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Doing Business with USAID

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Doing Business with USAID

How can I become an implementing partner with USAID?

USAID conducts competition for contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements to find the most qualified implementing partners for USAID/Afghanistan's development assistance programs at the best value to the U.S. Government. An implementing partner can be a U.S. or local non-governmental organization (NGO), commercial organization, an individual, or a public international organization.

The USAID/Afghanistan Office of Procurement site is your one-stop place for finding important information to get you started doing business with USAID/Afghanistan. Contracts are awarded primarily for technical assistance but also for commodities and/or equipment, transportation services, and occasionally, construction. Grants and cooperative agreements are awarded for a variety of programs --- some recurring and some for unique non-recurring programs. All contracts grants and cooperative agreements issued ultimately support objectives of that part of the U.S. foreign assistance program managed by USAID and implemented for the people of Afghanistan.

USAID uses various acquisition and assistance instruments to implement its activities. Contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and purchase orders are some of the instruments that are negotiated and signed by USAID/Afghanistan. These instruments provide a variety of commodities and technical assistance to support the attainment of the agency's objectives. Acquisition refers to obtaining goods and services, through various types of contracts, for the use or benefit of the Agency. Assistance refers to transferring funds (or other valuables) from USAID to another party for the implementation of programs that will contribute to the public good through the furtherance of the objectives of USAID’s service to the people of Afghanistan.

USAID's relationships with its implementing partners are generally categorized as:

  • Grants - USAID provides funds to a grantee to implement a program without direct involvement from USAID during the program;

  • Cooperative Agreements - USAID provides funds to a cooperator, but has substantial involvement and contact with implementer during project; or

  • Contracts - USAID uses for services or equipment to implement a project or program, and USAID has management responsibility.

To solicit help for its programs, USAID uses requests for applications (RFAs) and requests for proposals (RFPs). USAID publishes information about these public solicitations on the U.S. Government Points of Entry: http://www.fbo.gov/ and http://www.grants.gov/. In all cases, a request for applications or a request for proposls will provide an adequate time for a potential implementing partner to respond.

A request for application (RFA) or request for proposal (RFP) is used when USAID has a specific type of program in mind to meet our development assistance goals. An RFA results in a grant or cooperative agreement; an RFP results in a contract. These requests can be issued any time for any activity or program.

Where can I find more information about USAID branding and marking requirements? http://www.usaid.gov/branding/

USAID's framework legislation, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, section 641, requires that all programs under the Foreign Assistance Act be identified appropriately overseas as “American Aid.”

The Agency has been leading a branding campaign to ensure that the American people are credited for the foreign assistance they finance. Our tagline clearly communicates that our aid is “From the American People.”

The Agency has separate, and different, branding policies and marking requirements for our implementing partners: one for acquisition awards to contractors, and one for assistance awards to U.S. NGOs receiving grants and cooperative agreements. Click on either page to get the latest information.

I have a great idea that USAID should do – how do I submit my proposal?

USAID generally works by developing direct programs with host countries and through competitive procedures for selection of contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants. This approach ensures that all activities are concentrated on pre-defined objectives to maximize impact; and that they are consistent, mutually reinforcing, and draw services from the best available sources.

All proposals will be received and reviewed for funding. Given the huge demand for resources, however, potential offerors should be aware that USAID will be able to approve only a small number of them for funding.

A valid unsolicited proposal or application must:

  • Be innovative and unique;

  • Be independently originated and developed by the offeror;

  • Be prepared without U.S. Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct government involvement;

  • Include sufficient detail to permit a determination that USAID support could be worthwhile and the proposed work could benefit USAID's research and development or other responsibilities;

  • Not be an advance proposal for a known USAID requirement that can or will be acquired by competitive methods;

Unsolicited proposals and applications must contain the following:

  • Names and contact information of offeror;

  • Type of organization;

  • Date of submission;

  • Signature of authorized representative of the offeror, authorized to contractually obligate the offeror;

  • Proposed funding or total estimated cost;

  • Cost estimate or budget for proposal sufficiently detailed by elements of costs for meaningful evaluation;

  • Type of agreement contemplated (contract, grant, cooperative agreement, etc.);

  • Period of time for which proposal or application is valid. (Note: unsolicited proposals should be submitted well in advance of the proposed start-up; a minimum of 6 months is recommended); 

  • Letters of support as available;

  • Brief description of offeror's previous work and experience, both functionally and geographically;

  • Facilities to be utilized for the work; and

  • The names and phone numbers of USAID technical or other personnel already contacted regarding the proposal.

In evaluating an unsolicited proposal or application, USAID/Afghanistan will consider:

  • Unique, innovative, or proprietary methods, approaches, or ideas assembled;

  • Overall merit of the proposed effort or activity;

  • Potential contribution which the proposed effort may be expected to make to USAID's objectives and goals if pursued at this time;

  • Capabilities (including financial planning and management capability), related experience (both technical and in the geographic region), facilities, or techniques of the offeror which are considered to be integral factors for achieving the objective(s) of the proposal;

  • Qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the proposed investigator, leaders, or other offeror personnel;

  • Clear definition of the region, oblast or geographic area where the project will be implemented;

  • The realism of the proposed cost; and

  • Sustainability and replicability of the project as well as complementarity to existing or planned programs in the region.

A favorable comprehensive evaluation of an unsolicited proposal is not, in itself, sufficient justification for negotiating on a noncompetitive basis with the offeror. Any unsolicited proposal may be rejected by USAID/Afghanistan. If so, the offeror will be notified. USAID may not use any unique and innovative unsolicited proposal or application as the basis for, or as a portion of, negotiations with another party unless the original offeror is notified and agrees to the requested use.

Decisions to proceed with the award of a noncompetitive contract on the basis of an unsolicited proposal shall be made in accordance with the requirements of Subpart 15.6 of the FAR (48 CFR Subpart 715.5).  Decisions to proceed with the award of a noncompetitive grant or cooperative agreement on the basis of an unsolicited application shall be made in accordance with the requirements of USAID Automated Directives System (ADS) Chapter 303 - "Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Non-Governmental Organizations." If it is determined that the subject matter of any unsolicited proposal is acceptable for funding on a noncompetitive basis, the unsolicited proposal or application will serve as the basis for negotiation. USAID's contracting or grant officer may require, and request, additional supplemental information from the offeror, as necessary.

Contact Email: kblaidoppdunsolicited@usaid.gov


Last updated: January 06, 2021

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