Grant Opportunities

Cooperative Agreement Title:   PAS-COL-FY-2020 -01
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Contact: Grant Applications Manager, U.S. Embassy, Colombo
Application End Date: 8/17/2020 11:59 pm midnight Washington, DC

Section I. Cooperative Agreement Description

The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section in Colombo is soliciting proposals for a cooperative agreement that meets the specifications stated in Section II from legally-recognized non-profit, non-governmental organizations registered in Sri Lanka that meet U.S. and Sri Lankan technical and legal requirements to develop and implement public diplomacy programs as specified by Section II below.

Background: The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section (PAS) has in the past provided grants to organizations and individuals utilizing the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) process with strict reporting and monitoring requirements in English only.  This will continue to be the process for grants of $15,000 and above, and for projects that meet our Mission goals: Promoting peace, democracy, reconciliation and human rights; Promoting economic empowerment; good governance and rule of law and Programs promoting Sri Lanka as a free, open and secure partner.

Through this NOFO, PAS would like to work with a local primary partner to extend our reach to organizations across the nation and accept applications for grant proposals under $15,000 in English, Sinhala, and Tamil.  Working via a cooperative agreement, the primary award would go to a local NGO who will be the local primary partner with reach into all communities across the island.  Under this project, a partnership will be formed between the local primary partner and PAS Colombo to select qualified local implementing partners.  The local primary partner will administer and implement the grants working together with local implementing partners, with reporting and monitoring requirements according to the grant regulations.

Program Goals:  Through the Small & Mighty program we wish to extend our reach to new local primary and implementing partners.  The program goals of this funding opportunity are provided below:

  • We encourage programs promoting peace, democracy, reconciliation and human rights, which promote social integration among all communities of society; encourage participatory processes between citizens and the government; strengthen partnerships to give communities a greater voice in government and society, programs that strengthen democratic values; enhance awareness and protection of religious freedom and human rights principles; and encourage gender equality.
  • We encourage programs promoting economic empowerment, good governance and rule of law,such as transparency, right to information, anti-corruption, gender equality and disability rights in the workplace and promote entrepreneurship, and especially women’s entrepreneurship, as a component of a healthy economy and a means to integrate into regional economy.
  • We encourage programs promoting Sri Lanka as a free, open and secure partner through programs that increase positive, fact-based media coverage of security and political engagements. Increased public support for bilateral security cooperation and logistic arrangements.

Section II.  Program Title and Description

Program Requirements:

Based on funding availability, this program will provide opportunities to smaller organizations and individuals who may not have the infrastructure to compete in our formal NOFO process.  These organizations and individuals should have the capacity to lead and develop programs aligning with our mission goals: promoting peace, democracy, reconciliation and human rights, promoting economic empowerment, good governance and rule of law, and promoting Sri Lanka as a free, open and secure partner. The local primary partner, as the primary recipient of this award, will have the capacity to assist and offer financial and program planning skills to these organizations and individuals who will be the local implementing partners, to submit proposals and budgets in a simplified format in English, Sinhala and Tamil.

The local primary partner will solicit and accept applications six times per year and vote on applications every two months in conjunctions with PAS.  PAS reserves the right to screen all submissions and have substantial involvement and final say and approval on any grant application.  The local primary partner will monitor the progress and success of the program with regular quarterly reporting to PAS.

The local primary partner will be responsible for all aspects of the program.  Submitted proposals should include programmatic and financial details on the following:

  1. Announcement of SMALL & MIGHTY funding opportunities.  Under this project, the local primary partner will organize, administer, and provide outreach to solicit grant applications from NGOs and individuals who will be local implementing partners.  That includes, but is not limited to, soliciting and administering a web-based application process for sub-awards creating one-page grant applications to host on-line with budget template in an iterative proposal process with appropriate U.S. Embassy branding on all items and pages.
  2. Create formalized application review process.  The local primary partner will create a transparent application review process to share details of all local implementing partners received, with the U.S. Embassy grants evaluation team.  The grant evaluation team will consist of two PAS staff members who will vote with the local primary partner to select and rank order applications every two months for funding, as disbursement of funds become available.
  3. Administer small grants on behalf of the Embassy.  This cooperative agreement is providing smaller grants on behalf of the Embassy and must continue to reflect mission goals and priorities in the selection of awards.  We are seeking an established local primary partner in a cooperative agreement in order to seek out local implementing partners for sub awards with preference given to new local implementing partners who have not previously received USG funding. If applicable, the local implementing partners should submit the following with their initial application. Official Permission letters from the relevant authorities to carry out the project activities; if applicable MOUs/Agreements, and/or letters of support:  with any sub-contractors, implementing partners, etc. involved in the project.
  4. Offices throughout Sri Lanka.  It is a requirement that the local primary partner will have the ability to work in all three languages, have offices throughout the country, and work with all ethnic communities to solicit and select applications.  There must be transparency in receipt of submissions, selection criteria, and feedback provided to local implementing partners.
  5. Traditional and/or social media plan for amplification and advertisement of the program activities and outcomes. The local primary partner will be required to ensure robust social and/or traditional media coverage throughout the program including announcement, awards and results. The local implementing partners are welcome to collaborate with PAS social media team to maximize their project impacts through social media.
  6. Monitoring and evaluation plan.  The local primary partner should have tools to measure their capacity development along the way.
  7. Calendar of awards. Select local primary partner in September 2020.  Announce “Small & Mighty” to public in September 2020 with call for proposals by October 2020 (providing sufficient time for funds transfers to local primary partner), and first award funded by November of 2020.

Section III. Award Information

  1. Funding Type and Amount: Grant/cooperative agreement
  • Minimum (“Floor”) Award Amount:     $800,000
  • Maximum (“Ceiling”) Award Amount:  $ 1,500,000

The Public Affairs Section reserves the right to award less or more than the funds described under circumstances deemed to be in the best interest of the U.S. government, pending the availability of funds and approval of the designated grants officer.

Number of Awards Anticipated:  More than five sub-awards per awarding cycle

Anticipated Performance Period: 06 months to 12 months

Anticipated Program Start Date: September 10, 2020

Anticipated Funding Instrument: Cooperative Agreement

As this is a cooperative agreement, the U.S. government will have significant involvement in this effort including but not limited to the selection and final approval of local implementing partners and their grant amounts.

  1. Project and Budget Periods:Grant projects generally should e completed in six months, up to a maximum of one year.

PAS will consider an application for continuation of the program beyond the initial base 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.

Section IV. Eligibility Criteria

  1. Eligibility is open to all non-profit, non-governmental organizations. U.S. UniversitiesIndividuals are not eligible for an award under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Organizations may sub-contract with other entities, but only one, non-profit, non-governmental entity can be the local primary partner of the award. When sub-contracting with other entities, the responsibilities of each entity must be clearly defined in the proposal.
  2. Cost sharing or matching is not required for this funding opportunity.
  3. Pre-award costs are not an allowable expense for this funding opportunity.
  4. This award does not allow for construction activities or costs.
  5. U.S. Embassy Colombo Cooperative agreements cannot be used to fund religious or partisan political activity; fundraising campaigns; commercial projects; projects whose primary aim is the institutional development of the organization, or illegal activities.

Other Eligibility Requirements:

Local primary partners must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet and an active SAM registration ( The U.S. Department of State will not make an award to a local primary partner until they have complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements by the time the Department is ready to make an award.

Local primary partners must register with prior to submitting an application. Registering with is a one-time process; however, it may take weeks to have the registration validated and confirmed. Please begin the registration process immediately to ensure that the process is completed well in advance of the deadline for applications. Until that process is complete, you will not be issued a user password for, which is required for application submission.

There are four steps that you must complete before you are able to register:

(1) Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet (if your organization does not have one already) by visiting ;

(2) Register with System for Award Management (SAM);

(3) Register yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and

(4) Be authorized as an AOR by your organization.

For more information, go to Please note that your SAM registration must be annually renewed. Failure to renew your SAM registration may prohibit submission of a grant application through

Local primary partners must acquire all required registrations and rights in the United States and Sri Lanka.  All intellectual property considerations and rights must be fully met in the United States.

Any local implementing partners must also meet all the U.S. and Sri Lankan requirements described above.

Section V. Application Submission:


Please follow all instructions below carefully. Failure to furnish all information or comply with stated requirements may lead to the application’s disqualification for consideration.  Applicants must set forth accurate and complete information as required by this NOFO.

Applicants must ensure:

  • All documents are in English;
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars;
  • All pages are numbered;
  • All materials are submitted in .pdf format;
  • All Submission must include Forms SF-424: Application for Federal Domestic Assistance-Short Organizational and SF-424A:  Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs are completed and submitted with the application. These forms and the instructions for completing them are available at SF424 under the heading SF424 family. SF424B is required only for those applicants who have not registered in or re-certified their registration in since February 2, 2019 and completed the online representations and certifications. An authorized signature by the applicant must be provided on this form;
  • Organization’s registration certificate;
  • A report of any recent audits done;
  • Bio-data of Key Personnel:  CVs or biographies of any personnel cited in budget, including trainers, implementing partners, or sub-contractors;
  • If applicable, official Permission Letters: Official permission letters from the relevant authorities to carry out the project must be obtained if needed for project activities;
  • If applicable, MOUs/Agreements:  with any sub-contractors, implementing partners, etc. involved in the project;
  • If applicable, Letters of Support: from any partners, sub-contractors, etc. involved in the project.

Applicants submitting proposals over $100,000 must also submit Standard Form LLL (SF-LLL): Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. This form is available at

We recommend that you submit your program proposal using “Suggested Application format” template (Attachment A) and detailed budget using “Suggested Budget Spreadsheet” template (Attachment B). Feel free to submit additional information, as you deem necessary.

  • Budget Narrative: The budget narrative supplements the information provided in the budget spreadsheet and justifies how the budget cost elements are necessary to implement project objectives and accomplish the project goals. Together, the budget narrative and spreadsheets should provide a complete financial and qualitative description that supports the proposed project plan and should be directly relatable to the specific project components described in the applicant’s proposal.
  • Letters of Intent: If local partnerships are included as part of the proposal, local primary partners must include a letter of intent between all partners as part of their application. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership.  The individual letters should not exceed one page in length.
  • Proof of Non-profit Status: Documentation to demonstrate the local primary partner’s non-profit status (e.g. U.S.-based organizations should submit a copy of their IRS determination letter; Sri Lankan organizations should provide a copy of their NGO status).

The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to request additional programmatic and financial information regarding the proposal.


For questions on this solicitation, please contact Grants Applications Manager at:

Questions must be received on or before August 17, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time.

Applications must be submitted to Grants Applications Manage at: ColomboPDGrants@state.govno later than August 10, 2020.

Section VI. Review and Selection Process

  1. Criteria. Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the criteria enumerated in Section VII below. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project, and to determine the likelihood of its success.
  1. Acknowledgement of receipt.  Applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt of their proposal.
  1. Review.  A technical review panel will review the proposal and based upon the criteria noted in Section VII.  A determination will be made regarding the program’s proposed area of activity and the Mission’s strategic goals, and those proposals that are the best fit will be given additional consideration.
  1. Follow up notification.  Applicants will generally be notified within 90 days after the NOFO deadline regarding the results of the review panel.

Section VII. Application Evaluation Criteria

  1. Completeness of Proposal.  The proposal meets all of the outstanding technical and logistical criteria required in this cooperative agreement, addressing the objectives as noted in Section II above. (15 points)
  1. Innovation.  Applicant clearly describes how its proposal will address the requested program within the proposedperiodand articulates an innovative strategy or plan. (20 points)
  1. Institutional and organizational capacity. The organization and any partners demonstrate subject matter expertise in the form and content of the proposal, and in organizing and managing the project. (10 points)
  1. Budget and narrative justification.  The budget and narrative justification are complete and reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results.The cost estimates are realistic.(20 points)
  1. Monitoring and evaluation.  The proposal outlines in detail how program completion and success and impact will be determined, and may include pre and post program analysis. The proposal outlines in detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals (listed above). A strong proposal will include:

i). A schedule of when programmatic activities will occur (such as a Gant chart) that includes overview planning, local implementing partner selection, and when the applicant will check local implementing partner project progress to know how it is performing.  Results of those checks are expected to be reported quarterly.

ii) Expected local implementing partner project outputs, including definitions and targets. Examples of outputs include: number of meetings or conferences held; number of workshops implemented; number of outreach activities conducted, number of women trained in social entrepreneurship.

iii) Success story capture: a documented process for requesting and receiving success stories from local implementing partner.

iv) local implementing partners project participant contact information: where appropriate, in order to build and maintain professional networks, applicants are encouraged to explain how they will systematically request, receive, and manage contact information from local implementing partner project participants, specifically, name, email address and phone number.

v) A final report to include the local implementing partner’s reflection of how their overall program, as a whole, contributed to the program’s goals. As applicable, a strong final report would be supported by success stories, behaviors changed, lessons learned, and results obtained, as well as the detailed feedback of project participants, including American and Sri Lankan trainers and other experts. See Addendum A (15 points)

  1. Sustainability.  The project demonstrates sustainable capacity and relationship building between theSri Lankan and American organizations, as appropriate. The proposal describes how activities will be carried on after the program ends and may include (but not be limited to) continued involvement of stakeholders; future commitment of funding; on-going training; planned meetings of program participants.  (20 points)

Section VIII. Award Administration

  1. Award notices: The grant or cooperative agreement award shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer, who is the U.S. government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants and cooperative agreements.The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and will be provided to the local primary partner. The awardee will interact with a designated Grants Officer Representative (GOR).
  1. Reporting requirements: All awards issued under this announcement require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement. The disbursement of funds will be tied to the timely submission of these reports. All details related to award administration will be specified in the award agreement. The point of contact for questions or issues related to the administration of the grant/cooperative agreement will be specified in the award agreement.

Attachment A


1.1 Applicant Name
a. Legal Name (as in Bank Account):
b. Address:
c. City/Town: d. District: e. State:
f. Zip/Pin Code: g. Website:
h. Other Info. (if any):


1.2 Point of Contact
a. Last Name: b. First Name:
c. Tel: d. Cell: E. E-mail d. Fax


2.1 Description


2.2 Key Personnel


2.3 Project Partner(s)


2.4 Past Grants (U.S. Embassy, Department of State, Other)


2.5 Strengths and Capacity of Organization


3.1 Project Information
a. Project Name:
b. Duration (months): c. Start Date: Click here to enter a date. d. End Date: Click here to enter a date.


3.2 Executive Summary


3.3 Project Justification


3.4 Project Goal and Objectives


3.5 Project Innovation


3.6 Project Activities


3.7 Project Accomplishments (Milestones)


3.8 Monitoring and Evaluation Plan


3.9 Sustainability 


 4.1 (See Attachment B:  Suggested Grant Proposal Budget Worksheet to submit your Detailed Budget submission)
  • Total Funding applied for: $____________________  (must match with Attachment B)
  • Total Recipient share (if any)$ __________________ (must match with Attachment B)


4.2 Budget Narratives and other Remarks (if any)



Key Personnel:  Name of the organization, address, phone/fax number/e-mail address, name and title of director (or person who is to sign the grant/cooperative agreement) and other significant staff members, particularly those who will be involved in the project and budget specifics. Provide an executive summary of the project description (no more than one page) with reference to the amount and duration of the funding request.

Description of Organization:  Applicants must submit a full description of the organization and its expertise to organize and manage all aspects of this particular project. This applies to all proposed project partner as well.

Justification:  This is a very important aspect of the proposal and applicants should pay particular attention to it. Define what the project will accomplish, and how will it benefit stakeholders. Please do not exceed one page.

Activities:  Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished. Provide an overview of the full sequence of proposed project activities, including beginning and end dates and locations of events. Account for all functions or activities identified in the application.

Accomplishments, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Sustainability:  Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the accomplishments to be achieved for each function or activity. When accomplishments cannot be quantified by activity or function, list them in chronological order to show the schedule of accomplishments and their target dates. Describe how you plan to monitor progress, and determine overall success and impact of the program. Note how you expect the impact of the project will be sustained over time, and by whom.

Budget:  Please refer to Attachment B “Suggested Grant Proposal Budget Worksheet.” Provide a detailed budget of every cost associated with the project. The more information and detail that you provide about the proposed budget, with a budget narrative, the better we can determine the viability and completeness of your proposal. For the budget line item “indirect costs” or “administrative overhead,” any figure you provide without a specific breakout will be returned for additional information or rejected. If your organization has an approved “Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement” or NICRA, please note that on your application and provide supporting documentation. Please also include the types and amounts of funding your organization has already received for the current project. Budgets must be calculated in U.S. dollars. Please note that the Fly America Act requires that anyone whose air travel is financed by U.S. Government fund to utilize the economy class services of a U.S. flag carrier.

Addendum A

Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:

Applicants must submit a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Plan. Applicants should develop their own results framework and indicators. In addition, applicants should prepare a narrative M&E Plan to accompany the proposal. The M&E Plan should describe how applicants intend to systematically plan, collect, analyze, and use their performance monitoring data and evaluation to track progress, improve their results, and report achievements and challenges to the Public Affairs Section. Expenses directly associated with M&E are considered allowable.

The applicant’s M&E Plan should address the following components of program design and performance management:

  • Results framework: Applicants should develop a logic model that connects beneficiaries’ needs with the program’s desired outcomes and the Public Affairs Section’s objectives. A results framework is a logic model that visually diagrams the causal relationship between a programs outputs, outcomes, and goal. Applicants should demonstrate in the M&E Plan how their project goals and outcomes link to the objectives described in this NOFO.
  • Outputs and outcomes: Applicants should include outputs, short-term outcomes, and long-term outcomes in their program’s results frameworks. The M&E Plan should clearly distinguish between outputs and outcomes:
  • Outputs are a tangible, immediate, and intended product or result of an activity that is within a local implementing partner’s immediate control. Program deliverables are generally considered outputs. Examples include: number of journalists trained, number of medial articles written, number of media material distributed.
  • Success Stories are narrative accounts of local implementing partner’s project participants detailing their general state before the project, experiences with project activities, and experiences immediately after the project concluded, with a focus on behavioral change, new skills, applied knowledge, and/or new network connections or opportunities,
  • Indicators: Applicants should develop performance indicators to measure intended changes in the M&E Plan. Indicators are used to observe progress and measure actual results compared to expected results (targets). They answer “how” or “whether” a project is progressing toward the objectives of the project and should be objective and measurable (e.g., numeric value, percentages, indices). Each indicator shouldRelate to a program’s objectives, goals, outcomes, or outputs. The indicator should describe whether and how a program is achieving the given outcome or output.Explain how the applicant will calculate the indicator and when data will be collected and reported to the Public Affairs Section. Consideration should be given to the appropriate timing of data collection (how often and when data should be collected). This may also include describing data collection tools, such as surveys, attendance sheets, questionnaires, etc.Have a baseline. A baseline is the value of an indicator before the program begins.Have targets. Targets indicate how well you expect the indicator to perform during the program. They should be reasonably achievable yet ambitious enough to meet the program’s objectives.

    Have disaggregation. Disaggregation breaks down data by subgroups (e.g. gender, demographic location, education level).

  • Evaluation Plan. Applicants should develop a concise evaluation plan within the M&E Plan. The evaluation plan should demonstrate the applicant’s willingness and ability to coordinate with an external evaluation of the program if the Public Affairs Section commissions one. This section of the M&E Plan should also describe any plans by the applicant to conduct and internal evaluation of the project.

Applicants are encouraged to design M&E Plans to assess their progress toward the program objectives set out in the NOFO, including using the following illustrative indicators:

Illustrative Indicators According to Project Objectives and Outcomes
Participant satisfaction with the program and experience Participant learning: increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and attitude Participant behavior: actions to apply knowledge, participation in new programs, etc. Institutional changes: increased production of collaborative partnerships between partner organization of similar capacities
Objective A:  

Promoting peace, democracy, reconciliation and human rights

Indicator: number and percent of participants who express a high level of satisfaction with the program (Disaggregate by age, sex) Indicator: number and percent of participants that demonstrate an increase in ability to engage with members of new organizations. Indicator: number of participants who demonstrate an increase in collaboration with youth groups (Disaggregate by program, age, sex) Indicator: number of academic partnerships, collaborative activities, and  programs established between the U.S. and Sri Lankan higher education institutions (Disaggregate by type of partnership or program)
Objective B:  

Promoting economic empowerment, good governance and rule of law

Indicator: number and percent of participants who express a high level of satisfaction with the program (Disaggregate by age, sex, country, and region) Indicator: number and percent of participants who demonstrate an increase in ability to establish professional, mutually-beneficial relationships (Disaggregate by sector, type) Indicator: number of program related partnerships (Disaggregate by type of partnership, type of institution, activities supported) Indicator: number of data-driven programs that are created and funded as a result of this grant (Disaggregate by type of institution, type of program, country, region)
Objective C: Programs promoting Sri Lanka as a free, open and secure partner Indicator: number and percent of participants who express a high level of satisfaction with the program (Disaggregate by age, sex, country, and region) Indicator: number and percent of participants that demonstrate interest in, knowledge of, and skills in creating and establishing partnerships between other  institutions and organizations Indicator: number of business and economic opportunities demonstrated as a result of participation in the program Indicator: demonstrated economic growth that can be attributed to activities and partnerships established as a result of the program


Small & Mighty Grants Program from November 1, 2019 

Small & Mighty Grants Program is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo and is administered by Sarvodaya. This program is to promote funding opportunities to smaller organizations and individuals with the capacity to lead and develop programs that may not have the infrastructure to compete in U. S. Embassy Colombo formal NOFO.

Link for Small & Mighty Grants Program administered by Sarvodaya: