Announcement issuance date: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Proposal submission deadline: Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. (EDT).
Proposals must be submitted through Grants.gov. Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.
Proposed Program Start Date: October 1, 2010.
Duration of Activity: An initial period beginning October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011, subject to the availability of funds. This agreement may be renewable for up to two additional fiscal years based upon budget submissions on an annual basis, as long as there remains a need for the OPE and the organization operating the OPE provides satisfactory service, and subject to the availability of funds.
I. Purpose of the Overseas Processing Entity
The admissions process for refugee applicants seeking resettlement in the United States is overseen by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State (the Bureau).
The purpose of the Damak Overseas Processing Entity (OPE) is to assist the Bureau in preparing the necessary casework for persons in South Asia eligible for interview by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and, for those approved, to provide assistance in completing the additional requirements for refugee admission under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition, the OPE forwards the necessary data on all DHS-approved cases to the Refugee Processing Center (RPC) for distribution to Reception and Placement agencies according to procedures established by the Bureau.
International organizations (IOs) that apply for funding opportunities on Grants.gov are subject to PRM administrative authorities and procedures for voluntary contributions to IOs.
The organization selected to operate the OPE is expected to:
1) Provide regional refugee processing services for all U.S. Refugee Admissions Program applicants in South Asia (except Bangladesh), regardless of nationality or ethnicity, beginning on October 1, 2010.
2) Relate equitably to all domestic resettlement agencies. (This includes sharing relevant biographic and other background information with domestic resettlement agencies working in the Reception and Placement program (to facilitate their provision of required sponsorship assurances.)
II. Program Objectives
The Bureau has established the following objectives for the organization serving as OPE in Damak:
1. To provide refugee processing services in support of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program using the Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS) and in accordance with procedures established by the Bureau, as needs arise, in the following countries: Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Note that Afghanistan and Pakistan will be new additions to OPE Damak’s processing territory in FY 2011.
2. To ensure that each potential refugee applicant is screened to determine if he/she is eligible for interview under the processing priorities established for his/her nationality.
3. To conduct pre-screening interviews and casework in the countries listed in section II (1) (above) so as to capture all relevant information pertaining to the case, e.g. cross-referencing information, special medical needs, information about victims of torture, etc. To ensure that all necessary security name-checks are completed. To prepare the case file, including completion of all forms necessary for presentation of the case to USCIS for adjudication.
4. To enter all required information into WRAPS on a timely basis and to remain in close contact with the Refugee Processing Center (RPC), cooperating fully and at all times to ensure that the WRAPS system and related equipment remains functional and up to date.
5. For applicants approved by USCIS, to assist the refugees in completing all post-adjudication steps required for admission to the United States. This includes: coordinating with the Refugee Processing Center (RPC) to obtain sponsorship assurances from Reception and Placement agencies working under cooperative agreements with the Bureau; preparing travel packets; coordinating medical screening, conducting cultural orientation training, and coordinating with the International Organization for Migration on travel arrangements.
III. Refugee Processing Caseload
While it is impossible to predict what the precise number of refugee applicants processed by OPE Damak will be, as the FY 2011 regional refugee admissions ceilings have not yet been established, proposals and budgets should be prepared based on a projection of 12,500 departures from the countries covered by OPE Damak. If before or during the agreement period the projected number of individuals to be processed either dramatically falls short of or exceeds the level anticipated in this announcement and the approved proposal, the Bureau will negotiate an amended budget for the OPE.
The following information regarding caseloads and circuit rides in FY 2010 may be helpful in formulating an organization’s proposal and budget for OPE Damak for FY 2011:
The Bureau projects that in FY 2010 the U.S. will admit some 12,500 individuals as refugees who will be processed in the expanded range of countries to be covered by OPE Damak, including some 12,000 in Nepal, and 500 total in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
In order to admit these 12,500 individuals in FY 2010:
· OPE Damak has permanent, on-going processing in Damak, Nepal;
· OPE Damak will conduct some seven (7) circuit rides to New Delhi, India, with each circuit ride averaging one to two staff and 8 days in duration. Establishment of a part-time sub-office in this location is also a possibility if proper authorization is gained from the Government of India;
· OPE Damak will conduct one circuit ride to Colombo, Sri Lanka with one staff for 6 days; and
· OPE Istanbul has permanent, on-going processing out of a sub-office in Islamabad, Pakistan. Processing on a circuit ride basis is also an option for this location.
Note that OPE staff may be required to stay in certain locations for longer periods to assist during DHS/CIS circuit rides. In addition, refugee processing is currently not conducted in Afghanistan; however, OPE may be requested to do so in the future.
IV. Funding and Funding Procedures
The Bureau intends to award a single Cooperative Agreement to a single qualified organization to provide the required services in the countries listed in section II (1), from a base located in Damak, Nepal. The organization with which the Bureau enters into a Cooperative Agreement for this OPE will be funded for all approved costs associated with providing the required processing services according to a budget submitted as part of this proposal (see Attachment B for budget preparation instructions) and based on the proposal submitted in response to this request. This financial support may be renewable for up to two additional fiscal years based upon budget submissions on an annual basis, as long as there remains a need for the OPE and the organization operating the OPE provides satisfactory service, and subject to the availability of funds. At the end of three years, if the need to operate the OPE continues, the Bureau will re-compete the project, and the recipient of this award may participate in that process.
V. Eligibility Requirements
Organizations eligible to submit proposals include entities that have demonstrated satisfactory performance working as a U.S. Department of State-funded organization with the United State Refugee Admissions Program, domestically or overseas, within the last five years.
Organizations must also meet the following requirements in order to be considered as candidates to operate the OPE:
A. Be authorized by the Government of Nepal to conduct activities relating to the welfare, protection, or maintenance of refugees in Nepal, as evidenced for non-governmental organizations by an agreement with the Social Welfare Council (SWC) signed prior to May 17, 2010, or for international organizations by confirmation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the organization is authorized by the government to conduct such activities as of May 17, 2010.
B. Have evidence of effective coordination with U.S. Government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations and International Organizations involved with the refugee admissions program.
C. Possess management capacity at the agency’s headquarters sufficient to oversee the operation of the OPE.
Failure to satisfy the above requirements will preclude any further consideration of a proposal.
VI. WRAPS Requirements
The Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS) is deployed in all refugee processing sites. The use of WRAPS is mandatory, and the OPE must therefore establish itself as WRAPS-ready. Equipment that will be procured by the OPE and related costs must be included in the proposal. (See Attachment C for the required qualifications for the OPE’s information technology personnel required to maintain WRAPS, including the qualifications for the OPE Network Administrator as well as a list of hardware and software items that are currently needed to operate WRAPS, including the equipment to operate the Circuit Ride functionality.)
VII. Application and Submission Procedures
Each organization requesting consideration for entering into a Cooperative Agreement with the Bureau must submit all information as requested in Attachment I. All pages including appendices should be numbered in a single, consecutive numbering system.
Proposals that are incomplete and/or fail to respond to all required elements of this program announcement may not be found competitive. If the Bureau requests clarifications regarding information included in the proposal, failure to provide this information by the date specified may also preclude further consideration of the proposal.
If your application consists of multiple files you should pay careful attention to the guidance on Grants.gov for file naming conventions: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/submit_application_faqs.jsp#6
A few tips:
If these guidelines are not followed, Grants.gov may reject your proposal.
VIII. Submission Procedures:
Proposals must be submitted electronically via Grants.gov by 12:00 p.m. (EDT), Monday, May 17, 2010.
Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should sign up well in advance of the May 17, 2010 deadline as it can take up to two weeks for a registration to be finalized (and sometimes longer for non-U.S. based NGOs to get the required registration numbers). To register with Grants.gov, organizations must first receive a DUNS number and register with the Central Contract Registry (CCR) which can take weeks and sometimes months. See “Applicant FAQs” section on Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/help/applicant_faqs.jsp#applying) for complete details on registering.
Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Grants.gov. Applicants who have done so in the past and experienced technical difficulties were not able to meet the deadline. We recommend that organizations, particularly first-time applicants, submit applications via Grants.gov at least one week before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical difficulties that could result in your application not being considered.
If you encounter technical difficulties with Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-518-4726. Applicants who are unable to submit applications via Grants.gov due to Grants.gov technical difficulties and who have reported the problem(s) to the Grants.gov help desk and received a case number and had a service request opened to research the problem(s), should contact PRM/A Overseas Section Chief Kelly Gauger at (202) 663-1055 or GaugerKA@state.gov immediately to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.
The Bureau will fax each agency a letter confirming receipt of the documents. An agency not receiving this acknowledgement within five days after submitting its request should immediately notify Ms. Delicia Spruell at 202-663-1006.
IX. Proposal Evaluation Process
The Bureau will conduct formal competitive reviews of the submitted proposals, which meet the aforementioned requirements and which are submitted by an eligible organization. Review panels will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced proposal evaluation criteria, the overall refugee processing experience of the proposing organization and the proposal’s cost effectiveness for providing comprehensive service provision to applicants of all ethnic groups.
In order to provide timely feedback, the Bureau will inform applicants of the panel’s decision to recommend or not recommend funding respective proposal submissions, and may request revised proposals and/or budgets based on feedback from the panel. PRM will follow up with formal notifications to applicants of final decisions taken by Bureau management.
X. PRM Points of Contact:
Should NGOs have technical questions related to this announcement, they should contact the PRM staff listed below prior to proposal submission. (Note: Informal feedback from PRM does not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.)
· PRM/A Overseas Section Chief Kelly Gauger (GaugerKA@state.gov; 202-663-1055), Washington, D.C.
A. Required Information
B. Budget Preparation Instructions
C. WRAPS Requirements
D. Sample Budget Format