- Funder (Prime Funder): Internews (USAID)
- Funder Project Name: Media Program in Armenia
- Announcement Type: Initial
- Open to: Media outlets registered in Armenia (all independent media outlets that do not have ongoing Internews funding. Individuals are not eligible to apply for this opportunity).
- Grant amount for media outlets: 2,000,000 – 8,200,000 AMD
- Application submission deadline: November 26th, 2023, at 18:00, Yerevan time.
- Duration: Up to 6 months. (Please note that the beginning of the project is scheduled for December 2023)
Objective of the Call
Internews in Armenia is announcing an open call for grants for media outlets to create quality media content on topics of public interest.
Topics, recommendations, and conditions
According to the Freedom of Expression and Media Consumption Research (FEMCR) conducted by Internews in cooperation with the PRISMA research company, the population of Armenia would like to receive more information on security, education, politics, social issues, and health/wellbeing. It is highly encouraged to refer to the findings and recommendations of the research while selecting the topics, formats, and means of distribution of the content.
However, applicants are welcome to propose their own topics, with solid justification as to their relevance and interest to the public. Program proposals should present content that provides thematic diversity and versatility of coverage and include an element to encourage content that expands the ethical coverage of issues faced by vulnerable persons. This may include displaced persons, victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking, and other marginalized groups.
The period of implementation of grant programs is up to 6 months. The budget of each project cannot exceed 8,200,000 AMD.
What kinds of costs can the grant cover?
The budget will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure it is proportional and reasonable. The grants should be used to expand the media outlet’s coverage to new content areas or formats or support the scaling-up and improvement of existing content. Funds cannot be used to cover any ongoing administrative expenses of the applicant. Please note that the selection committee may suggest changes to the submitted budgets of the pre-selected applicants.
Cost share – 5%
The applicants are requested to provide 5% cost share. The applicant’s cost share under this award 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 them from other non-U.S. Government sources. The cost share contributions, both cash and in-kind, must be verifiable from the applicant’s records and not be included as cost share contributions for any other U.S. Government (USG)-assisted program.
The applicant may include de minimis 10% (§ 200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs) of the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).
How will the applications be evaluated?
Applications will be evaluated by a professional selection committee. The following criteria will be used:
Applicant’s capacity (20%)
- Does the organization have previous experience in project management?
- Does the staff presented in the application have the relevant capacity?
- Does the organization have previous relevant experience in preparing similar content and products?
(Applicants should provide links in the relevant section of the application).
Production plan: importance and quality of the proposed project (20%)
- What makes the project unique and distinct?
- How do you ensure inclusion and a gender-sensitive approach in selecting the stories and people featured in the stories?
- How do you plan to effectively use multimedia and interactive elements?
Impact: reaching audiences (20%)
- What is the potential for actively engaging a broader audience than such content currently reaches, including
marginalized and/or less informed audience groups?
- How will the audience be engaged? What new and creative methods will be used?
- How will the content be disseminated and promoted?
- What resources will the organization need to implement the project?
- How reasonable is the proposed budget? The following aspects will be considered: the proportionality and reasonability, number, and complexity of the content to be produced, as well as the duration of the project.
Impact and Sustainability (10%)
- What is the potential impact of the proposed project?
- What makes the project sustainable?
Ethical standards and the transparency about the ownership of the applicant(10%)
- Is the organization part of any self-regulatory body?
- Does it have a Code of Ethics? The code of ethics will be reviewed by the Media Ethics Observatory (MEO).
- Is the organization transparent about its ownership and financial sources, including information about other donors that are currently supporting the applicant?
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.
The following regulations and provisions, at minimum, will apply to subawards issued as a result of this RFA.
Other benefits available to the recipients
Training, guidance, consultations, and expertise for content grants recipients
Media Initiatives Center (MIC) will provide on-demand and ad-hoc tailored consulting and mentoring to the successful applicants across all content grants throughout their projects’ lifespan on storytelling, ethical standards, tools and techniques. Internews will support the grantees to reach a wider audience with the assistance of a Distribution and Engagement specialist.
At a later stage, a technical development grants pool will be available to some of the recipients of the content grants to support organizational goals such as newsroom convergence, workflow optimization, better client relationship management, improved audience engagement, or support for content that gains traction with audiences.
How to submit the application
All applications must meet the following requirements:
- The application form should be submitted in English.
Supporting documents (i.e. Certificate of registration, CVs, etc.) can be in Armenian if an English version is not available.
- All applications must be submitted by November 26, at 18:00 Yerevan time.
- Late applications will not be considered.
- All applications must be completed and submitted using the designated Application form.
- All applications must include a detailed budget using the provided Budget Template (Annex 1). Provide an estimate of engaged personnel, supplies, and other direct costs essential for production. Any applications not using the designated budget form will be disqualified.
- Attach CVs.
- Applicants must be registered in Armenia. Please send a scanned certificate of registration as Annex 2.
- A portfolio of previous relevant work (in the form of links) is required in the application form.
- Application and additional documentation must be submitted to Anahit Khachatryan at
[email protected] with the subject line “Content grant_Name of the organization”
On Friday, November 10th, at 15:00, Internews in Armenia and MIC will organize an online info-session at which all interested parties can ask any questions they may have related to the grant announcement. Interested applicants can join the meeting via following link.
Award Notification and Responses
All applications submitted will be acknowledged within two (2) days and will note the documents submitted. The applicant is responsible for ensuring and confirming that the emails comprising the application are received by the Internews representatives indicated in the Summary above.
Successful applicant(s) will be notified of selection within thirty (30) working days following the deadline for submission of applications.
The successful applicant(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 a lack of response and offered to the next most qualified applicant.
Once selection is finalized, unsuccessful applicants will be notified accordingly.
Notice of selection of the application is not to be construed as a subgrant award. Once the selection is confirmed, a final subgrant agreement will be negotiated and signed with the successful applicant, subject to prime funder approval, environmental clearances, and successful vetting of eligibility.
What is the Media Program in Armenia?
Armenia has a vibrant media ecosystem that nevertheless faces serious challenges. Resource-strapped public interest media struggle to consistently produce high-quality coverage that reaches broad audiences, including youth, minorities, and residents of rural areas. Few independent media outlets in Armenia are financially viable, which poses a threat to their long-term sustainability.
The USAID-funded Media Program in Armenia aims to strengthen the integrity of the information space in the country.
It is implemented by Internews and Media Initiatives Center (MIC), Yerevan Press Club (YPC), and Zinc Network. The program will enhance journalistic standards, catalyze the financial viability of public interest media, and foster an enabling environment for a society that is more resilient to disinformation.
Other conditions and considerations
Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be considered eligible for a subaward resulting from this RFA:
- Be a local, independent, and registered organization in Armenia.
- Be in good standing in performance and reporting under any previous subgrants, from Internews or any other organization, where applicable.
- Be willing and open to long-term support to enact complex transformations that require major shifts in organizational structure, business models or editorial culture.
- Be willing and open to working on specific agreed organizational goal such as improved audience engagement or support for content that gains traction with audiences.
- Be creative in its approach to content production.
- Be willing to increase the number of its viewers/listeners/users.
- Be willing to increase the number and quality of produced materials.
- Demonstrates the proposed pitch’s applicability to the project scope, the urgency of the situation, the threat level, and feasibility of response.
- Demonstrates a commitment to reporting requirements and deadlines, including monitoring and evaluation requirements, as applicable.
- Cost effectiveness and sustainability of the proposed activities.
- Not be listed with exclusions on the UN Security Designation List, Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, System for Award Management (SAM), or Internews List of Debarred Subrecipients
- Maintain bank account in the organization’s name.
- Maintain accounting records.
- Is committed to independent content creation, ethical standards, and production of content in the public interest that facilitates understanding of and participation in public policy and serves as a critical, non-partisan voice in their communities.
- Additional conditions as applicable/necessary.
Prior to receiving any subgrant of USD $25,000 or more, selected applicants must register for and receive a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number assigned by Sam.gov. A UEI number is free and may be obtained from the website Sam.gov.
The delay to receive UEI after submitting an application can vary widely; it is recommended that applicants start the process as early as possible.
The following costs will be considered unallowable and cannot be financed within this grant: terrorist financing, purchasing alcoholic beverages, contributions and donations, lobbying, fundraising, goods and services for personal use, insurance on property, covered telecommunications equipment (such as Huawei or ZTE), and proposal costs (as direct costs). Proposal budgets will be reviewed in accordance with, and selected subrecipients’ costs will be subject to, the cost principles (2CFR200 Subpart E, Cost Principles) that apply to them to assure reasonableness, allocability, and allowability:
Limiting Construction Activities:
- Construction will not be eligible for reimbursement under any award resulting from this solicitation.
- Construction means —construction, alteration, or repair (including dredging and excavation) of buildings, structures, or other real property and includes, without limitation, improvements, renovation, alteration and refurbishment. The term includes, without limitation, roads, power plants, buildings, bridges, water treatment facilities, and vertical structures.
- Internews will not approve any subawards or procurements by subrecipients for construction activities that are not listed in paragraph d) below. Internews will reimburse allowable costs for only the construction activities listed in this provision not to exceed the amount specified in the construction line item of the award budget. The recipient must receive prior written approval from Internews to transfer funds allotted for construction activities to other cost categories, or vice versa.
- Description: Construction is not eligible for reimbursement under this award.
- The awardee will include this provision in all lower-tier subawards and procurements and make vendors providing services under this award and lower-tier subrecipients aware of the restrictions of this provision.
The following actions will not be considered for funding under this solicitation:
- Programs of river basin development;
- Irrigation and water management;
- Agricultural land leveling;
- Drainage projects;
- Large scale agricultural mechanization;
- Resettlement projects;
- New land development;
- Penetration road building and road improvement;
- Power plants;
- Industrial plants;
- Potable water and sewerage projects;
- Projects that:
- Support project preparation, project feasibility studies, engineering design for activities listed in §216.2(d)(1);
- Affect endangered species;
- Provide support to extractive industries (e.g. mining and quarrying);
- Promote timber harvesting;
- Lead to construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or renovation work;
- Support agro-processing or industrial enterprises;
- Provide support for regulatory permitting;
- Lead to privatization of industrial facilities or infrastructure with heavily polluted property;
- Assist the procurement (including payment in kind, donations, guarantees of credit) or use (including handling, transport, fuel for transport, storage, mixing, loading, application, clean-up of spray equipment, and disposal) of pesticides or activities involving procurement, transport, use, storage, or disposal of toxic materials – pesticides cover all insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, etc. covered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; and/or
- Procure or use genetically modified organisms
Internews may retain substantial involvement in subgrants awarded as a result of this RFA. Substantial involvement may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Approval of the Recipient’s Implementation Plans
- Approval of Specified Key Personnel
- Internews and Subrecipient Collaboration:
- Approval of the subrecipient’s monitoring and evaluation plans
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:
- 2CFR200 Subpart E, Cost Principles
2. For Profit organizations: