United States Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO):
Fixed Amount Awards for Human Rights, Accountability, and Access to Information in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea)
This is the announcement of funding opportunity number SFOP0005649
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
Type of Solicitation: Open
Application Deadline: May 17, 2019
Funding Floor (lowest $ value): $50,000
Funding Ceiling (maximum $ value): $150,000
Anticipated Number of Awards: 6 – 16
Type of Award: Fixed Amount Awards
Period of Performance: 3 – 12 months
Anticipated Time to Award (pending availability of funds): 4 – 6 months
For new application submission instructions, see Section D below.
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 Fixed Amount Award (FAA) projects that support the policy objective to promote human rights and accountability in the DPRK.
Fixed amount awards are generally used when the project scope is specific and if adequate cost, historical, or unit pricing data is available (e.g. the work to be performed can be priced with a reasonable degree of certainty, the grantee can reliably predict costs based on similar types of work, or the grantee can easily obtain bids or quotes). Fixed amount awards must be based upon milestones, which outline a verifiable product, task, deliverable, or goal. Milestones generally include three components: (1) a description of the product, task, deliverable, or goal to be accomplished; (2) a description of how the recipient will document the completion of the product, task, deliverable, or goal (e.g. survey submission, submitting training materials, toolkits or reports); and (3) the cost associated with achieving the milestone. Payments are based on meeting specific requirements and accountability is based on performance and results. This type of award reduces some of the administrative burden and record-keeping requirements.
This NOFO includes two (2) categories in which applicants are able to submit applications under. Organizations must explicitly identify the category the application is being submitted. If an application may fit within more than one category, the organization must identify which category they determine is the best fit for the work proposed. If an application does not explicitly identify one of the below categories on the first page of the application, it may be deemed technically ineligible and may not be forwarded to the review panel for consideration.
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 of 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.
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 (3 months, 6 months, etc.) 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 considered competitive include, but are not limited to:
- The provision of large amounts of humanitarian assistance;
- Purely academic exchanges;
- Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary for security concerns;
- Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues;
- Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives.
DRL may ask successful applicant(s) to incorporate coordination of an implementer and stakeholder meeting into the Scope of Work of the final project. DRL will discuss this possibility with particular applicant(s) during the proposal negotiation phase.
Fostering the Free Flow of Information into, out of, and within the DPRK (approximately $500,000, pending availability of funding, for approximately 3 – 8 projects)
DRL seeks projects that promotes human rights and accountability through the programmatic approach of fostering the free flow of information into, out of and within the DPRK. Illustrative program activities include:
- Producing and transmitting radio broadcasts into North Korea, including managing the transmissions of radio broadcasts into North Korea on behalf of existing defector-led or Seoul-based organizations producing radio programs for North Korean audiences;
- Producing content and/or acquiring existing content of interest to North Korean audiences;
- Exploring new mechanisms or expanding existing mechanisms for sharing or consuming information and content;
- Raising awareness of legal rights under existing DPRK domestic laws and its international human rights obligations;
- Raising awareness of international best-practices and norms; and,
- Promoting fundamental freedoms, including expression, movement, association, and peaceful assembly.
Organizations may propose activities not specifically identified above that align with the approach of fostering the free flow of information to promote human rights.
Documentation and Advocacy (approximately $500,000, pending availability of funding, for approximately 3 – 8 projects)
DRL seeks projects that promotes human rights and accountability through the programmatic approach of increasing the amount of objective, credible information available about human rights in the DPRK, raising international awareness about human rights conditions, and engaging international actors to adopt approaches or actions that facilitate improvements in human rights conditions and/or lead to increased accountability for human rights violations and abuses. Illustrative program activities include:
- Establishing and/or maintaining a public online database of prisons and gulags in the DPRK, including a list of political prisoners;
- Documenting cases of human rights violations and abuses in the DPRK, including cases of forced repatriations or other human rights violations or abuses of North Korean people outside of the DPRK;
- Publishing reports that meaningfully contribute to, but do not duplicate or repackage, public information on DPRK human rights conditions;
- Increasing information available on perpetrators of human rights violations or abuses;
- Amplifying the documentation work of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the situation in the DPRK;
- Submitting reports or conducting advocacy campaigns at international or other relevant forums; and,
- Expanding global partnerships to mobilize increased support in other regions and countries for human rights in North Korea.
Organizations may propose activities not specifically identified above that align with the approach of increasing the amount of objective, credible information about human rights in the DPRK, raising international awareness, and engaging international actors.
B. Federal Award Information
Applicants can submit more than one application in response to the NOFO. If an applicant chooses to submit multiple applications to this NOFO, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate the competitiveness and uniqueness of each application.
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 fixed amount (fixed price) awards. Fixed amount awards are generally used when the project scope is specific and if adequate cost, historical, or unit pricing data is available (e.g. the work to be performed can be priced with a reasonable degree of certainty, the grantee can reliably predict costs based on similar types of work, or the grantee can easily obtain bids or quotes). Fixed amount awards must be based upon milestones, which outline a verifiable product, task, deliverable, or goal. Milestones generally include three components: (1) a description of the product, task, deliverable, or goal to be accomplished; (2) a description of how the recipient will document the completion of the product, task, deliverable, or goal (e.g. survey submission, submitting training materials, toolkits or reports); and (3) the cost associated with achieving the milestone. Payments are based on meeting specific requirements and accountability is based on performance and results. This type of award reduces some of the administrative burden and record-keeping requirements.
The authority for this funding opportunity is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA).
C. Eligibility Information
For application information, please see the proposal submission instructions (PSI) 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.
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.
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM)(www.sam.gov) and/or has a current debt to the United Stated Government is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR,1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR,1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity or person listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM.gov can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in SAM.gov to ensure that no ineligible entity or person is included in their application.
D. Application and Submission Information
D.1 Address to Request Application Package
Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on www.grants.gov and SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) under the announcement title “Fixed Amount Awards for Human Rights, Accountability, and Access to Information in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” funding opportunity number “SFOP0005649.” Please contact the DRL point of contact listed in Section G if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note that reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.
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 forms. Please see SF-424 instructions in Section 2B of the PSI.
- If your organization engages in lobbying the U.S. government, including Congress, or pays another entity to lobby on your behalf, the SF-LLL “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form is also required (only if applicable). Please see SF-LLL guidance in Section 2B of the PSI.
- Cover Page (not to exceed one  page, preferably as a Word Document) that includes a table with the organization name, project title, the NOFO category that the application is being submitted under, project synopsis, and name and contact information for the application’s main point of contact.
- Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten  pages, preferably as a Word Document). Please note the ten-page limit does not include the Cover Page, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, Key Personnel, or other required documents. Applicants are encouraged to combine multiple documents in a single Word Document or PDF (i.e. Cover Page, Proposal Narrative, Risk Analysis, and Key Personnel in one file). Please see Proposal Narrative Guidelines in Section 2E of the PSI for more details.
- Risk Analysis (preferably as a Word Document). Please see Risk Analysis Section 2J of the PSI for more information.
- Key Personnel (not to exceed two  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.
- Budget (preferably as an Excel workbook) that includes a detailed, itemized budget as well as a milestone budget reflecting the amount of funds requested from DRL. Costs must be in U.S. dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for subgrantees should be included as additional tabs within the Excel workbook (if available at the time of submission). Cost-sharing should not be included for fixed amount awards. Please see D.2.2 Additional Budget Guidance for more information.
- Budget Narrative (preferably as a Word Document) that includes substantive explanations and justifications for each line-item in the detailed budget spreadsheet and an explanation of how those costs are then compiled in the mile-stone budget. Please see D.2.2 Additional Budget Guidance for more information.
- Your 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 2G of the PSI for more information.
Applications that do not include the elements listed above will be deemed technically ineligible.
D.2.2 Additional Budget Guidance
Budget guidance provided in this section for fixed amount awards supersedes the general budget guidance provided in DRL’s PSI for Applications. Applications will not be considered complete unless they include a budget that responds to the NOFO guidelines.
Complete budgets will include:
- Detailed Line-Item Budget
- Sub-grantee Budgets (if applicable)
- Milestone Budget
- Corresponding Budget Narrative
Please note: Grantees under DRL-funded programs are responsible for complying with all applicable tax treaties and federal, state, and local laws on tax withholding and reporting for program participants.
Before grants are awarded, DRL reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of DRL and availability of funds.
Detailed Line-Item Budget
The detailed line-item budget should outline specific cost requirements for proposed activities and must be organized according to the OMB cost categories. The detailed line-item budget should be included as a tab along with the milestone budget.
For a template line-item budget, please see the Resources page under “Budget Guidance for Applicants – New Award Budget Sample” on DRL’s website: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm.
Budgets should be arranged according to the cost categories below and should clearly delineate cost-share.
- Personnel – Staffing of employees should be appropriate to the successful implementation of the proposal and cost should conform to the requirements identified in 2 CFR 200.430. In general, direct employees of the non-federal entity whether receiving benefits or not are considered personnel. Consultants or contractors hired through a contractual agreement to assist with the project should be included under F. Contractual. Identify employees by each position title and brief description of duties. This information can be included in the budget narrative if preferred. Each employee’s salary calculation should include the annual/base salary, percentage of time and number of months devoted to the program aka Level of Effort (LOE) (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).
- Fringe Benefits – Fringe benefits are allowances provided by employers to their employees as compensation in addition to regular salaries and wages. Benefit costs should be listed separate from salary costs with an explanation of how benefits are calculated for each category of employee (specify type and rate) as well as whether the benefit is required by law, an established policy of the non-Federal entity, or a non-Federal entity-employee agreement. Examples of fringe benefits include, but are not limited to, the costs of leave (vacation, family-related, sick, or military), employee insurance, pensions, and unemployment benefit plans. For additional information, please see 2 CFR 200.431.
- Travel – Travel costs include expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by employees, contractors, or participants who are in travel status on official business for the non-Federal entity or participating in program activities conducted by the non-Federal entity. Such costs may be charged on an actual cost basis, on a per diem or mileage basis in lieu of actual costs incurred, or on a combination of the two, provided the method used is applied to an entire trip and not to selected days of the trip, and results in charges consistent with those normally allowed in like circumstances in the non-Federal entity’s non-federally-funded activities and in accordance with non-Federal entity’s written travel reimbursement policies. For additional information, please see 2 CFR 200.474. Employee and participant travel may include the following categories:
- International Airfare
- Domestic Airfare
- Costs incurred while traveling, including costs of lodging, other subsistence, and incidental expenses, must be considered reasonable and otherwise allowable only to the extent such costs do not exceed charges normally allowed by the non-Federal entity in its regular operations as the result of the non-Federal entity’s written travel policy. These cost include:
- Meals and incidentals
- Ground transportation costs
- Visa Fees and Immunizations associated with program travel.
Note: In the absence of an acceptable, written non-Federal entity policy regarding travel costs, the rates and amounts established under 5 U.S.C. 5701-11, (“Travel and Subsistence Expenses; Mileage Allowances”), or by the Administrator of General Services, or by the President (or his or her designee) pursuant to any provisions of such subchapter must apply to travel under Federal awards (48 CFR 31.205-46(a)).
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 DRL’s website: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm.
- Equipment – Equipment is defined as an item with a per-unit cost of $5,000 or more and a service life of more than one year. This includes information technology systems. If the item meets these criteria, property standards under 2 CFR 200.313 are required. Additionally, a description of the non-federal entity’s procurement procedures should be included as well as identification of method of procurement required by 2 CFR 200.320. If an item does not meet the criteria of equipment, it should be considered a supply and listed under cost category E. Please provide justification for any equipment purchase/rental in the budget narrative.
- Supplies – Materials and supplies including the cost of computing devices should be reasonable and necessary for the implementation of the proposal and conform to the 2 CFR 200.314. Supplies may include specific activity-related costs and/or the allocation of general supplies incurred by the non-federal entity as necessary to carry out the proposal. List items separately using unit costs and the percentage or allocation of each unit cost being charged to the grant. Items may include photocopying, postage, printing, and other office supplies (e.g., Printing: $50/month x 50% = $25/month x 12 months or Computers $900/2 x 100% = $1800).
- Subgrants – A subgrant means an award provided by the applicant as a pass-through entity to a subgrantee for the subgrantee to carry out a part of the federal award. A subgrant is not payment for the contract of good or services. See 2 CFR 200.330 for subgrant and contractor determinations. For each subgrant, please provide a detailed line-item breakdown explaining specific services in a separate tab in the excel workbook. Subgrant budgets should include the same level of detail for personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, other direct costs, and indirect costs required of the direct applicant. If indirect costs are charged on a subgrant budget, please include the subgrantee’s NICRA or explanation of how the indirect rate was determined in accordance with 2 CFR 200. The recipient organization has the responsibility to honor an existing NICRA, negotiate an indirect rate, offer the 10% de minimis, or allow costs to be directly charged to the sub-award budget for each sub-award, per 2 CFR 200.331.iiiv.4. If an organization has an established NICRA the agreement should be submitted with the proposal package. Please note that a subgrantee who receives $25,000 or more is required to have a UEI number. Please visit https://www.fsrs.gov/ or the Resources page on DRL’s Website https://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm for more information.
- Fixed Amount SubAward (FASA) – FASAs of up to simplified acquisitions threshold may be executed with prior written approval from the Department’s warranted Grants Officer, per 2 CFR 200.332. Per 2 CFR 200.201, fixed amount awards may be used if the project scope is specific and if adequate cost, historical, or unit pricing data is available to establish a fixed amount award based on a reasonable estimate of actual cost. Payments are based on meeting specific requirements of the award. Accountability is based on performance and results. At the completion of the fixed amount award, the organization must certify in writing that the project or activity was completed or the level of effort was expended. If the required level of activity or effort was not carried out, the amount of the fixed amount award must be adjusted.
Please note: Fixed Amount Awards (FAAs) must be stated in the budget and budget narrative at the time of application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that proposed subgrantees are eligible for U.S. government funding.
- Contractor/Consultant Fees – These include payments to contractors/consultants for the purpose of obtaining goods or services for the non-federal entities own use and creates a procurement relationship. Items may include lecture fees, honoraria, translator costs or external evaluators. Please list number of people and rates per day (e.g., 2 x $150/day x 2 days) and provide justification in narrative. Single audit or 2 CFR 200 Subpart F audit costs can be included if they are not part of indirect costs. Only the portion of an organizational audit cost associated with this project can be included in the budget.
Please note: Organizations must adhere to their own documented procurement procedures, which must reflect applicable U.S. State, local, and tribal laws and regulations, provided that the procurements conform to applicable U.S. Federal law and the standards identified in 2 CFR 200.318 through 2 CFR 200.326.
- Construction – Due to the nature of DRL programs, construction costs are not allowable or applicable.
- Other Direct Costs – These will vary depending on the nature of the project. The inclusion of items in this cost category should be justified in the budget narrative. Items may include venue rentals, catering costs, or other activity related costs.
- Indirect Charges – An organization with a NICRA should include a copy of their negotiated indirect cost-rate agreement with their application. This document will not be reviewed by the panelists, but rather used by program and grant staff if the submission is recommended for funding. As such, it does not count against the submission page limitations. Applicants should indicate in the proposal budget how the rate is applied (e.g. to direct administrative expenses, to all direct costs, to wages and salaries only, etc.) and if any of the rate will be cost-shared.
Per 2 CFR 200.414, any non-Federal entity that has never received a negotiated indirect cost rate, except for those non-Federal entities described in Appendix VII to Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals, paragraph D.1.b, may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. Per 2 CFR 200.68, MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subaward). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition reimbursement, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs, and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. Other items may only be excluded when necessary to avoid a serious inequity in the distribution of indirect costs, and with the approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs. The budget narrative should include a justification of the MTDC calculation, clearly describing which costs will be covered if using the 10% de minimis indirect rate.
As described in 2 CFR 200.403, Factors Affecting Allowability of Costs, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. The elected methodology must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.
Organizations not applying the de minimis rate of up to 10% of MTDC but claiming indirect costs should have established NICRAs.
- Cost Share – Cost-share should not be included for fixed amount awards.
DRL does not pay for the following, under any circumstances:
- Costs incurred before or after the specified dates of the grant (unless prior approval is received by the Grants Officer);
- Projects designed to advocate policy views or positions of foreign governments or views of a particular political faction;
- Alcoholic beverages;
- Explicitly religious activities, including those that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, prayer, or proselytization; and,
- Costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any associated costs are unallowable, except where specific costs that might otherwise be considered entertainment have a programmatic purpose and are authorized either in the approved budget for the Federal award or with prior written approval of the warranted Grants Officer.
Because fixed amount awards must be based upon milestones, which outline a verifiable product, task, deliverable, or goal, a milestone budget must also be provided. Milestones generally include three components: (1) a description of the product, task, deliverable, or goal to be accomplished; (2) a description of how the recipient will document the completion of the product, task, deliverable, or goal (e.g. survey submission, submitting training materials, toolkits or reports); and (3) the cost associated with achieving the milestone. A milestone budget will organize all costs included in the detailed, line-item budget according to milestones and deliverables identified in the project. For example:
Description of Milestone
Budget Narrative Guidelines
Applicants must submit a budget narrative (preferably as a Word Document) to justify each line-item in the budget and explain how the amounts were derived; for example, if adequate cost, historical, or unit pricing data is available (e.g. the work to be performed can be priced with a reasonable degree of certainty, the applicant can reliably predict costs based on similar types of work, or the applicant can easily obtain bids or quotes).
The narrative should complement the budget rather than repeat information provided in the budget. For example, the narrative should provide details on the purpose of costs, reasonability of costs, cost price analysis, explain allocations, explain any variances and tie expenses to program activities and/or objectives where appropriate. For ease of review, DRL requests that applicants order the budget narrative as presented in the detailed line-item budget. Personnel costs should include a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of key staff, base salary, and percentage of time devoted to the project (level of effort).
The narrative must then also explain how the costs in the detailed, line-item budget are incorporated into the milestone budget.
D.2.3 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.
Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instructions on DRL’s website for detailed guidance on the documents above: https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/286844.pdf. For an application checklist and sample templates please see the Resources page on DRL’s website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. The sample templates provided on the DRL website are suggested, but not mandatory.
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.2.4 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, including the submission of a logic model and monitoring and evaluation plan and narrative;
- If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA as a PDF file;
- Completion 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); and,
- 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.
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.
Note: The process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.
- If you are based in the United States or pay employees within the United States, prior to registering in SAM.gov you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code.
- If you are based outside of the United States and do not pay employees within the United States, you do not need an EIN from the IRS. However, you will need a NATO CAGE (NCAGE) code before you can have an active registration 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 unqualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.
For further guidance on the registration process, please see the SAM.gov Registration Guide on DRL’s website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. Please refer to 2 CFR 25.200 for additional information. Also, please refer to Section D.5 – Funding Restriction of the NOFO.
Note: SAM.gov is not the same as SAMS Domestic. It is free to register in both systems, but the registration processes are different.
In October 2017, new information was added to the www.SAM.gov website to help international registrations, including “Quick Start Guide for International Registrations” and “Helpful Hints.” Navigate to 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.
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.
** Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grant Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review. **
Note: Foreign organizations will be required to register with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) to receive a NCAGE code in order to register in SAM.gov. NSPA will forward your registration request to the applicable National Codification Bureau (NCB) if your organization is located in a NATO or Tier 2 Sponsored Non-NATO Nation. As of March 2016, NATO nations included Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America; and Tier 2 nations included Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, Israel, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Serbia, and Singapore.
NSPA and/or the appropriate NCB forwards all NCAGE code information to all Allied Committee 135 (AC/135) nations, which as of March 2016 also included Afghanistan, Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Montenegro, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. All organizations are strongly advised to take this into consideration when assessing whether registration may result in possible endangerment.
D.4 Submission Dates and Times
Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), on Friday, May 17, 2019 on www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) under the announcement title “Fixed Amount Awards for Human Rights, Accountability, and Access to Information in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” funding opportunity number “SFOP0005649.”
Grants.gov and SAMS Domestic automatically log the date and time an application submission is made, and the Department of State will use this information to determine whether an application has been submitted on time. Late applications are neither reviewed nor considered unless the DRL point of contact listed in Section G is contacted prior to the deadline and is provided with evidence of system errors caused by www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) that is outside of the applicant’s control and is the sole reason for a late submission. Applicants should not expect a notification upon DRL receiving their application.
D.5 Funding Restrictions
DRL will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization. Please refer the link for Foreign Terrorist Organizations: https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
Project activities whose direct beneficiaries are foreign militaries or paramilitary groups or individuals will not be considered for DRL funding given purpose limitations on funding.
The Leahy Law prohibits Department foreign assistance funds from supporting foreign security force units if the Secretary of State has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. Per 22 USC §2378d(a) (2015), “No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter [FOREIGN ASSISTANCE] or the Arms Export Control Act [22 USC 2751 et seq.] to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” Restrictions may apply to any proposed assistance to police or other law enforcement. Among these, pursuant to section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA), no assistance provided through this funding opportunity may be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country when there is credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. In accordance with the requirements of section 620M of the FAA, also known as the Leahy law, project beneficiaries or participants from a foreign government’s security forces may need to be vetted by the Department before the provision of any assistance. If a proposed grant or cooperative agreement will provide assistance to foreign security forces or personnel, compliance with the Leahy Law is required.
Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs; however, the Grants Officer may approve pre-award costs on a case-by-case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under DRL awards. For additional information, please see the DRL Proposal Submission Instructions for Applications Updated October 2018: https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/286844.pdf.
D.6 Application Submission
All application submissions must be made electronically via www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com). Both systems require registration by the applying organization. Please note: the Grants.gov registration process can take ten  business days or longer, even if all registration steps are completed in a timely manner.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that it has an active registration in SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov. Applicants are required to document that the application has been received by SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov in its entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for disqualification that result from applicants not being registered before the due date, for system errors in either SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov, or other errors in the application process. Additionally you must save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.
Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable NOFO and these instructions.
DRL encourages organizations to submit applications during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00AM – 5:00p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)). If an applicant experiences technical difficulties and has contacted the appropriate helpdesk but is not receiving timely assistance (e.g. if you have not received a response within 48 hours of contacting the helpdesk), you may contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO in Section G. The point of contact may assist in contacting the appropriate helpdesk, but an applicant should also document their efforts in contacting the helpdesk. Applicants may also contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO if experiencing technical issues with Grants.gov or SAMS Domestic that may result in a late submission.
Applicants experiencing technical difficulties should follow these three steps:
- Contact the helpdesk for either Grants.gov or SAMS Domestic immediately.
- Document (including screenshots) technical issues AND efforts to contact the helpdesk.
- Submit all of the required documents to the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO before the deadline.
Note: The Procurement Office/Grant Office will determine technical eligibility of all applications.
SAMS Domestic Applications:
Applicants using SAMS Domestic for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration.” To register with SAMS Domestic, click “Login to https://mygrants.service-now.com” and follow the “create an account” link.
Organizations must remember to save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.
SAMS Domestic Help Desk:
For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at 1-888-313-4567 (toll charges for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms/home. Customer Support is available 24/7/365.
Applicants who do not submit applications via SAMS Domestic may submit via www.grants.gov.
Please be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from Grants.gov can take more than two  weeks.
Please refer to the 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 Grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days. Additionally you must remember to save a screenshot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.
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.
See https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/federal-holidays/ for a list of federal holidays.
E. Application Review Information
E.1 Proposal Review Criteria
The DRL Review Panel will evaluate each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications. Please use the below criteria as a reference, but do not structure your application according to the sub-sections.
Quality of Project Idea
Applications should be responsive to the program framework and policy objectives identified in the NOFO, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term, sustainable reforms. DRL prefers new approaches that do not duplicate efforts by other entities. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities and how these efforts will be coordinated. Proposals that promote creative approaches to recognized ongoing challenges are highly encouraged. DRL prioritizes project proposals with inclusive approaches for advancing these rights.
Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives
A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. Objectives should be ambitious yet measurable, results-focused and achievable in a reasonable time frame. Applications should address how the project will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate.
If local partners have been identified, DRL strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. If applicable, applications should identify target geographic areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of sub-awardees, among other pertinent details.
DRL recognizes that all programs have some level of risk due to internal/external variables that have the potential to adversely affect a program. Risk management should address how the program design incorporates the identification, assessment, and management of key risk factors. DRL will review the risk analysis based on the organization’s ability to identify risks that could have an impact on the overall program as well as how the organization will manage these risks.
Institution’s Record and Capacity
DRL will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record of successful democracy and human rights programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives. Projects should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources.
DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate project cost-effectiveness in their application. Budgets should have low and/or reasonable overhead and administration costs, and applicants should provide clear explanations and justifications for these costs in relation to the work involved. All budget items should be clearly explained and justified to demonstrate necessity, appropriateness, and connection to the project objectives.
Applications should clearly delineate how elements of the project will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people; workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after DRL funding ceases.
E.2 Review and Selection Process
DRL strives to ensure that each application receives a balanced evaluation by a DRL Review Panel. The Department’s Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM) will determine technical eligibility for all applications. All technically eligible applications for a given NOFO are reviewed against the same five criteria, which include quality of project idea, project planning/ability to achieve objectives, institutional record and capacity, cost effectiveness, and multiplier effect/sustainability.
Additionally, the DRL Review Panel will evaluate how the application addresses the NOFO request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. DRL may also take into consideration the balance of the current portfolio of active projects, including geographic or thematic diversity, if needed.
In most cases, the DRL Review Panel includes representatives from DRL and the appropriate Department of State regional bureau (to include feedback from U.S. embassies). In some cases, additional panelists may participate, including from other Department of State bureaus or offices; U.S. government departments, agencies, or boards; representatives from partner governments; or representatives from entities that are in a public-private partnership with DRL. At the end of the panel’s discussion about an application, the Panel votes on recommending the application for approval by the DRL Senior Bureau Official. If more applications are ultimately recommended for approval than DRL can fund, the Panel will rank the recommended applications in priority order for consideration by the DRL Senior Bureau Official. The Grants Officer Representative (GOR) for the eventual award does not vote on the panel. All Panelists must sign non-disclosure agreements and conflicts of interest agreements.
DRL Review Panels may provide conditions and recommendations on applications to enhance the proposed project, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify, and/or justify costs and project activities.
F. Federal Award Administration Information
F.1 Federal Award Notices
DRL will provide a separate notification to applicants on the result of their applications. Successful applicants will receive a letter electronically via email requesting that the applicant respond to Panel conditions and recommendations. This notification is not an authorization to begin activities and does not constitute formal approval or a funding commitment.
Final approval is contingent on the applicant successfully responding to the Panel’s conditions and recommendations, being registered in required systems, including the U.S. government’s Payment Management System (PMS), unless an exemption is provided, and completing and providing any additional documentation requested by DRL or AQM. Final approval is also contingent on Congressional notification requirements being met and final review and approval by the Department’s warranted Grants Officer.
The notice of Federal award signed by the Department’s warranted Grants Officers is the sole authorizing document. If awarded, the notice of Federal award will be provided to the applicant’s designated Authorizing Official via SAMS Domestic to be electronically counter-signed in the system.
F.2 Administrative and National Policy and Legal Requirements
DRL requires all recipients of foreign assistance funding to comply with all applicable Department and Federal laws and regulations, including but not limited to the following:
The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 CFR Chapter 200 (Sub-Chapters A through F) shall apply to all non-Federal entities, except for assistance awards to Individuals and Foreign Public Entities. Sub-Chapters A through E shall apply to all foreign organizations, and Sub-Chapters A through D shall apply to all U.S. and foreign for-profit entities. The applicant/recipient of the award and any sub-recipient under the award must comply with all applicable terms and conditions, in addition to the assurance and certifications made part of the Notice of Award. The Department’s Standard Terms and Conditions can be viewed at https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm.
Additionally, DRL supports implementation of the Women Peace and Security Act of 2017, which highlights the U.S. commitment to the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention, management, and resolution. For additional information, please refer to the link: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1141
Due to the determination made under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) for FY 2019, certain assistance that benefits the following countries may be subject to a restriction under the TVPA: DPRK. Because the TVPA restriction applies only to assistance to governments, activities proposed for these countries should not include government beneficiaries.
Additional requirements may be included depending on the content of the program.
Applicants should be aware that DRL awards will require that all financial reports are uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic on a quarterly basis and program narrative reports are uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic on a periodic basis according to the award agreement. The Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425) is the required form for the financial reports and must be submitted in PMS, as well as a copy from PMS then uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic. The progress reports uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic must include a narrative as described below and Project Indicators (or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer) for the F Framework indicators. The F Framework indicators will be reviewed and negotiated during the final stages of issuing an award.
Narrative progress reports should reflect the focus on measuring the project’s impact on the overarching objectives and should be compiled according to the objectives, outcomes, and outputs as outlined in the award’s Scope of Work (SOW) and in the Monitoring & Evaluation Narrative. An assessment of the overall project’s impact should be included in each progress report. Where relevant, progress reports should include the following sections:
- Relevant contextual information (limited);
- Explanation and evaluation of significant activities of the reporting period and how the activities reflect progress toward achieving objectives, including meeting benchmarks/targets as set in the M&E plan. In addition, attach the M&E Plan, comparing the target and actual numbers for the indicators;
- Any tangible impact or success stories from the project, when possible;
- Copy of mid-term and/or final evaluation report(s) conducted by an external evaluator; if applicable;
- Relevant supporting documentation or products related to the project activities (such as articles, meeting lists and agendas, participant surveys, photos, manuals, etc.) as separate attachments;
- Description of how the Recipient is pursuing sustainability, including looking for sources of follow-on funding;
- Any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan with an updated timeline of activities;
- Reasons why established goals were not met;
- Data for the required F Framework indicator(s) for the quarter as well as aggregate data by fiscal year: Program Indicators or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer;
- Proposed activities for the next quarter; and,
- Additional pertinent information, including analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs, if applicable.
A final narrative and financial report must also be submitted within 90 days after the expiration of the award.
Please note: Delays in reporting may result in delays of payment approvals and failure to provide required reports may jeopardize the recipient’s’ ability to receive future U.S. government funds.
DRL reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project information during the award period.
G. Contact Information
For technical submission questions related to this NOFO, please contact DRL-EAP-Programs@state.gov.
For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at 1-888-313-4567 (toll charges for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms/home. Customer Support is available 24/7/365.
Please note that establishing an account in SAMS Domestic may require the use of smartphone for multi-factor authentication (MFA). If an applicant does not have accessibility to a smartphone during the time of creating an account, please contact the helpdesk and request instructions on MFA for Windows PC.
For assistance with Grants.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email email@example.com. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.
For a list of federal holidays visit:
With the exception of technical submission questions, during the NOFO period U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas shall not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process has been completed and rejection and approval letters have been transmitted.
H. Other Information
Applicants should be aware that DRL understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information. However, applicants are advised that DRL cannot guarantee that such information will not be disclosed, including pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar statutes.
The information in this NOFO and “DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions for Applications Updated October 2018” is binding and may not be modified by any DRL representative. Explanatory information provided by DRL that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. DRL reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets.
Background Information on DRL and General DRL Funding
DRL has the mission of promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally. DRL supports projects that uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, prevent atrocities, combat and prevent violent extremism, and build civil society around the world. DRL typically focuses its work in countries with egregious human rights violations, where democracy and human rights advocates are under pressure and where governments are undemocratic or in transition.
Additional background information on DRL and its efforts can be found on www.state.gov/j/drl.