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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: June 19, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 118)]
[Page 36866-36870]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 4382]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for 
GrantProposals: Grants Competition for Political Leadership, Education, 
Small Business Development, and Disability Issues for the Near East, 
North Africa, and South Asia

    Summary: The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs announces a Grants Competition 
designed to promote Political Leadership, Education, Disability 
Awareness, and Small Business Development, with priority given to 
proposals that address these themes as they relate to women. U.S.-based 
public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions 
described in Internal Revenue Code, U.S.C. Title 26, Section 501(c)(3) 
may submit proposals that support international projects in the United 
States and overseas involving current or potential leaders. ECA seeks 
organizations that are interested in developing grassroots linkages and 
international exchanges in the Near East, North Africa, and South Asia.
    Programs should be designed so that the exchanges will operate on 
two levels: (1) They should enhance institutional partnerships between 
U.S. organizations and partner organizations in the region, improving 
the institutional capacity of the partner organizations, and (2) they 
should offer practical information and useful materials to enable the 
partners to share skills and practical experience after the grant 
period is over.
    We anticipate awarding six to twenty grants as a result of this 
competition, depending on the types and number of proposals received 
and pending availability of FY04 funds. More than one award may be made 
in some areas of focus and no awards may be made in others. Grant 
awards will range from $60,000 to $200,000.
    ECA encourages new organizations that have not received previous 
bureau funding to apply; however, grants awarded to eligible 
organizations with less than four years of experience as an 
incorporated non-profit entity conducting international exchange 
programs will be limited to $60,000.
    Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire 
program. All proposals should present evidence of cost sharing, in cash 
or kind, representing at least 50% of the amount requested. For 
example, an organization requesting $150,000 should demonstrate the 
ability to provide at least an additional $75,000 in allowable cost 

Program Information


    The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs (ECA) consults with and supports American public and 
private nonprofit organizations in developing and implementing multi-
phased, often multi-year exchanges of professionals, community leaders, 
scholars and academics, public policy advocates, etc. These exchanges 
address issues of critical importance to both the United States and to 
the countries with which the exchanges will be conducted. They 
encourage substantive and cooperative interaction among counterparts, 

[[Page 36867]]

they entail both theoretical and experiential learning for all 
participants. A primary goal is the development of sustained, 
international institutional and individual linkages. In addition to 
providing a context for professional development and collaborative 
problem-solving, these projects are intended to introduce participants 
to one another's political, social, and economic structures, 
facilitating improved communication and enhancing mutual understanding. 
Two-way exchange travel is encouraged.
    This competition is based on the premise that people-to-people 
exchanges focused on the enhancement of human capacity and the 
encouragement and strengthening of democratic initiatives nurture the 
social, political, and economic development of society. Priority will 
be given to proposals that address program themes as they relate to 
    Applicants should carefully review the following recommendations 
for proposals. Given budgetary considerations, projects in countries 
and for themes other than those listed will not be eligible for 
consideration and will be ruled technically ineligible. The themes 
listed below are important to the Office of Citizen Exchanges, but no 
guarantee is made or implied that grants will be made in all 
    The countries/entities comprising the Near East/North Africa (NEA) 
and South Asia (SA) regions are listed below. Currently there is no 
U.S. mission in Iran, Iraq, or Libya. Please consider countries and 
specific themes listed below as guides to potential exchange 
partnerships. But note that all themes may be appropriate for single 
country, multi-country or regional proposals.
    Countries/Entities of the Near East and North Africa (NEA)--
Algeria; Bahrain; Egypt; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; 
Libya; Morocco; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; Tunisia; the United 
Arab Emirates (UAE); the West Bank and Gaza; Yemen.
    Countries of South Asia (SA)--Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; 
India; the Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka.
    The Office of Citizen Exchanges solicits proposals for exchange 
projects that address one or more of the following priority themes:

Program Themes

1. Political Leadership
    Proposals should focus on promoting political leadership by (1) 
strengthening the capacity of grassroots organizations in developing 
the skills of current and future political leaders, and (2) compiling a 
repertoire of skills and practical materials in the local language for 
use in workshops, mock elections and campaigns, educational sessions, 
or other activities. Proposals must indicate a practical knowledge of 
the political and legislative environment in the partner country. 
Projects may include, but are not limited to, components listed above 
and may also include the following: ``Workshops for Political 
Leaders,'' ``Political Awareness Campaigns'' and ``NGO Management,'' as 
described below.
    Workshops for Political Leaders might include such topics as public 
speaking, message development, leadership, campaign management, 
accountability and constituencies, consensus building, lobbying, 
surveying, polling, advocacy, voter outreach, networking, working with 
the media, and fundraising. Mock campaigns and elections are 
    Political Awareness Campaigns should provide education on the 
democratic political process and get participants actively involved in 
the political arena. Awareness campaigns should be jointly conducted 
with partner organizations, and should reach the widest possible 
audience in large and small cities, towns and villages.
    NGO Management. Part of the program design may also include 
workshops on NGO management and capacity building, for NGOs whose work 
is linked to emerging or enhanced political leadership. NGO workshop 
topics might include: Strategic planning, managing volunteers, 
coalition building, public relations, facilitation training, peer 
education & outreach, public-private partners, information management, 
and website development.
2. Promoting Educational Opportunities
    The proposal should focus on exchanges and training for grassroots 
educational and community leaders. Priority will be given to proposals 
that engage organizations and individuals who are actively involved in 
developing or supporting strategies that promote increased formal and 
informal educational opportunities for women and girls. Emphasis should 
be on providing essential tools and support to educators for classes 
and leadership activities. Potential topics for activities include, but 
are not limited to, creating & reconstructing educational 
opportunities, teaching methodology & practice, curriculum development, 
the role of women & girls in society, leadership, civic responsibility, 
mentoring, conflict resolution, health education, and social issues. 
This competition is NOT designed for youth exchanges and is NOT 
intended to provide substantive teacher training.Only adult 
professionals or grassroots practitioners may be selected to travel 
internationally for exchange activities. Individual university students 
may only take part in pilot sessions and in-country educational 
3. Small Business Development
    Projects should foster the development of local businesses in the 
partner country and create ongoing international partnerships. Priority 
will be given to proposals that seek to encourage women's 
entrepreneurship and develop women's managerial skills. Project 
components in the U.S. or overseas, with examples of possible topics, 
include: Seminars for those considering micro-enterprise (e.g. 
entrepreneurship, management, finance and registration issues); 
workshops (start-up, loan packages, marketing, staff training, 
appropriate technology); site visits (chambers of commerce, local 
governments, business associations, small business resource centers); 
mentoring; consultancies; internships; job-shadowing; or other 
activities. Note: Micro-loans are NOT permitted for these grants.
4. Disability Awareness
    Projects should focus on engaging disability NGOs and institutions; 
individuals with disabilities; and leaders in both the disability 
community and the community at large. The intent should be to improve 
opportunities and expand services for the disabled. Projects should 
seek to involve victims of civil wars and acts of terrorism where 
appropriate. Possible themes include: Professional and occupational 
training, accessibility issues, community involvement and public 
relations, association building, NGO management, leadership, 
entrepreneurship, and dealing with psychological trauma. Projects may 
be designed to cover a range of topics and/or methods, or may focus 
intensively on a specific area.

Project Guidelines

    Applicants should state expected goals and objectives in the 
proposal narrative and describe a clear and convincing plan for 
carrying out project components. Bureau-supported exchanges may include 
internships; study tours; short-term, non-technical experiential 
learning, extended and intensive workshops and seminars taking place in 
the United States or overseas. Examples of possible program activities 
might include:

[[Page 36868]]

    1. A U.S.-based program that includes: Orientation to program 
purposes and to U.S. society; study tour/site visits; professional 
internships/placements; interaction and dialogue; hands-on training; 
professional development; and action plan development.
    2. Capacity-building/training-of-trainer (TOT) workshops to help 
participants to identify priorities, create work plans, share and 
strengthen professional and volunteer skills, share their experience to 
committed people within each country, and become active in a practical 
and valuable way.
    3. Seed/small grants to indigenous non-profit organizations to 
support community-based educational projects that build upon exchange 
activities and that address issues of local concern. Proposals may 
include a component for a Seed/Small Grants Competition (often referred 
to as `sub-grants' or `secondary grants'). This requires a detailed 
plan for recruitment and advertising; description of the proposal 
review and award mechanism; a plan for how the grantee would monitor 
and evaluate small grant activity; and a proposed amount for an average 
grant. The small grants should be directly linked to exchange 
activities. Small/seed grants may not be used for micro-credit or re-
loaning purposes. Small/seed grants may not exceed 10% of the total 
value of the grant funds sought from ECA.
    4. Site visits by U.S. facilitators/experts to monitor projects in 
the region and to provide additional training and consultations as 
    5. Content-based Internet training/ cyber-training to encourage 
citizenparticipation in workshops, fora, chats, and/or discussions via 
the Internet that will stimulate communication and information sharing 
among key opinion leaders on priority topics as a form of cost sharing. 
Proposals that include Internet utilization must reflect knowledge of 
the opportunities and obstacles that exist for use of information 
technologies in the target country or countries, and, if needed, 
provide hardware, software and servers, preferably as a form of cost 
sharing. Federal standards are under review and their adoption may 
impact on the implementation of these programs.
    This program is not academic in nature. The Office of 
CitizenExchanges encourages applicants to be creative and innovative in 
planning projects. Activities may combine elements of skill enrichment, 
theoretical orientation, and experiential, community-based initiatives.
    Partner organizations should be identified in the proposal, with 
project plans developed collaboratively by both the American and 
foreign partners. Applicants who have not yet confirmed local partners, 
but whose proposals show significant regional and thematic expertise, 
will still be eligible to apply. Projects funded under this competition 
should enhance relationships among American and foreign organizations 
and achieve lasting and sustainable results.
    Eligibility: Public and private nonprofit organizations meeting the 
provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 
501(c)(3) may submit proposals in response to this Request for Grant 

Selection of Participants

    Proposals should include a description of an open, merit-based 
participant selection process for all international exchange components 
or any other component requiring participant selection. All grant 
proposals should clearly describe the type of persons who will 
participate in the program. A draft application and a sample 
announcement used for recruitment advertising should be included. It is 
recommended that for programs including U.S. internships, grant 
applicants submit letters tentatively committing host institutions to 
support the internships. For travel to the U.S., priority should be 
given to foreign participants who have not previously traveled to the 
United States.
    Public Affairs Section Involvement: The Public AffairsSections of 
U.S. Embassies play an important role in project review and 
implementation. They evaluate project proposals, coordinate planning 
with grantee organizations and in-country partners, nominate 
participants and vet grantee nominations, facilitate and observe in-
country activities, debrief participants, and evaluate project impact.
    Applicants should expect to work closely with the relevant U.S. 
Embassy Public Affairs Section in selecting participants, with 
Embassies retaining the right to nominate participants and to advise 
the grantee regarding participants recommended by other entities. 
Public Affairs Sections must approve all foreign participants who will 
travel internationally. They will assist foreign participants in 
obtaining the necessary J-1 visas for entry into the United States with 
Department of State sponsorship. Though project administration and 
implementation are the responsibility of the grantee, the grantee is 
expected to inform the Public Affairs Section of its operations and 
procedures and to coordinate with and involve Public Affairs officers 
in the development of project activities. The Public Affairs Section 
should be consulted regarding country priorities, political and 
cultural sensitivities, current security concerns, and related logistic 
and programmatic issues.
    When participants are selected, grantee institutions will provide 
the names of American participants and brief biographical data (two 
pages) on each American participant to the Office of Citizen Exchanges 
for information purposes. (See section below on requirements for 
maintenance of and provision to ECA of data on participants and program 

Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa

    The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs is the official program sponsor of the exchange 
program covered by this RFGP, and an employee of the Bureau will be the 
``Responsible Officer'' for the program under the terms of 22 CFR part 
62, which covers the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program (J 
visa program). Under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, organizations 
receiving grants under this RFGP will be third parties ``cooperating 
with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's 
program.'' The actions of grantee program organizations shall be 
``imputed to the sponsor in evaluating the sponsor's compliance with'' 
22 CFR part 62. Therefore, the Bureau expects that any organization 
receiving a grant under this competition will render all assistance 
necessary to enable the Bureau to fully comply with 22 CFR part 62 et 
seq. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places great 
emphasis on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J 
visa) Programs and adherence by grantee program organizations and 
program participants to all regulations governing the J visa program 
status. Therefore, proposals should explicitly state in writing that 
the applicant is prepared to assist the Bureau in meeting all 
requirements governing the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs 
as set forth in 22 CFR part 62. If the applicant has experience as a 
designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor, the applicant should 
discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR part 62 et seq., 
including the oversight of their Responsible Officers and Alternate 
Responsible Officers, screening and selection of program participants, 
provision of pre-arrival information and orientation to participants, 
monitoring of participants,

[[Page 36869]]

proper maintenance and security of forms, record-keeping, reporting and 
other requirements.
    The Office of Citizen Exchanges of ECA will be responsible for 
issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this program.
    A copy of the complete regulations governing the administration of 
Exchange Visitor (J) programs is available at
 or from: United States Department of State, Office 
of Exchange Coordination and Designation, ECA/EC/ECD--SA-44, Room 734, 
301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Telephone: (202) 401-9810, 
Fax: (202) 401-9809.

Program Data Requirements

    Organizations awarded grants will be required to maintain specific 
data on program participants and activities in an electronically 
accessible database format that can be shared with the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs as required. As a minimum, the data 
must include the following:
    Name, address, contact information and biographic sketch of all 
persons who travel internationally on funds provided by the grant or 
who benefit from the grant funding but do not travel.
    Itineraries of international and domestic travel, providing dates 
of travel and cities in which any exchange experiences take place.

Budget Guidelines and Cost-Sharing Requirements

    Grant awards to eligible entities will range from $170,000 to 
$200,000. Grants awarded to eligible organizations that have been 
registered for less than four years will be limited to $60,000. 
Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program, 
including program budget, administrative budget, and summary budget. 
Budget notes should be included. Applicants may provide separate sub-
budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to 
provide clarification.
    All proposals should present evidence of cost sharing, in cash or 
kind, representing at least 50% of the amount requested. For example, 
an organization requesting $150,000 should demonstrate the ability to 
provide at least an additional $75,000 in cost sharing. Allowable costs 
include the following:
    (1) Direct Program Expenses
    These include general program expenses (e.g., orientation and 
program-related supplies, educational materials, traveling campaigns, 
consultants, interpreters, and room rental) and participant program 
expenses (e.g., domestic and international travel and per diem).
    (2) Administrative Program Expenses
    These may include salaries, telephone/fax charges, and other direct 
administrative costs.
    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines and formatting instructions. Instructions for downloading 
the Solicitation Package are provided below.

Announcement Title and Number

    All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should 
reference the above title and number: ECA/PE/C/NEA-AF-04-02.

To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

    The entire Solicitation Package (Request for Grant Proposal and 
Proposal Submission Instructions) may be downloaded from the Bureau's 
Web site:
    Please read all information before downloading. If you are unable 
to download the Solicitation Package from the Department of State ECA 
website, you may request a copy, which contains required application 
forms, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for 
proposal preparation, from the Office of Citizen Exchanges.

C/NEA-AF, U.S. Department of State, 301 Fourth St., SW., Room 216, 
Washington, DC 20547, Attention: Susan Krause, Telephone Number: (202) 
619-5320, Fax: (202) 619-4350, Internet E-mail Address:    Organizations planning to submit proposals are strongly encouraged 
to contact the program office for consultation. Before doing so, 
applicants should read the complete Federal Register announcement and 
be ready to discuss a concrete concept specific to the guidelines set 
forth in this request for grant proposals (RFGP). Once the deadline for 
submission of proposals has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this 
competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been 

Deadline for Submission of Proposals

    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and ten (10) copies of the proposal should be 
sent to: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, SA-44 Room 534, 301 Fourth St., 
SW., Washington, DC 20547, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/NEA-AF-04-02.
    All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, DC time on August 15, 2003. 
Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents postmarked 
by the deadline date but received on a later date will not be accepted. 
Each applicant must ensure that proposals are received by the above 
    Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary'' and 
``Proposal Narrative,'' and ``Budget'' 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. 
ECA will transmit these files electronically to reviewers including the 
Public Affairs Sections of relevant U.S. Embassies. Again, once the 
deadline for submission has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this 
competition in any way with applicants until the proposal review 
process has been completed.

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

[[Page 36870]]

adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. 
The program office and the Public Diplomacy section at the U.S. Embassy 
will review all eligible proposals. Other Embassy elements may be asked 
to review proposals as well. Eligible proposals will be subject to 
compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and 
forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may 
also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Advisor 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, pending availability of FY04 funds. Final technical 
authority for grants 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 carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation.
    1. Quality of the Program Idea: Proposals should be substantive, 
well thought out, focused on issues of demonstrable relevance to all 
proposed participants, and responsive, in general, to the exchanges 
suggestions and guidelines described above.
    2. Implementation Plan and Ability to Achieve Objectives: A 
detailed project implementation plan should establish a clear and 
logical connection between the interest, the expertise, and the 
logistical capacity of the applicant and the objectives to be achieved. 
The proposal should discuss, in concrete terms, how the institution 
plans to achieve the objectives. Institutional resources--including 
personnel--assigned to the project should be adequate and appropriate. 
The substance of workshops and site visits should be included as an 
attachment, and the responsibilities of the U.S. participants and in-
country partners should be clearly described.
    3. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should include an 
institutional record of successful exchange programs, with reference to 
responsible fiscal management and full compliance with reporting 
requirements. The Bureau will consider the demonstrated potential of 
new applicants and will evaluate the performance record of prior 
recipients of Bureau grants as reported by the Bureau grant staff.
    4. Follow-On Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for 
sustained follow-on activity, building on the linkages developed under 
the grant and the activities initially funded by the grant. Follow-on 
activities should continue after grant funds have been expended, 
ensuring that Bureau-supported projects are not isolated events.
    5. Project Evaluation and Monitoring: Proposals must include a plan 
and methodology to evaluate the program's successes and challenges. In 
general, evaluation should be ongoing and evolving throughout the 
duration of the project. The evaluation plan will incorporate an 
assessment of the program from a variety of perspectives. Specifically, 
project assessment efforts will focus on: (a) Determining if objectives 
are being met or have been met, (b) identifying any unmet needs, and 
(c) assessing if the project has effectively discovered resources, 
advocates, and financial support for sustainability of future projects. 
Informal evaluation through discussions and other sources of feedback 
will be carried out throughout the duration of the project. Formal 
evaluation will be conducted at the end of each phase, using 
instruments designed specifically to measure the impact of the 
activities and should obtain participants' feedback and comments on the 
program content and administration. A draft questionnaire for 
evaluation purposes may be attached to support the proposal. A detailed 
evaluation should be conducted at the conclusion of the project and the 
report will be submitted to the Department of State Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs. When possible, the evaluation should 
be done by an independent evaluator.
    6. Impact: Proposed projects should, through the establishment of 
substantive, sustainable individual and institutional linkages and the 
encouragement of maximum exchange of information, enhance communities 
and societies.
    7. Cost Effectiveness and Cost Sharing: Administrative costs should 
be kept to a minimum. Proposals should maximize cost sharing through 
support and in-kind contributions from the U.S. and partner 
    8. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive 
support of ECA's policy on diversity. Program content (orientation, 
evaluation, program sessions, resource materials, follow-on activities) 
and program administration (selection, orientation, evaluation) should 
address diversity in a comprehensive and relevant manner. Applicants 
should refer to ECA's Diversity, Freedom, and Democracy Guidelines on 
page four of the Proposal Submission Instructions.


    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 or program officers that contradicts published 
language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute 
an award commitment on the part of the U.S. 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. Organizations will be expected to cooperate with the 
Bureau in evaluating their programs under the principles of the 
GovernmentPerformance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, which requires 
federal agencies to measure and report on the results of their programs 
and activities.


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

    Dated: June 5, 2003.
C. Miller Crouch,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 03-15528 Filed 6-18-03; 8:45 am]