Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Conference Analyzing the State of US-ASEAN Relations

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. Mission to ASEAN
Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

Funding Opportunity Title: Conference Analyzing the State of US-ASEAN Relations
Funding Opportunity Number: S-USMAS-CONF-001
Deadline for Applications: March 1, 2018
CFDA Number: 19.124 – East Asia and Pacific Grants Program
Total Amount Available: $250,000

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The U.S. Mission to ASEAN (USASEAN) announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to organize a conference that examines current issues of interest to the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Proposals should encourage participating organizations to engage in a comprehensive conversation examining and analyzing the current U.S.-ASEAN relationship, particularly on individual and joint responses to opportunities and challenges.

Program Objectives:

Conference organizers should create a partnership with an organization in Indonesia to design and implement a two-day conference to be held in Jakarta in summer 2018. During the conference, presenters and participants should discuss the current status of U.S.-ASEAN relations, examine any challenges or areas of debate, and make policy recommendations for policy makers in the United States and ASEAN-member countries.

The conference should include a welcome event, opening plenary, and/or other opening event suitable for senior government official participation. There should be six to eight separate panels, each of which should cover a specific topic relating to U.S.-ASEAN relations. Topics should cover Department and USASEAN mission priorities and may include but are not limited to:

1. Economic Integration: Trade, Business, and Investment.
2. Maritime Cooperation: Maritime Boundary Issues, Freedom of Navigation, Disaster Risk Management, and Curbing Marine Debris.
3. Transnational Challenges: Regional, Cyber, and Border Security; Countering Violent Extremism; Integrating the Indo-Pacific Region.
4. Energy Security: Harmonization of Regional Energy Standards, Maintaining Safe and Secure Access to Energy in the Region.
5. Emerging Leaders: Developing Skills and Contacts for the Next Generation.

As an output, conference organizers should publish a paper for policy makers in the United States and ASEAN-member countries describing resulting recommendations on the key issues discussed. Through networking opportunities, presenters and participants should be encouraged to collaborate on follow-on projects that commence after the conference’s conclusion.

Proposals should include a communications/media coverage plan as well as the invitation of journalists to cover (and if appropriate to present at) the event. Proposals should include a plan for widely publicizing the conference and any recommendations resulting from it, both within the United States and ASEAN-member countries via the media and online through social media.

Participants and Audiences:

The conference should accommodate 40 participants who are experts in their subject matters and are drawn primarily from the ten ASEAN member states and the United States. Presenters and participants (think tanks, specialists, strategic thinkers, academics, etc.) should be familiar with issues related to examining and analyzing the current relationship between the United States and ASEAN. The presenter/participant list must ensure a range of viewpoints and organizations (liberal, center and conservative) and include participants from the USG’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and next generation Americans. ASEAN and U.S. government officials should participate primarily as keynote speakers; funding for their participation will not be covered by this grant.

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 3 to 6 months
Number of awards anticipated: 1 award
Total available funding: $250,000
Type of Funding: FY18 Public Diplomacy Funds
Anticipated program start date: April 1, 2018 (subject to availability of funds)

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type: Grant.

Project Performance Period: Proposed projects should be completed in 6 months or less.

C. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:
• Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
• Public and private educational institutions

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: Not required

3. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations. Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

1. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at grants.gov

2. 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 documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
• All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:
1. Mandatory application forms
• SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
• SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
• SF-424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

2. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, project title, project period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the project.

3. 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 project, including project objectives and anticipated impact.
• Introduction to the Organization applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the project, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies. Include a description of the applicant’s experience with U.S.-ASEAN relations and conference organization as well as experience in and/or ties with organizations in the Asia-Pacific region or other international expertise.
• Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed.
• Project Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the project is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
• Project Activities: Describe the project activities and how they will help achieve the objectives. Proposals should include management of travel, lodging, and logistics for all participants, speakers, and conference staff, as well as the conference venue.
• Program Methods and Design: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.
• Proposed Project Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the project activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events. The conference should be two days. Flight schedules may require additional time both before and after the two-day conference to accommodate travel.
• Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the project. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this project?
• Project Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees. Describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. Letters of support from proposed in-country partners are strongly encouraged.
• Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame 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 Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable. Applications should clearly delineate how elements of the project will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant. A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project.

4. 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.

5. Attachments:
• 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the project
• Letters of support from project partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
• If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
• Official permission letters, if required for project activities

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) 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.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:
• Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
• NCAGE/CAGE code
• www.SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov. SAM registration must be renewed annually.

4. Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than March 1, 2018

5. Funding Restrictions

The U.S. Mission to ASEAN will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization. No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance.
Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-Federal award costs; however, the grants officer may approve pre awards cost on a case by case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under U.S. Mission to ASEAN awards.

6. Other Submission Requirements

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

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

1. Criteria

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

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea: 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: 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: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Budget: 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: 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: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

2. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. 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 project expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant 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.

Payment Method: The Standard Form (SF) 270 Request for Advance or Reimbursement Payments may be requested in the amounts required by the recipient to carry out the purpose of this award. The SF-270 must be certified by the appropriate person, numbered consecutively and identified for the period which payment is claimed. Each payment must be the amount of expenditures anticipated or actually incurred during the requested period less any unexpended funds remaining from prior payments. This information must be reflected on the SF-270 submitted for payment.

2. 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.statebuy.state.gov/fa/pages/home.aspx. Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

3. 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.

The Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425) is the required form for the financial reports. Program reports must include page one (signed and completed) of the SF-PPR (Performance and Progress Report) and a narrative attachment to the SF-PPR as described below; and the SF-PPR-B: Project Indicators (or other mutually agree upon format approved by the grants officer) for the indicators.

Narrative progress reports should reflect the focus on measuring the project’s impact on the overarching objectives and should be compiled according to the objectives, outcomes, and outputs as outlined in the award’s Scope of Work (SOW) and in the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Statement. An assessment of the overall project’s impact should be included in each progress report. Where relevant, progress reports should include the following sections:

• Relevant contextual information (limited);
• Explanation and evaluation of significant activities of the reporting period and how the activities reflect progress toward achieving objectives, including meeting benchmarks/targets as set in the M&E plan. In addition, attach the M&E plan, comparing the target and actual numbers for the indicators;
• Any tangible impact or success stories from the project, when possible;
• Copy of mid-term and/or final evaluation report(s) conducted by an external evaluator; if applicable;
• Relevant supporting documentation or products related to the project activities (such as articles, meeting lists and agendas, participant surveys, photos, manuals, etc.) as separate attachments;
• Description of how the Recipient is pursuing sustainability, including looking for sources of follow-on funding;
• Any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan with an updated timeline of activities;
• Reasons why established goals were not met;
• Data for the required indicator(s) for the reporting period as well as aggregate data by fiscal year using the SF-PPR-B: Project Indicators or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer;
• Additional pertinent information, including analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs, if applicable.

A final narrative and financial report must also be submitted within 90 days after the expiration of the award.

Please note: delays in reporting may result in delays of payment approvals and failure to provide required reports may jeopardize the recipient’s ability to receive future U.S. government funds.

The U.S. Mission to ASEAN reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project information during the award period.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact usasean@state.gov.

H. OTHER INFORMATION
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Proposals must show how grant funds will be used to cover the cost of the venue, transportation, visas, travel insurance, lodging, and meals or per diem for eligible participants. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate project cost-effectiveness, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. Budgets should have low and/or reasonable overhead and administration costs and applicants should provide clear explanations and justifications for these costs in relation to the work involved. All budget items should be clearly explained and justified to demonstrate its necessity, appropriateness, and its link to the project objectives.
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 project, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the project.
Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this project, for both program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the project involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel. All travel funded under the grant agreement should be economy class and must comply with Fly America requirements.
Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the project, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the project), 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 project. 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 project activities.
Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the project, 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 project 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.