Frequently asked questions – Call for proposals: From Farms to Markets in South Sudan

This document aims to answer those questions that Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) is most likely to be asked with regard to the South Sudan bilateral program’s call for proposals on: From Farms to Markets in South Sudan. DFATD will not answer detailed questions about individual proposals or situations.

Questions related to this call for proposals must be emailed to SouthSudanCFP.SoudanduSudADP@international.gc.ca. Answers to the questions will be posted on this page.

Please note that DFATD will only accept questions from potential applicants until July 31, 2015 at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4). DFATD will not answer any questions received after that date.

We understand that the call [for proposals] has a geographic focus within South Sudan. While respecting this, is it permissible to allocate budgetary resources to other parts of the country or the African region to support activities that are integral to the success of the initiative for the targeted regions?

Direct project activities must take place within the geographic scope of this call for proposals; however, proponents may choose to allocate budgetary resources in other parts of the country or in a third location in order to support the implementation of direct project activities in the four targeted states.

What costs can be included in the three-month close-out period?

During the close-out period, only costs related to the demobilization of personnel, disposal of assets and preparation of final reports constitute eligible costs.

On the call for proposals Web page, is the list of crops included under “food production” exclusive?

Yes. For food production, the list of crops on the call for proposals Web page is exclusive.

Can a submitting organization expand their focus to other food-and-income-security-related activities that do not fall under fisheries and agricultural production but do help achieve the ultimate outcome (i.e. livestock production)?

Proposed projects must support the achievement of the two listed intermediate outcomes. It is up to organizations to design projects and activities that will achieve these results.

Can organizations subcontract more than 20 percent of the total value of DFATD’s contribution?

No. As per Annex 2 (Article 1.4.2) of the application form, the total for subcontracting shall not exceed 20 percent of the total value of DFATD’s contribution. However, please note that in a consortium, a partner(s) is not considered a subcontractor, and therefore, this rule would not apply.

Can organizations suggest changes to the logic model?

The ultimate outcome and intermediate outcomes for this program are set and cannot be changed. The projects must align with the ultimate outcome and help achieve all of the intermediate outcomes. Organizations are responsible for proposing components of the immediate outcomes, outputs and logic model activities in order to help achieve the intermediate outcomes and the ultimate outcome. If an organization adds an intermediate outcome, it will not be assessed.

In reference to Section 9.1: Profile of Organization in the application form, should a profile for each organization in the consortium be included or just a profile for the lead organization?

In the application form, Section 9.1 should provide information on the lead organization in the consortium. Section 9.2 can be used to highlight information on the consortium partner(s) as applicable. Under Section 9.3, please ensure that the lead organization provides information showing how it meets the eligibility criteria of having at least three years’ experience in managing, delivering and achieving proven results for food-security initiatives in South Sudan. Should sufficient space exist, you may also use one of the boxes under Section 9.3 to showcase an example of a current or past initiative that is/was implemented by the consortium partner(s).

Do applicants have to send all documents in one email?

No. Due to size limitations (20 MB per email message), applicants can send required documents in separate emails to SouthSudanCFP.SoudanduSudADP@international.gc.ca. Applicants should indicate the call for proposals title, lead organization's name, and number of the email in the subject line (for example, From Farms to Markets in South Sudan, organization name, email 1 of 2). Please note, all documents must be submitted before the closing deadline of August 14, 2015, 3 p.m. Eastern Time (UTC-4).

Does each project need to include both fishing and agricultural activities spanning the entire year in order to align with the targeted result in Intermediate Outcome 1: “Increased sustainable agricultural production of year-round diversified crops and fisheries, particularly by women, in targeted geographic areas”?

No. Projects could include agriculture and/or fisheries activities; however, projects should provide an opportunity to farmers and/or fisherfolk to produce and/or catch throughout the year (i.e. multiple vegetable harvests, etc.) The wording of intermediate outcomes should not be altered.

How should a non-Canadian, non-governmental organization budget for overhead at the proposal stage under the "From Farms to Markets in South Sudan" call for proposals?

DFATD does not have an overhead policy for non-Canadian organizations. In these situations, DFATD negotiates the overhead rate on a case-by-case basis. In their application, non-Canadian organizations should propose a percentage of indirect/overhead costs that is appropriate to the context of the project and required to achieve the expected results. Negotiations on the overhead rate would then take place during negotiations on the overall contribution agreement.

Is there any option for proponents to include a percentage of total direct program costs incurred for public engagement activities carried out in Canada?

No. For the From Farms to Markets in South Sudan call for proposals, total direct program costs cannot include costs incurred for public engagement activities carried out in Canada.

As long as we have project activities within one or more of the four states of geographic scope (i.e. Eastern Equatoria, Warrap, Western Bahr el Ghazal and/or Northern Bahr el Ghazal), can we also include activities in other states in South Sudan?

No. Project activities in South Sudan must be exclusively located in one or more of the following states: Eastern Equatoria, Warrap, Western Bahr el Ghazal and/or Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

I am the head of a small local organization in South Sudan, and I see that local organizations are eligible to apply to the call for proposals. But my organization is small and does not have the capacity to implement a project between C$6,000,000 and C$8,000,000, (the amount DFATD has specified for the proposals it will review). What are my options?

All organizations, whether local or international, who apply alone or as the lead organization to a consortium, must meet the minimum eligibility requirements which are listed in the application form. In addition, the call specifies that DFATD will review proposals requesting between six million dollars (C$6,000,000) and eight million dollars (C$8,000,000). Local organizations that do not meet the eligibility criteria, or do not alone have the capacity to implement this scale of funding, may form a consortium or a partnership arrangement with other larger organizations. Only the lead organization in the application of a consortium must meet all of the eligibility requirements. For general information on how to apply for funding from DFATD, please consult the Funding for International Development Projects web page.

I am having difficulty downloading the application form. What should I do?

If you are experiencing problems opening the application form, right-click on the link, save it to your computer and open it from there.

Is it possible to include food security projects implemented in Sudan (prior to independence) as part of the organization’s three years’ experience eligibility criterion?

Yes. Food security projects implemented in Sudan prior to independence may be counted as part of the organization’s three years’ experience for the eligibility criteria.

Is an organization allowed to submit a proposal if it already has one or more active projects or proposals under review with any division of DFATD?

Yes. An organization may submit a proposal even if it has one or more operational projects or proposals under review with any division of DFATD, including divisions of Africa Branch.

Will there be other calls for proposals?

Yes. though not necessarily for South Sudan. Any further calls for proposals will be posted on DFATD’s Calls for Proposals page. This page should be checked regularly.

If I submit a proposal in response to this call for proposals, will this prevent me from submitting proposals in future?

No. Submitting a proposal in response to this call for proposals will not prevent you from submitting proposals in response to future calls or to another selection mechanism, such as an unsolicited proposal.

How many times may an organization apply in response to the call for proposals concerning “From Farms to Markets in South Sudan”?

Organizations may directly apply once, whether individually or as a consortium’s lead organization.

Is there a limit to the number of applications an organization may be part of as a non-lead member of a consortium?

No. There is no limit to the number of applications an organization may be a part of as a non-lead member of a consortium. However, the organization must be capable of carrying out the work in all the proposals in which it agrees to take part, and of doing so simultaneously in the event that all or some of those proposals are accepted.

Are international organizations or entities eligible to apply, whether as a single applicant or as members of a consortium?

Yes. international organizations or entities that meet all the eligibility requirements may apply, whether individually or as a member of a consortium, including as a lead partner. There are fewer eligibility requirements for non-lead partners in a consortium. However, multilateral institutions are excluded from this call.

Are private-sector organizations, universities, colleges and volunteer-sending organizations eligible to apply?

Multilateral institutions are excluded from this call. Any other organization, entity or institution (academic, non-governmental or private-sector) that meets the eligibility requirements set out in the application form may apply. Please consult the Eligibility Requirements section of the application form.

Are United Nations organizations eligible to apply as part of a consortium or as lead organization?

No. Multilateral institutions are not eligible to apply, whether on their own or as a member of a consortium.

Is it possible to submit a joint application or an application as a member of a consortium?

Yes. as long as the lead organization of the consortium meets all of the eligibility requirements. Please see the Eligibility Requirements section of the application form.

Must organizations submit their legal documents with the application or can they provide them after they have been selected?

All documents related to the eligibility criteria must be submitted with the application form for the application file to be complete. Failure to provide all required information and documents on time could result in the rejection of the application. Legal documents need not be originals.

Do local partner organizations have to be based solely in the specific developing country, or can they operate there but have their headquarters elsewhere?

A local partner organization is an organization established in a recipient country and participating in the implementation of the project. The local partner organization does not have to have its headquarters in the country where the project will be implemented or be based solely in that country.

Does an applicant need to have an established partnership with the proposed local partner, or can it be a new partnership for this project?

Applicants are eligible to apply for projects that include new or existing partnership arrangements with local organizations. Working with local partners is one way in which DFATD works to build the capacity of civil society in recipient countries.

Are the Anti-corruption Declaration, the Declaration Regarding Outstanding Debts Due to Her Majesty and the two financial statements produced over the 30 previous months required only from the lead applicant of the consortium?

Yes. The lead partner of a consortium must meet all of the eligibility requirements, including providing the Anti-corruption Declaration, the Declaration Regarding Outstanding Debts Due to Her Majesty, proof of its legal status, and the two financial statements. The remaining members of the consortium need only provide proof of their legal status in the country in which they are registered.

What additional documentation/information could DFATD require for a fiduciary risk assessment of organizations selected under the initiative?

The information/documentation that could be required for a fiduciary risk assessment of an organization includes, but is not limited to, the following: mission and mandate statements (vision and goals/objectives and other relevant information); roles and responsibilities of Executive Committee members; organizational chart; annual or activity reports; merit assessment; independent evaluation reports; regulations; strategic/business plan; oversight structure/framework; anticorruption policy/statement; code of ethics; contracting policies, practices and procedures (headquarters and field); and compensation and benefits policies.

Does the deadline for submission require a full proposal or can a concept paper be submitted by this date and a full proposal submitted later?

Concept papers will not be accepted. The duly completed application form and all of the requested information must be submitted with the application form. Otherwise, the proposal will be rejected.

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 deadline for submissions, DFATD will assess, on a comparative basis, all of the proposals that meet the eligibility requirements.

What is meant by "fiscal year" in Canada?

In Canada, a fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.

Is the applicant organization required to provide a contribution (cash and/or in-kind)?

Although the applicant organization is not required to provide a contribution, it is strongly encouraged to do so. From the proposals that meet all of the assessment criteria, DFATD will determine which proposals or group of proposals best align with its priorities. The organization’s contribution could be considered at this stage.

Does all of the applicant’s cost-shared contribution have to come from Canadian sources?

No. Contributions can also come from non-Canadian sources.

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

For applicants who are eligible to make in-kind 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.

What do you mean by “in-kind” contribution?

The in-kind contribution is related to material, goods, services or time to which a dollar value can be attributed that would otherwise be acquired and paid for by the organization. To be eligible, the in-kind contribution must be provided for eligible direct costs and contributed at no cost or other compensation. The in-kind contribution must be based on a fair value, which is an amount agreed upon by informed parties dealing at arm’s length in an open market. Its valuation must be accepted by DFATD. The in-kind contribution must be identifiable, verifiable and auditable throughout the initiative’s life cycle.

Is unpaid overtime worked by salaried employees of an organization considered to be an “in-kind” contribution?

DFATD does not recognize unpaid overtime worked by salaried employees of the organization or any other person working on the project as an in-kind contribution.

What details are required to justify the eligibility of “in-kind” contributions?

The “Cost-sharing” section of the application form provides the details required for justifying an “in-kind” contribution.

Is time worked by volunteers or interns considered an “in-kind” contribution?

Time worked by volunteers or interns may be considered an in-kind contribution, provided that sufficient details are given to justify its eligibility, that is, the type of volunteer or intern, the number of days, the value per day and the methodology used to calculate the value assigned per day.

What are the eligible costs for volunteers?

The eligible costs for volunteers are transportation, accommodation, meals, incidental emergency health insurance for travel abroad, vaccinations and visa(s).

Is there a minimum budget requirement for the total project cost?

DFATD plans to contribute a minimum of six million dollars ($6,000,000) and a maximum of eight million dollars ($8,000,000) in funding per project, excluding cost-sharing contributions from applicant organizations.

Is there a preferred data source that should be used in the proposals?

There is no directive on preferred data sources. Applicant organizations should use reliable, current and appropriate data in their proposal, and should cite their sources.

Can an applicant submit a proposal with some parts (including annexes) in English and others in French?

Yes. Applicants can submit their proposals and annexes in either English or French, or a combination of the two.

Where can I get information on current activities led by DFATD and Canadian partners in South Sudan, particularly for food security?

The Project Browser on DFATD’s website contains general information on activities funded by the department in various countries, including South Sudan.

Section 2.3 of the application form says that we must indicate our targets with respect to the performance measurement framework. However, if we have not yet collected the basic data, how can we be expected to set realistic targets?

The performance measurement framework (PMF) provided when the application is submitted will be considered a draft. If the applicant’s proposal is selected, the PMF will be finalized during the inception phase. That being said, applicants should provide an estimate of total project beneficiaries in their proposals.

When will DFATD announce its decision to the successful applicants?

Once the process for assessing the proposals received has been completed, DFATD will inform the organizations by email of a decision concerning their proposals.

In the section in which the applicant must provide examples of experience, can ongoing or current programs be listed? Does a program have to be completed in order to be considered experience?

In Section 9.3 of the application form, including Table 8, the examples may be from relevant current or past experience. However, the applicant must demonstrate how it has actually dealt with requirements similar to those in the proposed initiative.

How do we know if our organization’s experience will meet the eligibility criteria of “three years' experience managing, delivering and achieving proven results in food security initiatives in South Sudan”?

Applicants must demonstrate that they have three years of relevant experience in managing and delivering food security initiatives in South Sudan by providing information on projects previously implemented by the applicant within Section 9.3 of the application form: Examples of current or past initiatives.

How can conflict sensitivity be demonstrated in the application form?

Conflict-sensitive approaches range from placing an emphasis on risk management to minimizing unintended negative impacts of development interventions on the conflict dynamics to even more deliberately addressing and engaging drivers of conflict. While conflict sensitivity is not a stand-alone assessment criterion for this call for proposals, applicants must show in their application form that they 1) understand the context within which they plan to operate, 2) understand the interaction between their proposed intervention and the context, and 3) can act upon the understanding of this interaction, in order to avoid negative impacts and maximize positive impacts. At a minimum for this call for proposals, conflict sensitivity requires a “do no harm” approach to ensure that interventions do not create or exacerbate conflict. Experience indicates that this requires specific funding to be set aside for conflict-expertise resources.

How do I prepare the Budget Breakdown Table Annex requested under section 11 of the form?