FY 2013 Funding Opportunity Announcement for proposals for the Regional Resettlement Support Center (RSC) in Latin America
Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-A-13-CA-LAM-05182012
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number:
19.018-- Overseas Processing Entities (OPEs) for U.S. Refugee Resettlement
Announcement issuance date: Friday, May 18, 2012
Proposal submission deadline: Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. noon (EDT).
Proposals must be submitted through Grants.gov. Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.
Proposed Program Start Date: January 1, 2013
Duration of Activity: An initial period beginning January 1, 2013, through September 30, 2013, 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 RSC and the organization operating the RSC provides satisfactory service, and subject to the availability of funds.
I. Purpose of the Resettlement Support Center
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 Resettlement Support Center (RSC) is to assist the Bureau in preparing the necessary casework for persons in Latin America and the Caribbean (except Cuba) 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 RSC 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.
The Bureau will make one award for a regional RSC to be located in Quito, Ecuador for an initial period beginning January 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013, subject to the availability of funds. No sub offices will be considered for the initial period. Through the award, the Bureau will provide full financial support to the selected organization, 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 RSC and the organization operating the RSC provides satisfactory service, and subject to the availability of funds. At the end of three years, if the need to operate the RSC continues, the Bureau will re-compete the project, and the recipient of this award may participate in that process.
International Organizations (IOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are engaged in programs relevant to the assistance addressed by this PRM funding announcement should ensure that these programs are made known to PRM on or before the closing date of this funding announcement so that PRM can evaluate all IO and NGO programs for funding consideration.
II. Eligibility Requirements
The organization selected to operate the RSC is expected to:
1) Be authorized by the Government of Ecuador to conduct activities relating to the welfare, protection, or maintenance of refugees, as evidenced for non-governmental organizations by an agreement with the Secretaría Técnica de Cooperación Internacional (SETECI) signed prior to August 2, 2012, 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 August 2, 2012.
2) Demonstrate satisfactory performance working as a U.S. Department of State-funded organization with the United States Refugee Admissions Program, domestically or overseas, within the last five years.
3) Provide regional refugee processing services for all U.S. Refugee Admissions Program applicants in Latin America and the Caribbean (except Cuba) regardless of nationality or ethnicity, beginning on January 1, 2013.
4) Have evidence of effective coordination with U.S. Government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations and International Organizations involved with the refugee admissions program.
5) Possess management capacity at the agency’s headquarters sufficient to oversee the operation of the RSC.
6) Relate equitably to all PRM-funded resettlement agencies. This includes sharing relevant biographic and other background information with resettlement agencies working in the Reception and Placement program (to facilitate their provision of required sponsorship assurances).
Failure to satisfy the above requirements will preclude any
further consideration of a proposal.
III. Program Objectives
The Bureau has established the following objectives for the organization serving as RSC in Latin America and the Caribbean (except Cuba):
A. 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, principally in the following countries: Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia. In addition, the RSC will provide refugee processing services to any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean, as needs arise.
B. 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.
C. To conduct pre-screening interviews and casework in the countries listed above so as to capture all relevant information pertaining to the case, e.g. cross-referencing information, special medical needs, and information about victims of torture, etc.; to ensure that all necessary security name-checks are completed; and to prepare the case file, including completion of all forms necessary for presentation of the case to USCIS for adjudication.
D. To enter all required information into WRAPS on a timely basis and to remain in close contact with the RPC, cooperating fully and at all times to ensure that the WRAPS system and related equipment remains functional and up to date.
E. 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 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.
F. To develop a formal curriculum, in consultation with the Bureau, for cultural orientation training for refugees that will prepare them for travel and initial adjustment to life in the United States. To develop a training and management plan, in consultation with the Bureau, for RSC staff who will conduct cultural orientation training. To conduct cultural orientation in such a way as to achieve performance outcomes as delineated by the Bureau.
G. Provide quarterly reports to PRM/Admissions on RSC processing activities and cultural orientation.
IV. Refugee Processing Caseload
It is impossible to predict what the precise number of refugee applicants processed by RSC Latin America will be because the FY 2013 regional refugee admissions ceilings have not yet been established. However, proposals and budgets should be prepared based on a projection of 300 individuals processed from the countries covered by RSC Latin America. 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 RSC.
The following information regarding caseloads and circuit rides in FY 2012 may be helpful in formulating an organization’s proposal and budget for RSC Latin America for FY 2013:
The Bureau projects that the U.S. will admit approximately 150 individuals as refugees in FY 2012 who will be processed in the countries covered by RSC Latin America, including up to 100 in Ecuador, 50 in Costa Rica, and very small numbers out of Colombia and other countries in the region. In FY 2012, we predict that there will be three USCIS adjudication visits (“circuit rides”) to Costa Rica and four circuit rides to Ecuador. A few cases have also been processed out of Colombia, the Caribbean and Argentina. The vast majority of refugees are Colombians, with a handful of other nationalities.
In order to admit our established goal of at least 400 individuals in FY 2013 (300 of whom we project to admit during the period January 1-September 30, 2013), the regional RSC will pre-screen eligible cases in Ecuador and will conduct up to four pre-screening circuit rides to Costa Rica, with each circuit ride averaging two to three staff for up to two weeks in duration. As cases are identified in Colombia and other countries in the region, they will be added on to existing circuit rides or, as circumstances warrant, will require a separate RSC processing and DHS interviewing schedule.
V. Funding and Funding Procedures
The Bureau intends to make a single award to a single qualified organization to provide the required services in Latin America and the Caribbean (except Cuba), with most of the casework expected to take place in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia. The organization to which the Bureau makes an award for this RSC 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 RSC and the organization operating the RSC provides satisfactory service, and subject to the availability of funds. At the end of three years, if the need to operate the RSC continues, the Bureau will re-compete the project, and the recipient of this award may participate in that process.
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 RSC must therefore establish itself as WRAPS-ready. Equipment that will be procured by the RSC and related costs must be included in the proposal. (See Attachment C for the required qualifications for the RSC’s information technology personnel required to maintain WRAPS including the qualifications for the RSC 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 an award from 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's 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. noon (EDT), August 2, 2012.
Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should sign up well in advance of the August 2, 2012 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 Contractor Registry (CCR) which can take weeks and sometimes months. See “Applicant FAQs” section on Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/applicants/applicant_faqs.jsp ) 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 email@example.com 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/Admissions Office Deputy Director Kelly Gauger at (202)453-9268 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 202-453-9257.
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.
PRM may request revised proposals and/or budgets based on feedback from the panel. PRM will provide formal notifications to NGOs 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/Admissions Office Deputy Director Kelly Gauger (202) 453-9268, Washington, D.C.
The following attachments are available on www.grants.gov under this funding opportunity announcement.:
A. Required Information
B. Budget Preparation Instructions
C. WRAPS Requirements
D. Sample Budget Format