Frequently Asked Questions – Calls for Proposals for the Technological Platforms to Strengthen Public Sector Accountability and Citizen Engagement
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This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section is designed to assist applicants in understanding the requirements of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) for the Technological Platforms to Strengthen Public Sector Accountability and Citizen Engagement call for proposals, as well as to guide them through the application process. It is not a substitute for application guidance, and applicants should continue to consult the guidance in the Application Form for this call. Please note that the questions presented in this section may have been rewritten to protect the identity of the applicant, as well as to ensure that the questions are more broadly applicable. When new questions/answers are posted, they will always be added at the top of the list of questions for each category.
Please note that, given the large volume of incoming questions and the need to provide answers in a timely manner, the deadline to submit questions concerning the call for proposals is October 8, 2015, 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4). DFATD will not be in a position to answer questions received after October 8, 2015, as there will be insufficient time available for answers to be posted in the FAQ section after this date.
Important information for new applicants
- Applicants must be legally incorporated or otherwise constituted under the provincial, territorial or federal laws of Canada and must meet the minimum eligibility criteria listed on the application form.
- Applicants that cannot meet the minimum eligibility requirements, but are interested in this call, are encouraged to form a consortium with a Canadian organization that meets the established criteria.
- Private sector organizations can also submit an application if they meet the eligibility criteria, or they can opt to form a consortium. Organizations cannot generate a profit through the implementation of a DFATD-funded project.
Will DFATD provide a matchmaking service pairing international organizations and Canadian organizations?
No. It is up to proponents to establish partnerships that work best for them; organizations are responsible for forming their own consortiums. International organizations may search for Canadian organizations by country and/or sector in the DFATD - Project Browser.
Application Process and Eligibility
Can an organization that does not meet the criterion of having two years of experience managing and delivering international development initiatives form a consortium with a lead organization that has the two years’ experience but plays an administrative role rather than being involved in the initiative’s design?
Canadian organizations that meet all of the eligibility criteria can be the lead partner of a consortium, including with other Canadian or international partners from civil society, academia or the private sector. It is the responsibility of the consortium to determine the composition of its membership and to define the roles and responsibilities of each member.
If an organization has more than two years of project management experience in a sector related to governance within a developed country setting, would it be deemed ineligible because of a lack of experience managing projects in international development?
Applicants must ensure they have at least two years of experience in managing and delivering international development initiatives including a relevant combination of experience working in the particular sectors of intervention in their proposal or in the developing countries where they plan to work if the proposal is approved. It is the responsibility of the applicants to demonstrate in their application form that they meet the requirements.
Could you clarify whether organizations that are global or otherwise not created in Canada but have been legally incorporated or otherwise created under the provincial, territorial or federal laws of Canada for at least the past two years are eligible to apply as the lead organization in a consortium?
It is the responsibility of the applicants to find out whether they have been legally incorporated or otherwise created under the provincial, territorial or federal laws of Canada for at least the past two years.
Should the Local Partner Information Form carry only those organizations that are in the countries where the project will be implemented or also other international organizations that are part of the consortium?
The Local Partner Information Form should include only the partners in the country/countries where the project will be implemented.
Can a Canadian organization be the lead of a consortium if it has never worked internationally, but has extensive experience in technological platforms, and if the other consortium member has the local experience?
No. It is the applicant organization that must specifically meet all the eligibility criteria indicated on the application form.
Can an organization use the experience of an employee to satisfy the eligibility criteria (two years’ experience in managing and delivering international development initiatives) in a country where the project is to be implemented?
No. It is the applicant organization that must specifically meet all the eligibility criteria indicated on the application form.
Should we constantly upload the most recent version of our application form to the Partners@International portal or just upload the completed application form?
The portal allows you to replace the attached document at any time before submitting your proposal or until the deadline of the call for proposals. Once you click on “SUBMIT,” DFATD will assess only the most recent attachment for each document submitted as part of the application package for this call for proposal.
May the lead applicant include in their proposal one or more initiatives undertaken by other consortium partners in Table 8, “Examples of Current or Past Initiatives” of Section 9.3?
Yes. The experience referred to in Table 8, “Examples of Current or Past Initiatives” of Section 9.3, must be that of the lead organization or a member of the consortium.
Will DFATD give preference to countries of focus over other qualifying countries?
Will there be other opportunities to submit proposals for this particular call for proposal?
No, the deadline for proposal submissions is October 27, 2015, at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4). Proposals received after the deadline will not be accepted.
If a country is included in the list of Official Development Assistance (ODA)-eligible countries but is also among the top 10 global economies on the World Bank statistics Web page, is this country eligible for this call?
No, if a country is included in the list of Official Development Assistance (ODA)-eligible countries but is also among the top 10 global economies on the World Bank statistics Web page, it is not eligible in this call for proposals.
Will preference be given to a proposal submitted by a single, independent organization or a coalition with a local partner?
Proposals may be submitted either by an individual organization or a coalition with a local partner. No preference will be given, and the applications with the most merit will be supported. As per the call for proposal instructions, organizations must demonstrate that one or more local partners have consulted with or assisted in consultations with local beneficiaries and have contributed to the design of the initiative. Agreements with local partners must be included in the submission using the Local Partner Information Form.
Can an organization acting as a lead applicant submit a proposal while also serving as a non-lead organization within a consortium submitting another proposal?
We would like to request an extension to the deadline for submitting proposals under the Technological Platforms to Strengthen Public Sector Accountability and Citizen Engagement Call for Proposals, is this possible?
No extensions will be given. DFATD must receive all applications no later than the 15:00 UTC-4 October 27, 2015 deadline posted on the Technological Platforms to Strengthen Public Sector Accountability and Citizen Engagement Call Page and Application Form.
Could a consortium partnership, wherein the lead organization has expertise in governance and advancing democracy programming in international development and the junior consortium member has expertise in innovative technological approaches, be eligible?
Yes. The proponent or lead consortium partner must possess the minimum level of experience in managing international development programming in governance and advancing democracy. Junior consortium members may bring additional strengths and expertise, including in the areas of information and communication technologies or other areas related to the initiative. Junior consortium members do not need to meet the minimum level of experience in managing international development programming. For more information, please refer to the first page of the Application Form.
Is it possible to act as the lead organization in a project and also be a member of a consortium in another (or several other) projects carried out in one or more countries?
Yes. A Canadian organization may submit a proposal in its own name or as lead organization, but it can also be a member of a consortium associated with another proposal. However, the organization must have the capacity to do the work on all proposals in which it is named, and to do so simultaneously in the event that all of the proposals are accepted.
Can an international organization submit a proposal under this call for proposals?
Lead organizations must be Canadian and must have been legally incorporated under the provincial, territorial or federal laws of Canada for at least the past two years. However, the Canadian lead organization may form a consortium with one or more Canadian or international partners.
Can the maximum number of pages be exceeded, or can annexes be added as supplementary information?
As specified on the Application Form (PDF, 450 KB, 30 pages), completed application forms shall not exceed 28 pages in English or 33 pages in French, with unmodified margins, in Courier New 11 point font. This excludes the application form questions, guidance, other forms, and any reports or supporting documents. Annexes, beyond the requested local partner forms, country annexes and financial information cannot be added to the application form.
Does the deadline for submission require a full proposal or can a concept paper be submitted by the deadline, followed by a full proposal at a later date?
A full proposal must be submitted by the deadline for submission. In order for DFATD to assess a proposal efficiently, and to provide clear guidance and consistent access to all applicants, DFATD will not accept concept papers for review. DFATD will only assess completed applications that meet all the requirements, as detailed in the application form.
How can an organization submit a proposal on behalf of a consortium?
The lead organization must create a profile and submit the consortium’s proposal under their own profile in the Partners@International portal.
Please note that the lead organization cannot submit another proposal under their own organization’s name.
Do all members of a consortium need to create a profile in the Partners@International portal?
No. Only the lead organization needs to create a profile and submit the proposal on behalf of the consortium.
Can non-Canadian organizations form part of a consortium?
Yes. The lead organization of the consortium, however, must be Canadian and meet all eligibility requirements.
Does an organization need to have an established partnership with the proposed local partner, or can it be a new partnership for this initiative?
An organization is eligible to apply for an initiative with local partner(s) that include new or existing partnership arrangements. The local partner(s) must have consulted with, or assisted in consultations with, local beneficiaries and have contributed to the proposal’s initial design. As evidence, information must be provided on how organizations will work with local partner(s) by including a letter signed by each local partner that outlines the participation of, and consultations with, local beneficiaries in the design of the initiative and confirms the agreement by the local partner(s) to implement the project jointly. The Local Partner Information Form (PDF - 133 KB, 1 page) must also be included in the application. The local partner(s) must be clearly identified in the proposal.
Will DFATD give preference to old or new partners when selecting successful proposals?
No. Equal preference will be given to all partners. Potential partners will be assessed on the merit of their proposals.
Can an organization submit an application if they currently have one or more active projects under assessment with Partnerships for Development and Innovation Branch?
Can an organization submit more than one proposal to the Technological Platforms to Strengthen Public Sector Accountability and Citizen Engagement call for proposals?
No. Applicant organizations can only submit one proposal, either on their own or as lead organization of a consortium.
Does DFATD have countries of concentration where it focuses its programming?
Can a proposal be submitted with activities in a country that is not an ODA-eligible country—excluding the 10 largest economies in the world?
No. Proposals for initiatives that include activities in ineligible countries will not be considered.
In order to determine which countries are excluded from the call, could you confirm what unit of measurement is used to determine the top ten global economies? GDP, GDP per capita, GNI, GNI per capita, etc.?
GDP is the unit of measurement to determine the 10 largest economies in the world for the purpose of this call for proposals. Please refer to the World Bank statistics on GDP for further information.
Can an international organization submit a proposal?
No. Lead organizations must be Canadian and legally incorporated or otherwise created under the provincial, territorial or federal laws of Canada, and have their main place of business in Canada. Canadian organizations may, however, form consortiums with international partners.
Can Canadian colleges and universities submit a proposal?
Yes. All applicants that satisfy the eligibility requirements can submit a proposal to this call.
Can more than one faculty or department within a college or university submit a proposal to this call?
No. The university or college, and not a particular faculty or department, would be the lead applicant organization to this call for proposals.
Can application forms be written in both English and French, or should they be written in one language?
Proposals can be submitted in either English or French or a combination of both.
Is there any advantage to the consortium model?
If an organization does not meet the minimum eligibility criteria but wishes to participate in this call, the consortium model would provide the opportunity for this entity to form a consortium with a Canadian organization that does meet the established criteria.
The consortium model could also be used to leverage multiple kinds of expertise that might be required for a specific project.
No extra points will be given for proposals submitted by a consortium.
Is it required to work with a local partner?
Yes, it is essential to work with a local partner. A local partner is an organization in the country where the proposed initiative will be executed.
The applicant must complete and upload the Local Partner Information Form, outline the local partner(s)' experience in working with international or Canadian organizations, and if necessary, describe the local partner(s)' previous professional experience with the local partner(s) and the nature of the relationship.
Is it necessary to complete Section C “Capacity to Deliver - Financial Resource Capacity and Financial Independence” in order to be eligible for this call?
No. As noted on page 1 of the application form, organizations submitting an application through this call are not required to complete ‘‘Section C – Capacity to Deliver – Financial Resource Capacity and Financial Independence.’’ This criterion is no longer an eligibility requirement.
If an organization proposes an IT solution (development of software, for example) as part of a DFATD-funded project, do the intellectual property rights belong to DFATD or the original owner?
In the case of a DFATD-funded project, all intellectual property rights are vested to the applicant organization. However, this organization hereby grants the Government of Canada a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, non-commercial, free-of-charge and royalty-free licence authorizing it to reproduce, disseminate and translate said work to achieve the objectives of the programs targeted by the department. DFATD encourages organizations to obtain their own legal advice, since DFATD is unable to provide legal advice in this regard.
Is there a limit on the number of consortium applications in which an organization can participate as a non-lead member?
There is no limit to the number of applications a consortium can submit in which an organization can be a non-lead member. However, the organization must be able to execute the work in all the proposals in which it is mentioned, simultaneously if all the proposals are approved.
What are the eligibility criteria under this call for proposals?
The eligibility criteria for the Technological Platforms to Strengthen Public Sector Accountability and Citizen Engagement call for proposals are on the main page of the call and on page 1 of the Application Form.
Is it necessary to go through a Canadian organization (firm) in order to submit a proposal?
Regarding mandatory intermediate outcomes, can we modify the outcome itself in order to specifically determine which marginalized group(s) the project will focus on?
The ultimate outcome that is included in the logic model in the application form cannot be changed.
Proposals must demonstrate that they contribute toward the ultimate outcome and at least one or more of the intermediate outcomes.
Performance indicators can and should be disaggregated where appropriate in order to measure the change brought about by the project as it applies to target populations or beneficiaries.
Can you explain why there is a mandatory indicator for the ultimate outcome but it is not possible to actually type this specific indicator, along with the additional information that will measure this indicator, into Table 2, “Performance Measurement Framework (PMF)”?
To minimize the burden on applicants, the PMF required at the application stage is a preliminary one. This means that only certain sections of the PMF need to be completed at this stage of the application process.
For further clarification, please consult the guidance box of Section 2.3, “Preliminary performance measurement framework”, which specifies which sections of the PMF need to be completed as part of the application process. The information relating to measurement of the intermediate outcomes and outputs is what is being requested from proponents. A full PMF would only be required once DFATD decides to fund the proposal.
Does “Canadian technology, expertise and ideas” mean that technological components of the project need to be developed, deployed or otherwise housed in Canada?
No. Technological components do not need to be developed, deployed or otherwise housed in Canada. DFATD intends to share best practices that are used in Canada with people in developing countries in order to address their development challenges. Best practices should be shared and adapted to the local needs and realities of developing countries to achieve the expected results set out in the call for proposals.
Is one intermediate outcome and output indicator sufficient (see Section 2.3 “Preliminary Performance Measurement Framework” of the application form)?
Yes. However, if it is possible to provide two intermediate outcome and output indicators (qualified and quantitative), the results or outcomes will be measured better.
With respect to the project examples described in Section 9.3 “Relevant Applicant Experience” of the application form, can the examples include projects funded through a request for proposal or another international mechanism?
The examples of types of initiatives include projects that have produced results in the sector and in the country or countries targeted by this call for proposals. The examples can include projects funded through a request for proposal or another international mechanism.
Can the proponent reinterpret mandatory outcomes and performance indicators to take a broader view of the call?
No, the call has identified areas where DFATD intends to engage. Organizations should submit a proposal only if their intended programming addresses one or more of the intermediate outcomes. DFATD has identified both mandatory outcomes and indicators. Proponents can identify other indicators if they consider them appropriate to measuring the results of the specified outcomes.
Would a project in a country rated as “Upper Middle Income” on the OECD’s DAC List of ODA Recipients and expected to graduate in 2017 (if it remains a high-income country in 2016) be eligible for funding under the call?
Yes, as long as the country is not ranked among the top 10 on the list of global economies (see World Bank statistics).
Is this call more suited for a project or a program?
This call is for initiatives—projects or programs—that are aligned with the expected results of the call for proposals and that have a budget of between $1 million and $5 million.
What does DFATD mean by technological platforms? Could you provide some examples?
DFATD is seeking to partner with organizations to support accountability and transparency and engage citizens in developing countries, using technology. This could include the use of information and communications technologies, including mobile communication devices, social media, open source data, financial tracking, software, the Internet, and others. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how they would use technology in their work. The proposal should outline the approach of using technology to accomplish international development results.
Should the analysis of crosscutting themes, such as gender equality, environmental sustainability and governance, cover the entire initiative?
Applicants should complete an analysis of crosscutting themes for the entire initiative. Please consult the website for additional information about the three crosscutting themes. Proposals should demonstrate that crosscutting themes have been considered throughout the document, not just in dedicated sections.
Does the local partner need to be a local NGO or can it be a local government department?
Both options are permitted.
What is the definition of a local partner for the purpose of this call?
A local partner is an organization in the country where the proposed initiative will be executed, such as NGOs, local government, private sector organizations, think tanks or any entities involved in research and development.
If the local partner is government, can it be any level of government, or any of its agencies?
Yes, any of these options would qualify as a local partner.
How can an organization propose projects in different countries, each with a different local partner, for this call?
You would have to submit a proposal outlining what work would be undertaken in each country with each local partner.
Note that the proposal needs to include a Country Annex for each country and a Local Partner Agreement for each partner. Please refer to the information located on the first page of the Application Form, Section G, as well as the Country Annex located under Forms on page 6.
Must the 5 percent cash contribution be “in the bank” when submitting the application or can it be spread over the duration of the initiative?
No, the 5 percent cash contribution does not need to be “in the bank” when the application is submitted.
The organization only has to demonstrate, in the proposal, its financial capacity to contribute the 5 percent cost-share (in cash) during the lifetime of the project. Please provide this information under Section 8.2 “Cost-sharing” of your proposal.
Do all three initiative examples under Table 8, “Examples of Current or Past Initiatives” of Section 9.3, need to come from the lead Canadian applicant or can one of the initiative examples come from the local partner?
Yes. The experience referred to in Table 8, "Examples of Current or Past Initiatives" of Section 9.3, must be that of the lead organization or a member of the consortium.
What constitutes an eligible cash contribution?
A cash contribution, entirely from Canadian sources, is any cash disbursement of the funds of the lead organization that is made toward any eligible direct project costs of the initiative.
Where should applicants input fees for international subcontractors that do not fall within the Canadian or local subcontractor categories in Table 5.1, “Budget by Expense”?
Please input fees for the international subcontractors in the “Local Subcontractors” field (Table 5.1 “Budget by Expense”, below the “Summary of Eligible Budget Categories” column) and specify in the description field that these fees are for international subcontractors.
In reference to 1.6.2, “Personnel on long-term overseas assignment and on short-term relocation” of Annex 2, “Information on Eligible Costs”, does the Technical Assistance Handbook apply to this call?
Yes. It is DFATD’s policy that expenses and benefits payable to long-term personnel overseas (not applicable to volunteers) on DFATD-funded projects shall not exceed those allowable under the provisions of the Technical Assistance Regulations.
How can a non-profit organization with limited funds meet the cost-share requirement?
An organization with limited funds could join a consortium in which the lead organization is responsible for the cost-share requirement.
Note that the lead organization is not required to have the 5 percent cash contribution in its net assets before the beginning of the initiative. However, the organization must be able to generate sufficient revenue (from Canadian sources other than the federal government) each year during the lifetime of the project to meet the cash contribution requirement.
Is there a limit to DFATD's contribution to the initiative, based on an organization’s revenue?
No. Under this call, organizations must submit proposals for initiatives between $1 million and $5 million regardless of their revenue. However, an organization must demonstrate that it has the capacity to deliver the initiative and be able to satisfy the financial requirements.
Would the salaries of Canadian personnel be an eligible expense under the cash contribution?
Yes. If an organization is able to demonstrate that Canadian personnel positions are necessary to implement the project, the position costs could be eligible.
The approval of Canadian personnel positions will be limited to those positions that demonstrate a direct link to the project and a high level of effort toward the project.
Please note that Canadian personnel who work small amounts of time on multiple projects are not considered an eligible cost. They are covered by the indirect costs/overhead allocation of 12 percent.
Could the salaries of local employees at the overseas project site be charged under the in cash contribution?
The salaries paid by the organization to its local employees during a project-implementation activity are considered eligible direct project costs. Therefore, these costs are considered part of your in cash contribution. The costs must have been incurred after the signing of the contribution agreement with DFATD.
Are in-kind contributions considered eligible under this call?
Although in-kind contributions are eligible, they cannot be counted in the minimum cash contribution of 5 percent, nor can they be included in the budget for this call (see Table 5.1, “Budget by Expense” of Section 8.1.1).
If a non-Canadian sub-grantee to the lead applicant contributes cash from international fundraising activities entailing a non-Canadian source, would this count toward the 5 percent cash cost-share requirement?
No. The organization’s contribution to the initiative must be entirely from Canadian sources (other than the federal government).As indicated in the cost-share requirements on page 1 of the application form, organizations must contribute at least 5 percent (in cash) of the total cost of the initiative as per the “Total contribution to initiative” line (without including the total allowance for indirect/overhead costs) of Table 5.1, “Budget by Expense” of Section 8.1.1.
Could DFATD clarify how it distinguishes cash contributions from in-kind contributions?
Please note that in-kind contributions are not accepted to meet the cash cost-share requirements for this call.
An 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. The nature and value of in-kind contributions must be identifiable, verifiable and auditable. This service or a good is provided by a third party (person or organization) without compensation received from the applicant organization.
A cash contribution, entirely from Canadian sources, is any cash disbursement of the funds of the lead organization that is made toward any eligible direct project costs of the initiative.
In the case of a consortium, can one of the partners provide the entire 5% cash contribution (Canadian source)?
Yes. The funding sources for the lead organization’s contribution can come from one or more members of the consortium, or from any other Canadian source, excluding the federal government’s contribution. However, should an originally planned funding source withdraw, the lead organization must ensure that this funding source is replaced.
Must the 5 percent cash contribution be spread over the duration of the initiative or can it be allotted as a one-time contribution?
The applicant organization has the flexibility to decide on which budget line(s) to apply its cash contribution, as long as the total 5 percent cost-share requirement is respected.
For this call, would DFATD consider an in-kind contribution up to the required 5 percent or a combination of in-kind and cash contributions up to the required 5 percent cash portion of the cost-share requirement?
No. Please note that in-kind contributions are not accepted to meet the cash cost-share requirements for this call.
Can local partners contribute to the proposed initiative?
Yes, the local partner can make a contribution to the project. However, the contribution will not be considered as part of the cost-share requirement.
Please refer to the cost-share requirements on page 1 of the Application Form.
With respect to the cash contribution, can a Canadian organization use its reserves?
Yes. A Canadian organization can use its own reserves for its cash contribution.
Could junior consortium members receive financial contributions directly from DFATD? If so, what are the rules regarding the overhead expenses?
No. Financial contributions from DFATD are only given to a lead organization that has entered into a contribution agreement with DFATD. 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, including splitting these funds with junior consortium members, as they deem appropriate. For further information, please consult the links in the Overhead section on page 27 of the Application Form.
What do you mean by “cost-sharing”?
Cost-sharing refers to the nature and relative size of the resources that the organization and DFATD will each allocate to the development initiative. Cost-sharing criteria are used to establish the minimum contribution that the organization must provide (and the nature of this contribution), and the maximum contribution that DFATD will provide.
Organizations submitting a proposal, whether alone or as part of a consortium, must contribute at least 5 percent (in cash) of the total cost of the initiative, as indicated on the “total contribution to initiative” line (without including the total allowance for indirect/overhead costs) of Table 5.1, “Budget by Expense” of Section 8.1.1. The organization's contribution to the initiative must be entirely from Canadian sources (other than the federal government). Please note that in-kind contributions are not accepted to meet the in cash cost-share requirements.
What do you mean by “in-kind” contribution?
The in-kind contribution refers 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. In-kind contributions must be based on a fair value, which is an amount that would be agreed upon by informed parties dealing at arm's length in an open market. Its valuation must be accepted by DFATD, and it must be justified and documented at the initial approval or amendment stage. In-kind contributions must be identifiable, verifiable and auditable throughout the initiative’s life cycle.
DFATD does not recognize unpaid overtime by salaried employees of the organization or any other person working on the initiative as an in-kind contribution. In-kind contributions from non-Canadian sources can be made available to the project, but will not be considered in the contribution of the applicant organization within the cost-sharing requirements.
Please note that in-kind contributions are not required for this Call for Proposals; however, preference may be given for proposals that include additional cost-sharing (either in cash or in kind).
Can the 12 percent overhead costs given by DFATD be used to pay for overhead costs of the local partner organizations as well as the Canadian organizations?
Yes. DFATD calculates the overhead costs based on the total amount of funding requested from DFATD. The overhead costs cannot exceed 12 percent of the eligible funding requested of DFATD.
Does the 12 percent overhead rate apply to both the applicant organization's in cash and in-kind contributions?
The 12 percent overhead rate applies only to DFATD's contribution.
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