Funding Opportunity Title: Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2024)
Funding Opportunity Number: Fulbright Hays
Deadline for Applications: Tuesday, January 09, 2024
Assistance Listing Number: 19.022
Total Amount Available: $35000.00
A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The Embassy of the United States in Kathmandu announces an open competition for past participants (“alumni”) of U.S. government-funded and U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to submit applications to the 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2024). We seek proposals from teams of at least two alumni that meet all program eligibility requirements below. Exchange alumni interested in participating in AEIF 2024 should submit proposals to email@example.com before 11:59 PM Nepal Standard Time on January 09, 2024.
Priority Region: Nepal
AEIF provides alumni of U.S. government-sponsored and facilitated exchange programs with funding to expand on skills gained during their exchange experience to design and implement innovative solutions to global challenges facing their community. Since its inception in 2011, AEIF has funded nearly 500 alumni-led projects around the world through a competitive global competition. This year, AEIF 2024 will support United States’ commitment to supporting a stable, democratic, and sovereign Nepal; developing Nepal as a reliable economic partner; and supporting Nepal’s journey to becoming more inclusive with a strong commitment to human rights.
Embassy Kathmandu will accept projects proposed and managed by teams of at least two (2) alumni that support themes such as:
- Reinforce democratic values
- Counter misinformation/disinformation
- Strengthen economic prosperity and foster entrepreneurship
- Promote youth and women empowerment
- Cultivate innovative solutions to combat climate change
- Bolster human rights for women, LGBTQI+, Dalit, indigenous, minority, and other marginalized communities
Participants and Audiences:
Primary beneficiaries for this project are youth aged 40 or below with the following demographic variables.
- Gender: At least 50% of the participants should be female.
- Geographic location: Nepali Youths representing Nepal’s 7 provinces, Government officials, Civil Society
- Age group: Below 40
- Diversity: Selected participants should reflect Nepal’s cultural, religious, ethnic, and social diversity.
B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: October 1, 2024, to September 30, 2025
Number of awards anticipated: One award
Floor on amount: $5000.00
Ceiling on amount: $35000.00
Type of Funding: FY24 Fulbright Hays
Anticipated program start date: October 1, 2024
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION
- Eligible Applicants:
The following individuals are eligible to apply:
- Applicants must be alumni of a U.S. government-funded or sponsored exchange program (https://alumni.state.gov/list-exchange-programs) or a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program (https://j1visa.state.gov/).
- Projects teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni.
- Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals, but U.S. citizen alumni may participate as team members in a project.
- Alumni teams may be comprised of alumni from different exchange programs and different countries.
- Applications must be submitted by exchange alumni or alumni associations of USG exchange alumni. Not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions are not eligible to apply in the name of the organization but can serve as partners for implementing project activities. The grant can be issued to the individual alumni.
- Cost Sharing
Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.
- Grant Program Area:
Proposals must address topics related to advancing democracy, economic development, and building an inclusive society. Proposals that do not address the theme as outlined in the program objectives will be deemed ineligible. Project ideas that engage audiences from outside of Kathmandu valley will have an added advantage. All project activities must take place within Nepal.
Note: Applicants are only allowed to submit ONE proposal. If more than one proposal is submitted, all proposals from that alumni team will be considered ineligible for funding.
D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
- Address to Request Application Package
Application and budget templates are available at U.S. Embassy Kathmandu website: Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2024) – U.S. Embassy in Nepal (usembassy.gov)
- Content and Form of Application Submission
Applications and budgets must be submitted using the official AEIF 2024 proposal and budget forms. Do not change the format of these forms.
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
- The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity;
- The proposal addresses all questions in the official AEIF 2024 proposal form;
- All documents are in English;
- The budget is in U.S. dollars and is submitted using the designated AEIF 2024 budget form. Applicants must provide detail Budget Justification for the budget items in each category;
- All pages are numbered.
Naming convention for documents is as follows:
- Proposal Form: AEIF 2024_Your Full Name Project Title.docx
- Budget Form: AEIF 2024_Your Full Name Project Title.xlxs
- Monitoring and Evaluation Form: AEIF 2024_Your Full Name Project Title.docx
The following documents are required:
- Mandatory application forms – click to download.
Note: Applicants will be required to submit additional federal forms after their proposals are shortlisted.
2. 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Proposal Form
- About your Project: Please provide information on the title of your project, the requested budget total, and the primary location of the project. Projects need to take place outside of the U.S. or its territories.
- Project Team Information: At least two exchange alumni team members are required for a project to be considered for funding. Applications need to provide the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project, and their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role. Applicants need to indicate what proportion of the team member’s time will be used in support of the project.
- Problem Statement: A short narrative which outlines the proposed project, including challenge/s to be addressed, project objectives, and anticipated impact.
- Project Goals and Objectives: The goal/s of the proposed project need to describe what the project is intended to achieve and include the objectives which support the goal/s. Objectives should be specific, measurable, and realistically achievable in a set time frame.
- Project Methods, Design, and Timeline: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal/s. This should include a description of the project’s direct and indirect beneficiaries as well as a plan on how to continue the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable. The proposed timeline for the project activities should include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events. Applicants may also submit proposed workshop or training agendas and materials.
- Project Timeline: A timeline of your project activities.
- Beneficiaries: An estimated number of direct and indirect beneficiaries of your proposed project.
- Local Project Partners: A list of partners who will support the proposed project, if applicable.
- Communication Plan: The communication plan should include a communication and outreach strategy for promoting the proposed project. It may include social media, websites, print news, or other forms of media intended to use to share information about the project to beneficiaries and the public. Communications should include AEIF 2024, Exchange Alumni, and U.S. Embassy branding.
- Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the proposal should outline in detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals and objectives. This should include any outcomes showing a change in knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; improved quality of services; increased capacity at a school, group; etc. Proposals should also include how the grantee will measure the impact of planned activities.
3. 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Budget Form with Budget Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
AEIF 2024 does not support the following activities or costs, and the selection committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:
- Any airfare to/from the United States and its territories
- Activities that take place in the United States and its territories
- Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
- Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
- Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
- Academic or scientific research
- Charitable or development activities
- Provision of direct social services to a population
- Individual scholarships
- Social travel/visits
- Gifts or prizes
- Duplication of existing programs
- Institutional development of an organization
- Venture capital, for-profit endeavors, or charging a fee for participation in project
- Support for specific religious activities
- Fund-raising campaigns
- Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for specific legislation.
E. REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS
Evaluation Criteria: The U.S. embassy or consulate Public Affairs Sections will use the criteria outlined below to evaluate all applications. The proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of regional and exchange program experts located at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Panelists will use the criteria below to review and evaluate applications.
Relevance to Application Theme: The proposal provides sufficient information on how the activities will support the theme(s) of the competition. The narrative explains any relevant local context the D.C. Selection Committee may not be aware of in relation to this project. Proposed project ideas must be public diplomacy in nature (i.e. not development or military). – 10 points
Purpose and Summary, Description, and Implementation Plan: When developing the purpose, summary, description, and implementation plan, applicants should aim to make all descriptions clear, concise, and compelling. Reviewers will judge the proposals based on the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the community where it is undertaken. Does the project address an important gap of understanding or need? If the aim of the project is achieved, how will existing knowledge or practice be improved? What audience do the applicants hope to reach with this project? How many will participate? How will they be selected? – 15 points
Degree of Alumni Involvement: Projects must include the involvement of at least two (2) exchange alumni. They may be the project team leaders or collaborate directly with PAS in formulating the project. More than two alumni may comprise the team, however, the minimum is two. As the team leaders, the alumni must be closely involved in project planning, implementation, and how their expertise plays a vital role to complete the project successfully. Clarify how this project fits into alumni engagements and encourage their active participation in alumni engagements etc. Applicants should ensure that the proposal includes the following information for each alumni team member: first name, last name, e-mail address, exchange program, country of citizenship, and roles and responsibilities. – 15 points
Participation and Support from Local Partners: The proposal demonstrates buy-in and support from the community where the project will take place. Local partner involvement is a strong sign that there is community support and that the project will engage a broad array of experts, such as subject matter experts, community centers, academic institutions, businesses, local/national government, non-governmental organizations, American Spaces, etc. – 10 points
Evaluation and Impact of the Project
A monitoring & evaluation (M&E) plan is pivotal to project implementation and important tracking progress towards the project’s objectives and goals. An M&E plan should consider the data needed to effectively monitor progress toward specific outputs and outcomes as well as how that data collection will be accomplished. Well-crafted indicators should be used to understand a program’s progress toward the desired results. An M&E plan should be reviewed for the following:
- Applicability and logic of objectives and indicators
- Clear approach to monitoring
- Adherence to SMART criteria
- Feasibility of baselines and targets
- Data quality plan
- Capacity to implement plan – 10 points
Communication, Media, and Outreach Plan: The project should include a clear plan and timeline for how and when the team will share information about the project. It is important to ensure that the U.S. Embassy gets recognition throughout the process if circumstances permit. – 10 points
Budget and Budget Narrative: The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities. The results and proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project. Budget items are reasonable, allowable, and allocable. – 15 points
Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program. – 5 points
Support of Equity and Underserved Communities: Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation. – 10 points
Disclaimer: This notice is subject to availability of funding. U.S. Embassy Kathmandu does not guarantee availability of funding by receiving applications under this announcement. Only successful applicants will be contacted.
F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
- Federal Award Notices
The grant award will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.
If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.
Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.
Payment Method: Payment’s schedule will be determined in consultation with the Grant Officer and based on a risk assessment and requirements of the program. Organizations must request payment using the standard SF-270 which will be provided to the grantees for completion.
Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted. All reports must be submitted by the deadline as specified in the award document.
- Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions:
Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply. These include:
- 2 CFR 25 – UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER AND SYSTEM FOR AWARD MANAGEMENT
- 2 CFR 170 – REPORTING SUBAWARD AND EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION INFORMATION
- 2 CFR 175 – AWARD TERM FOR TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
- 2 CFR 182 – GOVERNMENTWIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE (FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE)
- 2 CFR 183 – NEVER CONTRACT WITH THE ENEMY
- 2 CFR 600 – DEPARTMENT OF STATE REQUIREMENTS
- S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS
In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following: NOTE:
- Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
- Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
- Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
- Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
- Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
- Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) prioritizes inclusive and integrated programs that address barriers to access for individuals and groups based on their religion, gender, disabilities, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and gender identity. In accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities, proposals should demonstrate how the program will advance principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) related to race, ethnicity, religion, income, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or disability.
Proposals should demonstrate how addressing racial equity and/or the status of underserved communities will enhance the program’s goals and objectives, as well as the experience of participants.
The support of underserved communities will be part of the review criteria for this opportunity. Therefore, proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in the program’s administration, design, and implementation phases.
The term “diversity” means the practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of a community.
The term “equity” means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as ethnic minorities, and indigenous persons, members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.
The term “inclusion” means the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of persons of all backgrounds.
The term “accessibility” means the design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them.
The term “underserved communities” refers to populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as exemplified by the list in the preceding definition of “equity.”
G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACT
Questions about the grant application process should be directed to: Rekha Giri, Emerging Voices Exchanges and Alumni Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01-423 4176
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Please refer to Funding Restrictions in section D for costs not supported through the 2024 AEIF.
Venue Costs: Calculate costs for renting space for project-related activities such as workshops or other training activities. Consider looking for donated space first. If donated space is not possible, costs should be reasonable based on the local environment. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Promotional Items and Advertising: These items aim to amplify your project. All requests should be reasonable and relevant to the project. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Meals and Beverage: Include reasonable costs for snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and meals if essential to the project. Break down meals by the cost per person per meal.
All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Speaker/Consultant/Training Fees: Speaker: Maximum of $250 per day for full programming. Trainer: Maximum of $250 per day or $25 per hour. Consider asking fellow Alumni with expertise to cost-share speaker/training fees. Consultant: A reasonable consultant fee may be included by Alumni for project management and oversight. However, consider cost-sharing as the AEIF cannot provide salary type expenses. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Lodging and Per Diem: List per diem rates and hotel costs which directly support the implementation of the project and indicate single or double occupancy. Per diem rates should be calculated according to the U.S. government allowable rates or be adjusted to local prices if appropriate. Please consult with your U.S. Embassy/Consulate. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Travel: If the program involves travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel. Estimate the costs of travel for this project, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. Costs can include in-country and intraregional air fare or local travel costs required for the actual implementation of the project. Travel between the U.S. and project country is not supported. The AEIF does not support travel in business class or higher. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Supplies, Materials, Equipment: Include general office supplies, computer software, consumable automotive supplies (i.e., fuel), small equipment such as laptops, projector, etc., and expendable materials (i.e., paper, paint). Rent equipment rather than purchase if it is more cost-efficient. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Other: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. Commonly cited items are administrative and accounting costs, shipping costs for materials and equipment, and monitoring and evaluation. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
“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.
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.