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[Federal Register: May 15, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 94)]
[Notices]               
[Page 31044-31047]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15my00-94]                         


[[Page 31044]]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3314]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

PROGRAM TITLE: Great Lakes Reconciliation Project: Justice and 
Journalism.

NOTICE: Request for Proposals.
SUMMARY: The Near East/South Asia/Africa Division of the Office of 
Citizen Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), 
announces an open competition to promote a justice and journalism 
program for the Great Lakes region of Africa. Public and private non-
profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 
26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to develop an exchange and 
training program for media and legal professionals from the Democratic 
Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. One 
grant award is anticipated for a maximum of $274,500.

PROGRAM INFORMATION: Overview: The Office of Citizen Exchanges works 
with U.S. non-profit organizations on cooperative international group 
projects that introduce American and foreign participants to each 
others' social, economic, and political structures, and international 
interests, as well as provide for professional development. In 
coordination with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy, 
Kinshasa, the Office will support a coordinated set of public diplomacy 
activities to meet the goals of President Clinton's Great Lakes Justice 
Initiative and regional reconciliation objectives.
    Great Lakes Justice Initiative (GLJI): GLJI supports efforts in the 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi to bring an end to 
the culture of impunity. GLJI goals include supporting effective, 
nondiscriminatory justice systems, assisting reconciliation processes, 
and promoting inter-group cooperation. U.S. policy concerning the 
conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) focuses strongly 
on promoting a successful outcome of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement. 
The parties to the agreement have re-iterated their commitment to the 
peace process; however, regional reconciliation will be contingent in 
large part on the role of opinion leaders, particularly those in the 
media and civil society, in promoting peace. The role of the media is 
particularly important in countries whose governments and militaries 
are involved in the DRC conflict, but where domestic policy debate and 
public discourse may marginalize the issue. Media and legal 
professionals and NGOs can work together to strengthen support for the 
rule of law, as well as increase public information on justice issues 
that affect regional peace building efforts.
    Justice and Journalism: The media, in Africa and elsewhere, often 
appear to operate from the premise that conflict is more newsworthy 
than compromise. Conflict typically gets more airtime and column-inches 
than positive cross-border interactions and efforts at problem solving. 
If solutions are to be found to the problems that confront the Great 
Lakes region, media and civil society opinion leaders should call for 
solutions which reduce polarization and inflammatory rhetoric and which 
are inclusive rather than exclusive.
    Professionalism in the media--i.e., gaining an appreciation of and 
skill for objective reporting; developing subject specialization (e.g. 
justice/legal issues); giving fair coverage to positive as well as 
negative news; separating comment from news coverage; avoiding 
inflammatory presentations; maintaining independence from special 
interests; etc.--remains an area in which serious efforts must be 
expended if the fourth estate is to fulfill its potential as a pillar 
of democratic society. Concomitantly, attention must be given to laws, 
which constrain freedom of information, and to forces, which urge 
journalists, editors, producers and publishers to censor themselves, 
lest governments punish the media for having conveyed the message. 
Exchange programs can be designed to improve professionalism generally 
in the media and to strengthen specific efforts of individuals and 
organizations that report on issues of importance to regional 
development.
    Guidelines: This Great Lakes Reconciliation Project should bring 
together, in a structured format, a minimum of 16 media and legal 
professionals from the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe who 
are concerned with conflict resolution and regional reconciliation and 
development. Project activities should explore how participants from 
these four countries with different perspectives and interests on 
conflict in the DRC can cooperate to decrease misunderstandings and 
hostility, increase meaningful communication among individuals and 
groups, and promote the rule of law and respect for human rights 
through the media. Programming emphasis should be on the development of 
the media, but legal practitioners may also be included to the extent 
that they can assist in improving the working environment for the media 
and in clarifying the terms of conflict for resolution and 
reconciliation.
    Competitive proposals should include a multi-phase, integrated 
approach to program activities, which build sequentially from 
exploratory work to cooperative action plans. Suggested activities 
include:
    1. A U.S.-based program that includes: orientation to program 
purposes and to U.S. society; study tour/site visits/mini-internships; 
interaction and dialogue; hands-on training in conflict resolution 
methods; professional development; and action plan development.
    2. Capacity-building workshops in the DRC and one other country in 
the Great Lakes region to help participants to identify priorities, 
create work plans, strengthen conflict resolution skills, share their 
experience to committed people within each country, and become active 
in a practical and valuable way.
    3. Seed grants/sub-grants to participants to support ``Justice and 
Journalism'' projects (e.g. radio programs, newspaper articles, 
televised town meetings, etc.) that address issues of local and 
regional reconciliation.
    4. Site visits by U.S. facilitators/experts to monitor projects in 
the Great Lakes region and to provide additional training and 
consultations as needed.
    The Office of Citizen Exchanges encourages applicants to be 
creative in planning project activities. Activities should include 
practical, hands-on, community-based initiatives, designed to achieve 
concrete objectives in the field. The proposal should not focus on 
theoretical/academic workshops, seminars or studies.
    Applicants should identify any partner organizations and/or 
individuals in the United States or the Great Lakes region with whom 
they are proposing to collaborate and describe in detail previous 
cooperative programming and contacts. Specific information about the 
partners' activities and accomplishments is required and should be 
included in the section on ``Institutional Capacity.''

Selection of Participants

    Successful applications should include a description of an open, 
merit-based selection process, including advertising, recruitment and 
selection. A sample application should be submitted with the proposal. 
Applicants should expect to work closely with the U.S. Embassies abroad 
to carry out the selection process, but ECA and U.S. Embassies retain 
the right to nominate participants and to approve or reject 
participants recommended by the

[[Page 31045]]

grantee institution. Priority should be given to foreign participants 
who have not traveled to the United States. ECA encourages applicants 
to design programs for non-English speakers, as appropriate.

    Note: The grant award covers only assistance through non-
governmental organizations. No direct assistance to the DRC or 
Burundi governments is permitted with funds available through this 
agreement. Potential applicants should therefore be advised that 
support cannot be provided for university professors, magistrates, 
government officials, and others who are on the government payrolls 
of the DRC or Burundi. Cooperation with U.S. Embassies in the 
selection of participants will be essential to this project.

Public Affairs Section (PAS) Involment

    The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassies (formerly known 
as USIS posts) play a key role throughout every phase of project 
development. Posts evaluate project proposals; coordinate planning with 
the grantee organization and in-country partners; facilitate in-country 
activities; nominate participants and vet grantee nominations; observe 
in-country activities; debrief participants; and evaluate project 
impact. Posts are responsible for issuing IAP-66 forms in order for 
overseas participants to obtain necessary J-1 visas for entry to the 
United States. They also serve as a link to in-country partners and 
participants.
    Project administration and implementation are the responsibility of 
grantee. The grantee must inform the PAS in participating countries of 
its operations and procedures and coordinate with and involve PAS 
officers in the development of project activities. The PAS should be 
consulted regarding country priorities, current security issues, and 
related logistical and programmatic issues.

Evalution

    Short-and long-term evaluation is critical to the success of any 
professional development program. In accordance with the Government 
Performance and Results Act of 1993, Federal Agencies must create 
strategic plans, set performance goals, and develop methods for 
measuring how well the goals of this program are realized. The grantee 
would be required to work closely with the Bureau to fulfill this 
responsibility.
    Applicants are asked to submit an evaluation plan that would 
address the Result Act's requirements and assess the long-term impact 
and effectiveness of this program. The evaluation plan should include a 
summation of goals and results desired, and an indication of what types 
of information would be used to determine if these goals were met or 
results achieved, as well as a description of how the applicant would 
gather and evaluate this information. Please include with the proposal 
any evaluation tools (survey/focus group questions) that would be used 
as part of the overall plan.

Visa Regulations

    Foreign participants on programs sponsored by ECA are granted J-1 
Exchange Visitor visas by the U.S. Embassy in the sending country. All 
programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the 
Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for further information.

Budget Guidelines

    Applicants must submit a comprehensive line item budget based on 
specific guidance provided in the Proposal Submission Instructions 
(PSI) of the Solicitation Package. A maximum grant award of $274,500 is 
available. Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four 
years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will 
be limited to $60,000.
    While a comprehensive line item budget based on the model of the 
Solicitation Package must be submitted, separate component budgets are 
optional. The following program costs are eligible for funding 
consideration:
    1. International and domestic airfares; visas (for entry to African 
countries); transit costs; ground transportation costs. (Note: There is 
no charge for J-1 visas for participants in ECA-sponsored programs.)
    2. Per Diem. For both U.S.-based and Africa-based programming, 
organizations should be guided in budgeting by the published U.S. 
Federal per diem rates for individual cities. Applicants should budget 
realistic costs that reflect the local economy, but per diem costs must 
not exceed the published U.S. Federal rates. Per Diem rates may be 
accessed at http://www.policyworks.gov/.
    3. Interpreters. If needed, interpreters for the U.S. program are 
available through the U.S. Department of State Language Services 
Division. Typically, a pair of simultaneous interpreters is provided 
for every four visitors who require interpreting. ECA grants do not pay 
for foreign interpreters to accompany delegations from their home 
country. When U.S. Department of State interpreters are to be employed, 
grant proposal budgets should contain a flat $160/day per diem for each 
U.S. Department of State interpreter, as well as home-program-home air 
transportation of $400 per interpreter plus any U.S. travel expenses 
during the program. Salary expenses are covered centrally and should 
not be part of an applicant's proposed budget. Locally-arranged 
interpreters with adequate skills and experience may be used by the 
grantee in lieu of State Department interpreters, with the same 1:4 
interpreter: participant ratio. Costs associated with using their 
services may not exceed rates for U.S. Department of State 
interpreters.
    4. Book and cultural allowance. Foreign participants are entitled 
to a one-time cultural allowance of $150 per person, plus a book 
allowance of $50. Interpreters should be reimbursed up to $150 for 
expenses when they escort participants to cultural events. U.S. program 
staff are not eligible to receive these benefits.
    5. Consultants. Consultants may be used to provide specialized 
expertise or to make presentations. Honoraria should not exceed $250 
per day. Subcontracting organizations may also be used, in which case 
the written agreement between the prospective grantee and subcontractor 
should be included in the proposal. Subcontracts should be itemized in 
the budget.
    6. Room rental. Room rental may not exceed $250 per day.
    7. Materials development. Proposals may contain costs to purchase, 
develop and translate materials for participants.
    8. Equipment. Proposals may contain limited costs to purchase 
equipment crucial to the success of the program, such as computers, fax 
machines and copy machines. However, equipment costs must be kept to a 
minimum, and costs for furniture are not allowed.
    9. Working meal. The grant budget may provide for only one working 
meal during the program. Per capita costs may not exceed $5-8 for a 
lunch and $14-20 for a dinner, excluding room rental. The number of 
invited guests may not exceed participants by more than a factor of 
two-to-one. Interpreters must be included as participants.
    10. Return travel allowance. A return travel allowance of $70 for 
each foreign participant may be included in the budget. This may be 
used for incidental expenses incurred during international travel.
    11. Health Insurance. Foreign participants will be covered under 
the terms of a U.S. Department of State-sponsored health insurance 
policy. The premium is paid by the U.S. Department of State directly to 
the insurance company. Applicants are permitted to include costs for 
travel insurance for U.S. participants in the budget.
    12. Seed Grants/Sub-Grants: Applicants should allocate funding to

[[Page 31046]]

eligible African NGOs/participants to support media-based 
reconciliation activities in their communities.
    13. Administrative Costs. Costs necessary for the effective 
administration of the program may include salaries for grant 
organization employees, benefits, and other direct and indirect costs 
per detailed instructions in the Application Package. While this 
announcement does not prescribe a rigid ratio of administrative to 
program costs, priority will be given to proposals whose administrative 
costs are less than twenty-five (25) per cent of the total requested 
from ECA.
    14. Cost Sharing: Proposals should show cost-sharing contributions 
from the applicant, U.S. and African partners and other sources. While 
no rigid percentage for cost sharing is stipulated in this RFP, ECA 
sees cost sharing as an important way to demonstrate program commitment 
and to increase impact, and it will be a criterion for evaluating grant 
proposals.
    Please note that all air travel must be in compliance with the Fly 
America Act.
    Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for 
complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

Announcement Title and Number

    All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFP should 
reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C-00-62.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/
PE/C, Room 220, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20547, attention: Orna Blum, telephone: (202) 260-2754 
and fax number: (202) 619-4350, Internet address: oblum@pd.state.gov, 
to request a Solicitation Package. The Solicitation Package contains 
detailed award criteria, required application forms, specific budget 
instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. Please 
specify Bureau Program Officer Orna Blum on all other programmatic 
inquiries and correspondence.
    Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before 
sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFP deadline has 
passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants 
until the proposal review process has been completed.

To Download a Solicitation Package VIA Internet

    The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's 
website at http: //e.usia.gov/education/rfps or http: //
exchanges.state.gov/education/rfps. Please read all information before 
downloading.
    Deadline for Proposals: All proposal copies must be received at the 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. 
time on Friday, June 16, 2000. Faxed documents will not be accepted at 
any time. Documents postmarked the due date but received on a later 
date will not be accepted. Each applicant must ensure that the 
proposals are received by the above deadline.
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and 10 copies of the application should be sent 
to: U.S. Department of State SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C-00-62, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 336, 
301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547.
    Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary'' and 
``Proposal Narrative'' sections of the proposal on a 3.5'' diskette, 
formatted for DOS. These documents must be provided in ASCII text (DOS) 
format with a maximum line length of 65 characters. The Bureau will 
transmit these files electronically to the Public Affairs section at 
the US Embassy for its review, with the goal of reducing the time it 
takes to get embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review process.

Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines

    Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must 
maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and 
representative of the diversity of American political, social, and 
cultural life. ``Diversity'' should be interpreted in the broadest 
sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to 
ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic 
status, and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to 
adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program 
administration and in program content. Please refer to the review 
criteria under the ``Support for Diversity'' section for specific 
suggestions on incorporating diversity into the total proposal. Public 
Law 104-319 provides that ``in carrying out programs of educational and 
cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom 
and democracy,'' the Bureau ``shall take appropriate steps to provide 
opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and 
democracy leaders of such countries.'' Proposals should reflect 
advancement of this goal in their program contents, to the full extent 
deemed feasible.

Year 2000 Compliance Requirement (Y2K Requirement)

    The Year 2000 (Y2K) issue is a broad operational and accounting 
problem that could potentially prohibit organizations from processing 
information in accordance with Federal management and program specific 
requirements including data exchange with the Bureau. The inability to 
process information in accordance with Federal requirements could 
result in grantees' being required to return funds that have not been 
accounted for properly.
    The Bureau therefore requires all organizations use Y2K compliant 
systems including hardware, software, and firmware. Systems must 
accurately process data and dates (calculating, comparing and 
sequencing) both before and after the beginning of the year 2000 and 
correctly adjust for leap years.
    Additional information addressing the Y2K issue may be found at the 
General Services Administration's Office of Information Technology 
website at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov.

Review Process

    The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will 
review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed 
ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein 
and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be 
reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section 
overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to 
panels of Bureau officers for advisory review. Proposals may also be 
reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department 
elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the 
Department of State's Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public 
Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (grants or 
cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

    Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed 
according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank 
ordered, and all are important in the proposal evaluation:
    1. Program Planning and Ability to Achieve Objectives: Program 
objectives should be stated clearly and precisely and should reflect 
the applicant's expertise in the subject area and the region. 
Objectives should respond to the

[[Page 31047]]

priority topics in this announcement and should relate to the current 
conditions in the Great Lakes region. Objectives should be reasonable 
and attainable. A detailed work plan should explain step-by-step how 
objectives would be achieved and should include a timetable for 
completion of major tasks. The substance of workshops, presentations, 
consultations, site visits and seed grant projects should be included 
as attachments. Responsibilities of U.S. participants and in-country 
partners should be clearly described.
    2. Institutional Capacity: The proposal should include: (1) The 
U.S. institution's mission and date of establishment; (2) detailed 
information about the capacity of any partner institutions, and the 
history of the partnership(s); (3) an outline of prior awards--U.S. 
government and private support received for the target theme/region; 
and (4) descriptions of experienced staff members and other resource 
persons who would implement the program. Proposed personnel and 
institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve 
the program's goals. The narrative should demonstrate proven ability to 
handle logistics. The proposal should reflect the institution's 
expertise in the subject area and knowledge of the conditions in the 
target country/region(s).
    3. Cost Effectiveness and Cost Sharing: Overhead and administrative 
costs for the proposal, including salaries, honoraria and subcontracts 
for services, should be kept to a minimum. Applicants are encouraged to 
cost share a portion of overhead and administrative expenses. Cost 
sharing, including contributions from the applicant, U.S. or African 
partners, and other sources, should be included in the budget.
    4. Program Evaluation: The proposal must include a plan and 
methodology to evaluate the program's successes, both as activities 
unfold and at the program's conclusion. ECA recommends that the 
proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique (such 
as a series of questions for a focus group) to link outcomes to 
original program objectives.
    5. Multiplier Effect/Impact: The proposal should show how the 
program would strengthen long-term mutual understanding and 
institutionalization of program objectives. Applicants should describe 
how responsibility and ownership of the program would be transferred to 
the African participants to ensure continued activity and impact. ECA 
places a priority on programs that include convincing plans for 
sustainability.
    6. Follow-on Activities: The proposal should provide a plan for 
continued follow-on activity (beyond the ECA grant period), ensuring 
that ECA-supported programs are not isolated events. Follow-on 
activities sponsored by the applicant should be clearly outlined.
    7. Support of Diversity: The proposed project should demonstrate 
substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Program 
content (training sessions, resource materials, follow-on activities) 
and program administration (participant selection process, orientation, 
evaluation, resource/staff persons) should address diversity in a 
comprehensive and innovative manner. Applicants should refer to ECA's 
Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines on page four of the 
Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI).
    8. Value to U.S.-Partner Country Relations: The proposed project 
should receive positive assessments by the Bureau's geographic area 
desk and overseas officers of program need, potential impact, and 
significance in the partner country. The project should meet the 
priorities of the Great Lakes Justice Initiative (GLJI), as outlined 
above.

Authority

    Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the 
Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-
256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of 
the Act is ``to enable the Government of the United States to increase 
mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the 
people of other countries * * *; to strengthen the ties which unite us 
with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural 
interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United 
States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of 
friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States 
and the other countries of the world.'' The funding authority for the 
program above is provided through Economic Support Funds under the 
Great Lakes Justice Initiative. Use of these funds in the conflict 
resolution, reconciliation, and democratic initiatives process will 
support USG efforts to uphold and further the Lusaka Accords.

Notice

    The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may 
not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information 
provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be 
binding.
    Issuance of the RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the 
part of the Government. An award for this project is subject to the 
availability of funds anticipated through an inter-agency transfer. The 
Bureau reserves the right to cancel the competition in the event the 
transfer does not take place in a timely manner. The Bureau reserves 
the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance 
with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards 
made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.

Notification

    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.

    Dated: May 8, 2000.
Evelyn S. Lieberman,
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy And Public Affairs, Department of 
State
[FR Doc. 00-12138 Filed 5-12-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-11-P


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