Frequently asked questions – Call for proposals: Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan

This page serves to answer frequently asked questions about Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)'s call for proposals for Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan. Detailed questions about individual proposals or situations will not be answered.

Questions related to the call for proposals for Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan should be submitted to the following email address: appel.afghanistan.call@international.gc.ca.

Responses to questions will be posted on the DFATD public website on the page for Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan call for proposals.

Please note that DFATD will respond to questions received from potential applicants up to October 1, 2015, 3 p.m. Eastern Time (UTC-4). Questions received later than this date will not be answered by DFATD.

The cost categories in the budget template relate only to "employees based in Canada" or "Canadian personnel". Can an allocation for staff based outside of Canada be included under these cost items? How should non-Canadian staff be included?

As per annex 2 of the application form, article 1.1 Remuneration – Organization’s Employees in Canada and Overseas, DFATD reimburses daily rates actually paid by the organization to its employees for time actually worked on the implementation of the initiative. The organization will be required to provide time sheets in support of these costs, and in the case where only a percentage of an employee’s salary is claimed as a direct cost under the project, the organization will be required to validate this percentage.

The allowed percentage of overhead for a Canadian organization is 12 percent. What percentage of overhead can be allocated to non-Canadian organizations?

As per annex 2 of the application form, article 1.7 Allowance for Indirect/Overhead Costs, for non-Canadian organizations, the overhead rate will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Does the overhead category specifically disallow staff costs?

The DFATD Overhead Compensation Policy does not specifically disallow staff costs to be covered by the overhead compensation. However, the overhead compensation should cover salaries and fringe benefits relating to the administration of the organization. For non-Canadian organizations, the overhead rate will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Are detailed budget notes required to inform the figures provided in the budget section of the application form?

A short description of each eligible cost should be provided explaining how it was calculated. The applicant can provide as much detail as possible within each eligible cost category in Table 5 (1st column). The level of detail for an eligible cost element is a matter of judgment, but it should be a financially significant level that will enable the assessment of the initiative’s value for money. If the project is approved by DFATD, more detail might be requested when a funding agreement is negotiated.

Columns 2 to 5 in Table 5 under the budget section of the application form asks for total amounts per cost category. How should detailed calculations for eligible costs be presented? For example, in the first column of Table 5, i.e. in the cell "Employees based in Canada (or overseas) and on short-term assignment overseas," should the respective employees be listed individually with a budget number?

The applicant can provide as much detail as possible within each eligible cost category in Table 5 (1st column) of the application form. The level of detail for an eligible cost element is a matter of judgment, but it should be a financially significant level that will facilitate the assessment of the initiative’s value for money. If the project is approved by DFATD, more detail might be requested when a funding agreement is negotiated.

When an applicant already has operational projects in Afghanistan, thus a functional structure on the ground, can office rent in Kabul be regarded as the organization’s contribution in cash and can the monthly amount for the lease be inserted in column 2 (Organization – Cash contribution) under "Project Administration Costs Directly Related to the Project"? If so, should the full amount be included or should this be apportioned to other projects?

Yes. Since DFATD would usually pay for the recipient’s local office space as an administration cost directly related to the project, this cost can therefore be recognized as its cost-share contribution in the form of a cash contribution. If these offices are owned or rented solely for the purpose of this project, the full cost would be accepted as the cost-share contribution. However, if only a portion of the offices are used for the project, DFATD will only accept this portion of the cost and the recipient will need to demonstrate a clear methodology on how it arrived at the proposed amount.

Are external audits and tax advisory services (required by the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan) listed under "Other Direct Costs Identified under the Project"? If so, are these costs applicable to DFATD’s contribution toward "Allowances for Indirect/Overhead Costs"?

If these costs are not project-specific (i.e. direct project costs), they cannot be reimbursed as such and should rather be considered as an indirect/overhead cost.

What is the definition of civil society organizations in this call for proposals?

The term ‘‘civil society’’ refers to a wide range of non-governmental, non-profit, and voluntary-driven organizations, as well as social movements, through which people organize to pursue shared interests, values, beliefs, and objectives in public life. In the international development and humanitarian contexts, these organizations are found at the international, regional, national and local levels, and are development actors in their own right. Examples of civil society organizations include community-based organizations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’ associations, faith-based organizations, philanthropic organizations, human rights groups, labour unions, youth organizations, co-operatives, village associations, professional associations, independent research institutes, humanitarian assistance organizations, and non-profit media.

It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria as listed on the application form.

What is the duration of projects under this call for proposals?

The duration of projects is mentioned on page 1 of the application form and Web page of the call for proposals: “Duration of initiative: Projects, including all project-reporting requirements, must be completed by March 31, 2021.” It is the responsibility of the applicant to propose an initiative that meets this requirement.

Would successful applicants be awarded service contracts or grants?

Successful applicants will receive funding from DFATD in the form of a grant or a contribution, the terms and conditions of which will be set out in a funding agreement.

Can DFATD assist an organization in finding a local partner in a developing country?

No. It is up to the organizations submitting applications to enter into consultations with local partners.

Are audited financial statements required to apply for, or receive, funding?

Financial statements are required as part of any application for funding. Audited financial statements are preferred but not mandatory. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide the most authoritatively sourced financial statements available for their organization in order for DFATD to assess organizational capacity and the fiduciary risk of funding the application.

Does the funding source for the mandatory cost-share have to be Canadian?

No, the funding source for the mandatory cost-share is not required to be Canadian. Canadian, international and/or Afghan organization recipients, or one or more members of a consortium recipient, can provide this funding. If the original funding source is not the recipient, funds must flow through the recipient in order to be eligible for the mandatory cost-share and the recipient must certify that funds are available upon signature of the Contribution Agreement.

Is a consortium with a Canadian organization mandatory?

No, a consortium with a Canadian organization is not mandatory. As per the application form for Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls’ Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan, there is the option to form a consortium with an organization that meets all eligibility requirements. In particular, we encourage organizations with less than two years of experience in managing and delivering international development initiatives to work in consortiums with more experienced organizations.

As noted on the application form in the section relating to Forms, the legal status of each member of a consortium needs to be proven.

Does this call for proposals require a national or specific provincial focus?

The Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls’ Rights and Empowerment call for proposals is open to projects that are national or of any geographical scope within Afghanistan.

How do you define "international organizations" in your eligibility criteria?

For the purposes of this call, "international organizations" are those that are neither Canadian nor Afghan. They may be multilateral, third-country organizations or international non-governmental organizations. All eligibility requirements apply to all applicants.

We already started filling out the application form that was posted at the beginning of the call. Do we have to download the new form and transfer all of the content over?

Yes. There was a technical issue with the original version of the application form that was posted. It is in your best interest to use the new application form.

What organizations are eligible to apply under this call for proposals?

Canadian, international and/or Afghan organizations which have a legal entity.

Is it possible to get an opinion from DFATD regarding an organization's eligibility prior to officially submitting an application?

DFATD will not answer questions about individual proposals or situations. It is the responsibility of each applicant to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan call page and the application form. For additional information on eligibility criteria on initiatives, please refer to guidance notes under "Eligibility Requirements" in the application form.

Can private sector firms participate in this call for proposals?

Yes. Private sector firms that meet the eligibility criteria may submit a proposal through this call for proposals. Please note that if DFATD decides to contribute to the project, the recipient cannot use DFATD funding to generate profits.

Is it possible to submit an application as a consortium?

Yes, as long as the lead organization meets all of the eligibility criteria.

Do other members of a consortium also have to submit proof of their organization's legal status, or only the lead applicant of the consortium?

It is not necessary for a consortium to form a separate legal entity for the purpose of applying to the Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan call for proposals; however, as noted on the application form in the section relating to Forms, the legal status of each member of a consortium needs to be proven. All consortium members must therefore submit a letter of incorporation or proof of legal status.

Can an eligible organization submit an application on its own, and still be a member of a consortium application where another eligible organization is the lead?

Yes, an organization can submit on its own and also as a member of a consortium as long as the organization is aware that if all projects are approved, the organization must be able to implement the projects and/or provide the resources (human and financial) as per the proposals.

Is there a limit to the number of consortium applications in which an organization may participate?

There is no limit to the number of applications that an organization can be part of as a non-lead member of a consortium; however, organizations must also be aware that if all projects are approved, the organization must be able to implement the projects and/or provide the resources (human and financial) as per the proposals.

Are organizations allowed to submit a proposal if they already have an active project(s) or project(s) under review with other branches or divisions of DFATD?

Yes, DFATD is allowing organizations to submit a proposal, even if the organization has a current project or a project under review with other branches or divisions of DFATD.

How many times can an organization apply to the Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls' Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan call for proposals?

An organization can apply once either on its own or as the lead organization of a consortium, and may also participate in one or more consortiums for which they are not the lead.

Is the call for proposals a tender in which all applications will be opened at the end of the tender and assessed on merit, or will the applications be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis?

The call for proposals is not a tendering process. After the closing date of the call for proposals specified in the announcement, DFATD will analyze, on a comparative basis, only proposals deemed eligible based on the assessment criteria.

Is there a mandatory cost-share percentage set by the program?

A cost-share contribution is required; however, there is no mandatory cost-share percentage set by the program.

Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that they have the capacity to provide their cost-sharing contribution, excluding the Government of Canada sources. Contributions can be either in cash and/or in-kind applied towards direct project costs.

Are there any guidelines on the proportion of funding for in-kind versus cash cost-sharing contributions?

Contributions can be provided as either cash or in-kind, or a combination of both. There are no guidelines on the proportion; however, in-kind contributions cannot come from assets transferred from previous DFATD-supported projects.

The in-kind contribution is related to materials, goods, services or time to which a dollar value can be attributed, that would otherwise be purchased and paid for by the organization. To be eligible, the in-kind contribution must be provided for eligible direct costs and be contributed at no cost or other compensation. An in-kind contribution must be based on a fair value. Fair value is an amount that would be agreed upon by informed parties dealing at arm's length in an open market. Its value must be accepted by DFATD. In-kind contribution must be identifiable, verifiable and auditable throughout the initiative life cycle. DFATD does not recognize unpaid overtime by salaried employees of the organization, or any other person working on the project, as an in-kind contribution.

Can the overhead allocation from DFATD be used to pay for the overhead costs of the local partner organization(s), as well as for that of the Canadian partner?

When the lead organization is Canadian, the overhead allocation of 12 percent is provided to the lead organization (signatory). It is the responsibility of the lead organization to determine how these funds should be allocated to cover the project's indirect costs in Canada. The lead organization could decide to split these funds among consortium members and/or local partners or to use them for Canadian overhead costs only. Please note that no overhead costs can be claimed as direct project costs.

How does the overhead rate apply to non-Canadian organizations?

Although overhead compensation for non-Canadian organizations are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, non-Canadian organizations can however refer to the Overhead Compensation Policy on the DFATD website to gain a better understanding of the policy applicable to Canadian organizations.

Is there a minimum budget requirement for total project cost?

DFATD intends to contribute funding ranging from a minimum of three million Canadian dollars (C$3,000,000) up to a maximum of six million Canadian dollars (C$6,000,000), not including the applicants' cost-sharing contributions.

Applicants are requested to submit an anti-corruption policy or statement in addition to a signed anti-corruption declaration form. What constitutes an acceptable anti-corruption statement?

Anti-corruption statements will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If an organization does not have its own anti-corruption statement, it may either provide a similar document or demonstrate that it adheres to the anti-corruption policy of a recognized association or agency.

Where can I learn about the existing activities supported by DFATD in Afghanistan?

General information on DFATD-supported activities by country is available on the Project Browser on DFATD's website.

Is there a preferred source of data to be used in proposals?

There is no guideline on preferred sources of data. Applicants should use reliable, current and appropriate data for their proposals, and should cite their sources.

Are applicants able to propose adjustments to the logic model?

The ultimate and intermediate outcomes are set for this call for proposals and cannot be changed or adjusted. Projects must align with the ultimate outcome and contribute to the achievement of at least one of the two intermediate outcomes. Applicants are responsible for proposing the immediate outcomes, indicators, outputs and activity elements of the logic model in a manner that supports the achievement of the established intermediate and ultimate outcomes.