RFP NO. 001-19

RFP RELEASE DATE: 11/22/2019




Meridian International Center (Meridian) works with US. Government Agencies, Foreign Governments and private-sector clients worldwide        to create lasting international partnerships through leadership and cultural exchanges. Meridian strengthens international understanding though the exchange of people, ideas, and culture.

Public and Cultural Diplomacy

Meridian has been advancing the United States public and cultural diplomacy efforts since 1960. Tens of thousands of international leaders have participated in our exchange programs designed to increase their understanding of the United States and the American people.

Leadership Exchanges

Meridian is the leading manager of the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange operation—the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)—and creates custom programs for other U.S. government agencies, as well as public and private sector organizations.

Cultural Exhibitions

Meridian’s Art for Cultural Diplomacy program creates opportunities for Washington, DC, national and international audiences to learn about other cultures through the eyes of visual and performing artists.

Conferences, seminars and global readiness training

Meridian’s unique convening platform provides tools and a methodology to leverage global peer networks, cross-sector exchanges, and knowledge sharing. These outcome-focused programs accelerate dialogue and help established and emerging leaders hone their talents, share their experience and realize sustained positive impact.

Public programs and events

Meridian stands at a neutral intersection of the public, private and diplomatic sectors, giving our public programs and events a depth and scope that is unique.


Meridian International Center seeks a website designer/ website designing firm with whom Meridian can work with on a fixed price contract basis in re-designing the US Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) website (www.lowermekong.org).Our goal is to redesign the existing website to be more efficient from a content management perspective, as well as to upgrade website features and graphics, including development of a mobile view. The period of performance for the contract to redesign the website is anticipated to be from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, with an anticipated re-launch of the new website in March 2020. This contract will have an overall budget ceiling of $30,000.


  • Upgrade existing version (whichever is most logical, depending on integrations, technical dependencies, and updated versions releases dates)
  • Upgrade/redesign engaging, mobile responsive design, that directs a public audience to program announcements, news and highlights;
  • Upgrade/redesign drop down menu and/or tabs directing users to the program description page, blog, photo gallery, participant bios, etc.
  • Upgrade/redesign a prominent link to our online application platform;
  • Upgrade/redesign a tab/page for partners and participants, where the login page of our private educational platform will be embedded;
  • Upgrade/redesign social media feed, featuring relevant Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram updates from program partners and relevant news outlets;
  • Upgrade/redesign Interactive maps showcasing participating country and U.S. partner locations and descriptions;
  • Upgrade/redesign resource library (curated by the Meridian program team);
  • Upgrade/redesign interface to collect information from visitors who want to engage in the program/receive additional info;
  • Upgrade/redesign the capability for approved administrators to fully control content and site accessibility.

Technical Launch

  • Organize and present our information in a visually compelling way that best serves our key audiences.
  • Build more interactive, “self-serve” features, such as allowing users to create their own filters and save/download information.
  • Maximize save and share-ability of our information across multiple tools and social media platforms.
  • Provide both strategic assistance and tactical service in the scope of re-designing the existing website.
  • Strategic analysis and redesign of back-end and front-end system architecture
  • Re-designing and implementing a site-wide visual redesign, which could include refreshing and unifying themes, fonts, color, layout, and branding
  • Re-designing and implementing a website content migration plan (note: we expect to both curate/cull our existing content and create new content)

Required Technical Specs at Launch

  • Final re-design, the existing website that is easy for use, monitor, and maintain.
  • Website must use the most recent version
  • Website is fully functional, speedy (full page load time of 2 seconds or less), and compatible with the following browsers:
    1. newest major versions of Chrome
    2. newest major versions of Firefox
    3. newest major versions of Edge
    4. newest major versions of Safari
    5. newest major version of Opera
  • Website design is responsive (RWD) to the user's behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation responsive
  • Third party event and registration/subscription management tools have the U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI brand and website styles.
  • Click and Pledge to handle event registration, newsletter
  • Multiple language support has been implemented at a basic level. Specifically, for all content on our site, we need to upgrade the language section too. In addition to English: From Afrikaans Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azeri, Belarusian, Chinese (both Simple and Traditional character sets) Farsi, French, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian-Croat, Spanish, Turkish Ukrainian, Urdu, and Uzbek to Zulu

Security at Launch

  • Websites must be security-oriented and meet or exceed industry security best practices
  • Two-Factor Authentication must be enabled for all U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI users and for administration on all versions of our site (e.g., development, staging, production, failover).
  • Website must integrate with updated tools. Note: we are open to improvements/other tools. Offeror can present improvements and new tools in proposal
  • S. Department of State EAP/LMI Editorial & User Management at Launch
  • Ability for website editors and administrators to easily search for, draft, edit, preview/QA, schedule, publish to and update content/issue corrections on the website via an editorial workflow (rather than a code deployment)
  • Ability for website editors and administrators to easily search, navigate, and restore previous versions of our content. Tracking should include users, timestamps, and diffs/indications of what changed
  • Ability for website editors and administrators to easily (and preferably automatically) pull and render specific data and content from linked database
  • Ability for U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI administrators to:
    • Manage end user accounts (e.g., reset password, deactivate/delete user)
    • Manage a subset of staff accounts and permissions on the U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI via integration with current CMS (Content management system) solution

Sample Core Content and Features/Functionality

The below is not an exhaustive, final, or prioritized website tabs; it’s a rough draft of what we believe we might design and build and will be refined during the Discovery phase.

  1. Homepage: structured for users who do not know U.S. Department of EAP/LMI and may also include (potential) target audiences looking for information (e.g., annual reports)
  2. About Us: history, mission, bio pages for Board of Trustees and staff/experts/Fellows, careers, what we do/our work
  3. Pillars
    • Health
    • Connectivity
    • Education
    • Energy Security
    • Environment and Water
    • Agriculture and Food Security
  1. Resources & Media
  2. Calendar
  3. TCTP 2019-2020


  • Firm/Individual name & contact information (up to 2 people)
  • Short narrative describing the history (including year founded) of the firm and its relevant expertise
  • Detailed resumes should be submitted for all supervisory and key personnel to be assigned to the contract
  • Explanation of how the firm would engage with Meridian, including proposed timeline, scope, and cost proposal with annual website maintenance fee
  • Examples of similar work, which could include screenshots/images and URLs.
  • Cost and resource estimates: type of proposed contract (e.g., fixed fee, T&M) and the resources/number of each needed for this project, estimated hours needed, keeping in mind an overall budget ceiling of $30,000.
  • Estimated start date (How quickly could an engagement begin following selection?)
  • References: project summaries and URLs/visuals for three (3) similar client projects within the last two years, including a contact for each such as email address and phone numbers.

The bidder is required to follow the instructions contained in this RFP in preparing and submitting bid or proposal. The bidder is advised to read thoroughly and follow all instructions.

Each bidder is given wide latitude in the degree of detail it elects to offer or extent to which plans, designs, systems, procedures are revealed. However, insufficient detail may result in a determination that the bid proposal is materially non-responsive or may lower its technical score.

Offerors will submit proposed budget with their proposals in a separate, separate file, via email to Procurement@meridian.org labeled “Budget Proposal.” All responses to this RFP must be received no later than the submission deadline. Reference the RFP number in proposal submission.

All inquiries and requests for information regarding this RFP must be submitted by email to Procurement@meridian.org no later than the question/inquiry submission deadline.  Reference the RFP number in all questions/inquiries.

No proposal will be accepted after submission deadline 12/31/2019 close of business 6:00 PM Eastern Time.


Meridian will evaluate proposals based on a best-value determination; Offerors should submit their most competitive price proposal. Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Technical proposal website re-design (40) points
  • Past performance (30) points
  • Budget cost (30) points

The evaluation committee will review the technical proposal based upon the technical criteria listed above.  The cost proposals will be reviewed to ensure they are complete and free of computational errors. The committee will also assess the reasonableness of costs and the cost-effectiveness of the budget and will determine whether the costs reflect a clear understanding of project requirements. A contract will be offered to the responsible Offeror whose proposal follows the RFP instructions and is judged to be the most advantageous to Meridian.


Except or otherwise provided in the main body of this Agreement, the Terms and Conditions that follows is part of and shall be deemed to be incorporated in this Agreement. To the extent that there is an inconsistency between the terms of this Agreement and the terms that follows, the Agreement terms shall prevail.

Confidential Information and Nondisclosure

  1. During the Term of this Agreement, each party may be provided information by the other party (including information that the U.S. Government considers confidential) which the other considers confidential and proprietary.  The parties agree that all information marked or otherwise designated as confidential, or that under the circumstances is reasonably understood to be confidential, is the confidential information of Meridian or Contractor, as applicable (“Confidential Information”). Contractor expressly acknowledges and agrees that all Meridian proprietary information and trade secrets and all information relating to or belonging to Meridian’s clients constitutes the Confidential Information of Meridian for purposes of this Agreement. Each party must use the Confidential Information of the other party only for the purposes of this Agreement and may not disclose such Confidential Information to any third party for any purpose without the other party's prior written consent.  Each party agrees to take measures to protect the confidentiality of the other party's Confidential Information that, in the aggregate, are no less protective than those measures it uses to protect the confidentiality of its own Confidential Information but each party must, at a minimum, exercise reasonable care with respect to such Confidential Information and take reasonable steps to advise its employees of the confidential nature of the Confidential Information and of the restrictions on disclosure and use thereof as contained herein.  Meridian and the Contractor each agree to require that the other party's Confidential Information be kept in a reasonably secure location.  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Agreement, Confidential Information shall not include any information disclosed by the other party (the “Disclosing Party”) to the receiving party (“Receiving Party”) that:
  • Is rightfully known to the Receiving Party prior to its disclosure by the Disclosing Party;
  • Is released by the Disclosing Party to any other person, firm or entity (including governmental agencies or bureaus) without restriction;
  • Is independently developed by the Receiving Party without any reliance on, use of or reference to Confidential Information of the Disclosing Party; or
  • Is or becomes publicly available without violation of this Agreement or may be lawfully obtained by a party from any nonparty.
  1. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Receiving Party may disclose the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information where required under applicable federal, state or local law, regulation or a valid order issued by a court or governmental agency of competent jurisdiction, provided that the Receiving Party shall first make commercially reasonable efforts to provide the Disclosing Party with (i) prompt written notice of such requirement, so that the Disclosing Party may seek, at its sole cost and expense, a protective order or other remedy and (ii) reasonable assistance, at the Disclosing Party’s sole cost and expense, in opposing such disclosure or seeking a protective order or other limitations on disclosure.
  2. Nothing herein shall be interpreted to grant to either party any license or other interest, including any ownership right, in the other’s Confidential Information or any intellectual property rights therein.
  3. The provisions of this Article 1 shall survive the termination or expiration of this Agreement for any reason for a period of 5 years following such termination or expiration, and shall survive with respect to any Confidential Information that constitutes a trade secret of a party until such information is no longer protected by trade secret status. Upon termination or expiration of this Agreement or otherwise upon Meridian’s request, Contractor shall return or destroy, as requested by Meridian, all Confidential Information of Meridian and all business records and other information in its possession or control that in any way relates to Meridian, and shall certify in writing its compliance with the foregoing requirements

Termination for Convenience

If this Agreement (including any Statement of Work) may be terminated in whole or in part by Meridian, or at the request of the award funder, without cause upon a 30-day notice period.  Upon such termination, termination for a Force Majeure Event, or at the expiration of this Agreement, Meridian is liable only for payment for Services and deliverables reasonably satisfactorily performed or delivered, as applicable, prior to termination or expiration and all reasonable, documented expenses incidental to the cost-effective, timely and orderly termination of the Services, which are incurred as a result of such termination or expiration.

Termination by Default

  1. Contractor may terminate this Agreement if Meridian breaches any of the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement and does not cure such breach to Contractor’s reasonable satisfaction within a period of 30 days after receipt of notice from Contractor of such breach or failure or, if such breach is not capable of cure within 30 days, does not commence efforts to cure such breach within 30 days of receipt of such notice.
  2. Meridian may terminate this Agreement in whole or in part if the Contractor (i) breaches any of the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement, fails to perform any of its obligations under this Agreement, or fails to make progress so as to endanger performance of this Agreement in accordance with its terms, and (ii) in any of these circumstances, does not cure such breach or failure to Meridian’s reasonable satisfaction within a period of 10 days after receipt of notice from Meridian of such breach or failure.
  3. Meridian may terminate this Agreement and/or the Contractor’s performance hereunder, effective immediately, if Meridian reasonably determines that the Contractor has acted dishonestly, carelessly committed an act of misconduct, failed to provide contracted Services or deliverables, committed any unlawful act, or acted in any way that materially adversely affects Meridian’s reputation.
  4. In the event that the Contractor defaults under this Agreement and as a result Meridian terminates this Agreement with respect to certain Services or deliverables as permitted under Article 3 (b) above, Meridian may elect to procure the same or substantially the same Services or deliverables as those so terminated and the Contractor shall be, without prejudice to any other rights or remedies available to Meridian, liable to Meridian for any excess costs for the procurement of such substantially similar work or Services or deliverables; provided, however, that the Contractor must continue the performance of this Agreement to the extent not terminated by Meridian. Meridian must use reasonable care to mitigate the amount of excess costs for which the Contractor may be liable hereunder.
  5. If, after termination, it is determined for any reason whatsoever that the Contractor was not in default; or that the default was excusable, the rights and obligations of the parties are the same as if the termination had been issued for the convenience of Meridian in accordance with Article 3 of this Agreement. The provisions of this Article 3 shall survive termination or expiration of this Agreement for any reason.
  6. The rights granted to Meridian hereunder are in addition to any rights that Meridian may have at law or in equity.

Conflict of Interest

Contractor shall not accept for Contractor’s own benefit any trade commission, discount or similar payment in connection with activities pursuant to this Agreement or the discharge of Contractor’s duties.  Contractor shall not engage in any business or professional activities, directly or indirectly, that would conflict with the activities assigned under this Agreement or any expected or anticipated future activities.  Contractor shall immediately report any potential or suspected violations of this requirement to Meridian.

The following provisions apply to this Agreement as federal regulation and/or statute:

  1. Debarment and Suspension

Contractor certifies that it will comply with subpart C of the OMB guidance in 2 CFR § 180, OMB Guidelines to Agencies On Governmentwide Debarment And Suspension (Nonprocurement), and will include a similar term or condition in any covered transaction into which it enters at the next lower tier.

  1. Lobbying Certification

Contractor certifies, to the best of its knowledge and belief, that:

  1. No Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid, by or on behalf of the undersigned, to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of an agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the awarding of any Federal contract, the making of any Federal grant, the making of any Federal loan, the entering into of any cooperative agreement, and the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement.
  2. If any funds other than Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with this Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement, the undersigned will complete and submit Standard Form-LLL, “Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying,” in accordance with its instructions.
  3. Contractor will require that the language of this certification be included in the award documents for all subawards at all tiers (including subcontracts, subgrants, and contracts under grants, loans, and cooperative agreements) and that all subrecipients will certify and disclose accordingly.

This certification is a material representation of fact upon which reliance was placed when this transaction was made or entered into.  Submission of this certification is a prerequisite for making or entering into this transaction imposed by 31 USC 1352.  Any person who fails to file the required certification may be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 for each such failure.

  1. Audit

Meridian, the U.S. government, the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, will have access to any books, documents, papers and records of Contractor which are directly pertinent to this Agreement for the purpose of making audits, examinations, excerpts, and transcriptions.

  1. Funding

Contractor acknowledges that funding for this Agreement is pursuant to funding provided to Meridian by U.S. governmental sponsors, and Meridian’s obligations to make payments under this Agreement are contingent on continued funding and approval of this Agreement by such sponsors.

  1. Prostitution and Related Activities

Contractor certifies that it will comply with applicable provisions of 2 CFR § 175, Award Term for Trafficking in Persons, which establishes a Government-wide award term for grants and cooperative agreements to implement the requirement in paragraph (g) of section 106 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended (22 USC § 7104(g)).  In particular, Contractor, its subrecipients, and its subrecipient’s employees may not—(i) Engage in severe forms of trafficking in persons during the period of time that the Agreement is in effect; (ii) Procure a commercial sex act during the period of time that the Agreement is in effect; or (iii) Use forced labor in the performance of the Project.  (Terms are defined in 2 CFR § 175.)

  1. Executive Order 13224 on Terrorist Financing

U.S. Executive Orders and U.S. law prohibits transactions with, and the provision of resources and support to, individuals and organizations associated with terrorism.  It is the legal responsibility of Contractor to ensure compliance with these Executive Orders and laws.  Contractor confirms that it will take reasonable steps to ensure that none of the funds under this Agreement will be used in support of or to promote violence, terrorist activity or related training, whether directly through Contractor’s own activities and programs, or indirectly through support of, or cooperation with, other persons or organizations known to support terrorism or that are involved in money laundering activity.

  1. Financial Conflict of Interest

Contractor certifies that it is in compliance with and shall remain in compliance with federal regulations relating to conflicts of interests, and as such, by signing this Agreement the Contractor confirms that one of the following applies:

  • Contractor certifies that it has a conflict of interest policy that complies with the FCOI Regulations of 42 CFR Part 50 Subpart F and 45 CFR Subtitle A, Part 94, and Contractor will rely on the active policy. Contractor also certifies that it will promptly notify Meridian of the existence of any FCOI related to the project, and provide all information required to be included in an FCOI report under 42 CFR 50.605(b)(3).
  • Contractor has an active and/or enforced conflict of interest policy, but it may not meet all the regulatory requirements of the FCOI Regulations at 42 CFR Part 50 Subpart F and 45 CFR Subtitle A, Part 94.
  • Contractor does not have an active and/or enforced conflict of interest policy that complies with 42 CFR Part 50 Subpart F and 45 CFR Subtitle A, Part 94

If relying on Contractor’s policy, Contractor shall report any financial conflict of interest to Meridian, and such report shall be made before expenditure of funds authorized in this Agreement and within 45 days of any subsequently identified financial conflict of interest.

  1. Additional Laws and Regulations Applicable to Receipt of Federal Grant or Cooperative Agreement Funds

Funding for this Agreement may be provided in whole or in part by one or more U.S. Government funding agencies. As a result, Contractor shall comply with the applicable laws and regulations listed below, the entire terms and conditions of which are fully incorporated herein and can be accessed at 2 C.F.R. Part 200, Subpart F, Appendix II.

Equal Employment Opportunity (E.O.s 11246 and 11375, and 41 C.F.R. Part 60)

Davis-Bacon Act, as amended (40 U.S.C. 3141-3148)

Copeland “Anti-Kickback” Act (40 U.S.C. 3145)

Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (40 U.S.C. 3701-3703)

Rights to Inventions Made Under a Contract or Agreement (37 C.F.R. Part 401)

Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq. and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), as amended

Debarment and Suspension (E.O.s 12549 and 12689)

Byrd Anti-Lobbying Amendments (31 U.S.C. 1352)

Procurement of recovered materials (78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75885, Dec. 19, 2014)

  1. Suspension of Work

GC may, for a valid reason, issue a stop order directing the contractor to suspend work under the contract for a specific time. The contract services shall be paid until the effective stop date of the stop order.

  1. Ownership of Material

All data, technical information, materials gathered, oriented, developed, prepared, used or obtained in the performance of the contract, including but not limited to, all reports, surveys, plans, written procedures which are completed for or are a result of services required under this contract shall and remain the property of GC and shall be delivered to GC upon a 30 day notice.

The contractor shall not use Meridian or Global Connect (GC)’s name, logos, images, or any data or results arising from the contract without first obtaining the prior written consent of Meridian/GC.

  1. Ownership of Material

The contractor shall obtain and maintain in full compliance and affect all required licenses, permits, and authorizations necessary to perform this contract. The Contractor shall supply GC with evidence of all such licenses, permits and authorizations. This evidence shall be submitted subsequent to the contract award.

  1. Business Registration Notice

Any Contractor submitting a proposal is required to be in good business standing and should adhere to all applicable registration’s laws. Proof of a valid business registration is required prior to conducting business with GC. Failure to submit such valid registration with a bid will render the bid materially non-responsive.

  1. Joint Venture:

If a joint venture is submitting a bid, the agreement between the parties relating to such joint venture is required to be submitted with the joint venture’s proposal. Authorized signatures from each party compromising the joint venture must sign the bid proposal.

  1. Cost Liability

GC assumes no responsibility and bears no liability for cost incurred by bidders in the preparation and submittal of proposals in response to this RFP.

Q & A

Question No: 1

We want to know if you accept proposals and are willing to work with internationally-based organizations/companies? We are a software development company primarily based out of Nigeria, we, however, operate a distributed workforce system, and as such, we have a large chunk of our staff from all over the world. If you are open to receiving offers and working with us, we will be glad to know this.

  • A: Meridian has no restrictions on the country in which the company is based.  We previously used a Thai company. The most important factor to Meridian is the demonstration that the company understands what we want and that they can deliver appropriately.

Question No: 2

We carefully reviewed the technical requirements with both our project management team and developers to estimate the scope of work.  We’re sorry to inform you that based on that estimate we won’t be able to bid on your project, but we still want to be as helpful as possible!

To build out the core site, we felt that we would need around $70,000. This is due to the Security requirements, and the amount of work it would take to complete the multilingual aspect of the work.

We hope you will receive an offer that meets your requirements and budget. Should the offers not be what you expect to achieve this goal, we would be happy to have a conversation about the best path forward for Meridian.

  • A: The automated google translation suffices for this project, and we do not need the site to be translated into multiple language by the developers. It would be helpful to understand what aspects of our security requirements are so expensive.  2-FA for admins at least and version logging shouldn’t be that difficult or expensive.

Question No: 3

Are you open to rebuilding the website on WordPress, or is it a requirement that the site remains on Drupal? We think this could be a great solution for the changes you're interest in making.

  • A: As the current site is Drupal based, we would prioritize developers who can keep us on this platform. We would consider a complete migration to a different platform only if the developer can demonstrate the advantages (costs, user experience, administration) to such a significant change.

Question No: 4

With reference to the aforementioned RFP, I wonder if you could please clarify the following:

1 - Could you let us know if you would be open to a Canadian agency for this work? We work with a variety of US clients but like to ensure you are comfortable with the same prior to preparing a response.

2 - With regards to the “interactive maps”, could you please elaborate if you have a service that you currently subscribe to like that from ESRI or would you like us to introduce a new tool altogether foe the same?

3 - Is there a new for a rebranding as well as part of this RFP?

4 - Could you let us know what platform you are running your current site on for migration purposes and what the size of that content would be?

5 - Are we required as part of this work to redesign third party event and registration/subscription management tools? If yes, could you let us know what they are and what the possibilities are for a UI change on them?

6 - With regards to event registration, are you looking for that to occur on the site or through a third party?

7 - Would the multi-lingual functionality exist as an automated tool or are you looking for manual sites that are different in each language?

  • 4.1 See answer to question 1
  • 4.2 We do not have a current map tool in place
  • 4.3 The intent of the question is unclear to us.  We are interpreting the question to ask “is there a NEED for rebranding..” the priority is redesign the site to present current information on the Lower Mekong Initiative in a more effective and accessible manner.
  • 4.4 We are running on Drupal (version 7). This redesign would include an update to the latest version of Drupal
  • 4.5 State Department administrators need to be able to add events and edit content on the site. “third party event” content asked about here. I do not anticipate a UI change.
  • 4.6  We want to be able to create an event page (e.g. “Technical Planning Meeting”) that would integrate with the calendar and main page (i.e. “Registration is open for the Technical Planning Meeting” with some background detail, as well as organized by keyword, tags, and other site organizational concepts. We need to be able to add documentation (information packets, agendas, presentation files, etc) to the Event page. This page would need registration/account limited access for participants so that meeting presentations and planning documents are not open to the public.  We would want to be able to share contact information with other participants registered for the same event (i.e. List of attendees, viewable by other attendees).  We would want to be able to add publicly viewable content too, including pictures.  The goal is a one-stop shop for providing information and bringing together participants, before and after the event.
  • 4.7 Automated tools will suffice for language localization

Question No: 5

1) Regarding the “self-serve” features such as giving the user the ability to create their own filters and save download info. As this might be open-ended in the amount of ideas that could be generated, can you give specific functions needed for the proposal cost estimating?

2) Content migration. openbox9 can write scripts to migrate content that exists in the database but with Meridian creating new content, will you edit and layout pages with new content or look to openbox9 to do that work? This is a big part of the cost so any info on who is doing what will be helpful.

3) How has the language translations been completed to date, how will it be done in the future? Currently you are using a simple Google translation tool - is that the plan for the future website?

4) Regarding this request: "Ability for admin to easily (and preferably automatically) pull and render specific data and content from linked databases." Please describe what databases are being linked to and what “automatically” function you are referring to.

5) It seems the RFP includes requirements for the site to be editable fully by the administrators — please describe what website maintenance you are requesting from openbox9

6) There are a lot of unique functions and features requested that exceed the budget — depending on how the above are answered, I can prioritize requests that fit within the budget and list ones outside the cost. Is that preferred or do you want a cost estimate that includes everything asked for?

7) At this point, based on the RFP, I see this as a “redesign” project and not an “upgrade" of the existing website — any concerns with that?

  • 5.1 “filters” refers to search functions.  We want to be able to search events by country, project, theme, date, etc. Answer 4.6 references the download functions.
  • 5.2 The new site will include content from the current site, so an import/transition/migration tool is needed.  The new site needs a flexible/module architecture that EAP admins can utilize to add new pages when we create new projects, for example.  I envision a top-level organization that wouldn’t change (i.e. About, Projects, Calendar, Events), but the next level would be populated by people like me when we fund events and projects.
  • 5.3 Google translation is fine.
  • 5.4 We currently are not using any databases (mySQL, etc).  Databases may be needed to manage user accounts, I defer to the develops regarding best practice here.  This RFP point refers to the need to be able to input information into the site that is accessible site-wide.  This may be accomplished with a robust #tagging/keyword system rather than a formal database program.  Fundamentally, site content should be accessible regardless of how users approach the site.  Events, projects, programs pages should populate automatically, to eliminate a scenario where a user can only find information by physically navigating to a specific sub-section of the website.
  • 5.5 This is a very important component.  Answers 4.5 and 4.6 cover this.  We need a site that is dynamic in its presentation of information and our ability to keep it updated. We do not want to be beholden to a contractor, web design company, or ISP for site updates. We owners of the site, we do need root access, of course. But day to day we need to be able to add event information as described in 4.6. We are happy to discuss in person as needed to clarify this point.
  • 5.6.  We are open to conversation, when the time is appropriate for discussion (before we make a decision).
  • 5.7 This is a redesign project.


  • “Upgrade/redesign drop down menu and/or tabs directing users to the program description page, blog, photo gallery, participant bios, etc.” There isn’t currently a blog, photo gallery, participant bios. Will these additional content items be in the scope of the new project? THE LIST OF EXAMPLES WAS PROVIDED TO DEMONSTRATE COMPREHENSIVE INTEGRATION OF SITE CONTENT.
  • Please provide additional information on your ‘online application program’. Who is the audience and what business need does it address? How does it relate to the function and content of the LMI site? THE APPLICATION PLATFORM IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT AND WILL NEED A PLACE ON THE SITE EVENTUALLY.
  • What is  your ‘private educational platform’? Is the expectation that this will have SSO (single-sign on) capability? PRIVATE EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM REFERS TO A SITE FUNCTION THAT RESTRICTS ACCESS TO CONTENT TO USER ACCOUTS, ADMINISTERED BY EAP OFFICES.
  • The current site has not interactive map capability. What is meant by “Upgrade/redesign Interactive maps showcasing participating country and U.S. partner locations and descriptions”? What are the functional requirements for interactive maps? THESE NEED DEVELOPMENT.  THE MAPS SHOULD BE VISUALLY INTERESTING AND PROVIDE INTUITIVE ACCESS TO PROGRAMS BASED ON GEOGRAPHY, SORTABLE BY PROGRAM TYPE. ADMINISTRATORS NEED TO BE ABLE TO ADD PROGRAMS TO THE MAP

Required Technical Specs at Launch:

  • What is meant by "Third party event and registration/subscription management tools have the U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI brand and website styles?" What specific responsibilities  will this website redesign team have with third-party vendors? THE SITE SHOULD CLEARLY DISPLAY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PATRONAGE
  • “Click and Pledge to handle event registration, newsletter”. The site does not currently have event registration. How will you be handling event registrations with the new site? Do you have an existing registration system? What is the “Pledge” and what is its purpose? Please explain the ‘Click and Pledge’ process. PLEDGE IS NO LONGER A COMPONENT OF THE RFP. 

Security at Launch:

  • “Two-Factor Authentication must be enabled for all U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI users and for administration on all versions of our site (e.g., development, staging, production, failover).”  Do you have an existing two-factor authentication system, and can you provide details on it (for example, do editors and administrators have hardware checked out to them for this purpose?” Please provide additional detail. WE NEED EMAIL VERIFICATION 2FA, WITH EMAIL VERIFICATION FOR INITIAL REGISTRATION
  • “Ability for website editors and administrators to easily (and preferably automatically) pull and render specific data and content from linked database”. What databases specifically do you anticipate pulling content from? What is the expertise level of editors and administrators in dealing with database queries? SEE PREVIOUS ANSWER REGARDING DATABASE USE.  ASSUME MINIMAL TO ZERO EXPERIENCE WITH DATABASE QUERIES
  • Please explain what is meant by this – “Manage a subset of staff accounts and permissions on the U.S. Department of State EAP/LMI via integration with current CMS (Content management system) solution”. There is no integration between the current LMI CMS and any third party permission management system. Can you explain what functionality is being envisioned here? OUR CURRENT ADMIN ACCOUNT IS ALL-POWERFUL.  NEED ABILITY TO CREATE ACCOUNTS WITH EDITOR POWER (CREATE AND MANAGE EVENTS, PROJECT PAGES) AS WELL AS MANAGE USER (I.E. EVENT ATTENDEES) ACOUNTS.


Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions:

  • The submission instructions request bidders to specify “type of proposed contract (e.g., fixed fee, T&M)”, whereas in the ‘Statement of Purpose’ section the RFP seeks a contractor “with whom Meridian can work with on a fixed price contract basis”. Does this mean proposals other than fixed price will be considered? WE FOCUS ON FIXED PRICE CONTRACTS.
  • Where will the site be hosted? Are you looking for the vendor to supply hosting as well?  WE ARE FINE WITH OUR HOST/ISP. WHEN DOES THAT CONTRACT COME DUE?
  • Under 15. 'Ownership of Material' you state "The contractor shall obtain and maintain in full compliance and affect all required licenses, permits, and authorizations necessary to perform this contract."  Are licensing costs included under the $30,000 budget ceiling? THIS REQUIREMENT IS TO ENSURE THAT THE DEVELOPER DOES NOT USE PIRATED SOFTWARE TO DEVELOP OUR SITE. OUR BUDGET IS NOT FOR LICENSING SOFTWARE VENDORS WOULD USE IN THEIR BUSINESS (I.E. PHOTOSHOP, ETC) THIS BUDGET IS FOR WEBSITE REDESIGN