This announcement can also be found at https://www.grants.gov/search-results-detail/351275
Notice of Funding Opportunity: ANNUAL PROGRAM STATEMENT 2024
Funding Opportunity Number: PDS-ZAF-FY24-01
Deadline for Concept Note Applications: Proposals under $25,000 (Cycle 1) – March 28, 2024; 23H59 SAST
Proposals between $25,000-$200,000 (Cycle 2) – May 30, 2024; 23H59 SAST
Assistance Listing Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Total Amount Available for All Awards: $600,000-$800,000 (Amount of each award and total number of awards will depend on availability of funds)
A. PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The U.S. Mission to South Africa Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce its Annual Program Statement (APS) for Fiscal Year 2024. Awards will be made up to the listed amount, based on funding availability.
The application process for both cycles is divided into two rounds: The first streamlined round will collect project ideas from applicants in the form of concept notes. In the second round, the Embassy will invite applicants with promising concept notes to submit full project applications. Specific instructions will be provided to those applicants identified for participation in the second round.
Please read this notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) carefully. It outlines PDS funding priorities, the strategic lines of focus, and the procedures for submitting funding proposals.
Bottom Line Up Front:
•This is a funding opportunity for which only U.S. and South African non-profit organizations are eligible.
•All proposals must include a significant American component, such as (but not limited to) building connections with American experts, organizations, or projects that promote an increased understanding of U.S. policy, perspectives, or culture.
•Funds are limited. PDS receives many proposals, and the majority will likely not be funded, even if they are of a high quality. Fewer proposals are likely to be approved for the $25,000 and higher category. Applicants should create proposals with realistic budgets and should not expand their budgets beyond what is required for the requested activities.
•PDS merit review of proposals takes time. While some responses may be received earlier, we intend to inform all applicants of the outcome of this process by October 2024. Due to the large number of submissions and to avoid the perception of favorable consideration for any single applicant over others, organizations whose proposals are not selected should not expect detailed feedback explaining the decision.
Successful proposals will align with the strategic priorities of the U.S. Mission to South Africa as defined below. Their overall goal will be to develop and strengthen partnerships and knowledge sharing between Americans and South Africans, as well as institutions in both countries. Project activities must take place principally in South Africa. Proposals mostly focused on cultural activities (e.g. concert or other performances, festivals or similar events) without a significant linkage to advancing shared priorities are unlikely to be considered.
U.S. Mission to South Africa Strategic Priorities and Initiatives
1.Develop or strengthen lasting linkages between U.S. and South African universities and other institutions of higher and technical/vocational
•This initiative’s goal is to identify new efforts to create sustainable partnerships between higher education institutions — especially TVETs/CETs — in order to promote exchange on topics of priority; support student-led exchange and cooperation – including related to entrepreneurship and media literacy; create new shared curricula; and focus on increasing graduate employability; increase and improve commercialization of research; etc. Priority may be given to projects involving historically disadvantaged institutions.
2.Promote Democracy and Good Governance in celebration of the 30th anniversary of democracy in South Africa.
•This initiative’s goal is to increase citizen understanding of and participation in their democracy through civic engagement and education initiatives, as well as to improve public administration and accountability, reduce corruption, and improve institutional capacity to fulfill governance and human rights commitments, all through partnership and the sharing of experience and expertise between Americans and South Africans.
3.Increase and Broaden Entrepreneurship Skills and Opportunities to Expand Economic Opportunities for Disadvantaged & Youth Populations.
•This initiative’s goal is to increase support for entrepreneurs that work with women, youth, and historically underserved communities by creating connections with American peers and experts to share resources, innovative techniques, and other tools to strengthen and grow their businesses while expanding their networks and markets. This initiative can also focus on helping aspiring or historically disadvantaged South African entrepreneurs explore trade opportunities under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
4.Connect U.S. and South African expertise related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education among youth and young adults –
particularly working in partnership with TVETs.
•This initiative’s goal is to find innovative approaches to STEM education, including in partnership with TVETs, particularly in under-resourced and disadvantaged communities and schools and to populations overcoming historical challenges to accessing STEM education.
•This initiative may also include projects designed to connect private sector employers with educational institutions to improve the employability of graduates in the STEM fields.
•Projects in line with the priorities above that also focus on empowering girls through activities supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, and leadership are also encouraged.
5.Strengthen U.S. government-sponsored exchange alumni networks and help alumni effect positive change in their communities.
•This initiative’s goal is to strengthen networks and skills among alumni of U.S. government exchange programs to implement results-focused activities in their fields of expertise and that benefit their communities and share aspects of their U.S. experience.
6.Address awareness among key audiences about climate change, the importance of a Just Energy Transition (JET), and shared U.S.-South African climate challenges through connecting U.S. and South African climate change advocates and supporting public education initiatives.
•This initiative’s goal is to improve and broaden awareness among key audiences about climate change and the importance of a Just Energy Transition (JET), including by connecting relevant South African actors with American peers.
7.Address the shared challenges to American and South African democracy, society, and prosperity rooted in the rise of misinformation and disinformation, particularly by connecting American and South African community, citizen and student journalists for meaningful exchange, cooperation, and learning.
•This initiative’s goal is to increase awareness of and improve ability to identify misinformation and disinformation — particularly among community, citizen, and student journalists – and to encourage peer cooperation and engagement/network development among emerging journalists and community media outlets.
•Projects connecting American and South African student and/or community media outlets for mis-/disinformation identification training, joint or shared reporting, and/or exchange of best practices related to mis-/dis-information, and the practice of accurate citizen, student or community journalism generally are of particular interest.
Participants and Audiences
Proposals must identity a clearly defined target audience that the project seeks to engage and influence, and should specify the changes in attitudes or behaviors the project aims to realize – and how the implementer intends to measure these outcomes. Project activities must principally take place in South Africa and be directed at South African audiences/participants. Proposals should specify the main geographic location(s) of the project. We welcome proposals that reach multiple provinces or engage in areas outside the metropolitan areas of Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, including townships, rural areas, and other historically underserved areas. Proposals should reflect the applicant’s proven organizational capacity to implement the activities as outlined and in the geographic areas indicated.
The following types of projects are NOT eligible for funding:
•Projects relating to partisan political activity or advocacy;
•Projects solely dedicated to research;
•Charitable or development activities;
•Activities with a profit motive;
•Support for social or health services;
•Projects that support specific religious activities;
•Lobbying for specific legislation or projects;
•Projects intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization;
•Projects that duplicate existing projects;
•Travel to the United States for family or social purposes;
•Travel to the United States for purposes of amplifying South African cultural initiatives;
•Travel to the United States for purposes unconnected to a larger project or initiative;
•Scholarships or tuition assistance;
•Events of a purely social nature;
•Prizes and competition awards without a programmatic linkage.
Following your review of the above information, please send any queries you might have to PretoriaGrants@state.gov.
B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period:12 to 24 months
Number of awards anticipated:
4 to 10 (depending on amounts)
Anticipated project start date: On or before September 30, 2024.
Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $200,000.
Proposals with a budget below $25,000 should be submitted in Cycle 1, and
Proposals above $25,000 should be submitted in Cycle 2 (see timelines above).
Total available funding:$600,000-$800,000
Type of funding: FY 2024 Smith-Mundt public diplomacy funds
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Types: Grant, cooperative agreement, or fixed amount award. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that U.S. government staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.
Project Performance Period: Proposed projects should be completed in 24 months or less. The U.S. Mission 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 project, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Government.
C. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
1. Eligible Applicants
Only non-profit South African or U.S. organizations are eligible to apply. This includes non-profit think tanks, civil society/non-governmental organizations, and non-profit public and private educational institutions. Proposals from for-profit entities will not be considered. Applicants may be asked to provide proof of their non-profit status if such status is unclear to the selection committee.
2. Cost sharing or matching
Cost-sharing (including non-cash contributions) is permitted but not required.
3. System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
Applicants are not required to have an active registration on SAM.gov for the initial stage of application. However, to be considered as a finalist, all applicants must be registered with SAM.gov without any exclusions. Please see Section F below for information on how to obtain this registration, which applicants for this preliminary phase may choose to initiate early, as the process may take two or more months to complete.
D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
1. Submission date and time:
•Proposals under $25,000 (Cycle 1) – March 28, 2024; 23H59 SAST
•Proposals between $25,000-$200,000 (Cycle 2) – May 30, 2024; 23H59 SAST
2. Application process:
Please prepare a concept paper that describes your project and its intended outcomes, and upload it together with the cover sheet created by completing the information at this link: APS Google Form. Submitted concept papers will be reviewed by a Merit Review Panel, which will recommend which applicants should be invited to submit a full proposal.
The concept paper, which should be no more than two pages, should be a clear and concise description of the project in plain English: who, what, why, when, and how, as well as a budget estimate (in U.S. dollars). Intended beneficiaries and outcomes should be clearly described for the Merit Review Panel’s assessment.
E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each technically eligible application will be evaluated and scored by a Merit Review Panel based on the evaluation criteria outlined below.
•Clearly articulated and compelling American component.
•Strong linkages to Mission South Africa strategic priorities as outlined above.
•Creativity and innovation in addressing the subject matter.
•Clearly described and realistic specific activities directly related to achieving the stated goals and objectives of the project.
•Demonstrated organizational capability to achieve the outcomes proposed.
The Merit Review Panel will recommend to the U.S. Diplomatic Mission’s Country Public Affairs Officer which applicants should be invited to submit a full proposal.
Applicants for Cycle 1 (under $25,000) that are subsequently invited to submit a full proposal package should expect to receive notice by May 15, 2024.
Applicants for Cycle 2 ($25,000 – $200,000) that are subsequently invited to submit a full proposal package should expect to receive notice by July 15, 2024. Some applicants may receive notice at later dates.
*****OPTIONAL INFORMATION FOR THIS PHASE*****
F. Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
**SAM.gov registration is optional at this stage. However, to eventually submit a full application for and receive federal assistance funding an organization must have an active SAM.gov registration. This will be required of all applicants that are invited to submit a full application package. Applicants who wish to pursue SAM.gov registration at this time may review the instructions that follow.
All organizations, 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. 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.
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 outside of the United States 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 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 to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at www.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 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 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 apply for an NCAGE code by at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/Codification/CageTool/home
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 PretoriaGrants@state.gov at least two weeks prior to the final deadline in this 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.