Pact/PEPFAR Local Partnership Initiative: Workshop on Proposal Development Feb 4- 6th, and 9- 11th 2009, Hanoi Lessons Learned from Concept Round Q: Can the budget we submit in our full LPI proposal differ from the one we previously submitted to Pact? A: Yes, your budget can be different in your new proposal providing it does not exceed the budget limits stated in the RFA. Make sure that your budget is designed to fit the criteria presented in the Budgeting presentation at the Workshop (e.g., costs are allowable, reasonable and allocable; costs are justified and explained clearly). Q: Is it possible to extend the targeted geographic areas beyond those we proposed in our concept application? A: Yes. You may propose to work in a different or expanded geographic area from the one proposed in the concept application. Make sure to provide a clear rationale for your selection of geographic area, as directed in the RFA. NOTE: Remember that your proposal will be evaluated on its own merits, not in comparison with your concept application. Evaluators will not receive the concept application, only the application in response to the RFA. Context: HIV/AIDS in Vietnam Q: Khanh Hoa was not mentioned in the RFA? A: Correct, Khanh Hoa is a province identified by the MOH as a high priority area, whereas Pact is only able to fund activities in PEPFAR focus provinces, designated high priority by PEPFAR. PEPFAR Basics Q: You mentioned DFID and World Bank as other HIV/AIDS sector donors. I understand they will be merged this year. Can you provide us with some information on this? A: We currently do not have any specific information regarding DFID and WB merging as donors. What is in the RFA? Q: What is the deadline for questions? A: The deadline for questions is the 25th of February as stated on the cover of the RFA. Q: The RFA states that the financial and technical applications should be submitted together in one PDF document. Is there any guidance you can offer on transforming documents into PDF format, which we have often found very difficult? A: Yes. Please refer to the instructions below. Also, please note: The reason why we want a PDF file is not only for our convenience, but for your protection, as a PDF format guarantees that no one can change your work. And, remember to take care of formatting issues early. Do not wait till the deadline to finalize your proposal or email it at the last hour. Technical problems can happen for anyone and you should not wait until the last minute, but plan ahead to ensure your submission is correct and received by Pact before the deadline. HOW TO GET pdf capability for your computer and save documents as pdf files: 1) If you do not yet have pdf software installed on your computer, you need to obtain the software first, in order to create a pdf file. To do this, go to the either of the two following web links to access free pdf software and download it. (Copy and paste the link address into your web browser to access the site.) http://www.download.com/PrimoPDF/3000-10743_4-10264577.html?part=dl- 10264577&subj=dl&tag=button or: http://dw.com.com/redir?edId=3&siteId=4&oId=3001-10743_4- 10264577&ontId=10743_4&spi=25d887c54aaf0fcd2c970be839aff262&lop=txt&tag=idl2 &pid=10876012&mfgId=6243419&merId=6243419&pguid=AJeJKwoPjFsAAB1QK5AAA AC3&destUrl=http%3a%2f%2fsoftware-files.download.com%2fsd%2fBr5ImbynX- TRJxXuVdMJImcDT7FX- xLhIkQ_NkzyHdxiYtzPyvMnB9ctEmZyZfeu0KnEaOh5nDuep5E- P9Ar5xT3VBFafbiK%2fsoftware%2f10876012%2f10264577%2f3%2fFreewarePrimoSet up.exe%3flop%3dlink%26ptype%3d1901%26ontid%3d10743%26siteId%3d4%26edId% 3d3%26spi%3d25d887c54aaf0fcd2c970be839aff262%26pid%3d10876012%26psid%3d 10264577 2) After you have downloaded & installed the pdf software, the pdf icon will be available in your list of printer options. When ready to save your document as a pdf file, you need to go to your „print‟ options. Press Ctrl+P then choose "PrimoPDF" then print. In fact, this does not print on paper, it simply saves the file into pdf format. How to insert excel file into word document: 1) Open a Word file, move to the place you want to insert the spreadsheet 2) Click Insert-> Object->Create from file. 3) Browse to find that excel file and select. Note: If the excel file has more than 1 sheet, you will need to insert one sheet at a time. Q: The cover page of the RFA states that the proposal must be sent by email, but on page ten it says the proposal can be sent by post. Which is the case? A: The best way to send in your proposal is by email, but you can also send AN ELECTRONIC VERSION by post or hand delivery, such as on a CD. We need to be able to share an electronic version with the technical review committee. FAX and post of a hard copy only are not acceptable submission methods. If you have trouble finding a way to send an electronic version, please let us know and we will help you solve this problem. Q: Can Pact confirm receipt of RFA proposals? A: Yes, we will send a confirmation of receipt by email. Q: It was previously stated that between 2-6 proposals would be chosen for funding, is this still the case? A: This will be determined by availability of budget. And remember what Diana (Pact Country Representative) said, we can hope for more budget availability! The better they are… the more we hope to fund. Based on current information about available budget, we expect to fund between 2 and 6 proposals. Q: Are we required to submit the checklist that appears in the appendix of the RFA? A: You should not submit the checklist as part of your application. It is not compulsory for you to complete the checklist. It is there for your convenience, to ensure that you include all necessary items in your submission. Service Package Q: Would it be okay to include other commodities in the service package, such as lubricants? A: Yes, it is acceptable to propose to provide other commodities in your service package, as appropriate, and these may include lubricants. BCC Q: Is the provision of skills training (i.e. how to use condoms properly) part of BCC? A: Yes, BCC is about providing skills along with motivation and knowledge. NOTE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR WORKSHOP #1 PARTICIPANTS: The following information was presented at Workshop #2, but was not provided at Workshop #1. For the benefit of participants at the first workshop, please consider the following. When talking about Behavior Change Communication, we consider the human dimension. Interventions must begin with an understanding of where a person is in change process. In order to introduce appropriate BCC messages, we need to understand the „steps to behavior change‟ that most people go through, as follows: Quá trình thay đổi hành vi xẩy ra như thếnào? But we must also remember that individuals may go through these steps in their own way. We cannot assume that everyone has the same pattern, and must investigate and listen to the situation of the people we are targeting with BCC. Partners Q: Under what circumstances do project partners have to fill out the Organizational Background Questionnaire? A: All proposed partners that will receive funding under this project should fill out the Organizational Background Questionnaire, except organizations that will perform limited tasks for which you, as prime applicant, are ultimately responsible. This means that organizations you plan to contract for tasks such as conducting a small survey, designing IEC materials or performing translation services do not need to complete the form. Any partner that will be directly responsible for part of the project‟s implementation will need to fill out the form. Q: Can unregistered NGOs, CBOs, and FBOs be proposed as funded partners under this grant? A: Because of Government of Vietnam restrictions on direct funding to unregistered organizations, it can be complicated to make arrangements to engage in a funded partnership with such an organization. If you propose an unregistered organization as a funded sub-partner, Pact may be able to assist you in exploring appropriate, legal mechanisms to manage that funding in your particular case. Q: Can a government agency be proposed as a partner to receive funds under this grant? A: There are various restrictions and requirements for funding government agencies with USAID funding. However, you can propose a government partner in your proposal, and if you are chosen to receive funds, Pact will assist you in establishing proper arrangements. Question: Are all staff of commune clinics considered government employees? Answer: In most cases, they are. If they receive their income from the commune budget, they are considered government employees. But if they are other types of collaborators paid directly from patient fees, or from other non-government sources, then they would not be considered government employees. So, as long as the person does not receive his/her salary directly from the state, an individual’s salary could be supported under the Pact LPI, according to their LOE (the proportion of their time they work on the project). Individuals who are paid by the state can NOT have their salaries supplemented by the project. Logframe/Results Framework Question: Should we include a log frame in our proposal? Answer: Yes, as stated in the RFA guidelines for your technical proposal, you should specify your inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact in a results framework as part of the description of your project approach.. You can work with the model Pact provided at the workshop, or use another model, depending on what you feel best represents the logical relationships between proposed activities, results and objectives. Question: For reporting on indicators, do we count the number of people we reach or the times that they receive the service? Answer: You must report the number of different people reached/trained, not the number of times they were contacted or received services. You must not „double count‟. Indicators Question: If our projects propose to reach large numbers of people through large scale communication events but not individuals through interpersonal communication, would they receive funding? Answer: Meaningful, effective outreach/BCC requires some level of interpersonal communication to be effective. In addition, projects that do not propose targets under the required PEPFAR indicators will not meet PEPFAR requirements for funding. This means that you must propose to reach a certain target number of individuals through meaningful interpersonal interaction. Please refer to slides and http://www.pepfar.gov/guidance/c21628.htm for further guidance. Question: If our project conducts a small group communications activity but does not deliver any materials during the activity can we count the individuals who participate as having been “reached”? Answer: Yes. It is considered „meaningful interaction‟ if a small group of people are engaged in an interpersonal communications activity. Please refer to slides and http://www.pepfar.gov/guidance/c21628.htm for further guidance. Budget Q: Could participants coming from Ha Tay be paid a per diem to attend a workshop in Hanoi? A: If participants travel a significant distance to attend a workshop they would need to stay in hotel and could be provided a per diem. If individuals do not need to travel significant distance and can go home, they would not generally be eligible for per diem. Individuals from the same city, for example, can be paid a minor transport allowance to attend, if this is consistent with your organization‟s policy. This is decided on a case by case. Your proposal should demonstrate clearly why the costs you propose are reasonable and necessary for the successful implementation of the project. Final decisions on what costs are allowed may be negotiated with Pact if your organization is recommended for funding. Decisions will be based partly on your own organization‟s policy regarding per diem, transport, etc, as well as on generally accepted practices, the interests of the project, and USG rules and regulations. Q: Can we be remunerated for costs incurred in the preparation of our proposal, for example if we conduct a survey as part of our preparation for the bid? A: No. Pact will not remunerate you for any costs you incur prior to the award of a grant. Q: Are the figures given in your sample budget the cost norms we should use? A: No, these are only examples. You must use the costs norms consistent with your organization‟s policies. Q: Could you please provide clarification on cost norms? Our organization has many different funding sources, therefore has different cost norms depending on the organization. Could you give us a ceiling, for example for travel and accommodation? A: You should estimate your costs based on your organization‟s policy but can never budget/expense at a higher rate than the USAID maximum rates, which can be found at: http://gsearch.info.usaid.gov/search?access=p&q=maximum+rates&btnG=GO&sit e=lpa_collection&entqr=0&ud=1&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&output=xml_no_dt d&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF- 8&client=default_frontend&proxystylesheet=default_frontend. Note that the USAID maximum rates are always much higher than NGO rates. And again, the guide you must use is your own organization‟s policies and current, local standards. The US government does not currently provide cost norms; its policy is that you must base figures on your own organization‟s policies. We understand your organization may be new and you may not yet have a policy. If you do not yet have your own cost norms, you should propose reasonable figures and, explain what your logic is based on. For example, you could state: „We are still developing our own policy, but for now we have based our costs on UN cost norms‟. Q: Our budget will provide estimated costs. What happens if unknown costs arise and our actual costs/expenditures differ from this estimated budget? Can we make adjustments? A: USG regulations do not allow a „reserve‟ or „contingency‟ budget for unplanned costs. However, you will have “line item flexibility,” and will be able to realign your budget in ways that enable you to cover unanticipated costs as long as these are consistent with your approved scope of work. If such changes are necessary, Pact can provide support to ensure that proper principles are followed. In most cases, however, no pre-approval from Pact will be needed before you can make such realignments. Q: How will the budget be evaluated? A: Pact will evaluate your budget according to the three criteria discussed at the workshop: allowability, allocability and reasonableness. The reviewers will have relevant experience in the HIV prevention sector and the Vietnamese context. They will be familiar with the cost norms of local NGOs, the Government of Vietnam, and a range of donors and will be able to judge reasonableness on this basis. They will assess each part of your budget in detail and how the whole thing holds together overall. They will also compare one organizations‟ budget to those of other applicants, and assess overall “value for money”. The balance of direct program versus general administrative/operational costs will also be assessed. Q: Is it reasonable for administrative costs to be set at 10% of the budget? A: We understand your question to be referring to a rate by which you calculate your administration costs as an indirect cost by applying it to the total direct cost. USAID regulations do not permit you to use this method. All of your administration costs must be estimated as direct costs, i.e. item by item. Please note that some of your administration costs such as office rent, utilities, internet, etc will support various projects. In order to estimate a reasonable share for the Pact LPI project, you will need to think of a method. For example, as discussed at the workshop, you could charge the same proportion of rent as the Pact budget represents of your total organizational budget. Just be sure to fully explain the method you use. Q: As a civil society organization, most of our personnel are “collaborators”. How do we account for payments to them? Should these be charged as consultant fees? A: Only costs for regular staff members of your organization can be listed under „salaries‟/„personnel‟. Costs for any others who are to be compensated for work in support of your project, whether referred to as consultants or collaborators, should be placed under „other direct charges‟, and paid a daily/hourly/monthly rate (outlined in your budget and narrative). All such arrangements must be documented (i.e., there must be some form of contract) and restrictions around salary supplementation for government personnel must be followed (see earlier questions). Q: Do we need to provide all the detail you have presented for the sample detailed budget? A: The way you present the detailed budget is up to you, but a similar level of detail will be required. It must be clear and complete. Q: Is the budget narrative really necessary? It seems like extra work? A: Yes, the budget narrative is required as part of your application. It is necessary to provide an explanation of your rationale for proposed costs, and your method for calculating those costs. It will help reviewers assess the logic behind your budget figures so they are not left questioning „why?‟ or „how?‟ you arrived at these figures. It also provides you with an opportunity to confirm, as needed, that relevant costs are consistent with your organization‟s policies. Q: Do we need auditing activities? Can we include an audit fee included in our budget for the project? A: We will clarify auditing procedures after grants have been finalized. Yes, you can charge the audit fee provided that this audit is for your whole organization and it is allocated to the project using a reasonable method. Q: How do you account for inflation in your budget? A: You should account for inflation in your budget, using reasonable projections for inflation rates. The inflation estimate should not be budgeted under a separate line as a contingency. Rather, it should be built into each cost item. You should explain in your budget narrative exactly how you arrived at your figures (i.e., the inflation rate you are projecting), citing the official sources you used. Q: Can we have the soft copy of your presentation? A: Yes, we can allow you to copy on your memory stick or can send you the presentation via email if you request it. Q: May we submit our budget showing costs in only USD as the currency? A: The proposed budget you submit with your application should present costs in US dollars. It may also include a column to show costs in VND if you like, but that is not necessary. Regardless, YOU MUST PROVIDE THE EXCHANGE RATE THAT YOU HAVE USED IN CALCULATING COSTS IN US DOLLARS. We suggest that you first create your budget in VND, because the expenditures for the project will be made in VND. But if you receive an award, the grant agreement will be based on a USD budget, so your application should show costs in USD. Executive Summary Q: Is the executive summary counted as part of the technical proposal? A: The one page executive summary is not counted within the 13 page limit for the technical proposal. Q: Where should we put the summary? A: You should put the executive summary right after the table of contents and acronyms. PLEASE NOTE IMPORTANT CORRECTION TO THE RFA: An error has been discovered in the Vietnamese translation of the RFA in the section presenting the evaluation criteria. The English version released was correct. However, for Vietnamese version, please refer to the following for CORRECT INFORMATION about the point values that will be assigned for each part of the applications, and for the criteria presented under “Capacity to deliver.” Chiến lược chương trình/ phương pháp kỹ thuật Tối đa 60 điểm Tính xuất sắc và khả thi của thiết kế chương trình 30 Kế hoạch Giám sát và Đánh giá 15 Sự liên kết với các chương trình hiện tại 10 Sự tham gia của nhóm đối tượng đích 5 Năng lực triển khai Tối đa 30 điểm Biện pháp quản lý 15 Năng lực tổ chức 15 Tính thiết thực của ngân sách Tối đa 10 điểm 2.b. Nhân sự chủ chốt và kinh nghiệm của tổ chức. Nhân sự chủ chốt được đề xuất cho dự án sẽ được đánh giá dựa trên: Kinh nghiệm làm việc trong chương trình dự phòng lây nhiễm HIV/ AIDS hoặc những thông tin cơ bản khác chứng minh được khả năng làm việc hiệu quả trong dự án được đề xuất. Điểm mạnh và tính phù hợp của kỹ năng quản lý và/ hoặc kỹ năng chuyên môn liên quan đến các hoạt động được đề xuất. Các nhân sự chủ chốt được bố trí đủ thời gian để hoàn thành chức năng, nhiệm vụ được phân công trong dự án. Program Strategy/Technical Approach 60 points total Excellence and feasibility of design 30 M & E plan 15 Linkages with ongoing programming 10 Participation of target community 5 Capacity to deliver 30 points total Management approach 15 Organizational Capacity 15 Budget/cost realism 10 points 2.b. Key Personnel and Organizational Experience. The key personnel proposed for the project will be evaluated on the basis of: Experience working on HIV/AIDS prevention programming or other background that demonstrates ability to implement the proposed project effectively. Strength of management and/or technical skills, and relevance of skills to proposed activities. Sufficient level of effort allocated for key personnel to carry out the scope of work.
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