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Program Office: Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Tashkent
Funding Opportunity Title: Management of the National and Regional Spelling Bee Contest
Announcement Type: Cooperative Agreement
Funding Opportunity Number: TASHKENT-PAS-FY22-005
Deadline for Applications: May 16, 2022 (11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern time)
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
CONTACT INFORMATION
Authorization to submit proposals through www.Grants.gov is a multi-step process that requires prior successful registration with three separate sites: NCAGESAM, and www.Grants.gov.  Please begin the registration processes immediately to ensure the registrations are completed well in advance of the submission deadline.  The process can require up to six weeks for the registrations to be validated and confirmed.  See Section D: Submission Requirements for further details.
Due to the volume of applicants and inquiries, Public Affairs Section (PAS) does not accept letters of intent, concept papers, or requests for meetings or phone calls prior to application.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application package has been received in its entirety.  Incomplete applications will be considered ineligible.  Applicants are urged to begin the application process well before the submission deadline.  No exceptions will be made for organizations that have not completed the necessary steps.
 A.  Funding Opportunity Description Summary
Executive Summary:
The U.S. Embassy Tashkent Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations or institutions to organize and conduct the National Spelling Bee and the fifth annual Central Asian Regional Spelling Bee in Tashkent in collaboration with American Spaces across Central Asia. Local, national, and regional bees are excellent opportunities to support education and to promote American English and American culture, to showcase the partnership between the United States and Central Asia, and to strengthen the American Spaces network in the region.
Background:
Current Situation & Problem Statement:  With almost 40 percent of the population under the age of 24, youth outreach in Uzbekistan is of utmost importance.  All American Spaces activities in Uzbekistan contribute directly to the Mission’s efforts to create opportunities for youth and reach the country’s long-term economic goals by increasing their English language proficiency.  The contest will provide a unique insight into the Spelling Bee as a part of American culture and help Uzbekistani and regional participants not only improve their English skills, particularly spelling, but also compete in a supportive, friendly environment, develop better learning skills, and gain the confidence they need to speak in public.  The National and the Regional Spelling Bee Contests will encourage English Language acquisition, increasing the ability of participants to access information and apply for opportunities to study in the United States, and supporting long-term economic prosperity across the region.  The program will also increase cooperation between Central Asian youth and the American Spaces network.
PAS Tashkent has been implementing the Spelling Bee project since 2017. In the course of these years, more than 1,500 undergraduate students from different regions all over the country participated in the contest, and about 220 semi-finalists were invited to Tashkent to compete in the national Spelling Bee. Uzbekistan National Spelling Bee winners regularly participated in five regional competitions held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. FY21 Regional Spelling Bee contest held in Bishkek brought PAS Tashkent laurels by giving the title of a winner to an Uzbek State World Languages University student and an active participant of American Center Tashkent programming.
English Language Fellows, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, as well as U.S. Embassy Foreign Service Officers attracted to administer the event have proven to be one of the most effective teams in handling the project and making appropriate judgements in selecting the best students.
Proposed Project Introduction:  This funding opportunity seeks to identify and secure an
implementer to manage the national and regional stages of the annual Spelling Bee competition.  The American Spaces network throughout Central Asia will organize and host local and national level Spelling Bee Competitions in 2022 and select four candidates each (three top winners and one alternate) with the national and regional final competition to be held in Tashkent. About 40 Uzbekistani participants from 12 regions, as well as Karakalpakstan, and Tashkent will come to Tashkent to participate in National Spelling Bee finale at the American Center Tashkent tentatively in October 2022.  The top three winners from each of the national contests in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan will participate in the 2022 Regional Central Asian Spelling Bee, to be held in Tashkent tentatively in November 2022.  Participants from Turkmenistan may join virtually.
Project Goal: Improve English literacy among Uzbek youth, thereby increasing their access to educational opportunities in the region and exchange programs in the United States.
Project Audience(s):  The primary audience for the project is full-time undergraduate university students between the ages of 18 and 25 currently enrolled at an institute of higher education.  For the National Spelling Bees, participants must be citizens of the country where they are studying and participating in the Bee.
Project Objectives:
Successful proposals would achieve the following objectives:
The activities to be funded and overseen by the successful applicant include but are not limited to:
National Spelling Bee:
Regional Spelling Bee:
NOTE:  The purchase of international and in-country tickets, hotel payment, spelling bee promo materials, decorations, prizes, venue rental, and funding to cover other necessary materials should be included in the proposal.
B.  Federal Award Information
Funding Mechanism Type:  Cooperative Agreement
Anticipated program start date:  July 1, 2022
Estimated Total Project Funding:  $70,000
Length of Project Period:  5-9 months
Number of Awards:  1
Project and Budget Periods:  The Public Affairs Section will entertain applications for a continuation grant funded under this award beyond the initial budget period, on a noncompetitive basis, subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.
Funding Range:  This proposal anticipates funding a single cooperative agreement with the award funding of $70,000.
Funding Mechanism Type:  Cooperative Agreements are different from grants in that PAS staff are more actively involved in the project execution and anticipate having moderate to substantial involvement once the award has been made.
C.  Eligibility Information
U.S. Embassy Tashkent encourages applications from U.S. and Uzbekistan registered not-for-profit, civil society/non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions with at least three years of programming experience in administering educational programs.  In consultation with the Embassy, the grantee is responsible for managing all logistical aspects of the National Spelling bee and the fifth annual Central Asian Regional Spelling Bee in Tashkent.  U.S.-based organizations should submit a copy of their IRS determination letter.  Uzbekistan-based organizations should submit a copy of their certificate of registration from the appropriate government organization.  In order to be eligible to receive this award, organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), NCAGE code, and a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.
D.  Application and Submission Information:
Please follow all instructions below carefully.  Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.
Content and Form of Application Submission
Please ensure:
Application Deadline:  All applications must be received by May 16, 2022 (11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern time).  This deadline is firm and is not a rolling deadline.  If organizations fail to meet the deadline noted above their application will be considered ineligible and will not be considered for funding.
Application Submission Process:  There are two application submission methods available to applicants.  Applicants may submit their application using Submission Method A (recommended) or Submission        Method B outlined below.
Required Registrations
Applicants using Grants.gov must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application.  Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it could take as long as two weeks to have the registration validated and confirmed.  Please begin the registration process immediately to ensure that the process is completed well in advance of the deadline for applications.  Until that process is complete, you will not be issued a user password for Grants.gov, which is required for application submission.
Required RegistrationsRegistration for a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), obtaining an NCAGE/CAGE code, and registering within the System for Award Management (www.SAM.gov) is not optional for organizations, i.e., it is mandatory.
Please be aware that SAM registration must be renewed annually.
If an applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM), the individual or organization is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.”  Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.
All organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:
Step 1:  Apply for a UEI and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously):
Apply for a UEI via https://www.sam.gov
NCAGE application:  https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf
For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.
Step 2:  After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto:  https://www.sam.gov SAM registration must be renewed annually
IMPORTANT NOTE:  The registration process can take some time and past applicants have, in fact, run into difficulties.  Please do not wait until the last minute to start the registration process.  If you are unable to complete the SAM registration by the application submission deadline, check the appropriate box in section “h” of the application form after “SAM.gov Registration,” and attach a screenshot from SAM.gov as proof that you have started the registration process.  Let us know as soon as you have completed your SAM registration.  Until that step is complete, the review panel will not read or consider your application.  If you are unable to finish the SAM registration process, unfortunately, we will be unable to support your project.
E.  Technical Requirements for Application:
When submitting a proposal, applicants are required to include the following documents and information from Sections 1–5 below, as applicable:
Section1 — Standard Form 424 Family
All submissions must include the SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance (Attachment 1, PDF 141 KB) and the SF-424A Budget Information—Non-Construction (Attachment 2, PDF 1 MB).  These forms and the instructions for completing them are available at:  http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms.html under the heading “SF-424 Family.” NOTE:  The SF-424B is required only for those applicants who have not registered in SAM.gov or recertified their registration in SAM.gov since February 2, 2019, and completed the online representations and certifications.  An authorized signature by the applicant must be provided on this form.
Please note:
1. Other items NOT required/requested for submission, but which may be requested if your application is approved for funding include:
2. The Embassy reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial information regarding the
Section 2 — Organization Information
Section 3 — Technical Proposal
Applicants must submit a complete narrative proposal in a format of their choice, or they may use the attached proposal template (Attachment 4, PDF 228 KB).  The proposal shall not exceed twelve (12) pages.  Refer to the evaluation criteria in Part G below for further detail about what makes a strong proposal.  All proposals must address the following areas:
Monitoring & Evaluation
M&E Performance Monitoring Plan:  Proposals must include a draft Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP).  The M&E PMP should show how applicants intend to measure and demonstrate progress towards the project’s objectives and goals.  Using the provided PMP template (Attachment 5, PDF 209 KB / Attachment 5.1, PDF 234 KB), applicants should describe how they intend to monitor and evaluate the activities of their award and collect data that tracks award performance.  The PMP should also contain If-Then statements to illustrate how project activities will lead to intended outcomes.  In addition, the applicant must complete a short table outlining their proposed activities and chosen indicators.
Section 4 — Budget
A. Budget and Budget Detail: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification.  Applicants are encouraged to utilize the template provided with the  funding opportunity but are not required to do so (Attachment 6, XLSX 35 KB / Attachment 6a, PDF 101 KB).  Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail.  Personnel salaries should include the level of effort and the rate of pay, which should cover the percentage of time each staff member will dedicate to grant-based activities.  If your organization is charging an indirect cost rate, you must apply it to the modified total budget costs (MTDC), refer to 2CFR200.68.  Budgets that are not in the provided format will not be considered.  Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
B. Audit Requirements: Please note the audit requirements for Department of State awards in the Standard Terms and Conditions https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm and 2CFR200, Subpart F – Audit Requirements.  The cost of the required audits may be charged either as an allowable direct cost to the award OR included in the organization’s established indirect costs in the award’s detailed budget.
C. Visa Fees: Include all visa application and related fees in your budget as applicable.  Please note DS-2019s for post-funded programs must be submitted directly by the award  If you anticipate your program will include the DS-2019 visa processing, your organization must be a registered Designated Sponsoring Organization.  For more information go to:  https://j1visa.state.gov/sponsors/become-a-sponsor/
Section 5 — Key Personnel and Project Partners
A. Key Personnel: A résumé, not to exceed one page in length, must be included for the proposed key staff persons, such as the Project Director and Finance Officer, as well as any speakers or trainers (if applicable).  If an individual for this type of position has not been identified, the applicant may submit a 1-page position description, identifying the qualifications and skills required for that position, in lieu of a résumé.
B. Project Partners: Letters of support should be included for sub-recipients or other  The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership.  The individual letters cannot exceed   one page in length.
Special Characters in Submissions
Grants.gov does not accept all UTF-8 special characters in file attachment names.  Applicants are able to enter all special characters from the UTF-8-character set when submitting applications and information to Grants.gov.  However, if the grantor’s system is not yet compatible with these special characters, the grantor system may produce garbled or missing text in the application.  As  a result, the application may be rejected.
F. Review and Selection Process
G.  Application Evaluation Criteria
Criteria:  Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the criteria enumerated below.  The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project, and to determine the likelihood of its success.
Monitoring and Evaluation – 10 points:  Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal.  The organization has clearly articulated how it will   assess and measure its own performance throughout the project implementation phase using concrete quantitative and qualitative assessment tools.
Expenses directly associated with monitoring and evaluation are considered allowable. The suggested template includes a space to list the portion of the total budget amount directly associated with monitoring and evaluation activities.
H. Federal Award Notices
The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email.  The recipient may only start incurring project expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.
If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding.  Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.
The Federal government is not obligated to make any Federal award as a result of the announcement.  Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals.  Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.  The U.S. government also reserves the right to make an award in excess of the award ceiling.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions:  Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:  2 CFR 25, 2 CFR 170, 2 CFR 175, 2 CFR 182, 2 CFR 183, 2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm
In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following:  NOTE:
Reporting
Recipients are required to quarterly program progress and financial reports throughout the project period.  Progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period.  Final    certified programmatic and financial reports are due 120 days after the close of the project period.
All reports are to be submitted electronically.
Awardees that are deemed to be high risk may be required to submit more extensive and frequent reports until their high-risk designation has been removed.
The Awardee must also provide the Embassy on an annual basis an inventory of all the U.S. government provided equipment using the SF428 form.
I. Other Information
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Personnel and Fringe Benefits:  Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the project, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the project.
Travel:  Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this project, for both program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries.  If the project involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
Equipment:  Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the project, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the project), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
Supplies:  List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the project. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
Contractual:  Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the project activities.
Other Direct Costs:  Describe other costs directly associated with the project, which do not fit in the other categories.  For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes.  All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the project activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.   If your organization has a
Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA.  Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10 percent of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.
Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.  It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.
Branding Requirements
As a condition of receipt of a grant award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under an agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, and backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the standard, rectangular U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity.  Note:  Exceptions to the branding requirement are allowable under certain conditions.  If an applicant is notified that their  award has been chosen for funding, the Grants Officer will determine, in consultation with the applicant, if an exception is applicable.
Copyrights and Proprietary Information
If any of the information contained in your application is proprietary, please note in the footer of the appropriate pages that the information is Confidential – Proprietary.  Applicants should also note what parts of the application, program, concept, etc. are covered by copyright(s), trademark(s), or any other intellectual property rights and provide copies of the relevant documentation to support these copyrights.
By U.S. Mission Uzbekistan | Friday, 8 April, 2022 | Topics: American Spaces, Art & Culture, Education, News, Press Releases, Public Affairs, South & Central Asia, U.S. & Uzbekistan

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