The TOPS Program is a Leader with Associates (LWA) Cooperative Agreement, which provides direct access to the expertise of leading practitioners in food security and nutrition implementation and support, including The TOPS Program consortium partners. Any US government entity can access this expertise by presenting a detailed Scope of Work to The TOPS Program, including the available funding, and The TOPS Program will identify the necessary expertise on a pre-approved basis. This expedited funding mechanism has proven valuable in completing time-sensitive work within the food security and nutrition field.
Associate Awards FAQ
Why use an Associate Award?
As pre-competed mechanisms, TOPS Associate Awards are a fast, flexible, efficient means of accessing high quality targeted technical support. Awards can be designed directly by USAID Missions, Bureaus, and Offices, as well as other U.S. Government Agencies, in response to their specific needs and local operating environments.
Who can issue/who can be on an Associate Award?
Associate Awards allow direct access for any U.S. Government Agency or funding source to any combination of The TOPS Program consortium, collaborating, or resource partners on a pre-competed basis.
What can Associate Awards be used to accomplish?
Associate Awards can be used to meet a broad array of agency purposes, including:
- Building skills of U.S. Government implementing partners with context-specific training to roll out new initiatives, methods, or approaches or to close critical technical gaps.
- Strengthening the local operating environment by building the skills of national partners and implementers in promising practices and technical basics.
- Reviewing local context and implementation barriers and providing targeted technical assistance in response.
- Developing or strengthening local food security networks for better multi donor, cross-organizational, and cross-sectoral collaboration, coordination, and information sharing.
- Field testing new or adapted methods, tools, or approaches.
When can Associate Awards be issued?
Associate Awards can be issued at any time during The TOPS Program period of performance (ending August 12, 2017). They can extend for up to 5 years, including beyond the expiration of the TOPS Leader Award (i.e., up to August 12, 2022 for those awarded in 2017).
How can an Associate Award be acquired?
The process for accessing Associate Awards is simple and fast.
- The U.S. Government Agency, Office, or Operating Unit requesting the assistance develops a Program Description, identifies funds, and assigns an Associate Award Activity Manager. The TOPS program specialists can advise on the scope of work as needed and provide information on their partner expertise.
- The Associate Award Activity Manager submits the Program Description to the Leader Award AOR for review to ensure alignment with TOPS Strategic Objectives.
- Upon approval, the Associate Award Agreement Officer sends the Program Description to The TOPS pPogram, who submits an application, including a description of activities, a detailed budget, and other documents as requested.
- Following any necessary discussions or negotiations, the Associate Award Agreement Officer will issue an Associate Award and identify an AOR for the Associate Award. All Associate Award progress and financial reporting will follow from The TOPS Program directly to the Associate Award AOR.