U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY QUITO PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
Notice of Funding Opportunity
Funding Opportunity Title: South American Regional Tech Camp: Tech Tools for media and civil society to fight corruption
Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-SEC-FY19-01
Date Opened: May 20, 2019
Deadline for Applications: June 20, 2019
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Maximum for Award: $100,000
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
The U.S. Embassy in Ecuador is soliciting proposals for a grant that meets the specifications stated in Section II from legally recognized non-profit, non-governmental organizations that meet U.S. and Ecuadorian technical and legal requirements to develop and implement public diplomacy programs as specified by Section II below.
Background: Journalists and civil society in the Andean region face a challenge in seeking and promoting transparency because corruption is embedded in all facets of public life. In Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador, independent media face challenges because of current or recent government harassment, restrictions, and censorship. This program would bring together traditional and online journalists from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela for a two to three day tech camp in Guayaquil, Ecuador to provide participants the opportunity to learn how to leverage available technologies and public information in order to effectively and efficiently report on corruption and transparency deficiencies in the public and private sectors.
Program Goals: The goals of this funding opportunity are to:
- Strengthen the journalist community throughout the Andean region and help establish a regional network to support free and open press focused on promoting transparency.
- Increase capacity and knowledge in order to more effectively and efficiently use available technologies and existing data platforms for investigative purposes.
- To help create a more informed and better-equipped civil society that is prepared to challenge the government and private sector to be more transparent.
Section II. Tech Camp: Tech Tools for Media and Civil Society to Fight Corruption
Objective: To organize and implement a 2-3 day Tech Camp on the media and civil society’s role in reporting on government transparency issues for up to 75 participants.
The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador is pleased to announce an open competition for organizations to submit applications/proposals to carry out a 2-3 day Tech Camp entitled Tech Tools for Media and Civil Society to Fight Corruption. The selected organization (grantee) will be responsible for all aspects of implementation of the program, at the direction of the Department of State (DoS) staff from the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) and PAS in Guayaquil. The program will be conducted in Spanish and will include up to 75 participants: 40 Ecuadorian participants, 20 participants from countries within the Andean Region (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia), and 10-15 local and U.S. trainers/experts. The grantee would be responsible for all aspects of planning and implementation of the Tech Camp. These responsibilities include: securing the venue; coordinating all air/ground travel and hotel accommodations for all participants and trainers; catering; acquiring all printed programmatic materials and promotional items; implementing the tech camp agenda and themes developed by DoS staff; organizing a high-profile opening reception and inauguration; and working with PAS Guayaquil on publicity and press support. The grantee will also work with the PAS Guayaquil on recruiting participants and identifying local tech experts. The Tech Camp is tentatively scheduled for August 13-15, 2019.
The grantee is responsible for all aspects of the program. Submitted proposals should include programmatic and financial details on the following:
- Identification of local tech experts/local partner organization: The grantee will identify local tech experts who could conduct the workshop. IIP and PAS Guayaquil will provide final approval on the identified experts.
- Selection of participants: The grantee will organize a 2-3-day tech camp on Tech Tools for Media and Civil Society to Fight Corruption for 75 participants: 40 Ecuadorian participants, 20 participants from countries within the Andean Region (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia), and 10-15 local and U.S. trainers/experts. In consultation with the Embassy and the Consulate, the grantee will identify participants for the Tech Camp. Invitations will be sent out by PAS Guayaquil. The grantee will be responsible to cover all elements related to the participants’ travel, including international and domestic flights, ground transportation, visas, accommodations, per diem, insurance, etc. The grantee will be responsible for visa arrangements.
- Logistics for the program: The grantee will be responsible for implementing the DoS designed agenda, organizing schedules, acquiring all printed programmatic materials and promotional items, arranging expert travel, and all logistics and planning associated with this Tech Camp in coordination with PAS Guayaquil, and will manage all logistics of the program. Proposals must cover the expenses associated with the program, including venue(s) and facilities, printing services and promotional items and A/V support, providing simultaneous translation if needed, and developing and implementing a media amplification plan, on which PAS Guayaquil will provide assistance and final approval.
- Traditional and/or social media plan for amplification of the program activities and outcomes: The grantee will develop and implement a robust traditional and social media plan for amplification of program activities and outcomes. PAS Guayaquil will provide assistance and final approval on the media plan.
- Monitoring and evaluation plan: The grantee will be responsible for submitting a detailed monitoring and evaluation plan for all components of the program, including the follow-on program activities. The follow-on activities (alumni workshops, small grants competitions, ongoing mentorships, et al) will be coordinated with DoS and PAS Guayaquil staff. The grantee will brief PAS Guayaquil periodically on the qualitative and quantitative progress of project implementation.
Section III. Award Information
- Funding Type and Amount: Cooperative agreement
- Maximum Award Amount: $100,000
The Public Affairs Section reserves the right to award less or more than the funds described under circumstances deemed to be in the best interest of the U.S. government, pending the availability of funds and approval of the designated grants officer.
- Project and Budget Periods: 12 months.
Section IV. Eligibility Criteria
Eligibility is open to all non-profit, non-governmental organizations. Individuals are not eligible for an award under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Organizations may sub-contract with other entities, but only one, non-profit, non-governmental entity can be the prime recipient of the award. When sub-contracting with other entities, the responsibilities of each entity must be clearly defined in the proposal. For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.
- Cost sharing or matching is not required for this funding opportunity.
- Pre-award costs are not an allowable expense for this funding opportunity.
- This award does not allow for construction activities or costs. This award does not allow for office or working space rentals.
- U.S. Embassy Ecuador grants cannot be used to fund religious or partisan political activity; fundraising campaigns; commercial projects; scientific research; projects whose primary aim is the institutional development of the organization, or illegal activities
Other Eligibility Requirements:
Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet and an active SAM registration. The U.S. Department of State will not award an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements by the time the Department is ready to finalize an award.
Applicants must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application. Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it may take weeks to have the registration validated and confirmed. Please begin the registration process immediately to ensure that the process is completed well in advance of the deadline for applications. Until that process is complete, you will not be issued a user password for Grants.gov, which is required for application submission.
- You must complete each of the following before you are able to register:
- Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet (if your organization does not have one already)
- Register with System for Award Management (SAM)
- NCAGE/CAGE code
Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)
DUNS Registration: Request a DUNS number online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. For technical difficulties, contact Dun & Bradstreet by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. U.S.-based entities may also request a DUNS number by telephone by calling the Dun & Bradstreet Government Customer Response Center, Monday – Friday, 7 AM to 8 PM CST at the following numbers: U.S. and U.S Virgin Islands: 1-866-705-5711
http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/index.jsp – United States
https://www.dnb.com/about-us/our-worldwide-network.html – International
Once assigned a DUNS number, entities are responsible for maintaining up-to-date information with Dun & Bradstreet.
NCAGE registration: application page here https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
For help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov. Please consider that you either need to upgrade to an Internet Explorer version of IE11 or higher, or access SAM with another supported browser type (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc).
For more information, go to www.grants.gov. Please note that your SAM registration must be annually renewed. Failure to renew your SAM registration may prohibit submission of a grant application through Grants.gov.
Applicants must acquire all required registrations and rights in the United States and Ecuador. All intellectual property considerations and rights must be fully met in the United States and Ecuador.
Any sub-recipient organization must also meet all the U.S. and Ecuadorian requirements as described above.
Section V. Application Submission Requirements
Instructions: Please follow all instructions below carefully. Failure to furnish all information or comply with stated requirements may lead to the proposal or application’s disqualification for consideration. Applicants must set forth accurate and complete information as required by this NOFO.
Applicants must ensure:
- All documents are in English
- All budgets are in U.S. dollars
- All pages are numbered
- All materials are submitted in PDF format
The following documents are required:
Application Requirements for awards to Organizations:
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-family.html (please download form to your computer in .pdf format and complete it)
- SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-family.html (please download form to your computer in .pdf format and complete it)
We recommend that you submit your program proposal using “Suggested Application format” template (Attachment A) and detailed budget using “Suggested Budget Spreadsheet” template (Attachment B). Feel free to submit additional information as you think necessary.
- Budget Narrative: The budget narrative supplements the information provided in the budget spreadsheet and justifies how the budget cost elements are necessary to implement project objectives and accomplish the project goals. Together, the budget narrative and spreadsheets should provide a complete financial and qualitative description that supports the proposed project plan and should be directly relatable to the specific project components described in the applicant’s proposal.
- Letters of Intent: If local partnerships are included as part of the proposal, applicants must include a letter of intent between all partners as part of their application. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed activities, and the expected result of the partnership. The individual letters cannot exceed one page in length.
- Proof of Non-profit Status: Documentation to demonstrate the applicant’s non-profit status (e.g. U.S.-based organizations should submit a copy of their IRS determination letter; Ecuadorian organizations should provide a copy of their NGO status).
The U.S. Embassy and/or Consulate General reserve the right to request additional programmatic and financial information regarding the proposal.
Questions: For questions on this solicitation please contact the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate General, Guayaquil, Ecuador at: PAS_Guayaquil@state.gov
All application material must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov. If you are unable to submit your proposal through grants.gov, you may submit via email at PAS_Guayaquil@state.gov before the deadline. The subject line should be as follows — Applicant Organization name – M-NOFO-18-102: Tech Tools for media and civil society to fight corruption.
For questions relating to grants.gov, please contact them at 1-800-518-4726 or email@example.com.
Section VI. Review and Selection Process
- Criteria. Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated based on the criteria enumerated in Section VII below. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project, and to determine the likelihood of its success.
- Acknowledgement of receipt. Applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt of their proposal.
- Review. A technical review panel will review the proposal. Based on the criteria noted in Section VII, a determination will be made regarding the program’s proposed activity and the Mission’s strategic goals, and those proposals that are the best fit will be given additional consideration.
- Follow up notification. Applicants will generally be notified within 30 days after the NOFO deadline regarding the results of the review panel.
Section VII. Application Evaluation Criteria
Each application/proposal will be evaluated using the following criteria:
Completeness of Proposal (5%). The proposal meets all of the outstanding technical and logistical criteria required in this grant/cooperative agreement, addressing the objectives as noted in Section II.
U.S. Component (5%): The project has a clear U.S. component that incorporates U.S. expertise, processes, or personnel.
Quality and feasibility of the program idea (15%): The program idea is well developed, with details about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline and articulates an innovative strategy or plan.
Institutional and organizational capacity (20%). The organization and partners demonstrate subject matter expertise in the form and content of the proposal, and in organizing and managing the project. PAS Guayaquil is confident of the ability of the organization and partners to undertake the program.
Goals and objectives (15%): Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Budget and narrative justification (20%). The budget and narrative justification are detailed, complete and reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The cost estimates are realistic.
Monitoring and evaluation plan (15%): Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured
Sustainability (5%). The project demonstrates sustainable capacity and relationship building among the journalists as well as with U.S. Embassies and Consulates in their countries. The proposal describes how activities will be carried out after the program ends and may include (but not be limited to) continued involvement of stakeholders; future commitment of funding through small grants; on-going training; planned meetings of program participants.
Section VIII. Federal Award Administration, Payment and Reporting
Federal Award Notices
A U.S. government Grants Officer will award, sign, and administer the grant award or cooperative agreement. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer. No actions or costs can be incurred before the grant is approved and signed by the Grants Officer.
If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State 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 APS 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: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.
Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
- Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications that 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 at: https://www.state.gov/resources-for-programs-and-grants/.
Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.
- Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.
Section IX. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PAS at: PAS_Guayaquil@state.gov
Note: We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the Program Statement. Once an application has been submitted, U.S. government officials and staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is complete.
Section X. Other Information
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Personnel: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.
Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor. Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
Indirect Costs: These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs and administration costs needed to help keep the organization operating. If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.
“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy. It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.
Alcoholic Beverages: Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.
Download more Information:
Attachment A Suggested Application Format (254KB PDF)
Attachment B Suggested Budget Worksheet Format (335KB PDF)
Key Personnel: Name of the organization, address, phone/fax number/e-mail address, name and title of director (or person who is to sign the grant/cooperative agreement) and other significant staff members, particularly those who will be involved in the project and budget specifics. Provide an executive summary of the project description (no more than one page) with reference to the amount and duration of the funding request.
Description of Organization: Applicants must submit a full description of the organization and its expertise to organize and manage all aspects of this particular project. This applies to all proposed project partner as well.
Justification: This is a very important aspect of the proposal and applicants should pay particular attention to it. Define what the project will accomplish, and how will it benefit stakeholders. Please do not exceed one page.
Activities: Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished. Provide an overview of the full sequence of proposed project activities, including beginning and end dates and locations of events. Account for all functions or activities identified in the application.
Accomplishments, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Sustainability: Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the accomplishments to be achieved for each function or activity. When accomplishments cannot be quantified by activity or function, list them in chronological order to show the schedule of accomplishments and their target dates. Describe how you plan to monitor progress, and determine overall success and impact of the program. Note how you expect the impact of the project will be sustained over time, and by whom.
Budget: Please refer to Attachment B “Suggested Grant Proposal Budget Worksheet.” Provide a detailed budget of every cost associated with the project. The more information and detail that you provide about the proposed budget, with a budget narrative, the better we can determine the viability and completeness of your proposal. For the budget line item “indirect costs” or “administrative overhead,” any figure you provide without a specific breakout will be returned for additional information or rejected. If your organization has an approved “Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement” or NICRA, please note that on your application and provide supporting documentation. Please also include the types and amounts of funding your organization has already received for the current project. Budgets must be calculated either in Indian rupees (Indian applicants) or U.S. dollars (U.S. applicants). Please note that the Fly America Act requires that anyone whose air travel is financed by U.S. Government funds to utilize the economy class services of a U.S. flag carrier.