US Embassy, Bangladesh: Inviting applications for the funding theme-‘Improving the Accessibility of the Bangladesh Budget and Encouraging Greater Budget Awareness through Local Dialogue’.

Funding brief: The U.S. Embassy Dhaka of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a program (or program) to increase accessibility and readability of national budget information, improve local input into the parliamentary budget process, and increase the public’s awareness of local government budget expenditures.

Program Objectives:Embassy Dhaka seeks to build off of its successful 2016-2017 fiscal transparency innovation fund (FTIF)-funded program by continuing to build awareness of fiscal transparency and increasing the demand for budget information among citizens at the national and sub-national level and improving communication with parliamentarians during the relatively short budget stakeholder process.

In 2016-2017, Dhaka-based research institution the Policy Research Institute produced an in-depth analysis of the state of fiscal transparency in Bangladesh and provided a number of recommendations through the FTIF-funded project, “Boosting Fiscal Transparency in Bangladesh Through Improved Financial Reporting, Training and National Awareness Building.”  A lack of sufficient demand for budget information and limited parliamentary input into the budget process were identified as key constraints to improving fiscal accountability.  The current budget process allows for limited input from public stakeholders.  While the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) undertakes a month-long stakeholder input, there is little time for the average citizen to digest publicly available budget information and provide input to their member of parliament.  The budget consultation progress, which begins on June 1 after the Ministry of Finance presents its Budget Speech to parliament and ends on June 30 when the budget is adopted, is relatively short when compared with other parliamentary democracies, including neighbouring India.

Consultations with a variety of organizations also revealed the lack of sufficient demand for budget information among the public.  The “Citizen’s Budget,” which was introduced in 2017-2018, was cancelled because of limited uptake.  However, the Citizen’s Budget lacked easy to understand language and illustrations and was too complicated for the average reader.

Bangladesh’s budget documents also provide limited information on budget transfers to local governments, which adds to the public’s general separation from the budget process and helps limit demand for quality public information.  While the majority of government expenditures are processed by the central government and national ministries, local government’s still play a significant role and annually receive budget transfers from the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives.  However, local government allocations are provided in lump sums, making it difficult for the public to accurately track local budget expenditures and its effectiveness.

In response to these constraints and weaknesses, Embassy Dhaka seeks proposals that take a three-pronged program to increase accessibility and readability of budget information, improve local input into the parliamentary budget process, and increase local awareness of budget expenditures.

Increasing public interest in the budget process and access to decision- makers in parliament will enable citizens to make more education choices during the national elections and increase accountability of elected officials.  The project should build off the previous FTIF-funded project and complement other mission programming, including USAID’s work with the Access 2 Information (a2i) program, which aims to increase access to government data and services among the public.

Participants and Audiences:
Activity 1: Working with the Ministry of Finance, the project will assist in re-launching and revamping the annual Citizen’s Budget publication.  The project will conduct focus groups and research to determine the most appropriate content, length, layout, and level of readability.  Afterwards, the project will develop a standard for the production of the annual Citizen’s Budget and ensure integration with existing Ministry of Finance systems so that the document can be produced quickly and efficiently during annual stakeholder budget discussions in June.  The project will assist in launching and publicizing the revamped Citizen’s Budget during the June 2019 budget cycle and conduct follow up assessments on the effectiveness and sustainability of the new document.

Activity 2: In order to improve public input into the budget process, the project will assist in developing standard operating procedures for members of parliament on how to discuss the budget process with the public.  The project will select a pilot group of 10 parliamentary districts and in each one, conduct an assessment of the public awareness of the budget process and ongoing interaction with the government or members of parliament on the budget process.  During the June budget process, the project will conduct stakeholder “town hall” discussions with public groups and the local members of parliament and other government decision-makers.  At the end, the activity will produce standard operating procedures, including best practices, for members of parliament providing guidance on discussing the budget process with local stakeholders.

Activity 3: Finally, the project will select a pilot group of ten local governments (at the upazila level) throughout Bangladesh to assist in creating a more detailed local budget snapshot.  Similar to Activity 1, the project will first conduct stakeholder discussions (including focus groups) with stakeholders from the local governments to identify priority issues for local government expenditures, revenue and other budgetary information.  The project will then create a customized “local budget snapshot” publication that summarizes local government revenue (including transfers from the central government), expenditures and other budgetary information in an easy to read layout and then help launch and publicize the document.  The project will work with local political and government leaders to launch the new document.  As with Activity 1, the new layout will aim to integrate the new publication with existing Ministry of Finance systems so that the publication can be created quickly and easily.

Funding Opportunity Number: DHA-SCA-FY2018-POL-001

Donor Name: US Embassy, Bangladesh
Funding name: No specific fund name

Deadline: June, 20th, 2018.

Funding details link: https://bd.usembassy.gov/embassy/dhaka/grant-opportunities/

Funding limit: $120,000

Special Notes: Please contact with the donor directly for further clarification and understanding.

Project start date: July, 2018

Project duration: Proposed programs should be completed in 18 months or less

Eligible organization: As below

Eligibility: The following organizations are eligible to apply:
● U.S. and foreign not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
● U.S. and foreign public and private educational institutions
● Public International Organizations and Governmental institutions

Eligible Country: Bangladesh

Submission mail: USTC-Dhaka@state.gov

Other important link:
● Guideline: https://bd.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/70/20180409-Notice-of-Funding-Opportunity-Fiscal-Transparency-Innovation-Fund-II-Embassy-Dhaka-v4.pdf
● Form: https://bd.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/70/1.-A.-Grants-Application-Form_General.doc
● SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations): https://bd.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/70/SF424.Federal-Assistance.pdf
● SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs): https://bd.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/70/SF424A-Budget-Information-for-Non-Construction-programs.pdf
● SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs): https://bd.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/70/SF424B-Assurances-for-Non-Construction-programs.pdf
● DUNS application: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
● NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
● Instructions for the NCAGE application process: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf
● SAM: https://www.sam.gov
● Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/pages/home.aspx

How to apply:
● All application materials must be submitted by email to: USTC-Dhaka@state.gov.
● The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
 All documents are in English
 All budgets are in U.S. dollars
 All pages are numbered
 All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
 All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

● The following documents are required:
Mandatory application forms
 SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
Embassy of the United States of America, Dhaka, Bangladesh
 SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
 SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

● Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.

● Attachments:
1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
 Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
 If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
 Official permission letters, if required for program activities

● Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
● All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:
 Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
 NCAGE/CAGE code
www.SAM.gov registration


Visit all Funding opportunities: 
https://fundforbangladesh.wordpress.com/site-map/
Visit all funding categories:  https://fundforbangladesh.wordpress.com/how-to/access-funding-short-cut/

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