Collected Department Releases: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): DRL Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law in Iraq

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February 26, 2019


United States Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO):

DRL Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law in Iraq

This is the announcement of funding opportunity number SFOP0005572

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.016

Type of Solicitation: Open Competition

Application Deadline: Friday, April 26, 2019

Funding Floor (lowest $$ value): $500,000 (with the exception of the Community of Practice Resource Development and Coordination category)

Funding Ceiling (highest $$ value): $3,000,000 (with the exception of the Community of Practice Resource Development and Coordination and Marla Ruzicka War Victims Fund, detailed below)

Anticipated Number of Awards: 12

Type of Award: Grant and Cooperative Agreement

Period of Performance: 18-24 months (with the exception of the Community of Practice Resource Development and Coordination)

Anticipated Time to Award (pending availability of funds): 8 months

A. Project Description

 

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that will contribute to stabilization in Iraq by advancing human rights and rule of law; promoting reconciliation, accountability, and atrocities prevention; strengthening effective governance and increasing political participation; and empowering Iraqis.

REQUESTED PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

U.S. human rights and democracy assistance will be tailored to contribute to stabilizing Iraq by promoting governance based on democratic principles, respect for human rights, post-conflict recovery, and peaceful coexistence and reconciliation. It will also provide for the protection of and advocacy for the rights of the most vulnerable, including youth, women, and religious and ethnic minorities, and mitigate the impact of conflict on Iraqi communities.

Proposed programming must be responsive to immediate needs on the ground; should contribute to and support Iraqi efforts; and must be in line with the U.S. Government’s democracy, governance, and human rights goals for Iraq. Helpful resources for applicants include the annual Iraq Human Rights Report (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/) and International Religious Freedom Report (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/).

With the above in mind, DRL invites organizations to submit proposals for programs in the following areas:

Promoting Good Governance and Increasing Political Participation: Programming should promote a more inclusive, responsible, transparent, and responsive government and should focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Support increased political engagement at the local and national level, with particular focus on representative governance for marginalized groups. Programs should strengthen Iraqi citizens’ ability to engage their elected provincial and federal representatives on social, political, and economic issues. Applicants should facilitate and sustain coalition-building efforts within Iraqi civil society to aggregate and more effectively vocalize citizen concerns.
  • Empower elected officials, at the national and local levels, to engage on and be responsive to human rights, religious freedom, and minority rights. Increase the capacity and awareness of government institutions to engage with and address the needs of diverse segments of Iraqi society.
  • Promote the participation and leadership of women and minorities in decision-making institutions, including federal, provincial, and local government, as well as cross-cutting institutional bodies working on reconciliation and stabilization efforts. Program areas may include engagement with the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on enhancing women and minority representation at the national level. Programs must include dedicated efforts to engage political parties so that party structures and cultures become more supportive of minority and women’s participation and leadership.
  • Provide youth with pathways to engage in governance, including: expanding opportunities for youth in public service, community engagement, or volunteerism; developing soft skills such as leadership, the ability to work independently and in teams, problem solving, and effective communication; promoting constructive engagement by youth in their communities, including advocacy with local government; and developing capacities of local institutions and NGOs to respond to the needs of youth. Programs should target both urban and rural youth, ages 15-30, inclusive of both girls and boys.
  • Support to targeted anti-corruption efforts, with emphasis on transparency in business registration and licensing.

Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability, and Atrocities Prevention: Programming should support grassroots reconciliation efforts that focus on addressing both immediate and long-term tension and grievances such as poor governance, distrust in security forces, historic marginalization of communities, and perceptions of betrayal that could lead to reprisal violence. Programs must demonstrate an awareness of existing/ongoing reconciliation efforts in target areas and clearly explain how proposals will complement or build on lessons learned and/or results from those efforts. Programming should focus on one or more of the following areas and may include (note: programs limited to dialogue activities will not be deemed competitive):

  • Dispute resolution, conflict management, and targeted reconciliation programs. Programs may include efforts to rebuild trust and relationships across and within communities, including non-humanitarian support to help displaced persons integrate in host communities and/or reintegrate should they voluntarily return home; and advocate for acknowledgment and recognition of atrocities. Programs must, to the extent possible, promote reconciliation efforts that include those who are negatively impacted by perceived affiliations based on family, tribe, religious or ethnic identity, or area of origin.
  • Reinforce non-sectarianism, tolerance, respect for Iraq’s multi-cultural society, and provide human rights and non-violent conflict resolution training and education. (Please note: curriculum reform efforts will not be deemed competitive).
  • Strengthen and engage traditional/informal/tribal justice and reconciliation mechanisms in support of the rights and interests of women, youth, and minorities, increasing coordination with governmental efforts where possible.
  • Support civil society efforts to advocate for inclusion that is equitable, representative, and promotes protection of marginalized populations, including religious and ethnic minorities, with police and other security entities. Activities may include: civil society engagement with relevant government institutions and elected officials on security policy development; monitoring of and following up on conditions in detention facilities; and combating impunity for human rights violations through legal advocacy and other channels.
  • Promote accountability for human rights abuses. Activities may include: advocating for measures to increase accountability for human rights abuses; providing technical assistance to bolster local civil society organizations’ capacity to monitor and document human rights abuses for justice and accountability processes; and establishing a secure, accessible database housing multiple sources of documentation.

Promoting Human Rights and Rule of Law: Programming should advance human rights and rule of law in Iraq and should include marginalized populations, such as religious and ethnic minorities, women, and youth. Programming should focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Support freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and independent media frameworks in Iraq, particularly in the IKR. Programs should strengthen capacity within Iraqi civil society to advocate with the government as well as citizenry at large to support and protect freedom of expression, both online and offline, and may include support and training to journalists and civil society activists reporting on political processes, corruption, human rights abuses, and other sensitive issues.
  • Protect and support journalist, citizen, and civil society organizations’ right to political engagement. Programs may include digital/cybersecurity training for journalists, activists, and citizens in order to enhance their safety and privacy online, as well as provide security and technology training to enable them to safely and freely exercise their right to civic engagement.
  • Address problematic legislation through advocacy and reform efforts, as well as support implementation of existing laws that promote equitable status and rights. Examples may include the following: implementation of elements of personal status laws that allow women the right to confer citizenship or religious affiliation to children, regardless of paternity; safe marriage age; land ownership for single female-headed households; the so-called “marry your rapist law” expounded by Article 398; child protection; privacy and respect for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in legislative processes and evidence collection; legislation to criminalize genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; and processes for birth registration and documentation. Programming should include raising awareness within communities on human rights according to Iraqi law. Programming may also include support to lawyers targeted for their casework and advocacy on human rights issues.
  • Promote the rehabilitation, reintegration, and protection of radicalized children, including former ISIS child soldiers. Programs may include community-reintegration, protection of civil rights, provision of or access to legal assistance, psychosocial support, and advocacy with government on juvenile detention issues.

Marla Ruzicka War Victims Fund ($7.5 million; Note: this is a different funding ceiling than the one listed below for the remainder of this solicitation): DRL is seeking an implementing partner or consortium of partners to implement the Marla Ruzicka War Victims Fund. The fund aims to support civilian victims of conflict in Iraq. Program approaches must address both systemic issues related to good governance as well as provision of and access to services, and ensure civilian victims of conflict are better able to receive support and protection. Program approaches must include at least one of the following:

  • Improving/reforming compensation processes and promoting more equitable access to existing compensation mechanisms, including providing legal assistance and guidance on accessing such mechanisms; navigating bureaucratic processes; dispute resolution; and addressing housing, land, and property issues.
  • Promote and advocate for equitable access to government support and/or public services. Program efforts may include establishing public/private service delivery partnerships; establishing effective referral networks, including follow-up to ensure referrals result in improved access to services; increasing the capacity of civil society to advocate for reform; and improving public understanding and sensitivity to the needs of the vulnerable.
  • Strengthen the capacity of families, communities, and the government to provide protection for and ensure the rights of children affected by conflict, including advocacy on child rights; the ability to establish citizenship without identification of the father; family reunification and community reintegration, particularly for ISIS survivors; and juvenile justice.
  • Access to protection and service provision, including psychosocial support and support to survivors of torture/GBV. 
  • Promote economic opportunities and provide livelihoods support.

The successful implementer of the Marla Ruzicka War Victims Fund must demonstrate a strong in-country presence in Iraq and ability to sub-grant to local organization(s); a comprehensive knowledge of the issues faced by victims of conflict; and the lessons learned from previous attempts to address their vulnerabilities. The implementer must be able to engage constructively with the GOI and KRG on issues related to compensation, property restitution, and livelihoods support; and must demonstrate an ability to safely and responsibly identify, access, and engage civilian victims of conflict, particularly the most vulnerable, including developing appropriate service protocols and methods for screening prospective recipients.

Community of Practice Resource Development and Coordination: DRL seeks an organization to nurture a community of practice of local and international organizations implementing democracy, human rights, and governance programs in Iraq, to include developing resources and convening periodic coordination meetings.

The successful applicant will be responsible for creating, maintaining, distributing, and publicizing resources that can be utilized by the community of practice. One such resource DRL seeks is a mapping of services and efforts, not limited to those funded by DRL, for use by other implementing organizations operating in Iraq. Services to be mapped should include efforts related to gender-based violence; legal, psychosocial, and economic support; and potentially other areas. Note: mapping is not meant to duplicate existing mechanisms coordinating humanitarian assistance. The applicant may propose additional resources that would be of use to the community of practice and should utilize existing platforms. Website development will not be deemed competitive. The implementer will coordinate with and build on existing DRL efforts to foster better coordination and complementarity among programs.

The successful applicant will also coordinate various convenings of the community of practice to include DRL stakeholders and partners (ranging from approximately 25-40 international and local organizations). DRL is not seeking new programming under this component; instead, activities will focus on the management of logistics for specific meetings. The successful applicant will be responsible for the logistics and coordination of the following meetings on a yearly basis, which must include robust local partner participation:

  • One in-person stakeholder meeting for both international and local partners in a third country with USG participation (approximately thirty participants).
  • Two to four in-person partner meetings in Baghdad and Erbil (approximately 20 participants each). 
  • Quarterly conference call meetings among partners.
  • Several small-group, thematic-focused conference calls or in-person meetings.

With the exception of the third-country stakeholder meeting, costs associated with other coordination activities should be minimal, utilizing existing office space and locations. Costs for the third-country stakeholder meeting should not exceed $65,000. Iraq-based partner meetings should involve only Iraq-based staff.

This programming stream must stand alone, i.e., it may not be one component of a larger proposal. The funding ceiling for this objective is $300,000 and the target period of performance must be between 12 and 24 months. (Note: this is a different ceiling and duration than the one listed below for the remainder of this solicitation).

OTHER PROGRAM INFORMATION

For all programs, projects should aim to have impact that leads to reforms and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. Programs should seek to include groups that can bring perspectives based on their religion, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity. Programs should demand-driven and locally led to the extent possible. DRL also requires all of its programming to be non-discriminatory and expects implementers to include strategies for integration of individuals/organizations regardless of religion, gender, disability, race, ethnicity,

Project activities must take place in Iraq. Applicants may plan to conduct program activities throughout Iraq, including within the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR); however, projects that propose activities requiring disproportionate travel to the IKR from other areas of the country will not be deemed competitive. Where security conditions allow, activities should take place within the beneficiaries’ communities. Proposals that include the southern provinces will be viewed favorably. Programs that propose participant travel outside of Iraq will not be deemed competitive. Programs proposing activities inside IDP/refugee camps or targeting Syrian refugees in Iraq will not be deemed competitive.

A proven ability to implement programs in Iraq must be demonstrated. All proposed program objectives must impact Iraqis inside the country. DRL strongly encourages partnering with local organizations, including organizations who have not previously received DRL funding. DRL also requires all of its programming to be inclusive and expects implementers to include strategies for deliberate analysis, integration, and investment in at-risk or vulnerable individuals.

Training or workshops may be used as a tool to a larger goal, but should not be the main focus of a program. Projects for which assessments have already been completed that support certain targeted activities or interventions will be viewed favorably. Projects that have a strong academic, research, or conference focus will not be deemed competitive.

Where proposals include the involvement of security forces, Leahy vetting may be required, and proposals must address how organizations will meet this requirement in Iraq.

Where appropriate, competitive proposals may include:

  • Opportunities for beneficiaries to apply their new knowledge and skills in practical efforts.
  • Solicitation of feedback and suggestions from beneficiaries when developing activities in order to strengthen the sustainability of programs and participant ownership of project outcomes.
  • Input from participants on sustainability plans and systematic review of the plans throughout the life of the project with adjustments made as necessary.
  • Inclusion of vulnerable populations in needs and/or rapid assessments in order to identify challenges, gaps, and opportunities among these groups.
  • Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities.
  • Systematic follow up with beneficiaries at specific intervals (3 months, 6 months, etc.) after the completion of activities to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.

Activities that are not typically allowed include, but are not limited to:

  • The provision of humanitarian assistance;
  • English language instruction;
  • Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
  • Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
  • External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
  • Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary per security concerns;
  • Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
  • Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
  • Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.

B. Federal Award Information

Primary organizations can submit three applications in response to the NOFO. If an applicant chooses to submit multiple applications to this NOFO, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate the competitiveness and uniqueness of each application.

The U.S. government may (a) reject any or all applications, (b) accept other than the lowest cost application, (c) accept more than one application, and (d) waive irregularities in applications received.

The U.S. government may make award(s) on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (though it is under no obligation to do so), however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.

DRL anticipates awarding either a grant or cooperative agreement depending on the needs and risk factors of the program. The final determination on award mechanism will be made by the Grants Officer. The distinction between grants and cooperative agreements revolves around the existence of “substantial involvement.” Cooperative agreements require greater Federal government participation in the project. If a cooperative agreement is awarded, DRL will undertake reasonable and programmatically necessary substantial involvement. Examples of substantial involvement can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Active participation or collaboration with the recipient in the implementation of the award.
  2. Review and approval of one stage of work before another can begin.
  3. Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed subawards or contracts.
  4. Approval of the recipient’s budget or plan of work prior to the award.

The authority for this funding opportunity is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA).

To maximize the impact and sustainability of the award(s) that result from this NOFO, DRL retains the right to execute non-competitive continuation amendment(s). The total duration of any award, including potential non-competitive continuation amendments, shall not exceed 60 months or five years. Any non-competitive continuation is contingent on performance and pending availability of funds. A non-competitive continuation is not guaranteed and the Department of State reserves the right to exercise or not to exercise this option.

DRL may require successful applicant(s) to incorporate coordination of an implementer and stakeholder meeting into the Scope of Work of the final project. DRL will discuss this possibility with particular applicant(s) during the proposal negotiation phase and may include, but not limited to the following:

  • Additional funding to cover cost of the stakeholder meeting;
  • Coordinating all logistics and hosting the meeting;
  • Assisting applicants with visas;
  • Drafting the agenda in coordination with DRL;
  • Preparing all materials for the meeting;
  • Securing outside speakers for the conference; and
  • Hosting a networking event outside of the meeting space.

C. Eligibility Information

For application information, please see the proposal submission instructions (PSI) on our website.

C.1 Eligible Applicants

DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.

Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures.

Please see 2 CFR 200.307 for regulations regarding program income.

C.2 Cost Sharing or Matching

Providing cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not an eligibility factor or requirement for this NOFO, and providing cost share will not result in a more favorable competitive ranking.

C.3 Other

Applicants should have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in-country partners, entities, and relevant stakeholders, including private sector partners and NGOs, and have demonstrable experience in administering successful and preferably similar projects. DRL encourages applications from foreign-based NGOs headquartered in the geographic regions/countries relevant to this NOFO. Applicants may form consortia in order to bring together organizations with varied expertise to propose a comprehensive program in one proposal. However, one organization should be designated in the proposal as the lead applicant, with the other members designated as sub-award partners. DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on applicants that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards, and these applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.

DRL is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its projects and activities. DRL welcomes applications irrespective of race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other status.

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM)(www.sam.gov) and/or has a current debt to the United Stated Government 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 or person listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM.gov can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in SAM.gov to ensure that no ineligible entity or person is included in their application.

D. Application and Submission Information

D.1 Address to Request Application Package

Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on www.grants.gov and SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) under the announcement title “DRL Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law in Iraq” funding opportunity number “SFOP0005572.” Please contact the DRL point of contact listed in Section G if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note that reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.

D.2 Content and Form of Application Submission

For all application documents, please ensure:

  1. All documents are in English and all costs are in U.S. dollars. If an original document within the application is in another language, an English translation must be provided (please note the Department of State, as indicated in 2 CFR 200.111, requires that English is the official language of all award documents. If any document is provided in both English and a foreign language, the English language version is the controlling version);
  2. All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments;
  3. All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and,
  4. All documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Captions and footnotes may be 10-point Times New Roman font. Font sizes in charts and tables, including the budget, can be reformatted to fit within 1 page width.

D.2.1 Application Requirements

Complete applications must include the following:

  1. Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms. Please see SF-424 instructions in Section 2B of the PSI.
  2. If your organization engages in lobbying the U.S. government, including Congress, or pays another entity to lobby on your behalf, the SF-LLL “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form is also required (only if applicable). Please see SF-LLL guidance in Section 2B of the PSI.
  3. Cover Page (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably as a Word Document) that includes a table with the organization name, project title, target country/countries, project synopsis, and name and contact information for the application’s main point of contact. Please see Cover Page section 2C of the PSI for a template and more details.
  4. Executive Summary (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably as a Word Document) that outlines project goals, objectives, activities, etc.
  5. Table of Contents (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably as a Word Document) listing all documents and attachments with page numbers.
  6. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten [10] pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please note the ten-page limit does not include the Cover Page, Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, Audit, or NICRA. Applicants are encouraged to combine multiple documents in a single Word Document or PDF (i.e. Cover Page, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, and Proposal Narrative in one file). Please see Proposal Narrative Guidelines in Section 2E of the PSI for more details.
    DRL requests a Proposal Narrative that demonstrates the Applicant’s commitment to ensuring the participation of all people as a strategy for implementation. Please integrate inclusion strategies in all sections of the Proposal Narrative to enhance programmatic impact.
  7. Budget (preferably as an Excel workbook) that includes three [3] columns containing the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and the total budget. A summary budget should also be included using the OMB-approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample) in a separate tab. Costs must be in U.S. dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for subgrantees should be included as additional tabs within the Excel workbook (if available at the time of submission). Please see Budget Guidelines Section 2F of the PSI for more information.
    DRL requests a programming approach dedicated to strengthening inclusive societies as a necessary pillar of strong democracies. Please include costs associated with this commitment in the budget and budget narrative.
  8. Budget Narrative (preferably as a Word Document) that includes substantive explanations and justifications for each line-item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered. Please see Budget Guidelines Section 2F of the PSI for more information.
  9. Your organization’s most recent audit, if applicable. This should be a single audit, program-specific audit, or other audit in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). Please see Audit Section 2G of the PSI for more information.
  10. Logic Model (preferably as a Word Document). Please see Logic Model Section 2H of the PSI for more information.
  11. Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative (not to exceed four [4] pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please see Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative Section 2I of the PSI for more information.
    As stated within the DRL Guide to Program Monitoring and Evaluation (p. 6): DRL strongly encourages applicants to consider whether their monitoring and evaluation systems are utilizing human rights-based approaches, applying a gender and equity lens, or include the participation of sub-grantees and project participants. Within the Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative, applicants should demonstrate their commitment to inclusive strategies and consider whether evaluation design, data collection, analysis, reporting and learning are conducted in an ethical and responsible way with all project participants (e.g. direct beneficiaries, sub-grantees). Applicants should still make adequate provisions to protect the privacy of human subjects when collecting data from individuals. For instance, when collecting data from project participants, consider whether your organization will have the necessary informed consent forms, confidentiality agreements, and data security protocols.
  12. Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (preferably as a Word Document or Excel Sheet). Please see Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Section 2I of the PSI for more information.
  13. Risk Analysis (preferably as a Word Document). Please see Risk Analysis Section 2J of the PSI for more information.
  14. Key Personnel (not to exceed two [2] pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please include short bios that highlight relevant professional experience. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
  15. Timeline (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably as a Word Document or Excel Sheet). The timeline of the overall proposal should include activities, evaluation efforts, and program closeout.
  16. Security Plan addressing any issues involving in-person events and recruitment for said events, and safety for any online programs or communications, including independent IT security audits (to include a vulnerability assessment) of any proposed web application or platform. Organization’s security plan should demonstrate consideration of the risks identified in the submitted risk assessment. Costs may also be identified within the budget and budget narrative. Applicants are also encouraged to include contingency plans for in-person or online activities. 
  17. Contingency Plan for proposed activities should the originally planned activities not be able to be implemented. The contingency plan should be submitted as an additional annex. Applicants should demonstrate consideration of the risks identified in the submitted risk assessment and include specific alternative activities or locations as part of the contingency plan. Any proposed “plan” must comply with 2CFR200.433 – Contingency provisions. Plans must not include unallocable or unallowable expenses, and must not result in a larger Total Award Value than the identified as the “competition ceiling”. DRL/GP requires prior approval by the Grants Officer of the “plan” before any activities can take place, or costs can be incurred against the “plan”.
  18. Lessons Learned (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably as a Word Document) from past programs (insert country or theme) that demonstrate how the implementer has safely operated and responded to programmatic challenges, learning from both successes and failures, in the operating environment. To be incorporated into the ten [10] pages allowed for “Proposal Narrative.” (Internal DRL Guidance: Remove this if your team does not require) 
  19. Psychosocial Assistance. A section in the proposal, budget, and budget narrative to reflect appropriate resources and support for the psychosocial health of staff (i.e., activities can range from access to educational materials and training opportunities to counseling services to other contextually-relevant support). To be incorporated into the ten [10] pages allowed for “Proposal Narrative,” and into “Budget” and “Budget Narrative”. (Internal DRL Guidance: Remove this if your team does not require)
    References: For reference to international guidance, please see the following: Core Humanitarian Standard Commitment 8.9 (http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=http://www.corehumanitarianstandard.org/files/files/CHS-Guidance-Notes-and-Indicators.pdf); and IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings Action Sheet 4.4 (http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=http://www.who.int/mental_health/emergencies/guidelines_iasc_mental_health_psychosocial_june_2007.pdf).
  20. Gender Analysis of Conflict. Proposals should also include a gender analysis of conflict to address how the program will identify the relevance of gender norms and power relations in Iraq. This includes institutional practices, cultural norms, gender roles, access to and control over assets and resources, and patterns of decision-making. The gender analysis should present how gender norms interact with other factors to drive or mitigate conflict, the differential impact of conflict on women and men, and an understanding of the roles of women and men in conflict and peacebuilding.
  21. Safeguarding Federal Funds. Applicants are required to demonstrate their ability to safeguard federal funding from fraud, waste, and abuse through security practices, financial oversight, and administrative controls they have or will put in place.

Applications that do not include the elements listed above will be deemed technically ineligible.

D.2.2 Additional Application Documents

Strong applications will also contain the following:

  • Individual Letters of Support and/or Memorandum of Understanding. Letters of support and MOUs must be specific to the project implementation (e.g. from proposed partners or sub-award recipients) and will not count towards the page limit.

Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instructions on DRL’s website for detailed guidance on the documents above: https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/286844.pdf. For an application checklist and sample templates please see the Resources page on DRL’s website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. The sample templates provided on the DRL website are suggested, but not mandatory.

DRL reserves the right to request additional documents not included in this NOFO. Additionally, to ensure that all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL Review Panel will review from the first page of each section up to the page limit and no further.

Note: If ultimately provided with a notification of non-binding intent to make a Federal award, applicants typically have two to three weeks to provide additional information and documents requested in the notification of intent. The deadlines may vary in each notification of intent and applicants must adhere to the stated deadline in the notification of intent.

D.2.3 Additional Information Requested For Those Receiving Notification of Intent

Successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award:

  • Written responses and revised application documents addressing conditions and recommendations from the DRL Review Panel;
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA as a PDF file;
  • Completion of the Department’s Financial Management Survey, if receiving DRL funding for the first time;
  • Submission of required documents to register in the Payment Management System managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, if receiving DRL funding for the first time (unless an exemption is provided); and,
  • Other requested information or documents included in the notification of intent to make a Federal award or subsequent communications prior to issuance of a Federal award.

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

All prime organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), formerly referred to as DUNS, and an active registration with the SAM.gov before submitting an application. DRL may not review applications from or make awards to applicants that have not completed all applicable UEI and SAM.gov requirements. 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: The process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • If you are based in the United States or pay employees within the United States, prior to registering in SAM.gov you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code. 
  • If you are based outside of the United States and do not pay employees within the United States, you do not need an EIN from the IRS. However, you will need a NATO CAGE (NCAGE) code before you can have an active registration in SAM.gov.

All prime organizations must also continue to maintain active SAM.gov registration with current information at all times during which they have an active Federal award or application under consideration by a Federal award agency. SAM.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM.gov and to maintain that active registration. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements at the time of application, the applicant may be deemed unqualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

For further guidance on the registration process, please see the SAM.gov Registration Guide on DRL’s website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. Please refer to 2 CFR 25.200 for additional information. Also, please refer to Section D.5 – Funding Restriction of the NOFO.

Note: SAM.gov is not the same as SAMS Domestic. It is free to register in both systems, but the registration processes are different.

In October 2017, new information was added to the www.SAM.gov website to help international registrations, including “Quick Start Guide for International Registrations” and “Helpful Hints.” Navigate to SAM.gov, click HELP in the top navigation bar, then click International Registrants in the left navigation panel. Please note, guidance on SAM.gov and the guidance on GSA’s website about requirement for registering in SAM.gov is subject to change. Applicants should review the website for the most up-to-date guidance.

D.3.1 Exemptions

An exemption from these 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.

** Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grant Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review. **

Note: Foreign organizations will be required to register with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) to receive a NCAGE code in order to register in SAM.gov. NSPA will forward your registration request to the applicable National Codification Bureau (NCB) if your organization is located in a NATO or Tier 2 Sponsored Non-NATO Nation. As of March 2016, NATO nations included Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America; and Tier 2 nations included Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, Israel, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Serbia, and Singapore.

NSPA and/or the appropriate NCB forwards all NCAGE code information to all Allied Committee 135 (AC/135) nations, which as of March 2016 also included Afghanistan, Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Montenegro, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. All organizations are strongly advised to take this into consideration when assessing whether registration may result in possible endangerment.

D.4 Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), on Friday, April 26, 2019 on www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) under the announcement title “DRL Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law in Iraq” funding opportunity number “SFOP0005572.”

Grants.gov and SAMS Domestic automatically log the date and time an application submission is made, and the Department of State will use this information to determine whether an application has been submitted on time. Late applications are neither reviewed nor considered unless the DRL point of contact listed in Section G is contacted prior to the deadline and is provided with evidence of system errors caused by www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) that is outside of the applicant’s control and is the sole reason for a late submission. Applicants should not expect a notification upon DRL receiving their application.

D.5 Funding Restrictions

DRL will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization. Please refer the link for Foreign Terrorist Organizations: https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

Project activities whose direct beneficiaries are foreign militaries or paramilitary groups or individuals will not be considered for DRL funding given purpose limitations on funding.

The Leahy Law prohibits Department foreign assistance funds from supporting foreign security force units if the Secretary of State has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. Per 22 USC §2378d(a) (2015), “No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter [FOREIGN ASSISTANCE] or the Arms Export Control Act [22 USC 2751 et seq.] to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” Restrictions may apply to any proposed assistance to police or other law enforcement. Among these, pursuant to section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA), no assistance provided through this funding opportunity may be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country when there is credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. In accordance with the requirements of section 620M of the FAA, also known as the Leahy law, project beneficiaries or participants from a foreign government’s security forces may need to be vetted by the Department before the provision of any assistance. If a proposed grant or cooperative agreement will provide assistance to foreign security forces or personnel, compliance with the Leahy Law is required.

Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs; however, the Grants Officer may approve pre-award costs on a case-by-case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under DRL awards. For additional information, please see the DRL Proposal Submission Instructions for Applications Updated October 2018: https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/286844.pdf.

D.6 Application Submission

All application submissions must be made electronically via www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com). Both systems require registration by the applying organization. Please note: the Grants.gov registration process can take ten [10] business days or longer, even if all registration steps are completed in a timely manner.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that it has an active registration in SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov. Applicants are required to document that the application has been received by SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov in its entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for disqualification that result from applicants not being registered before the due date, for system errors in either SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov, or other errors in the application process. Additionally you must save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.

Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable NOFO and these instructions.

DRL encourages organizations to submit applications during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00AM – 5:00p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)). If an applicant experiences technical difficulties and has contacted the appropriate helpdesk but is not receiving timely assistance (e.g. if you have not received a response within 48 hours of contacting the helpdesk), you may contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO in Section G. The point of contact may assist in contacting the appropriate helpdesk, but an applicant should also document their efforts in contacting the helpdesk. Applicants may also contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO if experiencing technical issues with Grants.gov or SAMS Domestic that may result in a late submission.

Applicants experiencing technical difficulties should follow these three steps:

  1. Contact the helpdesk for either Grants.gov or SAMS Domestic immediately.
  2. Document (including screenshots) technical issues AND efforts to contact the helpdesk.
  3. Submit all of the required documents to the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO before the deadline.

Note: The Procurement Office/Grant Office will determine technical eligibility of all applications.

SAMS Domestic Applications:

Applicants using SAMS Domestic for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration.” To register with SAMS Domestic, click “Login to https://mygrants.service-now.com” and follow the “create an account” link.

Organizations must remember to save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.

SAMS Domestic Help Desk:
For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at 1-888-313-4567 (toll charges for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms/home. Customer Support is available 24/7/365.

Grants.gov Applications
Applicants who do not submit applications via SAMS Domestic may submit via www.grants.gov.

Please be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from Grants.gov can take more than two [2] weeks.

Please refer to the Grants.gov website for definitions of various “application statuses” and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from Grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days. Additionally you must remember to save a screenshot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.

Grants.gov Helpdesk:

For assistance with Grants.gov, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email [email protected] The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.

See https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/federal-holidays/ for a list of federal holidays.

E. Application Review Information

E.1 Proposal Review Criteria

The DRL Review Panel will evaluate each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications. Please use the below criteria as a reference, but do not structure your application according to the sub-sections.

Quality of Project Idea

Applications should be responsive to the program framework and policy objectives identified in the NOFO, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term, sustainable reforms. DRL prefers new approaches that do not duplicate efforts by other entities. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities and how these efforts will be coordinated. Proposals that promote creative approaches to recognized ongoing challenges are highly encouraged. DRL prioritizes project proposals with inclusive approaches for advancing these rights.

Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives

A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization. Objectives should be ambitious yet measurable, results-focused and achievable in a reasonable time frame. A complete application must include a logic model to demonstrate how the project activities will have an impact on its proposed objectives. The logic model should match the objectives, outcomes, key activities, and outputs described in the narrative. Applications should address how the project will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate.

If local partners have been identified, DRL strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. If applicable, applications should identify target geographic areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of sub-awardees, among other pertinent details.

DRL recognizes that all programs have some level of risk due to internal/external variables that have the potential to adversely affect a program. Risk management should address how the program design incorporates the identification, assessment, and management of key risk factors. DRL will review the risk analysis based on the organization’s ability to identify risks that could have an impact on the overall program as well as how the organization will manage these risks.

Institution’s Record and Capacity

DRL will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record of successful democracy and human rights programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives. Projects should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources.

Addressing Barriers to Equal Participation

DRL strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of all persons. As the U.S. government’s lead bureau dedicated to promoting democratic governance, DRL requests a programming approach dedicated to strengthening inclusive societies as a necessary pillar of strong democracies. Violence targeting any members of society undermines collective security and threatens democracy. DRL prioritizes inclusive and integrated program models that assess and address the barriers to access for individuals and groups based on their religion, gender, disabilities, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and gender identity. Applicants should describe how programming affects all of its beneficiaries, including support that specifically target these communities facing discrimination, and especially which may be under threat of violence. This approach should be an integral part of both the concept and explicit design of all proposed project activities, objectives, and monitoring. Strong proposals will provide specific analysis, measures, and corresponding targets as appropriate. Stakeholders shall identify the difference between opportunities and barriers to access and design programs that do not perpetuate these inequalities, but rather enhance programmatic impact by including all people in society. The goal of this approach is to bring communities and those in power together in support of stable and secure societies.

Cost Effectiveness

DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate project cost-effectiveness in their application, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. However, cost-sharing or other examples of leveraging other resources are not required. Inclusion of cost-sharing in the budget does not result in additional points awarded during the review process. 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 necessity, appropriateness, and connection to the project objectives.

Please note: If cost-share is included in the budget, the recipient must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, DRL’s contribution may be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.

Multiplier Effect/Sustainability

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 (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people; workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after DRL funding ceases. 

Project Monitoring and Evaluation

Complete applications will include a detailed M&E Narrative and M&E Plan, which detail how the project’s progress will be monitored and evaluated. Incorporating well-designed monitoring and evaluation processes into a project is an efficient method for documenting the change (intended and unintended) that a project seeks. Applications should demonstrate the capacity to provide objectives with measurable outputs and outcomes.

The quality of the M&E sections will be judged on the narrative explaining how both monitoring and evaluation will be carried out and who will be responsible for those related activities. The M&E Narrative should explain how an external evaluation will be incorporated into the project implementation plan or how the project will be systematically assessed in the absence of one. Please see the section on Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for more information on what is required in the narrative.

The output and outcome-based performance indicators should not only be separated by project objectives but also should match the objectives, outcomes, and outputs detailed in the logic model and proposal narrative. Performance indicators should be clearly defined (i.e., explained how the indicators will be measured and reported) either within the table or with a separate Performance Indicator Reference Sheet (PIRS). For each performance indicator, the table should also include baselines and quarterly and cumulative targets, data collection tools, data sources, types of data disaggregation, and frequency of monitoring and evaluation. There should also be metrics to capture how project activities target those discriminated against or marginalized populations or addresses their concerns, where applicable. Please see the section on Monitoring and Evaluation Plan in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for more information on what is required in the plan.

E.2 Review and Selection Process

DRL strives to ensure that each application receives a balanced evaluation by a DRL Review Panel. The Department’s Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM) will determine technical eligibility for all applications. All technically eligible applications for a given NOFO are reviewed against the same seven criteria, which include quality of project idea, project planning/ability to achieve objectives, institutional record and capacity, inclusive programming, cost effectiveness, multiplier effect/sustainability, and project monitoring and evaluation.

Additionally, the DRL Review Panel will evaluate how the application addresses the NOFO request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. DRL may also take into consideration the balance of the current portfolio of active projects, including geographic or thematic diversity, if needed.

In most cases, the DRL Review Panel includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate Department of State regional bureau (to include feedback from U.S. embassies), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (to include feedback from USAID missions). In some cases, additional panelists may participate, including from other Department of State bureaus or offices; U.S. government departments, agencies, or boards; representatives from partner governments; or representatives from entities that are in a public-private partnership with DRL. At the end of the panel’s discussion about an application, the Panel votes on recommending the application for approval by the DRL Assistant Secretary. If more applications are ultimately recommended for approval than DRL can fund, the Panel will rank the recommended applications in priority order for consideration by the DRL Assistant Secretary. The Grants Officer Representative (GOR) for the eventual award does not vote on the panel. All Panelists must sign non-disclosure agreements and conflicts of interest agreements.

DRL Review Panels may provide conditions and recommendations on applications to enhance the proposed project, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify, and/or justify costs and project activities.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

F.1 Federal Award Notices

DRL will provide a separate notification to applicants on the result of their applications. Successful applicants will receive a letter electronically via email requesting that the applicant respond to Panel conditions and recommendations. This notification is not an authorization to begin activities and does not constitute formal approval or a funding commitment.

Final approval is contingent on the applicant successfully responding to the Panel’s conditions and recommendations, being registered in required systems, including the U.S. government’s Payment Management System (PMS), unless an exemption is provided, and completing and providing any additional documentation requested by DRL or AQM. Final approval is also contingent on Congressional notification requirements being met and final review and approval by the Department’s warranted Grants Officer.

The notice of Federal award signed by the Department’s warranted Grants Officers is the sole authorizing document. If awarded, the notice of Federal award will be provided to the applicant’s designated Authorizing Official via SAMS Domestic to be electronically counter-signed in the system.

F.2 Administrative and National Policy and Legal Requirements

DRL requires all recipients of foreign assistance funding to comply with all applicable Department and Federal laws and regulations, including but not limited to the following:

The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 CFR Chapter 200 (Sub-Chapters A through F) shall apply to all non-Federal entities, except for assistance awards to Individuals and Foreign Public Entities. Sub-Chapters A through E shall apply to all foreign organizations, and Sub-Chapters A through D shall apply to all U.S. and foreign for-profit entities. The applicant/recipient of the award and any sub-recipient under the award must comply with all applicable terms and conditions, in addition to the assurance and certifications made part of the Notice of Award. The Department’s Standard Terms and Conditions can be viewed at https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm.

Additionally, DRL supports implementation of the Women Peace and Security Act of 2017, which highlights the U.S. commitment to the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention, management, and resolution. For additional information, please refer to the link: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1141

F.3 Reporting

Applicants should be aware that DRL awards will require that all reports (financial and progress) are uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic on a quarterly basis. The Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425) is the required form for the financial reports and must be submitted in PMS, as well as a copy from PMS then uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic. The progress reports uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic must include a narrative as described below and Project Indicators (or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer) for the F Framework indicators. The F Framework indicators will be reviewed and negotiated during the final stages of issuing an award.

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 & Evaluation Narrative. 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 F Framework indicator(s) for the quarter as well as aggregate data by fiscal year: Program Indicators or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer;
  • Proposed activities for the next quarter; and,
  • 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.

DRL reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project information during the award period.

G. Contact Information

For technical submission questions related to this NOFO, please contact [email protected]

For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at 1-888-313-4567 (toll charges for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms/home. Customer Support is available 24/7/365.

Please note that establishing an account in SAMS Domestic may require the use of smartphone for multi-factor authentication (MFA). If an applicant does not have accessibility to a smartphone during the time of creating an account, please contact the helpdesk and request instructions on MFA for Windows PC.

For assistance with Grants.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email [email protected] The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.

For a list of federal holidays visit:

https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/federal-holidays/

With the exception of technical submission questions, during the NOFO period U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas shall not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process has been completed and rejection and approval letters have been transmitted.

H. Other Information

Applicants should be aware that DRL understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information. However, applicants are advised that DRL cannot guarantee that such information will not be disclosed, including pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar statutes.

The information in this NOFO and “DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions for Applications Updated October 2018” is binding and may not be modified by any DRL representative. Explanatory information provided by DRL that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. DRL reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets.

This NOFO will appear on www.grants.gov, SAMS Domestic, and DRL’s website http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.

Background Information on DRL and General DRL Funding

DRL has the mission of promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally. DRL supports projects that uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, prevent atrocities, combat and prevent violent extremism, and build civil society around the world. DRL typically focuses its work in countries with egregious human rights violations, where democracy and human rights advocates are under pressure and where governments are undemocratic or in transition.

Additional background information on DRL and its efforts can be found on www.state.gov/j/drl.



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Originally published by the US State Department

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