Additional MSO RFA Questions

Questions & Answers

February 17, 2017

Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project RFA 2017-1, Small Grants Program Administered by Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) under Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-13-00053

My question is if my organization is selected for the grant, we will need assistance of many volunteers from the US. Will we have to put the expenses (airplane ticket, hotel, local transportation, etc.) of the volunteers in our budget when submitting the application? On the other hand, will Farmer-to-Farmer have a separate budget to cover the volunteers’ expenses?

Applicants may include volunteer expenses in the proposed grant budget. Common expenses include airplane tickets, hotel, local transportation, per diem, translations services, travel insurance, and immunizations. Farmer-to-Farmer will only provide funds for expenses approved in the project budget and does not have a separate budget to cover volunteer expenses.

Can applicants submit proposals that include sub-grantees/implementer(s)?

Yes, proposals may include sub-grantees. If an Applicant is proposing sub-grantees, the Applicant must demonstrate its experience managing sub-grantees and how it will manage financial, administrative, and compliance oversight of the sub-grantee. The majority of activities must be implemented by the Applicant, with any sub-grantees playing supporting roles to the Applicant.

If so, will proposals with a prime implementer that is MSI/MSO eligible and a sub-grantee that is not MSI/MSO eligible be considered?

Yes, sub-grantees may be proposed that do not meet the Section II. Eligibility Information – Definition of Minority Serving Organization. The Applicant must meet all eligibility requirements found in Section II. Eligibility Information.

In seeking to clearly understand the eligibility of countries by region, can you explain to me what is the difference between a feed the future "core country", a feed the future "aligned country" and "other countries"? Is this difference important to note, and should it be important in the conceptualization of the project/proposal?

The core of Feed the Future includes programs in 19 focus countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. These countries were carefully selected based on level of need, country commitment to increasing food security and nutrition, the potential for agricultural growth, opportunities for regional synergies through trade and other mechanisms, and resource availability.

In addition to these focus countries, Feed the Future also invests in aligned countries each year to support ongoing agricultural development programs.

Per Section III. Funding Opportunity Description, Part 3. Introduction, Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how their proposals tie into larger US Government strategies, including Feed the Future. Annex C of the RFA is intended to inform Applicants which Farmer-to-Farmer eligible countries have active Feed the Future strategies, which might be referenced in Applications. The table in Annex C lists Feed the Future focus programs as “Feed the Future Core Countries”. The “Other Countries” column lists countries that are eligible to receive Farmer-to-Farmer programs, but do not have existing Feed the Future strategies.

For more information on Feed the Future please visit, https://feedthefuture.gov/.

Line 6 on page 6 of the RFA makes reference to "... the objectives described above ...." Could you direct me to the referenced objectives?

The overall objective of Farmer-to-Farmer is “to provide for the transfer of knowledge and expertise from U.S. agricultural producers and businesses on a voluntary basis to middleincome countries and emerging democracies.” The Farmer-to-Farmer Program emphasizes “economic impact and obtaining measurable results by concentrating volunteer assignments in specific geographical areas, commodity programs and service sectors.” More information on the Farmer-to-Farmer Global Program can be found at http://farmer-to-farmer.org/about.

Could one submit a concept paper to work in more than one country?

Yes, an Applicant may submit a proposal to work in more than one country. Proposed countries must be eligible, as listed in Annex C. Only one application will be accepted per Applicant/organization.

Could F2F funds be used to pay salaries and wages?

Yes, F2F funds may be used to pay salaries and wages. 

Where could one find previously funded F2F proposals?

Proposals are proprietary and therefore not available to the public.

Is there a data bank on the activities of active F2F projects?

Program Descriptions of current and past programs can be found at http://farmer-tofarmer.org/grants/current and http://farmer-to-farmer.org/grants/past. The Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) also contains public reports on Farmer-to-Farmer Programs. These can be accessed through the searchable DEC database, http://dec.usaid.gov/.

I had a question in regard to answering this question in the paper if you could please be more specific as to the exact requirements of this and from whom? Are these letters for the private sector in Jamaica? I am unclear on the private sector partners you are referring to in this.

There is no requirement for engaging private sector partners. However, Applicants may propose working with private sector organizations as funding partners, implementation partners, or host organizations. If a private sector organization is proposed as a funding VEGA F2F SPSP RFA 2017-1 Question & Answer Page 3 of 3 partner, the project would be considered a public-private alliance. In this case, USAID seeks the mobilization of resources of other actors on a 1:1 or greater basis. Please see the definition of Leverage on p. 3 of the RFA for further information about public private alliances.

The country I am thinking is listed in Feed the Future core countries. However, the country has existing F2F program with implementer of program type: Core country program. I assume, I can still apply but my question is: what would be the role of existing implementer. More specifically, (a) should I better-off proposing implementation of my idea through existing organization? existing implementer would automatically be host?; (b) If I propose independent project which may or may not complement the existing implementer’s project and propose to implement through another organization, should I contact the existing implementer in advance before I develop concept note or later on if selected for full proposal.

F2F Small Grants are separate and independent projects. If existing F2F programs are present in a proposed country, the Small Grant proposal should not duplicate efforts of the existing programs. Collaboration between Small Grant projects and any existing core or PDP projects is not required, but is encouraged where it can enhance efficiency or effectiveness. A list of current F2F Core and PDP programs can be found in Annex C: Eligible F2F Countries and Existing F2F Programs.

No, Applicants should not contact F2F Core or PDP implementers at this time. F2F Core or PDP Implementers should be contacted during Phase II: Collaborative Proposal Development.

Could the experience of the grant office of in university be used as part of previous experience in managing programs similar to F2F?

The experience of a grant office in a university can be used to demonstrate an Applicant’s capacity for Grant Administration as outlined on page 11 of the RFA.

For Minority Serving Organization, do the board members have to be Black Americans or can they just be Black?

For Applicants using board of director or governing body composition to meet MSO eligibility requirements, qualifying members must be from a presumed socially disadvantaged group as defined by the Small Business Act. By this definition, qualifying members must be American to fit within one of the presumed socially disadvantaged groups. Please refer to Section II. Eligibility Information – Definition of Minority Serving Organization for more information.