The U.S. Mission to ASEAN requests proposals from not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises interested in a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of State to manage the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Women’s Leadership Academy in October 2016.
Promoting gender equality and advancing the status of women and girls is a key priority of both the U.S. Government and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). In 2013, President Obama launched YSEALI to enhance the United States’ relations with future leaders of Southeast Asia and foster an ASEAN community. YSEALI is a broad initiative with a number of components that include education on regional issues, professional skills-building, professional development workshops in the region, online networking, project seed money, and educational exchanges. YSEALI activities focus on four themes: economic development, environment and natural resources management, education, and civic engagement.
YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy will consist of a one-week workshop with up to 40 young women leaders and ten mentors. The academy will offer general leadership skill training with dedicated break-out sessions for specific sectors, a personal goal setting session and networking opportunities with leaders from the region and the United States. Sessions should be geared towards ASEAN fundamentals, understanding the role and benefit of working to address challenges regionally, overview of key gender issues facing ASEAN, and a summary of the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership. An additional component of the Academy will facilitate teamwork to identify key challenges facing the region and develop innovative solutions. Finally, each cohort will be expected to design components of the subsequent year’s leadership academy.
Audience: Total audience of 40 young leaders, aged 25-35, from Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and includes ten mentors each year of the program. All participants must be proficient in written and spoken English.
Timeline: The YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy will be held in October 2016.
American and foreign not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises are invited to submit a proposal that describes how each of the following criteria will be administered:
- Design and implement a week-long YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy, to be implemented annually, that empowers women by providing access to training and networks which may not be accessible in their home countries.
- Develop and lead hands-on skills training to improve core leadership skills including an individualized professional skills assessment.
- Offer networking opportunities for emerging women leaders.
- Contribute towards a people-oriented ASEAN that includes the full participation of women.
- Facilitate teamwork to identify key challenges facing the region and develop innovative solutions.
- Equip future ASEAN leaders with an understanding of U.S. capabilities to address regional challenges and present an overview of the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
- Facilitate the participants’ development of future components of YSEALI Women Leadership Academy workshops
- Organize and implement follow-on activities that encourage that participants share their newly acquired knowledge and skills with their communities upon return to their home countries.
- Manage the travel, lodging logistics and workshop location for all participants, speakers and workshop staff. Proposal must include cost of transportation, conference package, accommodations, meals visas and travel insurance.
- Design a cultural component, such as an ASEAN cultural appreciation event or Indonesian cultural excursion, during the week-long workshop.
- Develop syllabus materials and event program with biographies of each participant and speaker.
- Provide banners, backdrops, and other printed materials for the week long workshop.
- Design a digital engagement strategy for workshop participants.
- Provide a workshop photo album and video series of events and sessions.
Proposals will be reviewed on the basis of their responsiveness to the criteria listed in this NOFO, as well as coherence, clarity and attention to detail.
Proposal should include:
- Table of Contents that lists application contents and attachments (if any)
- Proposal Narrative (not to exceed 10 pages), following the structure described below. The proposal narrative should identify inputs, outputs, and outcomes of the proposal activities, timelines, and any qualitative or quantitative targets, and impact.
- information about the team of people who would execute the work, with descriptions of the experiences and skills of each and his/her role in the bidder’s organization and in the team.
- a management plan for the work
- a schedule for the work
- a detailed budget
- administrative costs as low and reasonable as possible
- description of prior experience in youth and/or women’s leadership programming
- description of experience in and/or ties with organizations in other Southeast Asian countries, or international expertise.
- If your organization has a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, include your latest NICRA as a pdf file;
Cost sharing is not required.
The Award recipient will not participate in the selection of candidates. The U.S. Mission to ASEAN will provide a list of the participants to be invited.
Applications which do not meet the eligibility or deadline will not be reviewed.
Evaluators will judge each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications.
Quality of Project Idea
Applications should be responsive to the NOFO, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Embassy’s mission of ASEAN. The Embassy prioritizes innovative and creative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build off existing successful projects in a new and innovative way from consideration. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities and how these efforts will be coordinated.
Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives
A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to women’s and girls’ empowerment, the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable results-focused and achievable in a reasonable time frame. If applicable, applications should identify target areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of sub-awardees, among other pertinent details. In particularly challenging operating environments, applications should include contingency plans for overcoming potential difficulties in executing the original work plan and address any operational or programmatic security concerns and how they will be addressed.
Partnerships and Engaging Stakeholders
Applications should address how the project will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate. If local partners have been identified, the Embassy strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Applicants should describe mechanisms to build partnerships and engagements with women’s associations, local community based organizations, women’s organizations, international NGOs, international organizations, diplomatic partners, the private sector, and others critical to the shared aim of women’s empowerment. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners.
Institution’s Record and Capacity
The Embassy will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives.
The Embassy strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate project cost-effectiveness in their application, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. However, cost-sharing or other examples of leveraging other resources is not required and does not need to be included in the budget. Inclusion in the budget does not result in additional points awarded during the review process. Budgets however should have low and/or reasonable overhead and administration costs and applicants should provide clear explanations and justifications for these costs in relation to the work involved. All budget items should be clearly explained and justified to demonstrate its necessity, appropriateness, and its link to the project objectives.
Applications should clearly delineate how elements of the project will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people, workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace, project outcomes can be championed by others aside from direct implementers). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after the Embassy funding ceases.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation
Complete applications will include a detailed plan (both a narrative and table) of how the project’s progress and impact will be monitored and evaluated throughout the project. Incorporating a well-designed monitoring and evaluation component into a project is one of the most efficient methods of documenting the progress and results (intended and unintended) of a project. Applications should demonstrate the capacity to provide objectives with measurable outputs and outcomes and engage in robust monitoring and assessment of project activities.
Review and Selection Process
The U.S. Mission to ASEAN will perform an initial review of all applications to determine which meet all of the eligibility requirements and analyze the proposal against the criteria noted. Eligible proposals will then be reviewed by a panel of State Department employees to select a winner.
If the award is not made on the initial applications, U.S. Mission to ASEAN staff may request clarification and supplemental materials from applicants whose applications have a reasonable chance of being selected for the award. The entry into discussion is to be viewed as part of the evaluation process and shall not be deemed by U.S. Mission to ASEAN or the applicants as indicative of a decision or commitment upon the part of U.S. Mission to ASEAN to make an award to the applicants with whom discussions are being held.
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