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01/05/2023 11:10 AM EST
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
United States Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO):DRL FY22 IRF: Promoting Inclusive Societies in Mongolia
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
Type of Solicitation: Open Competition
Application Deadline: 11:59 PM EST on 7, MARCH, 2023
Total Funding Floor: $500,000
Total Funding Ceiling: $500,000
Anticipated Number of Awards: 1-2
Type of Award: Grant or Cooperative Agreement
Period of Performance: 18-24 months
Anticipated Time to Award, Pending Availability of Funds: 7 months
A. Project Description
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that support Religious Freedom in Mongolia.
“Religious freedom” refers to the rights set out in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the freedom to adopt a religion or beliefs, change your beliefs, practice and teach your beliefs (which may include through publications, public and private speech, and the display of religious attire or symbols), gather in community with others to worship and observe your beliefs, and teach your beliefs to your children. It also states that no one shall be subject to coercion which would impair one’s freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of one’s choice. Proposed programming must be responsive to restrictions on religious freedom and must be in line with the U.S. Government’s religious freedom, democracy, governance, and human rights goals.
Applicants will be responsible for ensuring program activities and products are implemented in accordance with the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
DRL’s goal is to support equitable implementation of existing laws on religious registration, ensuring that laws and regulations relating to religion are in line with international laws and norms regarding freedom of religion or belief.
Background based on the 2021 IRF Report: The Mongolian constitution provides for freedom of conscience and religion, prohibits discrimination based on religion, and mandates the separation of the activities of state and religious institutions. The law prohibits hindering the free exercise of faith and requires religious institutions to register with authorities but provides little detail on registration procedures, leaving local authorities to decide most of the specifics of implementation. Some groups report continued difficulties or extended delays obtaining and renewing registration for their groups or their places of worship or obtaining religious visas in some localities. Some groups report frustration that the law, when implemented, is applied inequitably across and within provinces, creating confusion and a perception of unequal treatment under the law.
In January 2022, the National Institute of Security Studies, a government think tank, published an article stating that “foreign” religions in the country have reached a level that could affect national unity and sovereignty and suggested that the state must “respect the dominance of Buddhist religion” Religious leaders from a variety of faiths regularly cite instances of negative popular sentiment toward “foreign” religious groups, a term they say is sometimes used to refer to non-Buddhist and non-Shamanist religious groups.
Expected project outcomes may include, but are not limited to:
– Civil society organizations conduct compelling advocacy campaigns aimed at decision makers focused on fair, transparent, and equitable treatment of religious groups and their members, with particular focus on regulations for religious community activities;
– Government officials take actions to promote human rights, mutual respect, and inclusion for all, regardless of one’s religion, beliefs or non-belief. This includes creating fair and equitable regulations for permitting religious community activities.
– Government and societal actors are responsive to advocacy to protect freedom of religions, beliefs, or non-belief.
Project activities may include, but are not limited to:
– Creating joint advocacy initiatives, online or offline, among civil society and religious communities focusing on the need for equitable treatment of religious groups, in particular regarding the implementation of regulations. Activities should involve concrete actions and community-engagement that support the outcomes identified above, rather than be solely deliberative relationship-building meetings and gatherings.
– Trainings for officials that deepen knowledge of international norms and laws on religious freedom.
For all programs, projects should aim to have impact that leads to reforms and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. Programs should seek to include groups that can bring perspectives based on their religion, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity. Programs should be demand-driven and locally led to the extent possible. DRL also requires all its programming to be non-discriminatory and expects implementers to include strategies for integration of individuals/organizations regardless of religion, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation and gender identity.
All programs should aim to have impact that leads to reforms and have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way.
DRL is committed to advancing equity and support for underserved and underrepresented communities. In accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities, programs should implement strategies for integration and inclusion of individuals/organizations/beneficiaries that can bring perspectives based on their religion, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, national origin, age, genetic information, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, political affiliation, or veteran’s status. Programs should be demand-driven and locally led to the extent possible.
DRL requires all programs to be non-discriminatory and expects implementers to include strategies for nondiscrimination of individuals/organizations/beneficiaries based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, or veteran’s status.
Where appropriate, competitive proposals may include:
– Opportunities for beneficiaries to apply their new knowledge and skills in practical efforts;
– Solicitation of feedback and suggestions from beneficiaries when developing activities in order to strengthen the sustainability of programs and participant ownership of project outcomes;
– Input from participants on sustainability plans and systematic review of the plans throughout the life of the project, with adjustments made as necessary;
– Inclusion of vulnerable populations;
– Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities;
– Systematic follow up with beneficiaries at specific intervals after the completion of activities to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.
Activities that are not typically allowed include, but are not limited to:
– The provision of humanitarian assistance;
– English language instruction;
– Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
– Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
– External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
– Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary per security concerns;
– Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
– Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
– Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
B. Federal Award Information
Primary organizations can submit one application in response to the NOFO.
The U.S. government may: (a) reject any or all applications, (b) accept other than the lowest cost application, (c) accept more than one application, and (d) waive irregularities in applications received.
The U.S. government may make award(s) on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (though it is under no obligation to do so), however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.
DRL anticipates awarding either a grant or cooperative agreement depending on the needs and risk factors of the program. The final determination on award mechanism will be made by the Grants Officer. The distinction between grants and cooperative agreements revolves around the existence of “substantial involvement.” Cooperative agreements require greater Federal government participation in the project. If a cooperative agreement is awarded, DRL will undertake reasonable and programmatically necessary substantial involvement. Examples of substantial involvement can include, but are not limited to:
– Active participation or collaboration with the recipient in the implementation of the award;
– Review and approval of one stage of work before another can begin;
– Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed sub-awards or contracts beyond existing Federal policy;
– Approval of the recipient’s budget or plan of work prior to the award.
The authority for this funding opportunity is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA).
To maximize the impact and sustainability of the award(s) that result from this NOFO, DRL retains the right to execute non-competitive continuation amendment(s). The total duration of any award, including potential non-competitive continuation amendments, shall not exceed 54 months, or four and a half years. Any non-competitive continuation is contingent on performance and pending availability of funds. A non-competitive continuation is not guaranteed, and the Department of State reserves the right to exercise or not to exercise this option.
C. Eligibility Information
For application information, please see the proposal submission instructions (PSI), updated December 2022 on our website.
C.1 Eligible Applicants
DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures.
Please see 2 CFR 200.307 for regulations regarding program income.
C.2 Cost Sharing or Matching
Providing cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not an eligibility factor or requirement for this NOFO and providing cost share will not result in a more favorable competitive ranking.
Applicants should have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in-country partners, entities, and relevant stakeholders, including private sector partners and NGOs, and have demonstrable experience in administering successful and preferably similar projects. DRL encourages applications from foreign-based NGOs headquartered in the geographic regions/countries relevant to this NOFO. Applicants may form consortia in order to bring together organizations with varied expertise to propose a comprehensive program in one proposal. However, one organization should be designated in the proposal as the lead applicant, with the other members designated as sub-award partners. DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on applicants that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards, and these applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.
DRL is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its programs and activities. DRL welcomes applications irrespective of race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other status. DRL seeks applications that demonstrate that the recipient does not discriminate against any beneficiaries in implementation of a potential award, such as, but not limited to, by withholding, adversely impacting, or denying equitable access to the benefits provided through this award on the basis of any factor not expressly stated in the award. This includes, for example, race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, or veteran’s status. The recipient should insert this provision, including this paragraph, in all sub-grants and contracts under a potential award.
D. Application and Submission Information
D.1 Address to Request Application Package
D.2 Content and Form of Application Submission
For all application documents, please ensure:
– All documents are in English and all costs are in U.S. Dollars. If an original document within the application is in another language, an English translation must be provided (please note the Department of State, as indicated in 2 CFR 200.111, requires that English is the official language of all award documents). If any document is provided in both English and a foreign language, the English language version is the controlling version;
– All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments;
– All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and,
– All documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Captions and footnotes may be 10-point Times New Roman font. Font sizes in charts and tables, including the budget, can be reformatted to fit within one page width.
D.2.1 Application Requirements
Complete applications must include the following:
– Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms. Please see SF-424 instructions in Section 2B of the PSI.
– Organizations that engage in lobbying the U.S. government, including Congress, or pay for another entity to lobby on their behalf, are also required to complete the SF-LLL “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form (only if applicable). Please see SF-LLL guidance in Section 2B of the PSI.
– Cover Page (not to exceed one (1) page, preferably as a Word Document) that includes a table with the organization name, project title, target country/countries, project synopsis, and name and contact information for the application’s main point of contact. Please see Cover Page Section 2C of the PSI for a template and more details.
– Executive Summary (not to exceed one (1) page, preferably as a Word Document) that outlines project goals, objectives, activities, etc.
– The Executive Summary should include a brief section that explicitly states: (1) the problem statement addressed by the project, (2) research-based evidence justifying the unique project approach, and (3) quantifiable project outcomes and impacts.
– Table of Contents (not to exceed one (1) page, preferably as a Word Document) listing all documents and attachments with page numbers.
– Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten (10) pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please note the ten-page limit does not include the Cover Page, Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, Audit, or NICRA. Applicants are encouraged to combine multiple documents into a single Word Document or PDF (i.e. Cover Page, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, and Proposal Narrative in one file). Please see Proposal Narrative Guidelines in Section 2F of the PSI for more details.
– The Proposal Narrative should demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to ensuring the participation of all people as a strategy for implementation. Please integrate inclusion strategies in all sections of the Proposal Narrative to enhance programmatic impact.
– Budget (preferably as an Excel workbook) that includes three (3) columns containing the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and the total budget. A summary budget should also be included using the OMB-approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample) in a separate tab. Costs must be in U.S. Dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for sub-grantees should be included as additional tabs within the Excel workbook (if available at the time of submission).
Please see Budget Guidelines Section 2G of the PSI for more information.
– The programming approach should be dedicated to strengthening inclusive societies as a necessary pillar of strong democracies. Please include costs associated with this commitment in the Budget and Budget Narrative.
– Budget Narrative (preferably as a Word Document) that includes substantive explanations and justifications for each line item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered. Please see Budget Guidelines Section 2G of the PSI for more information.
– The organization’s most recent audit, if applicable. This should be a single audit, program-specific audit, or other audit in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). Please see Audit Section 2H of the PSI for more information.
– Logic Model (preferably as a Word Document). Please see Logic Model Section 2I of the PSI for more information.
– Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative (not to exceed four (4) pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please see Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative Section 2J of the PSI for more information.
– As stated within the DRL Guide to Program Monitoring and Evaluation (p. 6): DRL strongly encourages applicants to consider whether their monitoring and evaluation systems are utilizing human rights-based approaches, applying a gender and equity lens, and/or include the participation of sub-grantees and project participants. Within the Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative, applicants should demonstrate their commitment to inclusive strategies and consider whether evaluation design, data collection, analysis, reporting and learning are conducted in an ethical and responsible way with all project participants (e.g. direct beneficiaries, sub-grantees). Applicants should still make adequate provisions to protect the privacy of human subjects when collecting data from individuals. For instance, when collecting data from project participants, consider whether your organization will have the necessary informed consent forms, confidentiality agreements, and data security protocols. Applicants should be aware that, should an application move forward for funding consideration, DRL will request a detailed Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for further review and approval.
– Risk Analysis (preferably as a Word Document). Please see Risk Analysis Section 2K of the PSI for more information on this requirement, including Do No Harm principles and Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) policies/plans.
– Key Personnel (not to exceed two (2) pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please include short bios that highlight relevant professional experience. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
– Timeline (not to exceed one (1) page, preferably as a Word Document or Excel Sheet). The timeline of the overall proposal should include activities, evaluation efforts, and program closeout.
– Gender and Inclusion Analysis (not to exceed three (3) pages, preferably as a Word Document) that provides a concise analysis of relevant gender norms, equity and equality for underserved communities and marginalized populations, power relations, and conflict dynamics in target countries. Potential domains of analysis include institutional practices and barriers, cultural norms, gender roles, access to and control over assets and resources, and patterns of power and decision-making. Applicants should briefly explain how they have integrated findings from their analysis into project design and/or other proposal documents, including a plan for regularly reviewing and updating the gender and inclusion analysis with local partners/beneficiaries, and making any necessary adjustments to project implementation. A set of guiding questions can be found in Section 2L of the PSI.
Applications that do not include the elements listed above will be deemed technically ineligible.
D.2.2 Additional Application Documents
Strong applications will also contain the following:
– Individual Letters of Support and/or Memorandum of Understanding. Letters of support and MOUs must be specific to the project implementation (e.g. from proposed partners or sub-award recipients) and will not count towards the page limit.
DRL reserves the right to request additional documents not included in this NOFO. Additionally, to ensure that all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL review panel will review from the first page of each section up to the page limit and no further.
Note: If ultimately provided with a notification of non-binding intent to make a federal award, applicants typically have two to three weeks to provide additional information and documents requested in the notification of intent. The deadlines may vary in each notification of intent and applicants must adhere to the stated deadline in the notification of intent.
D.2.3 Additional Information Requested For Those Receiving Notification of Intent
Successful applicants must submit, after notification of intent to make a federal award, but prior to issuance of a federal award:
– Written responses and revised application documents addressing conditions and recommendations from the DRL review panel;
– A copy of the applicant’s latest NICRA as a PDF file, if the applicant has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget;
– A completed copy of the Department’s Financial Management Survey, if receiving DRL funding for the first time;
– Submission of required documents to register in the Payment Management System managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, if receiving DRL funding for the first time (unless an exemption is provided);
– Other requested information or documents included in the notification of intent to make a federal award or subsequent communications prior to issuance of a federal award;
– Applicants who submit their applications through Grants.gov will be required to create a SAMS Domestic account in order to accept the final award. Accounts must be logged into to every 60 days in order to maintain an active account.
D.3 Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)
All prime organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov before submitting an application. DRL may not review applications from or make awards to applicants that have not completed all applicable UEI and SAM.gov requirements. A 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.
Note: As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.
The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number. Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before the award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.
Note: The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.
– Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code, and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process. SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:
– For NCAGE help from within the United States, call +1 (888) 227-2423.
– For NCAGE help from outside the United States, call +1 (269) 961-7766.
Step 2: After receiving an NCAGE code, proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process. SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.
All prime organizations must also continue to maintain active SAM.gov registration with current information at all times during which they have an active Federal award or application under consideration by a federal award agency. 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 and to maintain that active registration. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements at the time of application, the applicant may be deemed technically ineligible to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.
Please refer to 2 CFR 25.200 for additional information.
Note: SAM.gov is not the same as SAMS Domestic. It is free of charge to register in both systems, but the registration processes are different.
Information is included on the SAM.gov website to help international registrations, including “Quick Start Guide for International Registrations” and “Helpful Hints.” Navigate to www.SAM.gov, click “HELP” in the top navigation bar, then click “Explore” and “New to SAM.gov?” for general information. Please note, guidance on SAM.gov and the guidance on GSA’s website about requirement for registering in SAM.gov is subject to change and is currently being updated. Applicants should review the website for the most up-to-date guidance.
The attached “AQM Guidance for NCAGE-SAM.gov for Grant Applicants as of Dec. 2022” is a compilation of resources gathered by the Department’s Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM). Any content shown from SAM.gov is not owned by the Department of State. This guidance and instruction are to the best of our knowledge based at the time of posting this solicitation. Where guidance in these attachments differs from the SAM.gov website, SAM.gov prevails and the applicant is encouraged to seek and document responses provided by the SAM.gov help desk.
An exemption from these requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
– An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
– For an applicant, if the federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a UEI and completing SAM.gov registration prior to receiving a federal award. In these instances, federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a UEI and complete SAM.gov registration within 30 days of the federal award date.
(AGENPARL) – gio 05 gennaio 2023 You are subscribed to Collected Releases for U.S. Department of State. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.