U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY TBILISI
Notice of Funding Opportunity
Program Office: Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title: The Teaching Advancement Program “Teachers of Tomorrow” (TOT)
Funding Opportunity Number: DOS-GEO-23-CA-014-07172023
Deadline for Applications: September 7, 2023; 18:00
CFDA Number: 19.900
Total Amount Available: $200,000
The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce an open competition for the Teaching Advancement Program “Teachers of Tomorrow” (TOT). U.S. and Georgian non-profit, non-governmental organizations and accredited American higher education institutions may submit proposals to manage a 12-to-18-month program aimed at improving quality of primary and secondary education through improved pre-service teacher preparation and professional capacity building of in-service teachers and teacher educators/university faculty.
Interested applicants should submit application package to TbilisiGrants@state.gov by September 7, 2023, 18:00. Please, note the funding opportunity title – TOT Program 2023 – in the subject line of the e-mail.
Teacher educators need to be well-trained to be able to implement effective Pre-service Teacher Education (PSTE) programs. While the demand for competent teachers seems to be high, Georgian universities face a number of challenges while trying to provide quality support to the general education system.
Georgia introduced teacher certification requirements in 2007, by which teachers had to demonstrate minimum competency in their respective subjects as well as in pedagogy. Unfortunately, the majority of teachers failed to demonstrate the minimum required level of knowledge when they took the certification exams. According to the Teacher Education and Development Study of Mathematics (TEDS-M), an international survey of future math teachers, Georgia came last in a survey of 17 countries for both subject knowledge and pedagogy. Moreover, the average age of a teacher in Georgia is 50. This means that most teachers graduated within the Soviet training system, which was teacher-oriented as opposed to student-oriented. Also, the Soviet system lacked the critical thinking component in teaching as the education system was centered on the delivery of the party-approved truisms rather than on fostering genuine discussion in classrooms. These demographics mean that Georgia will have to renew more than 50 percent of its teaching workforce over the next decade or so. It is true that the university enrollment rates for teacher training programs are increasing significantly. Nevertheless, according to a State Audit report published in May 2022, there is a deficit of qualified teachers in the regions, and teachers often teach more than three or four unrelated subjects. (USAID, Educating the Future Activity, NOFO: 72011423RFA00001).
The problem is not only the generational change but also the teacher profile. PSTE programs face a challenge of attracting motivated and capable students interested in STEM (over the course of the years, the demand for the STEM teachers is rising, however the universities fail to attract students), students from rural areas, and male students.
Goal of the TOT program is to enhance quality of general education through improving PSTE programs and professional capacity of in-service teachers and teacher educators. This program will be a complementary effort to existing USAID funded “Educating the Future Activity” program while also providing an additional element of exchange visit and a study tour.
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, including beneficiaries of workshops and webinars 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 TOT will seek to deliver an intensive hands-on training (both in person and webinars) for teacher educators/university faculty in curriculum development, modern teaching methods, student assessment, etc. The program will also help to explore the concept of teacher leadership, as well as the skills and dispositions necessary for this role beginning at the pre-service level. A new course in teacher leadership will be developed and introduced in close cooperation with local teacher educators. TOT will entail establishing or improving a practicum program for pre-service teachers, developing strong linkages between PSTE institutions and local schools.
TOT envisages exchanges in both directions – a combination of trips to the United States – a two-week robust study tour for eight Georgian participants (pre-service and in-service teachers) and trips to Georgia of American partners, who will be engaged in active trainings on specific topics mentioned above and identified additionally in consultation with PDS and TOT participants. The study tour will bring Georgian delegation to U.S. based universities to share best practices on how pre-service teacher education is delivered, how curriculum is constructed, how partnerships are established with schools, and how quality control mechanisms are enforced. Moreover, visits to American universities are meant to raise the profile of the visiting fellows so that the effectiveness of their future contribution to their respective communities is further enhanced.
TOT activities will be implemented in two universities in Georgia – one Tbilisi-based and one located in a region.
TOT program objectives include the following:
Following topics/activities (the list can be further expanded) may be supported:
a) Trainings/webinars/workshops on how to:
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.
Participants and Audiences:
TOT will benefit teacher educators, pre-service and in-service teachers.
FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: up to 2 years
Number of awards anticipated: 1
Total available funding: $200,000
Anticipated project start date: October 1, 2023
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
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.
Cost Sharing or Matching
This program does not require cost sharing, however in-kind financial contributions will be favorably considered.
Other Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have 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.
APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
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.
Required Content of Application Package:
Partnership 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.
Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed project, including project objectives and anticipated impact.
Introduction to the Organization A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
Project Team Information: Along with the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project and their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role. Indicate what proportion of their time will be used in support of the project.
Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed.
Project Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the project is intended to achieve. How will the project impact the community and what changes (in people, institutions, attitudes, or practices) will you see? The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
Local Project Partners: List partners who will support your project. Please note if you have an existing relationship with your partner organization(s) or individual(s) and describe their role in the project. If you do not have an existing relationship, explain how you anticipate establishing a partnership with the organization(s).
Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
Project Methods, Design, and Timeline: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. This should include description of your direct and indirect beneficiaries. The proposed timeline for the project activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant? Proposals should include a plan to monitor the project’s success that includes outcome indicators, targets, and a baseline; a mid-point check-in (as appropriate); and an evaluation at the end of the program. Successful monitoring depends heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Applicants’ project descriptions should include a clear description of the project’s objectives that are within the capacity of the grantee to achieve, the anticipated project outcomes, and how and when they intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. Overall, the quality of an applicant’s monitoring plan should be judged on how well it 1) specifies intended outcomes; 2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; 3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and 4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups). Applicants’ monitoring plans should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. The output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change.
Sustainability: Explain how you plan to continue the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
Communication Plan: Explain how you will promote your project. Include social media, websites, print news, or other forms of media you intend to use to share information about your project to beneficiaries and the public. Communications should include TVET 2023 and U.S. Embassy branding. These include training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under an agreement.
Budget Justification Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:
Any applicant with an exclusion 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.”
The Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards. SAM.gov is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements. OMB designated SAM.gov as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance. Under the law, it is mandatory to register in SAM.gov.
Starting April 2023, the UEI will be assigned when an organization registers or renews it’s registration in SAM.gov at www.SAM.gov. To access SAM.gov an organization is required to have a Login.gov account. Organization can create an account at https://login.gov/. As a reminder, organizations need to renew its sam.gov registration annually.
It is in the organization’s best interest to check if their CAGE/or NCAGE codes are active. Organizations are required to register/or renew their CAGE or NCAGE codes prior to registering or renewing www.sam.gov . Both registration and renewals for both CAGE and NCAGE can take up to 10 days. Organization’s legal address in NCAGE/CAGE must mirror www. sam.gov.
www.sam.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM.gov. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM.gov.
If an organization plans to issue a sub-contract or sub-award, those sub-awardees must also have a unique entity identifier (UEI number). Those entities can register for a UEI only at SAM.gov.
Note: As of April 2023, a DUNS number is no longer required.
Submission Dates and Times
All applications must be submitted on or before September 7, 2023, 18:00. Applications submitted after 18:00 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.
Application package must be sent to the Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov
Please, note the funding opportunity title – TOT program 2023 – in the Subject line of the e-mail.
APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.
Project goals and implementation plan stated in 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.
FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
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.
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.
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.
Payments will be made in several installments. An initial segment will be authorized to initiate the project. The applicant must provide interim reports about the use of the transferred segment of funds before the following segment is released.
FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
On program requirements of this solicitation, please contact Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov
Please, note the funding opportunity title – TOT program 2023 – in the Subject line of the e-mail.
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.
“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.
Allowable and Unallowable Budget Items: