English Access Microscholarship Program Notice of Funding Opportunity – PAS-GUA-FY19: Implementation years 2020-2021

Public Affairs Office(PAS), U.S. Embassy Guatemala City, Guatemala

This notice of funding opportunity seeks proposals for the implementation of the U.S. Department of State’s 2020–2021 (FY19 funds) English Access Microscholarship Program (Access).

English Access microscholarships must provide 600 hours over two years of high quality, American-style, after-school and summer-intensive English classes and enhancement activities for disadvantaged teens at a cost of approximately $1400 per student. Each class will have 16 students with scholarships funded by Access. Providers are expected to cost-share by funding at least 1-2 students per class.

Access Program participants must be highly motivated, economically disadvantaged 14 to 16-year-old students currently enrolled in public or private schools with average grades or better.  The participant selection process must be transparent and competitive and must aim for gender parity and ethnic or racial diversity that reflects the local population.

To compete for the Access grant, local and international non-governmental organizations and educational institutions (Providers) need to submit Round 1 proposals to the Public Affairs office by April 30, 2019 using the FY18 Access Proposal template.

If interested to apply please email Rodrigo Martinez (MartinezR4@state.gov) or Luisa Viau (ViauL@state.gov) in order to receive the Round 1 proposal template form, the proposed locations, and the Access Handbook.

Round 2 will be by invitation only, selected from Round 1 submissions. Round 2 proposals will be on the FY19 Access Proposal Template (which will be provided to those invited to apply). Round 2 proposals should be submitted electronically to Rodrigo Martinez (MartinezR4@state.gov) or Luisa Viau (ViauL@state.gov) by May 30, 2019.

Providers whose proposals are selected in Round 2 will be notified of which locations and how many classes they will serve.  They will be asked to modify their proposals based on that information.  Final proposals should be submitted electronically to Rodrigo Martinez (MartinezR4@state.gov) or Luisa Viau (ViauL@state.gov) by June 30, 2019.


Access is a learner-centered program that provides bright, but disadvantaged youth with an opportunity to learn English, develop civic engagement and leadership skills, and gain multicultural awareness through teaching the basics of American culture and values. The program benefits an equal number of teenaged males and females from underprivileged families through after-school instruction and intensive sessions.  Access equips participants with skills that can 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. The Access Program has provided scholarships to over 180,000 students in 86 countries since its inception in 2004.

The Regional English Language Office (RELO) and Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala have hosted Access Programs since 2010, and more than 4,000 students across the country have received scholarships. The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Office in Guatemala City oversees the program, which is implemented by local partners.

Program Description

Access classes should be no larger than 20 students and gender balanced.  Teachers should create a 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 and work on authentic local and global challenges. The Access program in Guatemala has developed a standardized curriculum and methodology handbook, which Providers and teachers must implement.

Qualified Access alumni and/or U.S. exchange program alumni will have priority to be hired as assistant coordinators, head teachers and assistant teachers.  Enhancement activities and intensive sessions should help extend the language learning experience beyond the classroom walls.

Participants’ parents should also be made aware of what and how the students are learning, and appraised of what can be done at home to encourage further learning. End of trimester parent meetings must be held following the guidelines in the Guatemala English Language Programs methodology handbook, provided by PAS.

  • After-School Instruction (mandatory)

Access is a two-year program that requires 600 hours of instruction for each cohort reasonably distributed over the two-year period.  Classes should meet at least three per week, and last from 1.5 to 3 hours.  It is the responsibility of the Providers to consider the schedule of the students to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school schedule.

  • Enhancement Activities (mandatory)

Enhancement activities must occur regularly throughout the two years of the program, usually during After-School Instruction, and are part of the 600 hours. These English-language activities should provide opportunities for students to use the target language in discussions, debates, U.S. holiday celebrations, skits, community service activities, etc. Consider inviting U.S. Embassy personnel, U.S. English Language Fellows, Fulbright exchange participants and/or Peace Corps volunteers to do something with your class.

Access students should also be involved in community service activities to increase their awareness of issues facing their respective communities while also gaining an understanding of the ways they can positively contribute to civil society. Some possibilities include volunteering at a nearby senior citizens home, tutoring primary school students in English, and organizing the cleaning of a nearby park or forest.

  •  Technology Component (encouraged)

Access programs are strongly encouraged to include technology instruction in English, utilizing existing computer facilities rather than expending significant grant funding to purchase equipment.

  • Intensive Sessions (mandatory)

Intensive sessions are an English immersion experience having more instruction hours per week than the after-school program, and are usually held after the Guatemalan school year finishes in November.  These sessions are included in the 600 hours of required instruction. Hours of instruction during intensive sessions may not exceed 5 hours per day or 35 hours per week.

Intensive sessions should combine English language instruction with U.S. cultural activities such as drama, computers, art, music, or games and sports, or civic responsibility projects, leadership and teamwork training, or tolerance programs. The most successful immersion experiences are those run primarily by the Provider itself, with outside individuals included as needed to support the Access teachers.  It is also possible to work with the U.S. Embassy to recruit the support of an English Language Fellow or Specialist, as well as alumni of other U.S. Embassy programs, including the Access program itself.  Access alumni in particular have been very supportive of such efforts and are often keen to “pay back” to the program by helping with such immersion programs.

Provider Roles and Responsibilities

 Eligibility Requirements:

Proposals may be submitted by Guatemalan or U.S. based legally-registered organizations.  To be competitive, the organization should be engaged in education projects.  The organization should have the services of a qualified accountant and be able to open a separate bank account for receiving Access grant funds.  The organization must be able to communicate in English.  All program documents and reports are in English.

Number of Providers:

The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to split the project among multiple Providers.

 Program Implementation Location:

The proposal should cover the sites where the Provider is confident it can deliver a safe space, with a qualified administrative and teaching staff, over the duration of the program.  A clean and safe space for classes is non-negotiable.  The space must have seating for 20 students.  It must also have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, and nearby bathrooms. The space should also have internet capability (or the Provider should supply this).  Providers are encouraged to seek additional spaces on the premises that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

The Provider must select underprivileged communities in the cities included on the list provided by PAS. The Provider should prepare a representative budget for one class in each city that they can serve.

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 Provider or a written agreement with the holder of the space.

Program Calendar:

The start date of the program will depend largely on the length of the time needed to finalize the Agreement, and on the student selection process.  The whole program should last no longer than 24 months.  Once the program calendar is finalized, joint opening and graduation ceremony dates will be coordinated with the Public Affairs office so that Embassy officials can participate. Preferred timeline is as follows: October 2019 start of agreement (planning, recruiting, hiring, preparing materials and facilities); February 2020 classes start; November 2021 classes end.


The budget per student should be at a cost of approximately $1400 per student. Each class will have 16 students with scholarships funded by Access. Providers must cost share to include at least 1-2 more students in each class. This includes facility and administrative costs, tuition, materials, transportation if needed, enhancement activities, community service activities, and costs for the opening ceremony and graduation ceremony at the site.

Head Teachers must be paid Q70 to Q100 per hour after taxes, and assistant teachers Q35 to Q50 per hour after taxes. Salaries must be competitive with high-quality private schools, and be given a year contract at least.


All Access Program documents, applications, banners, t-shirts, publications, etc. must feature the U.S. Embassy logo, and it must be the most prominent if displayed with other logos.  Access is written as a word, not as an acronym.

Teacher Selection:

The Provider is responsible for identifying and if necessary, recruiting highly competent Access teachers. Access alumni who have taken the Teacher Assistant Course (TAC) and the SIT-Best Practices will have priority to be hired. Public Affairs representatives will often be involved in teacher selection.

Access head teachers must have at least the Teacher Assistant Course (TAC) and the SIT-Best Practices and be comfortable and fluent in English with proof of at least B2 proficiency in the Common European Framework (or reasonable equivalents).  They should have progressive views about methodology, employing interactive, learning-centered approaches that focus on tasks and projects.  They should have experience teaching teens. First-hand experience with American culture is a plus.  Similarly, experience in designing and carrying out community service is desirable.

Teacher salaries must be at least the range designated in the budget section of this document.

Student Selection:

The Provider is responsible for demonstrating that students enrolled in the program fit the target audience:

  • Are economically-disadvantaged youth (demonstrated by documents such as an electric bill)
  • Have at least average grades (demonstrated by official school transcript from previous year)
  • Are motivated to learn English and help their communities (demonstrated in an application and interview)
  • Are between 14 and 16 years old at time of recruitment

Graduates of a PAS-funded English program, Basic English for Access Recruitment (BEAR), will have a priority over other candidates for selection as Access participants.

Families members of Providers, administrative or teaching staff are not eligible.

The scholarship must be announced widely in the target community (e.g. newspaper, radio, other local media, posters in schools). Providers should create awareness about the Access program with local principals and teachers.

Providers must use an application process and shortlist those students who will receive interviews.  Both should be in Spanish.

Public Affairs representatives will check on the selection process to ensure it is transparent and selecting the right students.

The Provider will select 1-2 alternate students who participate in Access to ensure that there are always at least 16 students funded by Access scholarships.


Additional Requirements:

  1. The Provider is responsible for printing student certificates for the opening ceremony using a template provided by Public Affairs.
  2. The Provider, in agreement with the other providers in the country, will ensure that students are given the same proficiency test at the beginning and end of the program to show overall progress in English.
  3. The Provider is required to produce frequent program and financial reports in a predetermined format (usually quarterly), accompanied by receipts.
  4. The Provider must monitor and report students’ attendance and performance and take steps to help any students who fall below the minimum passing grade and minimum attendance of 70%.
  5. The Provider will maintain a student database with contact information to be given to the PAS office at the end of the program.
  6. The Provider should be willing and able to collaborate and coordinate with PAS, other Providers, and the alumni association. Examples include but are not limited to continuous development of the standardized curriculum, sharing best practices and administrative processes and organizing special events such as camps.
  7. The Provider should keep accurate student and alumni records and make an effort to keep alumni engaged.