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Funding Opportunity Title: Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) 2024
Funding Opportunity Number: EMB-Brazzaville-PDS-AEIF-FY24-04
January 12, 2024


Notice of Funding Opportunity


Funding Opportunity Title: Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) 2024

Funding Opportunity Number: EMB-Brazzaville-PDS-AEIF-FY24-04

Deadline for Applications: February 12, 2024

CFDA Number: 19.022 – Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs

Total Amount Available: $15,000 – $35,000

    The Embassy of the United States in the Republic of Congo announces an open competition for past participants (“alumni”) of exchange programs sponsored through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the State Department and offered through the Public Diplomacy Section of U.S. Embassy Brazzaville to submit applications to the 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2024).

AEIF provides alumni of U.S. government-sponsored and facilitated exchange programs with funding to expand on skills gained during their exchange experience to design and implement innovative solutions to global challenges facing their community.  Since its inception in 2011, AEIF has funded nearly 500 alumni-led projects around the world through a competitive global competition.

This year, the AEIF call for applications in the Republic of the Congo seeks proposals from teams of at least two alumni that meet all program eligibility requirements and specifically address one of the two themes described below.  Exchange alumni interested in competing for the AEIF 2024 should submit proposals to pasbrazza@state.gov by February 5, 2024, at 9:00 am (WAT).

Program Objectives:

Proposals must specifically address one of the two following themes:

Theme 1:  Promote Public Commitment to Preserve and Protect Congo’s Environment

Encourage an ecological mindset in the Congolese public, particularly among the youth, by designing a project that boosts their personal involvement in efforts to preserve and protect Congo’s environment.

The project could include but is not limited to the following activities:

  1. Organize a campaign to clean schools, parks, or other public areas.
  2. Design an informational campaign to discourage littering and promote clean neighborhoods.
  3. Develop a training or mentoring program to promote environmentally friendly economic development in forest communities.
  4. Design training to promote green energy.



Theme 2.  Promote citizenship and civic participation

Improve youth civic participation, particularly young women, and youth from underrepresented groups, including but not limited to people with disabilities and indigenous communities, by providing them with tools to participate in civic leadership activities.

The project could include but is not limited to the following activities:

  1. Develop a curriculum to train youth to design and implement civic engagement initiatives.
  1. Organize Alumni Ted Talks and competitions in different universities throughout the country to promote civic participation.
  2. Provide a virtual mentoring program by USG alumni for university students.
  1. Conduct a virtual mentorship program between experienced USG alumni and select youth to implement impact initiatives across the country on specific civic engagement topics such as citizens’ rights and responsibilities, democratic processes, community engagement activities, discussions on how to effectively contribute to society, etc.

Proposals must serve beneficiaries, free of charge.  Proposals must provide a detailed program of activities, timeline, beneficiaries’ selection process, and impact evaluation system.


Announcement posted: January 11, 2024
Closing date for applications: February 12, 2024
Type of Funding: Fiscal Year 2024 Fulbright-Hays Public Diplomacy Funds
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 10 months or less.
Anticipated program start date: June 15, 2024
Expected size of individual awards: Awards may range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $35,000.

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, fixed amount award (FAA), or cooperative agreement.  Cooperative agreements and some FAAs are different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation (“Substantial Involvement”).

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.

The Department of State will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.

  1. Eligible Applicants

The following individuals are eligible to apply:

  • Applicants must be alumni of a U.S. government-funded or sponsored exchange program (https://alumni.state.gov/list-exchange-programs  ) or a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program (https://j1visa.state.gov/ ).
  • Projects teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni.
  • Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals, but U.S. citizen alumni may participate as team members in a project.
  • Alumni teams may be comprised of alumni from different exchange programs and different countries, but at least one of the team leaders must reside in the Republic of the Congo.
  • Proposals must address the priority areas listed above.  Proposals that do not address the priorities as outlined in the program objectives will be deemed ineligible.
  • All project activities must take place in the Republic of the Congo.
  • Applications must be submitted by exchange alumni or alumni associations of USG exchange alumni.  No other organizations are eligible to apply.  Exchange alumni can partner with not-for-profit or non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions to implement project activities.  The grant can be issued to the individual alumni or the partner organization.
  • Proposals must be submitted in English and using the official AEIF 2024 Forms by no later than February 5, 2024, at 05:00 p.m.
  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov  as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov . Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

An applicant may submit a proposal before completing the process to register in sam.gov and obtain a UEI.  However, before a proposal is approved for funding, the organization must have obtained a UEI and have an active SAM.gov registration.  Therefore, we recommend starting the process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration as soon as possible.  The process can take several weeks.  Please note there is no cost associated with UEI or SAM.gov registration. Please see Section D.3 for more information.  Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

Organizations must have a commitment to equal opportunity employment practices and to non-discrimination practices with regard to beneficiaries, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

  1. Application Package

Download AEIF 2024 Proposal Form and AEIF 2024 Budget Form.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Proposals must be submitted using the official applications forms “AEIF 2024 Application Form” and “AEIF 2024 Budget Form”.

Please follow all instructions below carefully.  Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity;
  • The proposal addresses all questions in the official AEIF 2024 application form;
  • All documents are in English;
  • The budget is in U.S. dollars and is submitted using the designated AEIF 2024 budget form;
  • All pages are numbered.

The following documents and information are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms
  • SF-424(Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I(Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)
  • SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
  1. 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Proposal Form
    1. About your Project: Please provide information on the title of your project, the requested budget total, and the primary location of the project.  Projects need to take place outside of the U.S. or its territories.
    2. Project Team Information: At least two exchange alumni team members are required for a project to be considered for funding.  Applications need to provide the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project, and their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role.  Applicants need to indicate what proportion of the team member’s time will be used in support of the project.
    3. Problem Statement: A short narrative which outlines the proposed project, including challenge/s to be addressed, project objectives, and anticipated impact.
    4. Project Goals and Objectives: The goal/s of the proposed project need to describe what the project is intended to achieve and include the objectives which support the goal/s. Objectives should be specific, measurable, and realistically achievable in a set time frame.
    5. Project Methods, Design, and Timeline: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal/s.  This should include a description of the project’s direct and indirect beneficiaries as well as a plan on how to continue the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.  The proposed timeline for the project activities should include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.  Applicants may also submit proposed workshop or training agendas and materials.
    6. Project Timeline: A timeline of your project activities.
    7. Beneficiaries: An estimated number of direct and indirect beneficiaries of your proposed project.
    8. Local Project Partners: A list of partners who will support the proposed project, if applicable.
    9. Communication Plan: The communication plan should include a communication and outreach strategy for promoting the proposed project.  It may include social media, websites, print news, or other forms of media intended to use to share information about the project to beneficiaries and the public.  Communications should include AEIF 2024, Exchange Alumni, and U.S. Embassy branding.
    10. Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the proposal should outline in detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals and objectives.  This should include any outcomes showing a change in knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; improved quality of services; increased capacity at a school, group; etc.  Proposals should also include how the grantee will measure the impact of planned activities.
  1. 2024 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Budget Form with Budget Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided.  Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail.  Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
  1. Attachments:
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)


  1. Attachments:
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov.  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:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

 Note:  The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code.  I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”



Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process.  SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:


Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:

NCAGE Home page:


NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):


An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis 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.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request.  Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.

  1. Submission Dates and Times


Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. West Africa Time, February 5, 2024

  1. Funding Restrictions

AEIF 2024 does not support the following activities or costs, and the selection committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:

  • Any airfare to/from the United States and its territories
  • Activities that take place in the United States and its territories
  • Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
  • Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
  • Academic or scientific research
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Provision of direct social services to a population
  • Individual scholarships
  • Social travel/visits
  • Gifts or prizes
  • Duplication of existing programs
  • Institutional development of an organization
  • Venture capital, for-profit endeavors, or charging a fee for participation in project
  • Support for specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for specific legislation.
  1. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to pasbrazza@state.gov.

  2. Criteria

The U.S. Embassy Brazzaville Public Diplomacy Section will use the criteria outlined below to evaluate all applications.  The proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of regional and exchange program experts located at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Panelists will use the criteria below to review and evaluate applications.

Relevance to Application Theme 20points

The proposal provides sufficient information on how the activities will support the theme(s) of the competition.  The narrative explains any relevant local context the D.C. Selection Committee may not be aware of in relation to this project.  Proposed project ideas must be public diplomacy in nature (i.e., not development or military).

Purpose and Summary, Description, and Implementation Plan 20points

When developing the purpose, summary, description, and implementation plan, applicants should aim to make all descriptions clear, concise, and compelling.  Reviewers will judge the proposals based on the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the community where it is undertaken.  Does the project address an important gap of understanding or need?  If the aim of the project is achieved, how will existing knowledge or practice be improved?  What audience do the applicants hope to reach with this project?  How many will participate?  How will they be selected?

Degree of Alumni Involvement 15points

Projects must include the involvement of at least two (2) exchange alumni.  They may be the project team leaders or collaborate directly with PAS in formulating the project.  More than two alumni may comprise the team, however, the minimum is two.  As the team leaders, the alumni must be closely involved in project planning, implementation, etc.  Applicants should ensure that the proposal includes the following information for each alumni team member: first name, last name, e-mail address, exchange program, country of citizenship, and roles and responsibilities.

Participation and Support from Local Partners 10points

The proposal demonstrates buy-in and support from the community where the project will take place.  Local partner involvement is a strong sign that there is community support and that the project will engage a broad array of experts, such as subject matter experts, community centers, academic institutions, businesses, local/national government, non-governmental organizations, American Spaces, etc.

Evaluation and Impact of the Project 15points

A monitoring & evaluation (M&E) plan is pivotal to project implementation and important tracking progress towards the project’s objectives and goals.  An M&E plan should consider the data needed to effectively monitor progress toward specific outputs and outcomes as well as how that data collection will be accomplished.  Well-crafted indicators should be used to understand a program’s progress toward the desired results.  An M&E plan should be reviewed for the following:

  • Completion
  • Applicability and logic of objectives and indicators
  • Clear approach to monitoring
  • Adherence to SMART criteria
  • Feasibility of baselines and targets
  • Data quality plan
  • Capacity to implement plan

Communication, Media, and Outreach Plan 10points

The project should include a clear plan and timeline for how and when the team will share information about the project.  It is important to ensure that the U.S. Embassy gets recognition throughout the process if circumstances permit.

Budget and Budget Narrative 10points

The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently detailed.  Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results.  The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.  The results and proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project.  Budget items are reasonable, allowable, and allocable.

Disclaimer: This notice is subject to availability of funding.  U.S. Embassy Brazzaville does not guarantee availability of funding by receiving applications under this announcement.  Only successful applicants will be contacted.

  1. Review and Selection Process

The U.S. embassy Brazzaville Public Diplomacy Section will use the criteria outlined above to evaluate all applications.

  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email.  The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding.  Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals.  Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.

      These include:


In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following:  NOTE:

  • Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
    • Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
    • Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
    • Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
    • Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
    • Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.  Program reports should provide a thorough description of project activities executed, objectives achieved, challenges encountered (if any), lessons learned.  The report should include photos, links to videos, or any press and media reports program events and activities.

Foreign Assistance Data Review: As required by Congress, the Department of State must make progress in its efforts to improve tracking and reporting of foreign assistance data through the Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR).  The FADR requires tracking of foreign assistance activity data from budgeting, planning, and allocation through obligation and disbursement.  Successful applicants will be required to report and draw down federal funding based on the appropriate FADR Data Elements, indicated within their award documentation.  In cases of more than one FADR Data Element, typically program or sector and/or regions or country, the successful applicant will be required to maintain separate accounting records.



Guidelines for Budget Justification

Alumni are allowed to request between US $5,000 to US $35,000.  Carefully consider the funds needed to implement your project.  There is no need to go for the full US $35,000 if that is not necessary to achieve the impact you are seeking.  Smaller projects that require less funding are as worthy as larger projects.  You might also want to consider running a small-scale pilot project before fully rolling out a larger project.

Please note that items valued at US $200 or more must be itemized.  Related costs should not be lumped together.  For example, travel, accommodations, and meals for a speaker should be three separate line items.  The table below provides guidance on filling out the budget form:

Venue Costs Calculate costs for renting space for project-related activities such as workshops or other training activities.  Consider looking for donated space first (American spaces and academic institutions).  If donated space is not possible, costs should be reasonable based on the local environment.  All expenses must be itemized and explained.  Consider negotiating deals to include coffee breaks, lunch, presentation equipment, or modest supplies, and include this information in the budget justification.
Promotional Items and Advertising  

These items aim to amplify your project.  All requests should be reasonable and relevant to the project.  All expenses must be itemized and explained.  Break down the promotion and advertising, clearly indicating what you will get in return for costs incurred (i.e., number of ads, on which platforms, and at which times).

Meals and Beverage Include reasonable costs for snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and meals if essential to the project.  Break down meals by the cost per person per meal.  All expenses must be itemized and explained.



Training Fees


Speaker: Maximum of US$200 per day for a full day of programming.  Trainer: Maximum US$200 per full day or $25 per hour.  Consider asking your fellow alumni to provide their expertise as in-kind support for the project.  The sum of speaker fees, honorarium, and consulting fees should not exceed 30%.


Lodging and Per Diem

List per diem rates and hotel costs which directly support the implementation of the project and indicate single or double occupancy.

If the program involves travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.  Estimate the costs of travel for this project, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries.  Costs can include in-country or local travel costs (via car, bus, train, etc.) required for the actual implementation of the project.  Please specify the mode of transportation, who will travel, the destination/arrival points, and if the cost covers round-trip or one-way travel.  The AEIF does not support travel in business class or higher.

Supplies, Materials, Equipment  

Include general office supplies, computer software, consumable automotive supplies (i.e., fuel), small equipment such as laptops, projector, etc., and expendable materials (i.e. paper, paint). When possible, rent equipment rather than purchase if it is more cost-efficient.  Indicate what you will do with the purchased equipment after the project concludes.  All expenses must be itemized and explained.


Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories.  Be specific.  Commonly cited items are administrative and accounting costs, shipping costs for materials and equipment, bank charges and monitoring and evaluation.  This amount should not exceed 10% of the total proposed budget and should not include salaries for team members.  All expenses must be itemized and explained.

Budget Justification: Budgets should be accompanied by a narrative description known as a budget justification.  In the narrative, you will explain what the numbers in the budget form represent, how you calculated them, and why you need to incur them for your project.  Be sure to explain any unusual circumstances or requests.  This information will help the reviewer understand your costs to determine if they are reasonable.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.   It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.


The grant award will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email.  The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding.  Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals.  Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.


Questions about the grant application process should be directed to the Alumni Coordinator, U.S. Embassy, Brazzaville, pasbrazza@state.gov