Flag

An official website of the United States government

2024-2026 English Access Microscholarship Program
36 MINUTE READ
December 28, 2023

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY YAOUNDE, CAMEROON
Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

Funding Opportunity Title: 2024-2026 English Access Microscholarship Program
Funding Opportunity Number: EMB-Yaounde-PDS-ACCESS-FY24-05
Deadline for Applications: January 31, 2024
Assistance Listing Number: 19.421
Total Amount Available: $110,000
Maximum for Each Award: $40,000

 

A.     PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to implement the 2024-2026 English Access Microscholarship Program in Cameroon, at one of the priority cities:  Ngaoundéré in the Adamawa Region, Douala in the Littoral Region, Bafoussam in the West Region, or Bertoua in the Est region. The Access program will provide English-language instruction to disadvantaged students, to include students from urban, rural, and/or ethnic minority regions of Cameroon.

The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English-language skills to talented 13- to 20-year-old from disadvantaged sectors around the world through after-school classes and intensive summer sessions in their communities.  As part of their course work, Access students gain an appreciation for American culture and democratic values, increase their ability to participate in their countries’ socioeconomic development and better prepare themselves to compete for future U.S. exchange and study programs.  Access programs give participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects.  The program also provides U.S.-based professional development and English-language workshops for selected teachers and students.  Since the U.S. Department of State launched the program in 2004, approximately 200,000 students in more than 90 countries, including approximately 500 Cameroonians have participated in the Access Program.

The Access Program is designed to take place over a 2-year period beginning in the Fall of 2024 and ending in 2026. The program’s start and end dates encompass all Access-related activities that occur before the start of instruction, such as recruiting teachers and students, purchasing books and supplies, and after the completion of instruction, such as the closing ceremony and final reports.

Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Priority Regions:  Ngaoundéré in the Adamawa Region, Douala in the Littoral Region, Bafoussam in the West Region, and Bertoua in the Est region.

Program Objectives: 

The Access program in Cameroon will promote citizenship in Cameroon through increasing the English language, critical thinking, and leadership skills of economically disadvantaged Cameroonian youth from rural and suburban secondary schools.  All proposed projects must aim to advance the goal stated above, contain a substantive American element, and achieve the following specific objectives:

  • Provide at no cost a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged Cameroonian students that improves their future academic and employment prospects while exposing them to U.S. culture and values;
  • Introduce participants to critical thinking and problem-solving skills while promoting access to information in English; improve students 21st century skills, job readiness and their potential to fully contribute to the socio-economic development of their country;
  • Increase their ability to compete for and participate in U.S. exchange and study programs; and
  • Include project-based learning including off-site immersion activities as well as civic outreach activities to develop participant’s leadership and interpersonal skills.

The Access Program must deliver a minimum of 360 hours of total instruction. The various aspects of the Access Program are:

  • After-school/weekend instruction;
  • Project-based learning Intensive sessions; and
  • Teacher professional development.

Please see the link for further information on the English Access Microscholarship Program: https://exchanges.state.gov/non-us/program/english-access-microscholarship-program 

Technical and infrastructure requirements:

  • 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.
  • The space must have seating for 30 students; it must have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, and minimal sanitary requisites.
  • The space should also have Internet capability (or the grantee should consider providing for this separately).
  • Providers are also encouraged to share any other unique learning spaces on the premises that are accessible to the program and that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

Functional requirements:

  • In consultation with U.S. Embassy Yaounde, the provider is responsible for setting criteria for and identifying “economically disadvantaged youth” to be enrolled in the program.
  • The provider is responsible for identifying and recruiting qualified teachers.
  • The provider is required to produce frequent reports (usually quarterly) and a substantial final performance report. The provider should monitor students’ attendance and performance.
  • The provider will submit regular highlights, with photos, based on criteria provided later.
  • The provider will monitor classes and activities to ensure quality of the program. It is therefore recommended that providers have a staff member with a background in education or English language instruction.
  • The provider will maintain records on graduates that will be added to the U.S. Embassy Cameroon Alumni database in order to include them in follow-on programming.

Assumptions and agreements:

Providers may develop proposals with a budget limit up to $40,000. $30,000 to design and implement a comprehensive program for a cohort of 30 Access students and 5 Access teachers in one of the priority cities. $10,000 to plan and budget for at least two hours of paid professional development per teacher per month for all in-country Access teachers (15 individuals).  This would be a separate budget, capped at $10,000, but should be included in the same proposal. These capacity building activities would consist of two (02) in-person workshops and virtual sessions through the Access Teacher Community of Practice (CoP).  The Embassy reserves the right to split the capacity-building activities component between two or more providers and may request providers to adjust their final proposals and budgets as necessary.  All possible costs—instruction, books/materials, transportation, enhancement activities, administration, food and accommodation – should be covered.

It is preferable that teachers have degrees or diplomas in English language teaching or education and a minimum of two years’ experience teaching English full-time.  The instructors should be comfortable and fluent in English and have some cross-cultural experience; preferably with U.S. culture (familiarity with the culture is stressed over actually having visited the United States). Teachers should have progressive views about methodology, employing learning-centered approaches that focus on tasks and projects that lead to interactive classes.  Teachers should be adept at integrating modern technology into the classroom, and at creating a comfortable risk-taking atmosphere that allows students to learn in a non-competitive and intellectually stimulating environment.

Participants and Audiences:

The grantee organization will be expected to create cohorts of 30 students ages 13-20 in either Ngaoundéré, Douala, Bafoussam or Bertoua secondary schools.  The target audience should be from socially and economically underprivileged groups with an interest in community actions and a motivation to learn U.S. culture and values.  Selected participants must be bright, economically disadvantaged students with beginning level of English.  Participants should commit to enroll in classes during the full two-year program.  Students will graduate with certificates of completion from the U.S. Embassy Yaounde at the end of their two-year program.

American Content:
Proposals must include an element of American expertise, American resources on the topic at hand, or American cultural or societal experience relevant to the topic.  This may be accomplished by incorporating U.S.-origin materials, theories, or other resources, or the involvement of American expert(s), organization(s), or institution(s) – or Cameroonian alumni of U.S.-sponsored exchange programs – that will promote increased understanding of U.S. values, culture, policy, and/or perspectives.

The following types of activities are not eligible for funding:

  • Scholarships for study in the United States or to fund conference attendance or study tours to the United States
  • Activities that are inherently political in nature or that contain the appearance of partisanship.
  • Construction activities
  • Programs that support specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Cash prizes for participants

 

B.     FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period:
Up to 24 months (two academic years)
Number of awards anticipated: 3, no more than one proposal per organization will be considered.
Award amounts: $30,000 to $40,000 per award for each priority city
Total available funding: $110,000
Type of Funding: FY 2024 Fulbright-Hays Act

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Cooperative Agreement

Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.  This may include:

  • The grantee will propose for Embassy input:
    • Participants selection strategy
    • List of USG alumni for speaking engagement
  • The grantee can request Embassy assistance with:
    • Sharing program’s highlights on U.S. Embassy Cameroon social media platforms
    • Inviting press to cover the launching and/or closing ceremony
  • The Grants Officer must give final approval of the following before action by the grantee:
    • List of participants
    • Teacher’s training schedule and venue
    • Date of launching and closing ceremonies

Program Performance Period:  Proposed projects should be completed in 24 months or less, noting that at least the last 1 -3 month(s) of the period of performance — after the end of the substantive project activity — should be dedicated to short- and medium-term measurement and evaluation of project success to determine if goals and objectives have been met.

PD Yaounde may entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.

 

C.     ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. Eligible Applicants
  • Cameroon-based registered non-profit organizations, including think tanks, non-profit language centers, community associations, and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Cameroon-based non-profit or governmental educational institutions

The grantee should be an established institution with at least 3 years of experience in administering educational programs and/or teaching English, preferably with similar projects.  The grantee must have access to an established core of English instructors 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 and will be responsible for developing the curriculum and recruiting students in consultation with the U.S. Embassy.  Organizations with previous experience and a capacity of working with educational institutions will be given priority.

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing or matching is not required.  If an applicant offers cost sharing, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its application and later included in an approved agreement.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

An applicant may submit a proposal before completing the process to register in sam.gov and obtain a UEI. However, before a proposal is accepted, the organization must have obtained a UEI and have an active SAM.gov registration. Therefore, we recommend starting the process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration as soon as possible. The process can take several weeks. Please note there is no cost associated with UEI or SAM.gov registration.

 

D.     APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Application Package

Download Application form and Access Budget Template.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Proposals must be submitted using the official applications forms “Access Application Form” and “Access Budget Form”.

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.

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity;
  • The proposal addresses all questions in the official Access application form;
  • All documents are in English;
  • The budget is in U.S. dollars and is submitted using the designated Access budget form;
  • All pages are numbered.

The following documents and information are required:

2.1 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)
  • SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

These forms are available here:  https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms.html.  They must be submitted in English, but French translations of the forms are available here:

https://cm.usembassy.gov/fr/education-culture-fr/small-grants-program-fr/grant-forms-fr/.

2.2 Access Application Form

Applicant will fill the form and the proposal should contain sufficient information so that anyone not familiar with the subject of the proposed project would understand exactly what the applicant intends to do.  This document should include:

  • A description of the grantee organization and previous experience including resume of project coordinator
  • A detailed description of the proposed English Access Microscholarship Program project, activities, project team, timeline, partners, communication plan, monitoring and evaluation plan and etc.

2.3 Budget Justification Narrative:

Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. The budget spreadsheet should include all program costs. Categories include a breakdown of costs for the two-cycle program, the total number of participants to be enrolled, the start and end dates for instruction, the number of hours of instruction participants will receive. Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Personnel salaries should define the percentage of time each position will allocate to the project and the rate of pay. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.

2.4 Applicant Organization Requirement:

Optional Attachments:

a. 1-page CV or resumes of key personnel who are proposed for the program

b. Letters of support from partner organizations (if any) that you intend to play a key role in carrying out your proposal activities. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership. The individual letters cannot exceed 1 page in length.

c. If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.

d. Official permission letters, if required for program activities

Required Registrations:

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Note:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

 Note:  The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process.  SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:

Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:
NCAGE Homepage: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/sc/CageList.aspx
NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):

Exemptions

An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.

Submission Dates and Times:

Applications are due no later than January 31, 2024 (11:59 p.m. Cameroon time).

Other Submission Requirements:

All application materials must be submitted by email to PASGrantsYaounde@state.gov.

 

E.     APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.

Organizational capacity – 20 points:  The organization has expertise in its stated field and PD is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system appropriate to the amount of funding being requested and a bank account.

Quality and feasibility of the program idea – 20 points:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Goals and objectives – 20 points:  Goals and objectives are clear, realistic, and measurable, and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Embassy priorities – 10 points:  Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy Yaoundé’s priority program areas and/or target audiences.

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 – 10 points:  Applicant demonstrates ability to measure program success against key indicators and provide 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 and Timeline

An Embassy Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications within 02 weeks of the submission deadline and will contact successful applicant(s) for next steps within 04 weeks of the Review Committee meeting.

  1. Responsibility/Qualification Information in SAM.gov (formerly, 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.

 

F.     FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award 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.

  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, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/.

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

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

 

G.    FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process or if you face issues in downloading the application forms, please contact: the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Section at PASGrantsYaounde@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.