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EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Program 2023-2024

Funding Opportunity Title:              EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Program 2023-2024

Funding Opportunity Number:       PDS-LILONGWE-FY23-EOF02

Announcement type:                        Grant

CFDA Number:                                   19.432

Deadline for Applications:               July 7, 2023

Total Amount Available:                   $13,250


For any questions about the requirements of this funding opportunity, please write to LilongwePAS@state.gov and use the funding opportunity title as the subject line.


U.S. Embassy Malawi’s Public Diplomacy Section announces an open competition for organizations to submit proposals to carry out payment and other logistics related to promoting U.S. higher education opportunities for high-achieving, financially disadvantaged Malawian students.  Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Priority Region: Project activities must take place in Malawi and the United States and be directed at Malawian audiences/participants.

 Program Objectives:

This project supports the U.S. Mission to Malawi’s EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Program (OFP) 2023-2024, which assists 10 highly qualified students wishing to pursue undergraduate studies at accredited post-secondary institutions in the United States, and who are likely to be awarded full financial aid but lack the financial resources to cover up-front costs.  The OFP provides 10 qualified students with financial support for the costs of required standardized admission tests, university or college application fees, internet data, international and domestic airfare, visa fees, SEVIS fees, and settling-in allowances.

The grantee will be expected to work in close coordination with the Public Diplomacy Section’s Education Outreach Coordinator to facilitate payments associated with the two phases of the program as follows:

Phase One: Coordinate and pay for the required standardized U.S. admission tests (SAT, ACT, TOEFL and/or Duolingo) for selected Opportunity Funds recipients.  If necessary, pay for domestic travel and per diem costs to enable them to get to the nearest testing site. The grantee will also arrange payments for university/college application fees and financial aid applications such as the CSS profile.  Throughout this phase, the grantee will work closely with the Public Diplomacy Section.

Phase Two: Manage the pre-departure and travel logistics for the students whose applications to U.S. universities or colleges have been successful. This includes coordinating and paying U.S. student visa and SEVIS fees, domestic travel to visa interviews, pre-departure orientation, airport departure, airfare to U.S. institutions, and settling-in allowances or other expenses related to beginning their U.S. tertiary program.

Interested organizations are asked to submit a proposal to administer the 2023-2024 Opportunity Funds Program which consists of managing the two phases outlined above.  The grantee should be able to demonstrate experience in project and financial management and accounting as well as monitoring and reporting.  The grantee will have excellent communication skills and be expected to regularly share progress and financial updates with the Public Diplomacy Section.

Participants and Audiences:

The intended audience is 10 high achieving, low-income Malawian secondary school students.


Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

Length of performance period: 18 months

Number of awards anticipated: One

Award amount: $13,250

Total expected funding: $13,250

Type of expected funding:  FY23 Fulbright Hays Funding

Anticipated program start date:  August 1, 2023

This notice is subject to availability of funding

The U.S. Embassy will coordinate the Opportunity Funds Program, from selecting recipients, facilitating bootcamps, sharing testing timelines, and coordinating overall logistics.  The grantee will be responsible for handling and facilitating payments for testing, transport, internet data, and fees.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 18 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.


  1. Eligible Applicants

Due to the payment logistics involved, this Notice of Funding Opportunity is limited to applications from individuals and organizations based in Malawi.

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience.
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit educational institutions

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

Preference will be given to proposals submitted by alumni of U.S. government-funded exchange programs such as YALI, Fulbright, Humphrey, IVLP, Global UGRAD, PAYLP, SUSI, and Community Solutions.

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.

To be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have the registrations required in section D6 below.  Individuals are not required to be registered in SAM.gov.



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.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • 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
  • All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

 1.Mandatory application forms available at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-family.html

  • 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)


  1. Summary Coversheet: 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.
  2. Proposal (5 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants 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 all 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.  What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Malawi will be improved? 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: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Proposed Program Schedule:  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.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (see above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H below for further information.
  2. Attachments
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities

 Required Registrations:

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these free registrations and include the registration numbers in their submission.

  • SAM.gov registration
  • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) assigned by SAM.gov

Register in SAM via https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

Click on “Get Started” or “Renew Entity” and follow the instructions.


  • You will need to have a Login.gov account in order to register an entity.
  • The entity will be required to undergo an “Entity Validation” process.

Upon completion of registration, the entity will receive a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).

For full registration help see information here: Quick Start Guide for International Registrants.

Additional resources are available at the SAM.gov Help Desk, which is called the Federal Service Desk (FSD): https://www.fsd.gov/gsafsd_sp.

  1. Submission Date

 Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of July 7, 2023.  No applications will be accepted after that date.

  1. Funding Restrictions

 Award funds cannot be used for construction or to purchase vehicles or large machinery.

 Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to LilongwePAS@state.gov using the Funding Opportunity Title as the subject line.


  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated based on the 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 and record on previous grants: 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 and a bank account.
  • Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea: 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: Goals and objectives are clearly stated, and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
  • Embassy priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy Lilongwe’s priority program areas or target audiences.
  • Budget: 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 plan: 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: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.
  1. Review and Selection Process

A committee will evaluate all eligible proposals. Only successful applicants will be notified via email.


  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Department of State.

Issuance of this Annual Program Statement 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.

Payment Method: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities. The final payment is a reimbursement after successful completion of the program and submission of final reports.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before applying, 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, Certifications and Assurances, and the U.S. Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of 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 financial reports and performance progress reports.  This is typically required on a quarterly basis, but monthly reports may be required in some instances.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.


 If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact us at: LilongwePAS@state.gov.

Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultation for application-related questions that are addressed in this Notice of Funding Opportunity.  Once an application has been submitted, U.S. Department of State officials and staff, both in the United States and at embassies overseas, may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.


 Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel: 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. 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 cost 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.