Funding Opportunity: Brazil: Design and Implementation of An English Access Microscholarship Program For Teens, 2019-2021

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July 26, 2019 


Announcement Type:  Cooperative Agreement with funds from the U.S. Cooperating Agency for Global Access Programs, FHI360

Funding Amount: Up to $2,000/participant

Deadline for Applications: Open until September 1, 2019

Program: English Access Microscholarship Program for Teens

Project Location(s): São Luís, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo

Program Office: Regional English Language Office, U.S. Embassy Brasilia, Brazil



The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) is a learner-centered program that provides a foundation of English language skills to participants from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions. Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Originally conceived for teenagers from non-elite communities, the Access Program has provided scholarships to over 188,000 students in 89 countries since its inception in 2004.

The Regional English Language Office (RELO) and Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil have hosted Access Programs since 2008, and more than 2,500 students have received scholarships. Currently in Brazil, there are 10 Access Program sites. The Regional English Language Office (RELO) of the U.S. Embassy in Brasília oversees these programs, which are implemented by local partners.

This notice of funding opportunity seeks proposals for the creation and implementation of a two-year Access Program for students ages 13-20.

Program description:

The U.S. Embassy in Brasília requests proposals from non-profit and/or educational organizations with English language teaching program capacity to create and implement one or more English Access Microscholarship Programs (Access 2020 – 2021) for Brazilian non-elite public school students.

The goal of the program is to equip bright, talented, economically deserving high school students with a range of global citizenship skills anchored by the core components of enhanced English language skills and a stronger Brazil-U.S. cross-cultural understanding.  The global citizenship skills aim to build individuals with stronger self-esteem and a keen sense of public service in an increasingly globalized world.  Global citizenship skills include, but are not limited to, critical and creative thinking, leadership, information technology, civic outreach, and media literacy.

The English language component should break from traditional models to deliver a more meaningful, interactive language learning experience centered on the learner.  Project-based and task-based approaches should be employed in order to help the learner use English to understand, discuss, and resolve authentic local and global challenges.  Enhancement and off-site immersion activities should help extend the language learning experience beyond the classroom walls.

Selected students must be ages 13-25 at the beginning of the program. The Provider must narrow that age range so that classes can be organized with age and proficiency levels that are somewhat homogenous. Most students will have little or no English at the beginning of the Access Program. Providers should present a rationale for the age range targeted in the proposal. Students should be recruited from a specific geographic area with a commute to the learning site that is no more than 45 minutes. Providers should also plan carefully and present this information in their proposals as well.

The main structure of the program must include the following:

After-school/weekend instruction

The Access Program must deliver a minimum of 360 hours of instruction including intensive sessions over a 2-year period.  The core component of the program should be in-class meetings organized to maximize attendance and provide regular, ongoing English practice, ideally more than once a week, and as often as four times per week.  Programs typically begin in February/March of any given year and will finish by December of the second year.  It is the responsibility of the Provider to consider the schedule of the students, especially during the initial recruitment phase, to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school.

Enhancement activities

Enhancement activities aimed at fostering Brazil-U.S. cross-cultural understanding, as well as at developing other key global citizenship skills, are strongly encouraged throughout the program. These activities should be seen as an opportunity for educators and students to be creative and to extend the learning experience beyond the classroom walls.  Trips to museums, workplaces, theaters, etc. are encouraged.  Other possibilities include civic outreach activities such as volunteering at a nearby senior citizens home, tutoring primary school students in English, organizing environmental campaigns and planting trees.  In-school activity possibilities include filming role-plays, hosting a visiting English Language Fellow or Specialist, maker activities, creating a web page in the computer lab, creating a program newspaper, celebrating U.S. holidays, or running a model United Nations activity.

Guest speakers that complement in-class learning are also encouraged.  U.S. English Language Fellows, English Language Specialists, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants who are visiting or living in or near the city hosting the Access site are excellent options.  Taking advantage of other speakers in the community such as Access alumni, Fulbright alumni, key civic leaders, U.S. Embassy and Consulate visitors, local businesspeople, and community leaders, are motivating ways to highlight the community and provide additional learning opportunities.  Sites should approach the selection of such speakers creatively and carefully incorporate English practice and learning goals into the encounters.

Providers should organize at least one enhancement-type activity per quarter. The hours used for such activities will be counted as part of the total number of hours of instruction.  Providers can budget for transportation or materials for such activities and must submit timely highlights (see “functional requirements” below); the most successful enhancement activities will be shared with other providers and the wider Embassy and State Department communities.

Off-site immersion sessions

The Access Program should include at least two immersion sessions lasting between two and five days. At least one immersion session must be off-site and overnight to provide an American summer camp-like experience. Such sessions can occur on weekends, at the end of the regular school year, or during school vacations.  Hours from off-site immersions– no more than eight per day – are counted toward the total number of hours of instruction.  The aim of these immersion sessions is to provide students with time to fully experience an English-medium environment outside of the classroom for a sustained period of time.  A typical day should consist of a variety of team-building, challenge-solving, and creative activities that allow the students to gain confidence in English and to consolidate the global citizenship skills that they have been learning during the entire program. The provider is encouraged to be creative in planning and budgeting for these sessions. Funds for transportation, accommodation, and food during immersion sessions should be present in the budget.  We encourage creativity (and fun) in approaching immersion sessions, and it is also possible to work with the RELO office to include English Language Fellows, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, or alumni of other U.S. Embassy programs, including the Access program itself.

Community outreach

The Access Program site should serve as a model classroom.  Providers should reach into the community to universities, schools, and other English teachers, as well as governmental bodies and secretariats, teachers of other subjects, administrators, English Language Fellows, alumni, etc. in the Access experience, where appropriate.  Successful examples  include holding a workshop for the community (parents at schools where the teachers work or students come from, or even open sessions at universities) addressing how to support learning a foreign language, organizing a workshop for future teachers at a nearby English language teaching department or for current teachers at the schools from which Access students have been recruited, conducting a meeting for administrators to better understand how to create stronger foreign language programs in their own schools, or organizing community service opportunities to tutor public schools students in English.


Providers must establish a system for monitoring and evaluating the progress of Access students.  This must include administering a placement test (initial) at the beginning of the Access Program and the same test at the end of the Access Program (exit) to track the progress of the student’s language acquisition based on a scale of 0-100 points.

In-country educational service provider: roles and responsibilities

Proposal eligibility requirements:

Proposals may be submitted by Brazilian or U.S.-based non-profit or educational organizations who can receive international wire transfers from our U.S.-based Cooperating Agency FHI360.

Number of providers:

The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to split the project between two or more providers based on location and capacity to administer the program.

Program implementation location:

The U.S. Embassy is soliciting proposals from the cities of São Luís, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.  The proposal should cover the sites where the Provider is confident it can deliver a safe space with a qualified administrative and teaching staff selected upon final approval of the RELO office, over the duration of the program.  Each site should propose hosting one or more classes of 15-20 students per class.

Program calendar:

The start date of the program will depend largely on the length of the negotiation, contract finalization, and student selection phases.  The program could begin as early as February 2020 or as late as April 2020.  The program is to last no longer than 24 months, but it could be as short as 15 months.  Providers must prepare themselves to be as flexible as possible with regard to start dates due to issues that may occur before an agreement is signed and during student recruitment.

Technical and infrastructure requirements:

The provider must specify the location(s) of the Access Program and space that will be used for the classes and activities. The provider must either provide verification that the space belongs to the grantee or a written agreement with the holder of the space. The space must have seating for at least 20 students; it must have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, air conditioning, and sanitary requisites. The space should also have a computer access with internet capability.  Providers are also encouraged to share any other unique learning spaces on the premises that are accessible to the program and that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

Providers must have capacity to receive an international write transfer from our U.S.-based Cooperating Agency, FHI360.

Functional requirements:

  1. The provider is responsible for setting criteria for and identifying “economically disadvantaged participants” to be enrolled in the program in collaboration with the RELO office. Final program participant selection to be made by the RELO office or a U.S. Embassy or Consulate representative.
  2. The provider is responsible for creating a highly effective and innovative method for identifying and recruiting highly competent Access teachers. Potential Access instructors identified by the provider will be interviewed by the RELO officer.
  3. The provider is required to produce frequent reports (usually quarterly) and substantial final financial and performance reports. The provider should monitor students’ attendance and performance.
  4. The provider will submit monthly 1-3 paragraph highlights, with photos, based on criteria to be provided at a later date, for an internal U.S. Embassy and Department of State audience.
  5. Maintain records on graduates that will be added to the U.S. Embassy’s Alumni database in order to include in follow-on programming.

Assumptions and agreements:

The Provider should craft a proposal that can serve two or more groups of 15-20 students per site, depending on the Provider’s capability, infrastructure, and geographic spread.  The budget per student should be no higher than $2,000.  The Embassy recommends that the interested Provider find creative ways of extending the quality and quantity of the students’ learning experience for this amount as opposed to compete based on a lower cost per student.  All possible costs for participants – including tuition (overhead, teachers’ salaries, administration), materials, enhancement activities, off-site immersion sessions, and, where relevant, transportation for the students – should be covered.

The Provider’s instructors for this program should have a minimum of three years of teaching full-time in any institution.  The instructors should be comfortable and fluent in English, with at least a C1 (CEFR) level, and have some cross-cultural experience, preferably with U.S. culture (familiarity with the culture is stressed over actually having visited the U.S.).  The instructors should have progressive views about methodology, employing learning-centered approaches that focus on tasks and projects that lead to interactive classes.  The instructor should be adept at integrating modern technology into the classroom, and at creating a linguistic risk-taking atmosphere that allows students to learn in a comfortable and fostering environment.  We encourage the selection of instructors among U.S. Embassy professional development program alumni of FLTA, E-teacher, PSTDP, BRITE and others.

The Provider’s staff involved in the program, including instructors and coordinators, must be available to participate in a mandatory training offered by the RELO Brazil office in February.

We recommend coordination with local stakeholders of English teaching in planning the program. Outreach done in the proposal stage should include local universities, municipal and state secretaries of education to encourage successful recruitment of teachers and participants and potential credit or recognition for their participation from Secretariats of Education.

Submission information:

Potential providers should send an email to requesting a proposal template. Completed proposals should be submitted to the Regional English Language Office, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Brasilia electronically to RELOBrazil@state.govThe deadline for submission is midnight, September 1, 2019.

Basis for award:

The grantee should be an established non-profit institution or a non-governmental organization (NGO) with at least 3 years of experience in administering educational programs and/or teaching English, preferably to the target age group. The grantee must have access to an established core of English instructors willing to commit their time to this project. The grantee must identify the location(s) and venue(s) that will be used for this program (verified with a document/preliminary agreement) and will be responsible for recruiting students and, in consultation with the Regional English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy, developing the curriculum. Organizations with previous experience and a capacity of working with educational institutions on a national level will be given priority.

Deadline for receipt of questions:  August 18, 2019

All questions will be answered via DVC or Zoom call o/a August 21, 2019 (please make sure to submit your questions by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on August 18, so that the Regional English Language Office can be prepared to answer questions accordingly).

Additional information:

For additional information or clarification, please contact the Regional English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section by writing to