Request for Application #2019-020

Digital Financial Services on Health Outcomes and Health Systems

Concept Note

In the first four weeks, applicants must upload concept notes to the OAP platform and copy the following sections into the platform:


ii.Executive Summary

Describe in one paragraph, for a nontechnical audience, the context under which this application or work plan is being submitted to Digital Square and the expected outcomes. Answer the following questions: What will this investment from Digital Square specifically go toward? What is/are the goal(s) of the project? How will the goal(s) be achieved? How will your organization’s expertise contribute to achieving the project goal(s)?

iii.Consortium Team

This RFA encourages partnering; in particular, it encourages partnerships between global health organizations and digital financial service organizations. 

Describe in two to three paragraphs the composition of your proposed team. In the first paragraph of this section, describe the prime organization, including the skill sets of the organization relative to the project and how the organization will lead/manage the work. In the second paragraph, identify supporting organizations, including for each one the technical capabilities aligned with the application activities, a profile of its relevant qualifications, and how its capabilities will augment the prime organization.

If you are looking for partners or collaborating organizations, indicate the type of support needed and put the text in bold font so that it stands out.

iv.Project Description

Describe the project idea in further detail. If you have phases or objective areas in your project, outline those in the project description. Subsections within the project description should include:

1. Problem statement

Put the project/work within the larger context. Detail relevant background information necessary for a third party to understand. Where is the work taking place?  What is the current phase/stage of project?  Is this an ongoing or discrete project?

2. Approach

What is the technical approach or anticipated activities to address the problem statement and anticipated outcomes? Provide a short description of monitoring and evaluation approach, techniques, and/or process.

3. Risk Mitigation

Are there potential obstacles or risks? What is the mitigation strategy and/or plan to overcome them?

Applicants may update the OAP fields throughout the application process, as needed, with the exception of the periods during review at which time the platform is closed to editing, although open for commenting. Please review section “9. Application Submission Process and Timeframes” for details.

Concept notes that are aligned with funding round objectives will be invited to submit a full application. Currently, up to USD $170,000 of funding has been identified from which up to two subawards are expected to be made.

Full Application Requirements - Technical

Following the concept note phase, notified applicants, using feedback received in the concept note phase, will begin preliminary application development.

The preliminary application should contain technical components outlined in Required Elements below. During the application finalization step, following the application co-creation and comment period, the full application package must include a detailed budget and budget narrative (see section 6. Full Application Requirements - Cost).

During the preliminary application co-creation step, applicants and other stakeholders can provide feedback, comments, and suggestions beginning the day of application posting. Applicants must post a technical application iteration within the first two weeks of the preliminary application co-creation step. If the first version of a preliminary technical application is submitted after the due date, it will not be reviewed and will therefore be ineligible for funding.

Applicants may continue to post technical application iterations on the forum until the preliminary application comment period begins. Please indicate updates by saving the file with a version number at the end of the file name or date (e.g., “ApplicationTitle_v1”). As necessary, please revise the title, executive summary, and consortium team on the OAP platform page.

Required Elements

The technical application must be written clearly and define all work, deliverables, and timelines of performance to eliminate ambiguity. Any acronyms used should be spelled out and technical jargon should be minimized in favor of commonly understood terms. To be eligible for funding through RFA #2019-020 during the application phase, applicants must expand their concept note to include the following additional subsections.

● High-level budget summary

During the application finalization step, include the total requested value.

● Objectives and activities

Detail all objectives so that even someone unfamiliar with the project can understand what is expected of all parties involved. Define the activities of the project/assigned work (i.e., things that will be knowable and measurable at subaward end) and activities undertaken to meet the objectives.

● Schedule

Using the Objectives and Activities outlined above, estimate month(s)/quarter(s) for the task(s) and list the entity responsible (if a consortium member will support the task).  Indicate month/quarter for designated activities with no end product (meetings, phone calls).

● Deliverables

 What is the anticipated timeline to meet deliverables?

Full Application Requirements - Cost

Digital Square is only requesting detailed financial information during the application finalization phase following the preliminary application comment period. The budget should clearly outline the costs of the proposed project. All costs must be submitted in United States dollars (USD).

In the application finalization phase, please bear in mind that the technical application and cost application are complementary documents. The programmatic relevance of elements of cost such as level of effort (LOE), equipment, travel, and subawards or consultants, which should include consortium members, must be demonstrated by the scope of work (SOW).

Required Elements

To be eligible for funding, applicants must complete a cost application consisting of two elements: a detailed budget and a budget narrative. Templates are not required, but examples are linked below. A cost application includes:

  1. Detailed budget for the total period of performance, submitted in an unlocked Excel file and including the following information:
    1. Personnel; at minimum the budget should detail:
      1. All proposed staff/positions with rates.
      2. Total number of days in total level of effort according to key staff.
    2. Itemization of all other costs (e.g., agency costs, service tax, administrative costs, supplies, etc.).
    3. Estimated schedule of other anticipated expenses (travel, supplies, etc.).
    4. Details of all subawarded work; this includes proposed consultants as well as proposed subawardees, including consortium members.
  2. Budget narrative detailing the cost and cost basis applied in generating the application. The budget narrative shall explain in a detailed but concise manner the assumptions made to arrive at each cost.

The cost application shall begin with a summary budget detailing costs. All budgets should be organized based on types of costs as set forth in the table below.


Total Cost (USD)

Personnel (Salaries & Wages)


Fringe Benefits








Other Direct Costs






Total Direct Costs


Indirect Costs


Total Project Costs


All mathematical calculations must be presented clearly in the budget spreadsheet, provided in the worksheet. Note that although the template is designed for a five-year grant, your project may be shorter. You should modify your budget depending on your proposed start and end dates. The spreadsheet also contains broad cost categories and some of them may not be applicable to all organizations or your project. Only fill out those categories that apply to your specific proposed project.

Digital Square will evaluate the quoted prices and hourly rates. No analysis will be performed on quotes determined as nonresponsive or if the technical quote is determined to be technically unacceptable. The price/business evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the quoted utility-based solution and proposed labor categories, their rates, and evaluation matrix. Digital Square will conduct an analysis to determine whether all quoted prices are reasonable. This evaluation is conducted with the expectation of adequate price competition and will rely heavily on market forces to determine whether proposed prices are fair and reasonable. The comparison of proposed prices in response to this solicitation is the preferred and intended price analysis technique.

Digital Square will also compare the proposed prices to historical prices paid for the same or similar services and the independent government cost estimate. Other techniques and procedures may be used to ensure quoted prices are fair and reasonable. A cost realism analysis will be performed to determine whether the quoted LOE is realistic for the work to be performed, reflects a clear understanding of the requirements, and is consistent with the unique methods of performance set forth in the applicant’s technical quote.

Click here to access RFA #2019-020 Digital Financial Services on Health Outcomes and Health Systems.