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British Embassy launches call for project bids for financial year 2017/2018

The call for bids for the British Embassy in Cuba Programme Fund for financial year 2017/2018 is now open.

British Embassy in Havana
British Embassy in Havana


The British Embassy in Cuba has been provisionally allocated programme funds for UK financial year 2017/2018 (April 2017 to March 2018) by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London to support technical assistance work between the UK and Cuba in a number of priority areas.

The funds form a small but integral part of the UK’s total commitment to Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The British Embassy will now run a competitive bidding process in order to ensure we use our provisional allocation for projects that are of high quality and deliver value for money.

Guidance on how to bid is set out below.

Who may bid? Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible, your organization or agency must be a legal entity, either not-for-profit or commercial, a registered non-governmental or governmental organization, an academic or research institution, and must demonstrate that it has:

• previous experience in project management

• preferably previous experience working with international agencies/organizations

• proof of legal registration

• sufficient technical, financial, human and logistical capacity

How to bid?

The bidding process is run in two stages:

1.Concept Bid Stage, including draft activity based budget

• Project Concept Form (MS Word Document)

• Activity-Based Budget (financial breakdown)

2.Full Bid Stage, including fully developed activity based budget

Select the correct bidding form from:

• project form for projects under £10,000

• project form for projects between £10,000 to £80,000

• project form for projects for more than £80,000

• Activity-Based Budget (financial breakdown)

Each organization may present up to a maximum of 3 proposals.

The Embassy Programme Fund does not authorize the purchase of capital goods nor flight costs above economy class.

Only bids approved through the concept stage will be considered for full bids. Implementers will be advised if a concept bid has been accepted and asked to present a full bid.

In all cases please send all project documents to the attention of Ileana Carreño, Projects and Prosperity Officer at the e-mail In the subject line of the email please indicate “Project Concept” and please include in the body of the message a brief reference to the organization and the project title.

The deadline for submission of project concept bids is 27 March 2017.

What to Include in the Concept Bid Form?

• overview of project, project activities, and outcomes

• rationale for project – including why the project should take place now

• why theUK is the partner of choice for such project? This might be due to the UK’s recognised expertise in a specific area, UK experience has lessons to share, capitalising on UK’s convening power, policies in question have close links to UK experience

• support from Host Government - evidence that relevant Cuban Government Ministries or institutions have been consulted and are supportive of the proposal and its alignment with their own growth plans. Or if they have not, the bid should explain how the project will gain sufficient buy-in from the necessary stakeholders to deliver the expected outcomes. All implementers should be prepared to work with a Cuban counterpart organisation

• communication strategy – including stakeholders, beneficiary organizations and relevant public communications actions

• sustainability – how will the project’s impact continue to be felt after the project intervention ends?

• awareness of local context - demonstrate that local partnership links are already established and that implementers have an in-depth knowledge of how to deliver successful projects in Cuba

The budget

Project proposals at the concept bid stage must show in outline how budgets are to be spent using the Activity Based Budget Form. Value for money must be demonstrated.

If selected to move to full bid stage, the full bid document must be accompanied by a fully completed activity based budget. FCO Project Management Procedures require the delivery of the budget using the Activity Based Budget form. Budgets should list the activities needed to deliver the outcomes (results) of the project. See an example of an Activity Based Budget (ABB).

Guidance on filling in the ABB is given in the documents available for download listed at the end of this call for bids.

Cuba Priorities for UK Financial Year April 2017 – March 2018 (delivery must be complete by the end of December 2017).

If you want to bid for funds from the ‘British Embassy in Cuba Programme Funds’, your concept bid must fall in to one of the priority areas that have been identified for this financial year.

The priority areas are:

  1. financial and professional services
  2. public procurement and renewable energy
  3. biotech, pharmaceuticals and tackling global health threats.
  4. higher education and English language.

We have given some further detail below on some themes we are particularly interested in within these priorities. But the themes are not exhaustive. If you have a concept for a project that fits the above priorities, and demonstrates an awareness of Cuban technical assistance needs and national development priorities, then we are interested in reviewing it.

In each case, we have given an estimate of the total funds we expect to have available for each priority area. This is designed to indicate to you the magnitude of bids we are looking for. In each area, we would only consider funding between 1 and a maximum of 3 projects.

1. Financial and Professional Services

(Approximate total funds available £100k to £150k)

We would particularly welcome bids that address one or more of the following thematic areas:

• support for the Cuban banking and financial services sector to further develop a comprehensive approach to risk

• support for the development of an effective banking regulation function

• support for the development of modernised banking systems, including online/mobile banking, electronic payments and the fully integrated use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in banking

• Human Resources Management and Leadership Management in the banking and financial services sectors

• support for anti money laundering policies, and establishing monitoring systems

2. Public Procurement and renewable energy

(Approximate total funds available £40-60k)

We would particularly welcome bids that address one or more of the following thematic areas:

• support for the Cuban Government to further develop its cross government public procurement function

• support for public procurement which delivers sustainability and energy efficiency outcomes

• support for developing the financing of major infrastructure projects, particularly in renewable energy

3. Biotech, pharmaceuticals, and tackling global health threats

(Approximate total funds available £100k)

We would particularly welcome bids that address one or more of the following thematic areas:

• support for the development of the Cuban biotech industry, particularly in collaboration with the UK biotech sector

• support for the development of the Cuban pharmaceutical industry

• support for developing the capacity of UK and Cuba to work together on tackling global health threats

4. Higher Education and English Language

(Approximate total funds available £30k to £40k)

We would particularly welcome bids that address one or more of the following thematic areas:

• support for the development of English language education and testing in Cuban higher education institutions

• support for UK/Cuba Higher Education cooperation that delivers industry relevant curricula and teaching methods

• support for UK/Cuba Higher Education cooperation that develops capacity building in the financial services, energy, renewable energy and biotech sectors

Indicative Timetable (subject to change) First Bidding Round Timeline FY 2017-2018

Date: Activities
9 March 2017 This call for bids announcement made
By 27 March 2017 Deadline for Implementers to submit Concept Bids to British Embassy Havana Programme Team (see link to form below)
28 March to 31 March 2017 Concept bids reviewed by British Embassy/FCO Programme Teams
By 4 April 2017 Implementers advised by British Embassy whether they will be asked to submit full project bids
By 25 April 2017 Deadline for Implementers to submit Full Bids (see link to form below). This bid must include a full Activity Based Budget (see link to form below)
9 May 2017 Outcome of full bids notified to implementers/bidders

Documents for Downloading:

1) Project Concept Form (MS Word Document, 92.5KB)

2) Guidance for implementers on completing the bid forms (MS Word Document, 33.5KB)

3) Project Bid Form for Projects under £10k (MS Word Document, 216KB)

4) Project Bid Form for Projects from £10k to £80k (MS Word Document, 224KB)

5) Project Bid Form for Projects of £80k and over (MS Word Document, 221KB)

6) Activity Based Budget Form (ABB) (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 30.2KB)

7) Guidance for implementers on budgeting and achieving value for money (MS Word Document, 32.9KB)

Published 10 March 2017