Promoting Media Literacy in Bulgaria – Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title:             Promoting Media Literacy in Bulgaria

Deadline for Applications:               May 15, 2018

Total Amount Available:                   $30,000


The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out programs to promote media literacy among young Bulgarians. Please carefully follow all instructions below.

Program Objectives:

Promoting media literacy: The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria seeks to carry out programs and projects that teach media literacy skills to Bulgarians between the ages of 16-30.

Media literacy describes the skills and abilities required to do several things: accurately evaluate information provided by traditional and non-traditional media outlets in society, including print and broadcast outlets, blogs, social media platforms, and any other emerging media technologies; evaluate the media sources themselves to assess their professionalism and objectivity; critically evaluate both the content and source of news to determine its truthfulness and accuracy; and interact with and engage in constructive discussion with media outlets and other media consumers in society on issues of importance.

A healthy democracy requires both an informed public and an accountable media that provides truthful, objective information. Each of these requires the presence of the other in order to productively contribute to society. However, the proliferation of new media sources and technologies has led to a decrease in the ability to critically assess those sources of information. Around the world, this lack of understanding has led to media actors who disguise themselves as objective and independent, but in reality are producing propaganda designed to influence the direction of society away from democratic values.

The objective of this program is to empower young Bulgarians with the tools needed to critically assess information, as well as to evaluate the media outlets that publish it. Critical thinking includes, among other skills, the ability to distinguish information from propaganda, to deconstruct media communication and to interact with social media in a mindful way. The Embassy invites applicants to identify and extend existing good practices or to test actions which do not duplicate activities undertaken by other entities.

Program proposals should have clearly defined objectives to advance specific goals within the field of media literacy, as defined above. It should propose an adequate mixture of tools and activities to achieve those objectives. These could include:

  • Creation of online material and interactive tools to improve the ability of citizens to critically understand and interact with sources of news and information;
  • Activities to raise awareness and effectively disseminate material created by the project or other similar material or activities that can be adapted for the same purpose;
  • Efficient dissemination of best practices, including through workshops, on-line platforms or training programs (note: conferences will not be considered);
  • Social media campaigns aimed at helping citizens interact with new media in a mindful way;
  • Any other relevant innovative activities that can help the target audience to distinguish information from propaganda, to deconstruct media communication or any other capacity related to critical thinking towards the media;
  • For all tools and activities proposed, project implementers should demonstrate how they will directly or indirectly benefit those lacking medial literacy skills;
  • Proposals should provide a monitoring and evaluation plan, as well as a plan for the sustainability of the project after it ends.

Participants and Audiences:

Bulgarians between the ages of 16-30.


Length of performance period: 6 to 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: Four to five awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: awards may be a maximum of $8,000 USD
Total available funding: $30,000
Anticipated program start date: June 1, 2018

 This notice is subject to availability of funding, and the U.S. Embassy reserves the right to not distribute all of the available funds.

 Funding Instrument Type: Fixed Amount Award

 Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less. The U.S. Embassy in Sofia will 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

The following Bulgarian organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • Public and private educational institutions
  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required, but cost sharing/matching or in-kind contributions will be favorably considered (up to five points awarded during merit review of proposals).

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization.


Address to Request Application Package

Applicants are required to submit a completed Grant Application Form. Application forms are available here, or by writing to, with the subject line: “Request Grant Application Form.”

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

The following documents are required:

  1. Grant Application Form. Please ensure that the proposal:
  • Clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity. The goals describe what the program is intended to achieve. The objectives refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Contains a clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
  • Clearly identifies the target audience and addresses anticipated impact.
  • Describes the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Describes how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Includes a proposed timeline for the program activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Includes 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?
  • Lists the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Includes a monitoring and evaluation plan. This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame 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?
  • Includes your plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  • Is in English
  • Includes a budget in U.S. dollars

      2. Summary Page: Cover letter or email stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.

     3. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the budget section in the Grant Application Form (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.

    4. 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

Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than May 15, 2018

Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to


  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 25 points:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 20 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 15 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Monitoring and evaluation plan – 15 points: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides 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.

Budget – 10 points: 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.

Sustainability – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Cost sharing – 5 points: The proposal includes some form of cost sharing or in-kind contribution. This is not a requirement, but proposals that do not include any cost sharing or in-kind contribution will not receive these points.

  1. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.


a. 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.

b. 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 are available at: 

Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

c. 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.


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: hagengruberml@state.go


Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: 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, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. 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.