Funding Opportunity: Regional TechCamp Workshop: Countering Disinformation

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR
Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

Funding Opportunity Title:  Regional TechCamp Workshop: Countering Disinformation
Funding Opportunity Number: SMY-300-FY19-Tech
Deadline for Applications: 08/31/2019
Total Amount Available:  Up to $100,000 

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a three-day regional TechCamp on countering disinformation and follow-up activities after the program. Please carefully follow all instructions below. 

Priority Region: ASEAN

Background and Program Objectives:
The growth of messaging apps has fundamentally changed the way Malaysians and other ASEAN countries receive information. In 2017, Malaysia was identified as the global leader in news usage for WhatsApp with over half the population using the service to receive and discuss news. However, the lack of media literacy skills combined with the ease of transmitting news online and over social media make targeted disinformation to impede political reforms and incite negative sentiments easier to spread. Within the wider ASEAN region, countering disinformation has become a priority with all ASEAN states adopting a common framework in 2018 to mitigate the harmful effects of disinformation. Many of the approaches, however, are still heavily government-driven, and have low visibility with the public.

Therefore, the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur plans to organize a regional TechCamp to encourage collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships among civil society, journalists, media, and key influencers to combat disinformation. The focus will be to empower digital citizens and journalists to work together tocombat disinformation online and on social messaging apps. The goals of this TechCamp are to find innovative ways and tools to strengthen media literacy skills among the public and strengthen journalists’ ability to conduct strong, efficient, and effective professional journalism.

TechCamp is a public diplomacy program hosted in the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State. It is a hands-on, participant-driven workshop that connects private sector technology experts with key populations — journalists, non-governmental organizations, civil society advocates, and more — to explore and apply innovative tech solutions to global issues. TechCamps are focused on results, with participants identifying real-world challenges and working in partnership with trainers to apply technology solutions to these challenges. In addition, each TechCamp includes ongoing impact-oriented programs and efforts to help participants implement their projects post-workshop and stay engaged with each other, their trainers and U.S. State Department staff.

Specific Requirements:
PAS Kuala Lumpur will select an organization to deliver the following: 

  • Design and implement a three-day regional TechCamp to be held in Penang between January and March 2020. The camp should 1) provide the training and skills needed to counter disinformation, 2) build upon prior public, private, and civil society activities around the topic of countering disinformation in Southeast Asia
  • Manage the recruitment, application and selection process. Collaborate with PAS Kuala Lumpur to select 50 participants – 30 from Malaysia and the remaining participants from other ASEAN countries
  • Create and implement a logistics plan that includes airfare, lodging, and food for all participants and trainers to come to Malaysia for a 4 night, 3 day residential Regional TechCamp
  • Collaborate with PAS Kuala Lumpur to select a mix of local experts and trainers from Malaysia, the wider Southeast Asian region, and the U.S. Partner organization will coordinate their travels, accommodation, and per diem.
  • Work with, mentor and fund groups of TechCamp participants to implement their follow-on activities/programs from the camp. $20,000 will be set aside for this purpose
  • Create and implement a plan for monitoring and evaluation of participants during and after completion of the workshop and describe how the program’s outcomes will achieve the specific objectives described in the proposal

Participants and Audiences:
The regional TechCamp is open to individuals working on projects or pursuing careers related to journalism, media or digital education as well as youth, civil society, and religious leaders that deal with digital misinformation.

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 12 to 18 months
Number of awards anticipated: 1 award
Total available funding: $100,000
Anticipated program start date:  October 2019

This notice is contingent to availability of funding. 

Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative agreement. The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur will have substantial involvement in the workshop content, schedule, and participant selection. In consultation with PAS Kuala Lumpur, the award recipient must actively engage the relevant U.S. embassies for recruitment purposes, communication with participants in each country, and to make their travel arrangements. 

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed within 18 months or less.

 

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. Eligible Applicants
    The following organizations are eligible to apply:
  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • Public and private educational institutions
  • Public International Organizations and Governmental institutions
  1. Cost Sharing or Matching
    Cost share is not required for this application. However, it may be considered in the merit review to break ties among applications with evaluation scores after evaluation against all other factors.
  1. Other Eligibility Requirements
    In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Address to Request Application Package
    Application forms required below are available at Grants.gov (www.grants.gov.) or from the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur https://my.usembassy.gov/education-culture/cultural-programs/
  1. Content and Form of Application
    Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  1. The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  2. All documents are in English
  3. All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  4. All pages are numbered
  5. All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  6. All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required: 

  1. Mandatory application forms
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance– organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance-individuals)
  • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  1. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  1. Proposal: The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed
  • Program Goals and Objectives:  The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.  Include a logic model as appropriate.
  • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline:  The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners:  List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
  • Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  • Description of prior experiences in programming on issues related to disinformation
  • Description of experience in and/or ties with organizations in other Southeast Asian countries, or international expertise
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: In addition to submitting a completed and signed SF-424A (see above), provide also a detailed narrative description of the project’s budget. The budget should not exceed $100,000. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  1. Attachments :
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

 

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) 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 listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx

Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423

For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766

Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

  1. Submission Dates and Times 

Applications are due no later than August 31, 2019 to PublicAffairsKL@state.gov with the subject line” Proposal for Regional TechCamp on Countering Disinformation.” Late submissions will not be considered.

  1. Other Submission Requirements

Please read the complete announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the NOFO deadline has passed, Embassy staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 25 points:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 25 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 15 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Budget – 10 points: The budget justification is detailed.  Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Monitoring and evaluation plan – 15 points: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators, and shows how and when those will be measured.

Sustainability – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

  1. Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:

i. That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);

ii. That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;

iii. That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

  1. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

The selected organization will be contacted and the award will be issued by mid-September.

 

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

Payment Method: The funds for this cooperative agreement will be disbursed in three installments. Financial reporting for the use of the first installment will be required at the time of the request for the second installment is made and subsequently for the third installment. Financial reporting, through the same method, will again be required at the conclusion of the grant period.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/pages/home.aspx

Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Applicants should be aware that the U.S. Department of State awards will require regular financial and progress reporting.  These reports must be received quarterly, and fully reflect the performance of the grant toward its goals and objectives and its financial status.

Narrative progress reports should reflect the focus on measuring the project’s effect on the overarching goals and objectives and should be compiled according to the goals, objectives, outcomes, and outputs as outlined in the award’s terms and in the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Statement.  An assessment of the project’s overall progress toward goals should be included in each progress report.

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact U.S. Embassy KL Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Sarah Talalay at PublicAffairsKL@state.gov

H. OTHER INFORMATION

Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.

Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.

Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.   It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.