Georgian Media Partnership Program

Georgian Media Partnership Program

 

Program Office:                                Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title:             Georgian Media Partnership Program
Funding Opportunity #:                   DOS-GEO-18-GR-002-052118
Announcement Type:                      Grant
Deadline for Applications:              June 22, 2018
AECCA                                             $255,000

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility is limited to U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations. Direct funding for non-U.S. entities is not available under this announcement.

The Department encourages organizations that have not previously received international program funding from the U.S. Government to apply under this announcement.  Applicants must have a demonstrated expertise in professional development of journalists. Applicants are expected to create and foster long-term relationships between selected American and Georgian media outlets, and their personnel.  Within the framework of this partnership, Georgian professionals affiliated with online media outlets will have opportunity to interact with U.S. counterparts and to take part in practical training experiences organized by their U.S. partner.  Expertise and established relationships with indigenous media organizations in Georgia will be considered favorably. The Grantee is expected to coordinate the solicitation and selection process of the program in coordination with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Cost Sharing or Matching

This program does not require cost sharing, however in-kind financial contributions will be favorably considered.

Other Special Eligibility Criteria

Not Applicable.

CONTACT INFORMATION

  1. For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-

518-4726.

  1. B) On program requirements of this solicitation, contact Grants Program Coordinator at the

Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at TbilisiGrants@state.gov

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia is pleased to announce an open competition for the Georgian Media Partnership Program.  U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations may submit proposals to manage an 18-month-long project to strengthen Georgian online media by fostering long-term relationships between selected American media outlets and Georgian media outlets of similar size in similar demographic communities, and between the individual professionals that work at each outlet.  The means for achieving this objective may include internships, on-the-job trainings, exchanges in both directions, electronic interactions, and intensive consultations.  PAS will award approximately $255,000 for an 18-month-long project, seeking to develop a partnership with one or two Georgian online media outlets under this program.  The grantee should work closely with the Public Affairs Section throughout the grant period to identify the Georgian media outlet to be partnered with the American media outlet selected by the applicant.

BACKGROUND 

The Georgian media is dynamic and relatively free, especially when compared to the media in the rest of the post-Soviet space.  Media is very active and expresses a variety of views.  At the same time, media remains politically polarized and provides the public limited access to objective, neutral news and little analysis.  Television is the primary source of information and politics for roughly 73 percent of the population, while 19 percent rely mostly on the Internet, according to the Caucasus Resource Research Center (CRRC).  By law, media ownership is now transparent, but leadership and control is, more often than not, opaque.  Strong ties remain between leading television outlets and political parties or interests.

Online media as a primary source of news for Georgians is growing rapidly.  Numerous newspapers and several television stations produce online content, and social-media platforms play a growing role in the dissemination of news and information.  As internet penetration increases, so, too, does Georgian use of social media tools to document and respond to significant political and social events.  According to a countrywide survey conducted by CRRC, 46 percent of the population accessed the internet on a daily basis in 2016, and the most active internet users were located in the capital.  Only two percent of Georgians are unfamiliar with the internet altogether.  Audiences are increasingly turning from television to online news sources, which are perceived as more reliable and trustworthy.  However, unreliable and politically biased content, including anti-Western propaganda, also proliferates online.

There are two types of online media outlets in Georgia: those who initially emerged on the web and those who were established as a side platform to traditional media platforms (TV, radio and print).  Each media outlet faces its own unique challenges but there are also commonalities, including the need to adapt content to user habits and to better target key audiences.  Most online media outlets face difficulty in attracting advertisers, diversifying content, obtaining multimedia skills, and competing with traditional media.  Yet, online outlets may be uniquely positioned for growth, with lower operating costs than their traditional media counterparts.

OBJECTIVES

The purpose of the Georgian Media Partnership Program is to support the professional development of one or two online media platforms through the formation of a partnership with similarly situated U.S. media outlet(s), which is sustainable beyond the life of the grant.  The program is designed to give an opportunity to Georgian professionals working in online media to interact with U.S. counterparts and benefit from internships, exchanges in both directions, intensive consultations, and practical trainings organized by their U.S. partner.  The 18-month project will award $255,000 to enable the applicant to match Georgian online media organizations with appropriate U.S. media outlets for partnership activities.  A small grants program will be open to participant media outlets to implement new ideas based on techniques and skills acquired through the program.  The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi would like to see one or two partnerships with Georgian online media outlets to be developed under this program.

The proposal should identify the individuals who will be responsible for the partnership from the U.S. media outlet.  Specific activities to meet the objectives should be included in the proposal.  Activities can include, but are not limited to: a combination of trips to the United States for Georgian participants, trips to Georgia for American partners, intensive training on specific topics, and on-going activities or electronic interactions throughout the project period.  Exchanges in both directions should be tailored to meet the specific needs of the Georgian partner(s).  U.S. visits for Georgian participants should consist primarily of substantive internships and/or job-shadowing experiences at U.S. partner media outlets.  U.S.-based visits for Georgian participants should also expose Georgian media professionals to the American media industry, including business practices, work style, and culture.  These visits should also demonstrate the important role journalism plays in an open and democratic society in providing accurate and unbiased news to the public.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The program should emphasize hands-on experience that will build professional expertise and strengthen links between the two partners.  The program may include such topics as:

  • New media trends, effective use of social networks, multimedia storytelling;
  • Audience segmentation;
  • Understanding audience behavior and creating content based on their needs;
  • Web development and creating user-friendly web-sites;
  • Effective communication practices between programmers, web developers, and reporters;
  • Utilization of modern technologies for effective reporting (with an emphasis on low-cost, high-tech solutions);
  • Combating fake news, journalistic ethics;
  • Management, marketing, and diversification of revenue.

For the visits to Georgia, activities should focus on completing those activities conducted in the United States and increasing the professional capacity of the Georgian participants and their colleagues who may not travel to the United States.  This aspect of the program should also strengthen the sustainable relationship between two outlets.

A detailed program timeline for the entire grant period that outlines how components will unfold and complement each other must be included in the proposal.

The applicant should explain the criteria for establishing matching partnerships and how it will contribute to the sustainability of both the Georgian media outlet and to the partnership. The names of proposed Georgian participants must be reviewed and approved in advance of U.S. travel by the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. PAS anticipates that the majority of Georgian participants will not have working-level competency in English.  The applicant should describe the provisions that will be made for non-English speaking participants.

FUNDING PRIORITY

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia seeks to fund a creative non-profit/non-governmental organization with prior experience in similar projects. In-kind financial contributions will be favorably considered.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility is limited to US non-profit/non-governmental organizations subject to 501 (c) (3) of the tax code. Direct funding for non-U.S. institutions is not available under this announcement.

Applicants are not required to include funding from other donors.  However, applications that include additional in-kind and/or cash contributions from non-U.S. Government sources will be more competitive since cost-sharing demonstrates a strong commitment to the planned activities and will be considered to show great cost-effectiveness.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.

  1. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Award Period: 18 months (with possible extension)

Award Amount: up to $255,000

Application Submission Process:  Applicants must submit proposals electronically using Grants.gov.

Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted on or before June 22, 2018, 11:59 p.m. eastern time.

Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will not be eligible for consideration.  If receipt of application in not confirmed within two days, please contact TbilisiGrants@state.gov.

Telegraphic or fax applications are not authorized for this NOFO and will not be accepted. The total size of each attachment should not exceed 3 MBs.  Every page of the proposal must be numbered.  The application must have a table of contents.  Large graphic files are discouraged.  The format of any attachments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PDF.  Attached files should be printable on U.S. letter size paper (8½ x11”). Do NOT send .rar files.

Application Content:  Applicants must follow the NOFO instructions and conditions contained herein and supply all information required.  Failure to furnish all information or comply with stated requirements will result in disqualification from the competition.  Applicants must set forth full, accurate, and complete information as required by this NOFO.  The penalty for making false statements in proposals to the USG is prescribed on 18 U.S.C.1001.

The following documents are required:

Section 1 – Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424):

Mandatory application forms

Section 2 – Executive Summary:  (maximum 2 pagess)

The executive summary is limited to 300 words in length.  It must provide a summary of the identified need, proposed activities, and expected results.

Section 3 – Project Goals/Implementation Plan (maximum 10 pages):

The applicant must specify the goals and objectives of the project, relative to the announced project statement. The proposed activities should be described in sufficient detail to show how objectives and goals will be met. The narrative should be brief, concise, and provide a clear description of what the applicant proposes to do, where, why, when, how, and by whom.

This section should include a structured monitoring and evaluation plan (Logic Model and a Theory of Change) that will demonstrate how success will be measured via performance indicators by defining objectively verifiable indicators. The matrix should also include: sources/means for verification, risks and assumptions for goals and objectives, and expected results and activities.

Section 4 – Organizational Capability (maximum 2 pages):

Applications must include a clear description of the applicant’s organizational and management structure, and previous experience with similar university partnership projects as these relate to the proposed activities.  Besides information about the organization as a whole, this section must also identify the proposed management structure and staffing plan for the proposed project.

Section 5 – Appendices:

The proposal submission must include appendices listed below. Only the appendices listed below may be included as part of the application:

  • Budget (Required) – the budget must identify the total amount of funding requested, with a breakdown of amounts to be spent in the following budget categories: personnel (salary, wages, honoraria); fringe benefits if any; international and domestic travel; materials; equipment, if any; supplies; office /classroom rental; Georgian participants costs, if any (stipends, domestic travel, etc.); other direct and indirect costs, etc.. Include a budget with an accompanying budget narrative which provides in detail the total costs for implementation of the program your organization is proposing. Detailed budget notes and supporting justification of all proposed budget line items should be included. In addition, a summary of the budget must be submitted using Standard Form SF-424A. This form can be found on-line at:

The budget may include an estimate for continuation activities, which will be considered for successful applicants to this NOFO in future fiscal years based on performance and the availability of funds. After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.

Applicants that have a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement with the U.S. Government should submit the latest copy.

  • Resume (Required) – a resume, not to exceed 2 pages in length, must be included for the proposed key staff person, such as the Project Director. 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 resume.
  • Letters of Intent (Required) –Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia recommends that the applicants identify in advance the local partners in the U.S. and requires including the letters of intent with the proposal. 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. Please note that these are not letters of support, and should only be included for those organizations that will play an active role in the project, including those that receive financial support through the project budget. The individual letters cannot exceed 1 page in length, and applicants are limited to submitting up to 5 letters per proposal.
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) – copy of SAM.gov registration.

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) 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 (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here: 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.

AWARD SELECTION CRITERIA

Evaluation Criteria:  Applicants should note that the following criteria (1) serve as a standard against which all proposals will be evaluated, and (2) serve to identify the significant matters that should be addressed in all proposals.  The USG will award grants to the applicants whose offers represent the best value to the USG on the basis of technical merit and cost.

Each application will be evaluated by a peer review committee of the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia and other experts, as deemed appropriate.  The evaluation criteria have been tailored to the requirements of this NOFO.

  • Project Strategy, Approach and Implementation Plan (50 points): Applicants should demonstrate:

(a) good understanding of the issue; clear definitions of the program and a vision of what will be accomplished at the end the agreement; (b) clarity of proposed objectives; (c) technical soundness of approach, including clarity in scope and focus of activities to be carried out; feasibility of achieving results and objectives;

(d) detailed analysis of potential obstacles, risks and problems that could be encountered during the project implementation; (e) local partnership commitments and optimum utilization of Georgian organizations and Georgian expertise in program implementation; (f) clarity of expected achievements/outcomes of the project, and a brief description of the proposed monitoring and evaluation plan.

The review panel will be viewing the implementation plan in terms of how well it addresses the overall relevance of the goals and objectives, the feasibility of the proposed activities and their timeline for completion, and the extent to which the impact of the project will continue beyond the conclusion of the funding period.

  • Organizational Capability (30 points): Proposals should demonstrate the ability to develop and implement Georgian Media Partnership Program. Applicants must demonstrate how their resources, capabilities, and experience will enable them to achieve the stated goals and objectives. In addition, applicants should describe how they will collaborate with PAS and Georgian media outlets to meet project goals.
  • Appendices (20 points):
    • Budget:  Costs shall be evaluated for realism, control practices, and efficiency.  The review committee must determine that the costs paid for this award are reasonable, allowable, and allocable to the proposed project activities.  This will consist of a review of the budget to determine if the overall costs are realistic for the work to be performed, if the costs reflect the applicant’s understanding of the allowable cost principles established by OMB Circular A-21 and if the costs are consistent with the program narrative.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a021_2004

  • Resume: The review panel will consider the appropriateness of the selected project director, in view of the role and responsibility that person will play in guiding the project through implementation to completion. Position descriptions submitted in lieu of the resume will be reviewed for the appropriateness of the qualifications and skills identified.
  • Letters of Intent: The review panel will consider the types and depth of relationships that the applicant has with local (U.S.) organizations. The panel will also review the letters to determine the willingness of local (U.S.) organizations to participate in the effort, and that all parties have an understanding of their unique roles and responsibilities in terms of the proposed project.
  1. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Award Notices:  The grant award or co-operative agreement shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The Grants Officer is the Government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants and cooperative agreements.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the Recipient through either mail or facsimile transmission.  Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing.

Anticipated Time to Award:  Applicants should expect to be notified of the selected proposal within 90 days after the submission deadline.  Following this the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia staff will provide information at the point of notification about the requirements for the final grant agreement, which may include revisions to the activities.  The final agreement must incorporate any suggested changes made by the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Applicants should be aware that there may be a delay between the time that applications are submitted and awards are made.  Successful applicants can expect to receive their first tranche of grant funds no later than October, 2018. This delay is primarily due to the extensive clearance process that must be undertaken prior to grant awards being made.

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.

  • Reporting Requirements: Grantees are required to submit quarterly program progress and financial reports throughout the project period.  Progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period.  Final programmatic and financial reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period.  Progress reports at a minimum should be submitted via electronic mail to an address to be provided in the award.

VII. DISCLAIMER

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with the award.  Renewal of an award to extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of the Department of State.  The Department of State reserves the right to award more or less than the funding indicated as is deemed in the best interest of the U.S. Government.

VIII. 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 program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program 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 program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), 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 program. 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 program activities.

Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, 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 program 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% 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.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.