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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
United States Department of StateBureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): DRL Transitional Justice
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
Type of Solicitation: Open Competition
Application Deadline: 11:59 PM EST on Friday, February 4, 2022
Total Funding Floor: $1,234,567
Total Funding Ceiling: $4,938,270
Anticipated Number of Awards: 3-4
Type of Award: Grant or Cooperative Agreement
Period of Performance: 24-36 months
Anticipated Time to Award, Pending Availability of Funds: 5-7 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 forensic anthropology and transitional justice processes—whether judicial or non-judicial, formal or informal, retributive or restorative—around the globe.
Applicants should identify specific forensic anthropology assistance needs as part of an integrated approach to transitional justice in countries transitioning out of armed conflict or repressive regimes to redress legacies of atrocities and promote long-term, sustainable peace. Successful proposals will demonstrate a clear understanding of the target country or countries and the respective operating environment(s) identified by the applicant, including existing U.S. Government or other donor-funded programs working in similar areas. Regional and/or global proposals are also welcomed and should focus on bolstering development and knowledge of regional networks and the collection and dissemination of lessons learned and best practices on transitional justice processes and forensic anthropological tools in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and/or Europe.
Proposals must take an integrated, locally owned, and victim-centered approach in designing, strengthening, and/or promoting transitional justice processes and forensic anthropology assistance aimed at encouraging broad community ownership and sustainability. Program strategies should fit the appropriate cultural, judicial, legal, and economic context(s) of the local context and clearly articulate and address the needs and priorities of victims and their families. In addition, gender considerations must be integrated throughout program design.
Proposals should address two or more of the following areas:
– Building local forensic anthropological capacities to investigate and prosecute cases of forced disappearances and gross human rights violations through exhuming mass graves; collecting and analyzing DNA samples; identifying victims’ remains; preserving evidence and documentation for a range of transitional justice processes; and/or facilitating increased national, regional, and international awareness through coordination between victims’ family associations and the broader NGO human rights community, including through outreach to key opinion makers, policy makers, and the public at large;
– Strengthening the capacity of local civil society to document human rights violations aimed at pursuing truth, justice, and reconciliation, including through oral histories, forensic evidence, legal documentation focused on criminal accountability, memorialization efforts, and archiving, which may include the use of innovative and accessible secure documentation tools;
– Supporting locally led advocacy, educational initiatives, and/or memorialization, archiving, and additional truth-telling activities to address: (1) historical memory and legacies of large-scale human rights abuses; and, (2) the prevention of local conflict and mass atrocities;
– Facilitating the empowerment of victims, survivors, and their families through transitional justice programs that will account for the individual and collective needs of different groups of victims and survivors. Program approaches may include, but are not limited to: empowering victims and survivors, particularly among indigenous communities, women, and other vulnerable groups to effectively participate in formal and informal reparative justice processes; fostering coordination, skill-building, and mentorship among diverse civil society actors to better integrate victims and their families into national and local justice and accountability efforts; and, pursuing a trauma-informed approach to truth-telling, memorialization, and documentation prioritizing victims’ and survivors’ active and informed consent, privacy, agency, and physical and emotional safety.
All programs 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. DRL is committed to advancing equity and support for underserved and underrepresented communities. Programs should seek 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.
Competitive proposals may also include a summary budget and budget narrative for 12 additional months following the proposed period of performance, indicated above. This information should indicate what objective(s) and/or activities could be accomplished with additional time and/or funds beyond the proposed period of performance.
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 2021 on our website.
C.1 Eligible Applicants
DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment 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.
C.3 Other
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 projects 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 1 page width.
D.2.1 Application Requirements
Complete applications must include the following:
– Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B 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.
– Competitive proposals may include a summary budget for 12 additional months following the proposed period of performance.
– 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.
– Competitive proposals may include a summary budget narrative for 12 additional months following the proposed period of performance.
– 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, 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.
– Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (preferably as a Word Document or Excel Sheet). Please see Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Section 2J of the PSI for more information.
– 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 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 program implementation. A set of guiding questions can be found in Section 2L of the PSI.
– Security Plan addressing any issues involving in-person events and recruitment for said events, and safety for any online programs or communications, including independent IT security audits (to include a vulnerability assessment) of any proposed web application or platform. Organization’s Security Plan should demonstrate consideration of the risks identified in the submitted risk assessment. Costs may also be identified within the budget and budget narrative. Applicants are also encouraged to include contingency plans for in-person or online activities.
– Contingency Plan for proposed activities should the originally planned activities not be able to be implemented. The Contingency Plan should be submitted as an additional annex. Applicants should demonstrate consideration of the risks identified in the submitted risk assessment and include specific alternative activities or locations as part of the Contingency Plan. Any proposed “plan” must comply with 2CFR200.433 – Contingency provisions. Plans must not include unallocable or unallowable expenses and must not result in a larger Total Award Value than the identified as the “competition ceiling.” DRL requires prior approval by the Grants Officer of the “plan” before any activities can take place, or costs can be incurred against the “plan.”
– Lessons Learned (not to exceed one (1) page, preferably as a Word Document) from past transitional justice programs that demonstrate how the implementer has safely operated and responded to programmatic challenges, learning from both successes and failures, in the operating environment. To be incorporated into the ten (10) pages allowed for “Proposal Narrative.”
– Psychosocial Assistance (to be incorporated into the ten (10) pages allowed for “Proposal Narrative,” and into “Budget” and “Budget Narrative”). A section in the proposal, budget, and budget narrative to reflect appropriate resources and support for the psychosocial health of staff (i.e., activities can range from access to educational materials and training opportunities to counseling services to other contextually relevant support).
21) Burma Due Diligence Assessment (not to exceed one (1) page, preferably in Microsoft Word) that outlines existing organizational practices for vetting program beneficiaries and capacity to conduct due diligence vetting as outlined in the solicitation.
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), formerly referred to as DUNS, 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.
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 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 pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS, but do need a NATO CAGE (NCAGE) code and UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
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. 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.
Note: SAM.gov is not the same as SAMS Domestic. It is free 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 “International Registrants” in the left navigation panel. Please note, guidance on SAM.gov and the guidance on GSA’s website about requirement for registering in SAM.gov is subject to change. Applicants should review the website for the most up-to-date guidance.
D.3.1 Exemptions
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.