Sunday, November 22, 2015
Story & Picture: Black Star News
Human Rights documentary The Man Who Mends Women – The Wrath of Hippocrates will have its U.S. Premiere on November 27 at 7pm at the Opening Night of the 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival.
Presented by U.S. distributor ArtMattan Films, THE MAN WHO MENDS WOMEN is the portrait of the impressive life and work of internationally-renowned gynecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He received the 2014 prestigious Sacharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, for his struggle against sexual violence. Dr. Mukwege medically assisted over 40,000 sexually abused women in 16 years of professional practice.
Sexual violence against women has been used as a weapon of war for years in the violence-ridden and poverty-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo. In order to provide medical, psychological and emotional aid to the victims, Dr. Mukwege founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu in 1999.
Besides his work as a physician Dr. Mukwege also defends human rights and seeks to raise global awareness on the issue of sexual violence in his country. He condemns the political reluctance to tackle the problem and is not afraid to hit the nail on the head.
His work is not without danger, as Dr. Mukwege experienced in 2012, when armed men entered his home and started shooting. Dr. Mukwege and his family survived the attack, but his guard was killed.
The doctor now lives cloistered in his hospital in Bukavu under the protection of the United Nation peacekeepers. The women, whose physical and emotional integrity and dignity have been restored, stand beside him, true activists for peace, and hungry for justice.
The 23rd African Diaspora Film Festival is to be held in Manhattan, New York City from November 27 to December 13 at MIST Harlem, Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas and Teachers College, Columbia University with the presentation of more than 50 films, including 26 US and NY Premieres.
For more information about the 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, to receive the complete line up, screeners and high resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760 or e-mail email@example.com. Festival web site: www.nyadiff.org
Described by film critic Armond White as “a festival that symbolizes diaspora as more than just anthropology,” ADIFF has managed to increase the presence of independent Afrocentric films from all over the world in the general American specialty movie scene by launching films such as The Tracker by Rolf de Heer (Australia), Kirikou and the Sorceress by Michel Ocelot (France), Gospel Hill by Giancarlo Esposito (USA), Darrat/Dry Season by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad), The First Rasta by Helene Lee (France/Jamaica), The Story of Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabazz (UK) Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story by Yousry Nasrallah (Egypt), and The Pirogue by Moussa Touré among others.
Attracting a wider cross-section of cinephiles and audiences of African-American, Caribbean,
African, Latino and European ethnic backgrounds that share a common interest for good stories about the human experience of people of color, ADIFF is now a national and international event with festivals held in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and Paris, France.
The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
The 23rd annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival is made possible thanks to the support of the following institutions and individuals: ArtMattan Productions; the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University; the New York City Council in the Arts; New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens; the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York; Ethiopian Airlines, the Délégation Générale du Québec à New York, TV5 Monde, The Village Voice, WBAI, and Public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. ADIFF is a proud member of the Harlem Arts Alliance.
- See more at: http://www.blackstarnews.com/entertainment/movies/nyc-african-diaspora-film-festival-opens-with-the-man-who-mends#sthash.FVEM00WU.dpuf
Secretary of State
November 20, 2015
The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack today in Mali. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and injured during this senseless assault on innocent people at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.
We thank the first responders, especially Malian Forces and U.N., French, and U.S. security personnel, including U.S. Diplomatic Security, who assisted with evacuating hostages and transporting them to safe locations.
Our embassy in Bamako is making every effort to account for American citizens in the city, and in the days ahead we stand ready to provide support the Malian government in the investigation. All those responsible for these recurring terrorist attacks must be held accountable.
Mali is an important regional partner to the United States, and we stand with the Malian people. These terrorist attacks will only deepen our shared resolve to fight terrorism.
On November 19, 2015 Mayor Muriel Bowser led the swearing in ceremony of new Board and Commissioner members, including the DC Commission on African Affairs (COAA). The members contribute the rich diversity of the Commission and the of the African community.
Akua G. Asare, M.D. – Chair
Appointed on March 7, 2014 | First Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: Ghana
Dr. Akua Asare’s work focuses on the linkages between health disparities, including psychological, emotional, and social, as well as cultural, career, and personal development and advancement among those in the African Diaspora. She serves in a diversity of roles and on a variety of civic and community boards, including as Co-Chair of the Montgomery County African-American Health Program’s Executive Committee’s Mental Health Collaborative. Akua is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University with a BA in International Studies, and a Medical Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She was awarded the 2010 University of Miami / Jackson Memorial Hospital Psychiatry Residency Senior Research Award and the 2010 Bernard Goodman Award. As a 2011 American Psychiatric Association’s Jeanne Spurlock Congressional Fellow, Akua worked as the Health Legislative Fellow for Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), addressing domestic and global health care issues.
Loide Rosa Jorge, Esq. – Vice Chair
Appointed on January 3, 2012 | Second Term Commissioner
Countries of Origin: Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique
With over a decade of experience in the immigration legal arena of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Loide Rosa Jorge brings a wealth of hands-on experience, dedication, and integrity to her practice. She upholds her mission of providing clients with a safe space of honest and thorough legal counsel. Having immigrated to the U.S. as a child with her family, Loide credits the honest and kind-hearted pro-bono attorneys who helped her family successfully navigate their immigration issues as one of her inspirations to provide the same quality of service within her practice.
Loide also serves as an advocate for the needs of local immigrants in and around the DMV, frequently appearing on television and radio programs addressing the African immigrant’s unique perspectives. She regularly partners with local churches and community service providers to conduct free immigration legal workshops.
Loide holds a Juris Doctorate from American University, Washington College of Law and is a Member of the Bar, Maryland Court of Appeals. She is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is fluent in Portuguese and is a recording jazz vocalist.
Kedist Geremaw EDS, MSA – Secretary
Appointed on March 7, 2014 | First Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: Ethiopia
Kedist Geremaw is a healthcare administrator who resides in the greater Washington, DC area. She has worked as an educator, a television reporter, a mentor, a campaign organizer, and a volunteer with organizations in the DC area and internationally. Kedist is particularly committed to addressing issues facing women and children and creating awareness and empowerment for people with disabilities both in the U.S. and internationally. She advocates for DC statehood and ending workforce disparity faced by African immigrants in the Diaspora. An Ethiopian by birth, Kedist holds a BSc. in Biology from Oklahoma City University, an MS in Health Administration from Central Michigan University, and an EDS degree from The George Washington University. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Disability Studies at The George Washington University.
Chime O. Asonye
Appointed on January 3, 2012 | Second Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Chime O. Asonye currently serves as Executive Director of NaijaDC, a collaborative network of leading Nigerian emerging leaders on the continent and in the U.S. Chime has worked as an Associate for the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs). He was nominated for the Excellence in Public Service Award, described by Forbes Magazine as “Nigeria’s most important award for outstanding young Nigerians”. He has served as a Program Assistant for the Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa portfolio in the Africa Division of the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health. He is a Chancellor’s Scholar graduate with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a recipient of the University of Illinois’ Black Alumni Network and African American Cultural Center Global Footprint Award in 2014. Chime is currently pursuing his juris doctorate degree at Northwestern University School of Law.
Ify Anne Nwabukwu
Appointed on January 3, 2012 | Second Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Ify Anne Nwabukwu is the Founder and Executive Director of the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA). For the past ten years, Ify has raised awareness about breast cancer among African immigrant women and their families in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. Her work through AWCAA has served over 30,000 Africans and facilitated mammography screening for over 1,000 women. In 2012, she won the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award and the State of Maryland’s Governor’s Service Award. She is an executive member of the African Advisory Group in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ify organizes and leads medical missions to Africa and has donated two mammogram machines to Nigeria and Tanzania. She is a Certified Breast Health Awareness Volunteer Speaker for the American Cancer Society, a certified Patient Navigator, and an inspirational speaker. Ify obtained her BA in Nursing from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and a degree in Hospital Administration from Strayer University.
Appointed on January 3, 2012 | Second Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: USA
Lafayette A. Barnes directs the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services (OPGS) in the Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser where he is responsible for leading a variety of philanthropic functions and services for District government, and nonprofit entities. Lafayette leads the District’s competitive grants development process as well as its policies and procedures for authorizing the solicitation, acceptance, and use of private donations made to the government. He heads the office’s capacity building technical assistance and training services for local community, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations. Lafayette is a graduate of Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive in State and Local Government Program; Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Masters of Science in Foreign Service; Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Business Foundation’s 2011 International Business Certificate Program; Management Concepts’ Grants Management Certificate Program, and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ Executive Leadership Institute.
Louisa Buadoo-Amoa, Ph.D.
Appointed on July 3, 2010 | Second Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: Ghana
Louisa works as a Human Resources Specialist/Recruiter at the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Caribbeana Communications Incorporated and Region XI Council Representatives. Louisa is also the current Treasurer for Blacks in Government
Appointed on July 13, 2010 | Second Term Commissioner
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Yinusa has served and worked with various organizations within the Washington Metropolitan area. Currently, he is a member Of Ibarapa-Oyo Pacesetters and a former Chief Whip of the Alliance of Yoruba Organizations and Clubs.
Department of State
November 18, 2015
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: It was so liberating, our 40th independence – you know Brazil is –
SECRETARY KERRY: I know, I know.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: — the first country that recognized Angola.
SECRETARY KERRY: I do know.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: So we had a very long conversation there.
SECRETARY KERRY: My great pleasure to welcome my friend, the foreign minister of Angola, Georges Chikoti, and to celebrate with him the 40th year of independence of Angola, which he has just been telling me he came from Brazil and they’ve been celebrating there.
We are really grateful for this, now the second year of a Strategic Dialogue with Angola, and I personally had the opportunity a few days ago to talk to President Dos Santos about the situation in the region. Angola has been a leader, and the president – particularly with his foreign minister – have really been hands-on in trying to help resolve the problems of neighboring states. I am confident today we will focus significantly on the challenge of Burundi, the violence that is breaking out there in the region.
And Angola plays a very special role. It has a senior leadership stature that has been very important to helping to find peaceful resolution to some of these conflicts. So we appreciate their work on democracy, their work on climate change, their work on counterterrorism. And obviously, with what’s going on in the world, we have a great deal to talk about.
So thank you for being here with us.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: Thank you, thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: We really appreciate it. Thank you, my friend.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: Thank you, John.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Please.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: Well, let me thank Secretary John Kerry first for inviting us on this special occasion of the 40th anniversary of Angola. And you may all know that the United States recognized the Government of Angola 22 years ago, and since then we have been constructing a very, very good partnership. We then negotiated a strategic partnership which is promoting dialogue between Angola and the United States in all areas of interest between our two countries, and, as well as Secretary Kerry has said, our two countries also share views on many other issues related to the African continent in particular, where we have a few conflicts going around our neighborhood. We have the problem of Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and even issues of Nigeria. Today, the world is concerned as far as terrorism is concerned, particularly when we see what is happening in Nigeria, but also very recently in France.
So I think all those issues will certainly continue to be our concern. With the United States, we are also developing a very important dialogue towards constructing sustainable institutions in Angola. So I think that the United States support – may it be on the private sector in Angola, may it be to build democratic institutions – has been very, very important. And we do treasure that we met – we meet regularly, may it be here or may it be under conversations through President Santos and Mr. Kerry, which they held very recently on some pressing issues related to Africa.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary –
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: — (inaudible)?
SECRETARY KERRY: There’s a lot of counterterrorism activity, people have stepped up the activity, and I think that’s what you’re seeing. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: Thank you.
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
November 13, 2015
At the second Strategic Dialogue today in Tunis, Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche and Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed the strategic importance of the partnership between Tunisia and the United States. They discussed Tunisia’s bold economic reform agenda and Tunisia’s commitment to protect hard-won freedoms in the face of security threats from violent extremism. The Minister and Secretary endorsed the continuing efforts of civil society leaders to protect and nurture democratic space in Tunisia, building on the work of National Dialogue Quartet, which was recently recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize.
Support for Tunisia’s Democracy
Minister Baccouche and Secretary Kerry expressed their mutual goal of expanding security, economic, and governance partnerships between the United States and Tunisia. The leaders affirmed that promoting transparency and fighting corruption, including through the Open Government Partnership, as well as building trust between the people and security forces, are the best ways to undercut terrorism. The United States recognized Tunisia’s decision to join the Counter-ISIL Coalition and become a pilot country for the Counter Terrorism/Countering Violent Extremism Clearinghouse Mechanism under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The Secretary also acknowledged the importance of Tunisia’s planned 2016 municipal elections for building a stronger, more inclusive democracy and brighter future through decentralization. Both noted that yesterday’s productive civil society event informed the Strategic Dialogue and underscored the unique position of civil society institutions to partner with the government, but also to hold the government accountable to promised reforms. The two leaders emphasized their shared commitment to promoting a secure, integrated, and prosperous region through the warm partnership shared between the peoples of the United States and Tunisia.
Advancing Economic Cooperation and Development
Today, the United States is announcing that it is prepared to initiate steps to negotiate a Loan Guarantee Agreement with the Government of Tunisia to support Tunisia’s political, economic and social resiliency. Tunisia has made notable progress on its economic reform agenda and has demonstrated a continued commitment to address its economic challenges.
The Secretary announced the inaugural U.S.-Tunisia Joint Economic Commission, which will supplement the U.S.-Tunisian Strategic Dialogue, the Joint Military Commission, and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement as centerpieces of U.S. engagement with Tunisia. With over $1.4 billion in trade in 2014, the United States already enjoys an important economic relationship with Tunisia, and the Joint Economic Commission will facilitate further growth. The two sides discussed ways for the Joint Economic Commission to advance Tunisia’s economic reform agenda, competitiveness, and overall growth through both policy discussion and formulation of assistance programming. They intend to hold the next session of the Joint Economic Commission in Washington in Spring 2016, and the next meeting of the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council in Washington in March 2016.
The United States highlighted the important work of the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund (TAEF), seeded with $60 million in U.S. assistance. TAEF is actively promoting the development of the Tunisian private sector by investing in small and medium enterprises that will contribute to inclusive economic growth and employment. The Minister acknowledged that the U.S.-funded Business Reform and Competitiveness Project created 6,564 sustainable private sector jobs in 100 Tunisian businesses. The project also helped build a network of 21 Career Development Centers, with five more to come online this year.
Strengthening Governance and Partnerships
In concert with President Caid Essebsi’s focus on inclusion and expanding educational opportunities for Tunisian youth, the Secretary announced that the United States has invested over $25 million through 2018 to support opportunities for young Tunisians to study in the United States. The Secretary congratulated Tunisia on the almost 400 Tunisians who have qualified to study at universities and community colleges in the United States through the U.S. government-funded Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program and the Fulbright Tunisia Tech+ Scholars. He also acknowledged plans to move forward with three new university linkages between Tunisian universities and Columbia, MIT, and Texas A&M in the areas of high technology and agriculture research in addition to twelve University Linkage programs to enhance research and education exchange between Tunisian and American faculty and institutions. The leaders agreed to further cooperate on Science & Technology programs to enable U.S. and Tunisian scientists to discover promising and innovative new technologies.
The Minister and Secretary decided to initiate discussions on potential collaboration between Tunisia and the United States within the framework of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Through this, we aim to deter the illicit excavation and trafficking of Tunisia’s rich and unique cultural heritage.
Security and Counterterrorism Cooperation
The Minister and Secretary emphasized their strong mutual interest in bringing stability to North Africa. The Secretary highlighted President Obama’s designation of Tunisia as a Major Non-NATO Ally and welcomed Tunisia as a member of the Global Counter ISIL Coalition. Secretary Kerry confirmed that the United States will stand with Tunisia as it faces a very serious security threat. The United States views Tunisia as a critical counterterrorism partner in North Africa and beyond and commends its ongoing efforts to counter terrorism. Since 2011, the United States has provided Tunisia more than $250 million in security assistance to counter internal and regional threats. The assistance is building the capacity of Tunisia’s institutions to provide security to all Tunisians in a manner that respects the rights they claimed during the 2011 revolution. The two sides also discussed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement which would increase cooperation between our respective Customs administrations to bolster our mutual efforts to stop international crime, and aid in the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel.
Tunisia and the United States have a shared interest in increasing security cooperation to address common threats in Tunisia and across the region. This interest was highlighted by Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Police Academy modernization project, a long-term, multimillion dollar effort to fully renovate the training curriculum and physical plant for the Tunisian National Police and National Guard. In addition, the Secretary informed the Minister the United States is working to secure resources to improve the ability of the Government of Tunisia to deter, detect, and interdict Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and WMD-related materials that might cross the most vulnerable part of Tunisia’s border with Libya.
The Strategic Dialogue concluded with Minister Baccouche and Secretary Kerry’s pledge to build even stronger political, cultural, and economic ties between the United States and Tunisia. They anticipated holding the next U.S.-Tunisian Strategic Dialogue in Washington in 2016. Today’s dialogue highlights the deep partnership and warm friendship enjoyed between Tunisia and the United States, as well as our shared promise to preserve the gains of Tunisia’s historic democratic transition, increase security, and develop the economy.
Press Availability with Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
November 13, 2015
FOREIGN MINISTER BACCOUCHE: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) of the Strategic Dialogue, as it provides support to the partnership. And as (inaudible) if we take into the account the challenges (inaudible) security (inaudible) economically and socially (inaudible) a strong relationship between the security situation and the economic situation, any terrorist attacks will simply have an impact on the economic situation and social situation of the country. Tunisia has taken a number of measures and has established a comprehensive security system to fight terrorism, and Tunisia has completed drafting a strategy to fight violence and terrorism. And this is a strategy which will be submitted to the cabinet soon and will also be submitted to the supreme security council. It is based on four pillars, and a number of workshops have been launched in order to think about how it could be implemented on the ground.
We have started with the first pillar for this system, which is prevention and preventive action against terrorism. A second workshop will be organized on how to deal with the process of returning from the conflict areas in Syria and also in Iraq and in Libya and other parts of the world. I’m talking here about Tunisian citizens. We have also talked about the different forms and perspectives for cooperation between the United States of America and Tunisia concerning these different levels – the security level, the military level, the economic level, also concerning the achievement of development and academic and technological and scientific cooperation.
We have signed a document, which is like a memorandum of understanding, concerning the American guarantees for the Tunisian loans so that these loans be simply appropriate to the Tunisian endeavors in the field of development.
We are looking forward in Tunisia to having a simple program by Tunisia for the next five years, so that the Tunisian reform agenda could be implemented in a credible way but also in a timely manner, with the folks of the least developed areas, mainly the inland areas and the border areas which we should focus on in particular. To that end, Tunisia simply wishes to take advantage of the MCC program, which is a Millennium program, the Challenges of the Millennium program. We are really happy and satisfied with the development of the U.S.-Tunisian relationships in the various fields, and we look forward to enhancing further these relationships.
We have also talked about the regional situation, and we agree on the necessity to have a peaceful political solution in Libya, because Libya, for Tunisia, is a source of concern because terrorism is starting to be firmly established in that country and a lot of Tunisians are sent to areas of conflict; their return to the country could put the security of the country at risk. And we really need to cooperate on this level in order to control the borders. The support of the U.S. would be welcome in order to be able to ensure more safe borders, particularly the southern borders, and to prevent terrorists and arms from being smuggled into the country. This is a multilevel endeavor, and the specialists in the security and defense areas will simply see how we can implement this on the ground. This is basically about getting to the details of the main issues and topics that we have dealt with, and we are really very hopeful and optimistic about the strategic cooperation between Tunisia and the United States of America.
I would like to welcome again His Excellence Mr. John Kerry, and I give him the floor now.
SECRETARY KERRY: (In French, via interpretation.) Thank you (inaudible) welcoming me back to Tunisia, and I would like to thank you for your warm welcome.
Mr. Foreign Minister, thank you. I am very delighted to be back in Tunis, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to reaffirm the historic friendship between the United States and Tunisia, and frankly, to also reaffirm the growing strategic partnership between Tunisia and the United States. I’m also glad to be here to welcome our own ambassador, Daniel Rubenstein, who is newly arrived three weeks ago, and I’m very confident is going to be a terrific steward of the U.S.-Tunisia partnership.
In addition to what the foreign minister told you about our meetings this morning and the importance of the Strategic Dialogue, I also had a chance earlier to meet with the National Dialogue Quartet, which very deservedly won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. That is recognition that every Tunisian can be very proud of because it reflects a commitment by all the people of Tunisia who came together to support the political leadership in the country’s commitment to democratic principles that literally could not be sustained without broad public support.
Later today, I look forward to meeting with President Essebsi and confirming the commitment of the United States to this ongoing transition to democracy.
In every one of the meetings that I had this morning, and particularly in the Strategic Dialogue, my message is the same: The eyes of the world are on Tunisia, and America wants Tunisia to succeed.
Tunisia is where the Arab Spring was born and it where – it is where it distinctly continues to bloom in ways that are defining the possibilities for other countries in the region. Tunisia’s democracy obviously remains a work in progress, as it does in every democracy, including my own. But despite great hardships and two tragic, despicable terrorist attacks, Tunisia has turned time and again to peaceful dialogue, to consensus building, to compromise.
Your nation, Mr. Foreign Minister, remains a shining example to those who claim that democracy is not possible in this part of the world. And by including everyone throughout the political process, across the spectrum – religious, secular – Tunisia has now built a powerful front against the extremists who oppose freedom, oppose democracy, oppose everything that the good people of this country are striving to build.
The United States will continue to support the Tunisian people as they chart their way forward. And to help Tunisia move forward on its economic, democratic, and security objectives, the United States has already provided more than 700 million in foreign assistance to Tunisia since 2011, and that has come in the form of direct assistance to democracy building; it has come in the form of assistance for elections and for direct civil society; and it has come in the form of security assistance.
The United States remains deeply invested in strengthening Tunisia’s economy in order to both ensure prosperity for the people of Tunisia, but also to help address the root causes of radicalization. Today, we launched the Joint Economic Commission, which will soon stand alongside the Strategic Dialogue as a key driver of the private sector, and we held government discussions, and also to support the government discussions on the future of the bilateral relationship.
Let me point something fundamental out, and I mentioned this in our meetings this morning: For investment to take place, investors need to have confidence in the democracy, confidence in the law, confidence in the bankruptcy laws, confidence in the investment laws. They need to understand that there is the possibility of earning that return on investment. And that is why our cooperation on security is so critical. Because to build the future that the people of Tunisia want, they need the jobs, they need the opportunities, and those opportunities come hand-in-hand – security, investment, democracy, the civil society. All of these are what help to build the confidence that the global community wants to see.
Advancing Tunisia’s democracy will depend on its ability to continue to build an open and transparent economy – an economy where corruption is not tolerated, where Tunisians trust that their hard work and talent will pay off, and where foreign investors will be able to trust that their investments are secure.
We strongly support the Government of Tunisia’s ambitious economic reform agenda towards these ends. The government is already moving in that direction. The government has identified specific reform efforts which they have forwarded now to the parliament in an effort to move forward. So we are prepared to do more to help Tunisia achieve its goals, and that’s why, earlier today, Foreign Minister Baccouche and I signed a Declaration of Intent signifying our readiness – immediately – to pursue the specific terms and conditions of our third loan guarantee.
Obviously, to preserve and protect Tunisia’s emerging democracy and growing prosperity, enhancing the security cooperation, as I just mentioned, is going to be essential.
During President Essebsi’s visit to Washington last May, President Obama announced his intent to designate Tunisia a Major Non-NATO Ally. We will continue to stand with Tunisia in addressing shared challenges facing us in Libya, as well as the threats posed by terrorist groups like Daesh, al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Maghreb, Ansar al-Sharia.
We welcome Tunisia’s decision to join the Global Counter-ISIL Coalition in September, and we are very pleased that Tunisia has already contributed in a meaningful way to some of our key working groups.
Yesterday, I delivered a speech in Washington about our strategy in Syria, a large component of which is the fight against Daesh. And today, I note that coalition forces conducted an airstrike targeting Mohamed Emwazi – a British citizen also known as “Jihadi John.” Videos released by Daesh showed Emwazi participating in horrific murders of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and a number of other hostages.
We are still assessing the results of this strike. But the terrorists associated with Daesh need to know this: Your days are numbered, and you will be defeated. There is no future, no path forward for Daesh which does not lead ultimately to its elimination, to its destruction. And increasingly, we are becoming more clear and coordinated in that strategy.
Ultimately, over the long term, the destruction will come and be sustained by people like those in Tunisia who have chosen the road forward through democratic process, through good governance, through transparency, through accountability, through democratic principles embodied in governments like that of Tunisia.
And that is why the other major component of our strategy is the pursuit of a lasting and genuine political transition to a government in Syria that, like Tunisia’s, is pluralistic, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of all of the Syrian people.
So I will leave Tunis this afternoon to go to Vienna, where the international community will gather again to continue building the framework for that political transition along the lines that we have seen here. Tunisia is a great model. And in the face of attacks aimed at hurting Tunisia economically, at instilling fear or sowing division among the Tunisian people, it’s important to note that Tunisians have not for a moment abandoned the values upon which their revolution was based. Instead, the people of Tunisia have shown extraordinary determination, courage, grit, and unity. And today, we also discussed the critical role that civil society has played in this enormous transformation, and civil society must continue to play that role in helping to chart the path forward for Tunisia’s consolidation process.
So we, in a short period of time, we actually covered a lot of ground. There is no question that together we have a lot of work ahead of us. But on behalf of President Obama and the American people, I assure you the United States is committed to standing with the Tunisian people, to deepening the growing partnership that our nations share, and to continuing to support Tunisia’s democratic journey in the time ahead.
Thank you, and now I would be happy to join my colleague in taking on a few questions.
MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) from the national television. I have a number of questions. What is new concerning the military support by the U.S. to Tunisia, including the (inaudible)?
Another security-related question: Will the United States of America play a new role in Libya if we take into account the fact that Daesh has taken more ground and they are very close to Tunisia?
You have expressed the intent to give Tunisia a guarantee for a loan. When will this take place effectively?
FOREIGN MINISTER BACCOUCHE: (Via interpreter) Concerning your question about the threat by Daesh in Libya, we – is the question to me or to His Excellency? The – Mr. Kerry, the question is for you.
SECRETARY KERRY: So with respect to the question that you asked about the additional assistance – military – and the efforts on security, I believe we have put in already some $250 million directly into security assistance. And our budget has additional assistance in it, and I told the foreign minister that we will be going back to talk with members of Congress about the specific needs in order to make sure that our budget and appropriations will include meeting additional help for the security needs of Tunisia.
Our military personnel will actually be here in a matter of, I think, about two weeks to have further discussions directly with the Government of Tunisia regarding not just helicopters, which has been on the agenda for some period of time, but also intelligence gathering, the issue of how to best manage the possibility – I know it’s been discussed publicly – of intelligence-gathering capacity through unmanned airborne vehicles, and the sovereignty and control over those vehicles, which is very important for Tunisia, and we understand that.
Also, there are additional ways in which we believe we can be supportive. We are already doing things here in a very direct way, and we intend to build on that but listening, obviously, to the Government of Tunisia. We’re not asking Tunisia to do things they don’t want to do. We want to do the things that Tunisia describes to us will help the most. And so we have complete and total respect for the needs for the government to work through its own decision-making process, and we will work closely in order to do that.
I also might point out that we’ve already provided two loan guarantees in 2012 and 2014 totaling about a billion dollars. You asked about this signature today, which we did on a new intent to sign. The answer is very quickly, literally as soon as we are able to work through the details. And since we’ve already done it twice, it really shouldn’t be very complicated and I expect it to happen very, very quickly. We understand the urgency of the economic need for Tunisia.
And finally, on the issue of Libya and the role that we will play, we did talk about Libya, and I mentioned that I talked yesterday with the new UN envoy, Martin Kobler. We agreed to be working extremely closely together with respect to Libya. I have appointed a special envoy who has been working diligently with Bernardino Leon, very, very closely over a long period of time. I’ve talked recently with the foreign minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni, about the possibilities that we may indeed have a conference possibly in – sometime in the next months regarding the issue of Libya, because there is an urgency.
ISIL, obviously, has tried to spread its tentacles into Libya. I would say that the current impasse between the house of representatives and the GNC is an impasse in which only one entity gains because of it, and that’s ISIL.
So it is absolutely critical for the people who aspire to be leaders in Libya to actually lead, and to lead following the model of Tunisia – to come together and compromise and put together a legitimate government, a legitimate governing entity that will allow the many countries that want to be supportive to be able to work with them in order to be able to deliver the support that they hope to deliver.
Libya is something that we all have an interest in, and particularly the near neighbors. So we’re very aware of the ways in which what is happening in Libya spills over into Tunisia, spills over into Egypt, Algeria; has a profound impact on the stability of the region. So it is imperative that we all focus more intently on Libya, and we fully intend to.
FOREIGN MINISTER BACCOUCHE: (Via interpreter) I would like to add one thing concerning Libya. We have also talked about the peaceful political solution in Syria, because for the security in Tunisia we think that there is a – there are links between what is happening in Libya and what is happening in Syria. We are focused on Libya.
QUESTION: Barbara Plett from the BBC. You were talking about the importance of democracy and reforms. How concerned – this is a question to both of you. How concerned are you that the current turmoil in the government, the fight – infighting in one of the parties – how much is that going to affect the possibility of carrying out those reforms and convincing other international lenders that they can be safe in putting their money into Tunisia?
The second question is about Libya also. Again, you were talking about the importance of changing the scene there, but the latest indications are that the peace process is in trouble, especially with these allegations about a conflict of interest of the previous UN envoy. How concerned are you that this is going to affect the peace process there?
And Mr. Kerry, just another quick question: You mentioned the significance of the targeting of Jihadi John. Could you also talk about the significance of the Sinjar operation?
SECRETARY KERRY: Sorry, I didn’t hear you. What was the –
QUESTION: You mentioned the significance of targeting Jihadi John. Could you also talk about the significance of the Sinjar operation?
SECRETARY KERRY: Yes, yes. Go ahead.
FOREIGN MINISTER BACCOUCHE: (Via interpreter) Concerning your question about the impact of what is happening inside parties on the critical situation in the country, we are in a democracy. What is happening inside parties, political parties, is not going to have an impact on the work of the government and on the social and economic situation of the country. It is quite normal to have problems inside parties and between parties, but everyone supports the action of the government and the reform – the reforms which are being carried out prominently. So this is not going to have an impact on the work of the government.
SECRETARY KERRY: Let me just say very quickly that the minister has spoken on the internal issues here. I would simply say that Tunisia is an example of Islamists engaging constructively in the political sphere, and Ennahda’s leaders have participated positively in the mainstream political process since the 2011 revolution, including their decision to turn over power peacefully. So we have high hopes that Tunisia will continue down this path of compromise, reconciliation, and of working together.
With respect to the Sinjar operation, even as we are sitting here today, Iraqi forces, Peshmerga-led forces, are fighting to liberate Sinjar, and there are some entrenched ISIL fighters in Sinjar. But we are absolutely confident that over the next days, Sinjar will be able to be liberated, and it’s a vital location because it sits right on Highway 47, which is the principal transport linkage for resupplying from al-Raqqa to Mosul. So it has serious strategic implications, not to mention the fact that the Yezidis, who have been attacked and murdered, slaughtered, and driven up onto a mountain and who have been living terrible lives over this period of time need the right to be able to return to their home. So we view this as a very legitimate and important strategic goal, and we’ll keep you posted over the next days as this battle unfolds.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Harden to Lead USDA Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Mission
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2015 – Leaders from five state departments of agriculture and 26 U.S. agribusinesses and organizations will accompany Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden on a mission to sub-Saharan Africa Nov. 16 to Nov. 20, to expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products in that market.
“Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong economic outlook, growing middle class, and surging demand for consumer-oriented foods creates a promising market for U.S. food and agricultural products,” Harden said. “Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to this region increased by more than 50 percent, totaling $2.3 billion in 2014.”
The mission includes 22 U.S. companies and four U.S. agricultural commodity trade associations representing a variety of agricultural products including grains and feeds, peanuts, soybeans, meat and poultry products, agricultural machinery, and more.
Harden noted that many of the participants are small or medium-sized enterprises owned by women, minorities and/or veterans. The mission will also include leaders from the Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Texas departments of agriculture.
The delegation will meet with potential customers from more than a dozen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, forging relationships and learning about the market conditions and business environment in the region. This first-hand intelligence will help them develop strategies to start or expand sales to these key markets.
Top Sub-Saharan Africa markets for U.S. agricultural and related products last year included Nigeria ($847 million), Angola ($298 million) South Africa ($259 million), Ghana ($129 million), Kenya ($69 million) and Ethiopia ($83 million).
U.S. Companies Participating in the Sub-Saharan Africa Agribusiness Trade Mission:
1. Agribusiness United Inc., Savannah, Ga.
2. Arkansas World Trade Center, Rogers, Ark.
3. Case New Holland Industrial, Washington, D.C.
4. Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, Springfield, Ill.
5. GEMCO, New York, N.Y.
6. Grain Handler, Inc., Lakeville, Minn.
7. Hakan USA, Broadway, Va.
8. Kaivalya, LLC, Lanham, Md.
9. Kiwi International, Roswell, Ga.
10. Klausner Trading, Inc., Myrtle Beach, S.C.
11. Lamex, Bloomington, Minn.
12. LT International Trading Company, Wilmington, N.C.
13. Meat Team, Ltd., Los Angeles, Calif.
14. Mountaire Farms Inc., Millsboro, Del.
15. Premium Peanut, LLC, Douglas, Ga.
16. Pristina Capital Partners, Midland Park, N.J.
17. Suma Trading LLC, Swedesboro, N.J.
18. TRC Trading Corporation, Roseville, Calif.
19. Tysons Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark.
20. United Source One, Belcamp, Md.
21. Virginia Natural Beef, Inc., Lexington, Va.
22. Zafi Beverages, Bensenville, Ill.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperators Participating in the Sub-Saharan Africa Agribusiness Trade Mission:
1. American Soybean Association, St. Louis, Mo.
2. USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, Stone Mountain, Ga.
3. U.S. Meat Export Federation, Denver, Colo.
4. USA Rice Federation, Arlington, Va.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2015
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Progress in Liberia and the Lifting of Sanctions
Today, the President signed an Executive Order which takes note of Liberia’s tremendous progress since emerging from civil war in 2003, in particular its commitment to democracy and the development of its political, administrative, and economic institutions. The United States congratulates the people of Liberia for their determination, ingenuity, and commitment to peace and democracy that has made this possible. Accordingly, the President has terminated the national emergency declared with respect to Liberia pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in Executive Order 13348 of July 22, 2004 and lifted the economic sanctions imposed pursuant to that Order.
Liberia has worked to overcome not only the scars of war but also the challenge of responding to an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola at a time when Liberians were in the middle of the vital work of consolidating democracy, building their economy, investing in infrastructure, and strengthening their security services. Much remains to be done, especially as Liberia looks ahead to other major milestones including the transfer of security responsibility from the U.N. Mission in Liberia in July 2016 and presidential elections in 2017. Liberia and its people are up to these challenges, and the United States and our international partners will remain steadfast in our commitment to Liberia.
Today’s announcement is one of what will surely be many more steps as Liberia continues to take charge of its future and live up to its full potential.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
On Monday November 9, 2015, Ambassador Dennis Hankins was sworn in as the US Ambassador to Guinea. The ceremony was officiated by Counselor Tom Shannon.
Bio by -Steve Straehley (allgov.com)
Dennis Hankins, a career Foreign Service officer, was nominated on July 8, 2015, to be the next ambassador to Guinea. He was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 22. It is the first such posting for him.
Hankins’ father, Bruce, was an engineer with Esso and worked in Europe and South America. While Hankins was still a youngster, his mother, Margie, brought him and his brother, Knute, to Bemidji, Minnesota, for a more stable place to live. Hankins graduated from Bemidji High School in 1977. He evidently missed traveling the world, because he went to Georgetown University’s School for Foreign Service, graduating in 1981. He has an MA from the National War College.
Hankins joined the Foreign Service, with his first overseas posting coming as a vice consul in Recife, Brazil, in 1985. Thailand was another early posting. From 1989 to 1991, Hankins worked in Sudan and by 1992 he was consul in Haiti. There he dealt with boat people who had been returned to that country by order of President George H.W. Bush. As consul, he took requests for asylum from those wanting to leave the then-violent country. Few requests were granted.
Hankins returned to Africa in 1996 as a political/economic counselor in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the midst of the civil war that consumed that country then. In 1999, he got another assignment as a political/economic counselor, but this time in Lisbon, Portugal. He was sent back to Africa in 2001 as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Maputo, Mozambique.
In 2004, Hankins went to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as consul general there. He returned to Washington in 2005 as deputy director in the Office of Peacekeeping in the Bureau of International Organizations. He was sent back to Africa in 2007 as Deputy Chief of Mission in Nouakchott, Mauritania, then returned to Khartoum, Sudan, as Deputy Chief of Mission there. In 2012, he was named Consul General in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Hankins and his wife, Mira, have a son, Danu, who is a U.S. Navy officer. Hankins speaks French and Portuguese. One of his pledges as ambassador is to help Guinea in its continuing efforts to fight the ongoing Ebola epidemic.
November 10, 2015
On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I am pleased to convey my best wishes to all Angolans as you proudly celebrate the 40th anniversary of your independence on November 11.
Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1993, our two countries have worked together productively to promote regional prosperity and stability, encourage trade and investment, improve health and educational opportunities, fight crime and support human rights and civil society.
On this 40th anniversary, it is inspiring to reflect on Angola’s transformation since independence, including the resilience of the Angolan people in overcoming war and finding peace. Looking to the future, I am confident that the partnership between our nations will continue to flourish. Please accept the best wishes of the United States on this special day.
Burundi: Killing of Welly Nzitonda
Department of State Spokesperson
November 7, 2015
The United States is gravely concerned by the political and security situation in Burundi and condemns the killing in Bujumbura yesterday of Welly Nzitonda, the son of human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa. We extend our deepest condolences to Pierre Mbonimpa, whose son-in-law was murdered in October, and who himself has been jailed and shot in recent months.
Nzitonda’s killing is the latest in a cycle of violence between government security forces, armed opposition groups, and criminal gangs. In this context, we are particularly concerned that inflammatory rhetoric deployed in recent days by some government officials and President Nkurunziza’s planned security crackdown this weekend are increasing the risk of an outbreak of mass violence in Burundi.
The United States strongly urges the government to abandon plans for security operations that could inflame the situation, and we call on Burundian leaders—both in government and opposition—to immediately and publicly renounce violence and commit to regionally-mediated dialogue with all stakeholders, as called for by the UN Security Council, the African Union, and the East African Community. The United States stands ready to support this dialogue and encourages regional leadership in addressing this crisis to secure the safety and peace of the people of Burundi.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
November 6, 2015
Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello will travel to Burundi
November 8-11 to express urgent concerns over the political and security crisis there. He will communicate the U.S. government’s alarm at violence by government and non-government actors inside of Burundi, and the recent dangerous rhetoric by the Burundian government surrounding the expiration of President Nkurunziza’s five-day ultimatum to turn over all illegal arms. He will also call for all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to follow through on commitments to dialogue.
While in Burundi, Special Envoy Perriello will reiterate the United States’ strong support for regional efforts to reconvene a dialogue amongst Burundian stakeholders under Ugandan President Museveni’s facilitation, and as supported by the East African Community and the African Union (AU). He will stress the importance of regional leadership in calming tension and pulling Burundi back from the brink, as well as the readiness of the United State to support the region’s efforts.
The Envoy also intends to visit Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia between November 11 and 18, to consult with regional leaders on restoring stability to Burundi and emphasize the United States’ belief that a comprehensive, inclusive dialogue, as laid out in the AU’s October 17 communique, is the best means of doing so.
The Envoy will conclude his trip in Rome where he will meet with representatives from the Vatican and the Community of Sant’Egidio, to discuss regional peace efforts.
EKO – African Diaspora Coding Academy
The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA) is proud to launch EKO | AfricanDiaspora Coding Academy. Directly connected to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vision of supporting innovative ideas that expand economic opportunities, EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy is a program developed in partnership with Coders4Africa (C4A), the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), and DCHR’s Center for Learning and Development to provide greater access to free coding classes, software design and application development to the growing African-born population in the District.
EKO reinforces Mayor Bowser’s commitment to focus on high-growth industries such as technology to stimulate job creation and prepare District constituents with long-term competitive skills that will place underserved community members on ‘Pathways to the Middle Class’. As the first of its kind program for the African community, EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy will extend extent free, basic and advanced coding training to over 120 African residents in web and mobile applications, including women and girls.
Starting this week, EKO will offer two web and two mobile development training sessions, classes will be held once a week for five (5) weeks (Saturday, from 9am -12).
After completion of the program, students will be expected to:
1. Learn to create websites and mobile applications that will impacts businesses and organizations;
2. Demonstrate knowledge of key principles and technologies in basic website design, such as the purpose and application of HTML and CSS;
3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current development in web design and web standards;
4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and implement a simple mobile APP on Android;
5. Demonstrate knowledge of key principles and technologies in basic Android APP development;
6. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current development in mobile standard.
To be eligible to participate in EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy, applicants must meet the following criteria:
• Must be a District Resident
• Must be unemployed or underemployed (working less than 32 hours per week)
• 18- years or older
• Basic computer skills (No prior coding experience necessary)
Schedule of classes:
November 2015 – 1st Web Development
January 2016 – 1st Mobile Application Development
February 2016 – 2nd Web Developments
April – 2nd Mobile Application Development
How to Apply: click here to apply (Application process is ongoing )
For additional information about EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy, contact the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs at (202) 727-5634 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Coders4Africa at www.coders4africa.com
U.S. Suspends Duty-Free Treatment to all AGOA-Eligible Goods in Agricultural. Sector for South Africa
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2015
Signed today is the text of a letter from the President to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate whereby the President notifies the Congress of his intention to suspend the application of duty free treatment to all AGOA-eligible goods in the agricultural sector for the Republic of South Africa 60 days after the date of this notification.
Below is the text of the letter
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 5, 2015
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
November 5, 2015
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
In accordance with sections 506A(d)(4)(C) and 506A(c) of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), I am providing 60-day advance notification of my intent to suspend the application of duty-free treatment to all AGOA-eligible goods in the agricultural sector for the Republic of South Africa 60 days after the date of this notification.
I am taking this step because South Africa continues to impose several longstanding barriers to U.S. trade, including barriers affecting certain U.S. agricultural exports, and thus I have determined that South Africa is not making continual progress toward the elimination of barriers to United States trade and investment as required by section 104 of AGOA. I have determined that such suspension of benefits would be more effective in promoting compliance by South Africa with the eligibility requirements listed in section 104 of AGOA than the termination of South Africa’s designation as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country, as it would better promote continuing efforts between the United States and South Africa to resolve these outstanding issues. Although South Africa has to date failed to meet critical benchmarks required to address these issues, it continues to express an interest in resolving U.S. concerns.
I will continue to assess whether South Africa is making continual progress toward the elimination of barriers to United States trade and investment in accordance with AGOA eligibility requirements, as well as whether this suspension of benefits is effective in promoting compliance with those requirements.
# # #
November 5, 2015
This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity, DRLA-DRLAQM-16-025.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
Application Deadline: Friday, December 18, 2015 at 11:30pm EST
A. Project Description
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that strengthen civil society’s capacity to meaningfully shape business and human rights (BHR) in Tanzania and at least in one neighboring country in sub-Saharan Africa. DRL’s goal is to protect human rights, promote development, and avoid or reduce conflict for communities in the operations of companies in the extractives.
DRL seeks proposals for activities that may include, but are not limited to: 1) empowering civil society organizations with small grants to fund outreach relevant to BHR, especially the UNGPs; 2) creating mechanisms to enhance and implement National Action Plans on BHR; 3) educating the public on the human rights implications of corporate activity, especially in the extractive sector, industrial agriculture, and with respect to land acquisition, transfer, and ownership; and 4) combating corruption, human rights abuses and violence against marginalized populations.
Proposals should include components that foster multi-stakeholder participation, including by governments, transnational and local companies, and civil society (including communities), to address key issues. Proposals should provide a clear plan on how to build civil society’s capacity to meaningfully engage in the various business and human rights approaches and provide concrete steps for meaningful reforms in this area. Proposals should explore opportunities for regional engagement, capacity building, and lessons-learned exchanges.
Unless otherwise noted, all proposed programs must be for at least 18 months in duration. Proposals must demonstrate awareness of similar supported programming and how the proposed program would complement ongoing efforts. Letters of support from potential subgrantees or program beneficiaries are recommended. Cost-sharing from non-USG funding sources is highly encouraged.
Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms, and should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources. DRL prefers innovative and creative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build off existing successful projects in a new and innovative way from consideration. DRL also strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable or at-risk populations.
Activities that typically are not considered competitive include:
• The provision of large amounts of humanitarian assistance;
• English language instruction;
• Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
• Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
• External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
• Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or that do not relate to security concerns;
• Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
• Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
• Activities that go beyond an organization’s demonstrated competence, or fail to provide clear evidence of the ability of the applicant to achieve the stated impact;
• Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.
The authority for this funding opportunity is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA).
B. Federal Award Information
DRL anticipates having approximately $495,049 available to support approximately one successful application submitted in response to this NOFO, subject to the availability of funding.
DRL may issue one or more awards resulting from this NOFO to the applicant(s) whose application(s) conforming to this NOFO are the most responsive to the objectives set forth in this NOFO. The U.S. government may (a) reject any or all applications, (b) accept other than the lowest cost application, (c) accept more than one application, (d) accept alternate applications, and (e) waive informalities and minor irregularities in applications received.
The U.S. government may make award(s) on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (though it is not under obligation to do so), however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.
Applications should request $495,049 and no more or less than that amount. Applicants should include an anticipated start date between January 2016 – June 2016 and the period of performance should be at least 18 months in duration.
DRL anticipates awarding either a grant or cooperative agreement depending on the application’s risk factor, or the needs of the program, which is determined by the grant officer for applications that are successful. If it is determined to award a cooperative agreement, DRL expects to be substantially involved during the implementation of the cooperative agreement. Examples of substantial involvement can include:
1) Approval of the Recipient’s annual work plans, including: planned activities for the following year, travel plans, planned expenditures, event planning, and changes to any activity to be carried out under the cooperative agreement;
2) Approval of sub-award Recipients, concurrence on the substantive provisions of the sub-awards, and coordination with other cooperating agencies;
3) Other approvals that will be included in the award agreement.
C. Eligibility Information
C.1 Eligible Applicants
DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
For-profit entities should be aware that its application may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process and that the Department of State generally prohibits profit under its assistance awards to for-profit or commercial organizations. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures. Project income earned by the recipient must be deducted from the total project allowable cost in determining the net allowable costs on which the federal share of costs is based.
C.2 Cost Sharing or Matching
Providing cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not an eligibility requirement for this NOFO.
Applicants must have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in country partners, entities and relevant stakeholders including industry and NGOs and have demonstrable experience in administering successful and preferably similar projects. DRL encourages applications from foreign-based NGOs headquartered in the geographic regions/countries relevant to this NOFO. Applicants may form consortia and submit a combined application. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant with the other members as sub-award partners. DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on applicants that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards, and these applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.
DRL is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its projects and activities. DRL welcomes applications irrespective of an applicant’s race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other status. DRL encourages applications from organizations working with the most at risk and vulnerable communities, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, members of ethnic or religious minority groups, and LGBTI persons.
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM)(www.sam.gov) 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 Excluded Parties List System in SAM can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.
D. Application and Submission Information
D.1 Address to Request Application Package
Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on www.grants.gov and www.grantsolutions.gov under the announcement title “Promoting the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa” funding opportunity number DRLA-DRLAQM-16-025. Please contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note: reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.
D.2 Content and Form of Application Submission
For all application documents, please ensure:
1) All documents are in English and all costs are in U.S. dollars. If an original document within the application is in another language, an English translation must be provided (please note: the Department of State, as indicated in 2 CFR 200.111, requires that English is the official language of all award documents. If any documents are provided in both English and a foreign language, the English language version is the controlling version);
2) All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments;
3) All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and,
4) All documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Captions and footnotes may be 10 point Times New Roman font. Font sizes in charts and tables, including the budget, can be reformatted to fit within 1 page width.
Complete applications must include the following:
1. Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B, as directed on GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov; completed and signed SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities”(if applicable) (which can be found with the solicitation on GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov and on the DRL website at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm); and your organization’s most recent audit (A-133 audit, if applicable, or standard audit).
2. Table of Contents (not to exceed one  page in Microsoft Word) that includes a page numbered contents page, including any attachments.
3. Executive Summary (not to exceed two  pages in Microsoft Word) that includes:
a) The target country/countries and thematic area;
b) Name and contact information for the project’s main point of contact;
c) The total amount of funding requested and project length;
d) A statement of work or synopsis of the project, including a concise breakdown of the project’s objectives, activities, and expected results; and,
e) A brief statement on how the project is innovative, sustainable, and will have a demonstrated impact.
4. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten  pages in Microsoft Word). Please note the ten page limit does not include the Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, or Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA). Applicants are encouraged to submit multiple documents in a single Microsoft Word or Adobe file, (i.e., Table of Contents, Executive Summary, and Proposal Narrative in one file).
5. Detailed Line-Item Budget (in Microsoft Excel) that includes three  columns including the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and total budget (see below for more information on budget format). A summary budget should also be included using the OMB approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample). Costs must be in U.S. dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for sub-awardees should be included in additional tabs within the excel workbook.
6. Budget Narrative (in Microsoft Word) that includes substantive explanations and justifications for each line item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered. For ease of review, DRL recommends applicants order the budget narrative as presented in the detailed budget. Personnel costs should include a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of key staff, base salary, and percentage of time devoted to the project. The budget narrative should provide additional information that might not be readily apparent in the detailed-line item budget, not simply repeat what is represented numerically in the budget, i.e. salaries are for salaries or travel is for travel. Please see DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
7. Attachments (not to exceed fourteen  pages total, preferably in Microsoft Word) that include the following in order:
a) Logic model – Page 1-2: Please see DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
b) Risk Assessment – Page 3: Please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
c) Narrative of Monitoring and Evaluation Plan – Pages 4-5: Please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information.
d) Monitoring and Evaluation Performance Indicator Table – Pages 6-9: Please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information. This section can be up to four pages long if necessary.
e) Roles and responsibilities of key project personnel – Page 10: Please include short bios that highlight relevant professional experience. This relates to the organization’s capacity. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
f) Timeline of the overall proposal – Page 11: Components should include activities, evaluation efforts, and project closeout.
g) Additional optional attachments – Page 12-14: Attachments may include further timeline information, letters of support, memorandums of understanding/agreement, etc. Letters of support and MOUs must be specific to the projects implementation (e.g. from proposed partners or sub-award recipients) and will not count towards the page limit.
8. If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a .pdf file. This document will not be reviewed by the panelists, but rather used by project and grant staff if the submission is recommended for funding and therefore does not count against the submission page limitations. If your proposal involves subawards to organizations charging indirect costs, please submit the applicable NICRA also as a .pdf file (see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, for more information on indirect cost rates). If your organization does not have a NICRA per 2 CFR 200. 414(f) the organization can elect to charge the de minimis rate of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68. The budget narrative should indicate what costs will be covered using the 10% de minimis rate.
Please note: DRL retains the right to ask for additional documents not included in this NOFO.
Additionally, to ensure all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL Review Panel will review the first page of the requested section up to the page limit and no further. DRL encourages organizations to use the given space effectively.
Additional information that successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award, may include:
1) Written responses and any revised application documents addressing any conditions or recommendations from the DRL Review Panel;
2) Completion of the Department’s Financial Management Survey, if receiving DRL funding for the first time;
3) Submission of required documents to register in the Payment Management System managed by the Department of Health and Human Services if receiving DRL funding for the first time, unless an exemption is provided;
4) Other requested information or documents included in the notification of intent to make a Federal award or subsequent communications prior to issuance of a Federal award.
D.3 Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)
Applicants must have an active registration in SAM (www.sam.gov) prior to submitting an application, must prove a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number, formerly referred to as a DUNS number, and must continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by the U.S. government.
The Unique Entity Identifier (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. SAM is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements. OMB designated SAM as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance. Under the law, it is mandatory to obtain a UEI number and register in SAM.
SAM requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM and to also maintain its active registration in SAM.
No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance or can participate in any activities in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR Part 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR Part 1989 Comp., p. 235).
DRL may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable UEI and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time DRL is ready to make an award, DRL may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.
An exemption from this requirement may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
1. An applicant is a foreign organization located outside of the U.S., does not currently have a UEI, and the Department determines that acquiring one is impractical given the geographic location; or
2. If the applicant’s identity must be protected due to possible endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
Please note: foreign organizations will be required to register with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) to receive a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code in order to register in SAM. NSPA will forward your registration request to the applicable National Codification Bureau (NCB) if your organization is located in a NATO or Tier 2 Sponsored Non-NATO Nation. (As of January 2015, NATO nations included Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America; and Tier 2 nations included Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, Israel, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Serbia, and Singapore.)
NSPA and/or the appropriate NCB forwards all NCAGE code information to all Allied Committee 135 (AC/135) nations, which as of January 2015 also included Afghanistan, Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Montenegro, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. All organizations are strongly advised to take this into consideration when assessing whether registration may result in possible endangerment.
D.4 Submission Dates and Times
Applications are due no later than 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), on Friday, December 18, 2015 on www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov under the announcement title “Promoting the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa” funding opportunity number DRLA-DRLAQM-16-025.
Grants.gov and Grantsolutions.gov automatically logs the date and time an application submission is made, and the Department of State will use this information to determine whether an application has been submitted on time. Late applications are neither reviewed nor considered unless the DRL point of contact listed in section G is contacted prior to the deadline and is provided with evidence of system errors caused by www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov that is outside of the applicants’ control and is the sole reason for a late submission. Applicants should not expect a notification upon DRL receiving their application.
If ultimately provided with a notification of intent to make a Federal award, applicants typically have two to three weeks to provide additional information and documents requested in the notification of intent. The deadlines may vary in each notification of intent and applicants must adhere to the stated deadline in the notification of intent.
D.5 Funding Restrictions
DRL will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization. No entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM is eligible for any assistance.
Project activities that provide training or other assistance to foreign militaries or paramilitary groups or individuals will not be considered for DRL funding given purpose limitations on funding.
Restrictions may apply to any proposed assistance to police or other law enforcement. Among these, pursuant to section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended(FAA), no assistance provided through this funding opportunity may be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country when there is credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. In accordance with the requirements of section 620M of the FAA, also known as the Leahy law, project beneficiaries or participants from a foreign government’s security forces may need to be vetted by the Department before the provision of any assistance.
Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-Federal award costs; however, the grants officer may approve pre awards cost on a case by case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under DRL awards. For additional information, please see DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015.
All application submissions must be made electronically via www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov. Both systems require registration by the applying organization. Please note: the Grants.gov registration process can take 10 business days or longer, even if all registration steps are completed in a timely manner.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that it has an active registration in
GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov and that an application has been received by GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov in its entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for applicants not being registered before the due date or for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.
GrantSolutions.gov is highly recommended for submission of all applications and is DRL’s preferred choice for receiving applications.
Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons.
Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable solicitation and these instructions.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications via www.grantsolutions.gov.
Applicants using GrantSolutions.gov for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration” as soon as possible. This process must be completed before an application can be submitted. Registration with GrantSolutions.gov usually occurs directly after an applicant submits their registration. To register with GrantSolutions.gov, click “Login to GrantSolutions” and follow the “First Time Users” link to the “New Organization Registration Page.” There are different ways to register your organization, click on the link that fits best.
Upon completion of a successful electronic application submission, the GrantSolutions system will provide the applicant with a confirmation page indicating the date and time (Eastern Time) of the electronic application submission as well as an official Application Number. This confirmation page will also provide a listing of all items that constitute the final application submission. Please save this page for your records.
GrantSolutions.gov Help Desk:
For assistance with GrantSolutions.gov accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact Customer Support at email@example.com or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.
Applicants who do not submit applications via GrantSolutions.gov may submit via www.grants.gov.
It is DRL’s preference that applications be submitted through GrantSolutions.gov.
Please be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from Grants.gov can take more than two weeks
Please refer to the Grants.gov website for definitions of various “application statuses” and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from Grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days.
For assistance with Grants.gov, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.
Should an applicant experience technical issues, contacted the applicable helpdesk, and is not receiving timely assistance (e.g. if you have not received a response after 2 days of contacting the helpdesk), you may contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G, who may assist in contacting the appropriate helpdesk but an applicant should document their efforts in contacting the help desk.
Also, applicants may contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G if experiencing technical issues with grants.gov or grantsolutions.gov that may result in a late submission.
E. Application Review Information
Evaluators will judge each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications.
Quality of Project Idea
Applications should be responsive to the NOFO, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. DRL prioritizes innovative and creative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build off existing successful projects in a new and innovative way from consideration. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities and how these efforts will be coordinated.
Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives
A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable results-focused and achievable in a reasonable time frame. A complete application must include a logic model to demonstrate how the project will have an impact on its proposed objectives. Applications should address how the project will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate. If local partners have been identified, DRL strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. If applicable, applications should identify target areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of subawardees, among other pertinent details. In particularly challenging operating environments, applications should include contingency plans for overcoming potential difficulties in executing the original work plan and address any operational or programmatic security concerns and how they will be addressed.
Institution’s Record and Capacity
DRL will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record of successful democracy and human rights projects, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives.
DRL strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most at risk and vulnerable populations, including women, youth, people with disabilities, members of racial and ethnic or religious minorities, and LGBTI persons. To the extent possible, applicants should identify and address considerations to support these populations in all proposed project activities and objectives, and should provide specific means, measures, and corresponding targets to include them as appropriate. Applicants should provide strong justifications if unable to incorporate the most at risk and vulnerable populations within proposed project activities and objectives. Applications that do not include this will not be considered highly competitive in this category.
DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate project cost-effectiveness in their application, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. However, cost-sharing or other examples of leveraging other resources is not required and does not need to be included in the budget. Inclusion in the budget does not result in additional points awarded during the review process. Budgets however should have low and/or reasonable overhead and administration costs and applicants should provide clear explanations and justifications for these costs in relation to the work involved. All budget items should be clearly explained and justified to demonstrate its necessity, appropriateness, and its link to the project objectives.
Please note: If cost-share is included in the budget then the recipient must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, DRL’s contribution may be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.
Applications should clearly delineate how elements of the project will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people, workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after DRL funding ceases.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation
Complete applications will include a detailed plan (both a narrative and table) of how the project’s progress and impact will be monitored and evaluated throughout the project. Incorporating a well-designed monitoring and evaluation component into a project is one of the most efficient methods of documenting the progress and results (intended and unintended) of a project. Applications should demonstrate the capacity to provide objectives with measurable outputs and outcomes and engage in robust monitoring and assessment of project activities.
The quality of the M&E plan will be judged on the narrative explaining how both monitoring and evaluation will be carried out, who will be responsible for those related activities. Projects that are at least 24 months or more than $500,000 are strongly encouraged to include an external mid-term and/or final evaluation. Explain how an external evaluation (mid-term and/or final) will be incorporated into the project implementation plan or how the project will be systematically assessed in absence of one. Please see DRL’s PSI for Applicants, updated in July 2015, for more information on what is required in the narrative.
The M&E plan will also be rated on the M&E performance indicator table. The output and outcome-based performance indicators should not only be separated by project objectives but also should match the objectives, outcomes, and outputs detailed in the logic model. Performance indicators should be clearly defined (i.e., explained how the indicators will be measured and reported) either within the table or with a separate Performance Indicator Reference Sheet (PIRS). For each performance indicator, the table should also include baselines and yearly and cumulative targets, data collection tools, data sources, types of data disaggregation, and frequency of monitoring and evaluation; There should also be metrics to capture how project activities target the most at risk and vulnerable populations or addresses their concerns, where applicable.
E.2 Review and Selection Process
DRL strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by a DRL Review Panel. The Department’s Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM) will determine technical eligibility for all applications. All applications for a given solicitation are then reviewed against the same seven criteria, which includes quality of project idea, project planning/ability to achieve objectives, institution’s record and capacity, inclusive programming, cost effectiveness, multiplier effect/sustainability, and project monitoring and evaluation.
In most cases, the DRL Review Panel includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate Department of State regional bureau (which includes feedback from US embassies), as well as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)(which includes feedback from USAID missions). In some cases, additional panelists may participate, including from other Department of State bureaus or offices, U.S. government departments, agencies, or boards, representatives from partner governments, or representatives from entities that are in a public-private partnership with DRL. At the end of discussion on an application, the Panel votes on recommending the application for approval by the DRL Assistant Secretary. If more applications are ultimately recommended for approval than DRL has funding available for, the Panel will rank the recommended applications in priority order for consideration by the DRL Assistant Secretary. The Grants Officer Representative (GOR) for the eventual award does not vote on the panel. All Panelists must sign non-disclosure agreements and conflicts of interest agreements.
DRL Review Panels may provide conditions and recommendations on applications to enhance the proposed project, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award.
To ensure effective use of DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify, and/or justify costs and project activities.
F. Federal Award Administration Information
F.1 Federal Award Notices
DRL will provide a separate notification to applicants on the result of their applications. Successful applicants will receive a letter electronically via email requesting that the applicant respond to panel conditions and recommendations. This notification is not an authorization to begin activities and does not constitute formal approval or a funding commitment.
Final approval is contingent on the applicant successfully responding to the panel’s conditions and recommendations, being registered in required systems, including the U.S. government’s Payment Management System (PMS), unless an exemption is provided, and completing and providing any additional documentation requested by DRL or AQM. Final approval is also contingent on Congressional notification requirements being met and final review and approval by the Department’s warranted grants officer.
The notice of Federal award signed by the Department’s warranted grants officers is the sole authorizing document. If awarded, the notice of Federal award will be provided to the applicant’s designated Authorizing Official via GrantSolutions to be electronically counter-signed in the system.
F.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements
The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 CFR Chapter 200 (Sub-Chapters A through F) shall apply to all non-Federal entities, except for assistance awards to Individuals and Foreign Public Entities (for more information on these exceptions, see Chapters 5, Federal Assistance to Individuals, and 6, Federal Assistance to Foreign Public Entities Directive.) Sub-Chapters A through E shall apply to all foreign organizations, and Sub-Chapters A through D shall apply to all U.S. and foreign for-profit entities.
The applicant/recipient of the award and any sub-recipient under the award must comply with all applicable terms and conditions, in addition to the assurance and certifications made part of the Notice of Award. The Department’s Standard Terms and Conditions can be viewed at https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Documents/2015DeptTermsAndConditionsForUSandForeignOrg.pdf.
Applicants should be aware that DRL awards will require that all reports (financial and progress) are uploaded to the grant file in GrantSolutions on a quarterly basis. The Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425) is the required form for the financial reports and must be submitted in PMS as well as downloaded and then uploaded to the grant file in GrantSolutions. The progress reports uploaded to the grant file in GrantSolutions must include page one (signed and completed) of the SF-PPR (Performance and Progress Report); a narrative attachment to the SF-PPR as described below; and the SF-PPR-B: Project Indicators (or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the grants officer) for the F Framework indicators.
Narrative progress reports should reflect the focus on measuring the project’s impact on the overarching objectives and should be compiled according to the objectives, outcomes, and outputs as outlined in the award’s Scope of Work (SOW) and in the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Statement. An assessment of the overall project’s impact, should be included in each progress report.
Where relevant, progress reports should include the following sections:
• Relevant contextual information (limited);
• Explanation and evaluation of significant activities of the reporting period and how the activities reflect progress toward achieving objectives, including meeting benchmarks/targets as set in the M&E plan. In addition, attach the M&E plan, comparing the target and actual numbers for the indicators;
• Any tangible impact or success stories from the project, when possible;
• Copy of mid-term and/or final evaluation report(s) conducted by an external evaluator; if applicable;
• Relevant supporting documentation or products related to the project activities (such as articles, meeting lists and agendas, participant surveys, photos, manuals, etc.) as separate attachments;
• Description of how the Recipient is pursuing sustainability, including looking for sources of follow-on funding;
• Any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan with an updated timeline of activities;
• Reasons why established goals were not met;
• Data for the required F Framework indicator(s) for the quarter as well as aggregate data by fiscal year using the SF-PPR-B: Project Indicators or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer. Evaluation indicators from the Foreign Assistance Framework can be found at http://www.state.gov/f/indicators/ ;
• Proposed activities for the next quarter;
• Additional pertinent information, including analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs, if applicable.
A final narrative and financial report must also be submitted within 90 days after the expiration of the award.
Please note: delays in reporting may result in delays of payment approvals and failure to provide required reports may jeopardize the recipients’ ability to receive future U.S. government funds.
DRL reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project
information during the award period.
G. Contact Information
For technical submission questions related to this solicitation, please contact Emma Friedheim at FriedheimER@state.gov.
For assistance with GrantSolutions.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please contact Customer Support at email@example.com or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.
For assistance with Grants.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.
For a list of federal holidays visit:
With the exception of technical submission questions, during the solicitation period U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas shall not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process has been completed and rejection and approval letters have been transmitted.
H. Other Information
Applicants should be aware that DRL understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information. However, applicants are advised that DRL cannot guarantee that such information will not be disclosed, including pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar statutes.
The information in this NOFO and DRL’s PSI for Applications, as updated in July 2015, is binding and may not be modified by any DRL representative. Explanatory information provided by DRL that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. DRL reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the project evaluation requirements.
This NOFO will appear on www.grants.gov, www.grantsolutions.gov, and DRL’s website http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.
Background Information on DRL and general DRL funding
DRL is the foreign policy lead within the U.S. government on promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally. DRL supports projects that uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, prevent atrocities, combat and prevent violent extremism, and build civil society around the world. DRL typically focuses its work in countries with egregious human rights violations, where democracy and human rights advocates are under pressure and where governments are undemocratic or in transition.
Additional background information on DRL and its efforts can be found on www.state.gov/j/drl and www.humanrights.gov.