U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo

U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo

Notice of Funding Opportunity

U.S. Embassy Pristina is announcing the February 2019 U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo.  The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section in Pristina, Kosovo, is soliciting proposals for small grants ($4,000 to $15,000) to develop and implement speaker engagement programs.  Applications are due March 15, 2019.  There may be a second call for applications in late spring 2019, pending availability of funds.

The U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo brings dynamic American citizen experts to engage professional audiences throughout Kosovo on topics of strategic importance to the United States and Kosovo.  Programs are conducted in person and through virtual engagement platforms.

U.S. Speakers address strategic policy priorities identified by U.S. Embassy Pristina.  U.S. Speakers can present lectures, conduct or facilitate workshops and seminars, appear in Kosovo media, and serve in consultancy capacities to targeted audiences. The U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo promotes an understanding of U.S. policies and institutions as well as the political, economic, social, and cultural context from which they arise.  Speakers can be programmed with a variety of professional audiences in a wide-range of disciplines. U.S. Speakers do not teach university courses or conduct research.

Speaker Program grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Priority themes supported under this program include:

  • Regional Stability, including interethnic tolerance and relations with Serbia
  • Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption
  • Security, including countering malign influence and preventing violent extremism
  • Energy Security
  • Economic Development & Entrepreneurship
  • STEM Education

Non-Eligible Activities

The U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo does NOT fund projects such as the following:

  • Travel to the United States for professional development
  • On-going salary costs
  • Office equipment
  • Paying to complete activities begun with other funds
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Humanitarian assistance projects
  • Scientific research projects
  • Projects with budgets that take more than a year to implement
  • Projects that duplicate existing projects being implemented by an organization
  • Projects submitted by for-profit, commercial organizations
  • Projects that aim to support partisan political activity

Commercial or trade activities

Evaluation Process:

Each technically eligible application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated by a Review Committee on the basis of the criteria detailed in this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).  Proposals will be approved based on an evaluation of how the proposal meets U.S. foreign policy objectives, the priority needs of the Public Affairs Section, and availability of funding.

Evaluation Criteria:

Each application submitted under this NOFO will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following evaluation criteria.  The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project, and to determine its success.

  • Quality and Feasibility of the Project Idea– The project scope is appropriate and clearly defined. The project idea is well developed and has sufficient detail about how activities will be carried out and who will be responsible for each activity. The project outlines clear and achievable objectives and has a reasonable implementation timeline.
  • Project Justification and Support of U.S. Embassy Priorities– The project is likely to provide maximum impact in furthering broader U.S. foreign policy objectives. The project addresses one or more of the priority program objectives identified in this NOFO. The proposal contains a compelling justification, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of the environment in Kosovo and citing specific factors creating/influencing the need for the proposed project.
  • Organization’s Record and Capacity– The organization has expertise in the subject area and demonstrates the ability to perform the proposed activities. The organization demonstrates capacity for successful planning and responsible fiscal management. Where partners are described, the applicant details each partner’s respective role and provides curriculum vitae (CVs) for persons responsible for the project and financial administration. Proposed personnel, institutional resources, and partners are adequate and appropriate. The organization has consulted relevant resources, experts and potential partner organizations during the project’s design phase.
  • Cost-Effectiveness– 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.  There are no budget lines labeled “miscellaneous expenses.”  Entertainment and alcoholic beverage expenses are not included in the budget.  The budget demonstrates that the organization has devoted time to plan for and assess actual expenses associated with the project instead of providing rough estimates.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation– Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provide milestones to indicate progress toward U.S. Embassy Pristina’s goals. Projects should demonstrate the capacity for engaging in outcome-based evaluations and identify proscribed outputs and outcomes to measure how program activities will achieve the program’s strategic objectives.
  • Sustainability– Proposals clearly delineate how elements of their program will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect may include, but is not limited to, plans to build lasting networks for direct and indirect beneficiaries, follow-on training and mentoring, and continued use of project deliverables.

Program Types:

The U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo supports both traveling and virtual speakers, and a combination of both. Proposals should clearly state whether organizations are requesting traveling or virtual speaker or a combination of both.

  • Traveling Programs:Speaker/expert travels to Kosovo to present lectures, serve as consultants, or conduct workshops and seminars for appropriate audiences as identified and arranged by the requesting organization.  Organizations may request a single speaker or, funding permitting, a series of speakers to conduct targeted strategic programs.
  • Virtual Programs:Speaker/expert engages foreign audiences in real time through virtual platforms. U.S. Speakers for virtual programs may do the program remotely from a location in or outside the U.S.  Virtual engagements may be customized to be point-to-point, multi-point interactions, or some combination thereof, depending on the nature and location of the audience. Consider the time difference when arranging for a virtual program.

Named proposals:

For named proposals, organizations are required to provide a justification for the individual(s) specified. This justification should include confirmation of U.S. citizenship; an explanation of how s/he best fit organization’s programming needs, provide background on any prior correspondence between the organization and the desired speaker, and provide contact information.

U.S. Citizenship:  U.S. citizenship is required for all speakers under the U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo, including traveling and virtual speakers.  U.S. Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) are not eligible to participate in the U.S. Speaker Program for Kosovo.

Charging for U.S. Speaker Events:  A U.S. Speaker program is not a profit-making opportunity. Grantees are prohibited from charging fees for speaker events or using them as fundraisers for charitable organizations.

Cost Share:

Cost share is not required for these grant applications. However, PAS Pristina welcomes financial or in-kind contributions to expand the scope of programing activities.

Fly America Act Restrictions and other flight arrangement:

All Federal Government-financed international air transportation must be accomplished by U.S. Flag air carriers or U.S. code sharing to the extent that service by those carriers is available.

For information on other “open skies” agreements in which the United States has entered, please refer to GSA’s website at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/103191 .

Therefore, consider this restriction when estimating your speaker(s) travel arrangement.

Flight tickets for speakers should be economy class.

Unique Entity Identifier (DUNS)

Each applicant is required to register with the DUNS number before applying for grants.

Specific Guidelines:

  • Funding range per proposal is $4,000 – $15,000.
  • Grants are made on a one-time basis.
  • Funded proposals should be implemented between May 2019 and Dec 31, 2019.
  • Grants will be awarded pending availability of funds.

How to Apply:

Applicants must complete the standard application form in English and send it in Word or PDF format. The forms are available for download on the website. No applications will be accepted in WinZIP or WinRAR or through Cloud forms.

Application Files

  • Application Form(word) – mandatory
  • Detailed Budget (excel) – mandatory
  • SF424– Application for federal Assistance (to be signed) – mandatory
  • SF424B– Assurances (to be signed) – mandatory
  • SF424A– Budget information – mandatory
  • Organization/NGO registration letter (for NGOs only) or Licenses for media (for media only) – mandatory
  • List of founders and board members for NGOs – mandatory
  • CVs of the implementation team members, one page maximum – mandatory
  • CV of the U.S. speaker– mandatory
  • S. citizenship confirmation for the speaker– mandatory
  • Detailed work-plan – mandatory
  • Letters of support – optional

How to submit an application

Format: An electronic version of the application should be sent to:   PristinaSpeakers@state.gov

Subject: U.S. Speaker Program Application /Organization Name /Program Topic

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered for funding.