An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Purpose of Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to support organizations in preparing application documents. Applicants are responsible for reviewing the funding opportunity, required application templates, and the following guidelines when preparing applications.

Online Forms: Standard Forms 424, 424A, and 424B

There are three mandatory application forms that must be completed through SAMS Domestic (

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance)
  • SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF-424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

When completing these forms, please use the below guidance to fill in all fields except where noted as “Leave Blank.”

SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance)

1. Type of Submission: Application

2. Type of Application: New

3. Date Received: This will be assigned automatically.

4. Applicant Identifier: Leave blank.

5a. Federal Entity Identifier: Leave blank.

5b. Federal Award Identifier: Leave blank.

6. Date Received by State: Leave blank. This will be assigned automatically.

7. State Application Identified: Leave blank. This will be assigned automatically.

8a. Enter the legal name of the applicant organization: Do NOT list abbreviations or acronyms unless they are part of the organization’s legal name.

8b. Employer/Taxpayer ID Number: Non-U.S. organizations enter 44-4444444.

8c. Enter organizational Unique Entity Identifier number (UEI). Organizations can request a UEI number at: Enter “0000000000” for organizations that do not yet have a UEI number.

8d. Enter the headquarters address of the applicant

8e. Enter the name of the primary organizational unit (and department or division) that will undertake the assistance activity as applicable.

8f. Enter the name, title, and all contact information of the person to be contacted on matters involving this application.

9. Select an applicant type (type of organization)

10. Enter: Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

11. Enter: 19.019. This should be automatically entered.

12. Enter the Funding Opportunity Number and title. This number will already be entered on electronic applications.

13. Enter the Competition Identification Number and title. This number will already be entered on electronic applications.

14. Areas Affected by Project: Enter country or region.

15. Enter the title of proposed project: Enter project title.

16. (16a) Congressional districts of Applicant: Applicants based in the U.S. should enter congressional district. Foreign applicants should enter “90.” 16(b) All applicants should enter “90.”

17. Enter start date March, 2024, and projected end date.

18. (18a) Enter the amount requested for the project described in the full proposal under “Federal”; (18b) enter any cost-share under “Applicant.” If not proposing cost-share, enter zeros.

19. Select “c. Program is not covered by E.O 12372.”

20. Select the appropriate box. If the answer is “yes” to this question, provide an explanation.

21. Enter the name, title, and all contact information of the individual authorized to sign for the application on behalf of the applicant organization.

SF-424A Applicants often say this form is confusing. Please review the detailed instructions below BEFORE completing this form online.

Section A – Budget Summary – Complete Tab 1

a. Enter: Anti-Trafficking Program (This is the only grant program that needs to be entered). Click Save to refresh the page.

b. Click the Anti-Trafficking Program link and enter: 19.019.

c-d. Leave these fields blank.

e. Enter the amount of federal funds requested for this project.

f. Enter the amount of any other funds the applicant will receive towards this project.

g. The total cost of this project will automatically be calculated. Click Save & Return

Section B – Budget Categories – Complete Tab 2 – Enter total project costs in each category in Column 1 as described below. In Column 5 the form should automatically show the sum. Columns 2, 3, and 4 leave blanks.

a-h. Click into each category to enter the amount for each object class category (Include cost sharing).

i. Enter the sum of 6a-6h.

j. Enter any indirect charges.

k. Enter the sum of 6i and 6j.

Program Income. Enter any program income that will be earned as a result of the project. If none, leave this section blank.

Section C – Non-Federal Resources – Complete Tab 3 – (Only complete this section if the proposal includes funds from other sources)

1. Click into Anti-Trafficking Program.

2. Enter cost share amount in the Applicant field, if applicable.

3. Leave the State field blank.

4. Enter the amount of any other funding sources for this project.

5. The total amount for all non-federal resources should automatically be calculated.

Section D – Forecasted Cash Needs – Complete Tab 4

1. In the first column, enter the total amount of federal funds requested for the project. Forecasted cash needs by quarter are not required.

2. In the first column, enter the total amount of non-federal funds you expect to expend during the project. Please list total cost share in this column. Forecasted cash needs by quarter are not required.

3. The form should automatically calculate the sum. Forecasted cash needs by quarter are not required.

Section E – Budget Estimates of Federal Funds Needed for Balance of the Project – Complete Tab 5

1. Click Anti-Trafficking Program.

2. Enter the amount of federal funds to be expended in year one of the project. Click Save.

3. Enter the amount of federal funds to be expended in year two of the project (if applicable).

4. Enter the amount of federal funds to be expended in year three of the project (if applicable).

Section F – Other Budget Information – Complete Tab 6

1. Enter: Direct Charges – Leave Blank.

2. Enter: Indirect Charges – If Indirect Charges are shown in Tab 2 (Budget Categories), enter the type of Indirect Rate used (Provisional, Predetermined, Final, or Fixed).

3. Enter any comments.


This form must be signed online in SAMS Domestic. Please note, the SF-424B is now required only for those applicants who have not registered in or recertified their registration in since February 2, 2019, and completed the online representations and certifications.

Project Narrative

Key Information

Applicants are required to use the project narrative template on SAMS-Domestic, do not submit a PDF file. Project narratives must not exceed 35,000-characters calculated in the Microsoft Word desktop application and must use black-colored, Calibri font no smaller than 12-point. NOTE: The project narrative template will not keep applicants from exceeding the character count, so applicants are responsible for keeping track of the total character count.

Applicants MUST use the section headers provided in the template. Any application that does not submit the required template with these restrictions will fail the technical review. Spaces, footnotes, and charts are included within the character limit. Applicants MUST type within the template’s grey box.

The project narrative must list the following key information in the cover page:

  • Project Country
  • Project Title
  • Name of applicant organization
  • Type of applicant organization
  • Name and email address of point of contact for the application (this should be the same contact that is listed on the SF-424 in 8f)
  • Funding amount requested in U.S. dollars. If applicants include a cost share it should also be in U.S. dollars. No other figures are requested at this time.
  • Whether or not the applicant organization or their subgrantee is registered in Nepal
  • Project summary (provide a brief 2-3 sentence summary of the proposed project, including human trafficking focus and potential impact that can be understood by a variety of readers)
  • Project duration in months

The remaining area of this section will make up the foundation of the project narrative.

Project Description (required)

The project description should state a clear goal and identify proposed research objectives and activities. Applicants must describe and justify the research methods chosen for this project and context and include illustrative indicators by stage.

In this section, applicants should describe how the overall proposed project will address a critical evidence-to-practice gap and its potential impact on the broader anti-trafficking field. Applicants should demonstrate an evidence-based understanding of the following child trafficking issues in Nepal:

  1. Trafficking of children into the adult entertainment sector (AES);
  2. Cross-border trafficking of children (primarily to/from India);
  3. Forced child labor in brick kilns, and garment and carpet manufacturing, as well as domestic work.

If the applicant proposes to include other types of child trafficking in Nepal in the formative study, their inclusion must be justified.

The Problem Statement and Contextual Analysis should identify who is impacted by the above child trafficking issues and why they are important. The applicant should cite a range of reputable and up-to-date sources (both primary and secondary within the last 10 years) and reflect the perspectives of individuals living and working in the target area. In describing the target population’s context, the applicant should include discussion of differences in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, age group, and other characteristics. This section should demonstrate knowledge of risk and protective factors existing at multiple levels in the Nepali context as well as how they influence the presence, prevalence, and severity of the child trafficking issues discussed. Factors discussed must include the lack of child identity registration and relevant national documentation.

Project Goal (required)

Applicants should develop a project goal representing the highest-level outcome to be advance and/or achieved through the project. It should be clear, specific, and directly related to the Problem Statement. Words such as “increase,” “strengthen,” “improve,” and “enhance” should be avoided or clearly defined. It should be achievable in the given context, with the allotted resources, and within the period of performance of the award.

To develop the project goal, applicants should consider their problem statement and ask, “What is the overall intent or purpose of the project and how will it address the identified problem as it exists in its operating environment and among the target population?” The goal becomes the response to that question and is the desired end state. In drafting the goal statement, consider the purpose of formative research described in Section A of the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Research Objectives and Activities (required)

Research objectives are the most ambitious outcomes that the proposed research will materially affect, and the awarded organization will be held accountable to demonstrate their achievement within the period of performance. They will guide the project in the attainment of the Project Goal. Applicants should organize this section of the Project Narrative by Stage as described in the 2023 Programming Priority Funding Opportunity – Formative Research Study in Nepal section of the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

In this section, applicants must describe the main activities that will need to occur in order to complete each objective. This includes who is involved, a demonstration of the applicant’s existing relationship with them, and plans for engaging them, as well as strategies to collect feedback from relevant actors to be used to refine research design. In addition to those included in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, applicants are encouraged to identify additional deliverables relevant to each Objective/Stage.

Explanation and Justification of Formative Research Methods (required)

Applicants must also describe their proposed research methods for each Stage/Research Objective and explain why the proposed method is appropriate (a snapshot of proposed methods should also be summarized in Annex A below). Applicants are encouraged to cite evidence that the proposed research methods will provide deep insight into the context at hand and enable the identification of future programmatic interventions in Nepal. Applicants should incorporate a variety of methods, including participatory approaches, to capture diverse perspectives and insight into the above-described child trafficking issues in Nepal.

Applicants should propose a range of scientifically rigorous research methodologies. They must ensure that their proposed research methods (study design, sampling plan, participants, setting, etc.) are clear and capture the context of interest (e.g., social, environmental, and economic) and diverse perspectives of the target population, including where appropriate and feasible, human trafficking survivors, and other key stakeholders. They are highly encouraged to incorporate participatory research to challenge and disrupt power relations found in more traditional research that draws a distinction between researchers (i.e., expertise) and members of the target population (i.e., experience). Participatory research emphasizes direct engagement of local priorities and perspectives. It is an umbrella term for research designs, methods, and frameworks that use systematic inquiry in direct collaboration with the target population for the purpose of action or change (Cornwell & Jewkes, 1995; Cargo & Mercer, 2008).[1] [2]It prioritizes co-creation research by engaging those who are who are not necessarily trained in research but belong to or represent the interests of the people are the focus of the research.

The TIP Office understands that, while useful in some instances, prevalence measurement is not the only indicator of trafficking dynamics and encourages applicants to use indicators that measure harms associated with the crime. The use of such proxy or outcome indicators should clearly represent a logical connection to prevalence.

Illustrative Indicators by Stage (required)

For each objective/stage, applicants must include a sample of indicators (no more than five per objective/stage) along with quantitative targets within the Project Narrative (e.g., X number of focus group discussions with survivors, Y number of mapping exercises completed, etc.). The indicators and associated targets should be taken directly from Annex B: Results Monitoring Plan (RMP) which requires applicants to specify indicators for each objective/stage along with the relevant activities.

Project Partnerships (required)

Applicants should describe existing partnerships with anti-trafficking organizations and other actors in Nepal to enhance the project’s ability to carry out activities effectively, meet the project’s objectives, and contribute to the Project Goal. Coordination with a local research institution or human trafficking expert is required, so these past or existing relationships should be described.

Applicants may partner with other organizations to implement and carry out award activities or contribute to the co-creation and feedback processes of the project. Applications must clearly identify the lead applicant, and the applicant may designate one or more partner organizations as sub-recipients. This section must lay out a partnership approach that clearly delineates the respective roles and responsibilities of the applicant and of each partner. In instances where the lead applicant is not based in the intervention area, applications must include at least one identified local partner engaged in the project from its inception.

Applicants should submit a copy of signed letters of agreement or intent to cooperate under Annex J. All letters of partnership from intended sub-recipients may be submitted in a foreign language, however, if selected for funding the applicant will be asked to submit an English translation. Other letters of endorsement, such as from the Government of Nepal, may be submitted in a foreign language with an informal English translation. Applicants should not approach or include letters of intent from any U.S. embassies or consulates.

Organizational Capacity (required)

This section should provide evidence of applicants’ and, if relevant, their sub-grantees’ and/or sub-contractors’ capacities and qualifications that enable them to carry out the proposed research and ultimately achieve the project goal. In this section, applicants must:

  • Describe their relevant research experience in human trafficking or other related field(s);
  • Demonstrate their expertise and experience carrying out the proposed research methodologies;
  • Outline any prior experience working in Nepal;
  • Demonstrate their ability and track record of working with stakeholders in governments, academia, civil society, human trafficking survivors, the private sector, other funders, and international organizations;
  • Provide demonstrable experience in administering projects of similar size and scope, and experience administering projects within similar or related subject matter areas;
  • Highlight the experience and expertise of any individual members of the applicant’s team who will not be designated key personnel and how they will support the project, including those with specific technical experience needed to carry out the proposed project.

Please provide the above information as relevant, organized by:

  • 3.1 Prime Applicant
  • 3.2 Sub-Grantees or Sub-Contractors

Coordination with Relevant Stakeholders in Nepal (required)

The applicant should identify how they will cooperate and coordinate with anti-trafficking and other relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, government entities, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, donors, and civil society. The Project Narrative should demonstrate a clear understanding of the role that local institutions and organizations play in combating human trafficking in Nepal and describe how they will develop and cultivate relationships with local partners. Strong applicants will demonstrate their experience and contacts in Nepal and expertise in the identified research methodologies. If relevant, please describe how the project links to existing local/national systems. Relevant projects implemented by the prime applicant should also be included in Annex K: Donor History Form.

Public International Organizations and/or applicants not based in the proposed country or region should describe existing or proposed partnerships with either government, civil society, university, research institution, or private sector in-country stakeholders. In addition, the proposal should explain how the applicant plans to manage sub-awards effectively, if applicable.

Ethical Considerations (required)

Applicants must demonstrate that proper consideration has been given to ethics. Ethical considerations should be identified, examined, and addressed from the project’s inception. Ethics is not an annex to be added onto the study once it has been designed and ready to be carried out. Applicants must consider the ethical implications for all individuals involved. They should discuss the measures that will be taken to ensure informed consent, confidentiality, and respect for the rights and dignity of all individuals involved. In addition, applicants are highly encouraged to compensate persons with lived experience for any and all contributions made to the project. If and when persons with lived experience are compensated, this should be clearly articulated in the budget and budget narrative.

Applicants should identify any issues that are likely to raise ethical concerns throughout the project and what mechanisms will be put in place for identifying and addressing emergent ethical concerns, including, but not limited to, conflicts of interest, equity and inclusion, power dynamics, and cultural sensitivity. They should also discuss how research findings will be disseminated, particularly among the target populations.

Applicants should also discuss the risk and benefit to researchers, participants and others, including potentially stigmatized or marginalized groups (e.g., LBQTIA+, undocumented migrants, etc.) as a result of the research. Although applicants are not required to secure ethical approval prior to submission of their proposals, they should provide information on how and from whom ethical approval will be sought and when it will be obtained. All must comply with the ethical rules of Nepal.

A thorough review of the literature should be conducted to identify challenges and limitations in prior research in similar contexts. Applicants must pay careful attention to choosing the best methods for the research in question, both scientifically and ethically. This should lead to higher quality research and reduce the incident of mistakes. Although research ethics is not primarily about methodology, an invalid design results in unreliable or invalid results. Such projects are unethical because they waste limited resources and disrespect the beneficiaries and the commitment made by others.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Integration (required)

The TIP Office requires that project activities fully address gender and relevant social inclusion considerations, ensuring that all individuals benefit from and contribute to anti-trafficking efforts, and that gender and social inclusion are built-in components of project activities.

Gender integration entails the identification and subsequent treatment of gender differences and inequalities around human trafficking issues present in the chosen locality within the project design. Social integration is achieved when all people, regardless of their sex, age, ethnicity, social status, income, religion, sexual orientation, ability, or disability etc., have the same rights and opportunities to contribute to and benefit from the proposed human trafficking project. Where applicable, this should be documented in the project narrative, specifically by addressing any relevant gender and/or social gaps and ways the proposed project activities will address those gaps. Applicants should demonstrate how addressing relevant gender and/or social gaps will support the achievement of the project’s goals and objectives. The purpose of including gender and social integration at the application stage is to assess the applicant’s awareness of gender and social integration and the appropriateness of their integration in project design.

Applicants must conduct an analysis to identify, well as and demonstrate an understanding of, relevant gender and/or social differences and the impact of such inequalities on human trafficking at a country or project level. The analysis should examine the different roles, rights, and opportunities of individuals, as well as relations between them. It identifies disparities, examines why such disparities exist, and determines to what extent addressing these can strengthen the project design. A gender and social analysis should focus on the following (as relevant and applicable to the project):

  1. Do all genders and social groups have equal access to resources and services? Do they enjoy equal status under the law?
  2. How might anticipated project outcomes affect women and girls or marginalized social groups differently?
  3. Do gender or societal stereotypes function as either a facilitator or a barrier?

To answer these questions, the applicant may do the following (as applicable):

  1. Search for recent gender and/or social inclusion assessments or analysis that have been conducted in the country/project location.
  2. Consult with experts on gender or relevant marginalized groups at NGOs, donor, and other organizations who may be able to outline key issues in the country/project location.
  3. Consult with partners and related anti-trafficking actors on the ground to inquire about any gender or other marginalized groups dynamics they may have integrated into prior programming.

Survivor Inclusion and Victim-Centered Approach (required)

Applicants must describe how survivors or persons with lived experience of human trafficking are meaningfully included in the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of the project. Applicants are highly encouraged to compensate persons with lived experience for any and all contributions made to the project. If and when persons with lived experience are compensated, this should be clearly articulated in the budget and budget narrative.

A victim-centered approach places the crime victim’s priorities, needs, and interests at the center of the work with the victim; providing nonjudgmental assistance, with an emphasis on self-determination, and assisting victims in making informed choices; ensuring that restoring victims’ feelings of safety and security are a priority and safeguarding against policies and practices that may inadvertently re-traumatize victims. A victim-centered approach should also incorporate a trauma-informed, survivor-informed, and culturally competent approach.

Trauma-Informed Approach (required)

A trauma-informed approach recognizes signs of trauma in individuals and the professionals who help them and responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, practices, and settings. This approach includes an understanding of the vulnerabilities and experiences of trauma survivors, including the prevalence and physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma. A trauma-informed approach places priority on restoring the survivor’s feelings of safety, choice, and control. Programs, services, agencies, and communities can be trauma-informed.

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Plan (required)

The project narrative should summarize illustrative MEL activities, including a brief description of mid-line and final assessments. Mid-line assessments are required with some exceptions when a project may not benefit from or be appropriate for one. If the project may not benefit from or be appropriate for a mid-term assessment, please provide a justification. Final assessments are required for all projects.

If MEL costs are below 3 percent of the project’s total budget, provide a justification for why M&E costs fall below 3 percent of total budget. MEL costs should be included in the budget annexes. MEL plans are illustrative at the time of submission. Successful applicants will work with the Program Officers and M&E Specialists at the TIP Office during the negotiation process to co-design MEL plans.

Applicants should describe illustrative MEL activities and respective method/s for each major MEL activity. MEL activities should support the intentional use of evidence-based learning aimed at adapting and improving projects as contexts shift over time. When determining priority MEL activities, consider when learning is needed to make decisions (and at what frequency) to support project activities, project design, and project outcomes. MEL activities should be organized by each objective/stage of the formative research process. For specific examples of complexity aware monitoring approaches, applicants can refer to page 15 of USAID’s guide referenced above. The timing for each of these illustrative MEL activities should be included in Annex C: Timeline.

The applicant should also briefly describe MEL budget allocations as a percent of the total budget, which will be accompanied by a detailed MEL cost estimate included as a table in the budget narrative. MEL budgets should account for adequate funding for local partners, including training and capacity building, and considerations of co-production/co-implementation process on the budget and comprise between 3-10 percent of the total budget. MEL plans are illustrative at the time of submission.

Proposal Narrative Annexes

All applicants are required to submit the following annexes, completed to the extent possible. Panel members will use the annexes (unless noted otherwise) along with the project narrative to evaluate applications.

Annex A: Summary of Research Methods (required)

Applicants must complete the table found in Annex A, also pasted below, to produce a snapshot of the research methods for each stage/objective of the formative research process. The first column should list the proposed research methods for each stage/objective. Applicants should state the purpose for each method (e.g., to better understand victims’ experiences and perspectives of available services), which deliverable(s) it will inform, and the target population for the research (e.g., who will be interviewed, surveyed, etc.). Applicants may add additional rows to each stage/objective as necessary.

Table 1: Summary of Proposed Research Methods

Stage Research Methods Purpose Target Population(s) Est. Sample Size Recruitment Strategy
1 1.1
2 2.1
3 3.1
4 4.1

Annex B: Results Monitoring Plan (required)

All applicants are required to submit a Results Monitoring Plan (RMP) using the template provided. Successful applicants will be asked to work with the TIP Office to input the RMP within the SAMS-D RMP module and will be asked to report indicator results on a quarterly basis within the SAMS-D system.

The RMP will list collectible indicators for each objective, developed by the applicant. Indicators in the RMP will be used to measure project outputs and short-term and medium-term outcomes. In addition, the applicant should set targets for the Common Performance Indicators (CPIs) they intend to report against in Tab One of the RMP.

Please include illustrative, collectible indicators in the RMP. The purpose of including indicators at this stage is to provide the TIP Office an understanding of how the applicant intends to measure progress toward the project’s stated objectives, as well as the details of each indicator. Successful applicants will have an opportunity to revise indicators during the negotiation process.

What is an indicator? An indicator is a particular characteristic or dimension used to measure intended changes. Indicators are used to observe progress and measure actual results compared with expected results. Indicators answer “how” or “whether” a project is progressing toward objectives. Indicators can be expressed quantitatively and should be objective and measurable (e.g., numeric value, percentages, indices). Although indicators are mainly expressed in quantitative terms, the methods used to collect data can often be qualitative in nature (e.g., qualitative survey questions, observation).

Examples of indicators include: number of interviews conducted with anti-trafficking NGOs in Nepal; number of recommendations for potential areas of programmatic intervention identified and validated.

To the extent possible, indicators must be SMART:

  • Specific: The indicator clearly and directly relates to the objective. It is described without ambiguities. The indicator is written in concrete and clear terms such that anyone reading it should interpret it in the same way.
  • Measurable: Can be evaluated and/or assessed against some standard such that it is possible to know when the objective is met. The indicator has the capacity to be counted, observed, analyzed, tested, or challenged. If one cannot measure an indicator, then progress cannot be determined. How will one know if the outcome has been achieved? Once an indicator is clear and specific, it can be measured in numerous ways; almost any indicator is in one way or another, measurable.
  • Achievable: The indicator is attainable within allotted time and resources. The indicator is achievable if the performance target accurately specifies the amount or level of what is to be measured in order to meet the objective. The indicator should be achievable both as a result of the project activities and as a measure of realism. The target attached to the indicator should be achievable.
  • Relevant: Linked to achieving the project objective and goal. An indicator should be a valid measure of the result/outcome and be linked through research and professional expertise. The best way to think about relevance is to ensure that there is a relationship between what the indicator measures and the theories that help create the outcomes.
  • Time-Bound: Indicators must be timely in several aspects. First, they must be timely in terms of the time spent in data collection. This relates to the resources that are available – staff and partner time being critical. Second, indicators must reflect the timing of collection. Finally, the time-lag between output delivery and the expected change in outcome and impact indicators must also be reflected in the indicators that are chosen.

The RMP contains details for each indicator used to measure progress towards objectives in the third tab, including: a definition; the indicator type (e.g., output, outcome; CPI, custom); data source(s); how data will be disaggregated (e.g., location, age, ethnicity, etc.); the frequency of measurement; those responsible for data collection, analysis and reporting; baselines (if available); and targets for indicators. To the extent possible, complete the RMP with a few indicator examples you intend to track over the course of the project, including Common Performance Indicators (CPI’s [as relevant and appropriate for the project]) listed in the first tab.

Results Monitoring Plan (RMP) – Components and Definitions

Vision (Row 4): The vision statement is a clear and concise, big-picture declaration of the systemic level or institutional change/s the applicant is contributing to through the proposed project in the long term, or outside the period of performance.

Goal (Row 5): The goal should be a brief statement of the change the project will bring about within the period of performance. The goal statement should be clear: it should state specific accomplishments, define ambiguous terms, and define the target population.

Objectives (Row 6 and throughout, as necessary): A statement that describes the intended results or incremental changes that a project intends to achieve by implementing specific activities. Research objectives are the most ambitious outcomes that the proposed research will materially affect, and the awarded organization will be held accountable to demonstrate their achievement within the period of performance. They will guide the project in the attainment of the Project Goal. In line with TIP Office project/program design standards, objectives should also be written as changes and not as activities.

Objective-level Outcome Indicator (Row 7 and throughout, as necessary): Outcomes can be changes in behavior or conditions that reflect a positive impact. Various levels of outcomes can exist within a project, with short-term outcomes leading to long-term outcomes. For example, a human trafficking survivor who receives vocational training may gain new skills (short-term outcome), which may lead to a sustainable livelihood (longer-term outcome). Objective-level outcome indicators are specific items of information that track a project’s success against the overall objective, and describe observable, measurable, characteristics or changes that represent the achievement of an objective. They represent how the culmination of outputs and activity-level outcomes lead to the desired change in behavior or condition represented in the objective. For example, a project whose desired objective is to reduce a population’s trafficking risk factors may measure the number or percent of individuals who demonstrate reduced risk factors as an outcome indicator of how well the project is doing with respect to the objective. Each project must have at least ONE measurable objective-level outcome indicator whose definition, source, disaggregation, timing, responsibility, baseline, and target are described in Columns C-M

Activity (Column B): A specific action or process undertaken over a period of time to convert resources to products or services to achieve results. If you have committed cost share to this award, activities you report should include what is undertaken by both the TIP Office and cost share funds.

Indicator (Column C): A characteristic or dimension used to measure intended changes. Indicators are used to observe progress and measure actual results compared with expected results. Indicators answer “how” or “whether” a project is progressing toward objectives. Indicators can be expressed quantitatively and should be objective and measurable (e.g., numeric value, percentages, or indices). Although indicators are mainly expressed in quantitative terms, the methods used to collect data can often be qualitative in nature (e.g., qualitative survey questions, observation). You can have multiple indicators per an activity; simply add a row to include another indicator.

Examples of indicators include: number of trafficking survivors provided social support services, and percent change in knowledge about investigative journalism from workshop participants.

Indicator Definition and Unit of Measure (Column D): Define how the indicator will be measured to ensure it is reliably calculated throughout the life of the project. Terms within the definition should be defined. For example, if your project is providing training, the applicant should define what constitutes a full training cycle. Ambiguous terms often included in the RMP, but which should be further defined, include: ‘appropriate’ ‘sufficient’, ‘increased capacity’, ‘actors’. The unit of measure defines what you are measuring (e.g., prosecutors, civil society organizations, recommendations incorporated into law or policy).

Indicator Type and Source (Column E): Define the level of expected change (e.g., input, output, or outcome). If using CPIs, please include the CPI number (the CPI number is listed in the first tab). For non-CPI indicators that an applicant develops, please write ‘custom’.

  • Input / Process Indicators: measure activities or the necessary components for an activity to occur. These are often represented as milestones, with measurement ending when the process is completed. Milestones are often used to progress toward enabling factors or significant tasks (i.e., would the project progress in the same way if these activities, events, or decisions did not take place). Often, rather than using a specific quantity as a target, milestones are reported as “yes or no,” “will be met/will not be met,” “meets target/does not meet target.” This is useful if the quantity is one (i.e., one product is developed; one set of curricula is developed). Examples of project inputs or processes, as well as potential milestones, include: training curriculum developed, product developed, working group established, recommendations drafted by working group.
  • Output Indicators: are products and services delivered from the project activities, often stated as an amount. Output indicators track the delivery of these products and services. Output data show the scope or size of project activities, but they cannot replace information about progress toward the project’s outcomes or impact. Examples of project outputs include: 100 paralegals trained in providing legal assistance to labor trafficking victims, and 60 radio programs produced.
  • Outcome Indicators: represent the specific, realistic results of a project and are often measured as a degree of change. Outcomes measure progress toward expected project objectives or other results of the project, or toward long-term and systemic change. Outcome indicators measure the degrees of change. For example, a project’s objective could be to increase the number of victims identified at a port of entry. One outcome of the project would be that after receiving training on victim identification, there is a 40% increase in the number of victims identified at that port.

Data Source (Column F): Indicates where data comes from. Data can be sourced from project materials (e.g., training attendance sheets) or external sources (e.g., government administrative records).

Disaggregation (Column F): Disaggregates are various levels of analysis. If the unit of analysis is training participants, project staff will generally disaggregate by gender or role. Other units of analysis may include age, actual victim of trafficking versus potential victim of trafficking, and type of trafficking (i.e., sex or labor).

Timing, Frequency or Schedule (G): This section details the frequency or timing of data collection, analysis, and reporting. The frequency should meet the needs of project staff, to allow them to make project management decisions and report both internally and externally.

Responsibility (Column H): Outline those who are responsible for data collection, analysis, and reporting. Data may be collected or analyzed by in-country staff, an organization’s M&E Specialist, or project staff and managers.

Known Data Limitations (Column I): Measures often include limitations, such as: self-reporting bias, obtaining follow-up surveys (low response rates), or determining demographic information from administrative files that are inconsistent in a country. Outlining limitations helps to understand the feasibility in collecting and measuring data and controlling for data quality.

Baseline (Column J): Outlines the starting point for your project. The baseline for projects that have been implemented for some time (e.g., cost amendments, subsequent phases of a project) would include previous project figures (the number of individuals previously trained or supported). If your data source includes government administrative records, you can include data from the previous year or period prior to project implementation. Baselines for training sessions or workshops are generally zero. Please specify the data source for the baseline, and how many years/months of data are included in the figure. If data sources are unavailable, the baseline may be N/A. The TIP Office may ask successful awardees to conduct a baseline assessment for certain indicators, depending on the feasibility, timeliness, and level of effort required to obtain data.

Quarterly Progress (Column K): Implementing partners will use this column to report on the quarterly and cumulative progress of this indicator.

Percent Progress (Column L): Implementing partners will use this column to report on indicator’s cumulative percent progress toward the target, defined as follows: (cumulative progress/target)*100.

Target (Column M): Targets indicate what you would like to achieve (e.g., training 20 prosecutors, organizing three workshops). When setting targets, please remember it is fine if you do not always reach these figures or milestones during implementation. Targets are set to provide an indication of what you would like to achieve.

Applicants must set baselines and targets for each indicator in the RMP. If targets or baselines cannot be determined at the time of the application, the applicant must include a tentative baseline and target date.

Developing Indicators

Performance Indicators: Performance indicators measure degrees of progress and show whether a project is on track. Each indicator measures a characteristic of a project. Indicators are included to measure actual results compared with expected results (targets). Indicators should connect to the activities, objectives, and goal of the project.

Output-level performance indicators should measure a tangible, immediate and intended product or service from a proposed project activity (e.g., number of awareness-raising efforts, number of reports disseminated, number of prosecutors trained).

Outcome-level performance indicators should measure the medium-, or long-term results achieved by one or a combination of outputs. Outcome level performance indicators should describe changes in behaviors or states that result from indicators measured at the output level. They are direct and measurable results that should be clear about what type of change is implied, and what is expected to change (e.g., a situation, condition). For example, for objective “increased access to victim services”, we can measure progress towards objective achievement in several ways. The passage of a new policy aimed at providing resources for victim services may be measured through a quantitative output indicator (e.g., number of anti-TIP policies passed), as well as through a more direct, outcome indicator that further describes the extent to which the passage of the anti-TIP policy is contributing to an increased access to victim services, like progress on a milestone scale demonstrating enactment and enforcement of this policy. Outcome-level performance indicators may be qualitative, but must be measurable within the period of performance of the project.

Applicants should also separately track (disaggregate) participant data by demographic categories relevant to the project—e.g., gender, age, type of trafficking. Grantees are encouraged to find responsible and ethical ways to collect this type of data (e.g., voluntary self-identification forms), in ways that do not limit project participation, retraumatize victims and survivors or infringe upon privacy or security.

When developing indicators, it is important to understand that the indicator will depend on the project scope, operating environment, and budget. This will influence the type of indicators selected.

Performance Indicator Types

Indicator Type Definition Usually measures Example
Quantitative Measure numeric or statistical results; represented as #s, %s, or other amounts. Outputs # of police trained in investigative techniques
Qualitative Represent attitudes, perceptions, or behaviors; can be articulated as #s or %s, but also as narrative. Outcomes % of people with decreased stigma towards victims of trafficking
Direct Provides a direct measure of an intended result. Outputs/ Outcomes % of target population with increased awareness of how to obtain legal assistance [by surveying target communities]
Indirect / Proxy Often used when the most direct indicator is not practical (e.g., data collection is too costly; project is being implemented in a closed society or conflict zone). Outputs/ Outcomes Number of new shelters opened [Assumption: physical access to shelters is inhibiting access]
Common Common Performance Indicators Outputs/


Number of protection trainings and number of calls to a trafficking hotline
Custom Project specific indicators used to capture progress toward a project’s specific objectives. Outputs/ Outcomes Number of case management systems implemented; number of laws, policies or procedures stalled, revised, or changed.

Indicator Design Strategies

Determine if indicator data would provide useful information: The TIP Office would like applicants to focus on useful indicators (see below for our checklist on determining if indicators are beneficial). If the indicator does not provide useful information—i.e., if staff or the TIP Office cannot use it for program management, or it does not provide an indication of performance—then the applicant should reconsider its inclusion in the RMP.

Emphasize quality over quantity: Including more indicators within the RMP does not necessarily make the plan better, especially if those indicators are not useful to project staff, your organization, or the TIP Office. It is fine to have just a few indicators under each objective if those indicators are relevant and useful.

Cost vs. benefit: Applicants should consider how they plan to collect the data and the amount of time it would take for project staff to collect, analyze, and report on indicator data. Determine if it is possible to collect the data and whether the cost and time are worth the level of information generated by the proposed indicators.

Results Monitoring Plans (RPMs) can change: RMPs should be considered working documents. Grantees should aim to not change indicators frequently, in order to measure change throughout the life of the project. However, a grantee may find that, after project implementation has begun, a certain indicator is not providing useful data. If that is the case, it is fine to replace or delete the indicator.

What might need to be changed within the RMP? Grantees can modify an indicator, or the RMP as a whole, if it is not providing useful information. Generally, indicators will be deleted, or indicator components (e.g., definition, target, frequency of reporting, data collection methods) will be modified.

How can grantees modify their RMP? This is a relatively easy process. Grantees should speak to their TIP Office Program Officer first. After the grantee and the Program Officer agree on changes to the RMP, the grantee must then upload the revised RMP to SAMS Domestic.

RMP Tips:

  • Output Indicators: Do not rely predominantly on CPIs and output indicators.
  • Outcome Indicators: Both output- and outcome-level indicators are necessary for reporting results. However, outcome indicators generally measure higher-level effects and can be paired with additional narrative to tell a project’s story.
  • Setting Baselines: Baselines are frequently zero (0) for new projects but can also be “to be determined” (TBD). If participants have not yet attended training, the baseline would be TBD within the RMP until their pre-training knowledge was measured with a pre-test.
  • Setting Targets: Targets should be ambitious yet achievable, considering available resources, the project timeframe, achievements from similar projects, and the operating environment.
  • Are indicators “SMART”? Are they: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound?

Checklist: Performance Indicators

Performance indicators should be identified and defined carefully, as it takes time and resources to collect, analyze and report on data. Applicants should review indicators carefully when establishing a project RMP; this can eliminate unnecessary reporting burdens and make the most of project resources.

While outputs can be measured with one indicator, outcomes may need to be measured with several to show that project activities are contributing to the achievement of project objectives. If a particular indicator does not provide the data an organization needs, there are several options, including:

  1. developing a set of indicators to measure one condition;
  2. revising the indicator to improve its quality;
  3. deciding that this indicator represents the best option available, and noting its limitations;
  4. identifying a new indicator; or,
  5. considering whether it is necessary to have an indicator and whether the activity or result could be evaluated using other methods (e.g., case studies, Most Significant Change).

Indicators are not perfect. If limitations exist within the performance indicators selected for a project, applicants should document these in the project RMP (in the ‘Known Data Limitations’ column).

Applicants are highly encouraged to use the table below as a tool to help design indicators on their own, but should not incorporate the table in the project narrative. For the purpose of this application, indicators should be included in the RMP, and a sample list of indicators should be included in the project narrative.

Criteria Rating

(Yes/ Somewhat/ No)

Is the indicator defined so that it is clear what is being measured? Have disaggregates been specified?
Would two or more project staff members measure it in the same way? For percentages, are the numerator and denominator defined? Can data be collected to report on the indicator?
Are indicator targets achievable, given the time and resources for the project?
After collecting data, does it give an indication of whether progress has been made toward activities, outputs, outcomes, and objectives? Will the data be used for decision-making?
Has the frequency for data collection, reporting and analysis been set? Are targets set on a quarterly basis or other timeframes (e.g., fiscal year, cumulative project)?

Annex C: Timeline (required)

Applicants must provide the timeline in the form of a Gantt chart to demonstrate the relationship among planned activities and between them and the broader Project Goal and objectives.

Applicants who choose to use the timeline template provided may need to make adjustments to tailor the listed duration and number of listed activities to match those of proposed projects:

  • Applicants should rename “Project Title” and “Organization Name.”
  • Applicants should rename “Activity 1,” “Activity 2,” etc., as needed to match the proposed project activities and listed the individual responsible for each activity.
  • Applicants should fill in the proposed start dates for each activity in Column B and fill in the columns to reflect the amount of time to be spent on the activity.

Budget Annexes: Summary Budget, Line-Item Budget, and Budget Narrative

Applicants should use the required templates for each budget on SAMS Domestic.

The budget must be presented in the three separate formats described below: Budget Summary, Line-Item Budget, and Budget Narrative. The three budget formats must be submitted in separate documents to be considered for funding. If your application has voluntary cost share, please be sure to list it in the appropriate columns as demonstrated below.

The summary budget, line-item budget, and budget narrative submitted must specify the total amount of funding requested and the amount spent per year and must be in U.S. dollars.

Annex D: Budget Summary by Project Year (required)

Provide a summary budget showing totals for the categories listed below for each year of the project. Only include the cost-share column if the requested budget includes voluntary cost-share. Please provide a figure rounded to the nearest $100,000 for the total federal funds requested.

For your convenience, a sample is listed below.

Budget Summary Categories Year XX Year XX Cost Share

(If applicable)

Total Federal Funds Requested Total Cost of Project

(includes cost-share, if applicable)

1. Personnel
2. Fringe Benefits
3. Travel
4. Equipment
5. Supplies
6. Contractual
7. Construction
8. Other Direct Costs
9. Total Direct Costs (lines 1-8)
10. Indirect Costs
11. Total Costs (lines 9-10)

Annex E: Line-Item Budget (required)

Provide a breakdown or spreadsheet showing costs in each of the budget categories listed below, with detailed calculations showing estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar detail per project year. Any cost-share presented must be broken down according to line items. Please provide a figure rounded to the nearest $100,000 for the total federal funds requested across all budget categories. A line-item budget must be provided for the prime applicant and sub-grantees. If applicable, applicants must account for translation costs in their budget.

Applicants must address the following line-items:

Personnel – For each staff person, provide information such as job title, time commitment to the project as a percentage of full-time equivalent, annual salary (or wage rate), and salary from grant funds.

Fringe Benefits – Provide one fringe line item per one employee.

Travel – Identify staff and participant travel, including international airfare, in-country travel, domestic travel in the U.S., and per diem/maintenance (includes lodging, meals, and incidentals for both participant and staff travel). Rates of maximum allowance for U.S. and foreign travel are available at Per diem rates may not exceed the published USG allowance rates, but applicants may use lower per diem rates.

Equipment – For each type of equipment requested, describe the equipment, the cost per unit, the number of units, and the total cost. Equipment is defined as tangible property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per item.

Supplies – List items separately using unit costs (and the percentage of each unit cost being charged to the grant) for items such as photocopying, postage, telephone/fax, printing, and office supplies.

Contractual – Provide the costs of all contracts for services and goods, except for those that belong under other categories (such as equipment, supplies, construction, etc.).

For each sub-award or contract known at the time of application, provide a detailed line-item budget as a separate tab explaining specific costs and services. If consultants will be used in the grant, provide all costs related to their activities, including travel and per diem costs. Budget totals for additional subawards that will be determined later in project implementation should be listed under the Contractual budget category. If consultants will be used in the grant, provide all costs related to their activities, including travel and per diem costs.

Construction – Construction costs are defined as non-major costs for rearrangement and alteration or reconversion or renovation of facilities. This includes normal alterations to modify any buildings or grounds, such as replacing doors or painting. Please refer to the funding restrictions on construction under Section 5 “Funding Restrictions.”

Other Direct Costs – (These will vary depending on the nature of the grant.) Provide computations for all other costs. These costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to insurance, food, professional services, space and equipment rentals, stipends, telephone, and electricity.

Indirect Charges – Indirect charges are costs that have been incurred for common or joint objectives of an organization and cannot be readily identified with a particular cost objective. These costs are determined by the recipient’s accounting system’s definition. Generally, a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA) is not warranted unless an organization has many U.S. government awards at one time. If applicants do not have a NICRA, they can include a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC). (Please note, the MTDC base excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each sub-award in excess of $25,000.) Organizations that do not have a NICRA will not be disqualified or penalized.

Annex F: Budget Narrative (required)

This section is a brief, two-to-three-sentence explanation of each line item that justifies identified costs.

Please expand on the line-items listed below in the budget narrative.

Personnel – Identify staffing requirements by each position title with a brief description of duties, percentage of time dedicated to the project(s), work locations and other justifications for these costs as they relate to the project.

Fringe Benefits – Provide a breakdown of the amounts and percentages that comprise fringe benefit costs for employees, including health insurance, FICA, retirement insurance and taxes. List fringe benefit costs separately from salary costs and explain how benefits are computed for each category of employee.

Travel – Provide a description of travel costs, including the purpose of the travel, how the travel relates to the project, and who will be traveling under these costs.

Equipment – Provide justification for any planned equipment purchase/rental for the project. Note that equipment is defined as tangible property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.

Supplies – Describe general categories of supplies and their direct use for the project.

Contractual – Describe each contractual or consultant cost and outline the necessity of each for the project.

Construction – Describe each of the construction costs as anticipated during the course of the grant. Please refer to the funding restrictions on construction under Section 5 “Funding Restrictions”.

Other Direct Costs – Provide a narrative description and a justification for each cost under this category and describe how the costs specifically relate to this project.

Indirect Charges – Describe the cost rate used to calculate indirect charges.

Annex G: Security, Risk Mitigation, and Contingency Planning (required)

To the extent possible, identify those facts about the operating environment that are true at the time of the proposal and will need to stay true for the project’s logic to remain valid. How likely is it that each will remain true? What are the implications if they do not? Based on that analysis, how risky is the project from the perspective of whether it will meet its goal?

Separately, describe how the project could cause inadvertent harm and how the project and implementation strategy are designed to mitigate that risk. If applicable, describe the safety and security risk to personnel involved in implementing the project and how that risk will be mitigated.

Applicants must use the template provided for Annex G.

Annex H: Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA)*

*This is not applicable to all applicants and is only required for those applicants that have a NICRA.

A Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) is a document published to reflect an estimate of indirect cost rate negotiated between the Federal Government and a grantee organization, which reflects the indirect costs (facilities and administrative costs) and fringe benefit expenses incurred by the organization that will be the same across all of the agencies of the United States.

Applicants that have a NICRA must submit a copy of the current NICRA between their organization and the relevant U.S. government agency. It should clearly indicate the type of Indirect Rate used (e.g., Provisional, Predetermined, Final, or Fixed).

Not all organizations may have a NICRA and organizations that do not have a NICRA will not be disqualified or penalized. Applicants that do not have a NICRA can include a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC).

Annex I: Resumes/CVs for Key Personnel (required)

If key personnel have already been identified for the proposed project, applicants must submit the relevant individuals’ resume/CVs. Key personnel are defined as individuals who contribute to the program development or execution of a project in a substantive measurable way; this is typically a program director or program manager. No more than five positions should be identified as key personnel.

Each resume/CV shall include the individual’s educational background, current employment status, and previous work experience, including position title, duties performed, dates in position, and employing organizations. The resume should highlight skills relevant to managing the program, including donor coordination, grants management, and anti-trafficking-in-persons expertise.

If the key personnel selected to work on the proposed program will also be working on another TIP Office program or project that is already being funded, please provide the time commitments for both the existing program and proposed program.

You may consolidate resumes/CVs into one document.

Annex J: Letters of Agreement or Letters of Intent to Cooperate (required)

Applicants must demonstrate existing relationships with human trafficking stakeholders in Nepal. Coordination with a local research institution or human trafficking expert is required, so applicants should highlight past or current partnerships.

Therefore, applicants must propose one or more partnerships between NGOs, and universities, private sector entities, or governments and should submit letters of intent to cooperate from the entity or entities that indicate their willingness to form a partnership for the purposes of the program. All letters of partnership from intended sub-recipients may be submitted in a foreign language, however, if selected for funding the applicant will be asked to submit an English translation. Other letters of endorsement, such as from the Government of Nepal, may be submitted in a foreign language with an informal English translation. Applicants should not approach or include letters of intent from any U.S. embassies or consulates.

Annex K: Donor History Form

Include a list of previous and/or current U.S. federal assistance awards received to combat trafficking in persons or related topics within the past 10 years. Please include the awarding agency, name of the project, start and end dates, a brief description of the award and target population, and amount of the award. Applicants that have not received previous U.S. federal assistance should instead list current or past projects supported by other donors. Applicants that have not received donor funds should provide a list of current or past projects implemented on or related to trafficking in persons.

While no template is provided for Annex K, applicants are encouraged to submit a Word document using 12-point Calibri font.

  1. Cornwall, A., & Jewkes, R. (1995). What is participatory research? Social Science & Medicine, 41(12), 1667–1676.
  2. Cargo, M., & Mercer, S. L. (2008). The value and challenges of participatory research: Strengthening its practice. Annual Review of Public Health, 29(1), 325–350.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future