Annual Program Statement (APS) for Colombia’s Ethnic Communities “Strengthening Ethnic Communities for Inclusive Peace”

APS Issuance Date: August 30, 2018


APS Closing Date: August 29, 2019


Questions from Applicants due: September 21, 2018 11:59 p.m. (midnight) First round of Concept Papers due: October 31, 2018 11:59 p.m. (midnight) Second round of Concept Papers due: January 31, 2018 11:59 p.m. (midnight)

All times above are Colombia Time


Subject: Annual Program Statement (APS) Number: 72051418APS00001 for Colombia’s Ethnic Communities – “Strengthening Ethnic Communities for Inclusive Peace.”


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking concept papers from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), partnerships and consortia comprised of majority Afro-Colombian and indigenous persons (see page 7 for more information about eligibility) to implement activities that support Colombia’s ethnic communities. Please note, at this time we are not accepting full applications. Only concept papers will be reviewed. Based on those concept papers, USAID will determine whether to request a full application from potential partners. Instructions on how to prepare a concept paper are provided within this APS.


The authority of this APS is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. Awards shall be made and administered in accordance with Standard Provisions for Non- US and US Non-Governmental Organizations in USAID policy ADS 303 “Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Non-Governmental Organizations”. Please note that no profit/fee is allowed under assistance including Grants and Cooperative Agreements. Forgone profit does not qualify as cost-sharing or leveraging.


Subject to availability of funds, USAID intends to grant up to $10 million in total for all awards under this APS. Individual awards will range in value from $1.5 million to $5 million, with a period of performance ranging between three to five years. Any award(s) will be made in accordance with evaluation procedures provided in Section IV.


Concept papers under this APS must be received by either of the two closing dates/times indicated at the top of this cover letter. Concept papers can be written in English or Spanish. All concept papers must be submitted electronically as a Word document or a PDF attachment via email to:


Table of Contents



  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose
  3. Background
  4. Technical Approach
  5. Eligibility
  6. Geographic Scope
  7. Collaboration with USAID and Other Partners
  8. Substantial Involvement
  9. Gender Equality and Female Empowerment


    1. Application Format
    2. Contact Information


    1. Estimated Funds Available
    2. Amount and Time of Individual Awards
    3. Right to Fund


    1. Review Process
    2. Evaluation Criteria
    3. Partnership and Alliances


  1. OTHER






  1. Introduction


The United States Agency for International Development in Colombia (USAID/ Colombia) is issuing an Annual Program Statement (APS), “Strengthening Ethnic Communities for Inclusive Peace.” The APS is aligned with USAID/Colombia’s  Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) goal of “Colombia more capable of successfully implementing a sustainable and inclusive peace.”


2.   Purpose


The overarching goal of this APS is for Colombian ethnic communities to advance inclusive peace, self-governance, and socio-economic development. To achieve  that goal, USAID will work directly with prospective organizations in the following areas:


  1. Strengthened capacity of Colombian ethnic organizations and traditional authorities to govern their territories, advocate for their rights/interests, and implement post-conflict initiatives;
  2. Strengthened self and collective protection initiatives;
  3. Improved conditions for inclusive rural economic growth; and
  4. Strengthened natural resource management of Afro-Colombian and indigenous territories.


3.   Background


With approximately one-fifth of its population self-identifying as Afro-Colombian or indigenous, Colombia is a diverse and culturally-rich nation. However, despite  significant constitutional, legal, and policy advances, the country faces challenges in embracing its multi-cultural heritage and responding to the concrete needs of its ethnic communities who continue to face exclusion, discrimination and violence.


Basic living conditions for Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples are generally lower than those of the rest of the population. Afro-Colombians experience lower access to public services, lower enrollment levels in social security, and lower incomes. More than half of the Afro-Colombian population considers itself poor and 44 percent believe their income is insufficient to cover their expenses. Indigenous peoples face similar conditions, though even more extreme in some cases: 63 percent of the population live below the poverty line and 48 percent do not have enough income to cover daily dietary needs. Access to basic services is scarce: 60 percent of the indigenous population do not have access to water services, 80 percent lack access to sanitation, and 40 percent do not have access to electricity.


In addition, Colombia’s 50 years of armed conflict disproportionately impacted its ethnic communities. Indigenous peoples are three times more likely to be displaced than the  rest of the population and 46 percent of Afro-Colombians have suffered at least one form


of victimization, most notably displacement or the loss of a relative. In spite of the peace agreement, killings of social leaders, human rights and environmental defenders from ethnic communities continue to trend upwards.


Afro-Colombian and indigenous civil society organizations and traditional authorities have made great strides in engaging with public entities, advocating for their needs, demanding respect for their rights, strengthening their capacity to manage their own territories and increasing participation of women and youth in  decision-making processes. A prime example is the Ethnic Chapter of the peace agreement between the Government of Colombia (GOC) and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) in 2016 when Afro-Colombian and indigenous leaders successfully advocated for the inclusion of ethnic community considerations in the peace accords.


Over the past 15 years, USAID has increasingly worked with ethnic communities in Colombia across its portfolio, from human rights and civil society strengthening to economic development and environmental initiatives. Through this APS, USAID/Colombia will support more exemplary initiatives designed by and for ethnic communities to continue to strengthen Colombia’s future development goals.


4.   Technical Approach


The overarching goal of this APS is for Colombian ethnic communities to advance inclusive peace, self-governance, and socio-economic development. This APS has four objectives, as described below. Applicants are required to address at least one of the objectives in their concept paper. Applicants do not need to address all objectives in a single application, but concept papers may integrate one or multiple objectives.


Objective 1: Strengthened capacity of ethnic organizations and traditional authorities to: govern their territories; advocate for their rights/interests; and influence public policies to protect their rights, including implementation of the ethnic chapter.


USAID seeks to support organizational strengthening efforts, territorial control initiatives, and collaboration efforts among ethnic organizations and public entities. Furthermore, USAID seeks to support the effective participation of ethnic organizations in implementation and monitoring initiatives related to the peace accord. Under this objective, USAID seeks creative and innovative approaches to:


  • Improve the capacity of ethnic organizations, including in the implementation and monitoring of post-conflict initiatives such as the ethnic chapter. USAID acknowledges the wealth and diversity of all types of ethnic organizations and authorities in the country, however those that support women’s empowerment, youth, and urban ethnic communities will be of particular
  • Position traditional ethnic authorities to comprehensively manage collective territories. This may include supporting initiatives focused on territorial protection, including community-led monitoring practices, sustainable land use


for the promotion of food security, income generation, and natural resource management and conservation.

  • Enhance collaboration between ethnic organizations and public entities. This may include supporting ethnic organizations that seek to implement activities that establish, further, or strengthen efforts for collaboration on key development objectives with public entities, including the advancement of public policies that benefit ethnic
  • Promote education and economic opportunities for vulnerable populations to enhance inclusion and


Objective 2: Strengthened self and collective protection initiatives.


In Colombia, assassinations of human rights, land, and environmental defenders and social and ethnic leaders continues to negatively affect ethnic communities. In 2016, at least 206 social leaders were killed and in 2018, 29 leaders have been killed during the first quarter alone. USAID seeks to support ethnic organizations to:


  • Implement self-protection and collective protection initiatives. This may include, among others, activities related to: guardia indigena and guardia cimarrona; and strengthening ethnic communities’ advocacy and outreach for improved GOC protection
  • Strengthen GOC collective protection and security policies through collaborative outreach to raise awareness about GOC decrees and mechanisms for collective protection, as well as attention


Objective 3: Improved conditions for inclusive rural economic growth.


USAID seeks to assist indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and citizens living in historically neglected areas to have increased access to licit economic opportunities that provide them with pathways out of poverty and a means of avoiding the trap of relying on the cultivation of illicit crops. More specifically, USAID seeks to:


  • Ensure more equitable and secure land tenure for ethnic communities. This may include supporting ethnic communities to provide better economic opportunities through improved land
  • Increase public and private investment for ethnic communities. This may include improving the provision of key public services on which economic growth depends (e.g., roads, electricity, education and healthcare services) and to increase the amount of private capital that is invested into new productive
  • Improve institutional capacity for ethnic producer associations. This support intends to develop the institutional capacity of producer groups in order to increase yields, quality, and total sales as a means of improving the living conditions of rural indigenous and Afro-Colombians.


Objective 4: Strengthened natural resource management of Afro-Colombian and indigenous territories.


USAID seeks to support ethnic communities to:


  • Strengthen sustainable livelihoods, which may include coffee or cacao, arts and crafts, tourism, fisheries, non-timber forest products, as well as payment for environmental services mechanisms and markets, such as the existing domestic market for emissions reductions.
  • Reduce mercury use and promote responsible mining. This may include improving the environmental performance of small-scale gold mining operations, including reduction or elimination of
  • Rehabilitate degraded land. This may include rehabilitating degraded lands, which could include natural or assisted regeneration or reforestation (native species are preferred, as non-native would require more extensive USAID review and approval.)
  • Develop protected areas within Afro-Colombian territories and indigenous reserves. This may include initiatives that help justify the declaration of “Territories and indigenous community conserved areas” (TICCA), to provide technical assistance and support design and implementation of management


5.   Eligibility


Organizations may present concepts that respond to one or more of the objectives included in this document. Should an organization be interested in submitting an application that responds to multiple objectives, that organization must demonstrate the capacity to undertake such work. Organizations are also free to submit  multiple  concepts.


In order to qualify as a local entity for the purpose of this APS, the organization or authority must:


  • be legally organized in accordance with Colombian laws;
  • have its principal place of business or operations in Colombia;
  • have a majority of members who are representative of Afro-Colombian or Indigenous populations and are citizens or lawful permanent residents of Colombia; and
  • be managed by a governing body, the majority of which are citizens or lawful permanent residents of Colombia and are members of the Afro-Colombian or Indigenous


The terms “majority owned” and “managed by” include, without limitation, beneficiary interests and the power, either directly or indirectly, whether exercised or exercisable, to control the election, appointment, or tenure of the organization’s managers or a majority of the organization’s governing body by any means.


Local entities do not include subsidiaries, affiliates, or member entities of organizations organized or headquartered outside Colombia.


Local entities also do not include public international organizations as described in USAID’s Automated Directives System (ADS) Chapter 308 or their subsidiaries, affiliates, or member entities.


6.   Geographic Scope


Consistent with the Mission’s goals, USAID/Colombia is prepared to support Activity initiatives within one or several of the following regions:


Pacific:           Chocó, Cauca, Valle de Cauca, Nariño

South:             Amazonas, Guaviare, Guanía, Vichada, Vaupés, Putumayo, Caqueta

Central:          Tolima

North:             La Guajira, Cesar, Magdalena, Córdoba, Sucre


Additionally, USAID may support activities in areas that fall under the following criteria:


  • Departments with high levels of unsatisfied basic needs within Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations;
  • Departments with comparatively high numbers of registered Afro-Colombian or indigenous victims and/or assassinated ethnic leaders;
  • Cities that have been high receptors of Afro-Colombian and indigenous victims of the conflict, such as Cali, Medellín, Bogotá, Buenaventura, and


If other geographical areas are considered, applicants need to justify their inclusion.


7.     Collaboration with USAID and Other Partners


This initiative builds upon previous and ongoing USAID assistance provided for social and economic inclusion of ethnic groups, a key area of USAID/Colombia’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) and is aligned with the USAID/Colombia Mission strategy including the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Office, the Rural and Economic Development Office, the Reconciliation and Inclusion Office, and the Environment Office. All of USAID technical offices are implementing activities with ethnic communities which may overlap in terms of territory and objectives. This APS will benefit and contribute to synergies of other USAID-funded activities that are operating in the same municipalities.


Additionally, it is expected that over the next several years, other donors will continue to support the GOC efforts on racial and ethnic inclusion. USAID will coordinate closely with other donors to minimize the duplication of efforts among donors and maximize the degree of coordination and program effectiveness.


Cooperation with key stakeholders such as departmental governments, local governments, national government entities, private sector companies, civil society organizations, media outlets, advocacy groups, think tanks and academia will be critical


to achieving results in so far as sustainable inclusion requires their cooperation, commitments and resources.


8.     Substantial Involvement


USAID anticipates having substantial involvement, depending on award mechanism, throughout the implementation of this APS. The specific areas of USAID involvement will include, but not be limited to, approval of the recipient’s implementation plans, Activity Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan (AMELP), and key personnel. Other areas of collaboration and joint participation will be determined based on the selected Activity and coordinated with the recipient prior to award.


9.     Gender Equality and Female Empowerment


USAID policy requires that gender issues be addressed as appropriate in all USAID- funded activities. Gender analysis and integration must be implemented as a cross-cutting theme within the design, implementation, and evaluation of all interventions of this activity, especially through the following approaches:


  1. Transparency in planning and decision making. Decision-making structures should be accessible to men and women, have equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms and be shaped in such a way that women have a voice and position in the
  2. Stakeholder dialogue and engagement. Selected recipients will consider the gender dimensions of stakeholders at all scales and strive for inclusivity in stakeholder
  3. Training, capacity-building, and action. Selected recipients will use a gender approach to training, planning, and implementation. When necessary, assessments should be done ahead of time to determine appropriate actions to affect
  4. Monitoring and evaluation. Selected recipients will use sex-disaggregated and gender-sensitive indicators for monitoring and measuring progress toward gender equality.


In addition to addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment within implementation of the technical approach, selected recipients will also be required to address gender issues within reporting documents. For more information see USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy.




  1. Application Format


At a minimum, the three types of information below must be included in the concept paper (A. Basic Information, B. Technical Information, and C. Supporting Information). Concept papers must include an estimated total budget and timeframe. Concept papers cannot exceed six pages total — five pages for sections A and B, and one page for section


  1. Any content beyond this six page limit will not be considered. No additional annexes are necessary, nor will they be considered in the review process.


Please note that for applicants that are invited to submit a full application, the full application must be in English. Further instructions for preparing a full application, including the required forms and certifications, will be provided at the time the invitation is made.


Required contents for Concept Papers:


Section A. Basic Information:


  • Title of the proposed Activity;
  • Name and address for the lead organization;
  • Description of the organization;
  • Contact point (lead contact name, telephone, email);
  • Names of any other organizations that are part of the
  • Proposed estimated total cost (full detailed budget not required) in US dollars (please use an exchange rate of COP$2900/USD);
  • Proposed duration of the activity; and
  • Anticipated cost-share contribution (refer to Automated Directives System (ADS)

303 and 303mab which is included in section VI of this APS, for more information).


For those applicants subsequently asked to develop a full application, applicants may add other partners or otherwise modify the partnership arrangement(s) when developing the full application.


Note that there is no need to include a separate title page and/or institutional logos.


Section B. Technical Information:


  • Clear description, including the rationale and approach, of the proposed concept;
  • Clear description of the Objectives that will be addressed by the proposed Activity;
  • Description of the proposed locations where the Activity will be implemented; and
  • Indication of expected results and illustrative indicators to measure


Sections A and B must not exceed 5 pages combined.


Section C. Supporting Information:


  • Three examples of your organizations’ most recent projects or projects most relevant to your concept


Section C must not exceed 1 page total.


  1. Contact Information


Additional    information     concerning     the    APS     may     be    obtained    via     email at [email protected] during the Question Period.


All concept papers must be submitted electronically as a Word document or pdf attachment via email to:


Mr. Nathan Strand [email protected]

Office of Acquisition and Assistance Office (OAA) USAID/Colombia


The subject line of the submission email should read as follows: “Organization Name – Colombia Ethnic Communities APS No: 72051418APS00001




  1. Estimated Funds Available


Subject to availability of funds, USAID intends to provide up to $10 million total for all awards under this APS.


2.     Amount and Time of Individual Awards


USAID Colombia will fund awards ranging from a minimum $1.5 to $5 million. The range of time will be from a minimum of three to a maximum of five years.


3.   Right to Fund


USAID reserves the right to fund one, multiple or none of the applications submitted and to negotiate separately with an applicant if such an action is considered to be in the interest of the USG.


Issuance of this APS does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. Government (USG), nor does it commit the USG to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of any application.




  1. Review Process


Concept papers will be considered in two phases. Organizations are free to submit concept papers for the first, second, and/or both phases. In order to be considered,


concept papers must be received by the due date and time indicated on the cover page of this APS.


This APS will use a two-step application process. In the first step, applicants will prepare and submit a concept paper, including an estimated total cost, not to exceed six pages. The objective of the concept paper is to give USAID a clear understanding of the activity that is being proposed. It is not intended to provide budget detail, staffing plans, organizational background, or similar detailed information. It should be about the concept itself, including the purpose of the activity, the location(s) where it would be conducted, the number and description of the people or organizations that will benefit, and a general statement of the approach and expected results in order to meet the goals of the APS. The concept paper will be reviewed by a panel of USAID experts, who will determine whether the concept has sufficient merit to warrant preparation of a full application.


Applicants will be advised after submission of a concept paper as to whether they are invited to submit a full application based on the concept. Full applications received pursuant to invitation will also be evaluated by a panel of USAID experts.


Full applications may only be submitted by invitation from the USAID/Colombia Office of Acquisition and Assistance.


2.     Evaluation Criteria


USAID will review concept papers based on the following factors, which will be considered with equal importance:


  • Mission Strategy Alignment: Concept papers must demonstrate alignment with one or more of the development objectives set forth in Section 4 (Technical Approach) of this
  • Context understanding and holistic view: Concept papers must demonstrate that the applicant understands ethnic and racial inclusion issues in the Colombian context. Even though applicants are not required to address all the APS’s objectives in a single application, proposals may integrate more than
  • Impact and Sustainability: Concept papers must present the potential for transformational and sustainable development by ensuring that their proposals align with the communities’ development priorities, safeguard them against inadvertent harm and the results achieved will continue to be generated over time once USAID’s participation
  • Targeted Geography: Concept papers must focus on the areas detailed in Section I.8 above; in case that other regions will be included, a relevant justification must be presented.
  • Capacity to Implement: Concept papers must demonstrate the organizations’ capacity to implement the budget resources requested and the technical components prioritized.


3.       Partnership and Alliances


Even though stand-alone ethnic organizations can apply, USAID will review the applicant’s potential:


  • To promote partnerships, networks and alliances to reach out to a broad range of ethnic grass root
  • Ethnic organizations are encouraged to partner with other ethnic or non-ethnic and non-local organizations in order to increase organizational capacity and meet the requirements of this APS. However, applications must be submitted by ethnic organizations (as define in Section V. Eligibility). Please note: based on USAID regulations governing this APS, “By submission of an application and execution of the award, the applicant/recipient agrees that at least fifty (50) percent of the cost of award performance incurred for personnel must be expended for employees of the prime/local ”




Organizations that are invited to present a full application are advised that further instructions will be issued for the development of full applications and that applicants will have to submit an expanded technical approach, a full budget with budget narrative, and an AMELP among other requirements. The application must follow all applicable USAID rules and regulations. More information will be provided as a result of the invitation.


Once a full application is received, all full applications will be evaluated on the basis of both technical and cost criteria. USAID may provide technical assistance to applicants during the full application process, to the extent feasible.




USAID Operational Policy — the Automated Directives System


ADS Chapter 303 – Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Non-Governmental Organizations


ADS Reference 303mab – Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations


ADS Chapter 320 – Branding and Marking


Training series on how to work with USAID


Módulos de capacitación en línea sobre cómo trabajar con USAID


USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy. policy


ADS Chapter 205 – Integrating Gender Equality and Female Empowerment in USAID’s Program Cycle


System for Award Management


Guidance for Registering in SAM Registrations.pdf