Announcement issuance date: Friday, March 13, 2009
Proposal submission deadline: Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 12:00 p.m. (EDT).
Proposals must be submitted through Grants.gov. Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.
ADVISORY: Grants.gov is expected to experience higher than normal volume of activity in the near future. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to avoid submission delays.
Proposed Program Start Date: October 1, 2009.
Duration of Activity: An initial period beginning October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010, 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 Bangkok Overseas Processing Entity (OPE) is to assist the Bureau in preparing the necessary casework for persons in East 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 East Asia, regardless of nationality or ethnicity, beginning on October 1, 2009.
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 Thailand:
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: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
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 Bangkok will be, as the FY 2010 regional refugee admissions ceilings have not yet been established, proposals and budgets should be prepared based on a projection of 18,000 departures from the countries covered by OPE Bangkok. 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 2009 may be helpful in formulating an organization’s proposal and budget for OPE Bangkok for FY 2010:
The Bureau projects that the U.S. will admit some 18,000 individuals as refugees who will be processed in the countries covered by OPE Bangkok in FY 2009, including some 11,000-12,000 in Thailand, 5,000- 6,000 in Malaysia, and 500 total in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.
In order to admit these 18,000 individuals in FY 2009, OPE Bangkok will conduct some 105 circuit rides to seven locations in Thailand, with each circuit ride averaging six staff and 12 days in duration; some 25 circuit rides to Malaysia averaging six staff and 17 days; and some 20 total circuit rides averaging three staff and seven days to Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Laos, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
(Note that OPE Ho Chi Minh City will close in FY 2009, and OPE Bangkok will handle the Vietnam caseload beginning in FY 2010.)
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 Bangkok. 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 Royal Thai Government (RTG) to conduct activities relating to the welfare, protection, or maintenance of refugees in Thailand. This should be understood, when required by Thai law, to include registration with or receipt of project approval from any relevant RTG ministry, agency or other official organ with jurisdiction over any activity to be conducted by the OPE.
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 Grants.gov's guidance 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), Thursday, May 14, 2009.
Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should sign up well in advance of the May 14, 2009 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).
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. Please note: Grants.gov is expected to experience high than normal volume of activity in the near future. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to avoid submission delays. 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 Program Officer Margaret Burkhardt at (202) 663-1004 or BurkhardtMA@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 organizations 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 Program Officer Margaret Burkhardt (BurkhardtMA@state.gov; 202-663-1004), Washington, D.C.
A. Required Information
B. Budget Preparation Instructions
C. WRAPS Requirements
D. Sample Budget Format
Required Proposal Information
Each agency interested in applying to operate the Bangkok OPE from October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010, must submit the information specified below. Responses should be presented in the same order as the requirements listed below, with each section numbered to reflect the corresponding section under Required Information. If any individual requirement is not applicable, that should be specifically stated and explained in the proposal.
I. Organizational Structure/Management and Oversight
The Agency should provide a narrative describing:
· Its organizational structure, including the number of headquarters staff (to be described in terms of “Full Time Equivalent” positions) that will be assigned to oversee the OPE in Bangkok; the number of local and international staff to be assigned to the OPE; staffing patterns; training protocols for all staff;
· How it proposes monitoring its processing activities under the Cooperative Agreement.
· How it will establish an operation to handle the processing of the caseload.
The Agency should identify the Bureau’s point of contact at the headquarters office and at the OPE.
II. Proposed Budget
Following the guidance outlined in Attachment II, the Agency should identify all costs within the specified budget categories it wishes the Bureau to consider funding for OPE activities.
Each agency is required to complete the revised SF 424 (Version 02) as part of the Grants.gov application process. PRM also requires that Box 21 of the SF 424 Version 02 be checked. Completion of the electronic signature and date on the SF-424 (Version 02) form signifies compliance with all assurances and certifications as requested in block 21 of the form.
The SF 424 Version 02 can be found at http://www.grants.gov using the following steps:
The SF 424 Version 02 can also be accessed directly at: http://www.grants.gov/techlib/424_20090131.doc .
BUDGET PREPARATION Instructions
The following instructions explain the costs the Bureau wants organizations to include in each budget category when preparing a proposal for overseas processing activities. For policy guidance concerning U.S. Government regulations or admissible expenditure limits, etc., please refer to OMB circulars A-122 and A-110. A sample budget format is provided as attachment D.
This category should include annual salaries, wages, stipends, consultant fees, allowances, bonuses or extra months salary, and any anticipated termination or severance pay for all personnel (regular or contractual) to be charged to the proposed agreement. Caseworker staff must be proficient in using WRAPS, e-mail, PC’s and Windows applications. Note that the plan for staffing must include information technology staff qualified to maintain WRAPS. The network administrator should be competent in Windows 2003, Windows XP, IIS, SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office, router configuration and management. Include a staff roster with the above information, indicating existing and proposed positions, an organizational chart, and show total FTE (full-time equivalency) for each type of position in the designated column and actual number of employees occupying each position in the comments column. Information on COLA and proposed salary increase or adjustment should be noted in the narrative accompanying the budget worksheet. For consultants, show the proposed daily rate and indicate the number of days of consultant service anticipated in the comments column.
Attach a copy of your organization's established salary schedule showing different pay levels and step increases on which the budget is based.
The comments column of the budget worksheet should specify the number of employees being given each service; i.e., housing for 3 employees; education allowance for 2 children of 2 employees, etc.
Explain anticipated termination or severance expenses in the Narrative Section.
Show total cost of fringe benefits provided to International Hire and Local Hire employees. It is not necessary to identify individual benefits provided. Where applicable, the percentage of salaries used to calculate benefits should be shown. The benefits must be consistent with the organization's established personnel policies and practices for all of its employees.
List local program travel in this category (headquarters staff travel should be included in the Headquarters Expenses category below.) Provide one total for in-country project travel and one total for furlough/home leave travel. All anticipated international trips must be listed individually. Show only the total cost of each trip. Do not itemize by category; rather, list general categories included in the trip total (airfare, per diem, etc.) in the comments column.
This category should include both expendable and non-expendable equipment the organization expects to purchase for program activities. Non-expendable equipment is defined as tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. List items with a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $1,000 - $5,000 per unit separately as expendable equipment. Consolidate like items of lesser value by type of equipment (i.e., telephones, office furniture) with quantities or types to be purchased noted in the comments column. See Attachment III for WRAPS requirements.
If your organization has established levels for equipment at a lesser amount than $5,000, items may be shown according to organization policy, as long as the policy is explained in the Narrative Section. The organization must apply its definition consistently in all U.S. government funded arrangements.
Also include equipment to be leased, including vehicles, as well as anticipated maintenance and repair costs for equipment (including contracts.)
In this category include such items as office and automotive supplies and computer software.
Include here any anticipated sub-contracts, such as security guards, payroll services, etc. Do not include contracts for regular personnel, maintenance and repair of non-expendable equipment, or audits, which are listed elsewhere.
OTHER DIRECT EXPENSES
Please follow the attached format for inclusion of other direct costs of the program, indicating separately anticipated costs for utilities, space rental, communications, insurance, printing/duplicating, and audit, as well as other costs not included elsewhere in the budget.
This category should include any anticipated U.S. domestic or international travel of headquarters staff in support of this program as well as any personnel costs or other expenses to be directly charged by the organization to the program (for personnel, include percentage of time dedicated to this program.)
The organization operating the OPE will provide cultural orientation to approved refugees aged 15 and above in accordance with guidelines developed in conjunction with the Bureau by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and described in the publication “Welcome to the United States--A Guidebook for Refugees” (CAL, 2004) and other CAL materials (see www.culturalorientation.net ). The cultural orientation training will be for a period of three days and at a minimum address the following subjects:
· Role of the Resettlement Agency
· Rights and Responsibilities of Refugees
· Early Employment Priority
· Work plus English Study
· Public Assistance Benefits
· Cultural Adjustment
· Health Care
INDIRECT COST RATE
Please note your organization's percentage rate and attach a copy of the most recent negotiated indirect cost rate agreement with the cognizant U.S. government agency. Also note base of application in the comments column.
Comments are not required for every budget line item. This column provides space for further identification, as needed, of items included in the budget categories. For example, under travel, each individual trip should be identified and total cost for each trip provided under the “Proposed Budget” column, with items included in the costs, e.g., airfare, per diem, taxis, etc., specified under “Comments”. The Comments column is not intended to replace the Narrative section.
BUDGET SUMMARY PAGE
Include budget category totals on the summary page.
The Narrative section describes the proposed program and how refugee processing functions will be performed. It also explains the budget request. The Narrative should specifically identify any cost of living (COLA) request and provide a dollar amount for the total cost of the COLA (broken down by international-hire and local-hire, as appropriate).
BASIC WRAPS equipment/software REQUIREMENTS
WRAPS requires four servers: one Domain Controller, one Domain Controller/Exchange, one Application server, and one Database server.
Server configuration availability changes as the manufacturer upgrades equipment. If the listed versions are not available, the current comparable versions should be substituted.
Following are the minimum configurations for each server:
· Server hardware
Domain Controller (2 required for the OPE)
HP Proliant DL320
Intel Processors D Dual Core
2 GB RAM
2 – 80 GB SATA Disk Drives
1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive
Application Server / Exchange
HP Proliant DL370
2 Intel Xeon Processors
4 GB RAM
6 – 146.8 GB 10K RPM Disk Drives
1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive
HP Smart Array 6404/256 Controller (RAID)
HP Ultrium 448 Tape Drive
Redundant Power Supply
Redundant Fan Kit
HP Proliant DL570
4 Intel Xeon Processors
4 GB RAM
10 – 146.8 GB 10K RPM Disk Drives
1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive
HP Smart Array 6404/256 Controller (RAID)
HP Ultrium 448 Tape Drive
Redundant Power Supply
Redundant Fan Kit
· Server Software
o Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition - 4 copies (1 for each server)
o MS Office 2003 SP3 - 3 copies (App, DB and Exchange servers)
o Crystal Reports 9 Advanced SP4 - 1 copy (App server)
o Symantec Anti-Virus Corp Edition 10.1 - 4 copies (1 each server)
o Arcana Scheduler - 1 copy (App server)
o .Net 3.5 SP1
o PKZip Command Line - 1 copy (App server)
o MSXML 6.0 - 2 copies (App and DB server)
o Remotely Anywhere - 4 copies (1 each server)
o Adobe Acrobat 6 - 4 copies (1 each server)
o WinRAR - 4 copies (1 each server)
o WinZip 9 - 4 copies (1 each server)
o UltraBac 7 - 4 copies (1 each server)
o Microsoft Exchange 2003 SP2 – 1 copy (Exchange Server)
· Server Rack
o HP Rack 10622 22U
o R5500 UPS
o 1X4 Rack mount KVM Switch
o TFT5600 Rack mount Keyboard Monitor
WRAPS connectivity requires the following network components:
· Router - Cisco 1841
o A router fully compliant with IPSec Protocol
o WAN Interface Cards for the local connections
o Sonicwall NSA 2400 (Sonicwall 2040 is still supported but no longer sold by the vendor)
o Cisco Catalyst 3560 10/100/1000 Ethernet Switch
Note: Number of switches and density of ports are determined by local requirements
· UPS capable of supporting the network components selected.
Required Peripherals (to operate WRAPS software):
o HP LaserJet 4250 with networking capability
(Note: Quantity determined by local requirements)
· Label Printer
o Zebra LP2844 with networking capability
· Digital Camera
o Double Sided Image Scanner (Sized to accommodate the projected scanning workload.)
o Adobe Acrobat Software
Each caseworker and each supervisor at the OPE must have a Pentium class desktop computer with following minimum requirements:
· Workstations (Minimum Requirements)
o Intel or AMD Athleon Processor
o 2 GB RAM
o 80 GB Hard Drive
o Fast Ethernet Network Interface Card
o 17“ Monitor
o DVD/CD-ROM drive
o 4 USB ports
· Workstation Software
o Windows XP Professional SP2
o Microsoft Office 2003 SP3
o Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0
o Adobe Reader (current version)
o Anti-Virus Software
· Category 5/6 UTP (plenum or low smoke)
· Cable run from wall jacks to patch panel in wiring closet
· RJ 45 patch cables to connect PC to wall jacks
· RJ 45 patch cords to connect patch panel to LAN switches
· Servers should be installed into a secure area to prevent unauthorized access to the server consoles.
· Router and firewall should be kept in a secure cabinet.
· Two 15 Amp circuits 220-240V 50Mhz.
The OPE must have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with a minimum of:
· 256 Kbps dedicated line.
· IP Subnet with at least 14 host addresses
OPE must supply personnel with the following minimum qualifications:
· Network administrator:
o Windows Server 2003 R2
o Windows XP Professional SP2
o IIS 6.0
o SQL Server SQL 2005 SP2
o Microsoft Exchange 2005
o Cisco Router configuration and management
o Microsoft Office
o Must be proficient in using e-mail, PCs, and Windows applications.
The following equipment is needed to support the Circuit Ride functionality of WRAPS. One set of equipment is needed to support a single circuit ride. Currently OPE Bangkok is a four (4) circuit ride site.
· Hardware for Circuit Ride – (Minimum of 2 laptops per Circuit Ride)
o HP Compaq 6730b - Intel Pentium Core 2 Processor
o 2 GB RAM (minimum) 4 GB recommended
o 250 GB Hard Drive (minimum)
o 4 USB ports
o Workstations and switches for circuit ride processing are determined by local circuit ride requirements.
§ Wi-Fi is an acceptable networking solution for circuit rides, provided that a minimum of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security is enabled.
· Software for Circuit Ride – one copy for each laptop
o Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition
o MS Office 2003 SP3
o SQL Server 2005 SP2
o Crystal Reports 9 Advanced SP4
o Symantec Anti-Virus Corp Edition 10.1
o PKZip Command Line
o .Net 3.5 SP1
o MSXML 6.0
o Remotely Anywhere
o Adobe Acrobat
· Not required, but recommended, for system backups:
Maxtor One Touch 250 GB USB External Disk Drive - Part Number A01A250 - only 1 needed