Support for American Spaces in Azerbaijan
Funding Opportunity Title: The U.S. Mission to Azerbaijan in Baku: Support for American Spaces in Azerbaijan
Deadline for Applications: July 31, 2023
Total Amount Available: $80,000 USD
The Embassy of the United States of America in Azerbaijan is pleased to announce a call for proposals to support American Spaces Strategic Programming and Operations in Azerbaijan. With this notice of funding opportunity, the Embassy seeks to establish or continue partnerships with eligible entities, including Azerbaijani non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations, community-based organizations (CBOs), and individual citizens to manage funds through cooperative agreements issued before August 20, 2023 to oversee programs and operations at the American Corners in Azerbaijan.
A partner will work closely with the Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) and American Corners to develop operational and programming budgets, implement the projects, monitor and ensure effective spending and tracking of expenses, review project proposals before submission to the Embassy for approval, request transfer of funds to vendors for project implementation, report budget updates to the Embassy, and complete all required U.S. government documentation.
Overview of American Corners in Azerbaijan
The U.S. Embassy in Baku, through Memoranda of Understanding with local Universities and Central City Libraries has established a network of seven American Spaces in Baku, Ganja, Lankaran, Sheki, Khachmaz, Salyan, and Kurdemir in Azerbaijan. American Corners in Azerbaijan are the part of worldwide networks of over 600 American Spaces; all of them operate based on the global standards of the American Spaces program. These standards mandate that every American Corner to offer programming in six core areas:
- Information about the United States
- English language learning
- EducationUSA advising
- Cultural programs
- Collaboration with the alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs
- Capacity-building programs
The American Spaces standards mandate that American Corners maintain collections of books, magazines, databases, computer workstations, and an area for programs. All materials at the American Corners—to include internet access—must be free and open to the public. American Corners vary in size, but have the following minimum characteristics:
- Secure location with public access for all audiences;
- Minimum size of approximately 35 square meters;
- Library containing a minimum of 500 books selected and provided by the U.S. Mission;
- Program venue to accommodate 20 people;
- Furniture, such as chairs, reading tables, computer desks
- Equipment, such as printers, air conditioners, computer workstations, laptop, projector, sound system, in some case 3D Printers and MakerSpace technology
The American Corners program goal in Azerbaijan is to provide resources and programming that achieves the following specific objectives (in priority order). All programs must include a connection with American culture, expert(s), organization(s), or institution(s) in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policies and perspectives.
- Develop the capacity of Azerbaijani audience through the English language, capacity building, women empowerment, STEM and various other programs to become leaders in their local communities and regions;
- Support media literacy, professional media training, factchecking, and identification of misinformation.
The recipient will:
- Generate program ideas in six core areas, mentioned above, and implement them at the American Corners
- Solicit proposals from partner organizations for programming at the American Corners in consultation with the Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Section (PDS);
- Provide general programmatic and administrative support to all American Corners located in Azerbaijan, daily operations of the Corners, and working with host institutions.
- Ensure that American Corners’ staff implement PDS-approved programs, provide free, public access to American Corners’ computers, programs and materials, conduct outreach to the local community, and maintain a positive relationship with the local government and other stakeholders.
- Take responsibility, as requested, for the maintenance of the physical American Corners structures as well as placing request for replacement or repair of equipment and furniture.
Authorizing legislation, type, and year of funding:
The source of funding is FY23 19.040 Smith-Mundt Public Diplomacy Programs and 19.441 Fulbright-Hays American Spaces Support Funds.
- FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: Up to two awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $80,000
Total available funding: $80,000
Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2023 American Spaces Support Funds
Anticipated program start date: 09.01.2023
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation. PDS Baku staff will review and approve every project funded by the partner. PDS Baku will monitor and evaluate those projects.
Program Performance Period: Proposed cooperative agreements should be completed in 12 months or less. The Department of State will 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.
- ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION
Submissions are encouraged from Azerbaijani entities with relevant experience. This experience should be documented in the proposal. Eligible entities include Azerbaijani non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations, community-based organizations (CBOs), and individual citizens. Previous recipients who are not/were not in compliance with the terms of their financial and program reporting requirements are ineligible to apply. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they are in compliance with all applicable terms, conditions, and Office of Management and Budget guidance and requirements. Those organizations found to be in non-compliance may be found ineligible for funding or designated high risk if selected for funding.
- Cost Sharing or Matching
Though cost-sharing is not mandatory, applicants are encouraged to include their contribution in suggested project budget which also can be an in-kind contribution (equipment, labor, program materials, etc.).
- Other Eligibility Requirements
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.
- APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
- Address to Request Application Package
Please email to BakuPASPrograms@state.gov to receive the application forms listed below. Please indicate in your email whether you are applying as an individual or entity.
- 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
- The proposal 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 and
- All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
Applications should be emailed back to BakuPASPrograms@state.gov. Please be sure to send all attachments in one email message and include your first name, last name, and program name in the subject line of the email. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (Baku time) July 31, 2023. Support for American Spaces Funds recipients will be announced after August 10, 2023.
The following documents are required:
- Mandatory application forms (available from BakuPASPrograms@state.gov)
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)
- SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
- SF424B (Assurances-Non-Construction Companies)
- Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
- Proposal (4 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 programs for American Corners, including programs objectives and anticipated impacts. It also needs to show the main outlines of management for American Corners.
- 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 awards from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
- Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. 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 and Timeline: 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 projects. Throughout the time-frame of the award, 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 award?
- Future Funding or Sustainability Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the award period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
- Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget, use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
- 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
- If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
- Official permission letters, if required for program activities
- Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) (NOTE: This section is required and not optional, except for NOFOs targeting applications from individuals instead of organizations)
- Required Registrations:
All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:
- SAM.gov registration which will generate a UEI
Any applicant with an exclusion in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.”
The Unique Entity Identifier (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. SAM.gov is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements. OMB designated SAM.gov as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance. Under the law, it is mandatory to register in SAM.gov.
The UEI will be assigned when an organization registers or renews it’s registration in SAM.gov at www.SAM.gov. To access SAM.gov an organization is required to have a Login.gov account. Organization can create an account at https://login.gov/. As a reminder, organizations need to renew its sam.gov registration annually.
www.sam.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM.gov. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM.gov.
If an organization plans to issue a sub-contract or sub-award, those sub-awardees must also have a unique entity identifier (UEI number). Those entities can register for a UEI only at SAM.gov.
If an organization does not have an active registration in SAM.gov prior to submitting an application, the 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.
The organization must obtain a UEI and have an active SAM.gov registration before submitting its full proposal application. Therefore, we recommend starting the process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration as soon as possible. The process can take several weeks. Please note there is no cost associated with UEI or SAM.gov registration
NOTE: sam.gov is not a State Department website and the U.S. Embassy Baku is not involved in its operations. Please forward all questions related to registration process to sam.gov helpdesk.
- Submission Dates and Times
Applications are due by 5:00 PM, July 31, 2023.
- Other Submission Requirements
All application materials must be submitted by email to BakuPASPrograms@state.gov
- APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.
Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 20 points: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants (for organizations) – 20 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 15 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Budget – 10 points: The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.
Monitoring and evaluation plan – 15 points: This is a mandatory part of the project budget. Applicant demonstrates the ability 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. Note: all finalists will be required to work with Embassy staff to develop and incorporate a project-specific monitoring and evaluation plan. When calculating your budget costs, you should allocate Monitoring and Evaluation activity expenses not exceeding 5% of your entire budget.
Sustainability – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.
Support of Equity and Underserved Communities – 10 points: Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation.
- FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the award document 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 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.
- FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
If you have any questions about the award application process, please contact: BakuPASPrograms@state.gov
- OTHER INFORMATION
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Personnel and Fringe Benefits: 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, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. 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.