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English-Language Program for Disadvantaged Communities Initiatives Program
March 16, 2023

English-Language Program for Disadvantaged Communities Initiatives Program

Funding Opportunity Title:    U.S. Mission to Azerbaijan in Baku: English-Language Program for Disadvantaged Communities Initiatives Program
Deadline for Applications:     May 14, 2023, 11:59 pm (Baku, Azerbaijan time)
CFDA Number:                       19.900
Total Amount Available:       $100,000 USD




The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce a call for proposals from individuals and organizations for its English-Language Program for Disadvantaged Communities.  The program is focused on English-language training for youth aged 12-17 from underserved communities, especially those located outside of the capital city.  In addition to in-person programs, instruction may be offered partly virtually.

The program objectives are:


  • To offer free-of-charge English-language instruction to Azerbaijani students from underserved communities.


  • To offer different high-quality English-language instruction that is based on communicative teaching methods and that focuses on enhancing students’ conversational and comprehension skills.


  • To instill knowledge of and appreciation for American culture and values, to promote community service, and to enhance critical-thinking skills among program participants.


Participants and Audiences:


The intended audiences for potential projects are individuals from disadvantaged communities (rural areas, low-income, IDPs etc.).  Secondary school students and young people living in rural and vulnerable communities are the targeted beneficiaries and special consideration will be given to programs working in regions outside of Baku.  Proposed programs should include contingency plans to accommodate potential prohibitions on in-person gatherings.


Proposal may entail various additional creative elements (such secondary focuses might include the environment, social entrepreneurship, civil society, community service, performing arts, youth leadership, STEM, etc.) but all successful proposals will comply with the core framework and requirements.


  1. Scope


A minimum of 102 hours of active teaching hours over the course of the program.  The schedule should encompass 34 active teaching weeks of two 1.5-hour classes every week (for a total of 68 classes).  Teaching hours should be designed to expose students to American culture and values.  Furthermore, each program should offer a non-classroom-based enhancement activity every month (example activities might include a community clean-up program, a library visit, or a volunteer session with a local community service organization).   Each class should be comprised of a maximum of 20 students (minimum of 14 students).

Please provide a calendar of class meetings and activities in your proposal.

  1. Teacher qualifications


All teachers must be identified and presented in the proposal.  All teachers must have at least advanced-mid proficiency levels in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

In addition, the Embassy will arrange for proficiency testing of all teachers prior to the start of the program and before teacher-training in September.  Teachers must be at or above advanced-mid level in all four skills to be able to continue with the program.

Please provide teachers’ names, CVs, and proof of language proficiency, if available.

  1. Teacher-training in September 2023


All teachers must commit to a training program organized by the U.S. Embassy in late September 2023 on Communicative Techniques and Teaching American Culture and Values.  Attendance in the training which will take place in Baku is mandatory and any expenses related to participation in this training must be compensated.  Successful proposers should consider including any expenses related to travel to training site, accommodation and meals in their budget and compensate it to all teachers who have successfully completed the training.


  1. Administering proficiency tests


Successful proposers will be required to administer the proficiency test (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) for selected students before the training program and after the training program based on the pre-approved test materials.  Applicants should budget one day of their teachers’ time for the assessment test.

  1. Textbooks


All textbooks used in U.S. Embassy-funded language programs must be produced by an American publisher.

Please include the name(s) of the textbook(s) you will use in your proposal.



Length of performance period: applicants are encouraged to design programs that encompass at least one academic year.


Number of awards anticipated:  up to 3-4 awards, depending on available funds

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $25,000


Type of Funding:  FY 22/23 AEECA Funds

Anticipated start date of selected projects: September 2023

Anticipate start of the training programs: October 2023


This notice is subject to availability of funding.


Funding Instrument Type:  Award.


Program Performance Period:  Proposed programs should be completed in 24 months or less.




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.  For-profit entities are eligible to apply.  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.


  1. 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.).


  1. 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.





  1. Address to Request Application Package


The application forms listed below are available upon request.  Please email: BakuELPrograms@state.gov.  Please indicate in your email whether you are applying as an individual or entity.


  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 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
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.


Applications should be emailed back to BakuELPrograms@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 11:59 p.m. (Baku, Azerbaijan time) May 14, 2023.  English-Language Program for Disadvantaged Communities recipients will be announced after May 31, 2023.


The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms (available from BakuELPrograms@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)


  1. Summary Page:  Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization (if applicable), proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.


  1. 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 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 awards 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.  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 timeframe 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.


  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), 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. 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
  • 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



  1. 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)


  1. 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 its registration in SAM.gov at www.SAM.gov. To access SAM.gov an organization is required to have a Login.gov account. Organizations can create an account at https://login.gov/.  As a reminder, organizations need to renew SAM.gov registration annually.


SAM.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration.


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 the SAM.gov helpdesk.



  1. Submission Dates and Times


Applications are due by May 14, 2023.


  1. Other Submission Requirements


All application materials must be submitted by email to BakuELPrograms@state.gov.








Each application will be evaluated and rated based on 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 – 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 CBI 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.





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.




If you have any questions about the award application process, please contact: BakuELPrograms@state.gov



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.