News and Events

Annual Grant Program Statement (APS) No. 001

27.05.2013

 REC is seeking concept papers for implementation of activities designed to promote regional economic cooperation among Central Asian countries. In addition to the concept papers, a full grant application may be required upon request by REC. The grants will be awarded and implemented in accordance with USAID and US Government regulations governing grants under contracts and REC’s internal grant management policies.

The following Annexes are included with this APS:
 
- Annex A – Grant Concept Paper Template
- Annex B – Grant Application Budget Form
- Annex C – Implementation Timeline
- Annex D – Applicant Self-Assessment Form
- Annex E – Required Certifications
- Annex F – Required as Applicable Standard Provisions (RAA):  
 
SECTION I. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
 
IA.       OBJECTIVE
 
REC is awarding grants to private companies, especially small and medium enterprises, business service organizations, cooperatives, associations, producer organizations, logistics companies, research institutions, and NGOs. The objective of the activity is to facilitate trade among Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, and larger trading partners.
 
The objectives of the CAR REC grants program are to:
 
·         Strengthen Export Partnership Groups (EPG) and encouraging the creation of new EPGs.
·         Support exporters from Central Asia when supplying goods to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for use in Afghanistan and testing the barriers to export.
·         Support graduates of the State Department’s summer 2012 Voluntary Visitors Program through organizing workshops and grants Program.
·         Help Central Asian countries implement pro-trade policies, regulations and processes.
 
IB.       BACKGROUND
 
REC is a three and a half year project financed by USAID and implemented by Chemonics International since September 2011. The goal of the project is to improve the environment for cross-border trade among Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, and large trading partners of these countries . REC expands firms’ export potential through capacity building initiatives and gender integration strategies, while building business network connections in the region. REC also works towards improving Central Asian countries’ pro-trade policies and procedures, increasing transport corridor performance, supporting Tajikistan’s post-WTO accession activities, and strengthening the capacity of trade promotion agencies. The CAR REC project implements activities in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, but also includes beneficiaries from Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan as part of the Export Partnership Initiative. 
 
IC.       PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
 
The purpose of REC is to improve the environment for cross-border trade among Central-Asian countries, Afghanistan, and large trading partners of these countries through implementing activities such as adoption, refinement and implementation of best practices, international agreements, conventions and standards that govern trade. REC implements activities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but also includes beneficiaries from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and/or Afghanistan as part of the Export Partnership Initiative.
 
The project undertakes a range of trade facilitation activities, specifically the following:
 
·         Strengthening Export Partnership Groups (EPG) and encouraging the creation of new EPGs.
·         Evaluating the export potential of Kazakhstani and Uzbek firms and industries through market research.
·         Supporting exporters from Central Asia when supplying goods to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for use in Afghanistan and testing the barriers to export.
·         Supporting graduates of the State Department’s summer 2012 Voluntary Visitors Program through organizing workshops and grants Program.
·         Supporting Tajikistan’s post WTO Accession activities.
·         Helping Central Asian countries implement pro-trade policies, regulations and processes.
 
Below is an illustrative list of activities that REC envisions potentially supporting under this APS:
·         Developing capacity of export partnership groups (EPG);
·         Organizing websites and web portals promoting exports;
·         Developing capacity of EPGs to operate as sustainable entities promoting exports;
·         Organizing trade fairs for export of Central Asian products;
·         Participating in international trade fairs as consortium of Central Asian exporters;
·         Participation of EPG members in round tables on technical regulation and craft exhibitions;
·         Establishing connections with international traders, retail chains, and main buyers;
·         Conducting seminars on modern trends in topics relevant to Central Asian exporters;
·         Organizing and participating in round tables and panel discussions relevant to Central Asian exporters;
·         Collecting information about logistics, retail chains, distributors, brokerage companies and business conditions of selected export markets;
·         Createing database of buyers for Central Asian exporters to use;
·         Supporting sustainability of association or organization providing research and guidance for organizations looking to sell to the U.S. Department of Defense;
·         Directly supporting private sector companies to develop their capacity and certification to sell to DOD;
·         Supporting development of export corridor from Central Asia to Europe;
·         Preparing analysis on customs control between Central Asia and Afghanistan;
·         Activities to improve transportation corridor in Central Asia;
·         Promoting export sales of Central Asia organizations, especially from women-owned businesses;
·         Research on opportunities and challenges to cross-border trading, including recommendations to government.
 
REC recognizes that some grantees may need technical assistance to more effectively carry out the activity. Consequently applicants are encouraged to specify their needs for technical assistance and/or training in their application. 
 
ID.       AUTHORITY/GOVERNING REGULATIONS
 
REC grant awards are made under the authority of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Act and USAID’s Automated Directive System (ADS) 302.3.5.6, “Grants Under Contracts.” Awards made to non-U.S. organizations will adhere to guidance provided under ADS Chapter 303, “Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Non-Governmental Organizations” and will be within the terms of the USAID Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-Governmental Recipients, as well as the REC grants procedures.
 
ADS 303 references three additional regulatory documents issued by the U.S. Government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Agency for International Development:
-          22 CFR 226: Administration of Assistance Awards to U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations
-          OMB Circular A-122: Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations
-          OMB Circular A-133: Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations
 
Full text of the OMB circulars can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/. REC is required to ensure that all organizations receiving USAID grant funds comply with the guidance found in these circulars, as applicable to the respective terms and conditions of their grant awards.
 
Under the REC grant program, USAID retains the right at all times to terminate, in whole or in part, REC grant-making authorities.
 
SECTION II. AWARD INFORMATION
 
REC anticipates awarding up to USD equivalent of $490,000 through no more than 10 (ten) grant awards.  The estimated range for each grant award is between USD equivalent of $15,000 to $250,000. The duration of any grant award under this solicitation is expected to be no more than 18 (eightteen) months.
 
SECTION III. ELIGIBILITY
 
IIIA.     ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS
 
REC grant support may be extended to 1) CAR or any non-U.S. organizations (not-for-profit or for-profit), 2) non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or 3) other organizations that meet the requirements to receive a grant. Grantees may include, but are not limited to:
·         Private companies, especially small and medium enterprises
·         Business service organizations
·         Cooperatives
·         Associations
·         Producer organizations
·         Logistics companies
·         Research institutions
Any given grant solicitation may further restrict eligibility to a particular target sub-group(s) as appropriate.
·         Grantees must be organizations duly registered in the country in which they operate and must be compliant with all applicable civil and fiscal regulations of their respective governments.
·         Grantees must display sound management in the form of financial, administrative, and technical policies and procedures that are in written format and present a system of controls that safeguard assets, protect against fraud, waste, and abuse, and support the achievement of program goals and objectives. An overview of grantee compliance requirements is set forth in the U.S. Government's OMB Circulars A-110, A-122, and A-133. A prospective grantee not meeting these requirements may be classified as a high-risk recipient in accordance with relevant USAID regulations, and may receive a grant with special award conditions such as administrative and capacity building assistance from REC.
·         The proposed activity must respond to the goals and objectives of the REC project described in Section I and contain expected outcomes and results consistent with and linked to REC’s results framework.
·         Applicants must have established outreach capabilities with linkages to the beneficiary group(s) identified in the program description, which is reflected by the incorporation of local views in the grant application.
·         Grantees must also be willing and able to complete all required certifications detailed in section 3.7.
·         Grantees must agree to comply with the Branding and Marking requirements if awarded a grant. In special cases, Grantees may deviate from Branding and Marking requirements per USAID’s special guidance and contingent on USAID’s approval.
·         All applicants must contribute a minimum of 10% of the total activity budget as cost share (cash or in-kind). Cost sharing from co-funders (excluding any and all U.S. government funds) may also count as cost share.
·         Applicants must display sound management in the form of financial, administrative, and technical policies and procedures and present a system of internal controls that safeguard assets; protect against fraud, waste, and abuse; and support the achievement of program goals and objectives. REC will assess this capability prior to awarding a grant.
·         Applicants must sign the following required certifications prior to receiving a grant. The certifications are attached to this APS (Annex E) and  REC will review them with applicants.
o   Certification Regarding Lobbying
o   Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing
o   Compliance certification of Recipient
The project will work with the successful grantee to draft a marking and branding plan which will be annexed to the grant agreement.
 
REC encourages applications from new organizations who meet the above eligibility criteria.
 
SECTION IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
 
IVA.     INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLICANTS
 
Applicants must propose strategies for the implementation of the program description described above, introducing innovations that are appropriate to their organizational strengths. 
 
IVB.     GRANT APPLICATION       
 
Instructions and a template to be utilized when developing the concept paper are provided in Annex A. Applicants shall present their technical application and budget in the formats provided and shall follow the instructions and guidelines listed in these annexes.
 
All grant activity costs must be within the normal operating practices of the Applicant and in accordance with its written policies and procedures. For applicants without an audited indirect cost rate, the budget may include direct costs that will be incurred by the Applicant to provide identifiable administrative and management costs that can be directly attributable to supporting the grant objective.
 
The application must be signed by an authorized agent of the Applicant.
 
Applicants that submit grant concept papers that meet or exceed the evaluation criteria will be notified of next steps in the application process. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
 
IVC.     APPLICANT SELF-ASSESSMENT
 
All organizations selected for award are subject to a pre-award responsibility determination conducted by REC, to ascertain whether the organization has the minimum management capabilities required to handle US government funds. The applicant self-assessment is the first step in the pre-award responsibility determination process. The Applicant Self-Assessment Form is contained in Annex D.
IVD.     INELIGIBLE EXPENSES
 
REC grant funds may not be utilized for the following:
 
·         Private ceremonies, parties, celebrations, or "representation" expenses.
·         Purchases of restricted goods, such as agricultural commodities, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals and contraceptive items, pesticides, used equipment, U.S. government excess property and fertilizers. If procurement of these restricted goods is necessary, Chemonics will request approval from the Contracting Officer and will procure items directly and donate in kind to the grantee.
·         Prohibited goods under USAID regulations, including but not limited to: military and surveillance equipment, police or law enforcement equipment, abortion equipment and services, weather modification equipment, luxury goods, and gambling equipment.
·         Purchases of goods or services restricted or prohibited under the prevailing USAID source/origin/ nationality and other regulations; or from countries or suppliers as may be identified by USAID's consolidated list of debarred, suspended, or ineligible subcontractors at http://www.sam.gov/.
·         Any purchases or activities deemed unnecessary to accomplish grant purposes as determined by Chemonics, including any grantee headquarters expenses that are not directly linked to the implementation of the proposed project.
·         Previous obligations and/or bad debts.
·         Fines and/or penalties.
·         Creation of endowments.
·         Other costs unallowable under USAID and/or federal regulations, such as alcoholic beverages. Refer to OMB 122 “Cost principles of for Non-profit organizations” and FAR 31.2 “Cost principles for Commercial Organizations”
·         Indirect costs such as but not limited to overhead or indirect fringe (unless the applicant has documented proof of such rates through audits or USAID-issued Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA). Indirect costs are never allowed under simplified grants.
·         Construction or infrastructure activities of any kind.
·         Purchases of goods or services restricted or prohibited under the prevailing USAID source/ nationality (Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, (North) Sudan and Syria).
 
IVE.     SUBMISSION INFORMATION
 
Concept papers shall be submitted in English.  In extreme circumstances the concept papers will be received in  Russian.  The concept papers may not be more than 5 (five) pages, not including annexes or budget.
 
Concept papers (including all technical and budget proposals and supporting documentation) should be submitted in electronic form to the REC offices at the email address below and should reference APS No. 001. Applications must be submitted no later than 17:00 Almaty time, on May 30, 2014. Late or unresponsive applications will not be considered.
 
CAR REC Project
Grants@chemonics.kz
 
In addition to the concept paper and relevant annexes, applicants should submit the following to REC:
-          Implementation Timeline
-          Signed and dated Required Certifications listed under section III.A
-          Applicant Self-Assessment form
-          A copy of the Applicant’s valid legal registration,
-          A copy of their latest audited financial statements.
 
Please submit all questions concerning this solicitation to the attention of Helen Serebrennikova, Grants Manager, via email to Grants@chemonics.kz. REC will assist applicants in understanding the application process, and can provide coaching in application development at the request of applicants.
 
SECTION V. APPLICATION EVALUATION CRITERIA
 
Applications may be evaluated in a two-step evaluation process:
 
 
All concept papers and applications will be reviewed by an internal review panel comprised of REC technical implementation staff, and recommendations may be vetted by a larger group. Concept papers will be evaluated against the criteria below.
 
·         Does the organization meet the eligibility requirements?
·         Does the organization’s concept paper highlight relevant past performance in this area?
·         Does the proposed activity fit within the REC objectives described in the APS?
·         Is the request for funding commensurate with the potential impact?
·         Is the product or service sustainable?
·         Is a minimum of 10% of cost share proposed?
 
Concepts papers, and full applications if requested by REC, will be evaluated against the evaluation criteria in the table below.
 
 
ILLUSTRATIVE Evaluation Category
ILLUSTRATIVE Rating -Points
(100 total)
1.      Quality of Design and Technical Approach
55
Feasibility of design and technical approach
30
Consistency with project objectives and goals
10
Considerations for Cooperation of women
5
Past performance
10
2.      Organizational Capacity
30
Management and Programmatic capacity
15
Sustainability/Financial Self-Reliance
15
3.      Cost Efficiency
15
Provides  type of cost-share contribution as defined by APS
15
 
 
These evaluation criteria elements are described more fully below.
 
1.      Quality of Design and Technical Approach 55 points
 
·         Feasibility of Design and Technical approach: The quality and feasibility of the application in terms of the viability of the proposed technical approach, (i.e., the proposed technical approach can reasonably be expected to produce the intended outcomes), appropriateness of the proposed methodology, innovativeness, and implementation plan for achieving project objectives. The technical approach must directly contribute to the achievement of REC’s expected results, and results must be measurable under one or more of REC’s indicators for increase export capacity and improved trading across borders in Central Asia. Approaches proven to be effective or new untried approaches will be evaluated. Proposed mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation with objectively measurable indicators will also be appraised.
·         Consistency with project objectives and goals: The extent to which the proposed activity contributes to REC’s objectives of helping developed Export Partnerships Groups, evaluating export potential of Kazakh and Uzbek firms and industries through market research,  facilitating sales to the U.S. Department of Defense and other REC’s objectives.
·         Considerations for Cooperation of women: The extent to which the proposed activity includes a gender activity and represents a strong commitment to women as beneficiaries.
·         Past performance: Previous or ongoing experience implementing similar activities. This examines an Applicant‘s track-record, which is a critical factor in assessing the capacity of the Grantee to implement the activity.
 
2. Organizational Capacity 30 points
 
·         Management and Programmatic Capacity: Evidence of the capability to undertake and accomplish the proposed activities and reduce trade barriers in Central Asia. The proposal should demonstrate the organization‘s effectiveness in terms of internal structure, technical capacity, and key personnel, in meeting economic development goals. In addition, the organization must demonstrate adequate financial management capability. Appraisal will be based principally on reference checks by REC; the background, qualifications, reputation, appropriateness and skills of its key personnel; and the ?track record, reputation, and achievements (including development of self-sufficient, sustainable activities) of the organization involved.
·         Sustainability and Financial Self-Reliance: The extent to which the funded activity will result in building and strengthening the capacity of the community and local organizations, and whether the activity itself is sustainable or will stimulate sustainability of the organization.
 
3.     Cost Efficiency  15 points
 
 
Additionally, REC will ensure environmental soundness and compliance in design and implementation as required by 22 CFR 216.
 
SECTION VI. AWARD AND ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
 
All grants will be negotiated, denominated and funded in local currency in Kazkahstan, and in US dollars in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
 
All costs funded by the grant must be allowable, allocable and reasonable. Grant applications must be supported by a detailed and realistic budget.
 
Issuance of this APS and assistance with application development do not constitute an award or commitment on the part of REC, nor does it commit REC to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Further, REC reserves the right to accept or reject any or all applications received. Applicants will be informed in writing of the decision made regarding their application.
 
LIST ANNEXES
 
- Annex A – Grant Concept Paper Template
- Annex B – Grant Application Budget Form
- Annex C – Implementation Timeline
- Annex D – Applicant Self-Assessment Form
- Annex E – Required Certifications
·         Certification Regarding Lobbying
·         Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing
·         Compliance certification of Recipient
- Annex F –Required as Applicable Standard Provisions