English Access Microscholarship Program (ACCESS)

English Access Microscholarship Program (ACCESS) 2022


U.S. EMBASSY IN TBILISI, GEORGIA
Program Office: Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title: English Access Microscholarship Program (ACCESS)
Announcement Type: Cooperative Agreement
Funding Opportunity Number:

Deadline for Applications: March 27, 2022

ESF/AECCA 275,000.00

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility is limited to U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations subject to 501 (c) (3) of the tax code, U.S. and Georgian educational institutions, and Georgian non-profit/non-governmental organizations.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY:

The Public Diplomacy (PD) Section of U.S. Embassy Tbilisi announces an open competition for Grant Proposals for the administration of the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access), which provides English-language instruction to 13 to 18-year-old disadvantaged students, to include from urban, rural, and/or ethnic minority regions of Georgia.

The Access program is expected to fund two years of after-school classes and enhancement activities for an estimated 250-330 students at 11 locations in Georgia, at an estimated cost of approximately $1,000 USD per student. The PD Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi will award up to $275,000 in FY 2022 for this two-year project, with a possible expansion of the program activities in later years, subject to the availability of funds and the concurrence of the PD Section.

The PD Section plans to award one cooperative agreement pursuant to this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to the applicant whose proposal is the most responsive to the objectives set forth in this NOFO and which offers the greatest value to the U.S. Government. The PD Section reserves the right to fund any or none of the proposals submitted. The PD Section may make an award on the basis of the initial proposals received without discussion or negotiation. Therefore, each initial proposal should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The PD Section reserves the right, but is under no obligation, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional details, or to suggest refinements in the program description, budget, or other aspects of a proposal.

DESCRIPTION

The Access program is designed to increase English language skills and capabilities among economically-disadvantaged youth.

The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to students 13–18 years old from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and enhancement activities. Access students gain an appreciation for American culture and democratic values, increase their ability to participate successfully in the socio-economic development of their country and gain the ability to compete for and participate in future U.S. exchange and study programs.

Program Overview

The grantee organization will be expected to provide selected groups of students with two years of after-school English language instruction and enhancement activities, comprising at least 150 hours of instruction per year or a minimum of 300 hours over two years, aimed at improving students overall English language proficiency in the four basic skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

A mix of in-person and virtual programming may be considered.  Past programs have used National Geographic’ Pathways English language learning series as textbooks.  The PD Section will be able to provide a detailed curriculum to the organization that wins the award.

In addition to providing quality instruction in the English language to Access students, grantees will be encouraged to conduct enhancement activities with content that gives the participants insights into, and an appreciation for, U.S. culture and democratic values. These activities could involve such things as public speaking or debate clubs; lessons on U.S. society and culture (celebrations of American holidays); community awareness activities, including civic education classes; community service and advocacy discussions and activities, including Global Youth Service Day; and English-language summer camps.

Enhancement activities should be designed to help students better understand U.S. society and values, including the U.S. values of volunteerism and community service. In addition to providing quality instruction in the English language to Access students, workshops must include content that gives the participants insights into, and an appreciation for, U.S. culture and democratic values.

Objectives

The overall objective of the Access program is to enhance the English-language skills of disadvantaged youth and thereby develop increased self-confidence, stronger critical thinking skills and opportunities to study or obtain jobs.

Specific objectives include:

1) Providing students from socially disadvantaged families with no-cost English language classes;

2) Enabling these pupils to develop leadership and interpersonal skills through various enhancement activities;

3) Increasing students’ understanding of U.S. culture and values through enrichment activities; and

4) Enabling students with improved English language skills to successfully participate in U.S. government-funded academic exchange programs and other public diplomacy initiatives.

Background

The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) is a global program supported by the U.S. Department of State. Access provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13–18-year-olds from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions. Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects.

The program also gives participants the opportunity to gain an appreciation for U.S. culture and values. It is intended to increase their ability to participate successfully in the socio-economic development of their countries and improve their chances of participating in educational and exchange programs in the United States. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 150,000 students in more than 80 countries have participated in the Access Program.

Since the start of the program in 2010, Access Program has been implemented at over 20 locations of Georgia.

The U.S. Embassy Tbilisi Public Diplomacy (PD) Section involvement:

The U.S. Embassy Tbilisi Public Affairs Diplomacy (PD) Section anticipates a close working relationship with the implementing partner for this Agreement. The PD Section will exercise substantial involvement in the following areas:

  • Review and approval of the implementation plan;
  • Selection of target schools and development of training schedule
  • Review and approval of recipient’s key personnel, and any changes in key personnel;
  • Review and approval of the monitoring and evaluation plan;
  • Review and concurrence with the selection of any sub-grant or sub-award recipients, if any, for grants over $25,000 made under this award;
  • Monitoring of activities;
  • Direction or redirection because of interrelationships with other projects.
  • Approval of any materials produced for the project.

A PD staff member will serve as a program coordinator for this project to liaise with the implementer, beneficiaries, and stakeholders.

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. A) For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.
  2. B) On program requirements of this solicitation, contact Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiExchanges@state.gov

Please, write the funding opportunity title – English Access Microscholarship Program(ACCESS) – in the subject line of the e-mail.

APPLICATION DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted on or before March 27, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard time. Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will not be eligible for consideration.

Application Submission Process: All applications must be submitted in the electronic form to TbilisiExchanges@state.gov or electronically using Grants.gov. Instructions on the Grants.gov application process are available at http://www.grants.gov.

For questions relating to Grants.gov, please e-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov

Please, write the funding opportunity title – English Access Microscholarship Program(ACCESS) – in the subject line of the e-mail. 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. The attached files should be printable on U.S. letter-size paper (8½ x11”).

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 proposal must consist of the following:

Section 1 – Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424): This form can be found online at: http://a.m.state.sbu/sites/OPE/FA/SitePages/Toolkit.aspx?&phase=Pre-Award

Section 2 – 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. 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.

Section 3 – Organizational Capability (maximum 2 pages):

Applications must include a clear description of the applicant’s organizational and management structure, and previous experience with similar Educational 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.

(a) Resume – 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 one-page position description, identifying the qualifications and skills required for that position, in lieu of a resume.

(b) Letters of Intent (optional) – The PD Section recommends that the applicants identify in advance the local partners in Georgia 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.

Section 4 – Budget:

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; materials; equipment, if any; supplies; office /classroom rental; other direct and indirect costs, etc… Include a budget with an accompanying budget narrative that 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 online at: http://a.m.state.sbu/sites/OPE/FA/SitePages/Toolkit.aspx?&phase=Pre-Award

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Consistent with the federal grant regulations, the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia reserves the right to give priority for its funds to the organization which best meets most of the objectives stated in the program announcement. Proposals will be evaluated on:

1) Project goals and proposed activities (60 points): Applicants should describe what they propose to do and how they will do it. The proposed activities must directly relate to meeting the goals and objectives. The review panel will be viewing proposed activities in terms of how well they address the problem statement, the relevance of the goals and objectives, the feasibility of the proposed activities, estimated impact including a total number of beneficiaries, and the extent to which the impact of the project will continue beyond the conclusion of the funding period.

2) Organizational Capacity (25 points): Proposals should demonstrate the ability to develop and implement the program. Applicants must demonstrate how their resources, capabilities, and experience will enable them to achieve the stated goals and objectives. Provide the CVs of key project implementation team members, if available.

3) Budget Outline (15 points): Review committee must determine that the costs paid for this award are reasonable, and allowable for proposed project activities. This will consist of a review of the budget outline to determine if the overall costs are realistic for the work to be performed.

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Award Notices

The cooperative 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.

Anticipated Time to Award

Applicants should expect to be notified of the selected proposal within 90 days after the submission deadline. Following this the PD Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia staff will provide information at the point of notification about the requirements for the final application, which may include revisions to the activities. The final applications will not be subject to further competition but must incorporate any suggested changes made by the PD Section 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 sign the award no later than September 30, 2022.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. Embassy, nor does it commit the U.S. Embassy to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the Government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

Disclaimer

If a proposal is selected for funding, the U.S. Embassy 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.