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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: Youth Leadership Programs: Sub-Saharan Africa

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Start Preamble

Announcement Type: New grant.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-09-42.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 00.000.

Application Deadline: May 21, 2009.

Executive Summary: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth Programs Division, of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for two Youth Leadership Program grants for countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, one for 40 participants from four Anglophone countries (Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa), and one for 60 participants from six Francophone countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). [Note: Target countries may be subject to change.] Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to conduct a minimum of two U.S.-based three-week exchange projects for combinations of two Anglophone countries, or a minimum of three U.S.-based three-week exchange projects for combinations of two Francophone countries. The project activities will focus on civic education, leadership, diversity, and community activism, which will prepare participants to conduct follow up activities at home that serve a community need. Start Printed Page 15811

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Start Authority

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.

End Authority

Purpose: The Youth Leadership Program for Sub-Saharan Africa will support two grants for five projects that will bring teenagers, ages 15-17, and educators from selected countries to the United States for three-week exchanges focused on developing leadership skills and civic responsibility. The participants will be recruited from underserved populations in these countries where youth are susceptible to adverse influences. U.S. Embassies in the participating countries will recruit, screen, and select the participants; provide pre-departure briefings; facilitate visas; arrange international travel to the United States; and provide support to alumni for follow-on projects. The grant recipients will design and implement the U.S.-based exchange activities.

The applicant organizations must propose projects that offer a practical examination of the principles of democracy and civil society as practiced in the United States, and provide skills training in leadership, conflict management/resolution, and critical thinking that will help students develop a better sense of civic responsibility and foster respect for diversity and cross-cultural relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

Proposals must present a program plan that allows the participants to thoroughly explore civic education in the United States in a creative, memorable, and practical way. Activities should be designed to be replicable and provide practical knowledge and skills that the participants can apply to school and civic activities at home. The project must include multiple opportunities for participants to interact with American youth and educators, and include homestays with American families.

The goals of the program are:

(1) To promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the partner countries;

(2) To develop a sense of civic responsibility and commitment to community development among youth;

(3) To develop leadership skills among secondary school students appropriate to their needs; and

(4) To foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups.

In addition to the themes of civic education and leadership, applicants are invited to include sub-themes on relevant issues specific to the project countries (as listed above), particularly as a mechanism for seeing what their peers in the United States are doing in these areas, and as a tool for exploring the primary themes of the program.

A successful project will be one that nurtures a cadre of students and teachers to be actively engaged in addressing issues of concern in their schools and communities upon their return home, and that equips them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become citizen activists.

The Bureau anticipates awarding two grants. One grant will support two Youth Leadership projects for four Anglophone countries, and one grant will support three Youth Leadership projects for six Francophone countries. Organizations may submit one proposal for a minimum of two projects for combinations of two Anglophone countries, or, submit one proposal for a minimum of three projects for combinations of two Francophone countries. Organizations may apply for the Anglophone Countries program or for the Francophone Countries program; they may not apply for both. The projects will be judged independently and proposals will be compared only to proposals for the same area (Anglophone or Francophone) of interest. Note that the U.S. Embassies will be responsible for international travel; therefore, the grant funds available through this solicitation are not to cover the international airfare for the exchange participants.

Project A: Sub-Sahara Africa Youth Leadership Program—Anglophone Countries

One Grant: Funding for this grant is approximately $210,000.

The program will be offered for a total of forty (40) participants: eight (8) students and two (2) educators from each of the four participating countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania. [Note: Target countries may be subject to change, or, if less than four countries participate the target number of 40 participants will be spread among participating countries.]

Applicants must propose a minimum of two, three-week U.S.-based exchange projects to take place between the months of November 2009 through December 2010. One project must take place either in late fall 2009 or early spring 2010. Each project must include two countries for a minimum of 20 participants, eight (8) students and two (2) teachers from each country.

Note:

If less than four countries participate, the Bureau will re-negotiate for one exchange project to include three countries for thirty four (34) students and six (6) educators, or two countries for thirty two (32) students and eight (8) educators.

Project B: Sub-Sahara Africa Youth Leadership Program—Francophone Countries

One Grant: Funding for this grant is approximately $375,000.

The program will be offered for sixty (60) participants, eight (8) students and two (2) educators from each of six participating countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger. [Note: Target countries may be subject to change; or, if less than six countries participate the target number of 60 participants will be spread among participating countries.]

Applicants must propose a minimum of three, three-week U.S.-based exchange projects to take place between the months of November 2009 through March 2011. One project must take place either in late fall 2009 or early spring 2010. Each project must include two countries for a minimum of 20 participants, eight (8) students and two (2) educators from each country. Each project will be conducted in French and must include language interpreters arranged by the grantee organization.

Note:

If less than six countries participate, the Bureau will re-negotiate for two exchange projects. For example, one project with 40 participants will include thirty-two (32) students and eight (8) educators; one project with two countries will include twenty (20) students and four (4) educators for a total of 24 participants; or one project with three countries will include thirty (30) students and six (6) educators for at total of 36 participants.

For Both Programs

Applicant organizations should outline their capacity for doing projects of this nature, focusing on three areas of competency of the staff directly associated with the program: (1) Provision of leadership and civic education programming, (2) age-appropriate programming for youth, and (3) demonstrated understanding of and Start Printed Page 15812experience in programs with the specified geographic region. Applicants need not have a partner in the participating countries, as the staff of the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassies will recruit and select the participants and provide a pre-departure orientation.

Guidelines

The grants will begin on or about September 15, 2009. The grant period will be 12 to 18 months in duration, as appropriate for the applicant's program design. Applicants should propose the period of the exchange(s) based on the timeframes noted above, but the exact timing of the project may be altered through the mutual agreement of the Department of State and the grant recipients. The exchange should be no less than 25 days in duration, including international travel time.

The participants will be students between the ages of 15 and 17 who have demonstrated leadership potential in their schools and/or communities. The educators will be high school teachers, or possibly community leaders who work with youth, who have demonstrated an interest in promoting youth leadership. For the Anglophone countries, participants will be proficient in the English language. Language interpreters must be provided for the participants from the Francophone countries. Where possible, U.S. Embassy staff will seek educators with some English ability.

In pursuit of the goals outlined above, the grant recipients will provide the following:

  • Information about the U.S. program and pre-departure materials to help the U.S. Embassies, participants, and their families in preparation for the exchange.
  • French language interpreters (including fees, domestic travel to program sites, and per diem).
  • A welcome orientation.
  • Approximately two weeks of activities in one or two communities in the United States that provide a substantive program on civic education, community activism, and leadership through both academic and extracurricular components. A portion of the program, from two to six days, should be in Washington, DC. Activities should take place in schools and in community settings. Community service must be included. It is crucial that programming involve American students whenever possible.
  • Opportunities for the educators to work with their American peers to help them foster youth leadership, civic education, and community service programs at home.
  • Homestay arrangements with properly screened and briefed American families for the majority of the exchange period.
  • Logistical arrangements, disbursement of stipends, local travel, travel between U.S. sites, lodging and meals when not in the homestay.
  • A closing session to summarize the project activities and prepare participants for their return home.
  • Guidance on follow-on activities, in coordination with the U.S. Embassies, in order to advise the participants who have returned home on how to apply what they have learned during the exchange to address a community need.

The proposal narrative must provide detailed information on the program activities outlined above, and applicants should explain and justify their programmatic choices. Proposals must demonstrate how the stated objectives will be met. Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations for the International Visitor and Government Visitor categories.

It is essential that all applicants refer to the three documents in the complete Solicitation Package—this Request for Grant Proposals (RFGP), the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI), and the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI)—for further information.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Grant agreement.

Fiscal Year Funds: 2009.

Approximate Total Funding:

Approximate Number of Awards: Two.

Sub-Saharan Africa Youth Leadership Program—Anglophone Countries: $210,000.

Sub-Saharan Africa Youth Leadership Program—Francophone Countries: $375,000.

Anticipated Award Date: Pending availability of funds, September 15, 2009.

Anticipated Project Completion Date: 12 to 18 months after the onset of the award, to be determined by the applicant according to its program design.

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 USC 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. Please note that cost sharing is one of the criteria by which proposals will be judged.

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

III.3.a. Bureau grant guidelines require that applicant organizations and sub-award organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates awarding two grants, each exceeding $60,000, to support program and administrative costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges at the time of application are not eligible to apply under this competition. [Note: Organizations may apply for the Anglophone Countries program or for the Francophone Countries program; they may not apply for both.]

III.3.b. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs. Payments for homestays are not allowed as either a grant-funded or cost-share line item. The grant recipient will enroll exchange participants in ECA's Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE). Applicants need not include these health benefits costs in their budgets.

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 Start Printed Page 15813until the proposal review process has been completed.

IV.1. Contact Information To Request an Application Package

Please contact the Youth Programs Division, Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547. Telephone (202) 453-8171, Fax (202) 453-8169; E-mail: PiersonCompeauHM@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/PY-09-42 when making your request.

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

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 specify Program Officer Shalita Jones and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/PE/C/PY-09-42 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/​grants/​open2.html, 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 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. Please Note: Effective January 7, 2009, all applicants for ECA Federal assistance awards must include in their application the names of directors and/or senior executives (current officers, trustees, and key employees, regardless of amount of compensation). In fulfilling this requirement, applicants must submit information in one of the following ways:

(1) Those who file Internal Revenue Service Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,” must include a copy of relevant portions of this form.

(2) Those who do not file IRS Form 990 must submit information above in the format of their choice.

In addition to final program reporting requirements, award recipients will also be required to submit a one-page document, derived from their program reports, listing and describing their grant activities. For award recipients, the names of directors and/or senior executives (current officers, trustees, and key employees), as well as the one- page description of grant activities, will be transmitted by the State Department to OMB, along with other information required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), and will be made available to the public by the Office of Management and Budget on its http://USASpending.gov Web site as part of ECA's FFATA reporting requirements.

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 awards (either a grant or cooperative agreement) under this RFGP will be third parties “cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's program.” The actions of recipient organizations shall be “imputed to the sponsor in evaluating the sponsor's compliance with” 22 CFR 62. Therefore, the Bureau expects that any organization receiving an award under this competition will render all assistance necessary to enable the Bureau to fully comply with 22 CFR 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 recipient 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 62. If your organization has experience as a designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor, the applicant should discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR 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, 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 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., Washington, DC 20547. Telephone: (202) 203-5029. Fax: (202) 453-8640. Start Printed Page 15814

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 recipient organization 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.

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.)

Recipient organizations 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

Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. 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.

Please refer to the POGI and PSI for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

IV.3.f. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission

Application Deadline Date: May 21, 2009.

Reference Number: ECA/PE/C/PY-09-42.

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., Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.), or

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

Please Note: ECA strongly encourages organizations interested in applying for this competition to submit printed, hard copy applications as outlined in section IV.3f.1., below rather than submitting electronically through Grants.gov. This recommendation is being made as a result of the anticipated high volume of grant proposals that will be submitted via the Grants.gov Web portal as part of the Recovery Act stimulus package. As stated in these RFGPs, ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov

Along with the Project Title, all applicants must enter the above Start Printed Page 15815Reference 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, one fully-tabbed copy, and five (5) copies with Tabs A-E and appendices (no Tab F) should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/PY-09-42, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

With the submission of the proposal package, please also e-mail the Executive Summary, Proposal Narrative, and Budget sections of the proposal, as well as any attachments essential to understanding the program, in Microsoft Word and/or Excel to the program officer at jonessa1@state.gov. The Bureau will provide these files electronically to the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassies for 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 Note: ECA strongly encourages organizations interested in applying for this competition to submit printed, hard copy applications as outlined in section IV.3f.1., above rather than submitting electronically through Grants.gov. This recommendation is being made as a result of the anticipated high volume of grant proposals that will be submitted via the Grants.gov Web portal as part of the Recovery Act stimulus package. As stated in this RFGP, ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

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. In addition, validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

The Grants.gov Web site includes extensive information on all phases/aspects of the Grants.gov process, including an extensive section on frequently asked questions, located under the “For Applicants” section of the Web site. ECA strongly recommends that all potential applicants review thoroughly the Grants.gov Web site, well in advance of submitting a proposal through the Grants.gov system. ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

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

Grants.gov Customer Support.

Contact Center Phone: 800-518-4726.

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

E-mail: support@grants.gov.

Applicants have until midnight (12 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.

Please refer to the Grants.gov Web site, for definitions of various “application statuses” and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from Grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov. 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.

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 assistance awards (grants) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below.

1. Quality of the Program Idea: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. The proposal should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's Start Printed Page 15816objectives and plan. The proposed program should be well developed, respond to the design outlined in the solicitation, and demonstrate originality. It should be clearly and accurately written, substantive, and with sufficient detail. Proposals should also include a plan to support participants' community activities upon their return home.

2. Program Planning: A detailed agenda and work plan should clearly demonstrate how project objectives would be achieved. The agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above. The substance of workshops, seminars, presentations, school-based activities, and/or site visits should be described in detail.

3. Support of Diversity: The proposal should demonstrate the recipient's commitment to promoting the awareness and understanding of diversity in program content.

4. Institutional Capacity and Track Record: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program goals. The proposal should demonstrate an institutional record, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for any past Bureau grants as determined by the Bureau's Office of Contracts. The Bureau will consider the past performance.

5. Program Evaluation: The proposal should include a plan to evaluate the program's success in meeting its goals, both as the activities unfold and after they have been completed. The proposal should include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique, plus a description of a methodology to link outcomes to original project objectives.

6. Cost-effectiveness and Cost Sharing: The applicant should demonstrate efficient use of Bureau funds. The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate. The proposal 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 a Federal Assistance Award (FAA) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The FAA and the original proposal with subsequent modifications (if applicable) shall be the only binding authorizing document between the recipient and the U.S. Government. The FAA 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:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​grants.

http://fa.statebuy.state.gov.

VI.3. Reporting Requirements

You must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus one copy of the following reports:

1. Interim reports, as required in the Bureau grant agreement.

2. A final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award;

3. A concise, one-page final program report summarizing program outcomes no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award. This one-page report will be transmitted to OMB, and be made available to the public via OMB's USAspending.gov Web site—as part of ECA's Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) reporting requirements.

4. A SF-PPR, “Performance Progress Report” Cover Sheet with all program reports.

Award recipients 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.

VII. Agency Contacts

For questions about this announcement, contact: Shalita Jones, Program Officer, Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547. Telephone (202) 203-7507. Fax (202) 203-7529. E-mail: jonessa1@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and the reference number ECA/PE/C/PY-09-42.

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: March 31, 2009.

C. Miller Crouch,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E9-7851 Filed 4-6-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P