Notice of Funding Opportunity: English Language Programming

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

U.S. Embassy, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan 

Notice of Funding Opportunity 

Program Office:  Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Nur-Sultan 

Funding Opportunity Title: English Language Programming  

Announcement Type: Agreement 

Deadline for Applications: June 15, 2022 (11:59 p.m. Nur-Sultan time)  

Total Amount Available: $150,000 

CONTACT INFORMATION 

  • For assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact RELO-Nur-Sultan@state.gov 
  • To inquire about the process for obtaining a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) contact Donald Hunter at HunterDS@state.gov 

Due to the volume of applicants and inquiries, Public Affairs Section (PAS) does not accept letters of intent, concept papers, or requests for meetings or phone calls prior to application. 

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application package has been received in its entirety. Incomplete applications will be considered ineligible. Applicants are urged to begin the application process well before the submission deadline. No exceptions will be made for organizations that have not completed the necessary steps. 

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Nur-Sultan announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a program in partnership with FHI360, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, to increase the English language teaching capacity of secondary school teachers. The selected organization will enter into a sub-award agreement with FHI360 and implement train-the-trainer activities building on the successes of the 2020-2021 U.S. Embassy’s Pedagogical University Development Project (PUDP). Please follow all instructions below to apply. 

Priority Region: Kazakhstan – all regions that conducted Pedagogical University Development Project (PUDP) trainings: Petropavlovsk, Kokshetau, Aktobe, Almaty, Kostanay, Taraz, Karaganda, Kyzylorda, Aktau, Arkalyk, Shymkent, Pavlodar, Semey, Taldykorgan, Uralsk.  

Background: 

From September 2020 to December 2021, the Public Affairs Section and Regional English Language Office (RELO) in Nur-Sultan in partnership with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science supported the Pedagogical University Development Project (PUDP)  as a multi-phase program.  The RELO provided eight Virtual English Language Specialists to 16 Kazakhstani institutes of higher education to train English faculty in modern methodology and curriculum development techniques.   

Partner universities for this project included the following:  

Kozybayev North-Kazakhstan University, Petropavlovsk, Sh. Ualikhanov Kokshetau University, Zhubanov Aktobe Regional University, Kazakh National Women’s Teacher Training University, Almaty, A.Baitursynov Kostanay Regional University, Dulaty Taraz Regional State University, Buketov Karaganda University, Korkyt Ata Kyzylorda State University, Yessenov University, Aktau, Altynsarin Arkalyk State Pedagogical Institute, South-Kazakhstan Pedagogical University, Shymkent, Shakarim University of Semey, Abai National Pedagogical University, Almaty, Pavlodar Pedagogical University, Zhansugurov Taldykorgan State University, Utemissov West Kazakhstan State University, Uralsk. 

The Pedagogical University Development Project training topics included improvement of the quality of online and in-person English language instruction, evaluation methods, and content development using modern online tools, assessment criteria, as well as the development and assessment of exam items, digital and virtual teaching aids, etc.  

Proposed Project Introduction: This funding opportunity seeks to identify and secure an implementer to support scaffold learning from the PUDP trained university faculty to secondary school teacher trainees new to the program. The implementer will be responsible for recruiting university faculty trainers who have previously participated in the PUDP project, collaborating with an English Language Specialist to help design curriculum for the training project, and facilitating trainings for secondary school teachers by university faculty. The English Language Specialist will be recruited and paid for through the Public Affairs Section in Nur-Sultan.   

University faculty trainers will receive assistance from an English Language Specialist in designing a curriculum for the project.  University faculty will then in turn train secondary school teachers in the PUDP methodology. 

The English Language Specialist will be recruited and paid for through the Public Affairs Section in Nur-Sultan.   

The trainings by the PUDP faculty trainers should be in-person with meetings twice per week and consist of no less than 80 hours per trainee.  All trainers and trainees will receive a certificate of completion issued by the partner organization.  

The selected partner will be responsible for implementing the following activities: 

Phase I  

August 20 – September 20, 2022 

  • Communicating with the 16 partner universities and their representatives/coordinators of PUDP project on the project and its goals. 
  • Advertising, interviewing, and recruiting eligible PUDP university staff to conduct trainings for secondary school teachers– highly qualified university English language teachers, hiring and forming a group of approximately 16 PUDP trainers.  
  • Submission of weekly program highlights to FHI360 and U.S. Embassy Nur-Sultan throughout the duration of the project.  

Phase II  

September 26 – December 15, 2022 

  • Facilitating online training with the English Language Specialist/s (a request for EL Specialist/s will be submitted and funded by the Regional English language Office) on the development of the curriculum of the course for secondary school teachers.  
  • Closely communicating with the U.S. Embassy and the EL Specialist. 
  • Organizing online curriculum planning meetings between the English Language Specialist(s) and local trainers. 
  • Monitoring attendance of trainers, monitoring of the trainers’ activities and following up on comments/recommendations of the Specialist on the organization of the process (if required). 
  • Facilitating payment to trainers for their services (during Phase II and III). Trainers should be paid at the commensurate level of English language tutors in Kazakhstan: $15 per one sixty-minute session.  

Phase III  

December 20, 2022 – April 28, 2023  

  • Recruiting groups of secondary school teacher trainee participants (25 secondary school teachers per group). 
  • Assisting trainers in locating free of cost training spaces which could include university classrooms or American Corners. 
  • In-person monitoring of the training activities.  
  • Monitoring trainers’ activities, attendance of the trainees completing site visits in coordination with the U.S. Embassy representatives.  
  • Issuing certificates of completion to all successful participants (trainers and trainees). 

Desired but optional events (depending on budget): 

  • Organizing an in-person capstone event / conference involving all trainers and high performing trainees, covering participants’ travel from the project budget in May of 2023.  

Program Goal: 

Modernize teaching practices in select universities and secondary schools in support of the Government of Kazakhstan’s trilingual education policy 

Program Objectives: 

  • Objective 1: Increase the English teaching capacity among secondary education English language teachers 
  • Objective 2: Improve English Language curriculum for university and secondary education faculty through collaboration with an English Language Specialist 

Participants and Audiences: 

Trainers:  University English language teachers – Alumni of the Pedagogical University Development Project

Trainees:  Secondary school teachers 

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: Period of performance is August 20, 2022, to June 30, 2023 

Number of awards anticipated: One 

Award amounts: $150,000 

Total available funding: $150,000 

Anticipated program start date: August 20, 2022 

This notice is subject to availability of funding. 

The Public Affairs Section reserves the right to award less than the funds described under circumstances deemed to be in the best interest of the U.S. government, pending the availability of funds and approval of the designated program/grants officer.  

Funding Instrument Type:   A sub-award agreement with FHI360, the primary recipient of the English Access Microscholarship Program.   

Program Performance Period: The Period of performance is August 20, 2022, to June 30, 2023.  No extensions to the agreement will be allowed.  

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. The following not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply:  
  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations working in the field of education 
  • Not-for-profit Public educational institutions 
  1. Organizations may sub-contract with other entities, but only one, non-profit, non-governmental entity can be the recipient of the agreement. When sub-contracting with other entities, the responsibilities of each entity must be clearly defined in the proposal. 
  2. Cost sharing or matching is not required for this funding opportunity. 
  3. Pre-award costs are not an allowable expense for this funding opportunity.   
  4. This award does not allow:  
  • Projects relating to partisan political activity; 
  • Charitable or development activities; 
  • Construction projects; 
  • Projects that support specific religious activities; 
  • Fund-raising campaigns; 
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs 
  • Scientific research or surveys; 
  • Commercial projects; 
  • Projects intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization;  
  • Projects that duplicate existing projects; or 
  • Illegal activities 

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. 

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

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. 
  • All applicant authorized signatures are provided where indicated on the various, required forms. 

Application Deadline: All applications must be received by June 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. (GMT +6) Nur-Sultan Time. This deadline is firm and is not a rolling deadline. If organizations fail to meet the deadline noted above their application will be considered ineligible and will not be considered for funding. Emails with the attachment size of more than 5MB and / or archive will not be received.  

Application Submission Process:  Submitting all application materials directly to the following email address:   RELO-Nur-Sultan@state.gov . Applicants opting to submit applications via email to RELO-Nur-Sultan@state.gov  must include the Funding Opportunity Title in the subject line of the email.   

Required Registration: All organizations applying must obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number. Organizations can do so by navigating to the www.SAM.gov page and applying for a UEI.  

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICATION                                      

When submitting a proposal, applicants are required to include the following documents. 

Section 1—Organization Information 

  1. Applicant Organizational Information Sheet: Applicants must complete and submit the form provided (Attachment 1). An authorized signature by the applicant must be provided on this form.   
  2. Proof of Registration: A copy of the organization’s registration should be provided with the proposal application. U.S.-based organizations should submit a copy of their IRS determination letter. Kazakhstan-based organizations should submit a copy of their certificate of registration from the appropriate government organization. 

Section 2—Technical Proposal  

Applicants must submit a complete narrative proposal in a format of their choice, or they may use the attached proposal template (Attachment 2). The proposal shall not exceed twelve (12) pages.  Refer to the evaluation criteria in Part G below for further detail about what makes a strong proposal.  

All proposals must have summary page: cover sheet stating the applicant organization name proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program. 

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 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. 
  • Organizational Description and Capacity  
  • Project Justification, Sustainability, and Impact  
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed 
  • Program Audiences, 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.  Include a logic model as appropriate.  
  • Proposed Program Schedule and Implementation 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 (see note below): 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? 
  • M&E Performance Monitoring Plan: Proposals must include a draft Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP).  The M&E PMP should show how applicants intend to measure and demonstrate progress towards the project’s objectives and goals.  Using the provided PMP template (Attachment 3), applicants should describe how they intend to monitor and evaluate the activities of their award and collect data that tracks award performance. 

Section 3 – Budget 

Budget: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification. Applicants are encouraged to utilize the template provided with the funding opportunity but are not required to do so (Attachment 4). Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Personnel salaries should include the level of effort and the rate of pay, which should cover the percentage of time each staff member will dedicate to grant-based activities.  If your organization is charging an indirect cost rate, you must apply it to the modified total budget costs (MTDC), refer to 2CFR§200.68.  Budgets that are not in the provided format will not be considered. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.  

Section 4 —Key Personnel and Project Partners: 

  1. Key Personnel: A résumé, not to exceed one page in length, must be included for the proposed key staff persons, such as the Project Director and Finance Officer, as well as any speakers or trainers (if applicable).  If an individual for this type of position has not been identified, the applicant may submit a 1-page position description, identifying the qualifications and skills required for that position, in lieu of a résumé. 
  2. Project Partners: Letters of support should be included for sub-recipients or other partners. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership.  The individual letters cannot exceed 1 page in length. 

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 

REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS                                             

Acknowledgement of receipt. Applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt of their proposal. 

Review. All submissions are screened for technical eligibility. If a submission is missing any required forms/documents listed, it will be considered ineligible and will not be reviewed by the grants review committee. A technical review panel will review the proposal based upon the criteria noted in this NOFO.  

Follow up notification.  Applicants will generally be notified within 60 days after the NOFO deadline regarding the results of the review panel.

APPLICATION EVALUATION CRITERIA                                                                                       

Criteria:  Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated based on the criteria enumerated below. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project, and to determine the likelihood of its success.  

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 30 points:  The program idea should be innovative and well developed, with sufficient detail about how project activities will be carried out. The proposals should demonstrate originality and outline clear, achievable objectives. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The project scope is appropriate and clearly defined.  

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 20 points:  

The project proposal demonstrates that the organization has sufficient expertise, skills, and human resources to implement the project. 

The organization demonstrates that it has a clear understanding of the underlying issue that the project will address. 

The organization demonstrates capacity for successful planning and responsible fiscal management. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.  

Applicants who have received grant funds previously have been compliant with applicable rules and regulations.  

Where partners are described, the applicant details each partner’s respective role and provides curriculum vitae (CVs) for persons responsible for the project and financial administration. Proposed personnel, institutional resources, and partners are adequate and appropriate 

Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 20 points: The project plan is well developed, with sufficient detail about how activities will be carried out and coordinated with or incorporate the American Corners. The proposal specifies target audiences, participant recruitment, and geographic areas of implementation. The proposal outlines clear, achievable objectives. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The project scope is appropriate and clearly defined. 

A media or amplification plan (if appropriate) that shows how the organization will use social or traditional media or otherwise increase the number of people who gain exposure to the issue and knowledge of the activities beyond the core participants. 

Budget – 15 points: The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently detailed. The budget demonstrates that the organization has devoted time to accurately determine expenses associated with the project instead of providing rough estimates. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The results and proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project. Budget items are reasonable, allowable, and allocable.   

Monitoring and Evaluation – 15 points: Applicant demonstrates it can measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The organization has clearly articulated how it will assess and measure its own performance throughout the project implementation phase using concrete quantitative and qualitative assessment tools.  

Expenses directly associated with monitoring and evaluation are considered allowable.  The suggested template includes a space to list the portion of the total budget amount directly associated with monitoring and evaluation activities.  

FEDERAL AWARD NOTICES                                                                                                         

The agreement with FHI360 is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the selected implementing partner by FHI360 for review and signature by email. The provider may only start incurring project expenses beginning on the start date shown on the agreement.  

The provider will work closely with FHI360 and the Public Affairs Section representatives on coordination of the project activities.  

If a proposal is selected for funding, the U.S. Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Extensions to this agreement will not be allowed.  

The Federal government is not obligated to make any Federal award as a result of the announcement. 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. The U.S. government also reserves the right to make an award in excess of the award ceiling. 

Reporting 

Recipients are required to submit quarterly program progress and financial reports throughout the project period. Progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period.  

All reports are to be submitted electronically. Recipient is also required to submit weekly highlights with pictures to PAS for reporting purposes.  

Awardees that are deemed to be high risk may be required to submit more extensive and frequent reports until their high-risk designation has been removed.  

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 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. 

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 

Branding Requirements  

 As a condition of receipt of a grant award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under an agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, and backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the standard, rectangular U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity. Note: Exceptions to the branding requirement are allowable under certain conditions. If an applicant is notified that their award has been chosen for funding, the Grants Officer will determine, in consultation with the applicant, if an exception is applicable.  

Copyrights and Proprietary Information  

If any of the information contained in your application is proprietary, please note in the footer of the appropriate pages that the information is Confidential – Proprietary. Applicants should also note what parts of the application, program, concept, etc. are covered by copyright(s), trademark(s), or any other intellectual property rights and provide copies of the relevant documentation to support these copyrights. 

Attachments: