Request for Applications (RFA): Strengthening Free and Independent Media in South Sudan (iSTREAM)

(PDF version of the RFA)

Publication Date:  16 December 2019

Submission Deadline: 31 January 2020 by 5:00 PM EAT

1.0  Internews RFA Overview

This Request for Applications (RFA) is a critical component of Internews subgrants program under the Strengthening Free and Independent Media in South Sudan (iSTREAM) project. Selection of partners is contingent on funding. Proposals considered under this RFA should address three core priority thematic areas: civic engagement, gender-based violence and trauma healing. Internews is seeking partnerships with drama and theater CSOs, women-focused organizations, youth organizations, etc. that use media in innovative ways to engage communities on the priority thematic areas. This can be addressed through innovative media programs that engage women, media advocacy campaigns, vibrant community festivals, and social/digital media experiments. Internews is looking for great ideas that combine creativity and innovation with clear, practical and positive impact for South Sudan.

2.0 Internews Overview

2.1 Project Goal:
The overall goal of i-STREAM is to strengthen a free and independent media in South Sudan, with an emphasis on the independent radio sector by supporting local partner radio stations and focusing on improving the professional preparation of journalists, the economic self-sustainability of media houses, the enabling environment for a free media, and the support institutions for a freer media. Internews’ activities are funded by an award from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

2.2 Project Description: 
Internews is an international media development organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard. Internews believes that locally produced and editorially independent news and information has the power to transform lives and to enrich communities.

Consistent with these values, Internews advocates for the importance of quality, local, independent media and the right to access information through media platforms. Working in some of the most difficult environments around the world, Internews pioneers applications of new technologies for development and designs and implements innovative media solutions.

In South Sudan Internews is currently implementing the i-STREAM project, a 7-year program that seeks to create and embolden local institutions, firmly entrench ownership of media development in the hands of the most well -placed South Sudanese media institutions, and leave behind a more resilient sector.

Internews has worked in over 70 countries and trained over 80,000 people in media skills. Together with local partners, our activities include establishing and supporting media and telecom reform, media outlets, journalist associations, and broadcast networks. We also have special programs to improve reporting on the environment, humanitarian crises, public health and women’s issues. Internews activities in South Sudan are responsive to the media development needs and issues facing the country, and focus on locally relevant skills and information.

2.3 Scope of Activities:
Internews is seeking subrecipients to perform activities to in support of its project in South Sudan. 

Through the current RFA, Internews Network is seeking South Sudanese local NGO partners to perform the following purposes:

  • Implementing innovative media, media literacy outreach, specialized trainings and/or small media priority projects to communities through local service providers (i.e. local NGOs and private sector).
  • Strengthening media advocacy that results in a freer and more independent media environment in conjunction with other media actors and/or government.
  • Building local media organizations capacity, including, but not limited, to the areas of human resources, sustainable management, financial accountability, program reporting, institutional capacity, and technical management skills.
  • Responding to critical information needs due to the conflict and famine.

Projects considered under the current RFA must fall into at least one of the above areas, although individual projects may overlap across more than one category. Internews is seeking innovative, original projects, capable of making a clear impact within the challenging media and technical environment of South Sudan. As in line with the evaluation criteria (see below) the quality of idea will be assessed along with the ability of the organization to deliver concrete results.

The purpose of this RFA is not meant to support an organization’s labor or operating costs, and proposals should be designed to demonstrate how much the requested funds are supporting activities and project beneficiaries.

The following will not be considered under this award, and therefore, should not be included in the budget or proposal

  • International Travel
  • Construction activities
  • Procurement of Equipment

3.0 Subaward Information

3.1 Subaward Amount:

  • Under this RFA, Internews anticipates awarding between 6-10 cost-reimbursable subgrants contingent on funding.
  • The minimum budget for an award is $10,000
  • The maximum budget for an award is $100,000

3.2 Subaward Duration:

  • Internews anticipates subgrants awarded under this RFA to have a performance period of 6 months, contingent on funding.
  • Projects cannot propose a start date prior to March 1, 2019.
  • Projects cannot propose an end date beyond August 31, 2019.

3.3 Eligibility Information:
Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be considered eligible for a subaward resulting from this RFA:

  • Be a South Sudanese, independent and registered media outlet or non-governmental organization (NGO) in South Sudan;
  • Be in good standing in performance and reporting under any previous subgrants, from Internews or any other organization, where applicable.
  • Be willing to enthusiastically participate in technical and staff capacity building offered by Internews or its consortia partners
  • Be able and willing to demonstrate the organizations’ commitment to continuing proposed activities after the subgrant period ends
  • Be able to meet all reporting requirements and deadlines
  • Be able to demonstrate how this work is crucial to promoting freedom of expression, and/or improved access to information.

3.4 Evaluation Criteria:
Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a technical committee on a range of selection criteria.  Each application will receive a score, with a maximum potential score of 100 points. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of Program Idea: 30 points
  • Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: 15 points
  • Cost Effectiveness: 20 points
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation: 10 points
  • Institution’s Record and Capacity: 25 points

Subawards shall be made to the respondent whose application is responsive to the RFA and is most advantageous to the project, all factors considered.

3.5 Additional Considerations:
3.5.1    Environmental Considerations
Selected applicants will not receive subawards until their proposals are screened by the prime funder to assure activities will result in no adverse environmental impact, to develop mitigation measures, as necessary, and to specify environmental monitoring and reporting. 

3.5.2    DUNS Number
Prior to receiving any subgrant of USD $25,000 or more, selected applicants must register for and receive a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc.  A DUNS number may be obtained from D&B by telephone (currently 866-705-5711) or the Internet (currently at

            It takes approximately 1 day to 1 week to receive a DUNS number upon submitting the request to D&B.

3.5.3    Indirect Costs
Selected subrecipients will be eligible for reimbursement of indirect costs if they:

  • Have a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement from their cognizant agency, or
  • Accept a de minimis indirect cost rate of 10% applied to Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).  MTDC is defined as all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, employee and consultant travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward or subcontract (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards or subcontracts under the award).  MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs* and the portion of each subaward or subcontract in excess of $25,000. 

*Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.

3.5.4    Cost Principles:
Proposal budgets will be reviewed in accordance with, and selected subrecipients’ costs will be subject to, the cost principles that apply to them to assure reasonableness, allocability, and allowability:
1.   Not for Profit organizations:

2.   For Profit organizations:

3.5.5    Subgrant Administration:
The following regulations and provisions, at minimum, will apply to subawards issued as a result of this RFA:
ADS303mab Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Organizations

3.5.6    Reporting
Subgrants awarded as a result of this RFA will include programmatic and financial reporting requirements.  Narrative and financial reports will be submitted, per Internews’ judgement, on a monthly or quarterly basis.

4.0 Application Information

4.1 Application Content Requirements:
Application(s) must meet the following requirements:

  • Include a signature page which bears the signature, title and full contact information of the authorized representative of the respondent, including email address and phone number.
  • Include a completed Subgrant Application Template, Attachment 1hereto.
  • Include a Detailed Budget, using the Subgrants Detailed Budget Template, Attachment 2 hereto.
    • Cost Share: The proposed budget must include a 10% cost share contribution by the selected subrecipient that the successful applicant will contribute to the project.  Cost share may include project costs incurred by the applicant from its own funds, or project costs financed with cash, services, or property contributed or donated to the applicant from other non-USG sources. Not all Cost Share requires cash outlays by the applicant; examples are depreciation and use charges for buildings and equipment.  Applications that do not include the required cost share contribution will not be considered for subaward.

4.2 Application Submission Requirements:
Internews invites applications submitted to, with copies to

Individual messages may not exceed 3MB. The subject line must include the words “Response to RFA i-STREAM Project”. The documents constituting the application must be included as attachments. The email must list and describe the documents to be included as parts of the application. If more than one message is required to transmit the application, each message must be identified as part of a multi-part submission. (E.g. “message 1 of 3”)

Any portion of the application containing confidential or proprietary information should be clearly marked within the application itself either by highlighting or italics.  The email must describe specifically how these sections are identified. 

Additional Annexes/Attachments:

  • In addition to the required submission of the Subgrant Application and Detailed budget, other critical attachments are allowable, including but not limited to NGO registration.
  • Excessive attachments and promotional materials are not welcomed.

5.0 Award Notification and Responses:

All applications submitted will be acknowledged within (3) days. The respondent is responsible for ensuring and confirming that the emails comprising the application are received by the Internews representatives indicated in the Summary above.

Successful respondent(s) will be notified of selection within thirty (30) working days following the deadline for submission of applications.

The successful respondent(s) must confirm the application and acceptance of the selection within five (5) working days of selection notification or the selection will be withdrawn due to non-responsive respondent and offered to the next most qualified respondent.

Once selection is finalized, unsuccessful applicants will be notified that an award has been made.

Notice of selection of the application is not to be construed as a contract or subgrant award. Once the selection is confirmed, a final subgrant agreement will be negotiated and signed with the successful respondent, subject to prime funder approval and environmental clearances.

6.0 Inquiries:

All questions regarding this RFA should be directed via email to

7.0 Attachments:


End of RFA