Saturday, August 5, 2017
Department of State Spokesperson
August 5, 2017
The United States congratulates the people of Rwanda on their active and peaceful participation in the presidential election held August 4. However, we are disturbed by irregularities observed during voting and reiterate long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process.
We commend the Rwandan media for reporting on complaints of harassment of some opposition candidates and Rwandan citizens during the campaign. We likewise commend average citizens, the National Electoral Commission, and government officials for speaking out and addressing those complaints. We applaud the televised debate, while noting that voters’ understanding would have benefited from broader participation of the candidates themselves.
We remain concerned by the lack of transparency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates. We hope the new electoral law to be debated in the next session of Parliament will clarify that process well before the 2018 parliamentary elections.
The United States stands by the people of Rwanda in their efforts to build strong democratic and inclusive institutions in order to ensure long-term stability and a democratic, prosperous future for all.
Department of State Spokesperson
July 31, 2017
The United States condemns recurring violations of the ceasefire that have occurred in Mali between signatory armed groups to the 2015 Algiers Peace Accord. We urge the parties to end hostilities immediately and to strictly comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and to respect human rights, particularly with respect to civilians and prisoners. We are greatly disturbed at reports of reprisal killings of civilians and the discovery of unmarked grave sites in the areas of conflict. We welcome the inquiries led by the UN peacekeeping mission, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). If the allegations prove true, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
We applaud efforts to bring the parties together to agree to a cessation of hostilities, and we deplore the parties’ failure to do so. We call on all parties to redouble their efforts to abide by the ceasefire and fully implement the Algiers Peace Accord. The United States stands with the people of Mali as they work to build a country that is peaceful, prosperous, and united. The United States also supports the efforts of the Group of Five Sahel states (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) in creating a Joint Force and undertaking other actions to address threats that destabilize Mali and other parts of the sub-region and make lasting peace that much more elusive.
August 4, 2017
On behalf of the Government of the United States, our congratulations to the government and people of Niger as you celebrate your nation’s independence.
The United States will continue to work with Niger to encourage economic growth, assist with counterterrorism efforts, and support a vibrant civil society. We value our strong, multi-faceted partnership and commend Niger’ critical role in ensuring stability in the Sahel.
We extend to the people of Niger wishes for peace and prosperity as you celebrate the 57th anniversary of your independence.
August 1, 2017
On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the people of Benin as you celebrate the 57th anniversary of your national independence on August 1st.
The United States reaffirms its support of Benin and its goal of a better and more prosperous future. We use this opportunity to recognize both our commitments to partner on regional stability, sustainable economic growth, and universal respect for human rights.
Our best wishes to you on this special day.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Department of State
July 28, 2017
Representatives of the U.S. Government, private sector, and civil society will meet with nearly 1,000 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa during the State Department-sponsored Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit from July 31-August 2, in Washington, DC. The Mandela Washington Fellowship and Summit fosters and builds relationships that support and expand U.S.-Africa cooperation on shared goals the continent.
The Summit, held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, will feature an Expo with more than 100 organizations engaged with Africa, as well as a Congressional Forum and other leadership and networking sessions. The young African leaders are convening in Washington after six weeks of academic study and leadership training at 38 higher education institutions across the United States as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Alumni of the Fellowship are playing a role in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, the United States’ effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Government and is supported in its implementation by IREX.
Story: DC MOAA
On Friday, July 14, 2017, the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA) in partnership with Howard University, the UNESCO Center for Peace and the Commission on African Affairs hosted its third annual Young African ConneXions Summit (YAX) themed Strengthening Diaspora Partnerships. The Summit was held at the Howard University School of Business Auditorium as part of MOAA’s Community and Youth Engagement Outreach program.
Following the annual Young African ConneXions Summit, MOAA hosted its third annual Mandela Day of Service on Saturday, July 15, 2017. The agency was joined by volunteers at the Anacostia Park Skating Rink on 1800 Anacostia Drive, Washington, DC 20003, for 67 minutes of community service to commemorate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Please visit our Facebook page to view pictures of the events #YAX2017 and Mandela Day of Service
Department of State Spokesperson
July 28, 2017
The United States remains committed to working with Libya and our international partners to help resolve the political conflict and advance peace and long-term stability in Libya.
While the Libyan people must lead the process of achieving political reconciliation in their country, the international community plays an important role in supporting those efforts.
In this regard, we welcome the Joint Declaration from the July 25, meeting between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and General Khalifa Haftar, hosted outside of Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron. We call on all Libyans to support political dialogue and adhere to a cease-fire, as stated in the Joint Declaration.
The United States also welcomes new UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Ghassan Salamé as the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, which plays a critical role in advancing lasting peace and stability. We look forward to working with him to help Libyans reach a political solution.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
July 24, 2017
Building upon the success of the WiSci (Women in Science) Girls STEAM Camp held in Peru in 2016 and in Rwanda in 2015, this year’s WiSci Girls STEAM Camp will take place in Malawi, July 30–August 14. A public-private partnership designed to expand science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics (STEAM) exposure and opportunities for adolescent girls, the 2017 camp brings together 100 students from Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Zambia, and the United States.
Led by industry experts, WiSci 2017 focuses on the applications of science and technology in creating a safer, more prosperous, and secure world. Campers will learn about coding and app development, engineering and robotics, micro- and molecular biology, satellite mapping, and sustainable development. They will have the opportunity to present project ideas and designs that use the skills and tools they gained to address a social or development challenge. The camp will also provide the girls with leadership and communication skills, teamwork opportunities, cultural exchange, educational excursions, mentorship, and professional development and networks extending beyond the camp to continue participants’ engagement in STEAM fields.
The 2017 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp is led by founding partners the U.S. Department of State, United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, and the Intel Corporation, and sustaining partner Google. Additional programmatic support is provided by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, American Society for Microbiology, and NASA. The implementing partner for WiSci 2017 is World Learning.
The WiSci Girls STEAM camp is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to empower adolescent girls, especially in the STEAM fields, and to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
For more information on the WiSci Girls STEAM Camp, visit girlup.org/wisci, follow #WiSci2017 on social media, or contact Alex Campbell, CampbellAM2@state.gov or Anita Ostrovsky, Ostrovskya@state.gov.
July 30, 2017
On Friday, July 21, 2017, the new Ghanaian Ambassador to the U.S.–Dr. Baffour Adjei-Bawuah–presented his Letters of Credence to President Trump at an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.
The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.
Department of State Spokesperson
July 20, 2017
The United States welcomes the recent announcements by the Governments of Sudan and Saudi Arabia underscoring Sudan’s commitment to sustain positive dialogue with the United States and to continue collective efforts to fight terrorism. As outlined in the 2016 U.S. Country Report on Terrorism issued July 19, the United States notes Sudan’s improved counterterrorism efforts through enhanced interagency and international cooperation to address the threat from ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and its willingness to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan.
Department of State
July 14, 2017
The United States and Togo will co-host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lomé, Togo August 8-10. The Forum will bring together senior government officials from the United States and 38 Sub-Saharan African AGOA-eligible countries to discuss ways to boost economic cooperation and trade between the United States and Africa. The African Union and regional economic communities will also participate.
The theme of this year’s Forum is “The United States and Africa: Partnering for Prosperity through Trade.” The 2017 Forum will explore how countries can continue to maximize the benefits of AGOA in a rapidly changing economic landscape, and highlight the important role played by women, civil society, and the private sector in promoting trade and generating prosperity.
Representatives from the private sector, civil society, and the U.S.-sponsored African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) will participate in Forum activities August 8-9. The Ministerial plenaries will follow on August 9-10, bringing together senior government officials from the United States and the 38 African beneficiary countries.
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer will lead the U.S. delegation, which will include senior officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, as well as the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. African Development Fund. Members of Congress and their staff from both parties are also invited to attend the Forum.
The AGOA law, which enhances market access to the United States for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries, has been the cornerstone of the U.S. government’s trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa since 2000. The law mandates that each year a special Forum be convened to discuss issues related to the implementation of the law and issues of economic cooperation and trade in general.
For specific information about the AGOA Forum private sector dialogue, please visit: www.corporatecouncileonafrica.com.
For specific information about the civil society/AWEP event, please visit: http://www.agoacsonetwork.org/.
For information about AWEP Togo, please visit: http://aweptogo.tg/.
Additional questions may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of State
July 24, 2017
Today, the United States announced that through support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics.
Groundbreaking new PEPFAR data show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control across all age groups in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Additional PEPFAR-supported studies released in December 2016 for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in these countries.
In Swaziland, new HIV infections have been nearly halved among adults, and HIV viral load suppression – a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus – has doubled since 2011. These data suggest that Swaziland has met the global target for community viral load suppression among HIV-positive adults four years ahead of schedule. The Swaziland data is particularly important because PEPFAR funded a comprehensive survey in 2011-2012, which provides the critical baseline comparator of current results and progress.
Today’s findings demonstrate the remarkable impact of the U.S. government’s efforts, through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in close collaboration with African countries and other partners.
The United States is the largest bilateral donor to the global HIV/AIDS response. Through PEPFAR, the United States continues to invest in over 50 countries, ensuring access to services by all populations, including the most vulnerable and at-risk groups. Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the 13 highest-burden countries that have the greatest potential to control their epidemics by 2020 through the UNAIDS 90-90-90 framework and expansion of HIV prevention, leading PEPFAR to accelerate its efforts in these particular countries.
For more information about PEPFAR, visit: www.pepfar.gov
Story and Photo: The Carter Center
By Frank Richards
Dr. Frank Richards leads the Carter Center’s efforts to eliminate river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis), a parasitic disease transmitted by the bites of infected black flies.
There’s a famous line in the movie “Jaws” – after the stunned sheriff sees the monster shark for the first time, he says to the shark hunter: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
As The Carter Center tackles the monstrous challenge of eliminating river blindness in Nigeria, we’re gonna need a bigger plan, a bigger program, a bigger posse of volunteers—in short, a bigger paradigm. Our proposal to the MacArthur Foundation lays out a plan to do this that is entirely achievable with sufficient support; in other words, with a bigger budget.
But everyone involved, especially the millions of people in thousands of affected communities, must understand that to eliminate this curse, we need all hands on deck, and everyone needs to take the medication in the correct doses at the prescribed times. A Mectizan distribution program of this size, in the most populous nation in Africa and the most endemic for this disease worldwide, will require an exponential level of effort and perseverance; it has never been attempted at this scale.
We know our method works; we’ve used it to eliminate river blindness in Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. But Nigeria’s at-risk population is 100 times that of all of those places combined, so we have to scale everything up. Tens of thousands of volunteers will need to bring health education to their villages, measure for proper dosage and administer ivermectin tablets—medicine which is proven to stop transmission of the condition—and keep better records that will provide better data needed to track our progress. We will need a lot more volunteers, and each will need to be thoroughly trained, equipped and motivated. We’ll also need a lot more medication, storage space for it, and vehicles and drivers to distribute it. Once we’ve gained the advantage over river blindness, once it is gone from people and the environment, we can scale down all these activities for good.
This is a huge shark we are going after. But at The Carter Center, we don’t shy away from challenges. We believe that when the opportunity arises to make a terrible disease go away forever, we are morally obligated to give it our best shot.
Story and Photo: The Carter Center
By Rebecca Palpant Shimkets
Rebecca Palpant Shimkets, associate director in the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, develops and oversees the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.
Seeing South Africa’s mental health journalism program blossom fills me, along with Rosalynn Carter and everyone here at the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, with the kind of pride one feels when a family member receives a university degree. We are thrilled to have helped the program take its first steps.
In South Africa, like many other countries, mental health is shrouded in ignorance and stigma. Many people associate mental illness with a moral failure or witchcraft, but we know it is a health condition that can be treated.
Journalists have a powerful role to play in better informing the public, dispelling myths and misconceptions, and showing the real faces of mental illness — our neighbors, friends, colleagues, even ourselves. The media also can help shape public policy by shining a light on systemic failures and gaps in services, as well as providing a platform to discuss solutions.
In 2004, South Africa began developing ways for the media to better address mental health issues. The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism South Africa were created and awarded annually until 2011. A total of 14 fellowships were awarded before the South African Depression and Anxiety Group took over administration of the program with a vision for sustaining it without the Carter Center’s help.
That vision has never faltered. Zane Wilson and Marion Scher have found ways to train journalists, provide technical support to media outlets, and carry the torch The Carter Center ignited.
Just one example of a journalism fellow who has made a difference is Tamar Kahn of Business Day in Cape Town. Kahn was a 2006-07 fellow who has written extensively about the mental health issues faced by South African police officers and their families. Kahn uncovered a “tough man” mentality, a common cultural trait in South African men that was exacerbated by working in law enforcement. As a result, many officers lack the skills or inclination to seek the help they need. The publication of Kahn’s work was accompanied by a surge in coverage of mental health issues by South African newspapers and radio shows.
“It’s a way of taking our readers, I hope, to places that they would never go,” Kahn said. “And by showing them these places, perhaps they will be better informed about the challenges facing our police force and in turn pressure our policy-makers to improve the mental health services for police men and women.”
The mental health journalism landscape has changed dramatically in the past dozen years as more and more journalists have addressed the topic. It’s exciting to see Discovery Health declare that these issues are so important that the company will support a journalist to cover them using the standards and criteria established by The Carter Center.
Mrs. Carter and The Carter Center are enormously proud of all the fellows, of Zane and Marion for their determination to sustain the vision, and of Discovery Health for believing in the value of this work.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Africa: The Administration Extends Sudan Sanctions Review Period
07/11/2017 08:19 PM EDT
Department of State Spokesperson
July 11, 2017
Today, the President issued an Executive Order (E.O.) extending the review period established by E.O. 13761 of January 13, 2017, which set forth criteria for the revocation of certain sanctions on Sudan. The President’s E.O. extends the review period for an additional three months and provides for the revocation of those sanctions if the Government of Sudan (GOS) sustains the positive actions that gave rise to E.O. 13761, including maintaining a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan; improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan; and maintaining its cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism.
The United States will revoke the sanctions if the GOS is assessed to have sustained progress in these areas at the end of the extended review period. The general license issued by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which became effective on January 17, 2017, remains in place and broadly authorizes U.S. persons to process transactions involving persons in Sudan; engage in imports from and exports to Sudan; and engage in transactions involving property in which the GOS has an interest.
While we recognize that the GOS has made significant, substantial progress in many areas, the Administration has decided that some more time is needed for this review to establish that the GOS has sustained sufficient positive actions across all areas listed in E.O. 13761. We remain deeply committed to engagement with the GOS and working toward further progress on achieving a sustainable peace in Sudan, removing remaining obstructions to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and bolstering cooperation to counter terrorism and promote regional stability. Beyond these key areas connected with the potential revocation of most sanctions on Sudan and the GOS, the Administration is also committed to intensifying engagement with the GOS on a broader range of vital issues, including our ongoing dialogue on improving Sudan’s human rights and religious freedom practices, and ensuring that Sudan is committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.
Background Briefing on Sudan Sanctions
07/12/2017 03:03 PM EDT
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Senior Administration Officials
July 12, 2017
MODERATOR: Thank you. Thanks, everyone, for joining us for the background call on the administration’s decision yesterday to extend the review period for the revocation of certain sanctions on Sudan. You may have seen the statement that was released yesterday, so we wanted to bring some folks in to discuss the decision in greater detail. We have [Senior Administration Official One]; also [Senior Administration Official Two] and [Senior Administration Official Three]. I’d like to add that the call will be embargoed until the end of the call. You can refer to the officials as senior administration officials who are involved in the Sudan assessment process.
With that, I will turn it over to [Senior Administration Official One] to get a little bit more into the details of today’s decision. And let me just add that [Senior Administration Official Two] has to drop off the call early, so we’ll get to [Senior Administration Official Two] after [Senior Administration Official One]. [Senior Administration Official One], thank you. Go right ahead.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Good morning, everybody. I just would like to take a very quick moment to set the frame of what the decision – that took place. Executive Order 13761, issued in January 13, provided for sanctions relief for Sudan with respect to certain sanctions if the Government of Sudan sustained positive actions that gave rise to this order. And basically, these actions, just to be clear so we’re all on the same page, included maintaining a cessation of hostilities in the conflict areas in Sudan, continuing improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintaining cooperation with the U.S. on both regional conflicts and the threat of counterterrorism in the context of regional conflicts. A key issue is countering the Lord’s Resistance Army.
So the administration recognizes Sudan has made significant progress in these areas over the last six months, but given that a new administration came in in January and looking at where we’ve gone and where we will go, the administration decided that it needed more time to review Sudan’s actions and to establish that the government has demonstrated sustained, positive actions across all the areas that are set out in the executive order. As a result, the President yesterday issued a new executive order that extended the review period for three months. The Government of Sudan, if it is assessed at the end of that review period to have sustained positive actions as we’ve been discussing, the United States will revoke the sanctions. But there was a feeling that the additional time was needed to ensure that, given the scope and gravity of this decision, we reached the proper outcome.
The administration is committed to sustaining this discussion as well as engaging with the Government of Sudan on other vital issues outside of the five-track arrangement, including intensifying our ongoing and fairly intense already dialogue on improving Sudan’s human rights and religious freedom record, and also to ensure that, like we are on track with that throughout the globe, committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. And I’m sure that [Senior Administration Official Two] will have more to say on that if there’s questions.
A couple of other things I’d like to note: In that throughout the course of the extended review period, the OFAC license that was issued in January remains in effect, and what that does essentially is it authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions involving Sudan, authorizes imports and exports, and engage in transactions that involve property related to the Government of Sudan. So this general license allows these actions that had been prohibited under previous executive orders as it has for the last six months, and as we go forward – additional three months of the review period, this will stay in place.
One other thing I’d like to note before we go into questions is that the administration looked at all relevant and credible information in terms of where we’ve assessed where we’re going to date, and that this decision was reached through a senior-level process, interagency process, that took the views of the Department of State, the Treasury, the intelligence agencies, as well as USAID and others who have an interest and focus on these issues. But it was the President who made the final decision based on his – the recommendations of the senior levels of the interagency – interagency.
So I think with that I will stop and let any questions go to my colleagues who are also on the line [Senior Administration Officials Two and Three].
MODERATOR: Okay. [Senior Administration Official One], thank you so much. Go right ahead. Let’s take our first question, and if anyone – let me mention again: If anyone has a specific question for [Senior Administration Official Two], since she has to drop off the phone early, go right ahead with that as well.
OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question, please press * and then 1 on your telephone keypad. You’ll hear a tone indicating you’ve been placed in queue. To remove yourself from queue, simply press the # key. Once again, to ask your question, please press * and then 1 at this time. And one moment, please.
The first question is from Matina Stevis with The Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi. Thanks very much for doing this. It’s much appreciated. You will have seen in the last few moments that the Sudanese president has issued a statement saying he is suspending the sort of relevant commission that was working with the U.S. civil servants and other authorities on this. It is the view of the Sudanese Government that they have no more to do and that this decision effectively is a moving of goalposts. How do you respond to that, and how concerned are you that even this small extension might lead to backtracking of some of the progress that you guys have said has been made over the last few months and, indeed, nearly two years?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I don’t want to characterize the Sudanese reaction right now because we’ve – we’re having still senior-level engagement on this issue as we speak and going forward. So I’m not going to comment on this report. We don’t know if it’s accurate, and since it’s, I think, a press report, we will wait until we have, actually, a full set of senior-level engagement and discussion back and forth.
We welcomed what Sudan has done to bring itself more in line with international standards and integrate its economy in the marketplace. We want to have a positive relationship going forward; we’ve made that clear throughout the process, and we hope that Sudan will continue. And again, the key focus, I think, for the Sudanese has been working to achieve the full revocation of sanctions. And if, at the end of the three months, which is a relatively short extension, and I think one where we can actually make some additional progress, the stated intent, as our statement indicates, is to lift the sanctions.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you.
OPERATOR: If there are additional questions, please press * and then 1. Once again, to ask additional questions, please press * and then 1. And one moment please.
And we’ll go to the line of Robbie Gramer with Foreign Policy. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi. Thanks so much for doing this. I was wondering if you could comment on reports that came out a few months back on Sudan purchasing arms from North Korea. Have you talked at all with the Sudanese Government about clamping this down or stopping this, and have they assured you that would – they will?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah. Basically, if you’ll notice that we do mention North Korea in the statement the department issued. The implementation of Security Council resolutions in North Korea, and especially efforts to stem North Korean missile proliferation and financing activities, is a top security priority for the President. He’s said this many times. I want to note – I want to turn this over to [Senior Administration Official Two] if she has any comment on this.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Sure. Hello, everybody. Again, I’m [Senior Administration Official Two], and as [Senior Administration Official One] has said, and I’ll reiterate, and as you’ve seen in our statement, the Trump administration has made it really clear that the number one security issue for them and for our new government is North Korea. And that is a global, top security issue.
So yes, we have made our position clear with the Sudanese Government, and even outside of the five-track plan and in our longer-term engagement, for a very long time, that they must abide by the UN Security Council resolutions with regards to North Korea. So we continue to say that; that has not been added to the five-track framework, but it has been a continual concern we have with the Sudanese Government, and we’ve expressed that all along.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) add to that. (Inaudible.)
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I just wanted to add that we have been and we will continue to be talking about this issue. It is something that we are doing across the board with a range of countries. So again, I think that all our partners and – across the world, and all people – all the other countries that we’ve raised it with understand where this stands in our security priorities, and certainly the Sudanese do as well. And I think that we’ll stop there.
MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.
OPERATOR: The next question comes from the line of Kylie Atwood with CBS News. Please, go ahead.
QUESTION: Hello. Thanks for doing this. I have a question on the special envoy for South Sudan and Sudan here at the State Department. Is that a position that’s vacant right now? And if so, does that vacancy have anything to do with prolonging this policy review in that there’s no one who is a voice at the table that could be kind of an additional person to have conducted the review? Thanks.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: There is no special envoy for the moment, although [the] office is fully staffed and continues to work on these issues. What I can say is that basically, the appointment of a special envoy or a special representative for Sudan is under consideration by the administration as a part of State’s ongoing reorganizational design, and that’s really where we are right now. It would – I would not draw any other conclusions based on staffing right now.
MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.
OPERATOR: Next, the line of Matina Stevis, Wall Street Journal. Please, go ahead.
QUESTION: Sorry to use up my time, and then I hope other colleagues get to other questions. I just wanted to ask for your comments, since we have you here, on reports from expert analysts that have already been published that potentially, the decision was the outcome of lobbying both from human rights groups, by the likes of John Prendergast and former administration officials, as well as the so-called Christian right, which has historically been very active in lobbying for the isolation of Sudan and the split of South Sudan in the past. Do you guys have any comments on allegations that this – these influences and public statements are what’s really swayed you?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I don’t want to speculate on any of the internal deliberations. What I can say is that we haven’t made a decision. We decided to – as an administration, that more time was needed to assess this issue.
As we note, there has been some significant progress made across the five tracks. On the question of humanitarian access, there’s been progress in our ability to get to different places on ensuring that the access of some additional materials has happened. But I’m not going to speculate on where we are and what we are – where we’re going on this other than to say that these five issues continue to be extremely important in terms of where we want to go. Humanitarian access has always been a real problem, and I think we’ve succeeded in reversing a number of longstanding impediments. The extended review period is going to let us do even more, and we want to make sure that our principle – which is unfettered humanitarian access in all contexts – is something that we could go forward with with the Government of Sudan, and that restrictions on travel and other issues are – that are inconsistent with the freedom of movement are addressed and overcome.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: This is [Senior Administration Official Two]. I would just add to the question, too, that this was a robust policy review process to determine that we just needed more time, that the new administration needed more time. Our principal – all principals were involved, and like [Senior Administration Official One] said, this is not a decision; it is, in fact, just having – giving a new administration a little bit more time. But we did have a lot of review go on and we’re still going to continue that process.
MODERATOR: Okay, everyone. Thanks so much for joining the call. Let me just go over this again, that the call is a background call with senior administration officials who are involved with the Sudan assessment process. The embargo from this call has now been lifted. Thank you, everyone, so much for joining us today and thanks for our speakers, [Senior Administration Official One], [Senior Administration Official Two], and also [Senior Administration Official Three]. Thank you.
Department of State
July 10, 2017
Teenage girls from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, and Tunisia will participate in the U.S. Department of State’s TechGirls exchange program from July 12–August 3. During their three weeks in the United States, participants will strengthen and develop technical skills, form invaluable networks, and establish relationships with mentors that will influence their future tech careers. The TechGirls initiative empowers girls around the world to become leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
The 28 TechGirls will attend leadership clinics and project management workshops at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and in Washington, D.C. While at Virginia Tech, the teens will also participate in an eight day, interactive technology and coding camp conducted by the Department of Computer Science Training, participate in a day of job shadowing with top tech companies in the Washington, D.C.-area, and engage in community service activities. Top leaders in the tech industry from the United States and the Middle East and North Africa will mentor the girls throughout the program.
The State Department and program partner Legacy International have teamed up with both public and private sector partners for this year’s TechGirls program, including: AT&T, Byte Back, Echo & Co, FCC, i Strategies Lab, Islamic Relief, Nokia, NPR, Relief International, Synoptos, TechChange, Vox Media, and 18F.
TechGirls exchange alumnae, now totaling 130, have utilized the program’s lessons to train more than 2,300 peers in their home countries. The achievements of these alumnae and the talent of the incoming class contribute to the U.S. global commitment to advance the rights of women and girls around the world, as well as STEM education.
Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #TechGirls.
July 9, 2017
The birth of South Sudan in 2011 was marked by hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. The American people, like many around the world, celebrated as the South Sudanese forged a free and independent nation following years of strife. Six years later, on the occasion of South Sudan’s independence, the promise of 2011 has been supplanted in 2017 by a continuing civil war and devastating humanitarian crisis affecting millions.
The conflict that broke out in December 2013 set South Sudan on a precarious course, causing immense suffering, creating divisions and holding the country back. We deeply regret that the second chance made possible by the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in April 2016 was squandered. Following the collapse of the permanent ceasefire in July 2016, the armed conflict expanded across the country and the parties to the conflict remain unwilling to return to the negotiating table. The consequences have been dire: two million people displaced inside South Sudan, nearly two million people displaced as refugees outside of South Sudan, and six million people facing life-threatening hunger.
The United States remains deeply committed to a stable and inclusive South Sudan, and stresses once again that there is no military solution to this conflict. On this day meant to celebrate South Sudan’s creation, we call upon South Sudan’s leaders and all parties to end this self-destructive violence, to return to political dialogue, and to help South Sudan realize its full potential.
We extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the sixth anniversary of the nation’s independence. The United States will stand with the people of South Sudan and with all leaders who are working for peace, stability, and justice.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2017
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt
President Donald J. Trump spoke today aboard Air Force One with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt to address the ongoing dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. President Trump called on all parties to negotiate constructively to resolve the dispute, and he reiterated the need for all countries to follow through on their commitments at the Riyadh Summit to stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology.
The two presidents also discussed the threat from North Korea. President Trump stressed the need for all countries to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea, stop hosting North Korean guest workers, and stop providing economic or military benefits to North Korea.
June 16, 2017
Story: MCC website
Spotlight on Cabo Verde: Expanding Access to Water and Sanitation is Critical to Economic Growth
Women, the poor and other vulnerable groups are particularly impacted by the shortcomings of the water and sanitation sector in developing countries like Cabo Verde. Yet, women and the poor are seldom represented in national policy conversations and decision-making. At the local level, utilities rarely design services that address the challenges that these groups face in accessing and paying for water and sanitation. But in Cabo Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, this is changing.
In partnership with the Government of Cabo Verde, MCC is supporting reforms to the country’s major water and sanitation institutions and the development of a financially sound basis for the delivery of water and sanitation services — from clean tap water to safe wastewater removal. By considering women, the poor and other disadvantaged populations in making these reforms, along with improving accountability, the Government of Cabo Verde is expanding access to and affordability of these vital services to help people lift themselves out of poverty.
Read more about MCC’s partnership with the Government of Cabo Verde in our blog post from Naomi Cassirer, MCC Gender and Social Inclusion Director, and Lona Stoll, MCC Deputy Vice President for Sector Operations.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Thursday, June 15, 2017
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2017
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt
President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt. The two presidents agreed on the importance of all countries implementing the agreements reached in Riyadh to fight terrorism, counter extremism, and stop the funding of terrorist groups. President Trump also emphasized the importance of maintaining unity among Arab countries.
Department of State Spokesperson
June 8, 2017
The United States congratulates the people of Lesotho for participating peacefully in national elections on June 3, 2017. The United States looks forward to working productively with a new Lesotho government as soon as a coalition is finalized and a new Prime Minister is sworn in. We also commend Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission for leading a well-managed and credible electoral process and all major political parties for accepting the outcome.
We welcome the robust engagement of international observer missions from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, the Commonwealth, and other well-regarded organizations. SADC, in particular, has been a strong partner to Lesotho during a difficult period over the past three years. With its observer mission, SADC demonstrated once again that it holds Lesotho’s governing institutions to a high standard and that SADC itself has a valuable role to play in promoting democracy and good governance in the region.
Political parties in Lesotho signed a pledge to engage seriously after the election in a process of reform, including of the security sector, the constitution, and the public sector. We urge those parties – and the new government – to engage seriously in a reform process that is independent, transparent, and inclusive of all key stakeholders. Implementation of these reforms is critically important to Lesotho’s sustained political stability and consolidation of its democratic institutions.
The United States looks forward to working with Lesotho’s new government and the Basotho people to advance our longstanding mutual interests in economic development, trade, health care, and the strengthening of democratic institutions.
This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity, DRLA-DRLAQM-17-
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345
Application Deadline: August 4, 2017
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 help prevent and address gender-based violence in Tunisia. DRL seeks to enhance the ability of Tunisian government and civil society stakeholders to combat gender-based violence (GBV) by supporting advocacy efforts for improved legal protection, ensuring victim-sensitive implementation of GBV legislation, increasing rights and GBV awareness, and developing effective reporting and service-provision mechanisms. Program approaches could include, but are not limited to:
- Support advocacy efforts to promote the adoption and effective implementation of comprehensive GBV legislation;
- Develop policies, procedures and referral systems to ensure comprehensive, victim-centered services for survivors of GBV, including legal, medical, economic and psychosocial support;
- Develop and improve GBV reporting mechanisms and increase awareness of mechanisms;
- Support rights awareness campaigns, including efforts to change societal attitudes that stigmatize survivors of GBV and prevent survivors from accessing assistance and formally reporting crimes;
- Support the establishment of shelters for victims of GBV and provide training for shelter staff;
- Connect Tunisian stakeholders with regional and international networks to exchange best practices and lessons learned in combatting GBV;
- Support the establishment of the National Observatory to Combat Violence against Women, including training staff on data collection and statistical analysis in coordination with other government and civil society stakeholders;
- Conduct targeted training for Ministry of Women and Family Affairs staff, civil society, law enforcement and judicial actors on best practices in the implementation of GBV-related legislation, appropriately investigating gender-based violence cases, and supporting victims.
DRL is conscious of the ever-changing security situation in Tunisia and the broader NEA region. With this in mind, applicants are required to submit a contingency plan and risk assessment in order to demonstrate situational awareness and preparedness. Security plans must address safety for in-person events and recruitment for said events, as well as means to secure data collection and online programs or communications.
A proven ability to implement programs in Tunisia and an understanding of the current state of GBV and gender issues in Tunisia must be demonstrated. As part of the proposal narrative, or as an annex to the proposal submission, applicants are encouraged to submit lessons learned from past programming in combatting GBV and regional and/or Tunisia-specific experience that demonstrate how the implementer has safely operated and responded to challenges, learning from both successes and failures, in the operating environment. Successful proposals will demonstrate the projects’ potential to have an immediate impact as well as contribute to long-term, sustainable reforms. Proposals will not be deemed competitive if they cannot demonstrate sustainability independent of continued DRL funding.
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.
B. Federal Award Information
DRL anticipates having approximately $750,000 available to support approximately one to two successful applications submitted in response to this NOFO, subject to the availability of funding. Applications should not request less than $450,000 and no more than $750,000. Applicants should include an anticipated start date of September 2017 and the period of performance should be between 18 months to 3 years.
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, and (d) 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.
DRL anticipates awarding either a grant or cooperative agreement depending on the needs and risk factors of the program. The final determination on mechanism will be made by the Grants Officer. If a cooperative agreement is awarded, DRL expects to be substantially involved during its implementation. Examples of substantial involvement can include:
- 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;
- Approval of sub-award recipients, concurrence on the substantive provisions of the sub-awards, and coordination with other cooperating agencies;
- Other approvals that will be included in the award agreement.
C. Eligibility Information
For application information, please see the proposal submission instructions on our website.
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 some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
For-profit entities should be aware that its applications may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, 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 private sector partners 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.
The Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, available at https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Pages/TermsandConditions.aspx will apply to any award(s) made under this solicitation.
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 “Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) Notice of Funding Opportunity: Combatting Gender Based Violence in Tunisia” funding opportunity number “DRLA-DRLAQM-17-076.” 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. It is DRL’s preference that applications be submitted through GrantSolutions.gov
D.2 Content and Form of Application Submission
For all application documents, please ensure:
- 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);
- All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments;
- All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and,
- 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:
- Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms.
- If your organization engages in lobbying the U.S. government or Congress, or pays for another entity to lobby on your behalf, the SF-LLL “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form is also required.
- Cover Page (not to exceed one  page, preferably in Microsoft Word) that includes a table with the project title, target country/countries, thematic area, project synopsis, and name and contact information for the application’s main point of contact.
- Executive Summary (not to exceed one  page, preferably in Microsoft Word) that outlines project goals, objectives, and activities.
- Table of Contents (not to exceed one  page, preferably in Microsoft Word) listing all documents and attachments, with page numbers.
- Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten  pages, preferably in Microsoft Word). Please note the ten page limit does not include the Table of Contents, Cover Page, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, or Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA). Applicants are encouraged to combine multiple documents in a single Word Document or PDF (i.e., Cover Page, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, and Proposal Narrative in one file).
- Budget (preferably as an Excel workbook) that includes three  columns containing the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and the total budget. A summary budget should also be included using the OMB-approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample) in a separate tab. Costs must be in U.S. dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for subgrantees should be included in additional tabs within the Excel workbook (if available at the time of submission).
- Budget Narrative (preferably as a Word Document) 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.
- Your organization’s most recent A-133 audit (if applicable), F Audit, or standard audit.
- Logic Model (not to exceed two  pages, preferably in Microsoft Word).
- Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative (not to exceed two  pages).
- Monitoring and Evaluation Performance Indicator Table (not to exceed four  pages in Microsoft Word).
- Risk Analysis (not to exceed one  page, preferably in Microsoft Word).
- Key Personnel (not to exceed one  page, preferably as a Word Document): Please include short bios that demonstrate relevant professional experience. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
- Timeline (not to exceed one  page): The timeline of the overall proposal should include activities, evaluation efforts, and program closeout.
Strong applications will also contain the following:
- Individual Letters of Support and/or Memorandum of Understanding Letters of support and MOUs must be specific to the project implementation (e.g. from proposed partners or sub-award recipients) and will not count towards the page limit.
DRL reserves the right to request additional documents not included in this NOFO. Additionally, to ensure that all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL Panel will review from the first page of each section up to the page limit and no further.
Note: 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.2.3 Additional Information Requested
Successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award, will include:
- If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
- Written responses and revised application documents addressing conditions and recommendations from the DRL Review Panel;
- Completion of the Department’s Financial Management Survey, if receiving DRL funding for the first time;
- 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);
- 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.
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.
All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), formerly referred to as DUNS, and an active registration with the SAM before submitting an application. DRL may not review applications from or make awards to applicants that have not completed all applicable UEI and SAM requirements. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.
Note: The process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.
- If you are based in the United States or pay employees within the United States, prior to registering in SAM you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code.
- If you are based outside of the United States and do not pay employees within the United States, you do not need an EIN from the IRS. However, you will need a NATO CAGE (NCAGE) code before you can have an active registration in SAM.
For further guidance on the registration process, please see the SAM.gov Registration Guide on DRL’s website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. Please refer to 2 CFR 25.200 for additional information.
An exemption from these requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
- An applicant is a foreign organization located outside of the United States without a UEI and the Department determines that acquiring one is impractical given the geographic location; or
- If an applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
Note: Foreign organizations will be required to register with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) to receive a 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 March 2016, 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 March 2016 also included Afghanistan, Argentina, Belarus, 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 August 4, 2017 on www.grants.gov or www.grantsolutions.gov under the announcement title “Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) Notice of Funding Opportunity: Tunisia Gender Based Violence Program” funding opportunity number “DRLA-DRLAQM-17-076”.
Grants.gov and Grantsolutions.gov automatically log 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.
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.
Project activities whose direct beneficiaries are 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-award costs; however, the grants officer may approve pre-award costs 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 August 2016: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/260979.htm.
D.6 Application Submission
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. Applicants are required to document that the application has been received by GrantSolutions.gov or Grants.gov in its entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for disqualification that result from applicants not being registered before the due date, for system errors in either GrantSolutions or Grants.gov, or other errors in the application process. Additionally you must save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.
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.
DRL encourages organizations to submit applications during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00AM- 5:00PM Eastern Time). If an applicant experiences technical difficulties and has contacted the appropriate helpdesk but is not receiving timely assistance (e.g. if you have not received a response within 48 hours of contacting the helpdesk), you may contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO in section G. The point of contact may assist in contacting the appropriate helpdesk, but an applicant should also document their efforts in contacting the help desk. Applicants may also contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO if experiencing technical issues with grants.gov or grantsolutions.gov that may result in a late submission.
Applicants experiencing technical difficulties should follow these three steps:
- Contact the helpdesk for either Grants.gov or GrantSolutions immediately.
- Document (including screenshots) technical issues AND efforts to contact the helpdesk.
- Submit all of the required documents to the DRL point of contact listed in the solicitation before the deadline.
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. Additionally you must remember to save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.
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 8AM – 5PM 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. Additionally you must remember to save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.
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.
E. Application Review Information
E.1 Proposal Review Criteria
The Panel will evaluate each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications. Please use the below criteria as a reference but do not structure your application according to the sub-sections.
Quality of Project Idea
Applications should be responsive to the program framework and policy objectives identified in the solicitation, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms, DRL prefers new approaches that do not duplicate efforts by other entities. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. 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. Proposals that promote creative approaches to recognized ongoing challenges are highly encouraged. DRL strives to ensure the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable or at-risk populations. DRL prioritizes project proposals with inclusive approaches for advancing these rights.
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 activities will have an impact on its proposed objectives. The logic model should match the objectives, outcomes, key activities and outputs described in the narrative. 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 sub-awardees, among other pertinent details.
DRL recognizes that all programs have some level of risk due to internal/external variables that have the potential to adversely affect a program. Risk management should address how the program design incorporates the identification, assessment, and management of key risk factors. DRL will review the risk analysis based on the organization’s ability to identify risks that could have an impact on the overall program as well as how the organization will manage these risks.
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 programs, 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. Projects should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources.
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 minority groups, 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 must 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 are not required. Inclusion of cost-sharing in the budget does not result in additional points awarded during the review process. Budgets 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 necessity, appropriateness, and connection to the project objectives.
Please note: If cost-share is included in the budget, 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 M&E Narrative and M&E Plan, which detail how the project’s progress will be monitored and evaluated. Incorporating well-designed monitoring and evaluation processes into a project is an efficient method for documenting the change (intended and unintended) that a project seeks. Applications should demonstrate the capacity to provide objectives with measurable outputs and outcomes.
The quality of the M&E sections will be judged on the narrative explaining how both monitoring and evaluation will be carried out, and who will be responsible for those related activities. Explain how an external evaluation will be incorporated into the project implementation plan or how the project will be systematically assessed in the absence of one. Please see the section on Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative above for more information on what is required in the narrative.
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 and proposal narrative. 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 quarterly 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. Please see the section on Monitoring and Evaluation Plan above for more information on what is required in the plan.
E.2 Review and Selection Process
DRL strives to ensure that 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 technically eligible applications for a given solicitation are reviewed against the same seven criteria, which include quality of project idea, project planning/ability to achieve objectives, institutional record and capacity, inclusive programming, cost effectiveness, multiplier effect/sustainability, and project monitoring and evaluation.
Additionally, the Panel will evaluate how the application addresses the solicitation request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. DRL may also take into consideration the balance of the current portfolio of active projects, including geographic or thematic diversity, if needed.
In most cases, the DRL Review Panel includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate Department of State regional bureau (to include feedback from U.S. embassies), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (to include 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 the panel’s discussion about 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 can fund, 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. 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 http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm.
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.
Please note: delays in reporting may result in delays of payment approvals and failure to provide required reports may jeopardize the recipient’s’ 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 Allison Colburn at ColburnA@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 August 2016, 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, Embassy Tunis website, 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.