Public Affairs Small Grants.

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana requests proposals for funding for its 2018 Public Diplomacy Grants program. Follow all instructions carefully. Click the link for detailed information on the grants.

U.S. Embassy Ghana
Notice of Funding Opportunity: Public Affairs Small Grants

Opening Date: July 12, 2018
Closing Date: August 10, 2018

All projects must begin before September 30, 2018. This does not mean that the activity must be completed before September 30, 2018, but preparation for the activity must begin before that date. We recommend submitting your proposal early to allow time to address any difficulties that may arise.

Email: PASAccraGrant@state.gov

Eligibility Information

The Public Affairs Section encourages proposals from:

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.

Funding Opportunity Description

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana requests proposals for funding for its 2018 Public Diplomacy Grants program. Please read and follow all instructions carefully.

Purpose of Grant: Public Diplomacy grants should address one (or more) of U.S. Embassy Ghana’s strategic goals, which are:

  • Improve Governance, Strengthen Democratic Institutions, and Promote Accountability
  • Promote Opportunity and Development by Investing in Health and Education
  • Maintain and Bolster Peace and Security
  • Spur Sustained Economic Growth, Trade and Investment

Activities that fall under these goals and may qualify for funding include (but are not limited to):

  • Combatting corruption and strengthening accountability
  • Encouraging and supporting the media and civil society (including women, rural residents, economically and politically disadvantaged groups, and youth) to better advocate for improved government services and to play an increasingly effective role in good governance
  • Promoting civic education and youth participation in civics, democratic processes, volunteerism, and community service
  • Promoting the equal rights of all citizens and the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized groups within political and societal structures
  • Fostering media ethics and professionalism
  • Developing media literacy among youth, civil society, media, academia, and digital communicators
  • Encouraging lifelong literacy and a passion for reading
  • Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills in youth
  • Countering violent extremism
  • Promoting inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue
  • Promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and business development
  • Increasing human capacity, particularly among women, rural residents, and other politically and economically disadvantaged people, to promote broader participation in the economy

The following activities to do not qualify for Public Affairs funding:

  • Fees and travel costs to attend conferences in the United States
  • Organizational start-up costs
  • Ongoing salaries, operating costs or capital improvements
  • Office equipment
  • Paying to complete activities begun with other funds
  • Projects of a commercial or profit-making nature
  • Projects that are inherently political in nature or that contain the appearance of partisanship or support to individual or single party electoral campaigns
  • Projects that support specific religious activities
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Academic or analytical research (if not part of a larger project)
  • Construction projects
  • Vehicles
  • Scholarships
  • Projects whose primary aim is the institutional development of the organization itself
  • Soli, or any fees for news coverage
  • Representational expenses, such as receptions (Exceptions: expenses for coffee breaks and working lunches can be funded; alcohol, however, cannot)

American Content

Projects must incorporate some element of American content. “American content” may take the form of American partners, American themes and materials, or inviting U.S. Embassy staff to participate in and/or speak at grant-funded activities.

Funding Information

Minimum Award Amount: $3,000
Maximum Award Amount: $25,000
Average Award Amount: $5,000 – $10,000

Projects that include cost-sharing from the applicant or third-party funders will be given preference. Proposals should explain clearly other likely sources of funding or in-kind participation.

All grant awards are subject to the availability of funds from the U.S. Department of State. Budgets must be submitted in U.S. dollars.

Project and Budget Periods

Projects must be completed in one year or less. PAS may consider proposals for continuation grants, beyond the initial budget period, subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the applicants, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. government.

Because grants are contingent on the availability of funds from the U.S. Department of State, applicants are encouraged to submit proposals with flexible start dates. Proposals that are selected for funding must be initiated no later than September 30, 2018, and generally be completed within one year of their commencement.

Proposal Submission and Deadline

Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to use the grant proposal template provided under the “Additional Resources” heading to the right.

Proposals should be submitted via email to the Public Affairs Section using the following email address: PASAccraGrant@state.gov. Proposals must be submitted no later than Friday, August 10, 2018, at 1800 GMT. Applicants must complete and submit a detailed budget with all grant requests.

Review and Selection Process

Each proposal submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the criteria outlined below. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project and to determine the likelihood of its success. The criteria are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of a proposal. Proposals will be reviewed on the basis of their completeness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail.

Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to use the grant proposal template under the “Additional Resources” heading to the right. Applicants must submit a full project description, including a detailed narrative that outlines the plan of action, describing the scope of the proposed work and how it will be accomplished. The narrative should be accompanied by a detailed budget that includes all program costs and clearly indicates the proposing organization’s cost-share and/or in-kind participation.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria:

Audiences – The project should seek to influence a specific group of Ghanaian residents (based on age, profession, geographic location, gender, and/or other demographic factor) directly relevant to achieving the strategic goals noted above.

Goals and Objectives – The project addresses one or more of the strategic goals outlined above and is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

American Content – Projects that include significant American content (such as American speakers, American materials, U.S. Embassy participation, or a theme or topic originating in, or inspired by, U.S. history or society) will also be more favorably evaluated.

Strengths and Innovation – The proposal should clearly describe how the applicant will execute the program within the proposed time frame and articulate an innovative strategy or plan. Projects that reflect geographic diversity and gender equality will be more favorably evaluated.

Organizational Capacity – The individual or organization applying for the grant has expertise in one or more of the areas falling under the Embassy’s strategic goals and demonstrates the ability to perform the proposed activities.

Sustainability – The applicant demonstrates a clear plan for sustainable activity or impact of the activity after the grant period of performance.

Budget and Budget Justification – The budget and narrative justification are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities. The budget does not include funding for non-allowable activities. Proposals that include cost-sharing with the applicant or third-parties will be viewed more favorably.

Publicity/Media Plan – The applicant should include a plan to amplify the impact of the program on specific audiences.

Monitoring and Evaluation – The applicant should outline how specifically the grant will be monitored and evaluated for its overall effectiveness and impact, with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely indicators, whenever possible.

Award Administration

The grant award shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer (GO). The GO is the U.S. government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants. The GO is assisted by the Grants Officer Representative (GOR), who works with the GO to make sure that all assistance awards are administered correctly. The GOR may be the primary point of contact for grantees. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient. Organizations whose proposals will not be funded will also be notified in writing.

We will make all funding decisions by August 30, 2018.

All awards issued under this announcement will require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement. The disbursement of funds may be tied to submission of these reports in a timely manner. All other details related to award administration will be specified in the award agreement.

On a Mission: Foreign Service Specialist

How one woman found her dream career working at the U.S. Department of State.

The U.S. Department of State is the nation’s leading foreign affairs agency, but surprisingly, many individuals, especially African-Americans, are unfamiliar with what the agency does.

And Chimere was no different. Read on and see how this dynamic engineer discovered the U.S. Department of State at a career fair, and changed the trajectory of her life.

EBONY: How did you begin your journey with the U.S. Department of State?

Chimere: I was recruited straight out of college, but it’s an interesting story. With about two months to go until graduation, I found myself without any job prospects—despite my good grades and internship experience. Since I had been an active member of Clemson’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), I knew that the organization had a career fair coming up in late March.

So, I traveled across the country to Anaheim, CA hoping to secure employment at the career fair. There were more than 200 companies and government agencies there, but after walking the aisles for hours, I realized that the need for computer engineers wasn’t as strong as I had hoped. And as I walked away, my optimistic feelings began to take on a more somber tone.

But just as I was about to walk back to my hotel room, something (I call it my guardian angel) told me to walk down the last aisle. I’d passed it before, but had dismissed it because I didn’t think any companies would be setup in such an obscure location. But walking down that last aisle changed my life forever.

There was a booth that had a poster with the words “computers” and “hacking” on it and I was immediately intrigued. Now, I knew it wasn’t computer programming, but I figured that it was worth looking into! I spoke with the Diplomatic Security (DS) recruiters at the booth, and they told me about the chance to travel worldwide, live abroad, obtain a security clearance, and represent America – all with a federal government organization of which I had never heard, the U.S. Department of State.

After receiving more information and chatting with the recruiters at the booth a bit more, I agreed to be interviewed by a now fellow Security Engineering Officer (SEO). I was given a conditional offer at the interview and came on board as an SEO with the Department of State six months later. I’ve been happy ever since.

EBONY: Were you nervous about the prospect of living overseas?

Chimere: Granted, I was a little nervous at first. Remember, I’m a country girl from South Carolina so, you know, I had only traveled distances maybe two or three states over, stayed for about a week or so. But I’d never been that far apart from my family before. But depending upon where you’re posted you can keep in touch with your family pretty regularly via emails and such. Plus, when you work for the Department of State you’re never alone. There’s always someone watching out for your safety.

EBONY: What is your title and where is work located?

Chimere: I’m a Foreign Service Specialist, serving as a Security Engineering Officer with a focus on technical security policy. I’m currently posted in Washington, D.C.

EBONY: What does the U.S. Department of State do exactly?

Chimere: (Laughs.) I get that question a lot. The Department of State is the leading U.S. foreign affairs agency. We have over 265 diplomatic locations around the world including embassies, consulates, and missions. Our primary purpose is to maintain diplomatic relations with most countries in the world, including quite a few international organizations, while shaping a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world that protects American interests abroad. Whew!

EBONY: Wow, that’s quite an answer. Is that all that the DOS is known for?

Chimere: Oh, no. We’re responsible for promoting peace and stability in areas of vital interest to America, including helping developing nations establish stable economic environments. We also have a number of domestic and international locations where we provide information and services to U.S. citizens traveling abroad, including issuing passports. And, we also issue visas to foreigners wishing to visit the United States.

EBONY: Oh, so you don’t have to live abroad to work for the U.S. Department of State?

Chimere: Not at all. There are a number of domestic and international positions available. Foreign Service Officers and Foreign Service Specialists work abroad, while Civil Service professionals work stateside. We also have internship and fellowship programs for students, and executive development programs for professionals.

EBONY: What does your particular job as a Foreign Service Specialist entail?

Chimere: Well, it can pretty much run the gamut. I’m part of a team that repairs and installs alarm systems and cameras at U.S. embassies internationally. I can travel as a part of the advanced team for the Secretary of State doing inspections overseas. I also inspect the network at various Department of State embassies overseas.

EBONY: Where are some of the places that you’ve traveled to so far?

Chimere: Hmm, let’s see. I’ve actually had the chance to travel quite a bit during my time with the Department of State. I’ve been to about 16 different countries including Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Mexico, and Peru. I also served in Dakar, Senegal while I was covering seven other embassies in seven other countries, ranging from Guinea-Conakry to Cape Verde.

EBONY: Is it all “work and no play” overseas?

Chimere: Well, it is true that a career as a Foreign Service Specialist or Officer is challenging, but you do have time to enjoy yourself. Personally, I was involved in quite a few embassy activities. While I was in West Africa, I ran the concession stand for WAIST (West African Invitational Softball Tournament) and I found other small groups that I could join locally.

EBONY: How do you find activities to enjoy yourself?

Chimere: Whenever I’m assigned to a new post, I try to attend local concerts and events to help immerse myself in that culture. And I’ve found that doing so helps me make friends, too. So, you can definitely make a social life for yourself overseas.

EBONY: Can you tell us about some of the experiences or adventures you’ve had?

Chimere: My time with the State Department has blessed me with experiences beyond my wildest childhood dreams. My Specialist training brought along a lot of firsts for me: first time repairing various security systems, first time shooting a gun, first time purposely wrecking a car (defensive driving), and the first time traveling abroad. It also afforded me the pleasure of meeting Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Dr. Condoleezza Rice. To be able to do that was just incredible for me. Basically, I was looking for an opportunity that challenged me and offered me the opportunity to learn something new every day. And let me tell you, the U.S. Department of State has not disappointed!

EBONY: Can you tell us one of your success stories?

Chimere: Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I mean, when you work here, you’re pretty much set up for success. Between all of the training and opportunities for mentorship, you really have the chance to shine. Let’s see…well, my very first overseas tour took me to Dakar, Senegal, where I actually replaced the SEO who recruited me!  And let me tell you, those were some big shoes to fill! I adapted to a culture that was completely different from what I knew, all while exercising “technical diplomacy” with my U.S. and Foreign National technical security counterparts. I also oversaw eight employees in the Engineering Service Center (ESC) Dakar and provided technical security support and advice to seven other U.S. Embassies in West Africa.

EBONY: What do you like most about being a Foreign Service Specialist?

Chimere: Well for me, I thrive on challenge and excitement. And working here has been a very educational and challenging experience for me—but pretty rewarding as well. It definitely got me out of my comfort zone, and gave me the opportunity to serve and represent my country overseas without carrying a gun. And ultimately, that’s what keeps me going —and happy—at  the State Department. The ability to learn a new skill or learn to wire up an alarm system by myself beats working in a cube 24/7. And truthfully, there’s always something exciting going on.

EBONY: So, what’s next for you on the job?

Chimere: This fall I will be transferring to my fourth posting with the Department of State, which will allow me to focus on computer security. I’ll also have the chance to give back to the Department by recruiting potential SEO candidates at various colleges and universities. And, of course, I’ll be recruiting at the NSBE National Conventions where I began my career.

EBONY: What would say to people interested in working at the U.S. Department of State?

Chimere: You know, I meet quite a few engineers at career fairs, and I always tell them the same thing. Yes, I know there are quite a few avenues for engineering careers, but if you want a job that’s truly an out-of-the-box experience, I recommend joining the Department of State. It’s an incredible experience. (Source EBONY)