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FY 2008 Funding Opportunity Announcement for Programs Assisting Refugee Populations in Pakistan and Recent Returned Refugees in Afghanistan


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January 25, 2008

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Bureau of Population, Refugees and MigrationU.S. Department of State
January 25, 2008
Washington, DC

Deadline for Proposals: February 25 and April 18

The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) values its continued cooperation with non-governmental organization (NGO) and international organization (IO) partners worldwide. PRM will accept proposals from NGOs and IOs that satisfy the guidelines below.

PRM is hereby soliciting proposals for humanitarian projects benefiting Afghan refugees in Pakistan and returnees in Afghanistan. The following guidelines are issued for projects that provide vocational training and income generation programs, basic and maternal/child health care, primary education, water and sanitation systems, and shelter and are consistent with PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for Overseas Assistance.

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 or Pakistan.

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.

Requirements and Priorities for Proposals

Background

Since 2002, more than five million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, over four million with UNHCR assistance. In 2007, UNHCR assisted over 365,000 Afghan refugees to return to Afghanistan. Approximately three million Afghan refugees remain in countries of asylum. The Bureau will continue to focus on supporting the sustainable reintegration of returned refugees in Afghanistan but will also consider programs assisting Afghan refugees remaining in Pakistan. These programs should address needs not covered by UNHCR or other IOs.

As in past years, PRM generally supports activities in the areas of: sustainable livelihoods; basic and maternal/child healthcare; primary education, including school construction or rehabilitation, teacher training, and provision of materials and equipment; shelter construction; water and sanitation systems rehabilitation and repair; and supplemental feeding and nutritional programs. Generally funds are awarded for a 12-month period, but shorter time periods may also be authorized.

Proposal Focus and Guidance

PRM is interested in innovative NGO and IO proposals addressing the long-term needs of Afghan refugees and returnees as well as their host communities. For FY08, PRM has identified program areas of particular interest in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 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 grants.gov and consider the priority areas described below. For projects beginning in May and June, proposals must be received by PRM no later than February 25. For projects beginning in July through September, proposals must be received by PRM no later than April 18. Proposals received after these dates will not be considered. For FY08, our funding limit per project is $1.5 million. PRM’s funding for IOs/NGOs in FY08 is expected to be similar to our FY07 funding level.

Afghanistan

In FY08, PRM’s funding priority is to support communities of significant refugee return, including those at the Afghan government’s Land Allocation Scheme (LAS) sites. Activities should seek to help anchor returnees in Afghanistan and enable communities to support those who have returned home while building capacity to support additional returnees. Within communities of return, consideration should also be given to program elements that address the needs of extremely vulnerable persons, such as widows and female-headed households. All projects should seek to address the particular needs of women and girls.

In Afghanistan, the following activities are priority areas for PRM in FY08:

a. Develop income-generating activities targeted to market opportunities available in resettlement communities.

b. Conduct vocational training in marketable skills and, as necessary, provide the required tool set for the profession;

c. Construct or rehabilitate basic community infrastructure, including roads, small bridges, and water and sanitation systems

d. Conduct cash-for-work community development projects that include, whenever possible, applicable skills training for the laborers;

e. Provide or improve access to basic health and maternal/child healthcare;

f. Provide or improve access to primary education. Educational programs could include teacher training and construction of new school facilities or rehabilitation of existing properties;

g. Build capacity within governments, local institutions, and host communities to assist Afghans and returnees alike.

h. Construct basic shelters and latrines according to standard UNHCR or NGO guidelines. (Proposals for shelter construction at resettlement sites will be considered, however, all projects should seek to address some of the elements above to support the establishment of sustainable communities.)

Pakistan

PRM will continue to support voluntary returns to Afghanistan through its support for UNHCR activities. As appropriate, PRM will fund smaller IO/NGO programs providing maintenance support and access to essential services for Afghan refugees. Whenever possible, programs should have a cross-border component where refugees in Pakistan are linked to available services in potential areas of return. Programs should include a phased transition of those Afghans remaining in Pakistan to locally available services wherever possible. Programs should also include clear and effective plans for moving from relief to sustainability under local or national structures. All projects should seek to address the particular needs of women and girls.

In Pakistan, the following activities are priority areas for PRM in FY08:

  1. Provide or improve access to basic and maternal/child healthcare.
  2. Provide access to primary education for boys and girls. Educational programs may include teacher training and rehabilitation of existing school facilities.
  3. Conduct vocational training in marketable skills and, as necessary, provide the required tool set for the profession. Programs should seek to identify skills that would be marketable in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

IOs/NGOs are encouraged to propose programs that include a mix of elements. 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. It is important to have an effective and practicable exit strategy as it is unlikely that follow-on funding will be available.

Submitting Proposals

Guidance

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 FY2007 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:

  • A working relationship with UNHCR and 2007 UNHCR funding and/or support for the proposed activities and/or overall country program;
  • A proven track record in providing assistance to refugee populations and an established presence in the countries for which they are submitting proposals;
  • Appropriate targeting of beneficiaries in coordination with UNHCR and other relevant organizations, as well as the relevant government(s).

NGOs that have never received PRM funding must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. government, including submission of an audit report performed by independent public accountants in accordance with U.S. Government Auditing Standards before they will be eligible to receive PRM funding. Proposals inconsistent with the guidance herein may be rejected without review.

Application Process

See “How to Apply” section on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements, and note the following highlights below:

1. Electronic submission via Grants.gov: Applicants who are not yet registered with Grants.gov should do so well in advance of the above deadlines as it can take three to five business days for a registration to be finalized. Applicants who are unable to apply via grants.gov due to technical difficulties should contact the program officer listed below well in advance.

2. Proposal formatting and content: Please refer to the FY 2008 General NGO Guidelines for Overseas Assistance available at http://www.state.gov/j/prm/funding/181444.htm. These guidelines are also available on Grants.gov in the “How to Apply” section.

 

For any questions, please contact:

Nancy Iris

Deputy Director

Office of Assistance for Europe, Central Asia and Americas

Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

U.S. Department of State

(202) 663-1759

Fax: (202) 663-1530

IrisNL@state.gov

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, and/or other IOs involved? 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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