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Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program
December 18, 2023

Funding Opportunity Title:              U.S. Embassy Lilongwe Public Diplomacy Section Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number:       PDS-LILONGWE-FY24-APS01

CFDA Number:                                   19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Estimated Amount Available:         $200,000

Maximum for Each Award:              $100,000 (subject to availability of funding)

Minimum for Each Award:               $5,000

Submission deadline:                       May 31, 2024

Contact:                                              LilongwePublicDiplomacy@state.gov



U.S. Embassy Lilongwe’s Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) is pleased to announce that we are accepting proposals for our Small Grants Program.  This announcement is an Annual Program Statement outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes on which we focus, and the procedures for submitting funding requests.  Please read this document carefully and follow all instructions.  This notice is subject to the availability of funding.

 Purpose of Small Grants: PDS invites proposals for projects that strengthen ties between the United States and Malawi through programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation.  All programs must include an American cultural element or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policies and perspectives in Malawi.

 Examples of programs implemented through the PDS Small Grants Program include, but are not limited to:

  • U.S. experts conducting lectures, seminars, or speaking tours with Malawian audiences
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs
  • Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs
  • Programs developed by an alumnus/a of a U.S. sponsored or supported educational or professional exchange program
  • Initiatives aimed at maintaining contact with alumni of U.S. exchange programs
  • Projects to promote English language teaching skills or widen access to books and other sources of information about the United States

Priority Program Areas:

  • Promote good governance and rule of law
  • Facilitate and encourage growth of entrepreneurship
  • Promote gender equality to increase participation in education and improved health decision-making by adolescent girls and young women
  • Increase transparency of government activities through a more capable media
  • Support and improve conditions for vulnerable and marginalized citizens, such as the disabled, people living with albinism, and those subject to stigma or persecution
  • Prevent gender-based violence and trafficking in persons
  • Promote stronger, more numerous university partnerships between U.S. and Malawian universities

 PDS will ONLY consider proposals that contain a significant American component or aspect. This could include, but is not limited to, an American expert as a speaker, using curriculum developed by a U.S. institution, or screening an American film.

 The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Construction programs
  • Programs that support specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs
  • Scientific research
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs



Length of performance period: 12 months or fewer

Number of awards anticipated: varies

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $100,000

Total available funding: $200,000

Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2024 Public Diplomacy Funding

Anticipated program start date: Approximately 4-6 months after application submission but no later than September 30, 2024

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

 Funding Instrument Type: Grant or Cooperative Agreement. Cooperative agreements and some FAAs are different from grants in that PDS staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation (“Substantial Involvement”).

 Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.  PDS will entertain applications for continuation of grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a noncompetitive 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

PDS encourages applications from organizations or individuals located in Malawi, the United States, or elsewhere.  Preference will be given to organizations or individuals based in Malawi during the project period.

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

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

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is encouraged but not required.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

Projects that address any of the priority program areas are encouraged to apply.

Only projects that take place in Malawi will be considered.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization or individual, all proposals from that institution or individual will be considered ineligible for funding.

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.  Please see Section D.6 for more information.  Individuals are not required to have a UEI or 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 Calibri 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, organization, contact information (including phone number and email address), proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, brief purpose of the program, and the total amount being requested.
  2. Proposal (10 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.
  • 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 brief narrative description of experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?  (CVs may be attached and will not count as part of the 10-page limit; please see below).
  • Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of any 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.

4. 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.

5. 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

 6. Required Registrations:

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with www.SAM.gov.  A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Note: As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

Note: The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Please note that as of 2022, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense.  I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code.  I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”

 Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions:

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process.  SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:

 Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:

NCAGE Homepage: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/sc/CageList.aspx

NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT): https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/Codification/CageTool/home


An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request.  Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.

  1. Submission Date

 Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2024.  No applications will be accepted after that date and time.

Applications will be received and evaluated on a “rolling” basis during this period.

  1. Funding Restrictions

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

  1. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to LilongwePublicDiplomacy@state.gov with subject line: Submission for PDS-LILONGWE-FY24-APS01 from [Organization/Individual Name].


  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.

  • American component: There is a clearly apparent American cultural element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policies and perspectives in Malawi.
  • Organizational or Individual capacity and experience:
    • The organization or individual has expertise in its stated field and/or with grants, and PDS is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a bank account; and
    • The organization or individual had demonstrated relevant experience with strengthening ties between the United States and Malawi. Implementation of, or participation in, a U.S.-government funded exchange program (ex. YALI, Fulbright, Humphrey, IVLP, Global UGrad, PAYLP, SUSI, and Community Solutions) is one way, but not the only way, to demonstrate relevant experience.
  • 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 Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.  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 PDS at LilongwePublicDiplomacy@state.gov.

Note: We do not provide any pre-consultation for application-related questions that are addressed in this Annual Program Statement.  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 costs more than $5,000 per unit, please 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, describe 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: This refers to contributions from the organization or 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.