[Federal Register: April 11, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 70)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[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.
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
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.
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
Sustainability--Provide training to community
representatives to assist them with identifying and developing income
earning activities that will help sustain computer centers at
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
(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
(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,
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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: email@example.com 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
http://exchanges.state.gov/education/rfgps. Please read all information
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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
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
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
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
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]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P
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