Q&A DIETS Programme Tender

Questions from 27 October 2021 until 15 January 2022. Please note: some answers have been updated.  

One of the appendices of the tender documents does not provide the specified format. Can you send the appendices by email?

We have changed the uploaded documents in appendices 1 (application form) and 2 (budget model) in an open standard format to make them accessible and ready to use. We do not send appendices by email to individual interested parties in order to provide everyone with the same information.

Are national public universities in the selected countries eligible to link up with a Dutch knowledge institute to apply for this grant?

Paragraph 3.1 on page 9 (specifically the first bullet) in the Grant Policy Framework explains which organisations are eligible to apply under this grant.

Can organization operational in one of the selected countries and interested to become a local implementing partner be provided with introductions to potential consortium members from The Netherlands or elsewhere?

With a view to the level playing field of the DIETS grant tender, it is the responsibility of interested organisations themselves to search for viable/potential consortium members.

Are UN agencies eligible to apply/lead an application for the DIETS grant?

UN agencies are not eligible to apply/lead an application for the DIETS grant. UN agencies can, however, engage as implementing partners of a consortium that applies for the grant under the DIETS programme.

Are NGO’s operating in or outside one of the selected countries eligible to apply/lead an application for the DIETS grant?

Paragraph 3.1 on page 9 (specifically the first bullet) in the Grant Policy Framework explains which organisations are eligible to apply under this grant. Whether organisations are based in or outside the selected countries doesn’t influence their eligibility to apply.  

Could the deadline for submitting the grant application be postponed with one or two months?

No, the deadline for submitting the grant application will not be postponed. In deciding Firstly, we genuinely think that even with interference of Christmas holidays, a consortium should be able to compile an application within 3 months. Secondly, we really want to decide on the grant application within the first half of 2022. 

Can an International Research Center form a consortium to apply for the DIETS grant if that Center was initially established as a Not for Profit Organisation, and its International Legal Personality was bestowed after by Treaty?

Private legal persons as described in paragraph 3.1 on page 9  in the Grant Policy Framework are eligible to apply under this grant. Organisations established by treaty are not eligible for a grant; possible financial contributions to these kind of organisations are awarded via arrangements. This ineligibility for a DIETS grant concerns both eligibility as lead partner as well as co-applicant.

What is the position of the Ministry regarding Ethiopia, due to recent developments in the country? Will this country still be included as target country in the DIETS call?

For the time being, the Ministry is not allowing financial transfers to public institutions in Ethiopia. The country is still included as target country in the DIETS programme.

In the list of indicators provided, reference is made to male/female/young people. Could the Ministry define which age categories fall under ‘young people’?

The Ministry regards all people with an age of less than 35 years as being part of the category ‘young people’.

Contingency is mentioned as 2.5% of subtotal (=direct costs plus indirect costs) – is this on top of the 60 million, or should this be included in the 60 million?

Contingency is part of the 60 million.

Can the Ministry provide more guidance as to how they would like the Consortium to calculate the nutrition-related expenditure by year?

As mentioned in chapters 1 and 2 of the grant policy framework for the DIETS programme, the Ministry regards the range of nutrition-related policies as being wide, including social protection, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, healthcare, the environment and energy. The budget per year has to be related to the activities foreseen for that year; please refer to the model budget.

Can the Ministry please explain how to deal with attribution regarding the outcomes/outputs? For example the number of people with improved nutritional outcomes. If our consortium is strengthening implementation of government policies, what counts as direct vs indirect beneficiaries?

The Ministry normally uses the NL financial contribution to a larger program on a pro rata basis. As an example: if a programme that costs 100 to which NL contributes 20 results in 1000 people reached, we report that, as a result of the NL contribution, 200 people have been reached. The reach is direct if (1) the what or whom that is reached is individually known and identifiable by the programme implementer, (2) the reach is intended and planned, and ((3), the reach should in principle lead to an effect/outcome further on in the result chain that will at some point be measured by the implementer. The Ministry considers reach as indirect if an anonymous/amorphous group is reached, if the reach is unintended or random and/or the reach is a light one-off intervention without follow up.

Does the programme have to be implemented in rural as well as urban areas? And does the Ministry allow for programming in refugee settlements?

It is not specified upfront where the programme has to be implemented. What matters is the justification and reasoning which focus groups/areas can best be targeted by implementation of country-specific policies. The DIETS programme is meant to yield structural outcome results and is not financed from a humanitarian budget. Programming in refugee settlements should take this into consideration.

Is it allowed to include the track records of our field offices which are, just as we are, part of our international federation?

For criteria regarding track records: this concerns track records of the legal entities participating in the consortium on behalf of which a lead applicants submits an application. Track records of field offices that are part of these legal entities can be taken into account.

Is the 10% of the total budget going to the knowledge institute also meant for in-country expenditure?

The rules laid down in chapter 3.4 for knowledge institutions are valid for the entire grant, including the planned in-country expenditures. Please bear in mind that the 10% included in chapter 3.4 of the policy framework concerns an illustrative percentage to clarify the division of cost sharing between knowledge institutes and the other consortium partners.

In Criterion D.11 - Distribution of fund expenditure; Can the Ministry explain what is the meaning of “spent in each of the countries”?

b. At least 10% of the total grant amount requested must be spent in each of the countries referred to in D.11.a. No more than 10% of the total grant amount requested may be spent on activities that cannot be attributed to any separate country.

With this remark the Ministry indicates that in all 6 target countries activities must be executed with a value of at least EUR 6 million (i.e. 10% of the total grant available) per country.

Can the Ministry clarify what is meant with the remark in the Grant Rules that knowledge institutes may claim staff costs on the basis of a comprehensive costing system or rates agreed with the national authorities? What does the comprehensive costing system refers to? How should the “comprehensive costing system” be documented or is it sufficient to provide an explanation of the fee build-up that shows the knowledge institute is not making a profit? Are rates under other projects with MoFA regarded as agreed with national authorities?

The comprehensive costing system referred to is organisation-specific and may only be used by organizations with existing agreements on this costing system with the Dutch government. Rates agreed with national authorities refer to agreements with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (MoECS) or rates agreed upon as part of an agreement on Coordination Related Management (CRM) with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs (MoFA). In case knowledge institutions do not have an agreed comprehensive costing system, agreed rates with the MoECS or agreed rates as part of a CRM with MoFa, they are obliged to use the standard budget model. 

Can the Ministry please provide more detailed information about strategy 1 as mentioned in the tender on page 2. (Strategy (1) strengthening current market-oriented efforts focused on food value chains in a way that leads to year-round access to and consumption of healthy diets by millions of ‘bottom of the pyramid’ consumers).

In November 2021, the Ministry decided that Strategy 1 will be implemented from 1 January 2022 till 31 December 2026 by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). You can find here a summary of the GAIN proposal

For Criterion D.7, the consortium is requested to show that its nutrition-related expenditure amounts up to 20 million EUR a year. The Application form states: ‘The lead party must demonstrate this on the basis of the consortium’s expenditure over the years 2018 to 2020, as disclosed in the annual accounts for those years.’ Many organisations have audited annual accounts, but the annual counts do not specify/disclose EXPLICITLY ‘nutrition-related expenditure’, but broader descriptions such as ‘agriculture’ (which is largely related to the objective of the call). What are other methods to indicate (estimated) amounts of nutrition-related expenditure?

The to-be-presented audited annual accounts should show expenditures on projects/programmes that have names/titles/objectives that make it convincingly clear that the focus of these projects/programmes is on combating malnutrition. This includes nutrition-specific interventions and nutrition-sensitive interventions in which expenditures on agriculture, education, energy, healthcare, social protection , environment etc. explicitly contribute to improved nutrition for vulnerable people.

Can the Ministry explain if VAT applies to the project costs? In the tender document the total sum of 60 million including VAT, which is somewhat confusing. Will the DIETS project be seen as a "project under the framework of development cooperation" and also mentioned as such in the final Grant?

In all cases, grants are provided on the basis of actually incurred costs. If a grant recipient is subject to tax and can settle this tax, no costs are actually incurred and are therefore not eligible for funding by DMoFA. Organizations that are not able to settle tax (because, for example, they are not subject to tax), may (partially) enter VAT in the budget. The same applies to VAT which the grant recipient has to pay and – even if he is liable for tax – cannot settle either. In this situation, the actual VAT amounts paid are considered to be eligible for funding and may therefore be included in the budget. The exclusion of sales tax from the eligible costs in par. 3.4 of the grant policy framework DIETS must be interpreted accordingly.

In the application form for Annex C, it is stated: Annual accounts of the lead party for the 2016-2018 period and of each of the co-applicants, with an unqualified audit opinion. Does the Ministry require information over the period 2016-2018, or should this be in line with the other financial data that is asked over the period 2018-2020?

The required information in the application form for Annex C should in line with the threshold criteria D.6 and D.7 cover the period 2018-2020. This has been corrected in the application form at the websites.

Does the Ministry want Criterion D.4 – local presence in the program countries - be filled in for each Consortium partner operating per country, or only 1 of the Consortium partners per country?

The Ministry requests information on the local presence of the consortium in the programme countries. This means that we would like to see which consortium member has offices in which of the programme countries, at least one office per consortium in each country.

For the 10% of the budget that should be allocated to the knowledge institutes, is it also meant that 10% of the budget attributed to the knowledge institutes should be spent by in-country knowledge institutes.

The grant policy framework for the DIETS programme is not indicating that 10% of the budget should be allocated to knowledge institutes. The 10% mentioned in chapter 3.4 of the policy framework concerns an illustrative percentage to clarify the division of cost sharing between knowledge institutes and the other consortium partners.

In the model budget, section 3.1.2. Other direct program costs, sub-section B refers to costs of consortium partners and local NGOs. To the best of our understanding, all other budget headings are meant to be for the consortium partners, for example, staff of consortium partners should be included under the budget heading “staff costs”, travel of consortium partners under C. Activity-related travel costs, etc. What other “costs of consortium partners” should be classified under B?

Under 3.1.2, section B, the title ‘consortium partners and local NGO’s’ may be confusing. What is specifically meant to be included under 3.1.2-B are costs related to all local and external parties cooperating with the consortium, but not being consortium partners. Costs of consortium partners are to be included under the other relevant budget headings, such as travel costs or direct staff costs.

In the model budget, section 3.2.1, there is a category of indirect costs called “program delivery costs”. Can you give an example of what “program delivery costs” are eligible?

An example of program delivery costs may concern specific costs at country offices of consortium partners. E.g. project staff involved in activities which are not directly related to the project at hand (financial manager, HRM-staff, country program directors), banking costs, revaluing (debtor-creditor), costs for payroll administration, exchange rate differences and tax transaction costs.

In the Threshold criteria, Criterion D.8 Maximum remuneration, requests a list of the remuneration of the individual managers and board members of the organizations. As these positions are easily identifiable even when no name is provided, how can we ensure compliance with GDPR and privacy regulations when providing that information?

The possible grant applicant is the data controller concerning the application (including data on remuneration). This applicant has to carefully consider whether the processing of the data is necessary to satisfy a legitimate interest of the organisation. If it judges that this is the case, then art. 6, section 1, sub f, of the General Data Protection Regulation provides the legal basis to submit these data with the application.

In the DIETS programme application form (page 4), the instructions state the application should not exceed 50 pages. If the consortium would like to include pages such as a cover page, table of contents, academic references, and/or list of acronyms before the “General Information” section, would those pages count towards the 50 page limit?

A cover page, table of contents and annexes do not count towards the 50 page limit as mentioned at page 4 of the DIETS application form.

Can the office of the consortium as mentioned under D.4 be established within the premises of an envisaged lead-party in one of the six programme countries?

The physical location of the office of the consortium is as such not important. What matters is the fact that in all cases the lead party and/or co-applicants of the consortium have local presence and networks in all of the six programme countries.

In section ‘d’ in the table titled ‘General Information’ on page 5 of the DIETS Application Form information is requested about the names of the director(s) of the lead party. Is this to mean the top leader (manager) of the lead party or just to mention all those involved in the lead party's management team?

In this section information on (the) director(s) of the lead party is requested concerning the director(s) that has, or have been, authorized to act as the signatory mentioned in section ‘n’ of the table titled ‘General information’ to sign and complete the DIETS Application Form (including appendices)  in a correct and truthfully way.