Questions to and Answers from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) about its 2022 Limited Full Proposal Funding Opportunity
Q. Who is eligible to apply for funding?
A. Only selected applicants who participated in the 2022 Stage One process and received an invitation from the TIP Office are eligible to apply for an award under this funding opportunity.
Q. Where can I find the Notice of Funding Opportunity?
A. The funding opportunity is available on SAMS-Domestic. If you are unable to view the funding opportunity, you should email JTIPGrants@state.gov to be linked to the NOFO. In SAMS-Domestic you will be able to view the opportunity, the accompanying templates, and the Guidelines document. Please coordinate with your organization’s application point of contact who submitted the Statement of Interest (SOI) application to coordinate submission of your full proposal application.
Q. Is there a limit to the number of proposals that can be submitted by a single applicant?
A. Organizations are allowed to submit applications for the number of statements of interest (SOI’s) for which they were invited to submit full proposals. If an organization has submitted five SOI’s, and has received two acceptance letters/invitations from the TIP Office, then the organization is being invited to submit two full proposals. Please pay close attention to which SOI/s the TIP Office invited you to submit a full proposal.
Q: Our office made multiple applications but received letters only on some of the applications. Does this mean we can apply to those which did not have letters of regret from J/TIP?
A: You should only apply for the SOI application that were welcomed for a full proposal submission from the TIP office. You should not submit an application for SOIs that did not receive an invitation for the full proposal.
Q. May an organization that was selected to submit a full proposal also be an implementing partner in another proposal for the same funding opportunity?
A. The TIP Office does not have any restrictions that would prevent an applicant from also being an implementing partner in another proposal under the same funding opportunity.
Q. Is it enough that our organization has a local office and we may engage NGOs in specific activities as needed?
A. If an organization is not based in country, then a local partner should be identified. If an organization is based in country, then we encourage coordination with other stakeholders, but partnerships are not required.
Q. May two organizations or more organizations jointly submit an application?
A. No, there must be a single applicant. While applicants may designate one or more partner organizations as sub-recipients, there may only be one primary award recipient.
Q: The application guidelines include considerations on Gender integration and Social integration, in addition to those you’ve listed. Are these required to be addressed?
A: Please integrate the “considerations” as applicable, relevant, and appropriate to the country context, target population, and overall project design. The considerations need not be the main focus of the project but should be woven into the project design when possible. Applicants are not expected to incorporate all considerations in one project.
Q: For projects working on trafficking on children, do you have a strict age limit for defining children? Or can we include older beneficiaries from 18 to 22 who could receive livelihood training and support or be part of economic reintegration interventions?
A: We do not have a strict age limit for defining children. Individuals ranging from ages 18 to 22 may be allowed to receive livelihood training and support.
Q: Is direct assistance to identified victims of trafficking permissible, including return, rehabilitation, and reintegration assistance?
A: Yes, direct assistance is permissible if part of project objectives. Please note the guidance as it pertains to cash assistance, however, which is limited. The applicant should be paying directly for health or mental rehabilitation, food, flights for travel to reintegration, etc.
Q: The cover page requires applicants to show Project alignment to the three “Ps” and provide a percentage breakdown. Should this percentage be aligned in the budget? Should the detailed budget be broken down in this way?
A: No, the budget does not need to be aligned by the three P’s – please refer to the example line-item budget provided within the attachments in SAMS-D as reference and read the “2022 Guidelines for Submitting TIP Office Full Project Proposals” for more information on completing the budget documents.
Q: Which application do we use to submit the proposal? The one we used to submit the SOI or the new one that includes the templates?
A: Please use the templates provided within SAMS-Domestic for the full proposal documents from the NOFO stage 2 submission invitation. These are not the same templates as were used for the SOI. The templates and required documents are found within the funding opportunity on SAMS-D under the “Additional Documents to be Submitted” tab.
Q: What are the most important sections of the submission that JTIP focuses on?
A: The entirety of the submission is important.
Q. Can you clarify the page limit and character limit for the Narrative?
A. The character limit is 35,000 including spaces, footnotes, etc. Applicants are required to use the Narrative Template provided within SAMS-D. NOTE: Applicants MUST type within the grey box found in the template.
Q. May an applicant include footnotes in the project narrative?
A. Yes, an applicant may include footnotes within the project narrative. However, the footnotes will be included within the character count limit.
Q. May an organization remove a partner from their full proposal that was previously identified in the SOI application?
A. While there are no guidelines that prevent an applicant from removing a partner that was previously listed in their SOI application, please note that the SOI application was selected to move forward to submit a full proposal based on the components that were originally included.
Q: Is it possible to change the shelters or partners that were listed in the SOI or proposal?
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Q: The final assessment needs to be submitted within 120 days after the end of the award. It needs to be costed in the budget between 3 and 5 percent – how does it fit with the timeline? Data can be gathered within the award timeline, but drafting will happen within the 120 days – can time out of the award timeline be covered with the budget?
A: All funds should be expended prior to or on the end-date of the award. The 120-day closeout period is only for reconciling expenditures that occurred prior to the end-date of the award.
Q. Can you provide more guidance on the final assessment? (Who should carry this out, the budget associated, etc.?)
A. Please review the NOFO Guidelines document for the TIP Office’s expectations of the final assessment. The final assessment does not have to be external. The applicant may hire an external entity to conduct the final assessment. While the TIP Office does not provide guidance on budgeting for final assessment or other components of the project given that costs associated with project activities are relative to the project location and other factors, applicants are encouraged to budget for a mid and final project assessment based on the project design and illustrated assessment questions. The TIP Office will provide final assessment guidance during the negotiation process and upon award.
Q: You mention that midline assessments are sometimes not appropriate – on which circumstances would this be?
A: We leave it up to the organization to decide whether the costs, efforts, and resources for a mid-line assessment would yield useful enough information to assess strengths and weaknesses and support the improvement of project design and implementation to help advance the project’s goals and objectives.
Q: How tied are we to the project design laid out in the SOI? If stakeholder outreach indicates the need for a change in strategy, are we able to modify the objectives and activities?
A: As per the question in the Proposal Narrative section above, applicants must submit a full proposal with the same scope as their SOI but may adjust their proposal and/or project design as needed, taking into account feedback the applicant might have received from the TIP Office and to reflect a more accurate budget and/or response to changing contexts on the ground. If major adjustments are made to activities, applicants should note in a sentence or two the reason behind the changing context.
Q: Is there is a range of permitted changes in project duration and total cost from the SOI stage to Full Proposal stage?
A: Applicants must submit a full proposal with the same scope as their SOI, but may adjust their proposal as needed to take into account feedback the applicant might have received from the TIP Office and to reflect a more accurate budget and/or response to changing contexts on the ground. If major adjustments are made to activities, applicants should note in a sentence or two the reason behind the changing context. Please review the budget question below (under the Budget section) for more information on changes in total cost.
Q: If we want to volunteer to host a regional summit, should we include this in our budget, or will resources be provided for that separately?
A: If you plan to volunteer to host a regional summit, please include a separate tab indicating this in your budget documents. Volunteering to host a summit is optional and will not impact the TIP Office’s decision on whether or not to accept your proposal.
Q: Is there flexibility for adjusting the total project cost/award total during full proposal stage from the total submitted at SOI stage?
A: It is acceptable to make adjustments to the budgets that were originally submitted along with the SOI when submitting the full proposals. Generally, the total budget should not increase more than 10 percent of what was originally proposed. This leaves flexibility for movement between proposed budget lines, but again, the 10 percent cap is on the total funding increase. An exception to this general guidance is if TIP Office feedback provided to applicants results in a longer planned period of performance.
Q: Would you advise the budget ceiling for a single proposal? About how many proposals will be funded this time?
A: Applicants should propose the amount reasonable and commensurate with their activities. All awards under this announcement are pending the availability of funds. The number of awards depends on the availability of funds and the quality of applications received.
Q. How much money will be allocated to each region or country?
A. The TIP Office does not have specific regional or country budgets. The final amount allocated for each country and region will depend on many factors, including the quality of applications received and the nature of the proposed activities.
Q: As it relates to the budget, does the TIP Office have a start date for the period of performance for these submissions to determine budget by fiscal year? Or should the applicant choose this date?
A: We anticipate awards starting in the Spring of 2023, but this could change. If selected for award the TIP Office will work with you to adjust the start and end dates as needed. Please note that the “Guidelines for Submitting TIP Office Full Project Proposals” instructed organizations to input February 1, 2023, as the start date in the SF-424 instructions section.
Q: You mentioned including a few bullets of how funding would be used in budget narrative. Could you please describe how the budget narrative is used in the review process and the level of detail needed? In general terms, how long is this document?
A: Please review the instructions for the Budget Narrative provided in the “FY22 Guidelines for Submitting TIP Office Full Project Proposals.”
Q: Are computers that are valued under $5,000 per unit considered equipment?
A: If the value was under $5,000, it would not be considered equipment but instead be considered “supplies.”
Q. Would it be feasible to include cost-share in the final proposal even if such a modality was not originally identified in the SOI? Are there any restrictions on having other governments provide cost-share?
A. It is feasible to include cost-share in the final proposal, even if it was not identified in the SOI. Other governments may provide cost-share, but it is important to keep in mind that cost share funds still fall under the TIP Office award and as such are subject to the U.S. Department of State terms and conditions of the award (e.g., the funds are still subject to Leahy vetting if used on an activity with police trainings). Cost share must be appropriately tracked and expenditures available for viewing by the TIP Office upon request.
Q. Is there any restriction with regard to the cost share (e.g., max. amount)?
A. No, there is no cap on cost share, but applicants must be able to clearly justify the quantity of funding they plan to allocate to a sub-grantee and explain why that funding is being allocated.
Q: Is a separate budget and budget narrative required for sub-grantees?
A: Yes, a separate budget and line-item budget would be needed for each sub-grantee.
Q: Does the sub-award include the ten percent?
A: The 10% de minimis rate can be used by any organization that doesn’t have a current negotiated rate.
Q. Are organizations eligible to receive indirect funds?
A. Regarding indirect costs, organizations without a Negotiated Indirect Cost Recovery Agreement (NICRA) agreement may account for a maximum of ten percent (10%) of these expenses as indirect costs when submitting a budget; please note this 10% de minumus rate is in accordance with 2 CFR 200.414(f). For organizations that do not have a NICRA and elect not to use the de minumus rate, identified “overhead costs” must be charged as direct costs. Organizations with NICRA agreements may account for indirect costs as a lump sum for the relevant percentage of funding as permitted by the NICRA.
Q: What types of costs fall under the indirect category and do we need to provide a breakdown of the different costs within that ten percent?
A: If you are using the 10% de minimis rate, then 2 CFR 200 provides a breakdown of what can be charged and how it is calculated. The Budget Narrative and Line-Item Budget need to be clear on what the Indirect Cost Rate is. Please follow the guidance provided and use our examples and templates to the best of your ability.
Q. Who should be listed as the authorized certifying official on the SF-424B?
A. The “certifying official” is the person within your organization who can / will sign the grant award if an award is made. This could be the organization’s director, a project manager, or grants coordinator, for example. This is also the only point of contact who will receive information regarding the status of the application from the TIP Office.
Q: Will Annex A be shared?
A: As per the FY22 NOFO guidelines, we do not provide a template for Annex A. We encourage organizations to develop a Theory of Change as they deem fit. Please follow the instructions we provided in the FY22 NOFO Guidelines.
Q: Is there a specific template we need to use for the donor history form?
A: As per the NOFO guidelines, we do not provide a template for the donor history form. Please follow the instructions we provided in the FY22 NOFO Guidelines.
Q: Is baseline data required or this is optional?
A: Baseline data is optional at the time of application submission. The TIP Office will ask organizations to submit baseline data within the first quarter of the award. The TIP Office will allow the development of baseline data past the first quarter of the award on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Can the donor form be a table in Word?
A: Yes, please make sure it is no longer than one page and follows the instructions listed in the NOFO Guidance document.
Q: Could you please inform us whether there is a template on Annex B? As well as for Annex D?
A: Yes. All templates and required documents are located within the funding opportunity on SAMS-D under the “Additional Documents to be Submitted” tab.
Q: Can you please define “visual” for the Theory of Change? Are you expecting a full diagram or will arrows be acceptable?
A: Please refer to the NOFO Guidelines document for guidance on the theory of change. We are accepting diagrams.
Q: Could you please clarify how and in which budget annexes should MERL costs be demonstrated. For example, would a separate tab in line-item budget acceptable? May staff costs be calculated toward MERL costs? What additional costs are permitted under this range?
A: MERL costs can be demonstrated as a unique line item within the line-item budget and budget narrative; if staff is working solely on MERL-related tasks, then this staff member should be attributed as a unique line item under the Personnel category as well. If selected for an award, the TIP Office will work with applicants to determine what costs are reasonable and allowable under this range.
Q: For letters of support from local organizations, can they be in the local language in whatever font they use, with a correctly done translation in black times new roman 12pt?
A: All letters of partnership from intended sub-recipients may be submitted in a foreign language, however, if selected for funding the applicant will be asked to submit an English translation.
Q: Does Annex I include key personnel in partner organizations in country of implementation?
A: No, Annex I should not include key personnel in partner organizations.
Q: Is there specific training required for the for the Victim Assistance Personnel (Annex J)
A. There is no specific training. Per the NOFO: Applicants must submit an attachment that contains the following statement undersigned by an official authorized to submit the proposal:
The applicant hereby certifies that, to the extent practicable, persons or entities providing legal services, social services, health services, or other assistance have completed, or will complete, training in connection with trafficking in persons.
An authorized official is a supervisor that oversees and manages the staff working with victim assistance in the country and/or region.
Please note, the selected recipient of a TIP Office award is responsible for ensuring the Certification of Training requirement for all sub-awards, if applicable.
This is a requirement for programs providing assistance to trafficking victims, per Section 107A(b)(1) of the TVPA.
Q: May a Theory of Change include color or just black times new Roman 12 ft?
A: Yes, the Theory of Change may include color font. Please refer to the NOFO Guidance document for further instructions.
Q: How many support letters do we need for partners receiving money from us?
A: Please note that letters of Intent to Cooperate are only required for those applicants proposing to partner with one or more stakeholders that have been formalized at the time of application submission. Should Letters of Intent be required to do work in country from various government ministries, then these should be obtained in advance of an organization receiving an award.
Q: Do we need support letters from government agencies?
A: Yes, a letter is required from each.
Q: Is the Theory of Change supposed to be a graphic and text, both?
A: The Theory of Change should be visual and can be submitted in the form of a graphic, included text. Please see the NOFO guidance document for more information.
Q: For multi-country projects, please suggest how much depth are we expected to go into on the Theory of Change.
A: The Theory of Change should provide an overarching, broad representation of the project’s intended changes and how it will accomplish and/or contribute to the changes.
Q: In the donor history forms, for those organizations already running federal grants, must they list their other (non-U.S. government) donors?
A: No, however, applicants that have not received previous U.S. federal assistance should instead list current or past projects supported by other donors.
Q: Given the time it takes to get Government letters, if we fail to get a support letter before the submission timeline, will this result in disqualification?
A: No, while every effort should be made prior to submission, but we recognize the time it takes to obtain these. It is critical that if selected for award that the applicant does obtain this letter in advance of award issuance in order to be able to begin project activities.
Q: Please clarify who is included in travel?
A: Travel includes employees of the applicant’s organization, or participant support costs for trainings (travel and per diem to bring participants to trainings or similar activities.) Any consultant, sub-contractor, or sub-grant travel costs should be included separately under the Contractual category.
Q: Do we need to present the CV for key personnel?
A: Yes. If key personnel have already been identified for the proposed project, applicants must submit the relevant individuals’ resume/CVs. Key personnel are defined as individuals who contribute to the program development or execution of a project in a substantive measurable way; this is typically a program director or program manager. No more than five positions should be identified as key personnel.
Q: Re: Key Personnel – CVs are required for those you are 100 percent Level of Effort or everyone? What if we don’t have the staff yet?
A: Only if key personnel have already been identified for the proposed project, should applicants submit the relevant individuals’ resume/CVs. It does not matter whether they are 100 percent LOE or not – key personnel are defined as individuals who contribute to the program development or execution of a project in a substantive measurable way; this is typically a program director or program manager. No more than five positions should be identified as key personnel.
Q: Do we need the CV for partners as well? NGO partners, for example?
Q: Regarding CV: when you say only personnel of prime applicant, if we are partnering with another organization in the application – we do not include their personnel, correct?
A: You do not need to include CVs for formal sub-recipient partners.
Q: For technical support to the government partners – should the assets be returned afterwards? It would be good to know before we project such assistance in the project.
A: If you are providing equipment or supplies, then you must follow the rules surrounding these outlined within the NOFO. Equipment is herein defined as an article of non-expendable, tangible, personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost in excess of $5,000. Please note that if equipment costs are included in an application, the applicant organization must retain ownership of all equipment obtained throughout the lifetime of the federal award. This includes any equipment funded with cost sharing or matching funds. At the end of the award, you must complete federal SF-428 forms for the TIP Office Grants Officer to evaluate whether the item(s) be retained, sold, or disposed of without any further obligation to the Department of State. Applicants are not permitted to loan or provide equipment to government partners, again, since the applicant must retain ownership of said equipment throughout the lifetime of the award.
Q: For a multi-country proposal, would the donor history form require all TIP Office and other donor funded anti-trafficking projects per each country?
A: Please submit USG donor history per country. You do not need to include every single project, but instead include a snapshot of projects you’d like to highlight within the one-page limit. Please follow the instructions listed in the FY 2022 NOFO Guidance Document.
Q: Should the donor history form include previous projects from sub awardees? If so, can that be provided on an additional page?
Q. May applicants submit additional documents to the project narrative, in addition to the required templates and documents outlined in the NOFO?
A. Any additional documents uploaded outside of what is specified in the NOFO will result in failure of the organization during technical review.
Q: Is the TIP Office accepting 36-month projects?
A: Applicants should propose a timeline that is commensurate with their activities and budget amount. Typical projects range from 24 to 48 months, with no projects more than 60 months allowed.
Q: If subgrantees want to outsource project development work with partners on the ground, do these partners also have submit the same administration/due diligence documents as the subgrantees?
A: Subcontracts follow different guidelines than subrecipients. If selected for an award, the TIP Office will work with applicants to determine what documents should be collected by the applicant organization in advance for both subcontracts and/or sub-recipients.
Q: May a letter of support be on their standard overhead? Does it have to follow guidelines: black times new Roman 12pt?
A: The letters should be presented in Microsoft Word or PDF with black-colored, Times New Roman font. It is fine on organization letterhead granted it meets the requirements of being sent in Microsoft Word or PDF.
Q. How does the TIP Office decide which proposal(s) to fund?
A. Following the submission, all proposals will be screened to determine whether they meet the technical requirements stated in this announcement. As a reminder, the TIP Office will only consider proposals that meet the very specific requirements outlined in the NOFO and NOFO Guidelines/Program Design Standards. Following the technical review, a formal content review of each full proposal that passes the technical review will commence. An intra- and interagency panel will review proposals for funding consideration. The panel will consider each proposal’s merits as well as applicable limitations on U.S. foreign assistance. Panel recommendations will be presented to the Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (or the Acting Director) for consideration.
Q: Does 35,000 characters include spaces?
A: Spaces are included within the character limit.
Q: Page 7 of the NOFO states, “Spaces, footnotes, and charts are included within the character limit.” Could you please share if in the past applicants were able to paste charts into the Project Narrative template?
A: Yes, applicants can include charts in the Project Narrative. However, any text within the chart will be included in the character count.
Q: Has the TIP Office made a decision for all SOIs submitted? Should we assume that if we haven’t heard from the TIP Office about full proposal submission for some SOI submitted that means that SOI was NOT invited for Stage 2?
A: All invitation letters for stage two have been sent to selected applicants. Letters to the remainder of applicants that were not selected for stage 2 will be distributed imminently.
Q: Can you confirm it is not required to address each of the consideration areas individually, but applicants should address those that are relevant?
A: Yes, that is correct.
Q: In the written Q&A that you release, would you consider providing examples of 1) gender and inclusion assessments and 2) Theories of Change the TIP Office found to be high quality to serve as optional examples/reference materials?
A: Please refer to the FY22 NOFO Guidelines document for instructions.
Q: Can you provide more details on local partnerships? Are you referring to national NGOs and CSOs?
A: Applicants are welcome to partner with NGO’s, CSO’s, academia, and other actors that may be beneficial in helping implement project activities. If you plan to sub-award an organization, the following types of organizations are allowable: Any U.S. or foreign-based nongovernmental organization, public international organization, college or university, or for-profit organization.
Q: Do you have recommendations in terms of choosing research and programming partners among say NGOs, universities, government agencies?
A: You can look at the research, academic, NGO, governments, and other organizations we’ve worked with in the past as one of many resources in your identification of research and programming partners. The TIP Office does not endorse any particular partner.
Q. Can you provide more guidance on partnerships v. sub-awards and what is required?
A. The applicant may designate one or more organizations as a sub-recipient. For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a partner organization is any organization that would receive sub-award funding from a successful applicant to help the applicant organization implement anti-trafficking projects. All mandatory terms and conditions for a successful applicant also apply to any sub-awards awarded. The TIP Office recognizes that applicants may plan for sub-awards that are not yet finalized prior to full proposal submission.
The TIP Office also recognizes that organizations may work with other organizations or stakeholders in a way that may not rise to a sub-award agreement. If selected for funding, the TIP Office will work closely with applicants to determine which relationships rise to the level of sub-awards.
Q: Does the TIP Office anticipate making multiple awards for a given priority program area, or will only one applicant be selected for each priority area?
A: The TIP Office will select the best quality proposals, regardless of country, region, or priority.
Q. Are applicants required to submit a hard copy original signature with their proposal via mail?
A. No, only an electronic signature submitted via SAMS-Domestic is required. No applications or supplemental documents are permitted to be submitted via mail – only the items listed in the instructions on the solicitation which must be submitted via SAMS-Domestic.
Q: Is there a formal Q&A process throughout the full proposal process? If so, what is the deadline, where do we submit questions, and where will answers be posted?
A: We receive questions via the JTIPGrants@state.gov email.
Q. Where can I find specifics regarding projects previously funded by the TIP Office?
A. Applicants are encouraged to look to our website, https://www.state.gov/tip-office-project-descriptions/, for information on TIP Office-funded projects from prior years.
Q: Just to clarify that any specific questions we may have to joint programs can be emailed directly?
A: Please reach out to JTIPGrants@state.gov.
Q. How do I unlock my SAMS-Domestic account or change my SAMS-Domestic password? What should I do if I encounter difficulty using the SAMS-Domestic website?
A. Unfortunately, the TIP Office is unable to unlock SAMS-Domestic account or reset passwords. For assistance with SAMS-Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com/grants ) contact the ILMS Support Desk at 1-888-313-4567 (toll free for international callers) or submit a ticket using the ILMS Self Service Portal (https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms/home ). Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing JTIPGrants@state.gov.
Q. Where may I find additional advice about preparing the full proposal application?
A. The TIP Office must ensure a fair, transparent, competitive grants process.
No one from the Office or other Department of State personnel, including Embassy personnel, may advise you on the content of your application.
Persons with additional questions about the requirements of the solicitation may contact JTIPGrants@state.gov.