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FY 2009 Funding Opportunity Announcement for Programs Assisting Recently Returned Refugees in Afghanistan

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 17, 2008


Deadline for Proposals: January 22, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) (also hereinafter referred to as the "Bureau") values its continued cooperation with non-governmental organization (NGO) and international organization (IO) partners worldwide. 

NGOs and IOs are invited to submit proposals for humanitarian projects benefiting returnees in areas of high concentration in the Balkh and Baghlan provinces of north Afghanistan. The following guidelines are issued for projects that encourage resettlement and reintegration by developing sustainable livelihoods. Proposed projects must be consistent with PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for Overseas Assistance. Proposals inconsistent with PRM’s General NGO Guidelines and the guidance herein may be rejected without review. 

PRM will consider proposals from NGOs and IOs with proven track records in implementing refugee assistance programs. Higher consideration will be given to organizations that have well-established operations in Afghanistan. 

FY 2009 Funding Priorities and Requirements for Proposals

Since 2002, more than five million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan; over four million have done so with UNHCR assistance. In 2008, UNHCR assisted over 277,600 Afghan refugees to return to Afghanistan. As the number of refugee returns to Afghanistan grows, the Bureau will increase its focus on supporting the durable resettlement and reintegration of returnees through promoting sustainable livelihoods and economic development in the Balkh and Baghlan provinces of northern Afghanistan. These programs should address needs not covered by UNHCR or other IOs.


Funding to support migration and refugee assistance programs is contingent upon Congressional appropriation of funds. Therefore, awards under this program are subject to availability of funds. Generally funds are awarded for a maximum 12-month period, but shorter time periods may also be authorized. For this funding opportunity, individual proposals should not exceed $1.5 million in PRM-requested funding. Proposals with cost-sharing component will be viewed favorably. PRM’s overall funding for IOs/NGOs in FY09 is expected to be similar to our FY08 funding level. An additional funding opportunity announcement for Afghanistan will be issued on in the second quarter of FY09.


Proposal Focus and Guidance

PRM is interested in innovative NGO and IO proposals addressing the long-term needs of Afghan returnees as well as their host communities in the Balkh and Baghlan provinces of north Afghanistan. IOs/NGOs should comply with the general policy guidelines described under “FY 2008 General NGO Guidelines for Overseas Assistance” posted under the “How to Apply” tab in and consider the priority areas described below. 

In FY09, PRM’s funding priority is to support communities of significant refugee return, including those at the Afghan government’s Land Allocation Sites (LAS). Activities should help anchor returnees in Afghanistan and enable communities to support returnees while building capacity to support future returnees. Within communities of return, consideration should also be given to program elements that address the needs of extremely vulnerable groups, such as widows and female-headed households. All projects should seek to address the particular needs of women and girls.


In the Balkh and Baghlan provinces of north Afghanistan, the following activities are priority areas for PRM in FY09: 

a. Income-generating activities targeted to market opportunities available in resettlement communities.
b. Vocational training in marketable skills and, as necessary, provide the required tool set for the profession;
c. Cash-for-work community development projects that include, whenever possible, applicable skills training for laborers;
d. Provision or improved access to basic health services, including maternal/child health care.
e. Building the capacity of governments, local institutions, and host communities to assist Afghans and returnees alike. 

IOs/NGOs are encouraged to propose programs that are multisectoral. PRM will consider a broad range of activities, but priority will be given to programs that include one or more of the elements from the above categories.   Proposals must include an effective and practicable exit strategy within the proposal narrative as it is unlikely that follow-on funding will be available.

Submitting Proposals


PRM will not fund projects beyond a twelve-month period. Applicants with multi-year programs must continue to reapply for PRM funding each year. Furthermore, in funding a project for one year, PRM makes no representation that it will continue to fund the project in successive years. 

Please keep in mind that the budget for the proposed program should identify not only the funding request to PRM, but also those portions of the program to be funded by the NGO itself, UNHCR or other UN/IO agencies, USAID, or other donors. Proposals that receive co-funding are highly encouraged. 

Organizations that received funding in FY2008 from PRM for areas included in this announcement should include a short update on the progress made to date on the specific indicators of the project outlined in the cooperative agreement. This should be included as an attachment to the proposal.


PRM will accept proposals from any organization that is able to satisfy the requirements of these guidelines although, given our budgetary constraints, priority will be given to proposals from organizations that can demonstrate:


  • At least 50% of beneficiaries are returnees;


  • A structured implementation plan with well-conceived objectives and indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and reliable, timebound and trackable; monitoring and evaluation plans should include baselines for all indicators and objectives with impact indicators.


  • A proven track record in providing assistance to refugee populations and an established presence in the countries for which they are submitting proposals;

  • A working relationship with UNHCR and 2008 UNHCR funding and/or support for the proposed activities and/or overall country program; and,


  • Appropriate targeting of beneficiaries in coordination with UNHCR, the District Office of Return and Reintegration (DORR) in specified provinces, and other relevant organizations, including relevant government agencies covering sectors/activities proposed.


NGOs that have not received PRM funding prior to the USG fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. government by providing copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit; 2) non-profit tax status under IRS 501 (c)(3); 3) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number; and 4) Employer ID number (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification Number.


Application Process
See “How to Apply” section on for complete details on requirements, and note the following highlights below:
Electronic submission via Applicants who are not yet registered with should do so well in advance of the above deadlines as it can take at least three to five business days for a registration to be finalized. Applicants are encouraged to submit their proposals early.


If you experience technical difficulties in submitting your application through, contact the help desk ( or call 1-800-518-4726). Applicants who are unable to submit applications via due to technical difficulties and who have reported the problem(s) to the help desk and received a case number and had a service request opened to research the problem(s), should immediately contact Program Officer Amy Wendt at (202) 663-3622 or


Proposal formatting and content: Please refer to the FY 2008 General NGO Guidelines for Overseas Assistance available at These guidelines are also available on in the “How to Apply” section. We strongly encourage NGOs to use the templates provided. 

For questions related to this funding announcement, please contact:
Amy Wendt
Program Analyst
Office of Assistance for Europe, Central Asia and Americas
Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
U.S. Department of State
(202) 663-3622
Fax: (202) 663-1530


Proposal Review Process


Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:


1) To what extent does the proposal meet one or more of the priorities stated in the guidelines;

2) Does the organization have a proven track record (capacity, past performance, and experience) in the country for which they are submitting the proposal;

3) Does the applicant’s implementation plan appear likely to accomplish the objectives stated in the proposal within the given time period – e.g., clear, measurable, and achievable objectives and indicators focusing on impact; well-conceived monitoring/troubleshooting plan; etc.;

4) Is the budget appropriate for meeting the objectives listed and does it accurately reflect activities and capacity – e .g., appropriate staffing levels, appropriate balance between costs of running/monitoring the program vs. direct assistance to beneficiaries; cost-sharing;

5) Is the project well coordinated with the host government, other NGO implementing partners, UNHCR, Afghan governmental agencies, and/or other IOs involved in humanitarian assistance activities in the specified provinces? Does the program have a clear strategy for handover or sustainable continuation?


PRM will conduct a review of all proposal submissions by convening proposal review teams to evaluate proposals based on the above evaluation criteria and PRM’s priorities in the context of available funding.


In order to provide NGOs and IOs with timely feedback, PRM will inform applicants of a panel’s decision to recommend or not recommend funding proposed activities, 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.


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