Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Request for Proposals: Needs Assessment and Outcome-based Evaluation of Transitional Justice Programs
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REQUESTED PROPOSAL PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
DRL invites organizations to submit proposals outlining evaluation concepts and capacity to manage an evaluation targeting the following issue:
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) announces a Request for Proposals from individuals and organizations interested in submitting proposals for an evaluation related to transitional justice programs overseas. This evaluation will be awarded as a cooperative agreement. The purpose of this award is to conduct an analytical review of transitional justice (TJ) programs in post-conflict countries and countries that have undertaken democratic transitions; develop a framework, to be available publicly, for programming around transitional justice mechanisms and processes based on literature and internationally accepted best practices; evaluate DRL-supported projects on transitional justice and assess how those projects fit under this newly developed framework, including identifying strengths and gaps; and create a public toolkit that includes an assessment tool and guidelines for best practices on how to develop and implement international programs focused on transitional justice issues.
For many years, the U.S. government has supported the governments and civil society around the world to redress legacies of past human rights abuses, including providing forensic assistance programs, supporting tribunal and courts on human rights cases, and assisting civil society systematically document human rights abuses in their countries. DRL, specifically, has funded transitional justice-related programming for more than a decade, focusing on human rights documentation, truth-seeking efforts, and judicial accountability mechanisms; forensic assistance; education and training related to transitional justice processes; support to institutions and institutional reform, including truth commissions, human rights bodies and justice sector actors; psychosocial assistance and support to survivors of torture, particularly civil society actors; and, support to memorialization, grassroots reconciliation and conflict mitigation efforts. These resources have been instrumental in many cases in promoting accountability for human rights abuses, combating impunity, increasing access to justice and promoting citizen participation in political processes in countries where trust-building, reconciliation and truth are fundamental to stability and long-term democracy. However, they have not been part of a clear and systematic strategy for how the U.S. government, including DRL, will build its transitional justice portfolio that incorporates the successes of its past programs, and utilizes lessons learned. This evaluation will collect information necessary for DRL and other donors to make systematic and informed decisions about the direction of future programming in this area.
This evaluation has two main components. The first part will be an analytical review of transitional justice (TJ) programs in post-conflict countries and countries transitioning out of repressive regimes based on available literature and best practices. This review will focus on how to best design and sequence TJ programming specific to each context, with the goal of helping to guide the development of a strategic framework that donors and implementers can use when determining the most appropriate types of TJ programs to support in targeted countries.
Second, this solicitation will include an outcome-based evaluation of past and current DRL-funded TJ programs, including an assessment of how the Bureau’s current TJ portfolio fits within the newly developed framework as well as a guide to best practices in TJ programming. The evaluation will address three key areas: program effectiveness; short-term and intermediate outcomes of the programs; and fit in relation to the new transitional justice programming framework. The findings and recommendations from this evaluation will help DRL determine the individual and cumulative success of these transitional justice programs and help inform DRL when determining programmatic priorities in the future. This will also be the basis for a public toolkit that details best practices and lessons learned with respect to this portfolio. This toolkit will include an “assessment tool,” which can be a check list and questionnaire that donors and implementers can use to determine entry points for transitional justice programming and appropriate transitional justice mechanisms given the context. The assessment tool should include examination of important variables that influence programming such as political will, human rights situation, key stakeholders, and institutional and organizational capacity, among others.
DRL’s transitional justice programs are generally two to three years in length and range between $250,000 and $1.5 million. The projects are mostly concentrated in Latin America, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The evaluation will cover up to three regions, excluding the Middle East, and include approximately six active and closed grants. The closed grants will have ended no earlier than 2011.
DoS awards grants and cooperative agreements to U.S. nongovernmental organizations to implement programs that support development of democratic values and human rights around the globe. These awards are supported through Congressional earmarks in the annual Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, under the Democracy Fund.
3. EVALUATION TASKS
I. Analytical Review Tasks
A. Within two weeks of the signing of this evaluation award, the Implementer will meet with DRL to refine and approve the evaluation design, as described in the proposal, and submit the work plan of the analytical review. The work plan should contain the following: identification of the research method; information that needs to be analyzed and the respective information sources; work plan and time table for collection information; work plan and time table for organization and analysis of information; and conditions and capacities necessary for data collection, analysis and communications of findings.
B. At minimum, the methodology should include a comprehensive literature review on publications related to transitional justice programs and evaluation methodology and results. If it is determined that there have been many evaluations conducted on international transitional justice projects, the evaluations should also conduct a meta-analysis of those evaluations. From this meta-analysis, the evaluator will come up with various TJ categories: types of transitions, types of issues, feasibility of operating environment, types of assistance interventions, etc. This will build the framework and strategy for DRL TJ projects. The Implementer shall provide all major research documentation (e.g., list of types of reports and articles to be reviewed, analyses instruments, etc.) to DRL for review and clearance prior to formal analyses. If there are not many publications related to transitional justice programs evaluation methodologies, then the review can be widened to include similar projects under rule of law, peace building, or justice reform.
C. Literature review and meta-analysis shall take no longer than six weeks. The review is meant to inform the selection criteria for the projects to be included in the outcome-based phase of the evaluation. The selection criteria should take into account both regional and thematic considerations for projects in this sector that have been funded by DRL in the past five years.
D. Discussion of preliminary findings and draft framework for how to best to design, and implement transitional justice programs should take place in Washington, DC together with the DRL evaluation manager within two weeks of completing the analyses.
E. Final report on the analytical review and TJ framework shall be reviewed and cleared by DRL within three weeks after the discussion of preliminary findings.
II. Outcome-based Evaluation Tasks
A. Within two weeks after the completion of the Analytical Review Tasks, the Implementer will meet with DRL to further refine the evaluation questions and begin work on the evaluation design and work plan of the outcome-based evaluation. The evaluation will address three key areas: program effectiveness; short-term and intermediate outcomes of the programs; and fit in relation to the new transitional justice programming framework. The work plan should contain the following: identification of the research method; information that needs to be analyzed and the respective information sources; work plan and time table for collection information; work plan and time table for organization and analysis of information; and conditions and capacities necessary for data collection, analysis and communications of findings. The outcome-based evaluation should include site visits to up to six current or recently closed programs in no more than three regions, based on criteria developed during the literature review and meta-analysis portion of the evaluation.
B. A detailed evaluation design and all instruments to be used must be approved by DRL within three weeks after the work plan is approved. The Implementer shall provide all evaluation documentation (e.g., correspondence, contact letters, data collections instruments, fieldwork reports, etc.) to DRL for review and clearance prior to disseminating to participants and key stakeholders.
C. It is the Implementer’s responsibility to identify and describe data collection mechanisms based on the Implementer’s experience and expertise, keeping in mind security and confidentiality issues regarding program information. Use of quantitative as well as qualitative methods will include document reviews, surveys, structured and unstructured interviews, observations, and any other appropriate methodologies. Interviews, at minimum, should include DRL staff that have been involved with the selected TJ projects, main implementers of the TJ projects, project beneficiaries and partners and external collaborators. The Implementer shall inform DRL when data collection has been completed.
D. Data collection in the field, which can last up to three months (including time to handle logistics), will take place at the locations where the TJ projects have been implemented. The locations will be determined after the analytical review has been completed to identify the best grants to include in the evaluation. It is anticipated that approximately six grants from no more than three regions, as described in the Background Section, will be included in the evaluation. When in the field a 6-day work week with no premium pay is authorized.
E. Discussion of preliminary findings should take place in Washington, DC together with the DRL evaluation manager within two weeks of completing the analyses.
F. The Implementer shall draft a public toolkit that will help DRL and other donors guide their programmatic strategy related to supporting transitional justice efforts. Adequate time shall be incorporated into the Project Schedule for DRL and stakeholders, if appropriate, to review all draft tools. DRL will undertake a final review of all changes to the reports before the implementer makes multiple final hard copies.
G. The Implementer shall draft an evaluation report that presents findings, produces an independent assessment of the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the transitional justice projects, draws conclusions (i.e., identifying best practices and lessons learned), and explains how the projects fit the framework developed under the Analytical Review Tasks. The Implementer also shall draft an abridged version that would be made available to the public to help move the field forward in terms of best practices in this arena. This version would not include internal evaluation data related to DRL programs. Adequate time shall be incorporated into the Project Schedule for DRL and stakeholders, if appropriate, to review all draft reports (both versions). The implementer shall plan on at least three-to-four draft versions of the report (both versions) for Department feedback. DRL will undertake a final review of all changes to the reports before the implementer makes multiple final hard copies. The Assistant Secretary for DRL has authority for final approval and release of all final reports. DRL must approve of the final reports (both versions) before final payment can be made.
H. The Implementer should be available to conduct one to two oral briefings on the content of the evaluation report, accompanied by a Power Point presentation.
I. This phase of the evaluation should take approximately six months. The implementer may wish to adjust the time-table, in consultation with and the approval of DRL.
4. EVALUATOR REQUIREMENTS
Below are the preferred background and experience the Bureau seeks from the Implementer.
1. Extensive knowledge of and expertise in foreign assistance programs, particularly related to democracy and human rights issues. Preference is given to individual(s) with specific experience on transitional justice issues, countries undergoing democratic transition, and/or experience in the justice sector.
2. Experience with a variety of quantitative and qualitative evaluation methodologies such as how best to establish criteria for judging “success” of foreign assistance programs, and the ability to analyze, synthesize and draw larger conclusions, best practices, and lessons learned from various sources of data and findings.
3. The primary or sole evaluator should have a minimum of ten years experience leading an M&E team and show proven ability in design, implementation, data analysis and evaluation of foreign assistance programs including experience in transition settings.
4. Must be ability to safely and securely travel to various countries to conduct the necessary field work and data collection.
5. Exceptional organizational and communication skills.
5. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE
With the exception of data collection, project activity is anticipated to take place at the implementer’s place of work. Data collection, including securing current contact information for participants in the evaluation project, will take place in the United States and designated countries where the TJ grants were implemented.
6. RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL COSTS
The implementer shall assume responsibility for all costs associated with the project as detailed in the proposal. These costs include, but are not limited to: staff salaries; indirect costs; fee of any airfare and per diem for all implementer and sub-implementer staff domestic and international travel; passport/visa costs; securing and/or verifying alumni contact information; data collection and data verification; overseas staff and/or sub-implementers costs; translation services for data collection instruments, contact (cover) letters and “back-translation” of completed surveys into English; interpreter/translation costs for conducting overseas interviews and/or focus groups; lodging and per diem for interview or focus group participants and other representational costs (if necessary); lunch/dinner and incentive costs for interview and focus group participants; meeting room rentals for interviews and focus groups; telephone calls; mail and postage costs; and document reproduction. A 6 day work week with no premium pay is authorizes when in the field.
NOTE: Implementers are asked to base travel budget on economy class tickets. Implementers should not under-estimate the work time in foreign countries and the financial costs associated with overseas travel (i.e., per diem and airfare). All travel shall be in accordance with federal travel regulations, including “Preference for U.S.-Flag Air Carriers” (January 1997), and the Department of State will only fund the equivalent of economy class tickets.
7. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE
The period of performance for the evaluation shall not exceed 8 months. The cooperative agreement expires when the final payment has been made by the Department of State. The project will commence within two weeks after cooperative agreement award is finalized.
8. PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS
Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov by July 2, 2013 before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST); 2) heed all instructions contained in the solicitation document, including length and completeness of submission; and 3) do not violate any of the guidelines stated in the solicitation and this document.
The information contained herein is to assist you as a general reference for completion of the proposal submission. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all of the material submitted in the grant application package is complete, accurate, and current. Please review the below Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) in their entirety. Should you have any questions that are not answered therein, or questions on the solicitation, please contact Karen Chen (ChenKY@state.gov) and Riva Kantowitz (KantowitzRB@state.gov).
PROPOSAL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
It is the responsibility of all applicants to ensure that proposals have been received by www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov in their entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.
All applicants are encouraged to submit applications via www.grantsolutions.gov.
Organizations that have previously used www.grantsolutions.gov do not need to register again. If an organization that has previously used GrantSolutions.gov is not able to access the system, please contact Customer Support for help in gaining access: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-577-0771.
Applicants using www.grantsolutions.gov for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration” as soon as possible. This process must be completed before an application can be submitted. Registration with www.grantsolutions.gov usually occurs directly after an applicant submits their registration. To register with www.grantSolutions.gov, click “Login to GrantSolutions” and follow the “First Time Users” link to the “New Organization Registration Page.” There are different ways to register your organization, click on the link that fits best.
A valid DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number and CCR (Central Contractor Registration) are NOT required for submission of an initial application on www.grantsolutions.gov. If a project is selected for further funding stages, these will need to be obtained. Instructions for obtaining a DUNS number can be found at www.sam.gov . Click “create user account” and sign up for an “individual account.” For help with www.sam.gov, please call the Federal Service Desk at 866-606-8220.
Electronic applications submitted via www.grantsolutions.gov must contain the SF-424 online forms (completed) and the SOI document (Project Narrative) specified in the application kit. No additional documents should be uploaded. The preferred document formats for the uploaded documents are .doc or .docx. Applicants should wait until the upload shows the status as “successful” before moving to the next part of the application kit.
Upon completion of a successful electronic application submission, the GrantSolutions system will provide the applicant with a confirmation page indicating the date and time (Eastern Time) of the electronic application submission as well as an official Application Number. This confirmation page will also provide a listing of all items that constitute the final application submission. Please save this page for your records.
GrantSolutions.gov Help Desk:
For assistance with www.grantsolutions.gov accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact Customer Support at email@example.com or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.
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**PLEASE be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from www.grants.gov can take two full weeks. DRL strongly urges applicants to begin this process on www.grants.gov well in advance of the submission deadline. No exceptions will be made for organizations that have not completed the necessary steps to post applications on www.grants.gov. Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application varies depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your internet connection. In addition, validation of an electronic submission via www.grants.govcan take up to two business days. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through www.grants.gov.
The www.grants.gov website includes extensive information on all phases/aspects of the www.grants.gov process, including an extensive section on frequently asked questions, located under the "For Applicants" section. DRL strongly recommends that all potential applicants review thoroughly the www.grants.gov website well in advance of submitting a proposal through the www.grants.gov system.
Please refer to the www.grants.gov website for definitions of various "application statuses" and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from www.grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via www.grants.gov can take up to two business days. DRL will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications. Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable request for proposals (RFP) and these instructions.
A valid DUNS number AND a CCR (Central Contractor Registration) number ARE BOTH required prior to submitting an application via Grants.gov. Organizations should verify that they have a DUNS number or take the steps needed to obtain one as soon as possible. Instructions for obtaining a DUNS and number and CCR Registration can be found at www.sam.gov . Click “create user account” and sign up for an “individual account.” An organization must wait approximately 3-5 business days after registering with the CCR before the organization may obtain a username and password for Grants.gov. This may delay the organization’s ability to submit a Statement of Interest through www.grants.gov. In addition, CCR registration must be updated annually to maintain a valid registration.
Electronic applications submitted via Grants.gov must contain the three parts listed as mandatory forms in the application package, including the SOI document (Project Narrative). Upon completion of a successful electronic application submission on Grants.gov, the applicant will receive an email confirmation that the application has been successfully submitted and is in the process of verification. The applicant will then receive another email confirming that the application has been verified. Both emails are provided by grants.gov to verify that an application was received. Please save these emails for your records.
Grants.gov Helpdesk: For assistance with Grants.gov, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.
PROPOSAL REVIEW PROCESS
DRL strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by the Department of State (DOS) Review Committee. All proposals for a given solicitation are reviewed against the same four criteria, which are weighted differently (see details below). These criteria are: (1) Quality of Technical Approach, (2) Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives, (3) Quality of Staff, and (4) Cost Effectiveness. Additionally, the Committee will evaluate how the proposals meet the solicitation request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. Panelists review each proposal individually against the evaluation criteria, not against competing proposals.
In most cases, the Department of State Review Committee includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate DOS bureaus, and where appropriate, USAID Washington. At the end of discussion on a proposal, the Committee votes on recommending the proposal for Bureau approval.
Department of State Review Committee panels may provide conditions and recommendations on proposals to enhance the proposed programs, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of limited DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify and/or justify costs and program activities.
For further information on the DRL grants process, please see the DRL website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/index.htm
TECHNICAL FORMAT REQUIREMENTS
For all application documents, please ensure:
1) All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments,
2) All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
3) All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
Complete applications must include the following for proposal submission:
1. Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A and SF424B, as directed on www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov. Completed and signed SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” and the “Certification Regarding Lobbying Activities” (which can be found with the solicitation on www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov and on the DRL website at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm), as well as your organization’s most recent A-133 audit (if applicable).
2. Table of Contents (not to exceed one  page in Microsoft Word) that includes a page-numbered contents page, including any attachments.
3. Executive Summary (not to exceed two  pages in Microsoft Word) that includes:
a) Name and contact information for the project’s main point of contact;
b) A one-paragraph “statement of work” or synopsis of the proposed evaluation plan and its expected results;
c) A concise breakdown of the project’s key evaluation activities by evaluation objectives; and
d) The total amount of funding requested and program length.
4. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten  pages in Microsoft Word). Please note the ten page limit does not include the Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative or NICRA. Applicants are encouraged to submit multiple documents in a single Microsoft Word or Adobe file, (i.e., Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Proposal Narrative, and Budget Narrative in one file).
5. Budget Narrative (preferably in Microsoft Word) that includes an explanation and justification for each line item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered. For ease of review, DRL recommends applicants order the budget narrative as presented in the detailed budget. Personnel costs should include a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of key staff and percentage of time devoted to the project. The budget narrative should communicate to DRL any information that might not be readily apparent in the budget, not simply repeat with words what is stated numerically in the budget.
6. Detailed Line-Item Budget (preferably in Microsoft Excel) that includes three  columns including the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and total budget (see below for more information on budget format). A summary budget should also be included using the OMB approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample). Costs must be in U.S. dollars.
7. Attachments (not to exceed seven  pages total, preferably in Microsoft Word) that include the following in order:
a) Page 1-2: Roles and responsibilities of key program personnel with short bios that highlight relevant professional experience. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
b) Page 3-5: Detailed work plan for the overall proposal. Components should include a timeline, proposed tasks and length of time for each task, deliverables and anticipated delivery date, other activities and program closeout.
c) Page 6-7: Additional optional attachments. Attachments may include additional timeline information, letters of support, etc.
8. If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a .pdf file. This document will not be reviewed by the panelists, but rather used by program and grant staff if the submission is recommended for funding and therefore does not count against the submission page limitations. If your proposal involves subgrants to organizations charging indirect costs, please submit the applicable NICRA also as a .pdf file (see below for more information on indirect cost rates).
Note: DRL retains the right to ask for additional documentation of those items not included on this form.
Note: To ensure all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the Department of State Review Committee will review the first page of the requested section up to the page limit and no further. DRL encourages organizations to use the given space effectively.
INFORMATION ON STANDARD FORMS
Organizations must also fill out and submit SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms as directed on www.grantsolutions.gov or www.grants.gov. In addition, please refer to the following guidelines as you fill out the SF-424:
1. Type of Submission: Application
2. Type of Application: New
3. Date Received: Leave blank. This will automatically be assigned.
4. Applicant Identifier: Leave blank
5a. Federal Entity Identifier: Leave blank
5b. Federal Award Identifier: Leave blank
6. Date Received by State: Leave blank. This will automatically be assigned
7. State Application Identified: Leave blank. This will automatically be assigned
8a. Enter the legal name of the applicant organization. Do NOT list abbreviations or acronyms unless they are part of the organization’s legal name.
8b. Employer/Taxpayer ID Number: Non-U.S. organizations enter 44-4444444
8c. Enter organizational DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System). Organizations can request a DUNS number at www.sam.gov.
8d. Enter the address of the applicant
8e. Enter the name of the primary organizational unit (and department or division, if applicable) that will undertake the assistance activity, if applicable
8f. Enter the name, title, and all contact information of the person to be contacted on matters involving this application
9. Select an applicant type (type of organization)
10. Enter: Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
11. The CFDA number is 19.345
12. Enter the Funding Opportunity Number and title. This number will already be entered on electronic applications.
13. Enter the Competition Identification Number and title. This number will already be entered on electronic applications.
14. Areas Affected by Project: List the country or countries where project activities will take place in alphabetical order; for projects that will take place in more than one region enter “Global”
15. Enter the title of your proposed project (if necessary, delete pre-printed wording)
16. Congressional districts of Applicant and Program: Applicant if based in the U.S. please enter congressional district; if unknown or a foreign applicant please enter “90.” In box 16(b) for congressional district of program please enter “90.”
17. Please refer to the solicitation for the estimated start date and enter your projected end date
18. (18a) Enter the amount requested for the project described in the proposal under “Federal”; (18b) enter any cost-share under “Applicant”. Otherwise, use zeros.
19. Enter “c”
20. Select the appropriate box. If you answer “yes” to this question you will be required to provide an explanation.
21. Enter the name, title, and all contact information of the individual authorized to sign for the application on behalf of the applicant organization.
Please fill in the highlighted fields of the SF 424A with information from your proposed budget.
Please fill in the highlighted fields of the SF-424B: Page 2 - Complete applicant organization and title of authorized official sections. The Authorized Official is generally the grant signator at the organization or business.
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULARS
Organizations should be familiar with OMB Circulars A-110 (Revised) 22 CFR 145 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Nonprofit Organizations), A-122/A-21 (Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations; Indirect Costs), and A-133/A-128 (Audits of Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations) on cost accounting principles. For a copy of the OMB circulars cited, please contact Government Publications or download from http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default.
An organization with a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) from a cognizant federal government agency other than the U.S. Department of State should include a copy of the cost-rate agreement. Applicants should indicate in the proposal budget how the rate is applied and if any of the rate will be cost-shared. DRL generally does not pay indirect costs against participant expenses, but each case may vary. Organizations claiming indirect costs should have an established NICRA. If subgrantees are claiming indirect costs, they should have an established NICRA that is also submitted with the proposal package.
PROPOSAL REVIEW CRITERIA
Submissions should address the four specific criteria outlined in the solicitation described below:
Quality of Technical Approach (30 points)
Proposals should be responsive to the solicitation and demonstrate a clear understanding of DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. Proposals should show how the Implementer can creatively conduct an effective review of the transitional justice field and evaluation of international transitional justice programs in post-conflict countries under democratic transition. Because the literature on international transitional justice programs is rather sparse, proposals should demonstrate ingenuity in its ability to develop a comprehensive framework on transitional justice efforts and implement a robust outcome-based evaluation on current TJ projects. A strong proposal will expand beyond traditional evaluation methodologies and include more innovative evaluation techniques that can quickly adapt to evolving democratic situations.
Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives (40 points)
A strong proposal will include a clear articulation of how the proposed evaluation activities contribute to the overall evaluation objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the Implementer. The work plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above. For complete proposals, applicants should provide a monthly timeline of project activities. Proposals should describe data collection mechanisms for both the analytical review and the outcome-based evaluation based on the Implementer’s experience and expertise.
Quality of Staff (20 points)
Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful evaluations for a range of democracy and human rights foreign assistance programs, and preferably ones related to transitional justice issues. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project's objectives. Roles, responsibilities, and brief bios demonstrating relevant professional experience of primary staff should be provided as one of the main attachments.
Cost Effectiveness (10 points)
DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate program cost-effectiveness in their proposal submissions, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources.
Cost-sharing is the portion of program cost not borne by the sponsor. DRL encourages cost-sharing, which may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs and offered by the applicant and/or in-country partners. Applicants should consider all types of cost-sharing. Examples include the use of office space owned by other entities; donated or borrowed supplies and equipment; (non-federal) sponsored travel costs; waived indirect costs; and program activities, translations, or consultations conducted by qualified volunteers. The values of offered cost-share should be reported in accordance with (the applicable cost principles outlined in) OMB Circular A-110 (Revised) Subpart C (23) “Cost-sharing or Matching.” Other federal funding does not constitute cost-sharing.
The recipient of an assistance award must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, the Bureau’s contribution will be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.
Applications will not be considered complete unless they include budgets that respond to the solicitation guidelines. Complete budgets will provide a detailed line-item budget outlining specific cost requirements for proposed activities. A minimum of three columns should be used to delineate the bureau funding request, cost-share by applicant, and total project funding. Complete applications will include a budget narrative to clarify and justify individual line-items (i.e., calculations of how the costs were derived per month or year, their necessity, and overall contribution to the program’s cost-effectiveness).
Note: Grantees under Bureau-funded projects are responsible for complying with all applicable tax treaties and federal, state, and local laws on tax withholding and reporting for project participants.
The three-column proposal line item budget should include the following components, in the suggested format below:
1. Summary Budget
2. Line-Item Budget
Note: This budget is designed to serve as an example of the format for complete budget submissions and is NOT exhaustive. Individual line items included in each applicant’s budget should reflect specific program activities.
Before grants are awarded, the Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the Bureau’s program and availability of funds.
1. SUMMARY BUDGET:
Please include the applicant organization name, title and duration of the project, and the following:
All organizations, including those not offering any cost - sharing, should submit a budget, formatted to include three columns for each line item: DRL funding request, cost-share offered, and total funding. Sources of all cost-share offered in the application should be identified and explained in the budget narrative. When organizations have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to obtain cost sharing or are pursuing avenues to cost share, DRL encourages applicants to note this in the proposal.
Budgets should be arranged according to the format below to clearly delineate cost-share:
B. Fringe Benefits
I. Total Direct Charges (sum A-H)
J. Indirect Charges
K. Total (sum I-J)
2. LINE-ITEM BUDGET:
A. Personnel – In general, employees receiving benefits from the applicant organization are considered staff. Consultants hired to assist with the program, who do not receive benefits, should be included under other direct costs. Identify staffing requirements by each position title and brief description of duties. For clarity, please list the annual salary of each position, percentage of time and number of months devoted to the project. (e.g., Administrative Director: $30,000/year x 25% x 8.5 months; calculation: $30,000/12 = $2,500 x 25% x 8.5 months = $5,312.).
B. Fringe Benefits - State benefit costs separately from salary costs and explain how benefits are computed for each category of employee (specify type and rate).
C. Travel - Staff and any participant travel:
1) International airfare
2) In-country travel overseas
3) Domestic travel in the United States, if any
4) per diem/maintenance: includes lodging, meals and incidentals for both participant and staff travel. Rates of maximum allowances for U.S. and foreign travel are available from the following website: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287 and http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=184&menu_id=78 . Per diem rates may not exceed the published U.S. government allowance rates; however, institutions may use per diem rates lower than official government rates.
Please explain differences in fares among travelers on the same routes (e.g., project staff member traveling for three weeks whose fare is higher than that of staff member traveling for four months). Please note that all travel, where applicable, must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. For more information see http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/103191 .
D. Equipment – Equipment is defined as having a per unit cost of $5,000 and a service life of more than one year. If the item meets these criteria than all federal procurement policies and procedures must be followed. If an item does not meet these criteria it is considered a supply. Please provide justification for any equipment purchase/rental.
E. Supplies - List items separately using unit costs (and the percentage of each unit cost being charged to the grant) for photocopying, postage, telephone/fax, printing, and office supplies (for example, Telephone: $50/month x 50% = $25/month x 12 months).
F. Contractual –
a) Subgrants. For each subgrant/contract please provide a detailed line item breakdown explaining specific services. In the subgrant budgets, provide the same level of detail for personnel, travel, supplies, equipment, direct costs, and fringe benefits required of the direct applicant. If indirect is charged on a subgrant please include a NICRA. Please note that a subgrantee who receives equal to or more than $25,000 is required to have a DUNS number. Please visit www.fsrs.gov for more information.
b) Consultant Fees. For example lecture fees, honoraria, travel, and per diem for outside speakers or external evaluators: list number of people and rates per day (for example, 2 x $150/day x 2 days).
G. Construction – Due to the nature of DRL programs, construction costs are not allowable or applicable.
H. Other Direct Costs- these will vary depending on the nature of the project. The inclusion of each should be justified in the budget narrative. A-133 audit costs can be included if they are not part of the indirect pool and only the portion of the cost associated with this program.
J. Indirect Charges - See OMB Circular A-122, "Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations"
1) If your organization has a NICRA, please include a copy of this agreement in the proposal. An applicant must indicate in the proposal budget how the rate is applied.
2) If your organization does not have a NICRA, the proposal budget should not have a line item for indirect cost charges. Rather, any costs that may be considered as indirect costs should be included in specific budget line items as direct costs.
Cost Share - Explanation of contributions should be included, whether cash or in-kind. Assign a monetary value in U.S. dollars to each in-kind contribution. If the proposed project is a component of a larger program, identify other funding sources for the proposal and indicate the specific funding amount to be provided by those sources. In addition, it is recommended that the budget narrative address the overall cost-effectiveness of the proposal, including leveraging of institutional or other resources.
Other Budget Guidelines
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor will consider budgeted line-items for the following:
• External evaluations to assess the project’s impact (costs must be built into the overall original budget proposal and must be reasonable);
• Costs associated with an internal evaluation conducted by the grantee (costs must be built into the overall original budget proposal and must be reasonable).
• Visa fees and immunizations associated with program travel.
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor does not pay for the following, under any circumstances:
• Publication of materials for distribution within the United States;
• Administration of a program that will make a profit;
• Expenses incurred before or after the specified dates of the grant (unless prior approval received);
• Projects designed to advocate policy views or positions of foreign governments or views of a particular political faction;
• Entertainment expenses, including alcoholic beverages;
• Contingency funds to cover unexpected costs, including inflationary factors.
Once the Request for Statements of Interest or Request for Proposals deadline has passed, U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas may not discuss competing proposals with applicants until the review process has been completed.
Applicants should be aware that DRL considers submitted proposals proprietary and will make all efforts to protect information contained in the application. While DRL will not voluntarily provide the documents nor divulge their contents outside the U.S. Government, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to shield them from disclosure if faced with a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other disclosure statutes. While we will try to assert FOIA exemptions where defensible, FOIA denials can be challenged in court and we cannot guarantee that the documents will ultimately be protected from public disclosure requirements.