FY 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcement For Research Projects To Strengthen Evidence-Based Humanitarian Decision Making By PRM And Its Partners Worldwide



Published on 13 February 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson

(WireNews+Co)

Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State

Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-PRMOAPGL-14-001-047929

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number: 
19.522 - Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for Strategic Global Priorities

Announcement issuance date: Wednesday, February, 12, 2014

Proposal submission deadline: Wednesday, April, 16, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

**ADVISORY: All applicants must submit proposals through the website Grants.gov. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to allow time to address any difficulties that may arise.**

If you are new to PRM funding, the Grants.gov registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher.

Proposed program start dates: May – June 2014

Eligible Applicants: (1) Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; (2) Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; (3) Private institutions of higher education; (4) Public and State controlled institutions of higher education; and (5) International Organizations. International multilateral organizations, such as United Nations agencies, should not submit proposals through Grants.gov in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement. Multilateral organizations that are seeking funding for programs relevant to this announcement should contact the relevant PRM Program Officer (as listed below) on or before the closing date of this funding announcement so that PRM can evaluate all IO and NGO programs for funding consideration.

Duration of Activity: No more than 12 months. In funding a project one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the project in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term funding possibilities.

Current Funding Priorities: PRM will prioritize funding for projects involving research, assessment, formative evaluation, and the development of tools, operational guidance, and/or best practices to strengthen evidence-based humanitarian decision-making concerning one or more of the following topics/research questions:

1. Understanding Refugee Return to Urban Areas: PRM seeks to build the evidence base concerning trends in refugee returns to urban areas and implications for protection and assistance prior to return. Strong proposals will compare at least two countries with refugee returns to urban areas, engage urban returnees concerning their experience returning and reintegrating, and answer the following questions:

(1) What factors contributed to their decision to return?

(2) Did they return to their area of origin, and if not, why? For those urban returnees whose area of origin was not urban, what factors led to their settlement in urban areas?

(3) What kind of assistance did refugees receive prior to return?

(4) Were refugees adequately prepared for return?

(5) What forms of assistance were or were not beneficial?

(6) Which agencies have been engaged in supporting the reintegration process?

(7) How well coordinated were the services for returnees?

(8) What good practices could be duplicated in other countries especially in regard to innovative partnership configurations such as the use of banks, vendor associations, etc.?

2. Promoting Coordination in Non-Camp Settings: Coordination in non-camp settings is often challenging. In urban settings, this is due in part to the multiplicity of humanitarian and development actors, including local NGOs, municipal authorities, international organizations, refugee groups, the private sector, civil society organizations, and others. Inversely, coordination in other non-camp settings, such as settlements, may be hindered by a lack of relevant humanitarian actors. In urban and other non-camp settings, there is a dearth of evidence surrounding coordination, and how best to ensure the right actors are engaged at the right time in the right way to respond to refugee needs. PRM seeks to support research that compares at least two refugee responses in urban and/or other non-camp settings, catalogues the range of relevant stakeholders involved in refugee protection and assistance, identifies factors that promote and hinder coordination amongst relevant actors, and provides concrete guidance for humanitarian actors seeking to engage. Researchers may include a component on tracking referrals, whether resources follow referrals, and whether the workload/capacity of organizations receiving referrals is tracked and taken into consideration. Research may also seek to answer questions focused on determining which tools better enable coordination, such as town hall meetings, websites, SMS alerts, and/or newsletters, and the models for credible and effective service provider leadership.

3. Adapting Humanitarian Response to Local Contexts: Research partners are invited to submit proposals that build the evidence base regarding best practices in mapping and partnering with local NGOs and civil society organizations to support refugee protection and assistance. There are often strong local NGOs and some degree of public services available in areas hosting refugees. It is critical that international humanitarian actors map existing services that are available to refugees, assess the capacity of the relevant service providers, develop strong referral systems, and partner with existing providers to ensure that they have the capacity to provide services to refugees. Strong proposals will examine at least two areas hosting refugee populations and address the following:

(1) How international humanitarian actors map existing services and identify relevant service providers to which refugees can be referred

(2) How humanitarian actors analyze those service providers’ capacity

(3) How in practice international actors provide support to those service providers to which refugees are referred

(4) Whether those service providers are provided sufficient support to manage the increased caseload

This research should identify best practices in mapping services, building the capacity of local partners to accommodate refugees, and incorporating local NGOs into effective referral systems, including through the ongoing mapping of legal aid services, which is often not conducted in a systematic manner. While PRM is particularly interested in research conducted in urban areas, we will also consider strong proposals examining other refugee-hosting contexts, such as settlements and camps.

4. Understanding the Relationship Between Statelessness and Gender-Based Violence (GBV): It is well documented that stateless populations are vulnerable to a wide range of protection threats. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding the extent of gender-based violence faced by stateless populations, and by extension, best practices in preventing and responding to GBV for stateless persons. PRM is interested in research proposals that explore the relationship between statelessness and vulnerability to GBV, both in the migratory context and in countries where stateless populations reside, with an emphasis on improving their protection. Strong proposals will analyze the relationship between statelessness and GBV in at least two countries, examine GBV risk factors in each country, and produce actionable recommendations, including recommendations for effective advocacy and programming to reduce risk factors and respond to GBV.

5. Health Impacts of Statelessness: While previous research has documented that statelessness has a negative impact on a person’s health generally, there is a lack of evidence of the specific health consequences of statelessness. PRM will consider proposals that use epidemiological methods to examine the impact of statelessness on health, particularly on women’s health, child health, and/or mental health. Strong proposals will build on previous research conducted by Kingston University on “The Cost of Statelessness,” and produce actionable recommendations for addressing identified health risks.

6. Assessing the Impact of International Community Advocacy on Gender Discrimination in Nationality Laws: In nearly 30 countries around the world, nationality laws discriminate against women by prohibiting them from transmitting citizenship to their children on an equal basis with men. Further research is needed to examine the effectiveness of international community advocacy on these laws pertaining to women and their families, particularly where such discriminatory laws result in statelessness for children. Strong research proposals will demonstrate both the effects of discriminatory laws and the impacts advocacy has on reforms by focusing on at least two countries where nationality laws discriminate against women, resulting in statelessness among children, and those that have recently reformed their laws to allow women to transmit citizenship to their children. PRM is particularly interested in proposals that include stateless populations in West Africa and/or Asia.

(a) Most competitive proposals will include multiple countries and/or populations. PRM will only accept country or population-specific proposals if a compelling case can be made that conclusions can be applied beyond the specific country or population. Please note that PRM will not fund research focusing only on a single NGO’s programming unless it is: (1) uniquely innovative programming; (2) conducted in an independent manner; and (3) would generate findings that are credible, generalizable, and relevant to a range of other humanitarian stakeholders. Although PRM encourages NGOs to conduct regular evaluations of their own work, in most cases this type of review would not qualify for funding under this Request for Proposals.

(b) PRM will prioritize funding for proposals that aim to produce practical policy or programmatic recommendations that are applicable to more than one specific population or country. All final reports should include tools, data, findings, and recommendations for policy and program implementation. Recommendations should be concrete, actionable, and directed to specific actors.

(c) All proposals must include a strategy for how the findings, recommendations, guidance, reports, and/or tools from the research project will be disseminated to relevant operational partners and the public.

(d) All proposals should clearly demonstrate how the proposed research builds on previous bodies of work and advances the knowledge base on global humanitarian policies and programs. Proposals should identify specific individuals conducting the research and demonstrate their qualifications for doing so.

(e) If applicable, proposals should describe how the proposed research project will include an assessment of (1) gender dynamics within the target population included in research activities (i.e., roles, power dynamics, and different needs of men and women, girls and boys); (2) associated risks and implementation challenges for the project posed by those dynamics; and (3) how the research team will mitigate any protection risks.

(f) PRM strongly recommends that applicants use PRM’s research proposal and budget templates for all proposal submissions. Please email PRM's NGO Coordinator for a copy of the recommended proposal templates, and see below for more information.

(g) PRM will accept proposals from non-governmental organizations, universities, and research institutes proposing to work in the above mentioned areas. To ensure that research findings inform policy and programs, PRM encourages academic institutions seeking funding to identify partners presently providing protection and/or humanitarian assistance in refugee settings to formulate and conduct the research and to inform programmatic recommendations. Priority will be given to proposals from organizations that can demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of UNHCR operations and findings from relevant UNHCR research and evaluations;
  • Collaboration with UNHCR and/or other relevant international or host governmental partners for the project being proposed. Researcher partners should note whether relevant UNHCR staff at Headquarters, Regional, and/or Country Offices have been consulted on the proposed research as they would play an important role in promoting the research recommendations;
  • A proven track record in conducting such research in the past, with a focus on the research and evaluation of humanitarian assistance programs and policies related to refugees, stateless persons, vulnerable migrants, and/or conflict victims;
  • Evidence of subject-matter expertise and familiarity with current and past research and activities in the proposed areas;
  • Evidence of coordination with donor governments, other policy and research institutes, international organizations (IOs), and other organizations working on research and/or activities for the project being proposed;
  • A concrete data collection and research implementation plan, project objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, and well-conceived linkages between research findings and recommendations for PRM metrics, policy, and/or programs; and
  • A budget that is appropriate for meeting the proposal’s objectives.

Funding Limits: Project proposals must not be more than $200,000 or they will be disqualified. As stated in PRM’sGeneral NGO Guidelines, PRM looks favorably on cost-sharing efforts and seeks to support projects with a diverse donor base and/or resources from the submitting organization.

Proposal Submission Requirements: Proposals must be submitted via Grants.gov. If you are new to PRM funding, the Grants.gov registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher. Applicants may also refer to the “Applicant Resources” page on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements (http://test.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-resources.html).

Please note the following highlights:

  • Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Grants.gov. Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should register well in advance of the deadline as it can take up to two weeks to finalize registration (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 System for Award Management (SAM) at www.sam.gov which can take weeks and sometimes months. We recommend that organizations, particularly first-time applicants, submit applications via Grants.gov no later than one week before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical difficulties that could result in an application not being considered. PRM partners must maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active federal award or an application under consideration by PRM or any federal agency.
  • Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.
  • If you encounter technical difficulties with Grants.gov please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at support@grants.gov 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 to the Grants.gov help desk, received a case number, and had a service request opened to research the problem, should contact the relevant PRM Program Officers (Bryan Schaaf at Schaafbj@state.gov or 202-453-9220 or Maria Wrzosek at WrzosekMD@state.gov or 202-453-922) to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.
  • Pursuant to U.S. Code, Title 218, Section 1001, stated on OMB Standard Form 424 (SF-424), the Department of State is authorized to consolidate the certifications and assurances required by Federal law or regulations for its federal assistance programs. The list of certifications and assurances can be found at: http://fa.statebuy.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=161&menu_id=68 )

Proposal Content, Formatting and Template: This announcement is designed to accompany PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, which contain additional administrative information on proposal content and formatting, and explain in detail PRM’s NGO funding strategy and priorities. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that your proposal submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.

PRM strongly recommends using the proposal and budget templates that are available upon email request from PRM's NGO CoordinatorSingle-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 20 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 15 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total however annexes cannot be relied upon as a key source of program information. The proposal narrative must be able to stand on its own in the application process and include the following:

  • Background: Describe the gaps in humanitarian knowledge that the research project aims to address. How will this research inform humanitarian programs and/or policies? What specific tools might be developed as a result of this research, and how and by whom would they be used?
  • Literature Review: Detail the current evidence base and how the proposed research project will build upon rather than duplicate existing knowledge, tools, and other resources.
  • Research Locations: Describe rationale for the proposed research locations. The proposal should identify the variables under study and why the locations are conducive to the research. Having programs in a specific country is not considered an adequate rationale. Proposals should note any concerns about gaining access and/or permission to conduct research. Briefly describe the security environment in the area of operation and how the researchers would respond to a deterioration of the security situation. Please identify any alternative sites that might be considered, should problems arise with the proposed research locations.
  • Methodology: Describe the rationale for quantitative and qualitative methods selected, noting the strengths and limitations of each, as well as the hypothesis and the variables being explored, and when possible, controlled for. Address any ethical issues pertaining to the methodology. Will this proposal require Institutional Review Board approval? If not, what specific steps will be taken to protect human subjects and their confidentiality?
  • Coordination: To what extent will the design, implementation, and dissemination of this research project be coordinated with UNHCR, other IO/NGOs, and host governments or institutions (e.g, universities)? PRM encourages partners to work with local universities and institutes when possible in order to build local research capacity.
  • Researchers: Identify members of the research team. Please provide bios, backgrounds, and credentials for carrying out the proposed research project. If your organization has not yet identified a research team or a lead researcher, please explain where you are in the process and indicate the criteria you will use to select members of the research team. Strong proposals will demonstrate that researchers are able to conduct research on sensitive issues and understand how to protect confidentiality.
  • Objectives and Indicators: Please outline the objectives for this project and highlight the key indicators that you will use to measure progress toward each objective. The types of indicators are input, output, outcome, and impact, and the number of each type will vary depending on the project design. Where possible, include baseline data for each indicator.
  • Dissemination Plan: Proposals should have a concrete dissemination strategy. It should identify final products of this research project and describe how the results will be actively disseminated to the broader international humanitarian community, including UNHCR, other IOs/NGOs, donors, and/or other relevant actors.
  • Sub-Contracts: List the exact name of all sub-contractors/sub-grantees with whom you plan to fund through this project including, for each, the legal name, organizational DUNS, address, and full name of organizational representative. Describe how you have vetted these organizations to comply with U.S. Executive Order and law that prohibits transactions with and the provision of support to organizations associated with terrorism.

To be considered for PRM funding, organizations must submit a complete application package including:

  • Proposal reflecting objectives and indicators for each year of the program period.
  • Budget and budget narrative for each year of the program period.
  • Signed completed SF-424.

In addition, proposal submissions to PRM should include the following information:

  • To increase PRM’s ability to track the impact of PRM funding, include specific information on locations of projects and beneficiaries (GPS coordinates if possible).
  • Proposals should outline how the NGO will acknowledge PRM funding. If an organization believes that publicly acknowledging the receipt of USG funding for a particular PRM-funded project could potentially endanger the lives of the beneficiaries and/or the organization staff, invite suspicion about the organization's motives, or alienate the organization from the population it is trying to help, it must provide a brief explanation in its proposal as to why it should be exempted from this requirement.
  • The budget should include a specific breakdown of funds being provided by UNHCR, other USG agencies, other donors, and your own organization. PRM strongly encourages multilateral support for humanitarian programs.
  • In FY 2014, PRM is asking applicants whose proposals address gender-based violence (GBV) through their projects to estimate the total cost of these activities as a separate line item in their proposed budgets. PRM’s budget template document has been updated to reflect this new requirement.
  • Copy of the organization’s Code of Conduct (required before an award can be made).
  • Copy of the organization’s Security Plan (required before an award can be made).
  • Proposals and budgets should include details of any sub-agreements associated with the program.
  • Most recent Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.
  • NGOs that have not received PRM funding since the U.S. government fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. government by submitting copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit, 2) proof of non-profit tax status including under IRS 501 (c)(3), as applicable, 3) a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and 4) an Employer ID (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification number.
  • Organizations that received PRM funding in FY 2013 for activities that are being proposed for funding under this announcement must include the most recent quarterly progress report against indicators outlined in the cooperative agreement. If an organization’s last quarterly report was submitted more than six weeks prior to the submission of a proposal in response to this funding announcement, the organization must include, with its most recent quarterly report, updates that show any significant progress made on objectives since the last report.

Reports and Reporting Requirements:

Program reporting: PRM requires quarterly and final program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. It is highly suggested that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended program report template. To request this template, send an email with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line to PRM's NGO Coordinator.

Financial Reports: Financial reports are required within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar year quarter during the validity period of the agreement; a final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement.

For more details regarding reporting requirements please see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines.

Proposal Review Process: PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all proposals submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced proposal evaluation criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.

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.

Applicant Vetting as a Condition of Award for RFPs for Afghanistan, Guatemala, Kenya, Lebanon, Philippines, and Ukraine: Applicants are advised that successful passing of vetting to evaluate the risk that funds may benefit terrorists or their supporters is a condition of award. Applicants may be asked to submit information required by DS Form 4184,Risk Analysis Information about their company and its principal personnel. Vetting information is also required for all subaward performance on assistance awards identified by DOS as presenting a risk of terrorist financing. When vetting information is requested by the Grants Officer, information may be submitted on the secure web portal at https://ramportal.state.gov, via email to RAM@state.gov, or hardcopy to the Grants Officer. Questions about the form may be emailed to RAM@state.gov. Failure to submit information when requested, or failure to pass vetting, may be grounds for rejecting your proposal. The following clause shall be included in Section 9, Special Award Conditions, or as an addendum to the solicitation, whenever assistance is awarded after vetting:

  • Recipient Vetting After Award: Recipients shall advise the Grants Officer of any changes in personnel listed in the DS Form 4184, Risk Analysis Information, and shall provide vetting information on new individuals. The government reserves the right to vet these personnel changes and to terminate assistance awards for convenience based on vetting results.

Branding and Marking Strategy: Unless exceptions have been approved by the designated bureau Authorizing Official as described in the proposal templates that are available upon email request from PRM's NGO Coordinator, at a minimum, the following provision will be included whenever assistance is awarded:

  • As a condition of receipt of this assistance award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under this agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, event backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the standard U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity. Subrecipients and subsequent tier sub-award agreements are subject to the marking requirements and the recipient shall include a provision in the subrecipient agreement indicating that the standard, rectangular U.S. flag is a requirement. In the event the recipient does not comply with the marking requirements as established in the approved assistance agreement, the Grants Officer Representative and the Grants Officer must initiate corrective action.

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. Please note that responses to technical questions from PRM do not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.

PRM Policy Officers:

Bryan Schaaf at Schaafbj@state.gov or 202-453-9220, Washington, DC

Maria Wrzosek at WrzosekMD@state.gov or 202-453-9227, Washington, DC

 


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Posted 2014-02-13 09:31:00