U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Program Office: Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title: Georgian Media Education Program – “Strengthening Journalism Education in Georgia”
Funding Opportunity #: DOS-GEO-22-007-CA-031022
Announcement Type: Cooperative Agreement
Deadline for Applications: May 16, 2022
Eligibility is limited to U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations, universities, and educational institutions. Direct funding for non-U.S. entities is not available under this announcement.
The Public Diplomacy (PD) Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia encourages U.S. organizations to apply for the Media Education Program – “Strengthening Journalism Education in Georgia” for media educators and administrators. Applicants must have a demonstrated expertise in developing and implementing programs related to journalism training, designing and carrying-out study tours for university administrators and media professionals, and organizing trainings at U.S. schools of journalism/mass communication. Expertise and established relationships with higher education institutions/journalism schools in Georgia will be considered favorably. The grantee is expected to coordinate the solicitation process of the program participants, including placement at a U.S. school of journalism/mass communication, with the PD Section. To mitigate risk because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the grantee will be asked to work with PD Section Tbilisi to enable alternate or supplemental virtual delivery of certain segments of the program in the event of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Cost Sharing or Matching
This program does not require cost sharing, however, in-kind financial contributions will be favorably considered.
Other Special Eligibility Criteria
A) For questions relating to Grants.gov, please call the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.
B) On program requirements of this solicitation, contact Grants Program Coordinator at the
Public Diplomacy (PD) Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at TbilisiGrants@state.gov
The Public Diplomacy Section (PD) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce an open competition for a Media Education Program (MEP) – “Strengthening Journalism Education in Georgia.” U.S. non-profit/non-governmental organizations and accredited American higher education institutions may submit proposals to manage a year-long project to support the professional development of Georgian media educators from public and private higher education institutions through a robust professional study tour at U.S. schools of journalism, media, and mass-communication, with complementary site visits to U.S.-based media organizations and journalism education associations, e.g., Journalism Education Association, etc.. Additional means for achieving the objectives of the program may include participation in annual conventions or conferences promoting excellence in journalism education and media literacy. Proposals should include a component to engage approximately 40 MEP alumni through the MEP Alumni Association. This might include a micro-grant opportunity to encourage alumni projects that advance journalism education and media literacy. The applicant should work closely with PD Section throughout the grant period to identify Georgian participants. The project will award $249,900 to defray the costs of a two-week intensive study tour for up to 10 participants. Applicants should include provisions for non-English speaking participants and secure international travel insurance for the duration of the study tour.
The Georgian media is dynamic and relatively free, especially when compared to the media in the rest of the post-Soviet space. The media is very active and expresses a variety of views. At the same time, media remains politically polarized and provides the public only limited access to objective, neutral news, and little analysis. Free media remains one of the major pillars of ongoing liberal reforms. A vibrant community of media professionals is one of the major factors ensuring greater transparency of democratic reforms, contributing to the freedom of expression, and upholding the rule of law.
Journalism education in Georgia dates back to 1949 when the Department of Journalism was established at the School of Literature at Tbilisi State University (TSU), the prime higher education institution in Georgia founded in 1918. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many public and private universities started teaching journalism as a separate discipline. However, most of them still use old-fashioned, Soviet-style curricula due to limited access to modern teaching methodologies and because of the lack of competent human resources.
Transformative changes in the educational system took place in 2005 when Georgia joined the European Bologna Process and became a signatory to the Lisbon Convention, which helped the country begin to align its education system with the European standards of education.
At present, according to the NCEQE, around 20 higher education institutions teach courses in journalism and/or mass communication1. The majority of these programs employ a student-oriented approach and attempt to emulate international standards.
Despite the above-mentioned developments media educators in Georgia lack resources, in-depth knowledge of emerging multimedia platforms, the latest tools, and subject-matter expertise to
1 National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement, 2017 provides quality training in journalism. This lack of capability and skills, coupled with scarce resources mainly in the field of new technologies, impede the creation and utilization of comprehensive, cross-disciplinary, and relevant curricula based on fundamental journalistic competencies.
The purpose of the Georgian Media Education Program is to support the professional development of media educators, strengthen journalism programs in Georgian HEIs through adopting the best practices of journalism education in the United States, and establish collaborative linkages between Georgian and U.S. schools of journalism. These visits should also demonstrate the important role quality journalism education plays in establishing and maintaining a vibrant press corps and accountable democracy.
The program should focus on introducing MEP participants to the latest trends in journalism education, multimedia, and media literacy. In today’s consumer-driven and media-saturated world, it’s becoming increasingly important for teachers to understand how to teach media literacy. Media educators can play a significant role in helping students understand the differences in media outlets, the messages they receive and ethical methods for producing their own content. Apart from consultation meetings with professors and media administrators, campus tour, and intensive hands-on trainings at a selected U.S. school of journalism/communication, participation in events and workshops organized by professional journalism organizations should help achieve the program objectives. Exposure to emerging media tools, instruments, and digital platforms would enable selected Georgian media educators to learn modern practices in journalism education and to successfully adopt them in their professions. The program will also enable media professionals to examine technological advances in an American university and the influence it has on expanding academic opportunities for educational achievement. The MEP has provided professional development to three previous cohorts comprising about 40 journalism educators, who remain active through a newly developed alumni association. MEP proposal may entail a component that ensures continued alumni engagement. Funds up to $15,000 can be encumbered to support a micro-grant competition through which alumni may submit proposals that will strengthen their programs.
The program envisages exchanges in both directions – a combination of trips to the United States for Georgian participants and trips to Georgia of American partners, who will be engaged in active trainings on specific topics identified in consultation with MEP participants. 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.
The program should emphasize a hands-on experience that will build the professional expertise of Georgian media educators and contribute to strengthening journalism education in Georgia. It will also help journalism professors get acquainted with strategies for teaching media literacy and supporting students in developing skills that allow them to effectively evaluate content from a variety of media sources. The program may include such topics as:
Applicants may propose other project topics/activities not specifically mentioned in this solicitation if the activities reinforce the impact of the project. A detailed program timeline for the entire grant period that outlines how components unfold and complement each other must be included in the proposal.
The names of proposed Georgian participants must be reviewed and approved in advance of U.S. travel by the Public Diplomacy (PD) Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. PD Section anticipates that the majority of Georgian participants will not have working-level competency in English. The applicant should describe the provisions (interpretation, international travel insurance, visa B1/B2 fee, meals and incidental expenses) that will be made for the proposed study tour participants.
The Public Diplomacy (PD) Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia seeks to fund a non-profit/non-governmental organization with prior experience in similar projects. In-kind financial contributions will be favorably considered.
Eligibility is limited to U.S. 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 valid registration on www.SAM.gov.
APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION Award Period: 18 months (with possible time/cost extension) Award Amount: up to $249,900
Application Submission Process: Applicants must submit proposals electronically using Grants.gov.
Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted on or before May 16, 2022, 11:59 p.m. eastern time.
Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will not be eligible for consideration. If receipt of application is 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. The 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): This form can be found online at: http://aopefa.a.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=20&menu_id=68
Mandatory application forms
NOTE: On March 18, 2022, at 5:00 PM EDT, all notice of funding opportunities will be updated within Grants.gov. The Department of State will transition over to the newest version of the SF-424 form. Specifically, “Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) [V3.0]” will be replaced with the new V4.0 form. Applicants who apply directly to funding opportunities via SAMS Domestic will see a new field labeled UEI displayed on the SF-424 form in the SAMS Domestic Portal, which will be required moving forward as of March 18, 2022, at 5:00 PM EDT. Note that once this transition is complete, applicants will need a SAM.gov UEI to apply for all DOS opportunities whether within Grants.gov or via SAMS Domestic. This change is necessary to prepare the Department for the official transition from utilizing DUNS to the SAM.gov Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) in April, 2022.
Section 2 – Executive Summary: (maximum 2 pages)
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:
(a) 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 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://aopefa.a.state.gov/Content/documents/SF424A-V1.0.pdf http://aopefa.a.state.gov/Content/documents/SF424Instructions.pdf
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.
(b) 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.
(c) Letters of Intent (Required) –Public Diplomacy (PD) Section 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.
(d) Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) – a copy of SAM.gov registration.
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:
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:
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.
NOTE: U.S. Department of State prepares for the official transition from utilizing DUNS to the SAM.gov Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) in April 2022. Once this transition is complete, applicants will need a SAM.gov UEI to apply for all DOS opportunities whether within Grants.gov or via SAMS Domestic.
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 PD 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 of 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.
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.
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 Diplomacy (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 grant agreement, which may include revisions to the activities. The final agreement must incorporate any suggested changes made by the Public Diplomacy (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. 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.
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.
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.