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Questions to and Answers from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) about its 2021 Limited Full Proposal Funding Opportunity


ELIGIBILITY

Q. Who is eligible to apply for funding?

A. Only selected applicants who participated in the 2021 Stage One process and received an invitation from the TIP Office are eligible to apply for an award under this funding opportunity.

LOGISTICS

Q. How much funding does the TIP Office have for 2021?

A. All awards under this announcement are pending the availability of funds.

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. What is the maximum number of awards?

A. The number of awards depends on the availability of funds and the quality of applications received.

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. What are the expected funding dates?

A. Subject to available funds, the TIP Office expects to award the funds to successful applicant(s) by April 2022.

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. Can you clarify about the page limit and character limit for the Narrative?

A. Please refer to the NOFO regarding the character limit for the Narrative. (Applicants are required to use the Narrative Template provided within SAMS-D, which also limits the number of characters. NOTE: Applicants MUST type within the grey box found in the template)

Q. How are the use of graphics (e.g., flow charts) in the Narrative counted against the overall character limit?

A. All charts, tables, and graphics count towards the character limit in the narrative. Any graphics should be produced in Word or Excel. Please do not produce graphics outside of these platforms as your proposal will be disqualified.

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: If 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 and all the responses are posted through SAMS.

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.

CONTENT

Q. What has changed in this notice of funding opportunity?

A. Please note there have been significant changes in this funding opportunity, including but not limited to updated guidelines, updated criteria for selection, and revised annex documents. Applicants should carefully read the funding opportunity, NOFO Guidelines and / Program Design Standards (listed in NOFO Guidelines) when preparing their proposal.

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. If an applicant proposes a partnership with government, civil society, another NGO, or a PIO does the partnership agreement have to be finalized or in writing at the time of the application?

A. Proposed partnerships should be referenced in the proposal narrative to ensure that they are considered in the review, but partnerships need not be formalized at the time the proposal is submitted.

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. 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. In the full proposal, do we have to keep exactly the same goal, objectives and activities which were stated during the SOI stage? Or can we change/adjust/complement them at this 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.

Q. Would it be acceptable to make changes to the budgets that were originally submitted along with the Statements of Interest when submitting the full proposals?

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: 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 J/TIP’s 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. Can you provide more guidance on the final assessment? (Who should carry this out, the budget associated, etc.?)

A. Please review the NOFO Guidelines / Program Design Standards 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. 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. May an organization identify a partner that was not previously identified in the SOI?

A. An organization may identify a partner in the full proposal that was not previously identified in the SOI.

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 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?

A: Yes.

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: 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. Can you further clarify when Letters of Intent are required and from whom?

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: If partnerships are focusing on government units in provinces and states, do we need a letter from each?

A: Yes, a letter is required from each.

Q. The Full Proposal Template requires applicants include a “3Ps Breakdown” between Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution. Do you have any guidance on this breakdown?

A. Please fill out this percentage to the best of your ability, as your best guess. This should not be interpreted to mean that an applicant must address all three P’s throughout their work plan, M&E plan, budget, etc.

Q. What goes in the “Progress” column in the “Results Monitoring Plan (RMP)?

A. The progress column is meant for quarterly progress reporting purposes only.

Q. Could applicants replace “Activities” (Column B) with “Outputs” and/or “Outcomes” in the RMP to meet the requirements for indicators stated in the NOFO Guidelines/Program Design Standards?

A. No. Applicants should not modify the templates. The RMP is intended to organize indicators by objective, and by each objective’s activities. Applicants are required to classify indicators as output or outcome indicators in Column E as per the NOFO Guidelines/Program Design Standards.

Q. May applicants submit additional documents to the project narrative, in addition to the required templates and documents outlined in the NOFO?

A. No, applicants may only submit required annexes, as well as the project narrative. Any additional documents uploaded outside of what is specified in the NOFO will result in failure of the organization during technical review.

Q: Is there a form or template for the theory of change (Annex A)?

A: The TIP Office will not provide a template or form for the Theory of Change. Applicants are welcome to submit a visual theory of change that works best for their project/organization. Annex A should be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format, and it should be no longer than one page. Please pay attention to the different elements the Theory of Change should include as per the webinar powerpoint slides.

Q: In regard to annex A and E, is there a specific format? We haven’t been able to identify them in the packet of documents.

A: The TIP Office will not provide a template or form for Annex A and E. Applicants should follow instructions in developing these documents as referenced in the NOFO Guidance Document and the webinar powerpoint presentation.

APPLICATION SUBMISSION

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. What does an application include?

A. To ensure fairness, all applicants will have an equal chance to describe their proposed project. Detailed information on formatting requirements and more can be found in the NOFO and Guidelines/Program Design Standards.

Q. We are experiencing difficulty requesting a DUNS number.

A. For information and assistance with DUNS numbers, please contact the Help Desk via phone at 866-705-5711 or via email at govt@dnb.com. In your message, provide your contact information and a brief description of the problems you are experiencing.

Q. May an organization apply to work in a country where the organization is not physically present?

A. Yes, an organization may propose to work in a country where they do not have a physical presence.

Q. If an organization proposes a partnership with another organization, do all parties need to obtain a DUNS number, or only the applicant?

A. For the purpose of filling out the SF 424s and submitting an application, the only DUNS number required is that of the applicant – the principle organization which is requesting funding.

Organizations proposing partnership or sub-award agreements in their proposals are advised that their partners may obtain a valid DUNS number in anticipation of selection for funding, as this information may be required for sub-award agreements.

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: How can we verify that all certifications from our NGOs are up to date? We are in SAMS, but just to be sure certifications are current.

A: The TIP Office will reach out the NGOs to make sure certifications are up to date as well, also check in SAMS to see if they do have it done and are active.

Q: Aside from the SAMS-D and SAMS.gov platform, are there any other systems or platforms on which we need to be registered or have accounts going forward?

A: If accepted for funding, the Payment Management System would be another platform that you would need to register with.

COMPETITIVE REVIEW

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. 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. 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.

U.S. Department of State

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