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Public Affairs Section Small Grants

Please note: the deadline for this funding opportunity has passed. Please stay tuned for future opportunities.



Notice of Funding Opportunity


Funding Opportunity Title:                U.S. Embassy Lusaka Public Diplomacy Section Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI): Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number:         DOS-PAS-Lusaka-FY23-01

Deadline for Applications:                  Statements of interest accepted through March 30, 2023

Assistance Listing:                               19.040 – Smith Mundt; 19.022 Fulbright Hays

Total Amount Available:                     Minimum amount available: $5,000; Maximum amount: $25,000. Exceptional proposals about $25,000 may be considered.




The U.S. Embassy Zambia Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program. This is an Annual Program Statement (APS) outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes upon which we focus, and the procedures for submitting proposals for funding.  Please carefully read and follow the instructions below.

Two-round process:  In Round 1, applicants submit a concise Statement of Interest (SOI) of no more than 1,500 words that describes the project idea and its objectives. The Public Diplomacy Section will review SOIs and invite a limited group of applicants to continue in Round 2.  In Round 2, applicants expand their ideas into full funding proposals for formal consideration. SOIs may be submitted for consideration through March 30, 2023.  Please download the template found here and then submit your Statement of Interest to LusakaPASGrants@state.gov.

Successful SOI applicants will be notified via email by May 2, 2023.  Instructions on the requirements of a full application submission will be provided at that time and full proposals will be due by June 1, 2023.

Purpose of Small Grants:  The Public Diplomacy Section invites proposals from non-profit and non-governmental organizations for projects that support core U.S. government priorities in Zambia, including promoting democracy and good governance, building inclusive economic prosperity, strengthening health and education systems, and advancing peace and security. 

All programs must include an American cultural element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.

Successful proposals will clearly define the anticipated results of the program, when results will be expected, and how the U.S. Embassy can measure the anticipated results.  Successful grantees will proactively show progress towards results through regular reporting to the U.S. Embassy.  U.S. Embassy officials will visit project activities regularly to monitor progress.

This grant program generally does not favorably review proposals to hold conferences.

Examples of potential small grants programs include, but are not limited to, programs that:

  • Are developed by an alumnus/a of a U.S.-government sponsored educational or professional exchange program.
  • Build the capacity of Zambian media organizations and journalists to undertake investigative journalism that provides accurate, balanced information to the public and promotes freedom of the press as fundamental to democracy.
  • Help Zambian young people, especially young women and others from marginalized groups, explore and discover their potential through innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, as well as entrepreneurship programs.
  • Help young people participate in civic life through social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and community engagement.
  • Support young people, especially those from marginalized communities, to build advocacy and communications skills to successfully advocate for their priorities with government and other decision-makers.
  • Support government transparency and accountability.
  • Equip emerging community leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to grow their organizations or to enhance their engagement with youth audiences.
  • Promote the development and application of new technologies and innovative solutions to economic, environmental, and social challenges. Projects could connect U.S. technology or public policy experts with Zambian peers or foster the application of American technology and innovations to address challenges in Zambian communities.
  • Support civil society organizations (CSOs) in developing a vibrant and prosperous democratic society through programs that strengthen NGO management, enhance the skills of early to mid-career NGO/CSO professionals, strengthen networks between NGO/CSO professionals in the United States and Zambia, or demonstrate to the public the positive role CSOs play in advancing a prosperous, healthy, and informed society.

Priority Program Areas (in no specific order):

  • Promoting inclusion and improve conditions for people from vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as people living with disabilities, people living with albinism, and others who are subject to stigma or persecution.
  • Promoting political awareness and participation among the public and/or among young people.
  • Promoting civic education and youth participation in civics, democratic processes, volunteerism, and community service.
  • Fostering press freedom, independent media, professionalism in the media, including through journalism training programs and programs that address mis- and disinformation.
  • Combatting corruption.
  • Increase transparency of government activities through a more capable media.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship and business development.
  • Increasing Zambians’ pursuit of higher education in the United States.
  • Promoting gender equality to increase participation in education and improved health decision-making by adolescent girls and young women.
  • Preventing gender-based violence and trafficking in persons.
  • Efforts to counter climate change or promote green technology.

Participants and Audiences:

Proposals must identify a clearly defined target audience that the project seeks to influence or impact. Well-defined audiences are countable and accessible through the project’s activities. Proposals should specify the changes in knowledge, understanding, attitudes, or behavior change in attitudes or behavior action that they seek with the project—and how they plan to measure these outcomes. The Public Diplomacy Section is particularly interested in projects based in rural areas and small cities.

The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:

  • Programs relating to partisan political activity;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction programs;
  • Programs that support specific religious activities;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs;
  • Scientific research;
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization; or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.


Length of performance period:  up to 12 months

Number of awards anticipated:  dependent on availability of funding and amounts requested

Award amounts:  Minimum of $5,000 and maximum of $25,000

Type of Funding:  Fiscal Year 2023 Public Diplomacy Funding

Anticipated program start date:  On or before December 31, 2023

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

The Public Diplomacy Section Lusaka reserves the right to award less or more than the funds described in the absence of worthy applications or under such other circumstances as it may deem to be in the best interest of the U.S. government.

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

Competition Format and Timeline:  This announcement requests statements of interest from qualified organizations.  After a technical review and a merit review, a select number of statements of interest that are determined to have met the criteria explained in this notice will be invited to submit full proposals.  Additional guidance and detailed instructions will be provided in the request for a full proposal.

  • March 30, 2023 – statement of interest submission deadline
  • May 2, 2023 – invitations sent to selected applicants to submit a full proposal
  • June 1, 2023 – full proposals due from selected applicants
  • June 30, 2023 – notification of selected proposals

Program Performance Period:  Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.


The Public Diplomacy Section encourages applications from:

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions

Applicants should be able to document their experience implementing similar projects.  For-profit businesses or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.

Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is encouraged but not required.

Other Eligibility Requirements and Required Registrations

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Note:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

 Note:  The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process.  SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.


An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.


Address to Request Application Package

This Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI) and any amendments and supplementary information can be found at www.grants.gov (search by Opportunity Number) or on the U.S. Embassy Zambia website at: https://zm.usembassy.gov/public-affairs-section-small-grants/.

Please follow all instructions below carefully.  Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement will not be considered.

Application Submission Process and Deadline

Public Diplomacy Section Lusaka will accept Statements of Interest from the date this APS is posted until March 30, 2023. SOIs received after this time will not be reviewed.  All SOIs should be submitted by via email to LusakaPASGrants@state.gov and be no more than 1,500 words long.  Please attach the concept note as a Microsoft Word document. Please name your file using the following format: Organization Name – 2023 Statement of Interest.doc

Upon review of proposals submitted via email, Public Diplomacy Section Lusaka will notify those who will be invited to the next round of the grants process.  The second, and final, round of the grant process will require applicants to submit a full application.  More instructions will be provided at that stage of the process.

Content of Application and How to Submit

Concept Notes should concise and to the point, no more than 1,500 words long, and have sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do.  Please download the template found here and then submit your Statement of Interest to LusakaPASGrants@state.gov.

Applicants may also be interested in watching a presentation from Embassy staff on how to write a compelling Statement of Interest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vshpvRHfNZ0.


A Grant Review Committee will review all eligible applications.  Each application will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Project Idea:  Does the concept meet one or more of the Program Priority Areas; does it offer an original and impactful idea; does it have the potential to reach key audiences; does it have a strong American component?

Project Plan:  Is the project realistic and feasible; is there a logical implementation plan, sup- ported by activities along a reasonable timeline and with measurable results; does the implementation plan align with the proposed budget estimate and allocations?

Ability to Achieve Objectives/Institutional Capacity: Does the organization demonstrate that it has the experience and capacity to carry out the project; does it offer added value such as relationships with partners and particular expertise and knowledge?

Successful SOI applicants will be notified via email by May 2, 2023.  Instructions on the requirements of a full application submission will be provided at that time.

Please note, an invitation to present a full submission is not a financial commitment and is not a guarantee of any future funding.


  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this Notice of Funding Opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

Payment Method: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.

Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified via email.

Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/. Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

Reporting Requirements:  Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

Branding Requirements: As a condition of receipt of a grant award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under an agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, and backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the relevant U.S. Embassy branding in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity.


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact the Public Diplomacy Section at: LusakaPASGrants@state.gov.

Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the APS. Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at embassies overseas — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.