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Academy for Women Entrepreneurs 2024 Cameroon
35 MINUTE READ
December 8, 2023

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY YAOUNDE, CAMEROON

Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

Funding Opportunity Title:                Academy for Women Entrepreneurs 2024 Cameroon
Funding Opportunity Number:         EMB-YAOUNDE-PDS-AWE-FY24-03
Deadline for Applications:                      January 05, 2024
Assistance Listing Number:               19.022 – Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs
Total Amount Available:                   $ 25,000 – $38,000

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to implement the 2024 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Cameroon. AWE is a U.S. Department of State-led initiative around the globe to support gender equity and equality by promoting women’s economic opportunities and giving enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses.

The U.S. Embassy Yaounde Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) invites proposals to design and implement a three-month training program in the summer or fall of 2024 to train 40 women social entrepreneurs for AWE in Cameroon.  The program will be a hybrid model, combining the U.S. online platform DreamBuilder or Thunderbird’s 100 Million Learners courses, with localized in-person mentorship and facilitation.  Successful projects will harness the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships, and U.S. exchange alumni networks to help participating women and their business grow, driving localized prosperity.

Please carefully follow all instructions below.

 

Program Objectives: 

  • Equip participants with knowledge and skills from both U.S. and Cameroonian training materials to build and scale up sustainable businesses.
  • Expand participants’ understanding of social enterprise models.
  • Foster participants’ ability to promote economic opportunities for women and increase the number of women-led businesses.
  • Facilitate the development of a network of female entrepreneurs and investors to grow women businesses and drive local partnerships.

 

Project Activities:

Phase 1:  Develop and Recruit

  • Develop a curriculum and training materials.
  • Identify, recruit, and train facilitators and mentors from the USG alumni community, American Chamber of Commerce, and African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) network.
  • Announce, conduct outreach, and recruit participants.
  • Produce a facilitation guide for business incubators and social entrepreneurs to use in supporting women’s economic empowerment.

 

Proposals should provide a recruitment strategy for recruiting target participants and specify how the Embassy would be involved.  

 

Phase 2:  Train the Cohort

  • Organize a 3-day AWE Bootcamp with an official launching ceremony in Yaounde.
  • Facilitate training of the online DreamBuilder or Thunderbird’s 100 Million Learners courses through weekly virtual or in-person sessions to discuss challenges, share best practices, and receive guidance from facilitators.
  • Organize activities that integrate localized content to supplement the online DreamBuilder or Thunderbird’s 100 Million Learners courses.
  • Establish a support network among participants to foster peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.

 

Proposals are encouraged to incorporate a variety of interactive activities, workshops, field trips, case studies, and other learning experiences to help participants develop their entrepreneurship skills.

Phase 3:  Milestone Finale

  • Organize a 2-day final gathering on “Women’s Investment Network” in Douala to showcase AWE participants and alumnae’ businesses, connect them with potential investors, and increase their access to funding opportunities.

 

Session topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Addressing the unique challenge, needs, and opportunities of women entrepreneurs in accessing investment.
  • Inviting potential investors to participate in the forum and provide funding opportunities for promising women-led businesses.
  • Conducting a pitch competition where selected AWE participants and alumnae present their business plans to a panel of investors.
  • Conducting a social media campaign to showcase AWE success stories.

 

Proposals are encouraged to include ideas for follow-on activities after program implementation. Please note that this award would not cover the costs of any such follow-on activity, which would be subject to additional funding resources.

 

Participants and Audiences:

The 2024 AWE participants will consist of 40 Cameroonian women entrepreneurs who:

  • Reside in Cameroon.
  • Own social enterprises or businesses focused on professional development, business incubation, or startup support for women.
  • Have 2-5 years of business experience and demonstrate computer proficiency and internet access.
  • Are recruited from all 10 regions of Cameroon via a competitive application process.

 
B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 06 to 12 months from the date of award
Number of awards anticipated: One award
Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $38,000
Total available funding:  $38,000
Type of Funding:  FY24 Fulbright-Hays

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:
    • Details of program content and design
    • Participants recruitment strategy and selection
    • List of speakers, resource persons and alumnae
    • Identifying and contacting alumni of U.S. government exchange programs and other networks for potential speakers and trainers
  • The grantee can request Embassy assistance with:
    • Securing commitment from high-level speakers or inviting government representatives
    • Inviting press to participate in events
    • Sharing AWE promotional activities on U.S. Embassy Cameroon social media platforms
  • The Grant Officer must give final approval of the following before action by the grantee:
    • Keynote speakers, participants, facilitators, and expert speakers
    • Training curriculum and promotional materials
    • Venue and date.

 

Program Performance Period:  Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.

The Department of State will 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

PDS encourages applications from the United States and Cameroon:

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks, community associations, and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Alumni of U.S. government exchange programs
  • Non-profit media organizations
  • Professional trade organizations
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions
  • Private educational institutions

 

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. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at: Grant Budget Template and Grant Application Form Template

 

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

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.

The following requirements must be met:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered

 

The following documents are required:

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) X [note: the SF-424B is only required for individuals and for organizations not registered in SAM.gov)]

 

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/.

 

Content of Application

Summary Cover Sheet:  Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.

Proposal (12 pages maximum):  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.  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 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:  An explanation of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • 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 timeframe 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.

 

Budget Justification Narrative:  After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.  See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

Optional Attachments:

  1. 1-page CV or resumes of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  2. Letters of support from partner organizations (if any) that you intend to play a key role in carrying out your proposal activities
  3. If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file
  4. 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 05, 2024.

 

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 PDS 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 – 5 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 – 15 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 01 week of the submission deadline and will contact successful applicant(s) for next steps within 02 weeks of the Review Committee meeting. If the grant is awarded, implementing partner should anticipate beginning programming by September 2024.

 

  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:

 

  1. 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);
  2. 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;
  3. 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 quarterly financial reports and program reports. Each program report should provide a detail account of the evolution of the project: activities organized, objectives met, audience reached, etc. The report should include high-resolution photos, sample communication tools, program materials, etc. The award document will provide more guidance on the submission of these reports.

 

G. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, 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.