Announcement Type: New Grant.
Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-05-27.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 00.000.
Key Dates: Application Deadline: March 17, 2005.
Executive Summary: The Youth Programs Division, Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the P4L Afghanistan Global Connections and Exchange program. The Bureau will award one grant. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and public institutions may submit proposals to select Afghanistan schools and provide them with access to the Internet and related training to develop collaborative school partnerships with U.S. schools. Thematic online projects will enhance learning, research and cross-border communication among participating schools. Organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs are not eligible for this competition.
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Authority: Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries * * *; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.
Purpose: The P4L Afghanistan Global Connections and Exchange program is designed to introduce youth and communities to a broad range of ideas and resources while enhancing the use of information technology in schools. Through this program, Afghanistan secondary schools and communities will expand computer literacy skills, improve general education, and gain a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture and values. They will also increase their capacity to generate change through programs that foster tolerance and mutual respect, and enhance grassroots community participation. American students will in turn gain a greater understanding of Afghanistan culture and society. The goals of the program are:
- Enhance general education by providing access to information via the Internet;
- Increase and improve education tools, resources and learning through the application of information technology, complementary teacher training, online resource development, school partnerships, and student collaboration;
- Increase the number of students who qualify for exchange and academic study opportunities in the U.S. by providing them with the necessary skills;
- Enhance community capacity and youth activism via Internet access and related training;
- Generate personal and institutional ties across borders among students, educators, and their schools;
- Ensure the sustainability of information technology and Internet access in schools partnered under this grant.
Guidelines: Applicants should identify specific objectives and measurable outcomes based on program goals and project specifications provided in the solicitation.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Grant Agreement.
Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2005.
Approximate Total Funding: $300,000.
Approximate Number of Awards: One grant will be awarded.
Anticipated Award Date: Pending availability of funds, April 2005.
Anticipated Project Completion Date: April 2007.
Additional Information: The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew this grant for two additional years before openly competing it again.
III. Eligibility Information
III.1. Eligible Applicants
Applications may be submitted by public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).
III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching Funds
There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this Start Printed Page 3421competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.
When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved grant agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, (Revised), Subpart C.23—Cost Sharing and Matching. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, ECA's contribution will be reduced in like proportion.
III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements
(a) Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates awarding one grant in an amount up to $300,000. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.
(b) Technical Eligibility: Proposals should demonstrate knowledge of Afghanistan's educational environment and the capacity to recruit U.S. schools. Proposals should present significant experience in developing school-based Internet programs.
IV. Application and Submission Information
Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. The Division staff will be available to consult with prospective applicants about proposal preparation and program design and content up until the proposal submission deadline. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.
IV.1. Contact Information To Request an Application Package
Please contact Linda Beach at the Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, 202-203-7513 (t), 202-203-7529 (f), email@example.com to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number (ECA/PE/C/PY-05-27) located at the top of this announcement when making your request. The Solicitation Package contains the Proposal Submission Instruction (PSI) document, which consists of required application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. It also contains the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document, which provides specific information, award criteria and budget instructions tailored to this competition.
Please contact program officer Anna Mussman, 202-203-7516, firstname.lastname@example.org on all other inquiries and correspondence.
IV.2. To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet
The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's Web site at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/rfgps/menu.htm. Please read all information before downloading.
IV.3. Content and Form of Submission
Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and eight (8) copies of the application should be sent per the instructions under IV.3e. “Submission Dates and Times section” below.
IV.3a. You are required to have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to apply for a grant or cooperative agreement from the U.S. Government.
This number is a nine-digit identification number, which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a DUNS number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, access http://www.dunandbradstreet.com or call 1-866-705-5711. Please ensure that your DUNS number is included in the appropriate box of the SF-424 which is part of the formal application package.
IV.3b. All proposals must contain an executive summary, proposal narrative and budget.
Please refer to the Solicitation Package. It contains the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document and the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document for additional formatting and technical requirements.
IV.3c. You must have nonprofit status with the IRS at the time of application. If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from ECA in the past three years, or if your organization received nonprofit status from the IRS within the past four years, you must submit the necessary documentation to verify nonprofit status as directed in the PSI document. Failure to do so will cause your proposal to be declared technically ineligible.
IV.3d. Please take into consideration the following information when preparing your proposal narrative:
IV.3d.1 Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa. The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the official sponsor of the program covered by this RFGP, and an employee of the Bureau will be the “Responsible Officer” for the program under the terms of 22 CFR 62, which covers the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program (J Visa program). Under the terms of 22 CFR 62, the organization receiving a grant under this RFGP will be third party “cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's program.” The actions of grantee program organizations shall be “imputed to the sponsor in evaluating the sponsor's compliance with” 22 CFR part 62. Therefore, the Bureau expects that any organization receiving a grant under this competition will render all assistance necessary to enable the Bureau to fully comply with 22 CFR part 62 et seq.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places great emphasis on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J Visa) Programs and adherence by program organizations and program participants to all regulations governing the J Visa program status. Therefore, proposals should explicitly state in writing that the applicant is prepared to assist the Bureau in meeting all requirements governing the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR part 62. If your organization has experience as a designated Exchange Visitor Sponsor, the applicant should discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR part 62 et. seq., including the oversight of their Responsible Officers, screening and selection of program participants, provision of pre-arrival information and orientation to participants, monitoring of participants, proper maintenance and security of forms, record-keeping, reporting and other requirements.
The Office of Citizen Exchanges of ECA will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this program.
A copy of the complete regulations governing the administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is Start Printed Page 3422available at http://exchanges.state.gov or from:
United States Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, ECA/EC/ECD-SA-44, Room 734, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Telephone: (202) 401-9810, FAX: (202) 401-9809.
IV.3d.2 Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines. Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. “Diversity” should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the ‘Support for Diversity' section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into your proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that “in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy,” the Bureau “shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.” Public Law 106-113 requires that the governments of the countries described above do not have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.
IV.3d.3. Program Monitoring and Evaluation. Proposals must include a plan to monitor and evaluate the project's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that your proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. The Bureau expects that the grantee will track participants or partners and be able to respond to key evaluation questions, including satisfaction with the program, learning as a result of the program, changes in behavior as a result of the program, and effects of the program on institutions (institutions in which participants work or partner institutions). The evaluation plan should include indicators that measure gains in mutual understanding as well as substantive knowledge.
Successful monitoring and evaluation depend heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Your evaluation plan should include a description of your project's objectives, your anticipated project outcomes, and how and when you intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are “smart” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and placed in a reasonable time frame), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. You should also show how your project objectives link to the goals of the program described in this RFGP.
Your monitoring and evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. Output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change. Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported, but the focus should be on outcomes.
We encourage you to assess the following four levels of outcomes, as they relate to the program goals set out in the RFGP (listed here in increasing order of importance):
1. Participant satisfaction with the program and exchange experience.
2. Participant learning, such as increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and changed understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.
3. Participant behavior, concrete actions to apply knowledge in work or community; greater participation and responsibility in civic organizations; interpretation and explanation of experiences and new knowledge gained; continued contacts between participants, community members, and others.
4. Institutional changes, such as increased collaboration and partnerships, policy reforms, new programming, and organizational improvements.
Consideration should be given to the appropriate timing of data collection for each level of outcome. For example, satisfaction is usually captured as a short-term outcome, whereas behavior and institutional changes are normally considered longer-term outcomes.
Overall, the quality of your monitoring and evaluation plan will be judged on how well it (1) specifies intended outcomes; (2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; (3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and (4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups). (Please note that evaluation plans that deal only with the first level of outcomes [satisfaction] will be deemed less competitive under the present evaluation criteria.)
The grantee will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.
IV.3d.4. The essential components for all school-based, Internet projects undertaken with Bureau grant funding include collaboration with American embassies overseas in planning and implementing the program; the applicant should discuss with the embassy's Public Affairs Office or Cultural Affairs Office the role and interests of the embassy in the implementation of the project and in ongoing activities.
The Bureau considers program management, staffing and coordination with the Department of State essential elements of the program. Applicants should give sufficient attention to these elements in their proposals. Please refer to the Technical Eligibility Requirements and the POGI in the Solicitation package for specific guidelines. Wherever possible, program planning should take into consideration and include other U.S. Government funded programs.
IV.3e. Please take the following information into consideration when preparing the budget:
IV.3e.1. Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. The award may not exceed $300,000. There must be a summary budget that includes all program components as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants should provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification. Administrative costs, including indirect rates, should be kept to a minimum. Proposals should try to maximize cost-sharing in all facets of the program and to stimulate U.S. private sector, including foundation and corporate, support. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of Start Printed Page 3423the program, and availability of U.S. government funding. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.
IV.3e.2. Allowable costs for the program include the following:
- Equipping computer centers, including Internet access.
- Staff salaries and travel.
- Salaries/stipends for trainers and site monitors.
- Two 3-week exchanges for approximately 10 participants.
- Inter-regional trainings for teachers, administrators and students.
- Orientations, seminars, conferences.
- Publications and education materials.
- Follow on activities.
Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.
IV.3f. Submission Dates and Times: Application Deadline Date: March 17, 2005.
Explanation of Deadlines: In light of recent events and heightened security measures, proposal submissions must be sent via a nationally recognized overnight delivery service (i.e., DHL, Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.) and be shipped no later than the above deadline. The delivery services used by applicants must have in-place, centralized shipping identification and tracking systems that may be accessed via the Internet and delivery people who are identifiable by commonly recognized uniforms and delivery vehicles. Proposals shipped on or before the above deadline but received at ECA more than seven days after the deadline will be ineligible for further consideration under this competition. Proposals shipped after the established deadlines are ineligible for consideration under this competition. It is each applicant's responsibility to ensure that each package is marked with a legible tracking number and to monitor/confirm delivery to ECA via the Internet. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of application. Delivery of proposal packages may not be made via local courier service or in person for this competition. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Only proposals submitted as stated above will be considered. Applications may not be submitted electronically at this time.
Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package.
When preparing your submission please make sure to include one extra copy of the completed SF-424 form and place it in an envelope addressed to “ECA/EX/PM”.
The original and eight (8) copies of the application should be sent to:
U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/PY-05-12, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
Along with the Project Title, all applicants must enter the above Reference Number in Box 11 on the SF-424 contained in the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) of the solicitation document.
IV.3g. Intergovernmental Review of Applications: Executive Order 12372 does not apply to this program.
IV.3h. Applicants must also submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal in text (.txt) format on a PC-formatted disk. The Bureau will provide these files electronically to the appropriate Public Affairs Section(s) at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for their review.
V. Application Review Information
V.1. Review Process
The Bureau will review all proposals for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for cooperative agreements resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.
Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:
1. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission. Reviewers will evaluate the organization's understanding of the goals of the program, specifically as they relate to the Afghanistan context. Exchange activities should ensure sufficient use of program resources. Proposals should demonstrate a commitment to excellence and creativity in the implementation and management of the program.
2. Program planning/Ability to achieve program objectives: A detailed agenda and relevant work plan should explain how objectives will be achieved and should include a timetable for completion of major tasks. Responsibilities of partnering organizations should be clearly described. Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program design will fulfill objectives. The substance of workshops, online projects and exchange activities should be described in detail and included as an attachment.
3. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of schools and participants, program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities). Applicants should refer to the Bureau's Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI).
4. Institutional Capacity/Record/Ability: Applicants should demonstrate knowledge of Afghanistan's educational environment and the capacity to recruit U.S. schools. Proposals should exhibit significant experience in developing school-based Internet programs and portray an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements as determined by the Bureau's Grants Division. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program goals and objectives.
5. Multiplier Effect/Impact: The program should strengthen long-term mutual understanding and facilitate curriculum reform. Proposals should detail how schools will share newly-acquired knowledge and skills with others. Applicants should indicate how exchange participants will reach out to community organizations to expose others to cultural aspects of their countries. Proposals should demonstrate how Afghanistan communities will be encouraged to access computer centers and benefit from their services. Related activities that promote youth activism via Internet and non-Internet programs should be clearly explained.
6. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activities' success, both as the activities Start Printed Page 3424unfold and at the end of the program. The evaluation plan should show a clear link between program objectives and expected outcomes, and should include a brief description of performance indicators and measurement tools. Draft questionnaires or other techniques for use in surveying schools/participants to facilitate the demonstration of results should be included as an attachment. The grantee will be required to submit periodic progress reports in accordance with the program office's expectations.
7. Follow-on and Sustainability: Proposals should provide a long-term strategy for the continuation of the schools' Internet access and online linkages without the Bureau's financial support. Proposals should address integrated use of computers and the Internet in participating schools. Applicants should describe how programs that enhance community capacity and youth activism will be sustained should USG funds no longer be made available.
8. Cost-effectiveness/Cost sharing: The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All items should be necessary and appropriate. Additional funds may need to be dedicated to ongoing maintenance of computer equipment. Applicants should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.
VI. Award Administration Information
VI.1a. Award Notices
Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures. Successful applicants will receive an Assistance Award Document (AAD) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The AAD and the original grant proposal with subsequent modifications (if applicable) shall be the only binding authorizing document between the recipient and the U.S. Government. The AAD will be signed by an authorized Grants Officer, and mailed to the recipient's responsible officer identified in the application.
Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of the results of the application review from the ECA program office coordinating this competition.
VI.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions for the Administration of ECA agreements include the following:
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-122, “Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations.”
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.”
OMB Circular A-87, “Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Governments”.
OMB Circular No. A-110 (Revised), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Nonprofit Organizations.
OMB Circular No. A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants-in-Aid to State and Local Governments.
OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Government, and Non-profit Organizations.
Please reference the following Web sites for additional information:
VI.3. Reporting Requirements
The grantee must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus one copy of the following reports:
(1) A final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award;
(2) Quarterly program and financial reports should follow guidelines to be distributed after the awarding of the grant. Reports should include planned objectives and goals for the period, actual accomplishments, and explanations of differences from planned timeline and course of resolutions.
The grantee will be required to provide reports analyzing evaluation findings to the Bureau. (Please refer to IV. Application and Submission Instructions (IV.3.d.3) above for Program Monitoring and Evaluation information.)
All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.
All reports must be sent to the ECA Grants Officer and ECA Program Officer listed in the final assistance award document.
VI.4. Program Data Requirements
The organization awarded this grant will be required to maintain specific data on program participants and activities in an electronically accessible database format that can be shared with the Bureau as required. As a minimum, the data must include the following:
(1) Selected schools;
(2) U.S. partner schools, including name, address and contact information;
(3) Name, address, contact information and biographic sketch of all persons who travel internationally on funds provided by the grant;
(4) Itineraries of international and domestic travel, providing dates of travel and cities in which any exchange experiences take place. Final schedules for in-country and U.S. activities must be received by the ECA Program Officer at least three work days prior to the official opening of the activity.
VII. Agency Contacts
For questions about this announcement, contact: Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, Room Number 568, the U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone number (202) 203-7506 and fax number (202) 203-7529, e-mail: MussmanAP@state.gov.
All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/PY-05-27.
Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.
VIII. Other Information
The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements per section VI.3 above.Start Signature
Dated: January 13, 2005.
C. Miller Crouch,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 05-1228 Filed 1-21-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P