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Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program
October 25, 2016

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

Funding Opportunity Number:       PDS-LILONGWE-FY22-APS01

CFDA Number:                                 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Total Amount Available:                  $100,000

Maximum for Each Award:              Varies

Submission deadline:                     June 30, 2022

Contact:                                            LilongwePAS@state.gov


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

 Purpose of Small Grants: PDS Lilongwe 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:

  • Academic and professional lectures, seminars, and speaker programs
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances, and exhibitions
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs
  • Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs
  • Initiatives aimed at maintaining contacts with alumni of U.S. exchange programs.

Priority Program Areas:

  • Promote good governance and rule of law
  • Facilitate and encourage growth of youth entrepreneurship
  • Facilitate economic growth through increased private sector trade with U.S. private companies
  • Promote gender equality to increase participation in education and improved health decision-making by adolescent girls and young women
  • Promote stronger, more numerous university partnerships between U.S. and Malawian universities
  • 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
  • Preventing gender-based violence and trafficking in persons
  • Educate and inform the public on COVID-19 prevention and vaccination

PDS Lilongwe 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 projecting 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

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: $100,000

Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2022 Public Diplomacy Funding

Anticipated program start date: Dependent on project approval dates

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award (FAA), or Cooperative agreement.

Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that PDS staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.

 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 located in Malawi, the United States or elsewhere:

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

Only projects that take place in Malawi will be considered. PDS encourages applicants to provide cost-sharing from additional sources in support of the proposed project.

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 have a DUNS number 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 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 (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 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
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:

  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • SAM.gov registration

Step 1:

NCAGE application:

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423

For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766

Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2:

After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

  1. Submission Date

 Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of June 30, 2022.  No applications will be accepted after that date.

Applications will be received and evaluated on a “rolling” basis during this period.  Successful applicants can expect to be notified within approximately 60 days of the awarding decision.

  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.


  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 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 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.

  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 program 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: LilongwePAS@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 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.