Request for Application (RFA) for Grants Program, USAID LEPDA, International Development

October 19 2021
Liberia

Background:

Request for Application (RFA) for Grants Program: Grant Funding to Engage Liberian Diaspora on Investment Promotion Outreach and Advocacy

PROJECT: USAID Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity (LEPDA)

RFA NUMBER: USAID-Nathan-LEPDA-RFA-2021-10-11-06

ISSUANCE DATE: October 19, 2021

DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF QUESTIONS: November 9, 2021 5:00 PM GMT

SUBMISSION DATE: November 19, 2021 5:00 PM GMT


Background of the Project

The four-year USAID Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity (LEPDA), implemented by Nathan Associates, Inc., aims to strengthen the policy-making capacity within the Government of Liberia (GOL) and facilitate the design and implementation of specific reforms to promote private sector-led, broad-based economic growth and development.

Over the life of the project, LEPDA will respond to five overarching challenges facing the Liberian economy:

·        a weak and unstable domestic currency, high inflation, and limited resources for domestic investment;

·        an expensive and non-competitive domestic economy;

·        an absence of coherent and effective policies for sector-specific development;

·        a generally weak domestic private sector; and

·        a lack of opportunities for women to participate in and benefit equally from the economy.

In order to achieve LEPDA’s goals of reducing the cost of doing business and increasing effective policy-making within the GOL, LEPDA centers on three main objectives:

·        establishment and implementation of a framework to promote reforms in specific areas, with focus on improving the business climate, increasing domestic revenues, and supporting private-sector development;

·        establishment and implementation of Policy Unit Teams (PUTs) to support smaller policy units located within certain GOL ministries and agencies, with focus on policies addressing private-sector development and economic management; and

·        strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to conduct robust policy analysis as “think tanks” while increasing citizen participation and advocacy in the policy-making arena, leading them to be more effective partners in the overall policymaking process in Liberia.

Grant Activity Background

LEPDA utilizes grants awarded to a selection of local and regional non-governmental entities throughout the lifetime of the activity to best combine and capture the assets and expertise of a range of legally registered organizations, associations, and businesses. These grants are designed to conduct research, facilitate dialogue, execute policy studies, and conduct other activities which advance the intervention areas discussed above.

Under this Request for Application (RFA), LEPDA invites eligible organizations to apply for grant funding to execute activities in support of the objectives described below. US and non-US international Liberia Diaspora organizations are eligible to apply for this grant.

Scope of the RFA

LEPDA’s objectives in awarding this grant are to work closely with the Liberia Diaspora Engagement Program (LDEP) of the Ministry of State in Liberia to:

·        Empower the successful applicant to engage in dialogue and advocacy with the Liberian Diaspora community in the U.S. to promote private sector investment in Liberia that enables the applicant to explore innovative ways to achieve greater investment to spur economic growth.

·        Raise awareness about the draft Liberia Engagement Policy with the diaspora community and suggest methods for implementation of the policy that will enhance diaspora investment in Liberia. 

Applicants should propose a clear program of outreach, dialogue, and advocacy activities—identifying the nature, location, and timing of different outreach and activity events. Stakeholders and audiences for all events should be specified.

LEPDA envisages that the program of outreach and advocacy will include some or all of the following:

·        Dialogue with diaspora groups in the US and the Liberian government to promote private sector investment, identify challenges to investment, opportunities for investment, and investment risks;

·        Public events (e.g., public meetings, panel discussions, talk shows, on-line virtual meetings with Liberian counterparts, etc.);

·        Development and dissemination of appropriate media; and

·        Other, innovative means of engaging Liberian Diaspora.

Applicants should include:

·        Methodology for dialogue (e.g., focus group discussions, key informant interviews, meetings, workshops, etc.);

·        Proposed action plan for improving diaspora engagement in private sector investment; and

·        Mechanism for coordinating activity with appropriate Government of Liberia stakeholders, e.g., the Liberia Diaspora Engagement Program of the Ministry of State and the National Investment Commission.

Applicants should propose appropriate and effective uses of various media channels in the US and Liberia. 

Applicants may wish to form consortia or partnerships with other organizations to implement activities funded through this grant.

The program of outreach proposed should mainstream gender equality and female empowerment. 


Job Description:

Grant Funding Mechanism

LEPDA will award a Fixed Award Amount (FAA) grant in support of this undertaking. LEPDA expects to award a single grant as a result of this solicitation. The activities are expected to last no more than six months. The maximum value of a grant awarded in response to this solicitation is $US50,000. The grant will include well-defined milestones, based on which grant payments will be made to the recipient. The amount of available funding is subject to change and Nathan reserves the right to make no awards as a result of this RFA. This grant opportunity is contingent on donor funding.

For more information on FAA grants, please refer:

https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1868/303saj.pdf.

Questions & Answers

Requests for clarification or questions on the RFA can be submitted by email to Mark T. Wilson, Sr. () and carbon copied (CC) to Marcus Williamson () no later than 5:00 pm GMT on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. Only written requests for clarification will receive a response.

Expressions of Interest and Applicant Conference

Expressions of Interest can be submitted by email to Mark T. Wilson, Sr. () and copied (CC) to Marcus Williamson () no later than 5:00pm Liberia time (GMT) on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Entities expressing interest will be invited to a virtual conference currently planned for Friday, November 12, 2021 at 12:00 PM GMT. Expressions of Interest are not required for submitting a bid but are strongly encouraged.

Submission Information

To apply for this grant opportunity, applicants must submit a concept note as described in Attachment A. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to provide a full grant application at a later date.

Completed concept notes should be submitted as electronic copy by no later than 5:00pm GMT on Friday, November 19, 2021. Concept notes must be submitted by email to Mark T. Wilson, Sr. () and copied (CC) to Marcus Williamson ().   

Concept notes should be provided in MS Word and/or PDF formats. If tables or charts can only be shown in MS Excel format, they may be included separately provided they are labeled appropriately. Budgets must be in MS Excel format with cells unlocked.

Attachment A. Application Requirements and Review Criteria


Qualifications:

Eligibility Criteria

In accordance with the US Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, Nathan encourages competition in the award of all grants awarded under the USAID Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity (LEPDA) and will seek to identify and fund the programs that best achieve the project’s objectives.   

Eligibility for this grant is restricted to US and international Non-Government Organizations working with the Liberian Diaspora.  

To meet minimum eligibility criteria for grant competition, applications must support outcomes and results consistent with and linked to the LEPDA’s results and objectives, and must respond to the objectives outlined in the RFA.

Applicants must comply with all applicable Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) requirements at www.sam.gov. Applicants are not required to have a DUNS number at the time of application but must have a DUNS number at the time of the award. Hence, applicants should be in the process of receiving a DUNS number to avoid any delays in the award process. Under ADS 303.3.8, applicants must comply with the terms of the Pre-Award Certifications, Assurances, Representations, and Other Statements of the Recipient and Pre-Award Terms. Applicants are not required to submit the signed Certifications at the time of application but must submit the signed Certifications during the negotiation process.

Nathan staff will screen all Concept Papers and applications to ensure compliance with all eligibility requirements.

Inputs funded by grants in this pool are expected to include:

·         Professional fees for research staff;

·         Labor costs;

·         Local travel;

·         ICT needed for research/data collection, e.g., computers, tablets, etc.;

·         Rental of venues needed for workshops and public events;

·         Other costs associated with workshops and public events;

·         Printing of research reports and policy notes; and

·         Costs associated with media promotion.

Other costs may be considered, within the provision of the LEPDA Grants Manual.   

For additional eligibility criteria and exclusions, please see Annex B.

Ineligible Costs:

The following costs may not be included:

·         Pesticides;

·         Fertilizer;

·         Agricultural seeds;

·         Agricultural commodities;

·         Vehicles (including motorcycles);

·         Used equipment;

·         Construction/Rehabilitation;

·         Fundraising;

·         Profit; and

·         Interest on loans

Ineligible Entities:

·         Individuals;

·         Political parties; and

·         Government and semi-governmental institutions (this includes entities that the Government of Liberia owns at least 50% share of or which receive at least 50% of their financial support from the Government of Liberia).


Application Instructions and Process

Below are detailed instructions on how to apply to LEPDA’s Grants Program. LEPDA will use a two-step application process:

Step I - Submission of a Concept Paper and Review of Eligible Concept Papers

The Concept Paper (using the format in Attachment 1) and a summary budget is the first step in the grant application process and should be the first document submitted to LEPDA. Only the Concept Paper template included in this RFA should be used for this purpose. Other supporting documents or other concept application forms will not be accepted for this purpose.

The Concept Paper must be completed by the applicant in MS Word format (Times New Roman, font size 12, single space, with numbered pages), and must be no longer than 6 pages. The Concept Paper should be structured as follows:

Concept Paper Template

The Cover Page/Introduction (Maximum 1 Page)

·         Name and address of the organization;

·         Type of organization (e.g., government, non-profit, university, etc.);

·         Contact point (phone and e-mail);

·         Names of other organizations that may be funding this applicant or proposed activity; and

·         Signature of authorized representative of the applicant (authorized to contractually obligate the applicant).

Technical Information (Maximum 3 Pages)

·         Concise title and objective of proposed activity;

·         Discussion of the objectives, the activities that will be carried out to achieve the objectives, the methodology or approach, the amount of effort to be employed, the anticipated results, who will benefit from the initiative, and how the work will help accomplish LEPDA’s mission in the targeted area; and

·         Types of support the applicant requests from LEPDA (e.g., funds, facilities, equipment, materials or personnel resources).

Supporting Information (Maximum 2 Pages)

·         Proposed estimated cost (A full detailed budget is not required at this time);

·         Brief cost breakdown (e.g., salaries, travel, etc.);

·         Proposed duration of activity;

·         Brief description of applicant’s previous work and experience; and

·         Current and legal registration documents that certify the legal personality of the applicant organization.; However, LEPDA will accept concept papers from organizations who are in the process of registration and have documentary proof that their application is under consideration by the relevant Liberian registering authority.  

Additional information on the preparation of a concept paper can be found in ADS 303.3.5.3: http://www.usaid.gov/ads/policy/300/303.

All concept papers should include an explanation of how the grant will address and integrate gender and other disadvantaged groups, including youth.  The Grants Review Committee (GRC) will select those Concept Papers that best meet the objectives of LEPDA and will invite those selected (short-listed) applicants to proceed to Step II, which will involve submission of a full grant application.   

All concept papers for this RFA will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed by the GRC.  

Attachment B. Regulations and Exclusions

Additional eligibility criteria for grant awards include the following:

·         The organization or individual must provide reports, CVs of key technical persons, and references to prove that they have demonstrated experience in technical areas relevant to the scope of work.

·         The organization/individual has minimum absorptive capacity and/or demonstrates the potential to acquire sufficient capacity to manage programs in a sustainable manner.

·         The organization’s or individual’s other relationships, associations, activities, and interests do not create a conflict of interest that could prevent full impartiality in implementation of the grant activities.

·         DUNS numbers and required certifications are mandatory for all organizations, foreign or domestic, doing business with the U.S. Federal Government. Grantees of grant awards of any amount will be required to obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. DUNS numbers can be obtained at the following website: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.

·         Nathan will not make a LEPDA grant award to any applicant that is on the System for Award Management (SAM) excluded list (or the UN equivalent). For any applicant found on the SAM excluded list by the time the LEPDA program is ready to make a grant award, LEPDA will determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a grant award and use that determination as a basis for making a grant award to another applicant.   

The following are ineligible for grant awards:

·         Governmental entities or officials (whether from national, regional, district, local, or municipal levels, etc.)

·         Political organizations

Grants may not be used for religious activities; religious organizations may be eligible if the proposed grant activity is consistent with the project objectives. No grants will be awarded to parastatal organizations or quasi-governmental organizations.

If an organization or its key personnel, shareholders, directors, or partners appear on any of the following lists, it is automatically ineligible to receive a grant:

·         The Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List administered by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/sanctions-list-search-tool  

·         Department of State: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/index.htm

·         Foreign Terrorist Organization List (FTO): http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

·         Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL): http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123086.htm

·         Executive Order 13224: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/122570.htm

·         Terrorism Designation Page : http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/index.htm

·         Excluded Parties List System: http://www.sam.gov

·         United Nations Consolidated List (Resolution 1267): https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1267