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2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) – Cameroon
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December 19, 2022

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

 

Funding Opportunity Title: Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) 2024
Funding Opportunity Number: EMB-Yaounde-PDS-AEIF-FY24-04
Deadline for Applications: January 19, 2024
CFDA Number: 19.022 – Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs
Total Amount Available: $15,000 – $35,000

 

 

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Embassy of the United States in Cameroon announces an open competition for past participants (“alumni”) of exchange programs sponsored through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the State Department and offered through the Public Diplomacy Section of U.S. Embassy Yaounde to submit applications to the 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2024).

 

AEIF provides alumni of U.S. government-sponsored and facilitated exchange programs with funding to expand on skills gained during their exchange experience to design and implement innovative solutions to global challenges facing their community. Since its inception in 2011, AEIF has funded nearly 500 alumni-led projects around the world through a competitive global competition.

 

This year, the AEIF call for applications in Cameroon seeks proposals from teams of at least two alumni that meet all program eligibility requirements and specifically address one of the two themes described below. Exchange alumni interested in competing for the AEIF 2024 should submit proposals to PASGrantsYaounde@state.gov by January 19, 2024, at 5:00 pm (WAT).

Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Program Objectives: 

Proposals must specifically address one of the two following themes:

Theme 1.  Promote citizenship and civic participation

Improve civic participation of youth, women, and underrepresented groups, including but not limited to people with disabilities and indigenous communities, by providing them with tools to facilitate civic leadership activities.

 

The project could include but is not limited to the following activities:

  1. Develop a curriculum to train Youth Civic Engagement Fellows prepared to design and implement civic engagement initiatives.
  2. Organize a Cameroon Youth Civic Engagement Impact Fellowship (CYCEIF) to prepare selected candidates to lead civic engagement initiatives.
  3. Conduct a virtual mentorship program between experienced USG alumni and CYCEI Fellows and empower fellows to implement impact initiatives across the country on specific civic engagement topics such as citizens’ rights and responsibilities, democratic processes, community engagement activities, discussions on how to effectively contribute to society, etc.

OR

Theme 2:  Promote nonviolent conflict resolution and peacebuilding through entrepreneurship and innovation

Encourage a peacebuilding mindset in Cameroonian youth, by linking them with positive role models for constructive self-development and providing them with rewarding economic opportunities.

 

The project could include but is not limited to the following activities:

  1. Organize Alumni Ted Talks and pitch competitions at one university in each of Cameroon’s 10 regions.
  2. Host a pitch competition final during the University Games, where finalists from each region will pitch their projects and receive tailored advice from alumni and seasoned experts.
  3. Provide a virtual mentoring program by USG alumni for university students.

Proposals must serve beneficiaries, free of charge. Proposals must provide a detailed program of activities, timeline, beneficiaries’ selection process, and impact evaluation system.

 

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Announcement posted: December 13, 2023
Closing date for applications: January 19, 2024
Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2024 Fulbright-Hays Public Diplomacy Funds
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 10 months or less.
Anticipated program start date: May 15, 2024
Expected size of individual awards: Awards may range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $35,000.

 

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 selection strategy
    • List of speakers and alumni
  • The grantee can request Embassy assistance with:
    • Sharing project promotional content on U.S. Embassy Cameroon social media platforms
    • Inviting press
  • The Grants Officer must give final approval of the following before action by the grantee:
    • Keynote speakers, facilitators, and participants.
    • Promotional materials
    • Date and venue

 

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. Eligible Applicants

The following individuals are eligible to apply:

  • Applicants must be alumni of a U.S. government-funded or sponsored exchange program (https://alumni.state.gov/list-exchange-programs ) or a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program (https://j1visa.state.gov/).
  • Projects teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni.
  • Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals, but U.S. citizen alumni may participate as team members in a project.
  • Alumni teams may be comprised of alumni from different exchange programs and different countries, but at least one of the team leaders must reside in Cameroon.
  • Proposals must address the priority areas listed above. Proposals that do not address the priorities as outlined in the program objectives will be deemed ineligible.
  • All project activities must take place in Cameroon.
  • Applications must be submitted by exchange alumni or alumni associations of USG exchange alumni. No other organizations are eligible to apply. Exchange alumni can partner with not-for-profit or non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions to implement project activities. The grant can be issued to the individual alumni or the partner organization.
  • Proposals must be submitted in English and using the official AEIF 2024 Forms by no later than January 19, 2024, at 05:00 p.m.
  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

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. 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 approved for funding, 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.

Organizations must have a commitment to equal opportunity employment practices and to non-discrimination practices with regard to beneficiaries, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

 

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Application Package

Download AEIF 2024 Proposal Form and AEIF 2024 Budget Form.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Proposals must be submitted using the official applications forms “AEIF 2024 Application Form” and “AEIF 2024 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 AEIF 2024 application form;
  • All documents are in English;
  • The budget is in U.S. dollars and is submitted using the designated AEIF 2024 budget form;
  • All pages are numbered.

The following documents and information are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms
  1. SF-424(Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)
  2. SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  3. SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
  1. 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Proposal Form
    1. About your Project: Please provide information on the title of your project, the requested budget total, and the primary location of the project. Projects need to take place outside of the U.S. or its territories.
    2. Project Team Information: At least two exchange alumni team members are required for a project to be considered for funding. Applications need to provide the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project, and their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role. Applicants need to indicate what proportion of the team member’s time will be used in support of the project.
    3. Problem Statement: A short narrative which outlines the proposed project, including challenge/s to be addressed, project objectives, and anticipated impact.
    4. Project Goals and Objectives: The goal/s of the proposed project need to describe what the project is intended to achieve and include the objectives which support the goal/s. Objectives should be specific, measurable, and realistically achievable in a set time frame.
    5. Project Methods, Design, and Timeline: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal/s. This should include a description of the project’s direct and indirect beneficiaries as well as a plan on how to continue the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable. The proposed timeline for the project activities should include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events. Applicants may also submit proposed workshop or training agendas and materials.
    6. Project Timeline: A timeline of your project activities.
    7. Beneficiaries: An estimated number of direct and indirect beneficiaries of your proposed project.
    8. Local Project Partners: A list of partners who will support the proposed project, if applicable.
    9. Communication Plan: The communication plan should include a communication and outreach strategy for promoting the proposed project. It may include social media, websites, print news, or other forms of media intended to use to share information about the project to beneficiaries and the public.  Communications should include AEIF 2024, ExchangeAlumni, and U.S. Embassy branding.
    10. Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the proposal should outline in detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals and objectives. This should include any outcomes showing a change in knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; improved quality of services; increased capacity at a school, group; etc.  Proposals should also include how the grantee will measure the impact of planned activities.

 

  1. 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Budget Form with Budget Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
  1. Attachments:
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

 

FUNDING RESTRICTIONS

AEIF 2024 does not support the following activities or costs, and the selection committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:

  • Any airfare to/from the United States and its territories
  • Activities that take place in the United States and its territories
  • Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
  • Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
  • Academic or scientific research
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Provision of direct social services to a population
  • Individual scholarships
  • Social travel/visits
  • Gifts or prizes
  • Duplication of existing programs
  • Institutional development of an organization
  • Venture capital, for-profit endeavors, or charging a fee for participation in project
  • Support for specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for specific legislation.

 

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

The U.S. embassy Public Diplomacy Section will use the criteria outlined below to evaluate all applications.  The proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of regional and exchange program experts located at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Panelists will use the criteria below to review and evaluate applications.

Relevance to Application Theme 20points

The proposal provides sufficient information on how the activities will support the theme(s) of the competition. The narrative explains any relevant local context the D.C. Selection Committee may not be aware of in relation to this project.  Proposed project ideas must be public diplomacy in nature (i.e. not development or military).

Purpose and Summary, Description, and Implementation Plan 20points

When developing the purpose, summary, description, and implementation plan, applicants should aim to make all descriptions clear, concise, and compelling.  Reviewers will judge the proposals based on the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the community where it is undertaken.  Does the project address an important gap of understanding or need?  If the aim of the project is achieved, how will existing knowledge or practice be improved?  What audience do the applicants hope to reach with this project?  How many will participate?  How will they be selected?

Degree of Alumni Involvement 15points

Projects must include the involvement of at least two (2) exchange alumni.  They may be the project team leaders or collaborate directly with PAS in formulating the project.  More than two alumni may comprise the team, however, the minimum is two.  As the team leaders, the alumni must be closely involved in project planning, implementation, etc.  Applicants should ensure that the proposal includes the following information for each alumni team member: first name, last name, e-mail address, exchange program, country of citizenship, and roles and responsibilities.

Participation and Support from Local Partners 10points

The proposal demonstrates buy-in and support from the community where the project will take place. Local partner involvement is a strong sign that there is community support and that the project will engage a broad array of experts, such as subject matter experts, community centers, academic institutions, businesses, local/national government, non-governmental organizations, American Spaces, etc.

Evaluation and Impact of the Project 15points

A monitoring & evaluation (M&E) plan is pivotal to project implementation and important tracking progress towards the project’s objectives and goals.  An M&E plan should consider the data needed to effectively monitor progress toward specific outputs and outcomes as well as how that data collection will be accomplished.  Well-crafted indicators should be used to understand a program’s progress toward the desired results. An M&E plan should be reviewed for the following:

  • Completion
  • Applicability and logic of objectives and indicators
  • Clear approach to monitoring
  • Adherence to SMART criteria
  • Feasibility of baselines and targets
  • Data quality plan
  • Capacity to implement plan

 

Communication, Media, and Outreach Plan 10points

The project should include a clear plan and timeline for how and when the team will share information about the project.  It is important to ensure that the U.S. Embassy gets recognition throughout the process if circumstances permit.

 

Budget and Budget Narrative 10points

The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently 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.  The results and proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project.  Budget items are reasonable, allowable, and allocable.

Disclaimer: This notice is subject to availability of funding. U.S. Embassy Yaounde does not guarantee availability of funding by receiving applications under this announcement. Only successful applicants will be contacted.

Review and Selection Process

The U.S. embassy Yaounde Public Diplomacy Section will use the criteria outlined above to evaluate all applications.

 

F. OTHER INFORMATION

Guidelines for Budget Justification

Alumni are allowed to request between US $5,000 to US $35,000. Carefully consider the funds needed to implement your project. There is no need to go for the full US $35,000 if that is not necessary to achieve the impact you are seeking. Smaller projects that require less funding are as worthy as larger projects. You might also want to consider running a small-scale pilot project before fully rolling out a larger project.

Please note that items valued at US $200 or more must be itemized. Related costs should not be lumped together. For example, travel, accommodations, and meals for a speaker should be three separate line items. The table below provides guidance on filling out the budget form:

 

Venue Costs Calculate costs for renting space for project-related activities such as workshops or other training activities.  Consider looking for donated space first (American spaces and academic institutions). If donated space is not possible, costs should be reasonable based on the local environment. All expenses must be itemized and explained. Consider negotiating deals to include coffee breaks, lunch, presentation equipment, or modest supplies, and include this information in the budget justification.
Promotional Items and Advertising These items aim to amplify your project.  All requests should be reasonable and relevant to the project. All expenses must be itemized and explained. Break down the promotion and advertising, clearly indicating what you will get in return for costs incurred (i.e. number of ads, on which platforms, and at which times).
Meals and Beverage Include reasonable costs for snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and meals if essential to the project. Break down meals by the cost per person per meal. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Speaker/

Consultant/

Training Fees

Speaker: Maximum of US$200 per day for a full day of programming. Trainer: Maximum US$200 per full day or $25 per hour. Consider asking your fellow alumni to provide their expertise as in-kind support for the project. The sum of speaker fees, honorarium, and consulting fees should not exceed 30%.
Lodging and Per Diem List per diem rates and hotel costs which directly support the implementation of the project and indicate single or double occupancy.
Travel If the program involves travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.  Estimate the costs of travel for this project, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. Costs can include in-country or local travel costs (via car, bus, train, etc.) required for the actual implementation of the project. Please specify the mode of transportation, who will travel, the destination/arrival points, and if the cost covers round-trip or one-way travel. The AEIF does not support travel in business class or higher.
Supplies, Materials, Equipment Include general office supplies, computer software, consumable automotive supplies (i.e. fuel), small equipment such as laptops, projector, etc., and expendable materials (i.e. paper, paint). When possible, rent equipment rather than purchase if it is more cost-efficient. Indicate what you will do with the purchased equipment after the project concludes. All expenses must be itemized and explained.
Other Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. Be specific. Commonly cited items are administrative and accounting costs, shipping costs for materials and equipment, bank charges and monitoring and evaluation.  This amount should not exceed 10% of the total proposed budget and should not include salaries for team members. All expenses must be itemized and explained.

 

Budget Justification: Budgets should be accompanied by a narrative description known as a budget justification. In the narrative, you will explain what the numbers in the budget form represent, how you calculated them, and why you need to incur them for your project. Be sure to explain any unusual circumstances or requests. This information will help the reviewer understand your costs to determine if they are reasonable.

“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.

G. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

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.

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.  Program reports should provide a thorough description of project activities executed, objectives achieved, challenges encountered (if any), lessons learned. The report should include photos, links to videos, or any press and media reports program events and activities.

H. FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

Questions about the grant application process should be directed to the Alumni Coordinator, U.S. Embassy, Yaounde, yaoundepdculturaldl@state.gov