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[Federal Register: April 11, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 70)]
[Page 17743-17746]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

[Public Notice 3977]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Armenia School Connectivity Program; Request for Grant 

SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth Programs Division, of 
the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open 
competition for the Armenia School Connectivity Program. Public and 
private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in 
IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to expand the 
educational opportunities available in Armenia by providing access to 
the Internet and related training to help promote civic education and 
education reform. The anticipated amount of funding available for this 
program is $5,000,000.

Program Information


    The Armenia School Connectivity Program builds on current efforts 
to promote civic education throughout Armenia by providing schools with 
Internet access and advancing education reform. To date, over 60 
secondary schools have been equipped with computer classrooms that have 
access to the Internet, through previously funded ECA grant awards. The 
current grantee plans to increase this number significantly over the 
next year. These schools have been involved in a number of activities 
that include computer training, linkages with at least 20 U.S. schools, 
and cooperative curriculum development through Internet ties. 
Additionally, educators in each region have participated in 
professional on-site trainings in the U.S. to focus on technology, 
community development, civic education, and educational reform.
    The Armenia School Connectivity Program (ASCP) is designed to 
further these efforts by increasing the number of Armenian secondary 
schools in the network and by expanding Internet use to the primary 
grades. Through this program, both primary and secondary schools in 
each region of Armenia will be able to incorporate civics and related 
resource materials into their curricula and improve general education 
under the guidance of specially trained teachers. In addition, this 
program will expand efforts to reach out to Armenian communities. 
Community representatives will receive technology training in order to 
access information and interact with international partners for the 
purpose of creating income-generating projects that can sustain 
Connectivity schools.
    The provision of Internet access with related training and 
educational opportunities for the largest possible number of Armenian 
schools is a priority of the U.S. government in Armenia. The grantee(s) 
should work closely with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 
(ECA) and the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in 
Yerevan to ensure that project implementation meets the policy goals 
for this program.
    The goals of this program are: (1) To provide access to information 
via the Internet to schools across Armenia, including those in isolated 
areas; (2) to provide Armenian students with the opportunity to learn 
democratic values and to obtain information about the United States 
while developing technical computer-based skills; (3) to provide 
training and resources to improve the teaching of civic education and 
related fields in Armenian schools; (4) to generate and promote 
linkages to schools and communities in the United States and other 
countries; and (5) to make the computer centers self-sustaining once 
grant funding ends.

[[Page 17744]]

    The main components of this program, for which grant funding is 
provided, are as follows:
     Computer centers--Building on the existing base, establish 
new centers at schools selected in consultation with PAS Yerevan and 
     Internet access--Provide access to the Internet to as many 
Armenian primary and secondary schools as possible.
     Online projects--Link students and teachers at Armenian 
schools with their counterparts at U.S. schools in joint telecurriculum 
     Training--Provide training for teacher-trainers who will 
in turn train teachers and students in the selected schools and, later, 
other community members
     Curriculum development--Develop educational resources that 
utilize the Internet and coordinate the use of curricula from other 
related programs
     Sustainability--Provide training to community 
representatives to assist them with identifying and developing income 
earning activities that will help sustain computer centers at 
participating schools


    The number of grants to be awarded under this competition will be 
based upon the quality and responsiveness of proposals to the review 
criteria presented later in this Request for Grant Proposals (RFGP). 
For purposes of simplicity, these Guidelines refer to ``grant'' and 
``grant recipient.'' Sub-grant and consortium arrangements are 
possibilities. This grant should begin on or about August 2002, subject 
to availability of funds. The grant period should be two years.
    The grant recipient will be responsible for:
    (1) Selecting schools in Armenia for the installation of a computer 
center, the provision of training, and the implementation of a civic 
education program that emphasizes use of the Internet. These selected 
schools will be partnered, either one-to-one or in small groups, with 
U.S. schools so that Armenian students and faculty may work on joint 
projects with their American peers over the Internet in order to 
practice their newly-developed knowledge of using this tool for 
educational purposes.
    (2) Equipping the schools with computers, printers, and other items 
necessary to afford them Internet connectivity. This will be 
accompanied by improvements to the classrooms to ensure that the 
facilities are suitable and secure. Once established, a center will be 
staffed by a site monitor who will oversee its use.
    (3) Training a core group of Armenian educators in Internet 
education, American Studies, English, civic education, curriculum 
development, and teaching methodologies. These educators will be 
employed by the grant recipient to train others in their respective 
regions. They will also be responsible for ongoing support, project 
implementation and site supervision. In addition to training in each 
region of Armenia, a limited number of exchanges u Armenian trainers to 
the United States and U.S. trainers to Armenia u will facilitate these 
training efforts and bring the new trainers in contact with teachers 
who are already skilled in using the Internet in the classroom. The 
training of teachers and students will focus on basic computer skills, 
use of electronic mail and bulletin boards, and use of the World Wide 
Web for research and for supplementing lesson plans. The Armenian 
educators will also supervise the site monitors and oversee school 
partnership projects.
    (4) Developing the content of Internet activities, once schools 
have access to the Internet and the students and teachers have acquired 
basic computer and Internet skills. Armenian students and teachers 
should receive training and resources to use the Internet to learn 
about civil society, including the basics of democracy, volunteerism, 
conflict resolution, good citizenship, and civic responsibility, such 
as voting. Students and teachers may use the Internet for English and 
American Studies topics, such as literature, history, government, and 
geography, and for the improvement of teaching of such subjects as 
economics and social studies researching the riches of the Internet and 
learning to use them in the standard curriculum. The development of 
educational resources, including the incorporation of materials created 
on other USG funded initiatives and other available and appropriate 
educational materials, will be a key responsibility of the grant 
    (5) Developing sustainability strategies in communities where 
schools have been selected. Projects may foster the development of 
local businesses using Internet technology. Community representatives 
may identify income-generating activities and will use technology to 
shape a sustainable development path for the computer centers in their 
communities. Community members may receive training in issues such as 
developing a needs assessment, entrepreneurship, management, marketing, 
and fundraising.
    (6) Providing on-going support for schools that are currently on 
the program. This includes connectivity, upgrades, training, online 
projects, troubleshooting, and staff support. Neighboring schools 
should be included, as much as possible, in projects, training and 
special events. For a list of schools in the existing network, contact 
the Bureau Program Officer Anna Mussman at
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the 
Solicitation Package for further information.
    The Bureau reserves the right to accept proposals in whole or in 
part and make an award or awards in accordance with what serves the 
best interest of the Armenia School Connectivity Program. In the 
selection of participants, the Bureau and the U.S. Embassy retain the 
right to review all participant nominations and to accept or refuse 
participants recommended by the grantee institution(s). Awards will be 
subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.

Budget Guidelines

    All organizations applying under this competition must demonstrate 
in their proposal narrative a minimum of four years experience managing 
and conducting international exchange programs. Bureau grant guidelines 
require that organizations with less than four years experience 
conducting and managing international exchanges be limited to $60,000 
in Bureau funding. It is anticipated that the grant or grants awarded 
under the competition will total $5,000,000 and exceed the $60,000 
ceiling. Therefore organizations with less than four years experience, 
per above, are not eligible to apply under this competition.
    The Bureau reserves the right to accept proposals in whole or in 
part and make an award or awards in accordance with what serves the 
best interest of the Armenia School Connectivity Program. Applicants 
must submit a summary budget that includes all program components as 
well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. 
Applicants should provide separate sub-budgets for each program 
component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification. 
Administrative costs, including indirect rates, should be kept to a 
minimum and cost-shared as possible.
    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines and formatting instructions.
    Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with the Bureau

[[Page 17745]]

concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Youth Programs Division, Office 
of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/PE/C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 
301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, (202) 619-5904; Fax: (202) 
619-5311; E-mail: 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 Anna Mussman on all inquiries and correspondence.
    Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before 
sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP 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 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, DC 
time, on June 3, 2002. 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, one fully tabbed copy, six copies tabbed A-E, 
and one additional cover sheet should be sent to: U.S. Department of 
State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref: ECA/PE/
C/PY-02-63, Ref.: Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
    No later than one week after the competition deadline, applicants 
must also submit the Proposal Title Sheet, Executive Summary, and 
Proposal Narrative sections of the proposal as e-mail attachments in 
Microsoft Word (preferred), Word Perfect, or as ASCII text files to the 
following e-mail address: To reduce the time 
needed to obtain advisory comments from the Public Affairs Section of 
the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, the Bureau will transmit these files 
electronically to these offices.

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.'' Public Law 106-113 requires that 
the governments of the countries described above do not have 
inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should 
reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the 
full extent deemed feasible.

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 officers of the Bureau of 
European and Eurasian Affairs and the U.S. Embassy. 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 Assistant Secretary for 
Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for awards 
(grants or cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants 

Review Criteria

    Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed 
according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank 
ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:
    1. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should display an 
understanding of the goals of the Armenia School Connectivity Program, 
as reflected in the priorities of this RFGP. Program objectives should 
have significant and ongoing results for the participating schools and 
their surrounding communities. Exchange activities should ensure 
sufficient use of program resources. Proposals should demonstrate a 
commitment to excellence and creativity in the implementation and 
management of the program.
    2. Program planning: Proposals should respond to the requirements 
outlined in the RFGP. A detailed agenda and work plan, including a time 
line, should demonstrate feasibility and the applicant's logistical 
capacity to implement the program.
    3. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen 
long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of 
information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual 
    4. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate the 
applicant's awareness and understanding of diversity and a commitment 
to its achievement through administrative and programmatic aspects of 
the program.
    5. Institutional Capacity and Ability to Achieve Program 
Objectives: Applicants should also indicate a minimum of four years 
experience conducting international exchange programs. Applicants 
should also demonstrate knowledge of the Armenian educational 
environment and display significant experience in developing Internet-
based programs at the primary and secondary school levels. Proposals 
should exhibit an institutional record of successful exchange programs, 
including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all 
reporting requirements as determined by the Bureau's Grants Division. 
Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and 
appropriate to achieve the program goals and objectives.
    6. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a strategy for 
the continuation of the schools' Internet access and online linkages to 
other schools.
    7. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate 
the activity's success in achieving program objectives, both as the 
activities unfold and at the end of the program. The evaluation plan 
should include relating data collection and assessment tools. A draft 
survey questionnaire or other

[[Page 17746]]

technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to 
original project objectives are recommended. Program evaluation should 
provide observations about the program's influence within the 
participating schools as well as their surrounding communities. 
Successful applicants will be expected to submit intermediate reports 
for each three-month period of the grant.
    8. Cost-effectiveness and cost-sharing: As many Armenian schools as 
possible should be included in this project. While lower ``per school'' 
figures will be more competitive, the Bureau expects all figures 
provided to be realistic. The overhead and administrative components of 
the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low 
as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate. 
Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector 
    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 the FREEDOM Support 
Act of 1992.


    The terms and conditions published in this RFGP 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 RFGP does not constitute an award commitment 
on the part of the Government. 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.


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

    Dated: April 4, 2002.
Rick A. Ruth,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-8836 Filed 4-10-02; 8:45 am]