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The U.S. Democracy and Human Rights Fund


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 4.5 million francs FCFA); they may not exceed USD 25,000 (or about 11.25 million francs FCFA).  A single group may not apply for or more than one grant in a given funding period. Organizations that have successfully partnered with development agencies in the past and that can provide audited financial statements will be more competitive for this program and stand a greater 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. 
  • 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. 

Unacceptable Activities and Items

DHRF funding may not be used to conduct the following activities or purchase the following items:

  • 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.

Funded Projects in 2011

In the year 2011, the U.S. Embassy was pleased to sponsor four DHRF projects for a total of USD 60,000.  The themes of the projects that received funding included:

  • Human Rights education in secondary schools
  • Women’s rights
  • Empowerment of disadvantaged women and former detainees
  • Budget transparency
  • Fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • Youth electoral rights

Table 1 – Projects Funded in 2011 by Region and Project Theme

Project Theme
631-DHR-11-01 Center Enhancing human rights education in 20 secondary schools in Yaounde
631-DHR-11-02 East Creation of an information and assistance center for women
631-DHR-11-03 Far North Training and support program for young single mothers and former female detainees
631-DHR-11-04 Littoral Encourage budget transparency and public participation in the budgeting process in Douala city councils through information and communication
631-DHR-11-05 Littoral Nkouadengue project (To secure respect for the rights of people discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.)
631-DHR-11-06 North West Youth electoral rights project (YERP!)

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. 

Selection Timeline

Application deadline:   Open Season.  Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Selection period:         January to April
Award period:             May to June  

How to Apply for the Fund 

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 request any payment to receive and evaluate a project.

Contact Information

Address:         Democracy and Human Rights Fund
                      Embassy of the United States of America
                      B.P. 817 Yaoundé

Telephone:      22220-1500 Ext. 4235
Fax:                22220-1503
Office Hours:    Monday through Thursday 7:30 am - 5:00 pm and
Friday 7:30 am - 12:30 pm

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