REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS (RFA)

INTERNSHIPS IN NATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

Issuance Date: SEPTEMBER 4, 2012
Deadline for Receipt of Questions: SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 by 5 p.m. CET
Closing Date/Time for Submission of Applications: OCTOBER 4, 2012 by 5 p.m. CET

SUBJECT:Request for Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-2012-06

The USAID Business Enabling Project in Serbia (Project), a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded contract implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd., is seeking applications from qualified, legally registered, Serbian non-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a grant to organize and implement a project for internships in national governmental institutions in the Republic of Serbia.

This RFA consists of the following sections:

  • Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description
  • Section 2 – Award Information
  • Section 3 – Eligibility Information
  • Section 4 – Application and Submission Information
  • Section 5 – Application Review Information
  • Section 6 – Award and Administration Information
  • Section 7 – Annexes

Pursuant to 22 CFR 226.81, it is USAID policy not to award profit under assistance instruments. However, all reasonable, allocable and allowable expenses, both direct and indirect, which are related to the grant activity and are in accordance with applicable cost standards (22 CFR 226, OMB Circular A-122 for non-profit organizations, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 for for-profit organizations, and OMB Circular A-21 for educational institutions), may be paid under the Award.

Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide up to 90,000 USD (ninety thousand US dollars payable in Serbian dinars) in total funding to be allocated over a ONE YEAR period.

The Project reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. Issuance of this RFA does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Project, nor does it commit the Project to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Further, the Project reserves the right to reject any or all applications received if such action is considered to be in the best interest of the US Government. Applications are submitted at the risk of the Applicant; should circumstances prevent making an award, all preparation and submission costs are at the Applicant’s expense.

Applicants should submit any questions concerning this RFA in writing, electronically, via email to grants@bep.rs. The deadline for receipt of requests for clarifications/explanations is September 27, 2012, by is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. No questions will be accepted after this date.

Applicants should submit applications in writing to the BEP Grants Manager, electronically, via email at grants@bep.rs. The Closing Date for submission of applications is October 4, 2012, and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. Late applications will not be considered.

Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description

Background

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a contract to Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd. (formerly Emerging Markets Group, Ltd.) for the USAID Business Enabling Project in Serbia. The purpose of the Business Enabling Project is to help the Government of Serbia (GoS) improve the competitiveness of the Serbian economy and its private sector businesses. The overall objective is to assist GoS policy makers, business representatives, experts, and others to improve the business enabling environment and macroeconomic framework. The activity provides technical assistance and training to improve the business enabling environment, support macroeconomic stability, further develop financial markets, and improve and increase business and financial management capacities within government and business. The Business Enabling Project is made up of three components:

  1. Component 1 – Business Regulation and Economic Governance: Assist Serbia to improve its business regulation and economic governance, particularly in those areas where it performs poorly in international competitiveness and business environment rankings, so that it can better stimulate private sector growth and development and attract more foreign and domestic investment resources.
  2. Component 2 – Macroeconomic Policy and Public Financial Management: Assist the GoS to improve macroeconomic policy, public financial management, and financial stability. Support efforts to improve GoS capacity to develop and implement fiscal policy.
  3. Component 3 – Financial Market Development: Support means to increase access to finance, including development of non bank financial institutions. Also, to support the development of Serbia’s capital markets through improvements in market governance, accounting and disclosure standards. Support Serbia in its efforts to reform accounting and audit standards and practices and assist it in implementing those reforms.

To accomplish reforms in each of these areas the Project helps the Government of Serbia (GoS) work closely with the private sector and outside experts to make reforms that improve business competitiveness. This includes technical assistance to the Government of Serbia’s institutions to implement reforms. The purpose of this RFA is to solicit applications to support the Project, by providing a grant to organize and implement a project for internships in national governmental institutions in the Republic of Serbia.

The specific objectives of this activity are: to provide GoS with talented young professionals who will assist in regular daily work of selected sectors / departments; to support young Serbian university graduates in acquiring additional training and first hand practical experience in public administration; and to create a model for the GoS’ future internship program.

Grant activity Description

The Business Enabling Project intends to award a grant to a qualified organization to identify the precise needs of BEP counterparts in Serbia (listed below) and accordingly prepare and implement an action plan for placement of up to 15 young professionals / recent graduates as interns in these governmental institutions (ministries) and regulatory bodies. It is also expected that the grantee will organize trainings for interns and their supervisors / mentors, and monitoring and evaluation of the entire program.

LIST OF BEP COUNTERPARTS / GoS INSTITUTIONS AND REGULATORY BODIES:

National Assembly, General Secretariat of the GoS, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning, Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, Ministry of Foreign and Domestic Trade and Telecommunications, Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, and Land Registry Directorate (Cadaster).

It is expected that the grantee will be able to accomplish the following tasks:

  1. Detailed needs assessment based on discussions with and analysis of BEP counterparts;
  2. Negotiation with BEP counterparts on internship positions and conditions (such as minimum of 30 mentorship hours per month, access to building /office, data, database etc., provision of desk, computer / suitable working conditions for interns, etc.);
  3. Drafting of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), including Terms of Reference (ToR) for individual internship positions (for an internship period of up to 6 months), with BEP counterparts;
  4. Announce an open call for internships, select and recruit 15+ young professionals suitable for internship positions;
  5. Organize initial training for supervisors/ mentors;
  6. Place selected interns into BEP counterparts’ departments / offices for a period of 6 months;
  7. Monitor, support, evaluate interns and implementation of the mentorship program;
  8. Organize / provide additional training in skills for interns, in particular: project management skills, business communication skills, analytical skills, and other technical skills related to their work assignments; the expected number of training days is ten (10).
  9. Evaluate cooperation with BEP counterparts regarding the internship program, and discuss possibilities for follow up and program sustainability;
  10. Provide career guidance for internship program participants;
  11. Prepare detailed reports for the project.

Expected profile of interns: citizens of Serbia, young professionals and recent graduates of social sciences – in particular in the fields of economics, finance, law, organizational science, political science and related fields - interested in a professional career within public administration; native speakers of Serbian language, with good command of English, and with advanced level of computer literacy.

Section 2 – Award Information

Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide up to 90,000 USD (ninety thousand US dollars payable in Serbian dinars) in total funding to be allocated over a ONE YEAR period. It is expected that at least 50% of grant funds will be allocated as funds for direct internship support (monthly payments for interns).

The anticipated period of performance of the grant is expected to start from November 2012. The Project anticipates awarding one Fixed Obligation Grant under this RFA. Under a Fixed-Obligation Grant, all payments will be a fixed-sum payable upon completion of deliverables, which will be defined in detail during grant agreement negotiations.

Section 3 – Eligibility Information

Eligible organizations shall be able to comply with and achieve the proposed Program Description, Tasks, and Results and have a satisfactory performance record and record of integrity and business ethics.

Eligible organizations include legally registered Serbian non-for-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Prior to the award of grant under this RFA, successful Applicants will be required to sign a Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing certifying that the Applicant’s organization does not provide and has never provided assistance to terrorists for terrorist activities. Successful Applicants may also be required to sign other Certifications as applicable to the award. The Certifications are attached as Annex 1 of this RFA.
Ineligible organizations include:

  • Public International Organizations;
  • Entities that have misused USAID funds in the past, organizations that advocate, promote or espouse anti-democratic policies or illegal activities;
  • Political parties or institutions;
  • Organizations that intend to use the grant for religious objectives;
  • Organizations that are on the list of parties excluded from federal procurement and non-procurement programs or the United Nations Security Sanctions Committee.

Section 4 – Application and Submission Information

Applicants should submit applications in writing to the BEP Grants Manager, electronically, via email at grants@bep.rs. The Closing Date for submission of applications is October 4, 2012, and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. Late applications will not be considered.

All applications in response to this RFA shall consist of a technical proposal and a budget proposal. The technical proposal must not be longer than 15 pages in length. Pages submitted in excess of 15 pages will not be reviewed. The cost proposal shall be submitted as a separate file from the technical proposal. Applicants are advised to fill in the budget form as detailed as possible. Lump sums will not be accepted. In addition, applicants are required to provide a brief narrative clarification of budget items demonstrating the necessity of the costs and how they relate to the proposed activities in the second sheet of the Budget form. Applicants are allowed to add new lines and modify the budget lines (not Budget Headings) according to the needs of the proposal’s activities. The required format for applications is included as Annex 2 - Full Application Form and Annex 2A – Budget Form.

Section 5 – Application Review Information

Applications will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria set forth below. The criteria have been tailored to the requirements of this RFA. Applications should note that these criteria serve to: (a) identify the significant matters which Applicants should address in their applications; and (b) set the standard against which all applications will be evaluated.

To the extent necessary, the Project may request clarification and supplemental materials from Applicants whose applications have a reasonable chance of being selected for Award. The entry into discussion is to be viewed as part of the evaluation process and shall not be deemed as indicative of a decision or commitment upon the part of the Project to make an award to the Applicants with whom discussions are being held.

Applications will be evaluated by the Grants Selection Committee on the basis of 100 possible points. The weighting of various sections will be as follows:

Category

Maximum Points (100 Total)

Understanding of Key Issues
Methodology and Activities    
Outcomes / Expected Results 
Staffing/Management Plan 
Relevant Past Experience and Performance 
Cost Effectiveness    
Total Possible Points

10
20
10
20
20
20
100

  • Understanding of the Key Issues (10 points): Does the applicant demonstrate a clear understanding of the problems/key issues that the proposed grant activity will address? Are the overall goal and objectives of the proposed grant activity clearly stated and achievable?
  • Methodology and Activities (20 points): Is the methodology to conduct the project clear? Is the proposed methodology suitable to obtain the desired results and objectives? Are the activities stated in detail?  Does the applicant propose specific activities that are logical, realistic, and relevant to the grant activity’s goal? Does the applicant demonstrate how the activities will obtain the desired results and objectives?
  • Outcomes / Expected Results (10 points): Are the expected outcomes and results stated in detail, including a detailed description of the contents of the deliverables?  Do the expected results of the proposed grant activities relate to the key issues and overall grant objective?
  • Staffing/Management Plan (20 points): Does the proposed staffing/management plan reflect the personnel/management needs of the grant activity? Does the applicant propose personnel with experience and skills necessary to successfully implement the proposed activities?
  • Relevant Past Experience and Performance (20 points): Does the organization have relevant past experience successfully implementing similar activities?
  • Cost Effectiveness (20 points): What resources are provided for the proposed costs? Is the proposed budget realistic, well-though out, and in-line with the proposed activities? Are the proposed costs reasonable, allowable and allocable to the grant? Is the grantee contributing cost-share or providing in-kind support?

The selection of the Applicant for award will be made by the Project’s Grant Selection Committee. Prior to the award of any resultant grant agreement, the Project must obtain prior approval from USAID.

Section 6 – Award and Administration Information

Before the applications’ specified expiration date, successful applicant(s) will receive written notice from the Grants Manager informing the applicant(s) that the Project either intends to award a grant to the applicant without negotiation, or that the Project intends to engage the applicant(s) in further negotiations with respect to a potential grant award. Negotiations conducted after the receipt of an application do not constitute an obligation on the part of the Project to award a grant. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing by the Grants Manager.

Any resultant award will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Prime Contract for the USAID Business Enabling Project (for US organizations: 22 CFR 226, OMB Circulars, and the Standard Provisions for U.S. Non-governmental Recipients; for non-US organizations: Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Recipients).

Section 7: Annexes

Annex 1: Certifications
Annex 2: Full Grant Application Form and Budget Form

 

 

 

 

 







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