EDU-SYRIA CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Bottleneck Alleviation Programme-BAP

EDU-SYRIA Programme, funded by the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, the ‘EU Madad Fund’ is pleased to announce the opening of the first round of the Call for Proposals to support short-term projects implemented by local institutions registered in Jordan.

The latest EDUSYRIA project: EDU-SYRIA III, has a total fund of 15 million Euros, and been awarding 2,245 scholarships through eight Actions/Components that are implemented by a consortium of 9 national and international, academic and NGO partners.

Among the consortium partners is NUFFIC, an international Dutch organization for the internationalization in education. NUFFICs’ global development policy is based on strengthening the competencies and skills of both individuals and organizations through education across sectors.  Nuffic is managing the Bottleneck Alleviation Programme (BAP) and thus the current call for proposal.

Context

Due to the Syrian war, more than half a million people fled to Jordan, with an estimated 67 per cent residing outside refugee camps. According to UNHCR, a total of 658,756 Syrian refugees are currently (August 2020) registered in Jordan, with the highest percentage of people – around 29 per cent – living in the capital Amman. These registered numbers are far below the Jordanian 2015 Census estimate, of a total of 1.27 million Syrian refugees.

The Government of Jordan, in partnership with the international community, committed to improving the living conditions, prospects and resilience of both Syrian refugees and Jordanian host communities after the Syrian crises through the Jordan Compact (2016).

While considerable progress has been made since the Jordan Compact, accessing higher education and the labour market for Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanians continue to be a challenge. Financial barriers, language and skill development, entrepreneurship and home-based business creation, lack of current market research and policy dialogue around the current job market needs, are among the most prominent obstacles, especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In that response, the current EDU-SYRIA call for proposal is designed to alleviate “bottlenecks” in accessing and completing higher education as well as accessing the labour market for the most vulnerable, underprivileged Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Bottleneck Alleviation Programme-BAP

Bottleneck Alleviation Programme  (BAP) is one of eight Actions of EDU-SYRIA III. The main objective of BAP is to alleviate three critical transition points (i) transition from  high school to higher education degree programmes, (ii) successfully completing and graduating from higher education degree programmes, and finally (iii) transition from higher education to the labour market.

The current Call for Proposal (CFP) isa componentof BAP, and therefore aims at:

  1. Increasing access to higher education degree programmes,
  2. Completion of higher education degree programmes, and
  3. Increasing access to the local labour market

The primary beneficiaries are Syrian refugees (Youth indicate that the beneficiary age must be 28 or younger) and underprivileged Jordanian youth (Underprivileged Jordanians are defined as those who are beneficiaries of one of the following organisation s: (i)National Aid Fund, (ii)Zakat Fund, (iii)Al-Aman Fund, & (vi)Takiyit Aum Ali).


Thematic Areas of the proposal  

Following extensive research review, stakeholder meetings, and roundtable sessions, NUFFIC was able to identify major barriers/challenges in accessing higher education and/or completion – successfully with a degree from an accredited study programme – and accessing the local labor market for both Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanians (taking into account the current COVID-19 pandemic economic situation). The following table summarises some of the barriers and possible interventions.

Bottleneck

Challenge/Barrier

Mitigating & Intervention Opportunity

Higher Education & Completion

Language Skills:

Some students graduate from secondary schools lacking the needed basic English skills to apply for and complete higher education degree and TVET (Training, Vocational Education, & Training).

  • Distance-based career guidance, pre-academic language programmes, soft and technical skill gap training programmes, mentorship programmes.
  • As for lowering dropout rates, psychosocial support and social cohesion supports for students and their families.
  • Short courses, trainings, entrepreneurship incubating and coaching programmes, internships and mentorship programmes, accredited TVET with internship opportunities, recent market research and policy dialogue revolved around post COVID 19 market opportunities.
  • Tap into; green growth job market, ICT, health, art, textile, amongst other sectors, wherever Syrian refugees can legally be employed.

Career & Educational Counselling:

Students have little information on current market needs (specifically on choices they need to make regarding higher education).

Financial Issues:

Financial burdens in applying for and completing TVET & higher education degree programme s. Other costs like laptops and transportation are also a burden.

Labour Market

Soft, Interpersonal & Communication Skills:

Employers have noticed that graduates and/or Syrian refugees looking for employment lack soft, interpersonal, language and communication skills needed to secure a job.

Recent Data, Market Research, & Policy Dialogue:

There is a serious gap between higher education programme s and the labour market, where there is little policy dialogue and thin data about current market needs, if any, especially under the current COVID-19 circumstance

Employment Regulation & Policy for Syrian Refugees:

Employment regulations for Syrian refugees in Jordan are stringent. Syrian refugees are banned from working in many sectors.

Home-Based Business Regulations & Fees:

Home-based businesses in Jordan also lack access to finance and loans, and still feel that registration and licensing fees are high even after the 2017 regulation amendment.

Internship Opportunities:

Practical experience is missing in making a successful transition from graduation to entering the labour market.

TVET not Enough for Employment:

Many employers still only accept a minimum of bachelor’s degree for employment.

Low Women Participation:

Low participation of women in the labour market for several reasons, that include childcare and transportation.

This CFP therefore solicits proposals that target the following:
  1. Providing psycho-social support and enhancing social cohesion and harmony.

a. Improving psychosocial well-being, fostering resilience, and self-reliance.

b. Promoting positive interactions between the local Jordanian host communities and Syrian refugees in the areas of higher education and the labour market.

2. Capacity building programmes/projects

a. Short courses that train beneficiaries on entrepreneurship skills that exclusively target potential home-based businesses

b. Short courses, skill development and internships in fast growing occupations:

  • Green growth: Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. They also include water, sanitation, waste management, supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation, and agriculture.
  • Information and communications technologies:
    • Digital economy (other terms are internet economy, new economy, or web economy) is integrated in a wide array of people’s lives such as healthcare, education, banking, entertainment, knowledge processing amongst other. Such e-economy is growing exponentially under the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is a job-creating machine delving in new sectors, industries, and markets.
    • Cybersecurity, information security, data storage, and big data analyses are some of the highly demanded occupations, locally and internationally.
  • Other fast-growing occupations: Any other sector that improves the likelihood to enter the job market, especially under COVID-19 pandemic economic challenging situations. Health, textile, and art are just examples on possible targeted sectors.

3. English language skills to prepare students for higher education as well as accessing the labour market: English language courses, communication, and soft skill performance development is an example. Focus should be placed on any skill development needed to access higher education or the labour market in Jordan.

4. Policy research focusing on

  • The gap between higher education and the labour market and the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Current labour-market needs across different sectors and essential competencies, abilities, and skills. Further, the huge gap between two intertwine dimensions; labour market and capacities, aptitudes, and competencies.
  • On academic, policy, and decision-making processes and impact in relation to Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanians accessing higher education and the labour market.

General Information about the Call

  • This CFP opens on November 18th, 2020, and closes by January 17th, 2021.
  • Final selection of awardee proposals is decided and announced no later than March 25th, 2021.
  • A total of 360,000 Euros will be granted to 6 to 7 proposed projects/programmes.
  • A requesting organisation may request funds for their proposed project/programme ranging between €10,000 to €60,000.
  • Awarded grants will be based on the submitted budget and the cost breakdown given the costs are eligible criteria shown below.
  • Awardee organisation will receive 40% of the grant at the launching time of the project and 40% halfway. The second payment amount will be set as the amount calculated on the basis 40% of the project budget amount subtracted the unused balance of the 1st payment). The final payment of 20% of the awardee grant will be granted after the submission of the final report. If the budget is not 100% depleted at project end, the final payment will logically not amount to payment of 100% of the originally proposed budget.
  • All annexes must be uploaded into the NUFFIC Delta Registration System no later than 23:00 hours (Jordan time-GMT+3) on January 17th, 2021. The registration system will not allow to submit any application passing the former time, 23:00.
  • NUFFIC Delta Registration System will prompt you to offer basic information about the applying organisation.
  • Applying organisations must upload 3 mandatory annexes in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) into DELTA:
    • Annex-1 (The Application Form),
    • Annex-2 (Budget), and
    • Annex-3 (Organisational Capacity Assessment-OCA).
  • Applying organisation s should submit/upload its Jordanian registration certificate as Annex-4.
  • Annex-5 can be used for any supplemental document the requesting organisation might entail to strengthen its application (not mandatory).
  • An information (Q&A) virtual session will be organised on Monday, December 7th, 2020, dedicated to answer any inquiries about the CFP from proposed organisation s. If you wish to join this session, please use the registration form. An email will be sent to those who registered on Sunday, 6th December 2020 with all needed link(s) to access the virtual meeting. To facilitate proposal preparation, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding proposal preparation and submission will be available on EDU-SYRIA websites.
  • Applying organisation s may submit several proposals. It is not allowed to submit proposals with similar content.
  • The complete duration of implementing the awardee project should not be shorter than 9 months and no longer than 18 months. However, the actual project should not be less than 6 months.
  • Awarded projects will receive the funds during 2021, upon which project shall be launched as soon as a contract is signed with the awardee organisation.

General Eligibility

  • Proposals must be submitted by any organisation/institution operating in Jordan for over 2 years.
  • Likewise, any government entity that proves its complete “financial” independency as well as full authority over the proposed project is eligible to apply for this grant.
  • Proposed project/programme should be implemented within the borders of Jordan. Those implemented outside the skirt of the capital Amman, especially with a large Syrian refugee minority are highly encouraged to apply.
  • Any proposed project/programme must target Syrian Refugees (70% of the total beneficiaries) underprivileged Jordanians (30% of the total beneficiaries).

Target Beneficiaries of Proposed Project/Programme

Two types of beneficiaries are only eligible to be targeted by the proposed project/programme

  1. Underprivileged Jordanians: defined as those who are beneficiaries of one of the following organisation s: (i) National Aid Fund (صندوق المعونة الوطنية), (ii) Al Aman funds (صندوق الامان), (iii) Takiyat Um Ali Funds (تكية أم علي  ), & (vi) Zakah Funds (صندوق الزكاة), of 28 years old and younger.
  2. Syrian refugees: have to hold a valid UNHCR Asylum Seeker Certificate (حاملاً لبطاقة اللجوء من المفوضية السامية للأمم المتحدة) and Security Card for Syrian-MOI (Ministry of Interior card-ممغنطة امنية  بطاقة), of 28 years old and younger.

Consortia

Applying organisations may apply solely or in collaboration with other organisations, by forming a consortium. However, only the lead organisation shall submit the application along with the rest required annexes and documents.

The following rules are applicable for consortia:

  • The leading organisation bears full responsibility for the grant, its obligations, and all carried out project activities. NUFFIC will sign an agreement only with the lead organisation. 
  • The lead organisation shall ensure that all the rules and regulations as stated in this document and contract will also be binding for the sub-contractors and consortium partners.
  • Any violation by the Requesting organisation and/or the implementer personnel, EU rules will be followed.

Selection criteria

The projects must be demand-driven, tailored to the needs of the target groups and reach as many Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanian youth as possible, be it face-to-face or through blended activities. Consequently, proposed project/programme can be considered for selection if it meets the following general criteria:

  • Reach/benefit as many people from the target groups as possible.
  • Demonstrate a clear and local demand by referring to national development strategies, local initiatives plans taking into account the host community.
  • Deliver tangible results.
  • Actively promote the achievement of gender equality in project implementation as well as in the contents and delivery of project activities.
  • Has an effect also after project completion (sustainability).
  • Most important addresses the goals of the call, alleviation the bottleneck.

However, proposed projects will be assessed on a set of criteria set out in the knockout and evaluation forms.

Cost Eligibility Criteria

Eligible costs are actual costs incurred by the requesting organisation(s), which meet all the following criteria:

  1. They are incurred during the implementation of the project as specified in project proposal. In particular:
    • Costs relating to services and works shall relate to activities performed during the implementation period. Costs relating to supplies shall relate to delivery and installation of items during the implementation period. Signature of a contract, placing of an order, or entering into any commitment for expenditure within the implementation period for future delivery of services, works or supplies after expiry of the implementation period do not meet this requirement. Cash transfers between the coordinator or other beneficiaries may not be considered as costs incurred.
    • Costs incurred should be paid before the submission of the final reports. They may be paid afterwards, provided they are listed in the final report together with the estimated date of payment.
    • An exception is made for costs relating to final reports, including expenditure verification, audit and final evaluation of the project, which may be incurred after the implementation period of the project.
  2. They are indicated in the estimated overall budget for the proposal.
  3. They are identifiable and verifiable; being recorded in the accounting records of the Requesting organisation (s) and determined according to the accounting standards cost accounting practices applicable to the Requesting organisation (s).
  4. They comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation.
  5. They are reasonable, justifiable, and comply with the requirements of sound financial management, especially in terms of effectiveness (meeting the objectives of the proposed project) and efficiency (no wasted resources).

Eligible Direct Costs

The following direct costs of the Requesting Organisation(s) shall be eligible:

  1. The cost of staff assigned to the project, corresponding to actual gross salaries including social security charges and other remuneration-related costs (excluding performance based bonuses); salaries and costs shall not exceed those normally borne by the Requesting Organisation(s), unless it is justified by showing that it is essential to carry out the project.
  2. Travel and subsistence costs for staff and other persons taking part in the project, provided they do not exceed those normally borne by the Requesting Organisation(s) according to its rules and regulations. In addition, the rates published by the European Commission at the time of contract signature may never be exceeded.
  3. Purchase costs for equipment (new or used) and supplies specifically for the purposes of the project, provided that ownership is transferred at the end of the project to the final beneficiaries of the Project, at the latest when submitting the final report. If there are no final beneficiaries of the project to whom the equipment, and supplies can be transferred, the Requesting Organisation(s) may transfer these items to:
    • local authorities
    • local beneficiary(-ies)
    • local affiliated entity(-ies)
    • another project funded by the European Union
    • or, exceptionally, retain ownership of these items. In such cases, the Requesting Organisation(s) shall submit a justified written request for authorisation to the Contracting Authority, with an inventory listing the items concerned and a proposal concerning their use, in due time and at the latest with the submission of the final report.

In no event may the end use jeopardise the sustainability of the Project or result in a profit for the Requesting Organisation(s).

4. Depreciation, rental or leasing costs of equipment (new or used) and supplies specially needed for the actions of the project,

5. Rental costs related to project office, when the project office is foreseen, duly justified, and described in the description of the action and in the special conditions,

6. Costs of consumables

7. Costs deriving directly from the requirements of the Contract (dissemination of information, evaluation specific to the project, audits, translation, reproduction, insurance, etc.) including financial service costs (in particular the cost of transfers and financial guarantees where required according to the Contract)

8. Duties, taxes, and charges, including VAT, paid and not recoverable by the beneficiaries.

Project Evaluation and Selection

1. Screening

Following the closing of the CFP, NUFFIC & EDU SYRIA team will screen and only screen the submitted proposals for conformance with instructions for proposal preparation given above. The team will not accept proposals that are not consistent with these instructions.

2. Evaluation by Experts

Following screening for eligibility, the qualified proposals will then be independently and thoroughly evaluated by Jordanian and European evaluators using the evaluation criteria scoring form.

3. Selection Panel: Awardee Proposals

Evaluations will then be individually studied by a selection panel composed of different sector professionals and chaired by, HE Ms. Haifa Najjar, a Jordanian Senator.

The selection panel will commence its work by selecting proposed projects which will then be funded by the current BAP programme in 2021.

Implementation

Selected proposals will be notified as soon as the selection panel finalises its decision, no later than March 25th, 2021.  An agreement/contract will be signed between the Requesting organisation and NUFFIC to initiate the project and start the first instalment of funding.


Application

Institutions have to apply for the call by downloading the necessary application form and documents from the website (please see documents below) and submitting it online through the link below:

 TO APPLY CLICK HERE 

Incomplete submissions or submissions received after the deadline will not be taken into consideration. 


Required Documents

All applicants must complete the Full Application Form.