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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: Ngwang Choepel Fellows Program

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Announcement Type: New Grant.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/WHA/EAP-08-53.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 00.000.

Key Dates:

Application Deadline: May 9, 2008.

Executive Summary: The Office of Citizen Exchanges welcomes proposals in an open competition for the Ngwang Choepel Fellows program that focus on the themes of Cultural Preservation and Economic Self-sufficiency. The Office seeks proposals that train and assist Tibetans living in Tibetan communities in China by providing professional experience and exposure to American society and culture through internships, workshops and other learning activities hosted by U.S. institutions. The experiences will also provide Americans the opportunity to learn about Tibetan culture and the social and economic challenges that Tibetans face today. Applicants may propose programming for Tibetans who travel to the United States and/or for Americans who travel to Tibet.

Programs designed for participants from Tibet should not be simply academic in nature, but should provide practical, hands-on experience in U.S. public or private sector settings that may be adapted to an individual's institution upon return home. Proposals may combine elements of professional enrichment, job shadowing and internships appropriate to the language ability and interests of the participants. Americans who travel to Tibet will be expected to participate in activities that further the goals and objectives of the Tibet Policy Act of 2002, as described below.

Applicants should ensure that their proposals comply with the Tibet Policy Act of 2002, particularly that their projects promote in all stages the active participation of Tibetans. Section 616(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, 2003 (Pub. L. 107-228) defines the Tibet Project Principles:

(d) Tibet Project Principles—Projects in Tibet supported by international financial institutions, other international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the United States entities referred to in subsection (c), should (1) Be implemented only after conducting a thorough assessment of the needs of the Start Printed Page 12245Tibetan people through field visits and interviews; (2) Be preceded by cultural and environmental impact assessments; (3) Foster self-sufficiency and self-reliance of Tibetans; (4) Promote accountability of the development agencies to the Tibetan people and active participation of Tibetans in all project stages; (5) Respect Tibetan culture, traditions, and the Tibetan knowledge and wisdom about their landscape and survival techniques; (6) Be subject to on-site monitoring by the development agencies to ensure that the intended target group benefits; (7) Be implemented by development agencies prepared to use Tibetan as the working language of the projects; (8) Neither provide incentive for, nor facilitate the migration and settlement of, non-Tibetans into Tibet; and (9) Neither provide incentive for, nor facilitate the transfer of ownership of, Tibetan land or natural resources to non-Tibetans.

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 Office of Citizen Exchanges welcomes proposals that focus on the themes of Cultural Preservation and Economic Self-sufficiency under this competition for FY-2008 Ngwang Choepel Fellows program.

Cultural Preservation

Projects under this theme should aim to assist Tibetans in preserving their cultural heritage through activities designed to reduce the pillage of irreplaceable cultural artifacts, and to create opportunities that develop long-term strategies for preserving cultural property through training and conservation, museum development, and education. Projects might include the preservation of cultural sites; objects in a site, museum or similar institution; or forms of traditional cultural expression. The proposals may encompass topics such as museum needs, historic buildings, collections, archaeological sites, rare manuscripts, language, or traditional arts, crafts, or music.

Economic Self-Sufficiency

Vocational Education

The Bureau seeks proposals that emphasize vocational training or the administration and development of vocational schools targeted towards the practical needs of Tibetan communities. Discussion of how to integrate education with economic planning, how to diversify revenue sources, and how to recruit, train and retain strong faculty would all contribute towards increased emphasis on vocational education and its importance to both Americans and Tibetans in a modern and changing economy. Vocational education may include practical training of entrepreneurs, development of Tibetan-language educational materials (such as Tibetan-English teaching guides or Tibetan-language public health education materials), or the development of distance learning technology for remote rural schools. English-language training projects that are held in China are preferred over ones that would bring Tibetans to the United States for training.

Developing Entrepreneurship

Projects under this theme should focus on the skills that Tibetans, many of whom come from rural backgrounds with rudimentary economies, need to function effectively in a modern economy (e.g. finance, accounting, and language skills). Projects should explore how the government and the private sector can help promote sustainable entrepreneurship, including access to credit, ecologically-conscious tourism policies and investment, or English language training for trade or tourism purposes. Programs that train aspiring entrepreneurs and develop micro-finance programs for them are welcome.

Sustainable Growth and Ecotourism

Exchanges funded under this theme should help American and Tibetan conservationists, tourism planners, and economic planners share their experience in managing tourism resources and development projects, particularly in ecologically fragile areas, and should contribute to increased understanding of conservation and concepts essential to responsible economic growth. Local community projects are invited in fields such as ecotourism, renewable energy, or poverty alleviation projects, including farm technology, animal husbandry, or agricultural marketing.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Grant Award.

Fiscal Year Funds: 2008.

Approximate Total Funding: $650,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: 4.

Approximate Average Award: $162,250.

Floor of Award Range: $60,000.

Ceiling of Award Range: $162,250.

Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2008.

Anticipated Project Completion Date: December 31, 2010.

Additional Information: Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew grants that are awarded under this competition for two additional fiscal 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 competition. 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. Start Printed Page 12246

III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements

(a) Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international programs will be limited to $60,000.

(b) Technical Eligibility: In addition to the requirements outlined in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) technical format and instructions document, all proposals must comply with the following or they will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.

The Office does not support proposals limited to conferences or seminars (i.e., one- to fourteen-day programs with plenary sessions, main speakers, panels, and a passive audience). It will support conferences only when they are a small part of a larger project in duration that is receiving Bureau funding from this competition.

No funding is available exclusively to send U.S. citizens to conferences or conference-type seminars overseas; nor is funding available for bringing foreign nationals to conferences or to routine professional association meetings in the United States.

The Office of Citizen Exchanges does not support academic research or faculty or student fellowships.

Applicants may not submit more than one (1) proposal for this competition. Organizations that submit proposals that exceed these limits will result in having all of their proposals declared technically ineligible, and none of the submissions will be reviewed by a State Department panel. Proposals that target countries/regions or themes not listed in the RFGP will be deemed technically ineligible.

IV. Application and Submission Information

Note:

Please read the complete 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.

IV.1. Contact Information to Request an Application Package: Please contact the Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C, Room 224, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone number 202-453-8164 and fax number 202-453-8169, WrightHC@state.gov to request. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/WHA/EAP-08-53 located at the top of this announcement when making your request.

Alternatively, an electronic application package may be obtained from grants.gov. Please see section IV.3f for further information.

The Solicitation Package contains the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document which consists of required application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation.

Please specify Clint Wright and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/WHA/EAP-08-53 located at the top of this announcement 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, or from the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov. Please read all information before downloading.

IV.3. Content and Form of Submission: Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The application should be submitted per the instructions under IV.3f. “Application Deadline and Methods of Submission” 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 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 program sponsor of the exchange 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, organizations receiving grants under this RFGP will be third parties “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 critically important emphases on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs and adherence by grantee 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 Program Sponsor, the applicant should discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR part 62 et seq., including the oversight of their Responsible Officers and Alternate 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, recordkeeping, 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 available 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., Start Printed Page 12247Washington, DC 20547, Telephone: (202) 203-5029, Fax: (202) 453-8640.

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 proposals 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

(3) understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.

(4) Participant behavior, concrete actions to apply knowledge in work or community; greater

(5) Participation and responsibility in civic organizations; interpretation and explanation of experiences and new knowledge gained; continued

(6) Contacts between participants, community members, and others.

(7) Institutional changes, such as increased collaboration and partnerships, policy reforms, new programming, and organizational improvements.

Please note:

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.)

Grantees 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.3e. Please take the following information into consideration when preparing your budget:

IV.3e.1. Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. The budget request may not exceed $162,250. There must be a summary budget, as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.

IV.3e.2. Allowable costs for the program include the following:

Travel costs: International and domestic airfares; visas; transit costs; ground transportation costs. Please note that all air travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. There is no charge for J-1 visas for participants in Bureau sponsored programs. Please note that Tibetan participants may not travel to the United States primarily for English language instruction.

Per Diem: For the U.S. program, organizations must use the published U.S. Federal per diem rates for individual American cities. For activities outside the United States, the published Federal per diem rates for foreign city must also be used. Note: U.S. escorting staff must use the published Federal per diem rates. Per diem rates may be accessed at http://www.state.gov/​www/​services.html.

Interpreters: If needed, interpreters for the U.S. program are available through the U.S. Department of State Language Services Division. Typically, a pair of simultaneous interpreters is provided for every four visitors who need interpretation. Bureau grants do not pay for foreign interpreters to accompany delegations from their home country. Grant proposal budgets should contain per diem published U.S. Federal per diem rates for individual American cities for each Department of State interpreter, as well as home-program-home air transportation of $800 per interpreter plus any U.S. travel expenses during the program. Salary expenses are Start Printed Page 12248covered by the Bureau and should not be part of an applicant's proposed budget. Locally arranged interpreters with adequate skills and experience may be used by the grantee in lieu of State Department interpreters, with the same 1:4 interpreter to participant ratio. Costs associated with using their services may not exceed rates for State Department interpreters.

Book and Cultural Allowance: Foreign participants are entitled to and escorts are reimbursed a one-time cultural allowance of $150 per person, plus a participant book allowance of $50. U.S. program staff members are not eligible to receive these benefits.

Consultants: Consultants may be used to provide specialized expertise, design or manage development projects or to make presentations. Honoraria generally do not exceed $250 per day. Grantee organizations may also be used, in which case the written agreement between the prospective grantee and sub-grantee should be included in the proposal. Sub-grants should be itemized in the budget.

Room Rental: Room rental may not exceed $250 per day.

Materials development: Proposals may contain costs to purchase, develop, and translate materials for participants.

Equipment: Proposals may contain limited costs to purchase equipment crucial to the success of the program, such as computers, fax machines and copy machines. However, equipment costs must be kept to a minimum, and costs for furniture are not allowed.

Working Meal: The grant budget may provide for only one working meal during the program.

Return travel allowance: A return travel allowance of $70 for each foreign participant may be included in the budget. This may be used for incidental expenses incurred during international travel.

Health Insurance: Foreign participants will be covered under the terms of a U.S. Department of State-sponsored health insurance policy. The premium is paid by the U.S. Department of State directly to the insurance company. Applicants are permitted to included costs for travel insurance for U.S. participants in the budget.

Administrative Costs: Costs necessary for the effective administration of the program may include salaries for grantee organization employees, benefits, and other direct or indirect costs per detailed instructions in the proposal submission instructions.

Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

IV.3F. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission:

Application Deadline Date: May 9, 2008.

Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/WHA/EAP-08-53.

Methods of Submission:

Applications may be submitted in one of two ways:

(1) In hard-copy, via a nationally recognized overnight delivery service (i.e., DHL, Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.), or

(2) electronically through http://www.grants.gov.

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.3f.1 Submitting Printed Applications

Applications must be shipped no later than the above deadline. 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. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of application. 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. 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.

Important note:

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 ten 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/WHA/EAP-08-53, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534. 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

(Include following language re: disk submission only if proposals will be forwarded to embassies. If post input is not necessary, delete language.)

Applicants submitting hard-copy applications must also submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal in text (.txt) or Microsoft Word 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(ies) for its(their) review.

IV.3f.2 Submitting Electronic Applications

Applicants have the option of submitting proposals electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov). Complete solicitation packages are available at Grants.gov in the “Find” portion of the system. Please follow the instructions available in the ‘Get Started' portion of the site (http://www.grants.gov/​GetStarted). Several of the steps in the Grants.gov registration process could take several weeks. Therefore, applicants should check with appropriate staff within their organizations immediately after reviewing this RFGP to confirm or determine their registration status with Grants.gov. Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

Direct all questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission to: Grants.gov Customer Support

Contact Center Phone: 800-518-4726.

Business Hours: Monday-Friday, 7a.m.-9p.m. Eastern Time

E-mail: support@grants.gov

Applicants have until midnight (12:00 a.m.), Washington, DC time of the closing date to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to the Grants.gov site. There are no exceptions to the above deadline. Applications uploaded to the site after midnight of the application deadline date will be automatically rejected by the grants.gov system, and will be technically ineligible.

Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail from grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications.

It is the responsibility of all applicants submitting proposals via the Grants.gov web portal to ensure that proposals have been received by Grants.gov in their entirety, and ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes. Start Printed Page 12249

IV.3g. Intergovernmental Review of Applications: Executive Order 12372 does not apply to this program.

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, as well as the Public Diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. 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 grant awards resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

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) Program Planning and Ability to Achieve Objectives: Program objectives should be stated clearly and should reflect the applicant's expertise in the subject area and region. Objectives should respond to the priority topics in this announcement and should relate to the current conditions in the target country/countries. A detailed agenda and relevant work plan should explain how objectives will be achieved and should include a timetable for completion of major tasks. The substance of workshops, internships, seminars and/or consulting should be described in detail. Sample training schedules should be outlined. Responsibilities of proposed in-country partners should be clearly described.

(2) Institutional Capacity: Proposals should include (1) the institution's mission and date of establishment; (2) detailed information about proposed in-country partner(s) and the history of the partnership; (3) an outline of prior awards-U.S. government and/or private support received for the target theme/country/region; and (4) descriptions of experienced staff members who will implement the program.

The proposal should reflect the institution's expertise in the subject area and knowledge of the conditions in the target country/countries. Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by Bureau Grants Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program's goals. The Bureau strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners.

(3) Cost Effectiveness and Cost Sharing: Overhead and administrative costs in the proposal budget, including salaries, honoraria and subcontracts for services, should be kept to a minimum. Priority will be given to proposals whose administrative costs are less than thirty (30) per cent of the total funds requested from the Bureau. Applicants are strongly encouraged to cost share a portion of overhead and administrative expenses. Cost sharing, including contributions from the applicant, proposed in-country partner(s), and other sources should be included in the budget request. Proposal budgets that do not reflect cost sharing will be deemed not competitive in this category.

(4) 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 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) and the Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines section above for additional guidance.

(5) Post-Grant Activities: Applicants should provide a plan to conduct activities after the Bureau-funded project has concluded in order to ensure that Bureau-supported programs are not isolated events. Funds for all post-grant activities must be in the form of contributions from the applicant or sources outside of the Bureau. Costs for these activities should not appear in the proposal budget, but should be outlined in the narrative.

(6) Evaluation: Proposals should include a detailed plan to evaluate the program. Applicants must identify objectives that respond to our goals listed in the RFGP. Objectives should state what the concrete results of the program would be. Clearly stated objectives are needed to enable an evaluation plan to determine whether the program has done what it has set out to do. Applicant's staff must plan to evaluate the project's success, after each program phase and at the completion of the program activity. As part of the evaluation process, your evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are the units of service (number of participants, number of events conducted, number of documents translated or distributed). Outcomes are the impacts on individual participants in the exchanges, the larger beneficiary audience, and institutional structures. Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported, but the focus should be on outcomes. The more that outcomes are “smart” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and placed in a reasonable time frame), the stronger will be the evaluation. The Bureau also requires that grantee institutions submit a final narrative and financial report.

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 Start Printed Page 12250for 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: http://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​grants. http://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​grantsdiv/​terms.htm#articleI.

VI.3. Reporting Requirements

You 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. A quarterly program report should evaluate the project's success for that quarter's activities and a financial report that describes the pace of spending in support of overall program objectives.

Grantees will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. (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. Optional Program Data Requirements

Organizations awarded grants 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. At a minimum, the data must include the following:

(1) Name, address, contact information and biographic sketch of all persons who travel internationally on funds provided by the grant or who benefit from the grant funding but do not travel.

(2) 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: Clint Wright, Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C, Room 224, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone number 202-453-8164 and fax number 202-453-8169, WrightHC@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/WHA/EAP-08-53.

Please read the complete 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

Notice

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: February 26, 2008.

C. Miller Crouch,

Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E8-4413 Filed 3-5-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P