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Notification of Funding Opportunity 2022
September 6, 2022

Announcement Type: Cooperative Agreement
Funding Amount: $30,000
CFDA: 19.040
Opening Date: Tuesday, September 06, 2022
Closing Date: Midnight, Sunday, October 09, 2022
Program: English Access Microscholarship Program
Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar and Comoros
E-mail: lalaharivonymi@state.gov AND rabeharindrasanat@state.gov

In order to build stronger cultural links between the U.S. and host countries around the globe, the U.S. Department of State created the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) in 2004. English Access provides youth from economically disadvantaged communities with English language and other global citizenship skills that improve educational and employment prospects, build stronger self-esteem, and provide a deeper multi-cultural understanding. The program serves as a viable educational model for communities with leadership, creative and critical thinking, information technology, and civic outreach components. Participants, all aged 14-16, are expected to play active roles in their country’s socio-economic development and have greater opportunities to engage in a dialogue to resolve local and global challenges. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 150,000 students in more than 80 countries have participated in the English Access Program. In Madagascar, more than 470 scholars from Antananarivo and Toamasina have benefited from the English Access Program. This year, the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar and Comoros will implement a new English Access program in Mahajanga.

Project Description:
The goal of the English Access Program is to equip bright, talented, but economically-disadvantaged high school students with a range of global citizenship skills anchored by the core components of enhanced English language skills and a stronger Malagasy-U.S. cross-cultural understanding. The global citizenship skills aim to build individuals with stronger self-esteem and a keen sense of public service in an increasingly globalized world. Global citizenship skills include, but are not limited to, critical and creative thinking, leadership, information technology, civic outreach, and media literacy.

English Access Program supports the U.S. Embassy’s objectives to increase shared values and improve workforce capacity by supporting English language instruction and increasing English language skills. Promoting the learning and teaching of American English is an integral part of the Embassy’s efforts to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of Madagascar. Additionally, increasing the English language capacity of audiences in Madagascar deepens and enriches their engagement with American counterparts and builds lasting bridges between the two cultures. In fact, access to English learning opportunities is still limited in the country, and the challenges are greater for underprivileged students.

English language learning is also key to increasing access to the many exchange programs administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and other academic and professional exchange opportunities in the United States, particularly for potential grantees from underrepresented groups. The English Access Program will give students, especially those from the regions outside of the capital city like Mahajanga, the opportunity to access sustained, quality English instruction. In addition, the English Access Program advances the Embassy’s economic and foreign policy goals by expanding access to the local and global job markets, particularly among youth.

The U.S. Embassy of Madagascar will target various audiences through the implementation of three program components which include:

    • Scholarship program: A two-year program for 25 underserved high school students, aged 14-16, in Mahajanga that provides English language, leadership, and professional skills through extracurricular classes and activities.
    • Alumni program: A program for English Access alumni in Antananarivo and Toamasina composed of several activities aiming at engaging alumni and enhancing their English language, leadership, and professional skills even after the two-year program. Budget can cover 20 alumni’s participation in the program.
    • Training program: A training program for prior, current, and potential English Access teachers and English educators through several workshops aiming at enhancing participants’ English teaching skills and understanding of the English Access program’s purposes. Budget can cover 10 educators’ participation in the program.

English Access students must receive a minimum of 360 instruction hours reasonably distributed over the two-year program. This means that the number of hours should not be fewer than 180 in each academic year. Classes must be 60-minute hours, not shorter ‘academic’ hours, whose length can vary from one institution to another. Online hours cannot replace the minimum 360 face-to-face hours. The minimum 360 hours can be distributed among After School Instruction, Enhancement Activities and/or Intensive Sessions. As an example, a group could have 260 hours of After School Instruction, 40 hours of Enhancement Activities, and 60 hours of Intensive Sessions, for a total of 360 hours.

Online hours cannot replace 360 face-to-face hours, but online materials could supplement the program.
The minimum 360 hours of instruction must be distributed over a two-year period. Ideally, the number of hours should be at least 180 in each academic year. If events beyond the Provider’s control prevent the instruction of 180 in one academic year, it is the responsibility of the Provider to make up those lost hours in the following academic year.

English Access Programs generally have three components:
1) After School Instruction (mandatory)
2) Enhancement Activities (mandatory)
3) Intensive Sessions (optional)

  • After School Instruction
    Each English Access Program must include weekly instruction that can occur before school, after school, or on weekends. Usually, the preferred time for teaching is after school and so we call the weekly instruction After School Instruction. Generally weekly instruction takes place one to five days a week, with each class lasting one to three hours per day. It is the responsibility of the Provider to consider the schedules of the students to ensure that English Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school schedules, exams, or school events.
  • Enhancement Activities
    In addition to the weekly classes based on the textbook, the English Access program must include Enhancement Activities. These activities are designed to reinforce a topic by creating a lasting impression and memory for students. Enhancement activities are interactive, experiential activities. They are special activities planned by the teachers and English Access coordinator. English must be a component in all enhancement activities. Enhancement activities must occur at least once a quarter throughout the program. All students and teachers must participate in enhancement activities on a regular basis.

There are four main topics for Enhancement Activities:
1) U.S. Culture and Values
2) Personal Development
3) Community Service
4) Computer / Technology Skills

  • Intensive Sessions
    Intensive Sessions are one to four-week long ‘summer’ programs but may also occur between semesters or during other school breaks. During Intensive Sessions, English Access students meet between three and eight hours per day over consecutive days. Hours of instruction during Intensive Sessions may not exceed 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. Intensive Sessions can be held at the beginning of an English Access program, in the middle of the program, and/or at the end of the English Access program. There may be more than one Intensive Session in any English Access program.

Intensive sessions are important opportunities to practice English language skills, build teams, and gain confidence. Students enjoy these opportunities to take learning outside of the confines of the school room. Intensive Sessions also tend to be the time when the strongest memories of the English Access Program are made, and friendships are cultivated. Providers are encouraged to include Intensive Sessions, in addition to the mandatory After School Instruction and Enhancement Activities.

Intensive Sessions should encourage fun and active learning and are designed with hands-on learning and creativity in mind. As much as possible, enhancement activities should incorporate the American Corner, U.S. Embassy exchange alumni, U.S. exchange program participants, U.S. Embassy personnel, and other outside English-speaking guests.

Exposure to Americans and U.S. Resources:
The English Access Program seeks to prepare students for conversational English language skills with both native and non-native speakers of English through a variety of experiential learning activities. There are several resources available to enhance the student’s English Access Program experience.
If available, when planning an English Access Program, the provider should try to incorporate:

    • American Corner: Provider is highlight encouraged to develop frequent collaboration with the American Corner in the region where various activities and events can take place.
    • Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) are U.S. college graduates who assist teachers of English. English Teaching Assistants help teach English language in educational institutions while serving as U.S. cultural ambassadors. ETAs can assist teachers with English Access Program activities but cannot be included in the list of permanent teachers of the English Access Program. Learn more at the Fulbright ETA Program website.
    • EducationUSA: EducationUSA offers objective and timely information about educational institutions in the United States and how to best access those opportunities. This is a great resource and Providers can include a trip to an advising center, inviting a speaker, or by visiting the EducationUSA website during the program.
    • English Language Fellows (Fellows) are U.S. English-language teaching professionals placed in universities, ministries of education, and other institutions for ten months. Fellows work with their hosts as well as the local and regional English language teaching community to create and implement courses, materials, curricula, and training programs that build stronger connections between the host and U.S. culture. Fellows can assist teachers with English Access Program activities if/when available. Visit the English Language Programs website to learn more.
    • American English is an online resource center for teaching and learning about American English language and culture. American English provides a wide range of engaging materials and resources for teachers’ professional development and for students in the classroom. Both teachers and students will find new ways to practice English and learn more about the United States. Visit https://americanenglish.state.gov/ to learn more.
    • Other U.S. Embassy Programs: Please be in touch with the U.S. Embassy to know more about the programs and resources available for the English Access Program students and teachers.

English Access Program Curriculum and Materials:
The English Access Program curriculum should be based on the main components of the program of After School Instruction, Enhancement Activities and, if applicable, Intensive Sessions, and must include all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The curriculum should also address the main goals of the English Access Program, which is to provide students with a foundation of English language skills, an appreciation for U.S. culture and democratic values, and opportunities for students to participate in personal development activities and service-learning projects. Providers should also include topics such as: global citizenship, critical thinking, human rights, U.S. democracy and government, U.S. civil society, diversity and tolerance, U.S. History, U.S. education system, U.S. and global gender issues, climate and the environment, U.S. and global health, and STEM in their program curriculum.

All After School Instruction and Enhancement/Intensive Session activities require a focus on the interactive and communicative use of language as a main objective, a reasonable balance of the four macro-skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and the micro-skills of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. In all session activities, English Access teachers are encouraged to use American English methodologies, which involve the development of student-centered and high engagement activities in the classrooms based upon the use of the USG-developed American English resources at https://americanenglish.state.gov/. American English teaching materials compile decades’ worth of best practices into high quality, well researched teaching materials that present modern teaching methodologies in practice and are intended for low-resource, non-native environments.

Program Implementation Location:
Through the scholarship and training programs, the U.S. Embassy plans to target Mahajanga, the nation’s third largest city on the northwest coast of the country. Mahajanga is among the two regions hosting American Corners in Madagascar outside of the capital city. The Embassy plans to strategically place this program in proximity to an American Corner and other Public Diplomacy programs, including ongoing training for English teachers and English clubs, to create multiplier effects between these programs. In addition, through the Alumni and Training components of the program, the Embassy hopes to engage former English Access instructors and students in Antananarivo and Toamasina, where previous English Access Programs were run, benefitting more than 470 students. Alumni programs can be run by the same provider implementing the scholarship and training programs.

Program Calendar:
The start date of the program will depend largely on the length of the negotiation, contract finalization, and student selection phases. The program should begin around late 2022 or early 2023. The proposal and agreement start and end dates should include any English Access-related activities that occur prior to the start of instruction and following the completion of instruction. For example, before starting classes the provider will need to recruit and hire teachers, purchase books and supplies, and recruit and select students. At the end of the program, providers will organize and hold the Closing Ceremony, and finalize all reports. Please consider the pre- and post-instruction tasks when deciding on the start and end dates in the proposal. The English Access Program can only reimburse costs that are incurred within the approved agreement start and end dates. The program is to last no longer than 24 months. Providers must prepare themselves to be as flexible as possible regarding start dates due to issues that may occur before an agreement is signed and during student recruitment.

Technical and Infrastructure Requirements:
The provider must specify the location(s) where the English Access program will take place and the space that will be used for the classes and activities. The provider must either provide verification that the space belongs to the grantee or a written agreement with the holder of the space. The space must have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlets, and meet minimal sanitary requisites including reliable access to restrooms that are clean and functioning. The English Access Program should also have a computer class with internet capability (or the grantee should consider providing for this separately and can also coordinate with the American Corner to meet this requirement). Providers are also encouraged to share any other unique learning spaces on the premises that are accessible to the program and that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

Proposal Eligibility Requirements:
Proposals may be submitted by Malagasy or U.S.-based organizations.

Number of Providers:
The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to split the project between two or more providers.

In-Country Educational Service Provider: Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of the Provider include, but are not limited to:

  • Recognizing a strong need in the local community for English Access.
  • Evaluating the institution’s ability to implement an English Access Program as requested by the U.S. Embassy.
  • Working closely with the U.S. Embassy to plan effective and efficient programming;
  • Drafting proposals that meet program requirements and submitting them for approval to the U.S. Embassy.
  • Advertising and recruiting participants for the student scholarships.
  • Collaborating with the U.S. Embassy during the participant selection process.
  • Providing the same standardized pre- and post-test to all students upon entering and exiting the English Access Program.
  • Implementing the program according to the oral and written guidelines from the U.S. Embassy which include but are not limited to approved proposals and the signed agreement between the cooperating agency based in the United States and the in-country educational service provider.
  • Hiring highly qualified personnel (I.e., English Access Coordinators, Teachers, Teaching Assistants) to regularly monitor and evaluate the program to ensure it is implemented in accordance with the relevant official documents as well as to highlight best practices and effectively address challenges.
  • Planning regular enhancement activities that provide hands-on and interactive opportunities for students to engage in discussions, games, community service, and other activities related to U.S. culture and values.
  • Sending invitations to the U.S. Embassy to notify of special events, and opportunities to visit and speak with students.
  • Providing official documentation, i.e., certificates, letter of congratulations, etc. signed by the U.S. Ambassador (or U.S. Embassy Officer) to each English Access student at the beginning and end of the English Access Program in-Country Educational Service Provider.
  • Submitting financial reports and alumni data according to the schedule outlined in the agreement, and when requested by the U.S. Embassy.

In order to implement the English Access program successfully, Providers will need to hire responsible, professional staff including English Access Coordinators, Teachers, Teacher Assistants.

Teachers’ Qualifications:
Teachers’ qualifications may include but are not limited to:

  • Holding a university degree(s) with the qualification “English Language Teacher” and at least three years of experience working with students.
  • Strong desire and motivation to work with disadvantaged youth.
  • Dedication to working with English Access students.
  • Ability to organize and participate in enhancement and out-of-class activities.
  • Willingness to attend professional development and English Access Program events organized by the U.S. Embassy.
  • Availability for the weekly number of hours in the afternoons during weekdays or on Saturday mornings.
  • Basic knowledge of U.S. society and culture.
  • Basic computer skills with Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint), an internet browser (Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, etc.), and e-mail.

Functional Requirements:
a) The provider is responsible for setting criteria for and identifying “economically disadvantaged youth” to be enrolled in the program.
b) The provider is responsible for creating a highly effective and innovative method for identifying and, if necessary, recruiting highly competent English Access teachers.
c) The provider is required to produce frequent reports (usually quarterly) and a substantial final performance report. The provider should monitor students’ attendance and performance.
d) The provider will submit monthly 1-3 paragraph highlights, with photos, based on criteria to be provided at a later date, for an internal U.S. Department of State audience.
e) Maintain records on graduates that will be added to the U.S. Embassy’s Alumni database in order to include in follow-on programming.

Assumptions and Agreements:

  • The Provider should craft a proposal that can serve a group of 25 students for the Scholarship program. The budget per student for the Scholarship program should be no higher than $1,080.
  • The Provider should craft a proposal that can serve a group of 20 alumni for the Alumni program. The budget per participant for the Alumni program should be no higher than $75.
  • The Provider should craft a proposal that can serve a group of 10 educators for the Training program. The budget per educator for the Training program should be no higher than $150.
  • Teaching salaries must be adequate and competitive, and within local public school teacher rates.

The Embassy recommends that the interested Provider find creative ways of extending the quality and quantity of the students’ learning experience for this amount. The total of the proposal should not exceed $30,000. Please note that students and their families must not be expected to make any financial contributions to the Provider related to their participation in English Access, purchase any materials for use during English Access, or fund their own transportation to/from classes.

Eligibility to Host an English Access Program:
If your school, educational institution, or organization is interested in hosting an English Access Program, please review the questions below to verify your eligibility. Please note that for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply. If you can respond “YES” to the following statements, you are ready to host an English Access Program!

Can your educational institution or organization…
1. …legally operate within the country where the proposed English Access Program will be implemented? (“Legally operate” means the Applicant Organization is incorporated, registered, or licensed as a legal entity in the country where the English Access Program will be implemented)
2. …open a bank account that accepts wire transfers in U.S. Dollars?
3. …follow a reporting schedule and submit program and financial reports on time?
4. …fulfill the mandatory minimum of 360 program hours over 20-24 months?
5. …acquire a room or space to accommodate the class?
6. …retain teachers, administration, and students that can devote extended periods of time (6-8 hours) for Enhancement activities, Intensive Sessions, and teacher training events (for Access teachers) that can occur on weekends?
7. …acquire and use Microsoft Excel 2010 (or newer) for reporting purposes?

Basis for Award of the Grant:
The grantee should be an established non-profit institution or a non-governmental organization (NGO) with experience in administering educational programs and/or teaching English, preferably to the target age group. The grantee must have access to an established core of English instructors willing to commit their time to this project. The grantee must identify the location(s) and venue(s) that will be used for this program (verified with a document/preliminary agreement) and will be responsible for recruiting students and developing the curriculum. Organizations with previous experience and a capacity of working with educational institutions on a national level will be given priority.

Submission Information:
The proposals should be submitted to the Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy Madagascar electronically to : lalaharivonymi@state.gov AND rabeharindrasanat@state.gov. The deadline for submission is midnight, Sunday, October 09, 2022.

Format of the Proposal:
To apply to be an English Access provider, interested institutions should contact the U.S. Embassy and provide the below documents after reviewing the entire Provider Handbook (at https://handbook.access-program.org/):
(A) Narrative: A narrative document, no longer than ten pages, that describes the program in detail is required. This document should include a description of 1) the grantee organization, including relevant resumes and previous experience; 2) the afterschool/weekend classes, enhancement activities, intensive session plan; 3) student recruitment plan; 4) student retention plan; 5) materials to be used; 6) monitoring plan; 7) professional development plan for teachers; 8) teacher profile; 9) branding plan, and 10) Access Program location(s).

(B) Budget:
The budget spreadsheet should include all program costs. Categories include a breakdown of costs for the two-year program (e.g. instruction, books/materials, transportation, administration, and enhancement activities), the total number of students to be enrolled, the start and end dates for instruction, the number of hours of instruction students will receive per week and year, and the type of program (e.g. after-school, weekend, intensive sessions).

Selected providers will be asked to complete an English Access proposal through an online system.
Some areas covered in an English Access proposal include:

  • Provider’s experience
  • Information on staffing (program director, program coordinator, finance manager/accountant, teachers, other instructional and administrative staff, etc.)
  • Number of hours for each program component (After School, Enhancement Activities, Intensive Sessions) that students will receive for the duration of the program.
  • Information about the instructional approach teachers will use and the kinds of activities planned
  • Information on how students will be recruited and supported during the program
  • A detailed budget and explanation of estimated costs

Each submitted proposal completes a review and approval process. During the process, a provider may receive questions for clarification from reviewers and be asked to make a revision to the proposal before it is approved. Once the proposal is approved, the next step is the completion of an agreement set-up process. An Access Program may not begin until the agreement set-up process has been completed. Throughout the proposal process, your U.S. Embassy/Consulate POC will be available to provide assistance and answer questions.

Additional information:
For additional information or clarification please contact the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Section by writing to lalaharivonymi@state.gov AND rabeharindrasanat@state.gov