Equality between men and women is at the core of values of the European Union (EU) and enshrined in its legal and political framework. The EU Gender Action Plan, Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020, reiterates the EU commitment to breaking the vicious cycle of gender discrimination. The EU aims at a world where the rights of girls and women are claimed, valued and respected by all, and where everyone is able to fulfil their potential and contribute to a more fair and just society for all. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also crucial to accelerating sustainable development. It has been proven time and again, that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect, and helps drive up economic growth and development across the board.
The European consensus for development is the EU's response to the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. It reaffirms that "gender equality is at the core of the EU values and is enshrined in its legal and political framework. It is vital for achieving the SDGs and cuts across the whole 2030 Agenda. The EU and its Member States will promote women’s and girls’ rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and their protection as a priority across all areas of action".
These principles and values are promoted in all EU policy dialogue and development activities as a cross-cutting theme. Complementary gender specific actions are supported from thematic instruments, notably from the Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC) Human Development programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Under its theme Gender, it has for objective to promote global and regional alliances of relevant stakeholders, innovative partnerships, policy debates and the exchange of experience and good practice in the area of gender equality, women’s empowerment, girls’ and women’s rights. More specifically, the programme focuses on: a) promoting and implementing gender equality, tackling its structural causes and addressing all forms of gender-based discrimination; b) reinforcing the enjoyment of women and girls’ rights, in all spheres of their civil, social, political, cultural, and economic rights; c) reinforcing women’s equal participation and representation in decision making processes at all levels and in all spheres, promoting women’s and girls’ role as actors of change in the fight against poverty and not just passive recipients of aid; d) continuing with the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences and, in this context, sexual and reproductive health and rights.
As the programmatic priority for 2017, the GPGC Gender theme supports the prevention of Sexual and Gender Based Violence through the strengthening of local civil society organisations' ability to deliver services to women and girls and promote gender equality and women's empowerment.
Civil society has an important role to play in voicing the rights, concerns and needs of women and girls. However, in many developing countries, local civil society organisations may lack financial and technical resources to do so and have low capacity to effectively deliver services, pursue advocacy work on gender equality, run campaigns or engage in policy work with the public sector and decision makers. They can be particularly weak in using research-based methods in gathering evidence base and often lack the capacity to apply for external funding and manage donor funds and related procedures. Furthermore, their ability to act and work on sensitive gender issues can be very different from one country to another, not only depending on the level of development but also on many cultural and political factors which influence the way CSOs can be visible, for instance in bringing issues into a public debate or providing essential services. The ability to act can be even more limited when it comes to communities of remote and poor regions, or those affected by crises.
1.2 Objectives of the programme and priority issues
The global objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment in developing countries.
The specific objective of this call for proposals is to reinforce the technical and financial capacity of local civil society organisations (CSOs) to foster rights of women and girls living in developing countries with high prevalence of violence against women and countries affected by forgotten crisis (Refer to Annexes N and O).
Priorities of the Call for Proposals:
Actions shall respond to the following priorities:
Note that financial support to third parties is compulsory in this call. At least 65% of the grant total amount will be further distributed to local civil society organisations working in the target countries of this call (refer to annex P of these Guidelines), in order to implement activities related to one or two of the priorities.
FSTP should be defined in section 2.1 of Annex A.1 Concept Note (application form).
In addition, the proposals should take into account the following working principles:
The working principles should be implemented as appropriate in relation to the given project.
Geographical balance will be taken into account by the European Commission at any stage of the technical evaluation.
1.3 Financial allocation provided by the contracting authority
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 32,000,000. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds. Equally, this amount could be increased in future should more funds become available.
Size of grants
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum percentages of total eligible costs of the action:
The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of action and the amount requested from the Contracting Authority) must be financed from sources other than the European Union Budget or the European Development Fund.
The requested EU contribution may cover the entire eligible costs of the action if this is deemed essential to carry it out. Note that the lead applicant can either ask for a maximum percentage of 90% or for 100% (under the conditions described above), but not for a percentage between 90 and 100%.
If a full financing is requested, the lead applicant must justify it in Annex A.2, section 2.1. The validity of the justification provided will be examined during the evaluation procedure. The absence of any justification will lead to the rejection of the application.
2 RULES FOR THIS CALL FOR PROPOSALS
These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call (available at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en).
2.1 Eligibility criteria
There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:
2.1.1 Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))
(1) In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
(2) Potential applicants may not participate in calls for proposals or be awarded grants if they are in any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;
In Annex A.2, section 5 (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies) are not in any of these situations.
International public-sector organisations set up by international agreements, specialised agencies set up by such organisations and other organisations assimilated to such international are not eligible under this call for proposals. United Nations agencies are not eligible under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant must act with at least one co-applicant.
To be eligible, an action must include at least one local organisation, as lead applicant or co-applicant.
A "local organisation" must be understood as "established" in the country or one of the countries outside EU where the action is taking place. An organisation is considered "local" when its charter demonstrates that the organisation has been established by an instrument governed by the national law of the country concerned (only for entities with legal personality) and that its head office is located in that country.
If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinate the design and implementation of the action.
Note that the Lead applicant needs to have 5 years of solid demonstrated experience of working in gender equality and women's empowerment and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This should be properly reflected and described in Annex A.2 (Full Application form) and it will be evaluated under criterion 1.2 of the Full Application Evaluation Grid (section 2.3 of these Guidelines).
Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.
Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant.
In addition to the categories referred to in section 2.1.1. point (1), the following are however also eligible:
Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Annex A.2., section 4.
If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s) (if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the Coordinator).
2.1.2 Affiliated entities
The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies)
Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.
This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
(i) Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:
Entities affiliated to applicant may hence be:
(ii) Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.
The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.
By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so-called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.
The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:
How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?
The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.
The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.
If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.
Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co-applicant(s). They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in Annex A.2., section 5.
Note that the fact of having a structural link with the lead applicant does not prevent an organisation from being co-applicant in the partnership. It is the lead applicant's decision to define the role of the actors composing its partnership and implementing the action: co-applicants or affiliated entities.
Note as well that the partnership rule explained under section 2.1.1 only applies to co-applicants.
2.1.3 Associates and Contractors
The following entities are neither applicants nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":
Other organisations or individuals may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Annex A.2., section 6 — ‘Associates participating in the action’.
The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.
2.1.4 Eligible actions: actions for which an application may be made
An action is composed of a set of activities.
The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 36 months nor exceed 60 months.
Sectors or themes
Please refer to the "Priorities" in section 1.2 for the priorities and themes.
Actions must take place in one or more developing countries listed in Annex N. Nevertheless, punctual activities (such as exchange visits, study trips) may, if duly justified in the description of the action, take place in EU countries or other countries when they are directly related to situations arising in countries targeted by the action. The reasons will be examined during the evaluation process.
Types of action
The following types of action are not eligible:
Types of activity
The indicative and non-exhaustive list of activities which may be financed under this call:
For lead applicants and co-applicants:
For third parties benefitting from financial support:
In addition, all projects should apply A Rights-Based Approach in the design of activities, encompassing all human rights, whenever this is relevant. The following elements are necessary in order to apply a rights-based approach to development:
Applying all rights (legality, universality and indivisibility of human rights) – Human rights are universal, inalienable and indivisible – all human rights, whether economic, political, civil, cultural and social, are of equal validity and importance.
Participation and access to the decision making process –Participation is the basis for active citizenship. Active, free and meaningful participation is both a means and an end in itself.
Non-discrimination and equal access – activities have to prioritise the most marginalised groups and avoid contributing to established patterns of discrimination.
Transparency and access to information – activities have to be transparent, with information available in accessible formats (for example, in local languages). Transparency is paramount for ensuring the application of the other working principles – without transparency it is not possible to achieve accountability and participation will not be meaningful.
Financial support to third parties
Under this call, financial support to third parties is the main purpose of the action and maximum and minimum amount of financial support per third party are not limited.
Applicants must propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieving the objectives of the action. At least 65% of the total grant amount (including administrative and operating costs needed to implement the activities) must be further distributed to local civil society organisations working in the target countries of this call, in order to implement activities related to one or two priorities of the call (see Evaluation grid of concept note, point 1.1). A budget distribution not respecting this requirement should be duly explained and justified or the action will be deemed ineligible.
To allow the appropriate verification, an indicative budget distribution per activity should be presented with the proposal in the worksheet 4 of Annex B. This includes an indicative percentage of the global budget of the action per type of activity and the approximate amount channelled directly to third parties.
The third parties benefitting from financial support can be identified at a later stage. However, the criteria on the basis of which they will be selected must be clearly explained. In compliance with the present guidelines and Annex P, the lead applicant should define mandatorily in section 2.1.1 of the grant application form:
(iv) the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support
In all events, the mandatory conditions set above for giving financial support (points (i) to (vii)) have to be strictly defined in the grant contract as to avoid any exercise of discretion.
The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or co-financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.
Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu-external-actions_en).
Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities
An organisation may not submit more than 1 application under this call for proposals as lead applicant. Should this be the case, the EC will only consider the first proposals arrived (based on the date and hour of submission) and any other additional proposal will be rejected.
An organisation may participate as many times as it wishes as co-applicant and affiliated entity under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may be co-applicant in another application.
2.1.5 Eligibility of costs: costs that can be included
Only ‘eligible costs’ can be covered by a grant. The categories of costs that are eligible and non-eligible are indicated below. The budget is both a cost estimate and an overall ceiling for ‘eligible costs’.
The reimbursement of eligible costs may be based on any or a combination of the following forms:
Simplified cost options may take the form of:
The amounts or rates have to be based on estimates using objective data such as statistical data or any other objective means or with reference to certified or auditable historical data of the applicants or the affiliated entity(ies). The methods used to determine the amounts or rates of unit costs, lump sums or flat-rates must comply with the criteria established in Annex K, and especially ensure that the costs correspond fairly to the actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies), are in line with their accounting practices, no profit is made and the costs are not already covered by other sources of funding (no double funding). Refer to Annex K for directions and a checklist of controls to assess the minimum necessary conditions that provide reasonable assurance for the acceptance of the proposed amounts.
Applicants proposing this form of reimbursement, must clearly indicate in worksheet no.1 of Annex B, each heading/item of eligible costs concerned by this type of financing, i.e. add the reference in capital letters to "UNIT COST" (per month/flight etc), "LUMPSUM" or "FLAT RATE" in the Unit column. (see example in Annex K)
Additionally in Annex B, in the second column of worksheet no.2, "Justification of the estimated costs" per each of the corresponding budget item or heading applicants must:
At contracting phase, the Contracting Authority decides whether to accept the proposed amounts or rates on the basis of the provisional budget submitted by the applicants, by analysing factual data of grants carried out by the applicants or of similar actions and by performing checks established by Annex K.
The total amount of financing on the basis of simplified cost options that can be authorised by the Contracting Authority for any of the applicants individually (including simplified cost options proposed by their own affiliated entities) cannot exceed EUR 60 000 (the indirect costs are not taken into account).
Recommendations to award a grant are always subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (such as arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs and ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to impose modifications or reductions to address such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of these corrections.
It is therefore in the applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget
The simplified cost option may also take the form of an apportionment of Field Office's costs.
Field Office means a local infrastructure set up in one of the countries where the action is implemented or a nearby country. (Where the action is implemented in several third countries there can be more than one Field Office). That may consist of costs for local office as well as human resources.
A Field Office may be exclusively dedicated to the action financed (or co-financed) by the EU or may be used for other projects implemented in the partner country. When the Field Office is used for other projects, only the portion of capitalised and operating costs which corresponds to the duration of the action and the rate of actual use of the field office for the purpose of the action may be declared as eligible direct costs.
The portion of costs attributable to the action can be declared as actual costs or determined by the beneficiary(ies) on the basis of a simplified allocation method (apportionment).
The method of allocation has to be:
1. Compliant with the beneficiary's usual accounting and management practices and applied in a consistent manner regardless of the source of funding and
2. Based on an objective, fair and reliable allocation keys. (Please refer to Annex K to have examples of acceptable allocation keys).
A description prepared by the entity of the allocation method used to determine Field Office's costs in accordance with the entity's usual cost accounting and management practices and explaining how the method satisfy condition 1 and 2 indicated above, has to be presented in a separate sheet and annexed to the Budget.
The method will be assessed and accepted by the evaluation committee and the Contracting Authority at contracting phase. The applicant is invited to submit (where relevant) the list of contracts to which the methodology proposed had been already applied and for which proper application was confirmed by an expenditure verification.
At the time of carrying out the expenditure verifications, the auditors will check if the costs reported are compliant with the method described by the beneficiary(ies) and accepted by the Contracting Authority.
Adequate record and documentation must be kept by the beneficiary(ies) to prove the compliance of the simplified allocation method used with the conditions set out above. Upon request of the beneficiary(ies), this compliance can be assessed and approved ex-ante by an independent external auditor. In such a case, the simplified allocation method will be automatically accepted by the evaluation committee and it will not be challenged ex post.
When costs are declared on the basis of such allocation method the amount charged to the action is to be indicated in the column "TOTAL COSTS" and the mention "APPORTIONMENT" is to be indicated in the column "units" (under budget heading 1 (Human resources) and 4 (Local Office) of the Budget).
It has to be noted that the EUR 60,000 limit, otherwise applicable to costs declared on the basis of simplified cost options, is not relevant for costs declared following apportionment of Field Offices.
Eligible direct costs
To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines).
The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5 % of the estimated direct eligible costs. It can only be used with the prior written authorisation of the Contracting Authority.
Eligible indirect costs
The indirect costs incurred in carrying out the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding, but the total must not exceed 7 % of the estimated total eligible direct costs. Indirect costs are eligible provided that they do not include costs assigned to another budget heading in the standard grant contract. The lead applicant may be asked to justify the percentage requested before the grant contract is signed. However, once the flat rate has been fixed in the Special Conditions of the grant contract, no supporting documents need to be provided.
If any of the applicants or affiliated entity(ies) is in receipt of an operating grant financed by the EU, it may not claim indirect costs on its incurred costs within the proposed budget for the action.
Contributions in kind
Contributions in kind mean the provision of goods or services to a beneficiaries or affiliated entities free of charge by a third party. As contributions in kind do not involve any expenditure for beneficiaries or affiliated entities, they are not eligible costs.
Contributions in kind may not be treated as co-financing.
However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contributions in kind, the contributions have to be made.
The following costs are not eligible:
2.2 How to apply and the procedures to follow
To apply for this call for proposals the lead applicants need to:
Concept note step: Registration is obligatory for lead applicants applying for EU contributions of more than EUR 60 000.
Full application step: Registration is obligatory for co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies). Lead applicants must make sure that their PADOR profile is up to date.
PADOR is an on-line database in which organisations register and update information concerning their entity. Organisations registered in PADOR get a unique ID (EuropeAid ID) which they must mention in their application. PADOR is accessible via the website: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/pador_en
It is strongly recommended to register in PADOR well in advance and not to wait until the last minute before the deadline to submit your application in PROSPECT.
If it is impossible to register online in PADOR for technical reasons, the applicants and/or affiliated entity(ies) must complete the ‘PADOR off-line form attached to these guidelines. This form must be sent together with the application, by the submission deadline (see sections 2.2.2 and 2.2.5).
Before starting using PADOR and PROSPECT, please read the user guides available on the website. All technical questions related the use of these systems should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITemail@example.com via the online support form in PROSPECT.
2.2.1 Concept note content
Applications must be submitted in accordance with the concept note instructions in the grant application form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A.1). Applicants must apply in English or French.
Please note that:
1. In the concept note lead applicants must provide only an estimate of the requested EU contribution, as well as an indicative percentage of this contribution in relation to the total eligible costs of the action. A detailed budget is to be submitted only by lead applicants invited to submit a full application in the second phase
2. The elements outlined in the concept note may not be modified in the full application form. The EU contribution may not vary from the initial estimate by more than 20 %. Lead applicants are free to adapt the requested EU contribution as a percentage of the total eligible costs within the minimum and maximum amounts and percentages provided in section 1.3. The lead applicant may replace a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In this case the new co-applicant/affiliated entity must be of a similar nature as the initial one. The lead applicant may adjust the duration of the action if unforeseen circumstances outside the scope of the applicants have taken place following the submission of the concept note and require such adaptation (risk of action not being carried out). In such cases the duration must remain within the limits imposed by the guidelines for applicants. An explanation/justification of the relevant replacement/adjustment shall be included in section 2.1.1 of the grant application form.
Own contributions by the applicants can be replaced by other donors' contributions at any time.
3. Only the concept note form will be evaluated. It is therefore of utmost importance that this document contains all relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes should be sent.
Any error or major discrepancy related to the concept note instructions may lead to the rejection of the concept note.
Clarifications will only be requested when information provided is not sufficient to conduct an objective assessment.
2.2.2 Where and how to send concept notes
The concept note together with the declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.1 section 2) must be submitted online via PROSPECT https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prospect following the instructions given in the PROSPECT user manual.
Upon submission of a concept note online, the lead applicant will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt in its PROSPECT profile.
If it is impossible for lead applicants to submit their concept note online via PROSPECT for technical reasons, they must send their proposal in a sealed envelope and attach the concept note together with the declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.1 section 2). In particular, the lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below the following items:
a. One original of the concept note. The signed declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.1 section 2) must be printed and stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope
b. 1additional copy in A4 size, bound.
c. An electronic version (CD-Rom or USB stick) of the items under point (a). The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.
The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session.
To reduce expense and waste, we strongly recommend that you do not use plastic folders or dividers. Please also use double-sided printing if possible.
Concept notes must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below. Where lead applicants send several concept notes (if allowed to do so by the guidelines of the call), each one must be sent separately:
Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development
Unit B6 Finance, Contracts & Audit
Attn. Head of Unit L-41 03/110
Avenue du Bourget, 1
Tel : +32 2 2997916
Concept notes sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. Hand-written concept notes will not be accepted.
Please note that incomplete concept notes may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their concept note is complete by using the checklist for concept note (Annex A.1, Instructions).
2.2.3 Deadline for submission of concept notes
The deadline for the submission of concept notes is 25th October at 16:00 (Brussels date and time). In order to convert this deadline to local time you can use any online time converter tool that takes into account time zones and winter/summer time changes (example available here) The lead applicant is strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit its concept note, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The Contacting Authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such afore-mentioned difficulties.
In the exceptional case of submission by post or by hand delivery (see section 2.2.2), the date of submission is evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 16:00 Brussels time as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt.
Any concept note submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any concept note sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the concept note evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2).
2.2.4 Further information about concept notes
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of concept notes to the address(es) below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:
E-mail address: EuropeAid-154792 @ ec.europa.eu
The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.
Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for submission of concept notes.
To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the contracting authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), an action or specific activities.
No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure will be published on the EuropeAid website https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome, as appropriate. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.
All questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITfirstname.lastname@example.org via the online support form in PROSPECT: Please note that the working languages of the IT support are: English French and Spanish. Therefore users are invited to send their questions in English, French or Spanish should they wish to benefit from an optimum response time.
2.2.5 Full applications
Lead applicants invited to submit a full application following pre-selection of their concept note must do so using the full application form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A.2).
Applications must be submitted in accordance with the full application instructions at the end of Annex A.2. Lead applicants must submit their full applications in the same language as their concept notes.
Please note that:
1. The elements outlined in the concept note cannot be modified by the lead applicant in the full application form. The EU contribution may not vary from the initial estimate by more than 20 %, although lead applicants are free to adapt the percentage of co-financing required within the minimum and maximum amount and percentages of co-financing, as laid down in these guidelines under section 1.3. The lead applicant may replace a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In this case the new co-applicant/affiliated entity must be of a similar nature as the initial one. The lead applicant may adjust the duration of the action if unforeseen circumstances outside the scope of the applicants have taken place following the submission of the concept note and require such adaptation (risk of action not being carried out). An explanation/justification of the relevant replacement/adjustment shall be included in section 2.1.1 of the grant application form.
2. A copy of the lead applicant’s accounts of the latest financial year (the profit and loss account and the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts have been closed) must be uploaded in PADOR by the full application deadline. A copy of the latest account is neither required from (if any) the co-applicant(s) nor from (if any) affiliated entity(ies)).
3. Only the full application form and the published annexes which have to be filled in (budget, logical framework) will be transmitted to the evaluators (and assessors, if used). It is therefore of utmost importance that these documents contain ALL the relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes should be sent.
Any error or any major inconsistency related to the full application instructions (e.g. if the amounts in the budget worksheets are inconsistent) may lead to the rejection of the application.
Clarifications will only be requested when information provided is unclear and thus prevents the Contracting Authority from conducting an objective assessment.
2.2.6 Where and how to send full applications
Full application forms together with the budget, the logical framework and the declaration by the lead applicant must be submitted online via PROSPECT https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/ europeaid/prospect following the instructions given in the users’ manual.
Upon submission of the full application online, the lead applicants will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt in their PROSPECT profile.
(a) If the lead applicant submitted the concept note by post / hand delivery (see section 2.2.3) it must send the full application by the same means (by post or hand delivery).
(b) If the lead applicant submitted the concept note online via PROSPECT but it is technically impossible for the organisation to submit the full application online:
In the above two cases the lead applicant must send by post the application, i.e. the full application form, the budget, the logical framework and the declaration by the lead applicant. The lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below, the following items:
a. One original signed copy of the full application form, the budget and the logical framework. The declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.2, section 5) must be printed and stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope
b. One additional copy in A4 size, bound.
c. An electronic version (CD-Rom USB stick) of the items under point (a). The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.
To reduce expense and waste, we strongly recommend that you use only paper for your file (no plastic folders or dividers). Please also use double-sided printing if possible
Applications must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below. Where lead applicants send several applications (if allowed to do so by the guidelines of the call), each one must be sent separately:
Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development
Unit B6 Finance, Contracts & Audit
Attn. Head of Unit L-41 03/110
Avenue du Bourget, 1
Tel : +32 2 2997916
The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the number and title of the lot, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’.
Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. Hand-written applications will not be accepted.
Please note that incomplete applications may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their application is complete using the checklist (Annex A.2, Instructions).
2.2.7 Deadline for submission of full applications
The deadline for the submission of full applications will be indicated in the letter sent to the lead applicants whose application has been pre-selected. This letter will appear online automatically in the PROSPECT profile of the lead applicant. Lead applicants who, in exceptional cases (see section 2.2.6) had to submit their application by post or hand-delivery, will receive the letter by email or by post if no e-mail address was provided.
Lead applicants are strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit their full applications, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The Contacting Authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such afore-mentioned difficulties.
In the case of submission by post, (see section 2.2.6), the date of submission is evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 16:00 as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt. Any application submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any full application sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the full application evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2)
2.2.8 Further information about full applications
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of full applications to the addresses listed below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:
E-mail address: EuropeAid-154792 @ ec.europa.eu
The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.
Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for the submission of applications.
To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Contracting Authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), or an action.
No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure, will be published on the EuropeAid website https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome, as appropriate. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.
All questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITemail@example.com via the online support form in PROSPECT. Please note that the working languages of the IT support are: English French and Spanish. Therefore users are invited to send their questions in English, French or Spanish should they wish to benefit from an optimum response time.
2.3 Evaluation and selection of applications
Applications will be examined and evaluated by the Contracting Authority with the possible assistance of external assessors. All applications will be assessed according to the following steps and criteria.
If the examination of the application reveals that the proposed action does not meet the eligibility criteria stated in section 2.1, the application will be rejected on this sole basis.
STEP 1: OPENING & ADMINISTRATIVE CHECKS AND CONCEPT NOTE EVALUATION
During the opening and administrative check (including the eligibility check of the action) the following will be assessed:
The concept notes that pass this check will be evaluated on the relevance and design of the proposed action.
The concept notes will receive an overall score out of 50 in line with the evaluation grid below. The evaluation will also check the compliance with the instructions on how to complete the concept note (Annex A.1).
The evaluation criteria are divided into headings and subheadings. Each subheading will be given a score between 1 and 5 as follows: 1 = very poor; 2 = poor; 3 = adequate; 4 = good; 5 = very good.
(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)
Concept notes with a score lower than 30 will be rejected.
Concept notes that reach the above threshold will be ranked by score. The highest scoring applications will be pre-selected until the limit of at least 200% of the available budget for this call for proposals is reached.
The amount of requested contributions of each concept note will be based on the indicative financial envelopes for each lot, where relevant.
Lead applicants will receive a letter indicating the reference number of their application and the respective results. This letter will automatically appear online in the PROSPECT profile of the lead applicant. Lead applicants who, in exceptional cases (see section 2.2), had to submit their application by post or hand-delivery will receive the letter by email or by post if no e-mail address was provided.
The pre-selected lead applicants will subsequently be invited to submit full applications.
STEP 2: OPENING & ADMINISTRATIVE CHECK AND EVALUATION OF THE FULL APPLICATION
During the opening and administrative check (including the eligibility check of the action) for full applications the following will be assessed:
The full applications that pass this check will be further evaluated on their quality, including the proposed budget and the capacity of the applicants and affiliated entity(ies). The evaluation criteria used are presented in the evaluation grid below. There are two types of evaluation criteria: selection and award criteria.
The selection criteria help to evaluate the applicant(s)'s and affiliated entity(ies)'s operational capacity and the lead applicant's financial capacity and are used to verify that they:
For the purpose of the evaluation of the financial capacity, lead applicants must ensure that the relevant information and documents (i.e. accounts of the latest financial year and external audit report, where applicable) in their PADOR profile are up to date. If the information and documents in PADOR are outdated and do not allow for a proper evaluation of the financial capacity, the application may be rejected.
The award criteria help to evaluate the quality of the applications in relation to the objectives and priorities set forth in the guidelines, and to award grants to projects which maximise the overall effectiveness of the call for proposals. They help to select applications which the Contracting Authority can be confident will comply with its objectives and priorities. They cover the relevance of the action, its consistency with the objectives of the call for proposals, quality, expected impact, sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The evaluation grid is divided into sections and subsections. Each subsection will be given a score between 1 and 5 as follows: 1 = very poor; 2 = poor; 3 = adequate; 4 = good; 5 = very good.
(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)
STEP 3: VERIFICATION OF ELIGIBILITY OF THE APPLICANTS AND AFFILIATED ENTITY(IES)
The eligibility verification will be performed on the basis of the supporting documents requested by the Contracting Authority (see section 2.4). It will only be performed for the applications that have been provisionally selected according to their score and within the available budget for this call for proposals.
Any rejected application will be replaced by the next best placed application on the reserve list that falls within the available budget for this call for proposals.
2.4 Submission of supporting documents for provisionally selected applications
A lead applicant whose application has been provisionally selected or placed on the reserve list will be informed in writing by the Contracting Authority. It will be requested to supply the following documents in order to allow the Contracting Authority to verify the eligibility of the lead applicant, (if any) of the co-applicant(s) and (if any) of their affiliated entity(ies):
Supporting documents must be provided through PADOR (see section 2.2)
This obligation does not apply to public bodies and international organisations provided that the international organisation in question offers the guarantees provided for in the applicable Financial Regulation, as described in chapter 6 of the Practical Guide.
This obligation does not apply to secondary and higher education establishments.
The requested supporting documents (uploaded in PADOR or sent together with the PADOR offline form) must be supplied in the form of originals, photocopies or scanned versions (i.e. showing legible stamps, signatures and dates) of the said originals.
Where such documents are not in one of the official languages of the European Union, a translation into one of the language(s) of the call for proposals of the relevant parts of these documents proving the lead applicant's and, where applicable, co-applicants' and affiliated entity(ies)' eligibility must be attached for the purpose of analysing the application.
Where these documents are in an official language of the European Union other than one of the language(s) of the call for proposals, it is strongly recommended, in order to facilitate the evaluation, to provide a translation of the relevant parts of the documents, proving the lead applicants' and, where applicable, co-applicants' and affiliated entity(ies)' eligibility, into one of the language(s) of the call for proposals.
Applicants have to take into consideration the time necessary to obtain official documents from national competent authorities and to translate such documents in the authorised languages while registering their data in PADOR.
If the abovementioned supporting documents are not provided before the deadline indicated in the request for supporting documents sent to the lead applicant by the Contracting Authority, the application may be rejected.
After verifying the supporting documents, the evaluation committee will make a final recommendation to the Contracting Authority, which will decide on the award of grants.
NB : In the eventuality that the Contracting Authority is not satisfied with the strength, solidity, and guarantee offered by the structural link between one of the applicants and its affiliated entity, it can require the submission of the missing documents allowing for its conversion into co-applicant. If all the missing documents for co-applicants are submitted, and provided all necessary eligibility criteria are fulfilled, the above mentioned entity becomes a co-applicant for all purposes. The lead applicant has to submit the application form revised accordingly.
2.5 Notification of the Contracting Authority’s decision
2.5.1 Content of the decision
The lead applicants will be informed in writing of the Contracting Authority’s decision concerning their application and, if rejected, the reasons for the negative decision. This letter will be sent by e-mail and will appear online automatically in the PROSPECT profile of the user who submitted the application. Lead applicants who, in exceptional cases (see section 2.2), had to submit their application by post or hand-delivery, will be informed by email or by post if they did not provide any e-mail address. Therefore, please check regularly your PROSPECT profile, taking into account the indicative timetable below.
An applicant believing that it has been harmed by an error or irregularity during the award process may lodge a complaint. See further section 2.4.15 of the Practical Guide.
Applicants who were unsuccessful at the Opening and Administrative Check stages of the procedure wishing to obtain further information should send their request by letter, indicating the reference of the Call for Proposals and the reference allocated to the proposal, to:
Directorate-General for International Development and Cooperation — EuropeAid
Unit B.6 “Finance, Contracts, Audit”
Attn. Head of Unit
Rue de la Loi, 41
Applicants who were unsuccessful at the Technical evaluation stages of the procedure or at the Eligibility check stage wishing to obtain further information should send their request, by letter indicating the reference of the Call for Proposals and the reference allocated to the proposal, to:
Directorate-General for International Development and Cooperation — EuropeAid
Unit B1. “Human Rights, Gender, Democratic Governance”
Attn. Head of Unit
Rue de la Loi, 41
2.5.2 Indicative timetable
1. Information meeting, if any (local time)
2. Deadline for requesting any clarifications from the Contracting Authority
4 October 2017
3. Last date on which clarifications are issued by the Contracting Authority
13 October 2017
4. Deadline for submission of concept notes
25 October 2017
5. Information to lead applicants on opening, administrative checks and concept note evaluation (Step 1)
End of December 2017
6. Invitations to submit full applications
7. Deadline for submission of full applications
8. Information to lead applicants on the evaluation of the full applications (Step 2)
9. Notification of award (after the eligibility check) (Step 3)
10. Contract signature
All dates and times are expressed in Brussels time, where it is not specified otherwise.
This indicative timetable refers to provisional dates (except for dates 2, 3 and 4) and may be updated by the Contracting Authority during the procedure. In such cases, the updated timetable will be published on the EuropeAid web site https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome
2.6 Conditions for implementation after the Contracting Authority’s decision to award a grant
Following the decision to award a grant, the beneficiary(ies) will be offered a contract based on the standard grant contract (see Annex G of these guidelines). By signing the application form (Annex A of these guidelines), the applicants agree, if awarded a grant, to accept the contractual conditions of the standard grant contract. Where the Coordinator is an organisation whose pillars have been positively assessed, it will sign a PA Grant Agreement based on the PAGoDA template. In this case references to provisions of the standard grant contract and its annexes shall not apply. References in these guidelines to the grant contract shall be understood as references to the relevant provisions of the PA Grant Agreement.
Where implementation of the action requires the beneficiary(ies) and its affiliated entity(ies) (if any) to award procurement contracts, those contracts must be awarded in accordance with Annex IV to the standard grant contract.
2.7 Early detection and exclusion system (edes)
The applicants and, if they are legal entities, the persons who have powers of representation, decision-making or control over them, are informed that, should they be in one of the situations mentioned in section 18.104.22.168 or 22.214.171.124 of the Practical Guide their personal details (name, given name (if natural person), address, legal form and name and given name of the persons with powers of representation, decision-making or control (if legal person)) may be registered in the EDES. For further information see section 2.3.3 and 2.3.4 of the Practical Guide.