BOLD Academic Fellowships

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

U.S. EMBASSY SARAJEVO, OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

Funding Opportunity Title:             BOLD (BIH OMLADINSKI LIDERI, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA YOUNG LEADERS) PROGRAM

Funding Opportunity Number:       006-FY2019

CFDA Number:                                19.900

Length of Performance Period:     12 months

Number of Awards Anticipated:    Up to 2 depending on amount of each award

Award Amounts:                             Awards may range from USD 100,000 to USD 200,000

Total Available Funding:                USD 200,000

Type of Funding:                            FY18/19 Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia (AEECA) Interethnic Reconciliation and Youth Program (IERY) under the Foreign Assistance Act

Anticipated Award Date:               June/July 2019

Funding Instrument Type:            Cooperative Agreement

Cost Sharing Requirement:          Cost sharing is encouraged either in direct cost contributions and/or in-kind contributions

Deadline for Application:              May 31, 2019

Method of submission:                 SarajevoOPAGrants@state.gov

 

I. STATEMENT OF WORK

Executive Summary:  Office of Public Affairs (OPA), invites proposal submissions from U.S. public and private non-profit organizations and accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institutions (community colleges, liberal arts colleges, public and private universities) meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) (see section III. Eligibility Information) to design and implement BOLD (BiH Omladinski Lideri, Bosnia and Herzegovina Young Leaders) Academic Fellowships for BiH Student Leaders, pending the availability of FY 2019 AEECA IERY funds.

Applicants may propose to administer the following:

Option A: The BOLD Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement, which includes one Institute (exchange), or option

Option B: The BOLD Academic Fellowship on Economic Development, which includes one Institute (exchange),

Or both A and B options.  

Each Institute should be approximately five weeks in duration, including an academic residency at an academic institution and a significant component of experiential learning in the community or in another location.  The academic residency should take place on a U.S. University or college campus, with the possibility of some home-stay arrangements, and should include academic coursework as well as weekly leadership development sessions and opportunities for interaction with American peers that showcases a balanced view of the diversity of demographics, institutions, and perspectives within the United States.  The experiential learning component should complement the academic residency and provide students with practical skills that will help them design and implement their peer education activities upon return to BiH.  The programs should include requirements of continued follow-on engagement and project implementation once participants return home.

The award recipient may choose to plan, implement, and oversee one (1) OR two (2) Institutes.  The award recipient will be responsible for the oversight and management of performance of all sub-award recipients under the award.

Each Institute should be organized for at least 10 undergraduate students, aged 18-25, from communities in BiH to reflect the country’s diversity and administrative divisions, for a total minimum of 20 participants in two institutes.  One institute under option A should focus on the general theme of civic engagement and more specifically how to motivate youth to become and stay engaged in the improvement of their communities and improvement of civic institutions and services.  The other institute under option B should focus on the theme of entrepreneurship and economic development, with special emphasis on youth employment.

Applicants may apply for either Option A or B, or both. They may submit only one proposal including both option A and B, or each option under this competition.  If multiple proposals for each option are received from the same applicant, all submissions will be declared ineligible and receive no further consideration in the review process.   

OPA intends to award up to two (2) Cooperative Agreements (one base year with a possibility of two noncompetitive continuations) for an estimated amount of $200,000 pending availability of funds and successful performance.  One Cooperative Agreement of up to $200,000 will support option A and option B including two (2) institutes for a minimum of 20 students on both options; and two Cooperative Agreements of up to $100,000 each will support either option A or option B including one (1) institute for a minimum of 10 students on either option A or option B in the FY 2019 base year.  The awarding of Cooperative Agreements for these programs is contingent upon the availability of FY 2019 funds.  The awarding of the non-competitive continuations in FY 2020 and FY 2021 is contingent on the availability of funding and successful performance.  Please see Section VI. Federal Award Administration Information below for additional details.  OPA reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets, participant numbers, and the number of Institutes based on program needs and the availability of U.S. government funding. 

 The award recipient’s responsibilities will be the following:

  •   Preparation
  1. In cooperation with OPA, contact participants before the program to provide them with program information, pre-departure materials, and to gather information about their specific interests.
  2. Enroll participants in the Bureau’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefits plan for the duration of the exchange, and assist with claims as necessary.
  3. Hire and train staff, as needed, to accompany participants during the exchange period. Criminal background checks, including a search of the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Registry, must be conducted for all program staff and for new staff prior to hiring.
  4. In case of home-stay arrangement carefully recruit, screen, and select diverse local host families to offer homestays (including lodging and meals) to the participants for the majority of the exchange period. Criminal background checks, including a search of the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Registry, must be conducted for all members of host families and others living in the home who are 18 years or older.
  5. Monitor housing arrangements, if any to ensure the health and safety of participants.
  6. Orient participating organizations, staff, and host families to the goals of the program and to the cultures and sensitivities of the visitors.
  • Institute (Exchange) Activities:
  1. Design, plan, and implement a five-week exchange program on the stated themes. Exchange activities must promote program goals. Activities should include academic coursework as well as weekly leadership development sessions and opportunities for interaction with American peers that showcases a balanced view of the diversity of demographics, institutions, and perspectives within the United States.
  2. Provide opportunities for the participants to work with their peers and other professionals, volunteers, and youth advocates with whom they can discuss the support of youth leadership in the relevant theme of the institute.
  3. Provide day-to-day monitoring of the participants’ well-being, preventing and dealing with any misunderstandings or adjustment issues that may arise in a timely manner. Inform OPA about any significant health or safety issues affecting program participants.
  4. Provide a closing session to summarize project activities, prepare participants to implement their follow-on activities, and for their return home.
  • Follow-on activities
  1. In cooperation with OPA, provide guidance and instruction on how to design and implement follow-on projects that reinforce values and skills imparted during the exchange program and help them apply what they have learned to serve in their local communities.
  2. Present creative and effective ways to address project themes, for both program participants and their peers, as a means to amplify program impact.
  3. In addition to follow-on projects, support alumni in making presentations or preparing articles to share their experiences in other ways once they return home.
  4. Maintain contact with participants to monitor follow-up activities.
  • Design and implement an evaluation plan that assesses the impact of the program.
  • Work in consultation with OPA in the implementation of the program, provide timely reporting of progress, and comply with financial and program reporting requirements.
  • Manage all financial aspects of the cooperative agreement, including management of sub-award relationships with partner organizations.
  • Award Recipients must adhere to the requirements on the creation of program branding and attribution, websites, social media, and press.

The Office of Public Affair’s responsibilities will be the following:

  • Providing advice and assistance in the execution of all program components.
  • Managing recruitment and selection of the participants.
  • Arranging international travel of the participants to the United States.
  • Facilitating interaction within the Department of State, to include ECA, the regional bureaus, and overseas post.
  • Approving host family applications, publicity materials, and the calendar of exchange activities.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the program, through regular communication with the award recipient and possibly one or more site visits.
  • Performing an annual performance evaluation/review. Satisfactory performance and the availability of funds is a condition of continued administration of the program and execution of all option years.
  • Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of the results of the application review from the OPA program office coordinating this competition.
  • Providing advice for the creation of program branding and attribution, websites, social media, and press.

II. PROGRAM SPECIFIC GUIDELINES

A. Program Description:

Purpose:  BOLD Academic Fellowships are intensive academic programs that provide groups of foreign undergraduate students with in-depth leadership training in a specific area with the objective of equipping them with the skills needed to identify aspects of their communities where change is needed, plan a course of action to be a leader in that change, and implement a project to that effect.  Interethnic cooperation skills and hands-on experience are essential components for reaching that objective.  As is a deeper understanding of U.S. society, civic institutions, and practices of volunteerism, including the influence of principles and values such as democracy, the rule of law, individual rights, freedom of expression, equality, diversity, and tolerance.

Overview of the Institutes and Themes:  Each Institute should be approximately five weeks in duration, including an academic residency at an academic institution and a significant component of experiential learning in the community or in another location. The programs should include requirements of continued follow-on engagement and project implementation that build on the five week engagement once participants return home.

The academic program in the U.S. should include group discussions, experiential learning activities, and exercises that focus on the theme and include aspects of leadership, teambuilding, collective problem-solving skills, effective communication, appreciation of diversity, and management skills.  Therefore, participants should gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.  The experiential learning component should include substantive and participatory activities in a community that pertain directly to the theme of the institute and bolster the skills and experience for students to implement their follow-on projects.  Community-based experiences should allow participants to experience firsthand how not-for-profit organizations and volunteerism play a key role in U.S. civil society.

Institutes should ensure a balance of speakers and perspectives throughout the program schedule, representing diverse U.S. political viewpoints, as well as other aspects of diversity.  In addition to developing participants’ leadership skills, the program should provide participants with an in-depth examination of one of the themes outlined below.  Institutes should foster OPA’s mission to promote mutual understanding between citizens of other countries and citizens of the United States.  Thus, the programs should include robust opportunities for participants to meet Americans from a variety of backgrounds, to interact with their U.S. peers, and to speak to appropriate student and civic groups about their experiences and life in their home countries.

Institute Themes:

All Institutes should aim to enhance participants’ knowledge of U.S. history, government, institutions, society, and culture.  In this context, the Institutes should incorporate a focus on American historical events as well as contemporary American life including current political, social, and economic debates in a pluralistic society.

  1. The BOLD Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement – Option A should introduce participants to the concept of civic engagement in the United States as a means of improving communities and the institutions and services of government, and provide them with the skills to implement projects as civic leaders themselves. An understanding of civic engagement and its development in the United States should be accompanied by the opportunity to apply the U.S. experience to the BiH context. The academic program should define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism in the modern age.  In order to define the content of the Institute and enhance the academic experience, proposals may choose to focus on a specific theme or sub-themes such as civil rights and protections, public health, education, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, or media.  In addition to the community-based experiential learning component, academic sessions should be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above.  The Institutes should require participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities and to implement an action plan to address a particular need, building upon the BOLD network to disseminate their plans and actions.
  2. The BOLD Academic Fellowship on Entrepreneurship, Youth Employment and Economic Development – Option B should provide participants with an overview of entrepreneurial approaches by reviewing the development, history, challenges, and successes of U.S. entrepreneurial enterprises, including social enterprises, business leadership and women’s economic empowerment, in the United States and globally. Topics may include, but are not limited to, trade, investment, financial literacy, banking, microfinance, organizational development and management, innovation, emerging markets and risk analysis, strategic business planning, corporate social responsibility, and minorities in entrepreneurship.  In addition to the community-based experiential learning component, academic sessions should be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above.  The Institutes should require participants to develop their entrepreneurial ideas in the form of a business plan and a pitch, and a concrete action plan to implement toward starting a business, building upon the BOLD network to disseminate their plans and actions.

 

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

B. Program Administration: OPA is seeking detailed proposals from U.S. public and private non-profit organizations and accredited post-secondary U.S. higher education institutions (community colleges, liberal arts colleges, public and private universities) meeting the eligibility requirements outlined in this section.

Other eligibility requirements:  In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a DUNS number, a unique entity identifier, and a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.  You are required to have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) 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 UEI number is easy and there is no charge.  To obtain a UEI number, access DNB or call 1-866-705-5711.

All proposals should demonstrate the institutions administrative and program management capacities as well as host universities’ thematic expertise, as well as any regional expertise, if applicable.

All federal award recipients must maintain current registrations in the SAM database.  Recipients must maintain accurate and up-to-date information in SAM until all program and financial activity and reporting have been completed.  Recipients must review and update the information at least annually after the initial registration and more frequently if required information changes or another award is granted.  There is no cost associated with registering or updating SAM.gov accounts.  Failure to register in SAM.gov will render applicants ineligible to receive funding.

However, if you experience any problem in registering in SAM.gov use the following link to register for live chat, so the SAM administrators can answer your questions. Working hours for this service are from Monday through Friday after 14:00 p.m.

 

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

C. Mandatory application forms:  Your application cannot be reviewed without all of the below elements.  All forms and instructions are available here.

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations).  Please make sure to include your UEI (DUNS) number is included in the appropriate box of the SF-424 which is the part of formal application package.
  • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) along with a comprehensive budget for the entire program.  There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets.  Applicants must provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.
  • SF-424B (Assurance for Non-Construction programs) is required only for those applicants who registered in SAM.gov before February 2, 2019.
  • Project ProposalThe proposal should be submitted exclusively in the appropriate application form depending on the project, and should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. The narrative should also include a brief commitment to implement the program for the base year, plus two additional non-competitive continuation years, pending successful program performance and availability of funds
  • An abbreviated/estimated summary budget presenting the total projected administrative and program cots for the anticipated total duration of programming (base year, plus two non-competitive continuation years.)

PROJECT PROPOSAL GUIDELINES:  Please read all instructions carefully – proposals that do not meet the requirements listed here will not be considered for funding.

  • If an organization opts to implement only one institute-either option A OR option B – OPA intends to issue one cooperative agreement to that organization and a separate cooperative agreement for the other option.
  • OPA intends to issue one cooperative agreement if one organization will implement BOTH institutes, option A and option B.
  • All fields in the grant application form must be completed and sent via email as one document.
  • Project duration may not exceed 12 months.
  • The deadline for submission of application forms / supporting documentation is May 31, 2019 by 17:00 p.m. Please submit your filled-in application package to the following e-mail address: SarajevoOPAGrants@state.gov

1. Applicant’s Contact Information

  • Implementing organization: Specify the officially registered name of the organization.
  • Contact person and title: Name and the title of the Project Coordinator, or the person who is authorized to sign official documents, if different from the Project Coordinator.
  • Address/Postal Code and City
  • Phone number            
  • E-mail: Please include both the general email address for your organization and the email address of the project coordinator.

2. Basic Information about the Proposal

  • Project title:
  • Amount requested (USD)/Amount of cost share (USD)/Total cost (USD): Please list the amount of funding requested from the Embassy.  If there is a cost share (another organization covering part of the total cost of the project), please list the amount here.  If you are providing cost share, please list the amount here. Please list the total cost of the project.

3. Executive Summary

In one double-spaced page, provide the following information about the project:

  • Identification of applicant and any significant participating organizations
  • Beginning and ending dates of the exchange
  • Nature of activity and venues
  • Anticipated results (short and long-term)
  • Funding level requested from OPA, program cost, total cost-sharing from applicant and other sources

4. Description of project activities:

Provide a detailed description of the project addressing the areas listed below. In the narrative, applicants should not only describe major program activities but also explain and justify their programmatic choices. Describe the components of the exchanges and how they are related to the program goals and themes, including project planning, orientations, educational activities, cultural activities, meetings, site visits, community service, and the closing session.  Outline programming for the educators.  A detailed outline of the three- to four-week exchange should be included as an appendix in Tab E.  Describe engagement with American teenagers, including how they will be identified and what the activities will be.  Also, describe support for follow-on activities including the visit by project staff or trainers.

5. Project Objectives and desired outcomes:

Vision: Describe the project objectives and the desired outcomes, i.e., the knowledge, skills, and/or attitudinal changes that the participants will acquire.

6. Participating Organizations (sub recipient):

Identify any primary partner organizations for the program, their roles, and the applicant’s reasons for including them.

7. 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 NOFO.

Your monitoring and evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomesOutputs 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 NOFO (listed here in increasing order of importance):  

  • Participant satisfaction with the program and exchange experience.
  • Participant learning, such as increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and changed understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.
  • Participant behavior, such as 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.
  • 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.

8. Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines

Pursuant to OPA’s authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of political, social and cultural life in the United States and abroad.  ‘Diversity’ should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, politics, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.  Proposals should demonstrate how diversity will enhance the program’s goals and objectives and the participants’ exchange experience.  Please refer to the review criteria under the ‘Support of Diversity’ section of this document.

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,” OPA   “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.

9. Institutional Capacity and Project Management (non-profit status):

Outline the applicant organization’s capacity to conduct projects of this nature, focusing on three areas of competency: provision of educational and thematic programs, age-appropriate programming for youth, and previous work in the region. All applicants must have nonprofit status with the IRS at the time of application.  Please note:  All applicants for OPA 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:

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

Verifying Non-Profit Status:  If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from OPA 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.

Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa:  The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places critically important emphases on the security and proper administration of the Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs and adherence by award recipients and sponsors to all regulations governing the J visa.  Therefore, proposals should demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to meet all requirements governing the administration of the Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR 62, including the oversight of Alternate Responsible Officers, 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 award recipient 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 here or from:

Office of Designation, Private Sector Programs Division

U.S. Department of State

SA-4E (Bldg. 3)

2430 E. Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20037

10. Work Plan/Schedule:

Outline the phases of the project planning and implementation for the entire cooperative agreement period. Provide a draft schedule of daily activities of the exchanges in an appendix.

11. Virtual Exchange Component

OPA welcomes innovative ideas on how organizations can leverage appropriate mobile and/or online technologies to maintain engagement among exchange participants, encourage project collaboration and widen participation in the overall project to a broader audience.  OPA strongly encourages organizations submitting proposals in response to this solicitation to suggest one or more virtual exchange components to complement the in-person exchange.  The virtual exchange component(s) could come before, during and/or after the physical exchange.  The objective for the virtual exchange component(s), defined as technology-enabled, sustainable, people-to-people, cross-cultural exchanges, is to augment the impact of the in-person exchange described in this solicitation.  OPA encourages organizations to propose virtual exchange ideas that take advantage of OPA’s existing web and social networking platforms, including our International Exchange Alumni space.  Virtual exchange components would be coordinated with and approved by the OPA program office and U.S. missions abroad on a project by project basis.

12. Previous U.S. Government funding:

Indicate whether the implementing organization has received previous funding from the U.S. Government.  If so, please state the name of the project, the year and the amount of funding for each project.

13. Detailed budget:

Present the budget in the form of a spreadsheet, in USD amounts, dividing the budget into the categories delineated in the project proposal form.  Cost sharing is encouraged.   If the Recipient includes cost sharing in the project proposal, then the Recipient is accountable for providing additional funds and justifying the costs.

14. Budget narrative:

Please explain your budget in narrative form, detail personnel duties, list names of trainers/moderators/experts and project staff and break down travel and lodging costs (i.e., how many people, how many overnights, cost per person per day).

Letters of commitment

Include pledges to participate in the program’s implementation from significant partner organizations and any receiving a sub-award.  Letters from elected officials are generally not advised.

Resumes

Resumes of all program staff should be included in the submission. No one resume should exceed two pages.

Attachments/appendices

Please limit to those materials essential for understanding the proposed program such as a draft schedule or evaluation questionnaires.  Extensive attachments will detract from your proposal.

First Time Applicant Attachments, if applicable

First time applicant organizations and organizations which have not received an assistance award (grant or cooperative agreement) from the OPA during the past three (3) years, must submit as an attachment to this form the following: (a) one copy of their Charter OR Articles of Incorporation; (b) a list of the current Board of Directors; and (c) current financial statements. Note:  The OPA retains the right to ask for additional documentation of those items included on this form.

 

V. Review criteria:  All proposals will be evaluated by the Office of Public Affairs review panel according to the below criteria:

D. Application Review Information:

OPA 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.  Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and OPA regulations and guidelines and reviewed by the OPA grant panels. All awards will be assessed for risk prior to their issuance.  Final funding decisions are at the discretion of OPA.  Final technical authority for assistance awards resides with the OPA Grants Officer.

D1. 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:

  • Quality of Program Plan and Ability to Achieve Program Objectives: Proposals should exhibit originality and clearly demonstrate how the Institute will meet the objectives laid out in this solicitation.  A detailed itinerary and staff work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity.  Activities should be reasonable, feasible, and form a coherent program for participant exploration of the topic.  Competitive proposals will clearly promote OPA’s mission:  to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations.
  • Support of Diversity: Proposals should show substantive support of OPA’s diversity policy.  Proposals should demonstrate how diversity, including a balance of speakers and perspectives with diverse viewpoints, will be achieved in the different aspects of program design and implementation, and how diversity will enhance the program’s goals and objectives.  It is important that proposals have a clearly articulated diversity plan and not simply express general support for the concept of diversity.  Proposals should also indicate how reasonable accommodations for participant needs, including disability accommodations, will be implemented.
  • Project Evaluation: Program Monitoring and Evaluation, proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity’s success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program.  A draft survey questionnaire or other technique, and a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives, are recommended.
  • Cost-effectiveness/Cost-sharing: 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.  Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support, as well as institutional direct funding contributions.
  • Institutional Track Record/Capacity: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs (past exchange programs need not have been OPA funded).  OPA will consider the past performance of prior recipients including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past OPA awards (grants or cooperative agreements) as determined by the OPA Grants Office.  OPA will consider the demonstrated potential of new applicants.  Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be fully qualified to achieve the project’s goals.
  • Follow-on Activities: Proposals should discuss provisions made for follow-up with returned participants as a means of establishing longer-term individual and institutional linkages.  Proposals also should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity (without OPA support) ensuring that OPA supported programs are not isolated events.

VI. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

E. Federal Award Notices

The grant award will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer and the grants management team.  The Recipient may only start incurring project expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grant Officer.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by e-mail.

Funding decisions are contingent on the availability of funds.  Budget may not exceed 200,000 USD.  The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to cancel this Notice of Funding Opportunity at any time without any commitment to any applicant.

A Cooperative Agreement (CA) may be issued, particularly in the case that the selected applicant is a first-time recipient of Federal Funding.  Elements of substantial involvement include:

  • Participating in the design or direction of activities, design of conference agendas, and training delivery models
  • Participating in the selection of key project staff and trainers
  • Participating in the presentation of results
  • Assisting in the selection and/or analyses of data
  • Review and approve each press release and other public statements and publications before releasing it in public

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State/OPA has no obligation to provide any additional future funding.  Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals.  Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

Payment Method:  The payment of the award amount will be made in multiple installments.  A certain percentage of the total award amount will be paid immediately after signing the grant and submission of the valid bank account by Recipient.  However, if the project implementation requires a higher percentage of advance payment the Office of Public Affairs will require justification.  The rest will be paid upon submission of the interim final program and financial reports by Recipient.  Each award document will contain detailed payment information.  The USG reserves the right to retain the last payment up to 10 % of the award amount until all project activities are completed and the final program and financial reports are submitted by the Recipient and approved by the Grant Officer and the Grant Officer Representative.

Terms and Conditions

Before submitting an application, applicants may wish to review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include: 2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available here.

Reporting Requirements

Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify the forms and how often these reports must be submitted.

To exercise the Non-Competitive Continuation mechanism, the recipient will be required to submit:

  1. Semi-annual performance and financial reports on time;
  2. A request in writing to OPA at least 90 days in advance of the expiration of the current program year;
  3. A summary budget that projects program expenses through the end of the current year;
  4. detailed budget outlining both administrative and program expenses for the requested non-competitive continuation year; and
  5. A brief narrative to support the continuation of the award.

The OPA Grants Officer and Program Officer will:

  1. Closely monitor the recipient’s performance through site visits, desk audits, mandatory semi-annual performance and financial reports, consultations, and other forms of communication and dialogue before exercising additional non-competitive continuations. (Additional details regarding monitoring and oversight of the program by OPA representatives will be provided at the time the base-year award is made.)
  2. Review and evaluate all mandatory semi-annual program and financial reports;
  • All program and financial reporting requirements must be current and up to-date before OPA will exercise additional non-competitive continuations.
  • Any/all concerns, issues, or modifications requested by the Grants Officer or Program Officer to the original program design or method of implementation must be responded to in writing.
  • The OPA Grants Officer and Program Officer will review and advise of OPA’s approval or disapproval of the response before issuing subsequent non-competitive continuations.

Prior Grants Officer approval is required to carry forward an unobligated balance from a prior funding period to the subsequent funding period.  If the Grants Officer determines that some or all of the unobligated funds are not necessary to perform the program activity, the Grants Officer may decline the Recipient’s request to carry forward the unobligated balance.

The Grants Officer may, at their discretion, use the unobligated balance to reduce or offset future funding for a subsequent funding period.  An unobligated balance at the end of a funding period is not sufficient justification to carry forward funds.  A final determination and approval to carry forward any funds will be communicated via a cost amendment with adjustment, if any, to new obligation amounts.

The request to carry forward an unobligated balance must include:

  • A brief narrative why funds remain unobligated and how the unobligated funds will be used to complete the previously approved goals and objectives of the program; and,
  • A detailed budget that reflects the amount of unobligated funds to date, and anticipated expenditures in the subsequent period of performance for all cost categories under the authorized budget.

VII. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

Please read the complete announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals.  Once the NOFO deadline has passed, OPA staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

 

For more information, please contact us by phone: + 387 33 704-285, 704-331 or 704-345, fax:  + 387 33 704-432 or e-mail at SarajevoOPAGrants@state.gov

Notice: 

The terms and conditions published in this NOFO are binding and may not be modified by any OPA representative.  Explanatory information provided by OPA that contradicts published language will not be binding.  Issuance of the NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government.  OPA 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 F.3. Reporting Requirements above.

Application Deadline and Method of Submission:

Application Deadline Date:  May 31, 2019

Method of Submission:  Applications may only be submitted electronically through e-mail SarajevoOPAGrants@state.gov