Promoting Gender Equality in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Exchange Program

Promoting Gender Equality in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Exchange Program

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY TBILISI

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Program Office:                                Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title:              Promoting Gender Equality in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Exchange Program
Funding Opportunity Number:       DOS-GEO-18-CA-002-062218
Deadline for Applications:              July 23, 2018
CFDA Number:                                19.900
Total Amount Available:                  $225,000

 

  1. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Executive Summary

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce an open competition for an implementing partner for the Promoting Gender Equality in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Exchange Program (1) to facilitate a clear understanding of key barriers to female participation in TVET and analyze their implications in women’s employment and economic empowerment; (2) to provide practical tools and guidance on how to mainstream gender effectively into the TVET institutional structures, systems, programs and activities; and (3) to strengthen the capacity of TVET providers to overcome gender disparity in student recruitment and retention.  U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations, public and private educational institutions, including TVET providers, may submit proposals to manage a year-long project to support the professional development of the staff of select Georgian TVET institutions through a robust professional study tour at U.S. training centers, with site visits to the relevant TVET institutions, partners, and policymakers in the United States.  PAS intends to award a cooperative agreement for an estimated amount of $225,000 to defray the costs for the preliminary needs assessment trip to Georgia, followed by a three-week intensive study tour in the United States for up to 12 participants, and follow-up visit in Georgia for evaluation and further consultations.

Background:

Georgia’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reforms are aimed at supporting socio-economic development, poverty reduction, and developing human capital to meet the needs of the labor market. Thus far, reform has primarily focused on identifying labor force needs and reducing the mismatch between supply and demand, to reduce overall unemployment and increase the employment rates of TVET graduates.  Self-employment (mainly underemployment in subsistence agriculture) and high urban unemployment remain major economic challenges.

In general, TVET graduates perform slightly better in the labor market compared to university graduates.  However, among youth (ages 15-24), the highest unemployment is experienced by young TVET graduates (36 percent).  The analysis shows that young people (and especially young women) face obstacles transitioning to the labor market.  This includes inflation of qualifications, lack of trust of vocational qualifications, preference for higher levels of education, work experience requirements, and the mismatch of skills between supply and demand.  In spite of the high level of unemployment, employers find it difficult to locate the personnel they require.

Culturally, a negative stigma affiliated with TVET harkening back to the Soviet Union, has become a significant barrier for the much-needed program.  TVET is not considered a desired or first-rate career path.  There is a prevailing belief that TVET qualifies graduates for low status, manual, and poorly paid jobs.  Employers do not trust vocational qualifications.

Gender balance is a significant challenge to the development of an inclusive TVET system and a barrier to women’s labor force participation.  Community or family beliefs undermine the potential role of women in contributing to sustainable and productive livelihoods.  Gender stereotypes about the kinds of work women and men ‘should’ do limit students from pursuing satisfying careers in non-traditional areas.  Negative gender norms and beliefs hold back girls and women from applying for traditionally male-dominated trades in lieu of female-dominated trades, which may not necessarily lead to profitable work.

Program Objectives:

  • Increase the participation of female students in formerly male-dominated TVET programs;
  • Mainstream the gender perspective in all policy planning, implementation, and evaluation activities to fully benefit from women’s competence, experience, and potential in TVET;
  • Strengthen the capacity of TVET providers to overcome gender disparity in student recruitment and retention;
  • Improve the image of TVET and increase its attractiveness by teaching skills to Georgian TVET admissions administrators to successfully execute a comprehensive social media and public awareness campaign to combat gender-based stereotypes in TVET; and
  • Build the capacity of TVET provider institutions to better communicate with the public and stakeholders about TVET opportunities and reforms.

Program Overview/Design:

The program should enhance the professional development of strategy managers and policy planners, student recruitment staff, brand managers, public relation managers, educational administrators and career planners of Georgian TVET provider institutions through a professional intensive study tour in the United States where the program is to deliver trainings, meetings, discussions, site visits, and other educational and informative activities, and co-create demonstration materials such as marketing resources and video products.  Other sessions may provide discussions with government representatives and policy makers, as well as meetings with TVET public and private partners to better understand the meaning of public-private partnerships and how these partnerships lead to a demand-led employment model.  The program should consist of a preliminary needs assessment trip to Georgia, followed by a three-week intensive study tour in the United States for up to 12 participants, and a follow-up visit to Georgia for evaluation, hands-on training, co-creation of marketing materials, and further consultation.

The award recipient will lead the implementation of the TVET exchange program and conduct overall program management, including coordination among partners, communications with program participants, and logistical needs (including, but not limited to, lodging, food, transportation, and interpretation).  The award recipient will act as the implementing partner of the public-private partnership by serving as the management backbone of the program, from hosting regular partner coordination meetings and managing the overall program schedule to serving as an interface to vendors and the program participants and facilitating international and in-country travel logistics.

The award recipient will be responsible for designing and securing contracts with vendors to ensure adequate facilities and services necessary to conduct the trainings, the creation and management of the program schedule, creation of the program curriculum, serve as a recipient and manager of partner funds, negotiating with partner TVET institutions, preparing and providing appropriate activities for the participants, and budgeting accordingly.  Providing on-the-ground leadership and staffing.

Approximately 10 participants from leading Georgian TVET provider institutions and two representatives of relevant departments from the Ministry of Education and Science will be selected to participate in the exchange trip.  The grantee will arrange travel and transportation logistics for all program participants and facilitators, including the preliminary needs assessment trip in Georgia, study tour in the United States, and the follow-up trip to Georgia at the end of the program, including covering food and lodging costs for participants and interpretation.

In a cooperative agreement, the U.S. Embassy is substantially involved in program activities beyond routine monitoring.  The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy will select the participants in cooperation with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Exchange program participants will include one representative from each from the 10 TVET providers benefitting from the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s “Program Improvement Competitive Grants” Activity.

Expected Results:

Georgian TVET and government representatives will gain a clear understanding of key barriers to female participation in TVET and analyze their implications in women’s employment and economic empowerment; practical tools and guidance on how to mainstream gender effectively into the TVET institutional structures, systems, programs and activities through targeted outreach and marketing; and strengthened capacity to overcome gender disparity in student recruitment and retention.  The final result is an expected increase in female enrollment in male-dominated TVET fields in Georgia.

Participants and Audiences:

Georgian strategy managers and policy planners, student recruitment staff, brand/PR department managers, educational administrators and career planners of Georgian TVET provider institutions.

  1. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 1 year
Number of awards anticipated: 1 award
Total available funding: $225,000
Anticipated program start date:  October 1, 2018

Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative agreement.

In a cooperative agreement, the U.S. Embassy is substantially involved in program activities beyond routine monitoring.  The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy will select the participants in cooperation with Millennium Challenge Account – Georgia. 

  1. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

 

  1. Eligible Applicants

Eligibility is limited to U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations, public and private educational institutions, including TVET providers. Direct funding for non-U.S. entities is not available under this announcement.

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

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

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

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. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

  1. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

 

  1. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-mandatory-family.html#sortby=1

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

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 of Application

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • Large graphic files are discouraged
  • ZIP and RAR files are discouraged
  • The format of any attachments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDF
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms
  1. Summary Page (2 pages maximum): Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief summary of the identified need, proposed activities and expected results.

 

  1. Proposal (10 pages maximum): 

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 details to show how objectives and goals will be met. This section should include a structured monitoring and evaluation plan or matrix 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. Finally, this section must include a time-task plan that clearly identifies the objectives and major activities including dates, times, and locations.

  1. Organizational Capability: (2 pages Maximum)

Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program and what proportion of their time will be used in support of this program.

Previous experience with similar T-VET 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.

  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information. The budget may include an estimated cost for continuation activities, which will be considered for successful applicants to this RFP in future fiscal years based on performance and the availability of funds.
  1. Attachments
  • 1-page CV or resume (Required) of key personnel who are proposed for the program.
  • 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.
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) (NOTE: This section is required and not optional, except for NOFOs targeting applications from individuals instead of organizations)

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.

  1. Submission Dates and Times

All applications must be submitted on or before July 23, 2018, 11:59 p.m. eastern time.  Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will be ineligible for consideration.  Begin the application process early, as this will allow time to address any technical difficulties that may arise in advance of the deadline.  There will be no exceptions to this application deadline.

  1. Other Submission Requirements

All applications must be submitted electronically through here
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.

  1. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
  2. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Project goals and implementation plan stated in the proposal (60 points):  Applicant well describes what they propose to do and how they will carry all activities out. The proposed activities directly relates to meeting the goals and objectives of the program. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The review panel will be viewing proposed activities in terms how well they address the problem statement, relevance of the goals and objectives, feasibility of the proposed activities and the extent to which the impact of the project will continue beyond the conclusion of the funding period.

Organizational Capacity (25 points):  Proposal demonstrates the ability to develop and implement the program. Applicant demonstrates how their resources, capabilities and experience will enable them to achieve the stated goals and objectives.  The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account. 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.

Budget Outline (15 points):  The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable, allowable and allocable to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

  1. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
  2. 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 program 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.

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.

  1. 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 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

Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

  1. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.

On program requirements of this solicitation, please contact Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov

Please, note the funding opportunity title – TVET program – in the Subject line of the e-mail.

  1. 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 into 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.