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NOFO: Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI)
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January 9, 2024

NOFO: Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY Dakar, PUBLIC DIPLOMACY SECTION

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

 

Funding Opportunity Title:                U.S. Embassy Dakar PDS Statement of Interest

Funding Opportunity Number:         PDS-DKR-RSOI-FY24-01

Deadline for Applications:                      Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis but must be submitted before April 15, 2024

Federal Assistance Number:              19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

19.441 – American Spaces

Total Amount Available:                         $200,000

Maximum for Each Award:                     $40,000

 

  1. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION


The U.S. Embassy Dakar Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Department of State announces a Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI) from organizations interested in applying for funding for program proposals that strengthen cultural ties between the United States and Senegal or between the United States and Guinea-Bissau through cultural, educational, capacity building and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation.

 

Purpose: PDS invites organizations interested in potential funding to submit SOI applications outlining program concepts that reflect this goal.  All programs must include an American cultural element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.

 

Examples of PDS Small Grants Program programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic and professional lectures, seminars and speaker programs;
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances and exhibitions;
  • Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs;
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs;
  • Training and empowerment programs;
  • Leadership, youth, and sports programs;
  • Business literacy and entrepreneurship programs;
  • Environmental awareness and sustainability programs;
  • Community engagement programs;
  • Programs that advance democratic values through the promotion of human rights, civil society, and good governance

 

 

Priority Program Areas:

PDS will prioritize grant program proposals that:

  • Advance democratic values through the promotion of human rights, civil society, and good governance.
  • Advance the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM); promote critical learning through workshops, demonstrations, and hands-on activities aimed at youth ranging between elementary to university level of studies.
  • Increase opportunities for youth, including business skills, leadership skills, English skills, and civic engagement.
  • Promote awareness of the global climate crisis and educating and engaging the public on environmental issues and solutions.
  • Promote women’s empowerment and economic inclusion.

All proposed programs must have a clearly demonstrated American connection to qualify for funding.

Participants and Audiences:

This funding opportunity focuses on programs for Senegal and Guinea Bissau and its audiences:

 

  • Youth and Emerging Voices (primary school through university and entry-level working professionals)
  • Civil Society actors
  • Local leaders
  • Journalists
  • Business leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Established opinion leaders, including cultural and/or academic institution leadership
  • Residents of underserved communities and regions outside of Dakar and Bissau
  • New media professionals, including bloggers and social media personalities

The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction programs;
  • Programs that support specific religious activities;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs;
  • Scientific research;
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization; or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.
  • Travel of non-U.S. citizens from the U.S. to Senegal or to Guinea-Bissau.
  • Projects consisting of a single meeting or brief conference.
  • Projects or events that require participants pay for entrance or participation.
  • Projects or events benefiting a for-profit enterprise.

 

Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding:

Authorizing statutes for the funding opportunity are:

 

  1. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 3 to 12 months

Number of awards anticipated: Number of awards will depend on project proposal amounts and available funding.

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $40,000

Total available funding: $200,000

Type of Funding:  Fiscal Year 2024 Public Diplomacy Funding and ECE Funding

Anticipated programs start date:  Any date between May 31, 2024, and December 31, 2024

This notice is subject to availability of funding.  All awards must be finalized prior to September 30, 2024.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award (FAAs), or Cooperative Agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that Dakar PDS is more actively involved in the grant implementation. The appropriate level of “substantial involvement” will be agreed upon by PDS Dakar and the grantee prior to award notification.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.

PDS Dakar may entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.

 

  1. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION
  2. Eligible Applicants

The Public Diplomacy Section encourages applications from U.S., and Senegalese, and Bissau Guinean:

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions
  • Governmental institutions

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

  1. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

The U.S. Embassy Dakar Public Diplomacy Section will accept Statements of Interest (SOI) on a rolling basis through April 15, 2024.  A sample SOI form can be found on our website in the “Templates” box on the right-hand side (https://sn.usembassy.gov/education-culture/funding-opportunities/). A grants committee including U.S. Embassy employees will review eligible applications after April 15, 2024. The review and selection process may take up to four months from submission of the proposal. All application materials, the Statement of Interest , and any other supporting documentation must be submitted in English by email to PASmallgrant@state.gov

  1. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at www.grants.gov.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • The SOI clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Calibri font.

The following documents are required:

Program Statement (not to exceed two pages in Microsoft Word) that includes:

  • Name of the organization
  • The target country/countries
  • The total amount of funding requested from PDS, total amount of cost-share (if any), and total program amount (PDS funds + cost-share); and,
  • Program length
  • A synopsis of the program, including a brief statement on how the program will have a demonstrated impact and engage relevant stakeholders
  • A concise breakdown explicitly identifying the programs’ objectives and the activities and expected results that contribute to each objective; and
  • A brief description of the applicant (s) that demonstrates the applicant (s) expertise and capacity to implement the program and manage a U.S. government award.

 

  1. Mandatory application forms

 

  1. Summary Cover sheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  • Proposal (10 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
  • Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve.  What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Senegal or between the U.S. and Guinea Bissau will be improved? The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Proposed Program Schedule: The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
  • Future Funding or SustainabilityApplicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate file to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.  See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  1. Attachments
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals), whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov before submitting an application.  PDS Dakar may not review applications from or make awards to applicants that have not completed all applicable UEI and SAM.gov requirements unless a valid exemption have been approved in advance of application submission by the grants officer.

A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Organizations without an active registration in SAM.gov prior to submitting an application, will be deemed ineligible.  All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations, the latter are free of charge.

Note:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application, but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

 Note:  The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”

 

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process.  SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:

Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:

NCAGE Homepage:

https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/sc/CageList.aspx

NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):

Exemptions

An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.

  1. Submission Dates and Times

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of May 15.  No applications will be accepted after that date.

  1. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to PASmallgrant@state.gov.  Questions regarding the applications should also be directed to the same account.

  1. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
  2. Criteria

Each SOI will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 15 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PDS is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 40 points: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Goals and Objectives – 15 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and the program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities – 15 points: proposals should demonstrate how the program advances equity with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, income, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability.

American Content – 15 points: The SOI should clearly articulate how the project will involve American experts or institutions and promote a better understanding of the United States.  

  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate and review all eligible SOIS.  All eligible SOIs will be reviewed against the criteria listed above.  SOIs are reviewed individually against the criteria and not against competing SOIs.  For a balanced review all panelists will review the first page of the SOI up to the page limit and no further.  The panel may provide conditions and/or recommendations on SOIs to enhance the proposed program.  Conditions must be addressed, and recommendations should be addressed in a full proposal application.

  1. Responsibility/Qualification Information in SAM.gov (formerly, FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold over the period of performance (see §200.01 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants that:

  1. The Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the U.S. government designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM.gov (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
  2. An applicant, at its option, may review and comment on any information about itself in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM that a Federal awarding agency previously entered;

iii. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

  1. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
  2. Federal Award Notices

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: 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.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should 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 at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/. Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

In accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities, the support of underserved communities will be part of the review criteria for this opportunity. Therefore, proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation. Proposals should demonstrate how the program advances equity with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, income, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. The proposal should also demonstrate how the program will further engagement in underserved communities and with individuals from underserved communities. Proposals should demonstrate how addressing racial equity and underserved communities will enhance the program’s goals and objectives, as well as the experience of participants.

  1. Reporting

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.

  1. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact the Public Diplomacy Section at: PASmallgrant@state.gov.

Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultations for application-related questions that are addressed in the NOFO. Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at embassies overseas — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.

  1. 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 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.

*Please note, an invitation to present a full submission does not guarantee funding.*