NOFO: Access Microscholarship Program for Lebanon, Teacher Training, Alumni Projects

NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: English Access Microscholarship Program for Lebanon, Teacher Training, Alumni Projects.

Public Affairs Office, U.S. Embassy Beirut, Lebanon

Funding Opportunity: DOS-Lebanon-PD-2019

Scholarship Amount Available: $700,000

Monitoring and Oversight Amount Available: $175, 000

Teacher Training Amount Available: $100,000

Alumni Projects Amount Available: $46,000

Deadline for Applications:  December 1, 2019

This notice of funding opportunity seeks proposals for the implementation of the U.S. Department of State’s 2019–2021 (FY18 funds) English Access Microscholarship Program (“Access” for short).  Teacher training, Access alumni projects, and monitoring and oversight activities may be built into one proposal and budget, or an entity may submit separate proposals for individual portions of this funding opportunity.

Access must provide a minimum of 360 hours over two years of high quality, American-style, after-school and summer-intensive English classes and enhancement activities for disadvantaged teens at a cost $1,000 to $2,000 per student.

Access participants must be bright, highly-motivated, economically-disadvantaged 13 to 18-year-old students in the French-based education system. The participant selection process must be transparent and competitive and must aim for gender parity.  Please read below for more details on Access and program components that should be addressed in a proposal.

Teacher training activities under this grant may target any teachers of English in Lebanon, and are not restricted to Access teachers.  These training programs can cover a wide variety of topics, from methodology to pedagogy.

Alumni projects should include small-grant or funding activities that engage Access alumni in their communities or which help to reconnect Access alumni to the program.

Monitoring and oversight activities include, but are not limited to, site visits to Access classrooms and events, reviews of financial records for the program, follow-up with participants, and analysis of any trends or issues.  Best practices are for an external entity or organization to perform these activities.

To compete for the Access grant, local and international non-governmental organizations and educational institutions need to submit final proposals to Public Affairs Office to PDBeirutGrants@state.gov with subject Line “English Access Microscholarship Grant Proposal” by December 1, 2019.

Applicants can expect to be notified of the status of their application within thirty (30) days of the submission deadline. Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the United States Government. It does not commit the USG to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. The USG reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with the award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Embassy.

English Access Microscholarship Program (Access)

Please see below the following information on the program and applications:

  1. Access background and program components
  2. Provider responsibilities under Access
  3. Additional Requirements
  4. Additional Funding Components
  5. General Application Guidelines

Access Background and program components

Access is a learner-centered program that provides bright, but disadvantaged youth with an opportunity to learn English, develop civic engagement and leadership skills, and gain multicultural awareness through teaching the basics of American culture and values. The program benefits an equal number of 14-18 year men and women from underprivileged families through after-school instruction and intensive sessions. Access equips participants with skills that can lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. The Access Program has provided scholarships to over 180,000 students in 86 countries since its inception in 2004.

The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut have hosted Access Programs since 2004, and more than 6,000 students across the country have received scholarships. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut City oversees the program which is implemented by local partners.

Program Description

Access classes should be no larger than 20 students and gender balanced. Teachers should create a meaningful, interactive language learning experience centered on the learner. Project-based and task-based approaches should be employed in order to help the learner use English to understand and work on authentic local and global challenges.

Access alumni and/or U.S. exchange program alumni may be hired as teaching assistants. Enhancement activities and intensive sessions should help extend the language learning experience beyond the classroom walls.

Participants’ parents should also be made aware of what and how the students are learning, and appraised of what can be done at home to encourage further learning.

The various aspects of the Access Program are:

After-School Instruction (mandatory)

Access is a two-year program that requires a minimum of 360 hours of instruction for each cohort reasonably distributed over the two-year period. Classes should meet at least twice per week, and last from 1.5 to 3 hours. It is the responsibility of the Providers to consider the schedule of the students to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school schedule.

Enhancement Activities (mandatory)

Enhancement activities must occur regularly throughout the two years of the program, usually during After-School Instruction, and are part of the 360 hours. These English-language activities should provide opportunities for students to use the target language in discussions, debates, U.S. holiday celebrations, skits, community service activities, etc. Consider inviting U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel to do something with your class. Other possibilities include filming role plays, making an Access web page, or running a Model United Nations activity. Access students should also be involved in community service activities to increase their awareness of issues facing their respective communities while also gaining an understanding of the ways they can positively contribute to civil society. Some possibilities include volunteering at a nearby senior citizens home, tutoring primary school students in English, and organizing the cleaning of a nearby park or forest.

Technology Component (encouraged)

Access programs might also consider including technology instruction in English, utilizing existing computer facilities rather than expending significant grant funding to purchase equipment.

Intensive Sessions

Intensive sessions are an English immersion experience having more instruction hours per week than the after-school program. The aim of these sessions is to provide students with time to fully experience an English-medium environment outside of the classroom for a sustained period of time. These sessions are included in the 360 hours of required instruction. Hours of instruction during intensive sessions are usually 4-8 hours a day.

Intensive sessions should combine English language instruction with U.S. cultural activities such as drama, computers, art, music, or games and sports, or civic responsibility projects, leadership and teamwork training, or tolerance programs.

  1. Provider Roles and Responsibilities

Eligibility Requirements:

Proposals may be submitted by Lebanese or U.S. based legally-registered organizations. To be competitive, the organization should be engaged in English language teaching. The organization should have the services of a qualified accountant and be able to open a separate bank account for receiving Access grant funds. The organization must be able to communicate in English. All program documents and reports are in English.

Number of Providers:

The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to split the program among multiple Providers.

Program Implementation Location:

The Embassy prefers that the Provider oversee multiple implementation locations. The proposal should cover the sites where the Provider is confident it can deliver a safe space, with a qualified administrative and teaching staff, over the duration of the program. A clean and safe space for classes is non-negotiable. The space must have seating for 20 students. It must also have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, and nearby bathrooms. The space should also have internet capability (or the Provider should supply this). Providers are encouraged to seek additional spaces on the premises that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

The Provider must select underprivileged community’s clusters approved by the Ministry of Education and the Embassy of the United States of America. The Provider should prepare a representative budget for one class in each area that they can serve.

The Provider must specify the location(s) of the Access program and space that will be used for the classes and activities. The Provider must either provide verification that the space belongs to the grantee or a written agreement with the holder of the space.

Program Calendar:

The start date of the program will depend largely on the length of the time needed to finalize the Agreement, and on the student selection process. The whole program should last no longer than 24 months. Once the program calendar is finalized, joint opening and graduation ceremony dates will be coordinated with the Embassy so that officials can participate.

Budget:

The budget per student should be around $1,000 – $2,000 depending on the location. This includes administrative costs (no more than 10%), tuition, materials, transportation, enhancement activities, community service activities, and costs for travel to the regional opening and graduation ceremonies.

Teachers must be paid $25 per hour, and be given a two-year contract.

Materials:

Providers choose the textbooks that they prefer, but should follow these guidelines:

If possible, use a textbook published in the U.S.; textbooks that have U.S. Culture incorporated in the lessons; Textbooks that make use of a variety of communicative and “real world” activities; Textbooks that cover such issues as the environment, human rights, gender equality, civil society, volunteerism, build critical thinking in students; Textbooks that use a variety of activities that involve: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Every student must receive new books (e.g. textbook, dictionary, easy readers). After the program ends, the books are the property of the students.

Teachers are encouraged to use supplementary materials that suit Access Program goals. A good source is americanenglish.state.gov. Supplementary materials should focus on US culture and American English, or international English and intercultural understanding.

Branding:

All Access Program documents, applications, banners, teeshirts, publications, etc. must feature the U.S. Embassy logo, and it must be the most prominent if displayed with other logos. Access is written as a word (Access), not as an acronym (ACCESS).

Teacher Selection:

The Provider is responsible for identifying and if necessary, recruiting highly competent Access teachers. Embassy representatives will often be involved in teacher selection.

Access teachers must have at least a BA in English or Education and be comfortable and fluent in English with proof of at least C1 proficiency in the CEFR. They should have progressive views about methodology, employing interactive, learning-centered approaches that focus on tasks and projects. They should have experience teaching teens. First-hand experience with American culture is a plus. Similarly, experience in designing and carrying out community service is desirable.

Teachers must be paid $25 per hour, and be given a two-year contract.

Student Selection:

The Provider is responsible for demonstrating that students enrolled in the program fit the target audience:

Are economically-disadvantaged youth (demonstrated by documents);Are bright (demonstrated by official school transcript from previous year and/or aptitude and attitude in interview); Are motivated to learn English and help their communities (demonstrated in an application and interview); Are between 14 and 18 years old at time of recruitment

N.B. No children from families of Provider administrative or teaching staff may be enrolled.

The scholarship must be announced widely in the target community (e.g. posters in schools).

It is recommended to use an application to shortlist those students who will receive interviews. Both should be in Arabic.

Embassy representatives will check on the selection process to ensure it is transparent and selecting the right students.

The Provider will select 1-2 alternate students who participate in Access unofficially and will replace any students who must leave the program. These students do not receive the official certificates but may receive certificates from the Provider.

  1. Additional Requirements:

The Provider is responsible for printing student certificates for the opening ceremony using a template provided by the Embassy.

The Provider will ensure that students are given the same proficiency test at the beginning and end of the program to show overall progress in English.

The Provider is required to produce frequent program and financial reports (usually quarterly), accompanied by receipts.

The Provider must monitor and report students’ attendance and performance and take steps to help any students who fall below the minimum passing grade and minimum attendance of 70%.

The Provider will maintain a student database with contact information to be given to the Embassy at the end of the program.

Applications must be prepared and submitted using the Public Diplomacy Grants Program Application form, available on www.grants.gov. Please submit completed applications to PDBeirutGrants@state.gov

The recipient of funding under this announcement will be required to submit quarterly technical and financial reports during the term of the project, as well as a final assessment at the end of the project.

  1. Additional Funding Components

Fund Teacher Training:

Support proposals for creative, non-traditional, cutting edge, and sustainable English language programs.  All projects should also encourage the development of critical thinking skills.  Programs that use technology in an innovative way will be given extra consideration.

Priority review specific to programs that focus on the following areas:

  • English language education through youth engagement and community service;
  • English through STEM;
  • English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

Fund Alumni Projects Through local NGOs: The grantee will support and strengthen the Access alumni network in Lebanon, so that alumni can build upon the shared intellectual, social, cultural, and democratic values of the people of Lebanon and the United States. The recipient train up alums to deliver workshop to students; provide enhancement activities to local Access programs, fund alumni projects that could be extensions of community service projects. Topics suggested Fostering Economic Prosperity; Advancing Science, Tech, Health, & Innovation; Building Civic Participation, Good Governance, & Resilient Communities; Empowering Women & Girls; Promoting Inclusion & Educational Opportunity

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring and oversight activities include, but are not limited to, site visits to Access classrooms and events, reviews of financial records for the program, follow-up with participants, and analysis of any trends or issues.  Best practices are for an external entity or organization to perform these activities.

  1. General Application Guidelines

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit organization.
  • Have demonstrated experience developing and administering similar programs;
  • Have the capacity to operate in Lebanon and have active partnerships with organization(s) operating locally needed to support the program.

All Federal assistance recipients must have a Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS) and a CCR (CAGE) number prior to funds disbursement. A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or requesting on-line at www.dnb.com.

Cost Sharing or Matching Funds:

There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, PA Beirut encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular 2 CFR Parts 200 and 600, entitled the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, PA Beirut’s contribution will be reduced in like proportion.

Basis for award of the agreement:

The provider should be an established non-profit institution or a non-governmental organization (NGO) with at least 2 years of experience in administering educational programs and/or teaching English, preferably to the target age group. The grantee must have access to an established core of English teachers willing to commit their time to this project. The grantee must identify the location(s) and venue(s) that will be used for this program (verified with a document/preliminary agreement) and will be responsible for recruiting students and, in consultation with the Regional English Language Office, developing the curriculum.

Format of the proposal:

  • Narrative: A narrative document in English, no longer than ten pages, that describes the program in detail is required. This document should include a description of:

1) The provider/organization and staff who will be involved in the program;

2) plan for the afterschool/weekend classes, enhancement activities and intensive sessions;

3) Student recruitment and retention plan;

4) Specific student audiences and ages;

5) materials/textbooks to be used;

6) Monitoring plan;

7) Teacher recruitment and professional development plan;

8) Program location(s);

9) Any other information the provider feels is relevant to communicate how they will administer the program.

  • Budget: The budget spreadsheet should include all program costs. There should be a total for the entire budget and the cost per individual student.  The budget spreadsheet should include only the following required categories:
  1. Instruction: teacher ‘salaries should be adequate and competitive
  2. Books/Materials: textbooks, supplementary instructional materials for students and teachers, Students’ school supplies
  3. Transportation: cost of transporting students and teachers as necessary to and from their Access classes
  4. Enhancement Activities: expenses for enhancement activities may include supplies and must be related to a specific Access project, e.g. celebrating an American holiday, opening ceremony or graduation
  5. Administration: The administrative cost may include staff compensation for work directly related to the Access program such as Program Administrator, Program Coordinators, Accountants, administrative office supplies, Access classroom rental, office telephone, reporting software requirements (Microsoft Excel 2010 or newer), bank fees, wire fees, etc. administration costs usually should not exceed 10%
  6. Food: Providers will have an opportunity to request costs to provide students with food during after school and/or intensive session instruction by providing a one-paragraph justification for consideration within the Access proposal

 Other Eligibility Requirements:

Technical Eligibility: All proposals must comply with the requirements stated in the Proposal Submission Instructions; non-compliance will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.

Eligible applicants may submit one or more than one proposal in this competition.

Please note: Applicant organizations are defined by their legal name and EIN number as stated on their completed SF-424 and additional supporting documentation outlined in the Proposal Submission Instructions document.

The applicant is requested to submit a completed proposal package that includes a project narrative and all mandatory appendices, per the solicitation instructions below. Note: The applicant must provide a statement of explanation for any mandatory appendices that are not submitted with their application. Unsolicited appendices will not be read and should not be submitted for this award.

Key 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
  • www.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.

DISCLAIMER

Issuance of the NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. The Public Affairs Section reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.

USEFUL RESOURCE

Instructions for Access Proposal Preparation (Word Document -18Kb).