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Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program

U.S. Embassy Maseru PAS Annual Program Statement


Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Embassy Maseru PAS Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number: AFMASFY24-01

Deadline for Application: May 3, 2024

CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Total Amount Available: $10,000


A. Program Description

The U.S. Embassy Maseru Public Affairs Section (PAS) 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, outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding.  Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Purpose of Small Grants: PAS Maseru invites proposals for programs that strengthen cultural ties between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Lesotho through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation.  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.

Examples of PDS Small Grants Program programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Proposals to expand or build on U.S.-Lesotho exchange programs;
  • Programs that strengthen government and civil society capabilities;
  • Youth community service projects that encourage volunteerism and support the outlined priorities;
  • Civic education projects that promote democratic processes and human rights;
  • Youth recreation, leadership, professional development, entrepreneurship, and education programs;
  • Arts and cultural programs;
  • New media concepts aimed at reaching wider audiences;
  • Media training projects;
  • Radio and television programming in support of the outlined priorities.
  • Programs in concert with the American Corner & Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Leadership Innovation Hub, including innovative opportunities for networking and professional development.

Priority Program Areas: Public Diplomacy grant proposals must have a connection to American culture and values or should be directed to increasing understanding in Lesotho of American culture and society.  Proposals should also be related to one or more of the following U.S. Embassy priorities:

  1. Promote opportunity and development (in relation to Basotho youth and women): promote professional skills and leadership development; encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; support business creation and economic development; create networking, mentorship, and internship opportunities.
  2. Strengthen democratic institutions: encourage active citizen participation in government; promote increased voter participation in democratic processes at all levels; encourage press freedom and professional media coverage; counter misinformation; support actions to combat trafficking-in-persons; and increase attention to minority and disadvantaged populations.
  3. Support Lesotho in reaching and sustaining epidemic control through efforts aimed at maintaining healthy lifestyles; present accurate information on transmission, prevention, care, and treatment; reduce stigma and discrimination; support awareness and dialogue about related issues like LGBTQI rights and ending gender-based violence.

All projects must:

  1. Reinforce mutual understanding between the United States and the Kingdom of Lesotho: present accurate information on the U.S.-Lesotho partnership; build connections with Lesotho citizens at all levels; support the promotion of Basotho and American cross-cultural heritage, traditional and modern art forms, and other forms of creative expression; and foster English language proficiency.
  2. Build capacity and awareness across the Kingdom of Lesotho: include plans to share information publicly via social or traditional media, hold a virtual public dialogue or networking event in concert with the American Corner in Maseru, and (at a minimum) with one partner location outside of Maseru district to ensure more Lesotho citizens have access to public diplomacy programming and grant information.
  3. Adhere to COVID-19 regulations in Lesotho. Programs with virtual components are encouraged.

Participants and Audiences: Public Diplomacy grants are intended for individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), think tanks, and academic institutions. They support projects that:

  1. Promote opportunity and development in relation to youth and women and in areas related to entrepreneurship, skills development, and maintaining healthy lifestyles;
  2. Bring USG exchange alumni together with likeminded individuals, particularly youth and women, to share ideas, best practices, and build sustainable professional networks;
  3. Strengthen democratic processes and institutions, especially civil society and the media; and
  4. Reinforce the bridge of mutual understanding and shared vision between the U.S. and Lesotho.

Activities that are not typically funded include, but are not limited to:

  • Projects that do not have a business plan for sustaining the activity or monitoring results;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction programs;
  • Programs that support specific religious activities;
  • Paying to complete activities begun with other funds;
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.
  • Programs relating to partisan political activity/support for a single political party;
  • International travel, unless specifically justified within the project;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • U.S. citizen exchange programs with foreign countries;
  • projects that include substantial fees for radio or TV broadcast;
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization; or
  • Projects that are mainly designed to pay organizational salaries or to cover only logistical costs (e.g., room/chair rental, coffee breaks, etc.).

Authorizing Legislation, Type and Year of Funding:

Funding authority rests in the Smith-Mundt Act.  The source of funding is FY2024 Public Diplomacy Funding.



Funding Instrument Type: Grant or Cooperative Agreement.

Number of Awards: Dependent on availability of funding

Anticipated Program Start Date: August/September 2024, depending on award cycle.

The U.S. Embassy Maseru Public Affairs Section 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. This notice is subject to availability of funds.  If you are interested in one of these funding opportunities, please view the specific proposal guidelines on our website https://ls.usembassy.gov/education-culture/grant-programs/public-diplomacy-grants/.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in one year or less. The Public Affairs Section may entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.




  1. Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be citizens of Lesotho or currently residing in Lesotho. The programs must take place and be focused on Lesotho.  The Public Diplomacy Section encourages applications from:

  • Civil-society organizations and local representatives of civil society
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Academic institutions
  • Individuals

For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching – Cost sharing is not required.
  2. Other Eligibility Requirements

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.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain this registration.  Individuals are not required to be registered in SAM.gov.



  1. Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at Grants.gov.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission
  2. Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) from the System for Award Management and proof of registration on SAM.gov

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • 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 Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms (available on Grants.gov):
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals).
  • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs).
  • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs).
  1. Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  2. Proposal: The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must not exceed 10 one-sided pages and include all the items below:
  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual Applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
  • Program Goals and Objectives:  The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve.  What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Lesotho will be improved? The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Proposed Program Schedule:  The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles, and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners:  List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
  • Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  1. 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. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  2. Attachments (suggested examples):
  • 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
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  1. Required Registrations:

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.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:

Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:

NCAGE Homepage:


NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):


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.

  1. Submission Dates and Times

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of May 3, 2024.  No applications will be accepted after that date.

  1. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials should be submitted via email to the U.S. Embassy in Maseru Public Diplomacy Section at the following email address: GrantsMaseru@state.gov (with the subject title: Public Diplomacy Grant: Your name). Proposals will also be accepted in person at the U.S. Embassy in Maseru, 254 Kingsway, Maseru and The American Corner (2nd Floor State Library). Please specify on the envelope that the application is for a Public Diplomacy grant.



  1. Criteria

Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the criteria outlined below.  The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project and to determine the likelihood of its success. The criteria are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application. Applications will be reviewed on the basis of their completeness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail.

Applicants must submit a full project description, including a detailed narrative that outlines the plan of action, describing the scope of the proposed work and how it will be accomplished. The narrative should be accompanied by a detailed budget that includes all program costs and clearly indicates the proposing organization’s cost-share and/or in-kind participation.

Application Evaluation Criteria:

  • Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and the Public Affairs Section is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
  • Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
  • Goals and Objectives: The project is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results and the organization.
  • Embassy Priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy Maseru’s priority areas or target audiences.
  • Budget: The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provide milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.
  • Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.
  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

  1. Responsibility/Qualification Information in SAM.gov (formerly, FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold over the period of performance (see §200.01 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants that:

i. The Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the U.S. government designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM.gov (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);

ii. An applicant, at its option, may review and comment on any information about itself in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM that a Federal awarding agency previously entered;

iii. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.



  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 NOFO 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.

  1. 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 here. Note: the U.S. flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

  1. Reporting

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.

In accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Underserved Communities, proposals should demonstrate how the program advances equity with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, income, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. The proposal should also demonstrate how the program will further engagement in underserved communities and with individuals from underserved communities. Proposals should demonstrate how addressing racial equity and underserved communities will enhance the program’s goals and objectives, as well as the experience of participants.

The support of underserved communities will be part of the review criteria for this opportunity. Therefore, proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation.



If you have any questions about the grant application process, please send an email to GrantsMaseru@state.gov.

Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the NOFO. 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.



Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.

Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.

Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.   It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.