations on a project designed to promote disability inclusive communities and disability rights. NOTE: U.S. partner organizations will NOT be required to provide funding support for projects.
  • Demonstrate interest in international exchange and maintaining a relationship with partner
    organizations beyond the project period.

Program costs

MIUSA will cover the following program costs:

  • Roundtrip economy air travel including ground transportation to/from nearest airport.
  • Food, lodging, program activities, accessible ground transportation and reasonable disability-related accommodations during the professional exchange programs.
  • Limited health care benefits for the duration of your time abroad
  • Ground transportation costs to obtain your travel visa will be reimbursed by MIUSA.

NOTE: Non-U.S. participants will travel on a U.S. J-1 visa, at no cost to the participant.

Lodging and transportation

  • Simple but comfortable lodging with shared bedrooms and bathrooms will be provided. Single rooms will be provided when necessary.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided each day. All supplemental meals, snacks, or personal incidentals (including laundry) will be the responsibility of each participant.
  • Accessible public transportation will be provided.

How to apply

Partner teams must submit joint applications demonstrating:

  • A history of partnership OR commitment to forming a new partnership
  • Commitment to and plan for promoting inclusive communities and disability rights
  • Capacity to dedicate organizational resources to the project, including staff, as well infrastructural capacity (including internet and financial systems)
  • Commitment to partnering with a U.S. organization based on mutual goals
  • Commitment to and capacity for implementing a collaborative project to increase community inclusion, access, rights, and opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Interest in and capacity to participate in international exchange
  • Capacity to conduct communications in written English and either spoken English or American Sign Language

Applications should be directed to [email protected] at least on 15 February 2015!

Selection process

Final selection of Empower Partnerships teams will be made by MIUSA and in collaboration with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. All application and selection processes will be accessible to individuals with diverse disabilities.

  • Application deadline for non-U.S. and U.S. applicants is February 15th, 2013. With-in five business days of submitting your application, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your application.
  • MIUSA will select finalist partner teams based on review of written applications. Finalist teams may be asked to participate in a selection interview with MIUSA representatives by telephone, Skype, instant message, or other communication media.
  • MIUSA will select 20 partner teams, with final approval by ECA. Applicants can expect to receive a response to their application approximately in March 2013.
  • MIUSA will match and introduce non-U.S. partner teams with their U.S. partner organization in March 2013. Partner teams will be expected to begin collaboration immediately after acceptance to the program.

Questions about this project or the application should be directed to [email protected] For inquiries by telephone contact Jamie Rivas, Program Coordinator, at +1-541-343-1284 ext. 13.

For more information read the complete guide for Empower Partnership for Inclusive Communities.

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