Have questions about the competition, the proposal or the budget form? Please consult the following Commonly Asked Questions!

Visit the AEIF Helpdesk for more resources such as sample proposals and budgets and guides to building your own. (You need to log in to view the Helpdesk.)

General AEIF Questions
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How will projects be evaluated?

The State Department’s regional experts and the Office of Alumni Affairs, in consultation with your local U.S. embassy or consulate, will evaluate project proposals and budgets based on: 
  • Relevance of project to selected theme
  • Innovation
  • Feasibility of implementation
  • Degree of alumni involvement
  • Timeliness/relevance of activities
  • Impact of project on defined project beneficiaries
  • Relevant and reasonable budget  

 

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Will having more alumni on my team make my project more competitive?

Not necessarily. In order for your project to be considered for the competition, you must have a total of three alumni on your team. (This number includes the team leader.) As mentioned in the Evaluation section, your project will be evaluated based on merit and how well it addresses the challenge or need you have identified. 
 
Be realistic with the number of people you add to your team. Ask yourself: What will their roles be in implementing the project? Do team members have the time and resources to dedicate to the project? 
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How can I find other alumni to join my team?

For your project to be eligible for consideration, each team must include a minimum of three alumni (this number includes the team leader) who are registered on the International Exchange Alumni website.
 
Search the Alumni Directory on the International Exchange Alumni website or contact the Public Affairs Section at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
 
If you or a team member do not have an account on the IEA website, please visit the Registration page. 
AEIF Proposal Form Questions
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What should I include in my project title?

Create a short, creative title that clearly describes your project. If your project is one of the 2017 AEIF winners, a descriptive title will also help you promote your project. 
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My project addresses more than one theme; which should I choose?

You can only select one project theme. Choose the theme that best describes the primary intent of your project. For definitions of the themes, reference the Definition of Themes in the AEIF Help Desk.  
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Can my project be implemented in multiple countries?

Yes. When filling out the proposal form, you will be prompted to select the primary location where your project will take place. You may add up to five additional countries by selecting Yes to the question on the proposal form, “Are there additional locations where your project will take place?”
 
This year you are required to identify the city/town and the province/state for each country. This will help the reviewers better understand the communities in which you plan to implement your activities. 
 
Note: Projects cannot be implemented in the United States. However, alumni from the United States may participate as team members on projects taking place in other countries.
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What challenge or need should our project address?

AEIF projects should address a challenge, a problem, or a need that your team has identified in your community and that you wish to overcome, solve, or satisfy. You should explain the context of the challenge, the problem, or the need (i.e. what is going on, where it’s happening, who is affected by it, how are they affected, and other relevant information that helps someone unfamiliar with the problem to better understand it). Once you clearly articulate the challenge, the problem, or the need, you must provide an overview of what the project will do to overcome it, solve it, or satisfy it (use the who, what, where, when, and why model—don’t forget to articulate why you’re doing what you propose to do). Possible ways to address these challenges can be awareness campaigns, skills training, advocacy for certain issues, etc. 
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What is an innovative project?

Tell us your approach or solution to the challenge, problem, or need. The approach or solution should be original for your community or local context. Ask yourself, “Has this type of project been previously implemented in this location or with the same beneficiaries and/or partners?” You should consider how the project is different from what others have done. Are the approaches creative or distinctive for your subject matter? The State Department considers any project with uncommon methodology and practices, subject matter, location, audience, and/or results to be innovative.
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How do we describe our project’s potential impact?

Now that you know how you plan to go about implementing your project, tell us what you hope to achieve. What kinds of changes would you like to see as a result of your project’s activities? What measureable results do you anticipate after completion of this project?

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Can you tell us more about the alumni project team leader and members?

The alumni team consists of all alumni members who will support the project.
 
Team Leader: The team leader is the alumna/us who submits the project. All others on a project are called team members. Once a team leader has created a project, he/she must add team member information in the “Add Alumni Team Information” section of the online proposal.
 
Alumni team: By the deadline of March 30, 2017 at noon (Eastern Time U.S.), each team must have a minimum of three [3] members (including the team leader) who are current or former participants of a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program and who are registered on the International Exchange Alumni website. Projects that do not meet this requirement will not be considered.
  • The team leader must be a non-U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens can be team members but they cannot serve as a “team leader” or submit a project.
  • Implementation of project activities must be performed outside the United States.
  • Multi-country alumni cooperation is encouraged where it serves the needs of a project, but is not required.
  • Teams may have non-alumni members (such as local partners, friends, colleagues, volunteers, etc), but these team members will not be included in team’s total members for the purpose of this competition.
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What are the roles and expectations of the alumni team?

Your alumni team must play an integral role in organizing and implementing the project. NGOs or other partner organizations may also play a role; however, projects which are entirely implemented by other organizations will not be considered for this competition.
 
In addition to providing the name, exchange program, and email address of each team member, the Team Leader must indicate the role each member will play in the project, and describe which activities they will be involved in, etc.  
 
Below are possible roles team members can play. You do not have to use these but you must explain how each person will contribute towards the implementation of the project. 
  • Project Implementer: Responsible for implementing a range of project activities, in coordination with the team members
  • Administrative Coordinator: Responsible for providing administrative support for the project
  • Finance/Accounting: Responsible for financial management, accounting, and bookkeeping including fulfilling any financial reporting requirements associated with USG grant funding requirements
  • Media Outreach and Promotion: Responsible for a range of promotional activities and communication about the project, including social media promotion and liaising with the media
  • Technical Support: Responsible for various technical aspects of the project (for example, providing audio/visual support or technical expertise)
  • Advisor: Responsible for advising the team leader and team members on various aspects of project development and/or implementation
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Who are beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries are the primary audience or target group for your project.  People or institutions directly benefitting from or being impacted by your project are beneficiaries. You may have primary, secondary, and tertiary beneficiaries.

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Who are local partners?

While not required, you are encouraged to work with partner organizations, including public and private organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations, etc., when it supports your project goals. Partners could contribute to cost-sharing (funds, donation of venue, or other resources), providing expertise, assisting with promotion of your project, etc. Partners may also include non-alumni individuals (colleagues, friends, family, volunteers, etc).
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What is an implementation plan and timeline?

The implementation plan and timeline should answer the questions “what, when, why, and how?” Your implementation plan should include a timeline for each major step or phase that articulates what project team members will do and what activities will be performed. The implementation plan and timeline must also provide quantitative information about participants and events. Depending on the duration of the project, the timeframe for each step or phase might be week to week, month to month, etc., and should include steps or phases beginning with project preparation and ending with a project impact/outcome evaluation.
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What is a communications plan?

The communications plan should explain how your team will promote your project to the public and beneficiaries. The communications plan should include information about how you will use social media, traditional media, or other forms of communication to share information about your project.
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What are project evaluation methods?

Please explain how your team will know if the project was successful, what impact it had, and what outcome was achieved. Draft an evaluation plan that explains what you plan to measure and what tools or methods you might utilize to measure results. Common evaluation tools include surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, meetings, social media analytics, and metrics. Briefly explain how these results might be shared and with whom.
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How will the impact of your project continue after implementation?

AEIF projects must be completed within one year from the date that a winning team obtains funds. If implementation is successful, how will the project be sustained? In other words, explain how your team plans to continue the impact of this project beyond this initial funding year.
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How do I access the AEIF proposal form?

Note: You can only access the online proposal form beginning on March 2, 2017 starting at 12:00 pm ET (Eastern U.S. time zone). 
 
After the competition begins, visit the main AEIF page and click on the button at the bottom of the “Apply to AEIF 2017” page to access the online form which will be on the FluidReview platform. 
 
Once you’re on the landing page, click on the button “Sign in or Register” and you will be prompted to get started and create a new application.
 
Remember, it’s a good idea to have your proposal drafted on a separate text document so you can easily copy/paste into the online form. The platform does not support Rich Text formats, so bullet points, underline, italics and bold will not be saved. 
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Can I skip sections in the proposal form if I am not ready?

Yes, if you’re not ready to complete a section, you can navigate to different sections of the form by clicking on the blue links at the top of the page (i.e. “Project Implementation” or “Funding and Budget”)
 
Note: If you have some fields filled out on a page, remember to save your work using the "Save and Continue" button to ensure your work is saved. All fields must be completed before submitting your proposal. You will receive an error message if you are missing required fields.
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Can I return to my proposal later if I am not ready to submit?

Yes, you can begin a proposal and return to it later.  To do this you can log back into the International Exchange Alumni site, and click the button “Apply to AEIF 2017.”  You will be redirected to the FluidReview site. Depending on if you’re using the same computer as before, your draft applications will appear, or you will go to the main page and then click on where you can either click on “Sign in or Register” to see your application. There you can click on the application and resume your work.
 
Remember, you must submit your completed application before the deadline of March 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm ET (Eastern U.S. time zone). 
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What can I expect once I have submitted a proposal?

Once you submit a proposal you will receive an email confirmation to the email address associated with your International Exchange Alumni account. 
 
You can download a copy of your submitted project by clicking on the link to your project and selecting “Download Application.” 
 
Once the competition ends on March 30, all eligible proposals will be reviewed. Winners will be announced in July. 
 
Remember, once you submit, you can no longer make changes to your application. If you need to make changes to a proposal that you have submitted, you may “Withdraw” that proposal and create a new one and submit it by the deadline. 
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I'm having trouble with the application form? What do I do?

If you experience technical issues with the application form, for example, the page won’t load, please contact the Fluid Review support team at support@fluidreview.com.
 
If you have questions about the competition for which you have not found an answer in these CAQs (Commonly Asked Questions) or the AEIF Help Desk, you may email AEIF@state.gov
AEIF Budget Form Questions
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How much funding can I request?

Alumni can request from $5,000 to $25,000 in support of their project. All items must be in US Dollars. Budgets of winning projects are subject to approval. (The amount requested may be different than the amount awarded to the team.)
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What costs are allowed in the budget? What costs are not allowed?

All items must be in US Dollars. Budgets of winning projects are subject to approval. (The amount requested may be different than the amount awarded to the team.)
 
AEIF funds can be used to pay for:
  • Intra-regional or in-country transportation
  • Trainer or speaker expenses
  • Reasonable equipment and materials
  • Meals or refreshments that are integral to the overall project goals (i.e. working lunch during a meeting)
  • Communications and publicity materials such as manuals or project advertisements
AEIF funds cannot be used to pay for: (This list is not exhaustive.)
  • Airfare to or from the United States
  • Sustained staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment
  • Excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
  • Academic research
  • Provision of direct social services to a population (e.g. Funding cannot be used to buy books or medicines to give to a community. However, funding can be used to purchase books that will be used in a training or awareness campaign.)
  • Support or opposition of partisan political activity
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Do I need to include a budget?

Yes. You must submit a budget by the deadline of March 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm (noon) ET (Eastern Time U.S.) in order for your project to be eligible for consideration. You may download the budget template and use the example budget as a guide. Please use only this template. Once you have completed the form, please attach it to your proposal form. Remember, you must click the “Submit Your AEIF Application” button by the March 30, 2017 noon ET deadline in order for your project to be considered. 
 
Budget forms must be in English and use US Dollars as the currency.

 

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How do I develop a detailed budget?

Teams must submit a detailed budget form that can be downloaded from the project page. Any item in your detailed budget that is valued at $200 or more must be itemized. Unit cost breakdowns should be provided wherever possible.
 
For example:
  • Correct: $50/person travel from X to Y * 10 people = $500 for travel expenses
  • Incorrect: Travel expenses for $500
  • Correct: $20/hour for trainer for 6 hours a day for 4 days = $480 trainer fee
  • Incorrect: $480 for training fees
Items of related costs should not be lumped together. For example, travel, accommodations, and per diem for a speaker should be three separate line items. 
 
Once you have completed your budget form, you must upload the file to your proposal. For more information, please refer to the “Guide to the AEIF Budget Form” in the AEIF Help Desk
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How do I add more line items?

To add additional rows to your budget form, make sure you have entered items into the available rows in either the AEIF Funds or Cost Share sections. Then, right click on the “subtotal” line and click on “Insert”.  A new row should be inserted where you can add your additional item and cost. The subtotal should automatically adjust to the new amount. 

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