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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration > What We Are Saying > Fact Sheets and Newsletters > 2003
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
February 11, 2003

FY2003 PRM Guidelines for NGO Projects: Emergency Relief for Afghan Refugees and Returnees


The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)

The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) has primary responsibility within the U.S. Government for formulating U.S. foreign policy on population, refugees, and migration, and for administering U.S. refugee assistance and admissions programs. In this capacity, PRM has the lead role within the State Department in responding to complex humanitarian emergencies around the world. The Bureau also is responsible for policy leadership on the U.S. Government’s international population policies and programs, and it serves as the focal point within the U.S. Government for multilateral coordination of international migration policies and programs.

PRM’s primary refugee assistance and admissions goals relate to protection and the achievement of durable solutions. A key PRM objective is to guarantee that refugees and returning refugees worldwide have access to basic, life-sustaining resources in ways that meet internationally accepted standards of care in shelter, food supply, nutrition, water supply, sanitation, and public health. PRM’s program priorities include the promotion of refugee and returnee women’s equal access to resources -- and their participation in managing those resources. PRM also focuses considerable attention on meeting the special needs of refugee and returnee children. Security and neutrality of refugee camps and humanitarian structures is also a key concern. PRM relies mainly on UNHCR and other international organizations (IOs) to provide the basic framework of assistance to refugees and returnees, but it traditionally funds a number of NGO programs directly to fill critical gaps.

Afghan Humanitarian Crisis

The situation inside Afghanistan has changed dramatically in the past year and a half, which has given rise to a new set of humanitarian and political priorities. Prior to the demise of the Taliban in late 2001, the UN estimated that between 5 and 7 million Afghans in Afghanistan and neighboring countries were in need of assistance due to decades of armed conflict, three years of devastating drought, and Taliban misrule and oppression. The fall of the Taliban paved the way for the historic Bonn process and the loya jirga, which brought the current transitional government to power. On the humanitarian front, access to critical humanitarian supply routes was regained, UN and NGO offices were opened around the country, and most significantly, 2 million Afghan refugees returned to their homes.

The record repatriation of Afghans since October 2001 represents a major success of the international community’s efforts. Afghan refugees have placed their faith in the efforts of the transitional government and international community to bring stability, peace, and prosperity to Afghanistan. UNHCR expects that refugees will continue to “vote with their feet” beginning in March 2003, predicting that as many as 1.2 million Afghan refugees and 300,000 IDPs will return to Afghanistan during the year. While this represents an overall positive development, most of these returnees, as well as many other segments of the Afghan population, continue to require humanitarian assistance. It is currently estimated that as much as twenty percent of Afghanistan’s population of 26 million remains dependent on some form of humanitarian relief, with persons at risk thought to be about 5.2 million. Moreover, UNHCR estimates that over 3 million Afghan refugees currently remain in Pakistan and Iran. Due to the security situation, ongoing drought, persecution of certain ethnic groups, and a lack of adequate reintegration assistance, a significant number of Afghan refugees likely will remain in Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and will continue to require protection and assistance during the year and beyond.

The U.S. Government has consistently been the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to Afghans and provided over $530 million in fiscal year 2002 alone. Of this amount, PRM contributed over $145 million for programs benefiting Afghan refugees, returnees, IDPs, and conflict victims. While most of PRM’s share of funding goes toward the funding appeals of UN agencies and other IOs, a portion is made available for the direct funding of NGO programs for emergency relief to Afghan refugees and returnees.

NGO Proposals

PRM regards UNHCR as the lead humanitarian agency for Afghan refugee and returnee assistance. Nevertheless, UNHCR cannot cover all refugee/returnee needs and looks to NGOs to fill critical gaps. PRM will begin reviewing proposals from NGOs that address such gaps. These guidelines are intended to help NGOs prepare proposals that target PRM’s current funding priorities and follow the required proposal format. PRM will accept proposals from any NGO that is able to satisfy these guidelines, but priority will be given to proposals from those organizations with an established presence in the region and a proven track record in providing assistance to Afghans. Proposals must present evidence of coordination with UNHCR, and other lead international organizations, as appropriate. Project proposals should also be coordinated with relevant governments. NGOs that have never received PRM funding must be prepared to demonstrate that their organizations meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. Government, before they will be eligible to receive PRM funding. Proposals that are not consistent with the guidance herein may be rejected without review.

Current Funding Priorities

At the present time, PRM seeks to focus its funding for Afghans on the following activities, in general order of priority:

Reintegration assistance for Afghan returnees. PRM will support the efforts of UNHCR and its partners to ensure that the 2 million returnees from 2002, as well as an anticipated 1.2 million returnees in 2003, will become anchored in their home communities. To this end, PRM will support NGO projects that provide reintegration assistance to recent and future returnees and will particularly support projects that complement UNHCR’s activities and fill critical gaps in existing assistance programs. NGO projects should aim to anchor returnees in Afghanistan, enable communities to better support those refugees who have returned home, and build capacity to absorb additional returnees. Within this category, PRM will give priority to NGO projects that provide life-saving, life-sustaining or other critical reintegration support to recent returnees, with emphasis on one or more of the following activities:

  • Shelter rehabilitation and repair
  • Water and sanitation systems rehabilitation and repair
  • Basic healthcare, reproductive healthcare, and maternal/child healthcare
  • Supplemental feeding and nutritional programs
  • Primary education (school construction or rehabilitation, teacher training, provision of materials and equipment, etc.)
  • Projects that promote sustainable livelihoods for returning refugees
Emergency relief for Afghan refugees who arrived within the last 2 years. So-called new-caseload refugees (those who arrived after September 11, 2002) who choose to remain in Pakistan for the foreseeable future face a particularly difficult situation. Whereas many of the old-caseload refugees live in village-like camps and have achieved some degree of self-reliance, most of the newly arrived refugees live in camps that are relatively isolated, close to the Afghan border, and receive little assistance. According to UNHCR statistics, only 6% of new-caseload refugees repatriated in 2002. PRM will continue to give priority to NGO projects that fill critical assistance gaps to newly arrived Afghan refugees. Within this category, PRM will give priority to programs that focus on one or more of the following activities:

  • Provision of health and water and sanitation services
  • Care and maintenance of at-risk refugee populations (women, children, elderly)
  • Primary education with an emphasis on equal education for girls
  • Supplemental feeding and nutritional programs for refugee children
  • Programs that provide refugees with training and skills that will help them reintegrate into their home communities if and when they repatriate

Assistance to old-caseload refugees. Over the years, PRM has funded a number of NGO programs targeting old-caseload refugees in camps in Pakistan. The majority of these programs have targeted vulnerable and underserved groups among the refugee population with highly focused activities. PRM is interested in supporting programs for those vulnerable and underserved refugees that continue to require assistance, and will consider proposals for the continuation of activities benefiting old-caseload refugees. Within this category, PRM will give priority to programs that focus on one or more of the following activities:

  • Basic healthcare, reproductive healthcare, and maternal/child healthcare
  • Water and sanitation, hygiene and nutrition
  • Child-focused health and education programs with an emphasis on equal education for girls
  • Programs that provide refugees with training and skills that will help them reintegrate into their home communities if and when they repatriate
  • Assistance to urban or “invisible” refugees
All NGO proposals submitted to PRM should demonstrate how the program would address the special needs of Afghan women and girls. Every effort should be made to empower and involve women in decision-making related to the program activities.

PRM expects that many NGO projects will target mixed communities composed of refugees (or returnees), IDPs, and members of local populations. Proposed projects should target communities in which at least 50% of the beneficiary population is expected to be refugees or returning refugees.

NGOs are encouraged to propose programs that include a mix of elements from the above categories. Although the list is not intended to be exclusive or binding, and PRM remains open to considering a broad range of NGO activities, priority will be given to programs that include one or more of these elements.

Applicants are encouraged to submit concept papers prior to a full proposal if they are unsure whether or not the proposed activity is consistent with PRM’s current priorities.

Submitting Proposals

Proposals will be reviewed and processed in two stages. PRM will review and approve a first tranche of proposals that are received no later than March 15, 2003. Proposals that are received by PRM after the first tranche will be reviewed shortly after May 15, 2003, which is the final deadline for submission of NGO proposals. Proposals should be written in font size no smaller than 11 point and be no longer than 20 pages, including budgets and annexes. Each official submission to PRM must include a signed, dated cover letter on NGO letterhead, and the three USG - required certifications mentioned below (available from PRM/Washington upon request – not included in the 20 page limit). Applicants should mail submissions from their Headquarters to PRM at the Washington, DC address listed below, and send an electronic copy of the proposal by e-mail. The PRM addressee must be made aware that the proposal is on its way by mail, or the package risks being turned away by Diplomatic Security. Questions can also be addressed to the individuals listed below.

Please address proposals or questions to:

Liana Brooks-Rubin

Doug Kelly

Melissa Pitotti

Mailing address:

Department of State
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
2401 E St. NW
Suite L505, SA-1
Washington, D.C. 20522-0105

PRM field offices (for questions and coordination):


Mark Jackson, Refugee Coordinator
U.S. Embassy Kabul
Tel: (93) (70) 201922
E-Mail: jacksonmh@state.gov


Angie Bryan, Refugee Coordinator
U.S. Embassy Islamabad
Tel: (92)(51)2080-2309
Fax: (92)(51)227-6427
E-Mail: bryana@state.gov

Proposal Format

Proposals submitted to PRM must be written according to the following format. Proposals that do not follow the format will be returned to the applicant.

I. Executive Summary

  • The executive summary should include the following information and be limited to one page:
  • Name of organization
  • Contact information (Headquarters and in-country)
  • Points of contact, titles
  • Project title
  • Countries/regions targeted by project
  • Number and description of beneficiaries
  • Proposed period of activity
  • Total dollar amount of project - Include a breakdown of the dollar amount requested from PRM, the dollar amount provided through other sources and the dollar amount of in-kind contributions.
  • Budget summary
  • Brief project description – In one, succinct paragraph describe the problem and how it will be addressed. Also state the goal and expected results of the project.
II. Problem Analysis

This section should provide the rational and justification for the proposal as follows:

A. Background
Describe the anticipated and/or known elements of the humanitarian emergency, but only as they relate to the proposed project. DO NOT provide a general description of the humanitarian situation in and around Afghanistan.

B. Analysis
Provide a synthesis of assessments or other descriptive and analytical efforts that have been conducted to determine the nature of the problem. Indicate dates, sources of information, and describe the most critical needs, vulnerabilities or capacities that were identified.

C. Profile of the Target Population
At-risk populations should be qualified by number, current location, health status, length of time they have been in country of first asylum or amount of time since they returned to Afghanistan, percentage of beneficiaries who are refugees/returnees and demographic characteristics including gender, age, and ethnicity (where political circumstances allow), and any other unique or germane factors distinguishing the population. Please explain, where appropriate, the relationships between direct and indirect beneficiaries. Please cite information sources.

D. Need
Show how this proposal fills a gap in UNHCR’s coverage of the beneficiary population.

III. Program Goals and Objectives

A. Program Goal
Define the goal, objectives and assumptions of the program. Organize the proposal based on the stated objectives that, in turn, should be distinct, quantifiable and measurable.

B. Indicators
Provide measurable indicators for assessing progress toward achievement of each objective and explain how they are to be measured. SPHERE Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response should be used in developing indicators.

IV. Program Description

This is the core of a proposal. It should clearly and concisely outline the implementation plan for each objective including those elements described below, as appropriate. It should reflect a thorough understanding of the problem described in Section II.

A. Implementation Plan
For each objective, provide a detailed implementation plan. Identify the targeted population. Describe any goods and services to be provided, and the standard of delivery used (i.e. SPHERE). If the standard of delivery differs from an accepted international standard, provide justification for the variance.

B. Suggested Elements

1. Context-Specific Programming
Ensure that the proposal reflects an understanding of the particular characteristics of the humanitarian emergency context.

2. Beneficiary Interaction and Capacity Building
Explain how the activity fits within, and enhances, the existing capacities of the beneficiary population. Indicate how the program draws upon and supports traditional coping mechanisms and involves the targeted population in its design and implementation.

3. Coordination Efforts
Indicate if this program will stand alone, or if it is part of a larger country program. Describe how the program fits into the broader country program, if applicable.

Explain how this program will be coordinated with government ministries. In the case of Afghanistan projects, specify whether or not the NGO is included in the Transitional Afghanistan Program for Afghanistan (TAPA).

Explain efforts to coordinate with UNHCR and other international organizations or NGOs to prevent overlap and duplication. Explain how the program will interface with and complement these programs, as applicable.

Describe what other NGOs are doing in the same region, identify any links between their programs and yours, and explain how your activities are coordinated.

Describe the proposed initiative’s possible regional (cross-border) implications.

4. Proposals must include a copy of the NGO’s Codes of Conduct (which should reflect the IASC’s six core principles), and a discussion of how the codes of conduct will be reflected in project implementation.

V. Management and Security

A. Program management
Provide details on the following areas of the program’s management:

1. Describe the organization’s management structure. Describe how this structure will be used to achieve the stated objectives.

2. Provide examples of past performance that demonstrate the organization’s success in implementing similar programs.

B. Security
1. Describe the current security situation in the region of the program’s operation.
2. Provide details on the organization’s ability to achieve program objectives given the current level of insecurity. Describe how the program will respond to a deterioration of the security situation.
3. Identify indicators that will be used to assess when program objectives cannot be met, and when the program would be suspended, due to security concerns.
4. State whether or not your organization and its Board of Directors have adopted the Interaction Security Planning Guidelines. If not, explain.

VI. Monitoring and Performance Measurement

A. Monitoring Plan
Describe your monitoring plan. Include, at a minimum, the following elements in the description:

1. A time line to help PRM track the program’s progress.
2. Indicators and details on how they will be measured, including frequency of the measurements, units of measure, dates when indicators will be met, etc.
3. Monitoring tools such as clinic records, rapid assessment surveys, etc.
4. Organizations that received FY2002 funding from PRM should also include an assessment of their programs’ success in meeting their goals.

B. Performance measurement
Establish, where possible, baseline and expected performance targets for each objective.

VII. Budget

Include a detailed budget that is broken down by each objective of the proposed program. Staffing and office needs often cannot be easily allotted to specific objectives and can be given for the whole program, if more appropriate. Be sure the budget also includes a breakdown of the dollar amount requested from PRM, the dollar amount(s) coming from other sources (including your own organization) and the dollar amount of in-kind contributions. Indicate clearly the funding source for each activity. The budget must also be accompanied by a summary budget of the major line items and a budget narrative.

VIII. Administrative Requirements

All submissions must include the following:

  • Original proposal in triplicate
  • Copy of the organization’s U.S. Government Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.
  • The following U.S. Government Certifications, signed and dated
  • Certification Regarding Lobbying
  • Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters
  • Certification Regarding Drug-free Workplace Requirements
  • Information in support of any cost-sharing/cost-matching arrangements
  • Information detailing the source of any in-kind contributions
  • Details on any sub-agreements associated with the program
  • Copy of the organization’s Code of Conduct, which should reflect the IASC’s six core principles
  • If the organization has not previously received funding from PRM, copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit, 2) incorporation papers and 3) confirmation of non-profit tax status.

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