Request for Proposals
2010-2011 Community Connections Program
The US Agency for International Development’s Community Connections Program contributes
to economic and democratic reform to promote mutual understanding in Europe and Eurasia–by
providing participants' broad exposure to U.S. society and helping to create personal connections
with Americans and advancing democratic and free-market principles in a region where those
principles are still tenuous. This program is expected to:
Expose participants to the institutions and challenges of a democratic, free market
Inspire participants to implement change in their home countries;
Build public-private partnerships; and
Create professional linkages between the American host communities and the
participants' home communities.
Close collaboration between USAID staff and Embassy Public Affairs staff ensures that the
Community Connections program is based on current public diplomacy needs. The Community
Connections program is a valuable tool for ambassadors and embassies as it gives US embassies
the opportunity to recommend visitor profiles and programmatic themes and provide input on the
selection of visitors and hosting organizations.
World Learning, the USAID FORECAST implementing contractor, is in its final year of
implementing the USAID Community Connections Program, a five-year contract. Visitor
recruitment and preliminary selection are carried out by World Learning’s three sub-contractor
organizations: PH International in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine; American
Councils for International Education in the Central Asian Republics; The Center for Social and
Economic Development in Moldova, and World Learning’s field office in Belgrade is
responsible for the recruitment in Serbia. Additionally, USAID is currently conducting the
recruitment and selection in Belarus and Uzbekistan. Recruitment is conducted through a merit-
based open competition.
World Learning identifies U.S. Host Organizations for the overall implementation of the
program based on an open and rolling call for proposals. Host Organizations are tasked with
arranging for site-visits, training sessions, home-stay placements, cultural activities, logistics and
interpretation. Host Organizations work closely with local businesses and public and private
organizations that volunteer their time and resources to develop and implement programs for
Community Connections visitors.
Professional groups of ten visitors each will be formed based on specific themes. Programs are
3-weeks in length have a home-stay and cultural component requirement.
World Learning and its sub-contractors will be responsible for visitor recruitment and selection,
international travel arrangements and purchase of airline tickets, preparing visitor documents
necessary to secure visas, enrolling visitors in USAID’s Health and Accident Coverage (HAC)
program, and monitoring Host Organization performance.
PROCUREMENT OF HOSTING ORGANIZATIONS
The Community Connections procurement process is conducted in two stages:
All organizations must meet certain standards to qualify as Host Organizations for Community
Connections and an open competition is conducted to determine the pool of organizations that
meet the standards to qualify as Host Organizations for Community Connections programs. All
successful applicants will proceed to Stage II.
Stage I is a pre-qualifying stage and organizations need only submit a Stage I once. During this
stage, prospective Host Organizations will submit a proposal that demonstrates their specific
capability to host Community Connections groups in a cost-effective manner. All organizations
who are interested in participating in the Community Connections program must pre-qualified
and participate in Stage I.
Stage I proposals will be reviewed and ranked by a Technical and a Budget Committee for
program content and administration, cost-effectiveness, and other criteria spelled out in this
World Learning will use extensive theme-specific data and information provided by the Host
Organizations in Stage I as well as the information and data generated through the
implementation of past CC programs to match the most suitable Host Organization to each
Host Organizations will be sent Capability Statement Requests (CSRs) if your institution has
been identified by World Learning as being specifically well positioned to implement that
particular program. One pre-qualified Host Organization will be asked to submit a Capability
Statement for each program. Upon receipt of USAID approval of your Capability Statement,
World Learning will be able to officially award the program to your organization.
This solicitation invites your organization to submit a Stage I proposal Community Connections
that describes specific and detailed capabilities for organizing and implementing
community-based programs for professionals and entrepreneurs from Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Offerors must demonstrate experience/capacity to provide visitors with a professional hands-on
experience, a home-stay, and exposure to American life and culture. Community Connections is
not academic in nature. Rather, it is designed to provide practical exposure professional fields in
the hopes that visitors will gain valuable transferable knowledge and skills. Offerors will
demonstrate their ability and experience in providing a combination of professional enrichment
activities through lectures, site visits and volunteering.
The proposal should specifically address the offeror’s ability to host these groups. The proposal
must indicate on the checklist (Appendix 1) all those themes in which the offeror has the
community resources to design and deliver successful programs. Offerors should check only
those themes for which you have specific expertise and community resources.
Professional visitors will be leaders, or potential leaders, in their respective fields. Stage I
proposals must demonstrate how the offeror has worked closely with community institutions to
create a program to expose visitors to U.S. practices for a three-week period. All visitors must
have the opportunity to observe and interact with their professional counterparts. Visitors should
be encouraged to participate in community volunteer activities, when appropriate. Visitors will
not be required to speak English, therefore professional interpretation must be provided.
To be considered eligible for Stage I pre-qualification, offerors should submit a complete and
thorough narrative that describes their capabilities in a convincing and comprehensive manner.
Proposal Sections B&C below must not exceed 15 pages total, and should address the following
Section A – Summary Information
Cover sheet (template provided)
Capability list of themes, countries, and availability (Appendix 1)
Summary list of similar visitor exchange programs conducted from 2003-2008 in the
template provided (Appendix 2)
Section B – Corporate Capabilities
Demonstration that the offeror has actual experience in providing similar services as
requested in this solicitation.
Section C - Technical Content
Proposals should include the following components:
Demonstration of expertise in program themes as indicated in Appendix 1
Local resources, experts and action planning facilitators available to implement programs
Successful history of arranging professional training, seminars, and site-visits
Ability to conduct effective action-planning sessions
Active home-stay network with families willing to host visitors
Specific community activities that involve visitors in community and American cultural
Demonstrated ability to prepare and orient the local community for hosting visitors
How the offeror utilized lessons learned from hosting previous visitor exchange or other
Special ties or connections the organization and community have to specific countries
participating in the Community Connections Program
List of professional interpreters committed to working with the offeror
Examples of program monitoring systems the offeror has in place to ensure successful
home-stay placements, and the ability to make changes as needed
Section D- Management and Staffing
Experience of program management staff
Appropriateness of level of staffing to successfully implement a program
Resumes of key program staff should be included as Appendix 3. No single resume
should exceed two pages
Experience in managing all the logistics of visitor exchange programs, including cultural
activities, coordination of home-stays arranging action planning sessions, airport meet
and greet, local transportation, hotel arrangements, per diem disbursement, and medical
Section E – Proposal Budget
Total costs, including program administration and visitor costs for a Community Connections
program, should not exceed $1,652 per visitor per week/visitor if the visitors will be utilizing
public transportation for the professional or cultural part of the program, or $1,637 if public
transportation is not utilized (see budget). Hosting Organizations are expected to demonstrate a
minimum cost-share of 20%.
Using the attached template in Appendix 4, please submit a budget for a three-week program.
Fixed pass-through visitor costs have already been included in the template.
Section F – Letters of Reference
Offerors are required to submit 2 letters of reference as Appendix 5 from previous funding
and/or programming agencies.
Section G –Tax Exemption Status
Copy of IRS notification of current tax-exempt status as Appendix 6.
Proposals will be reviewed for program content, cost-effectiveness, and other criteria spelled out
in this solicitation by the World Learning Technical and Budget Committee. Committee
recommendations will be forwarded to USAID for final selection of Stage I pre-qualified Host
Note: Points will be deducted for not using the templates provided.
Each submission will be reviewed and ranked according to the following criteria:
TECHNICAL STRATEGY/APPROACH (40 points)
The Technical Strategy/Approach includes the following elements:
Programming Capability: The offeror’s demonstration of sufficient skills, experience, and
expertise in program themes indicated on the RFP checklist; record of arranging professional
programs, appropriate home-stay placements; arranging cultural activities; arranging
Regional expertise: The offeror’s demonstration of knowledge and/or regional expertise specific
to Community Connections countries or regions.
Monitoring procedures: The offeror’s ability to provide examples of program monitoring
systems to ensure proper host-family and job-shadowing placements; experience managing crisis
situations and making program adjustments, and experience conducting program evaluations.
MANAGEMENT AND STAFFING PLAN (25 points)
The Management and Staffing Plan demonstrates the offeror’s ability to manage program
implementation efficiently and effectively:
Program administration: The offeror’s experience in staffing to manage visitor programs;
appropriateness and level/number of personnel, the organization’s ability to manage and report
on the financial aspects of the program; and ability to deliver a cost-effective program.
Logistics management: The offeror’s experience in managing all the logistics required of
Community Connections programs, including airport meet and greet, local transportation,
coordination of home-stay placements, cultural activities, action planning sessions, hotel
arrangements, per diem disbursement, and medical emergencies.
CORPORATE CAPABILITIES AND EXPERIENCE (10 points)
The corporate capabilities and experience section focuses on the existing capabilities of the
offeror and its actual experience in providing similar services to those required in this RFP.
Under this evaluation factor, the Technical Committee will review the level of demonstrated
capability and experience in running similar exchange programs.
PAST PERFORMANCE (5 points)
The Technical Committee will take into account letters of reference from previous funding
and/or programming agencies. The Committee may also use performance information obtained
from sources other than those identified by the offerors.
BUDGET EVALUATION (20 points)
The Budget Committee will evaluate budgets for successful demonstration of responsible fiscal
management, accuracy and completeness of budget templates, and competitiveness. Evaluation
under this factor will focus on cost containment and the offeror’s ability to provide the minimum
required 20% cost share of legitimate expenses. Scoring will be based on how well the offeror is
able to keep within the established range stated in the RFP.
World Learning may exclude an offer so unreasonably priced, in relation to the stated range as to
appear that there will be little or no chance of becoming competitive. Awards resulting from this
solicitation will be made to the responsible offerors whose proposals represent the best value
after evaluation in accordance with the factors as set forth in this solicitation.
Stage I proposals may be submitted to World Learning at any time. Please submit
our proposal, with all required appendices and attachments electronically to Lisa Posner Olocco,
Director, Community Connections.
An e-mail confirmation will be sent to you. If you do not receive an acknowledgement email
you should assume your proposal has NOT been received. Offerors will be notified of the
results of their submission by e-mail.
For further information regarding this program or the competition, please send your inquiries to
OFFEROR’S PROPOSAL COVER PAGE
NAME OF ORGANIZATION
CITY, STATE ZIP
PRIMARY CONTACT PERSON
CONTACT PERSON’S TITLE
CONTACT PERSON’S EMAIL
CONTACT PERSON’S PHONE
CONTACT PERSON’S FAX
2010-2011 Host Organization Theme Expertise
Themes for the 2010-2011 Community Connections Program have not been finalized, however
we have compiled a list of program themes based on over 300 programs implemented under
Please indicate your organization’s expertise/capability/interest in each theme and assign it a
preference/capability rating as shown in the table below. This is important because it will enable
World Learning to better distribute programs to Host Organizations based on your resources,
expertise, and preferences.
If you do not have any resources for a theme or there is little interest in a theme please
leave the cell blank.
If you rate a theme as a 1, i.e. your organization has excellent resources and this is a
preferred them, please provide supporting information. It can be names of similar
programs, specific professional resources, and/or organizational talents.
If you rate a theme a 2, i.e. your organization has good resources and it is a theme of
interest, you may, although not required, to provide supporting information.
If you rate a theme as a 3, i.e. you only have moderate resources, no supporting
information is needed.
Note: Send an appendix listing any supporting information you provide.
1 2 3
Excellent resources Good resources & Moderate resources
& preferred theme; preferred theme;
Examples required Examples optional
Agriculture (specify types of issues for rating 1,
3 2, or 3 in attachment)
4 Food Processing
5 Farmer's Associations
6 Water User's Associations
8 Arts & Craft/Handicraft Management
9 Banking & Finance
10 Bed & Breakfast Management
11 Book Publishing
14 Business Schools/Education
16 City Planning/Urban Development
17 Civic Activism/Engagement
18 Combating Corruption
19 Community Assistance to Vulnerable Children
20 Conflict Resolution
21 Corporate Social Responsibility
22 Cultural Preservation
23 Disability Issues
24 Disaster Preparedness and Response
25 Drug/Substance Abuse
28 Higher Education
29 Adult Education/Vocational Training
30 Special Education
31 Economic Development
32 Elections and Campaigns
33 Energy Efficiency
35 Natural Resource Management
36 National Parks
37 Forest Preservation
38 Film Production
40 Government (local/state)
41 Health Care
42 Infectious Disease Control
43 Family Medicine
44 Women's Health
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45 Maternal and Child Health
46 HIV/AIDS/STD prevention and treatment
47 Historic and Cultural Preservation
48 Hotel and Restaurant Management
49 Housing: Public and Private
50 Human Resource Management
51 Human Rights
52 Human Trafficking (women, children, labor)
54 Industrial Waste Management
55 Information Technology
56 Infrastructure Finance
57 Judicial Reform
58 Juvenile Justice
59 Law Enforcement
60 Legal Systems
61 Library Management
63 New Media (internet, blogs, etc.)
Mining (specify types of issues for rating 1, 2, or 3
64 in attachment)
65 Minority Rights
66 Museum Management
67 NGO Development and Management
68 Oil and Gas Production
69 Public Relations and Marketing
70 Public Safety
72 Rural Economic Development
73 Social Assistance and Poverty Alleviation
74 Sports/Recreational Management
75 Summer Youth Camps
76 Theatre Management
Think Tanks (specify types of issues for rating 1, 2,
77 or 3 in attachment)
79 Green Tourism
80 Rural Tourism
81 Visual and Performing Arts
82 Volunteer Management and Development
83 Water Management
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84 Waste Management
85 Wine Production and Tourism
86 Women and Children
87 Domestic Violence
88 Women's Rights
89 Preventing Child Abuse
90 Youth Advocacy/Development
91 Other (list)
Please note ONLY the countries from which you would agree to receive visitors:
TYPE ‘YES’ TO
COUNTRY THOSE THAT
Please indicate the following:
Our hosting organization can consider hosting groups throughout the year. We do not have
any blackout dates.
Our hosting organization is UNABLE to host visitors during the following periods. Please do
not contact us for groups arriving in the following months:
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APPENDIX 2: VISITOR EXCHANGE/TRAINING PROGRAM RECORD (2003 thru 2010)
OFFEROR’S ORGANIZATION NAME:
Program Professional Home Stay
Number of From To
(Open World, Community Theme or (2+ wks)
Participants (xx/xx/xx) (xx/xx/xx)
Connections, etc.) Business YES/NO
The following attachments must be included in your proposal submission:
Community Connections Cover Page – Contact Information
Appendix 1: Theme & Region Checklist
Appendix 2: Corporate Capability: List of Visitor Exchange
Programs conducted between during 2003-2010.
Appendix 3: Staff Resumes
Appendix 4: Proposal Budget Templates
Appendix 5: 2 Letters of Reference
Appendix 6: Tax Exemption Status