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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 > 2004
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
March 17, 2004

FY 2004 PRM Guidelines for NGO Projects: Assistance for Iraqi Refugees and Returnees


The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) has primary responsibility within the U.S. Government for formulating U.S. foreign policy on refugee and migration issues, 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 situations around the world. The Bureau also is responsible for policy leadership on the U.S. Governmentís 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.

PRMís 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 returnees 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. PRMís program priorities include the promotion of refugee and returnee womenís 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. PRM supports UNHCR's guidelines, including those on the protection of refugee women and children.

PRM relies mainly on UNHCR and other international organizations 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.

Iraqís Refugee Situation

Iraqi refugees (UNHCR-recognized refugees and persons living in refugee-like situations) who were displaced over the past three decades live mostly in Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Kuwait, with smaller numbers living in Saudi Arabia and Syria. UNHCR expects as many as 500,000 Iraqis to return in the next 2 years. The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (CPA) and UNHCR have agreed that the conditions inside Iraq are not yet conducive to large-scale, assisted returns, and neither are promoting such efforts. But as security improves and infrastructure is rehabilitated, it is expected that Iraqis could begin to return home in larger numbers. In fact, some Iraqi refugees and IDPs inside Iraq have begun to return spontaneously.

UNHCR has the lead role for refugee returns to Iraq, though its capacity has been severely constrained since the UNís evacuation following the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad. The UN is considering the expansion of some of its down-sized assistance activities. Meanwhile, UNHCR continues to support recognized refugees in neighboring countries, and is developing a strategy for the return and reintegration of refugees with the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MDM). UNHCR also plays a role in IDP assistance and integration, supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A welcome development is the introduction of the new Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MDM). Supported by other relevant ministries, the MDM has taken the lead governmental role in facilitating the return and reintegration of refugees and IDPs, though its capacity needs to be strengthened. The MDM also will oversee the function of the Iraq Property Claims Commission (IPCC), whose role is important for justice and reconciliation. The CPA has a refugee/IDP advisory office that is helping the MDM to establish policy, build capacity, and coordinate programs related to returns and reintegration. It is a key PRM priority to help build an institutional capacity within the Iraqi Government to manage the return and reintegration process, working closely with the UN and NGO partners.

NGO Proposals

When the UN expands its limited operations in Iraq, its capacity will be constrained at first. The UN needs experienced implementing partners and will look to NGOs to fill critical gaps, in close coordination with UNHCR and UNOHCI. PRM intends to support this engagement of NGO actors, who may have greater mobility, connection with affected populations, and operational capacity inside Iraq. PRM will review, on a rolling basis, NGO proposals for activities that address UN gaps and the capacity building requirements of the MDM. Priority will be given to proposals that serve refugees and persons of concern to UNHCR.

PRM will also consider proposals for IDP assistance inside Iraq, especially in areas to which refugees and IDPs are returning. As the U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has primary responsibility within the U.S. Government for IDP issues, PRM will only consider proposals focusing on IDP assistance after they have been submitted and reviewed by USAID/OFDA. Proposals deemed worthy of funding, but for which USAID/OFDA does not have funding, will be forwarded to PRM for consideration. Such proposals should be coordinated with UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Proposals to PRM should describe how NGOs will meet the needs of the most vulnerable and describe measures that ensure that women and children will have access to the program. They should also describe how NGOs will meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Proposals must include a copy of the NGO's Code of Conduct (which should reflect the IASC's six core principles), and a brief discussion of how the Code of Conduct will be reflected in project implementation.

These guidelines are intended to help NGOs prepare proposals that target PRMís current funding priorities and follow the required proposal format. PRM will accept proposals from any NGO that follows these guidelines, but priority will be given to proposals from those organizations with 1) an established presence in the region, 2) support from UNHCR, and 3) a demonstrable ability to achieve the project goals. A proven track record in providing assistance to Iraqis is desirable, but not mandatory. Proposals must present evidence of coordination with UNHCR and other lead international organizations. In addition, proposals should be coordinated with relevant governments, the Iraqi MDM, and the Coalition Provisional Authority. 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.

Current Funding Priorities

At the present time, PRM seeks to focus its Iraq funding on the following activities, in this order of priority:

Reintegration assistance for Iraqi returnees
The policy shared by UNHCR, CPA, and the Iraqi MDM is that returns should not be encouraged at present. Nonetheless, Iraqis are returning spontaneously, and PRM is interested in NGO programs that would help integrate returnees and support communities where there is a returnee presence. NGO programs should aim to anchor returnees in Iraq, enable communities to support those refugees who have returned home, and build capacity to absorb additional returnees in these communities. PRM favors proposals that complement UNHCRís activities and fill critical gaps in projected assistance programs. Priority will be given to programs inside Iraq. Unless extraordinary unmet needs can be identified, we do not anticipate funding new NGO programs for refugees in neighboring countries. Within this category, PRM will give priority to the following activities:

  • Shelter construction and rehabilitation
  • Water and sanitation systems construction and rehabilitation
  • Primary health care
  • Projects that promote sustainable livelihoods for returning refugees Primary education (school construction or rehabilitation, teacher training, provision of materials and equipment, etc.)

Capacity-building of Iraqi Institutions
Building the capacity of Iraqi institutions is key to managing a successful return and reintegration process that is sustainable and coordinated. An institution of central importance is the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MDM), which oversees policies and programs and helps to create the right political and legal environment for refugees, IDPs, and returnees. As a new ministry, the MDM needs the benefit of training, information management, legal and policy advice, and personnel support. In addition, capable local institutions -- both governmental and NGOs -- can facilitate the translation of policy into practice. Within this category, PRM will give priority to programs that focus on one or more of the following activities:

  • Training for government (from ministries to municipalities) and local NGOs
  • Personnel and management support for MDM (Baghdad and regional offices) and relevant ministries
  • Data collection and analysis of returnee demographics, needs, and capacities

Assistance to internally displaced persons
USAID/OFDA takes the USG lead on IDP assistance; however, PRM will consider NGO programs that support vulnerable, underserved IDP populations. As explained above, proposals must have been submitted to OFDA first.  Within this category, PRM will give priority to programs that focus on one or more of the following activities:

  • Shelter rehabilitation and repair
  • Water and sanitation systems rehabilitation and repair
  • Health and education infrastructure rehabilitation
  • Projects that promote sustainable livelihoods for returnees

PRM expects that some NGO projects inside Iraq would target mixed communities composed of refugees, IDPs, and members of local populations. 

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.

PRM program officers will review informal, brief concept papers prior to a full proposal if NGOs have questions about whether the proposed activities are consistent with PRMís current priorities.

Submitting Proposals

Each official submission to PRM must include a signed, dated cover letter on NGO letterhead, and the three USG-required certifications mentioned below (available on PRMís website at www.state.gov/g/prm. Organizations should submit their proposals to PRM/Washington (after appropriate consultation with PRM field staff, if applicable). In addition, proposals  that focus onm IDP populations should be submitted to USAID/OFDA for review.  Proposals should be no more than 10 pages in length (not including budget, budget narrative, SF 424, and required signed certifications). Descriptions of background information should be succinct; brevity is appreciated. Proposals should provide information on the NGOís experience in the particular region in past years. PRM will fund no more than a 12-month program, but is willing to consider supporting multi-year programs in principle.

The budget should identify not only the PRM request, but also those portions funded by the NGO itself, UNHCR or other international organizations, USAID, or other donors.  The proposal should include a budget narrative with sufficient detail by sector and objective.

Applicants should mail submissions from their Headquarters to PRM/Washington and send an electronic copy of the full proposal by e-mail. The PRM addressee must be made aware that the proposal is on its way, or the package risks being turned away by Diplomatic Security.

Please address proposals or questions to:

Mark Walkup
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
Office of Assistance for Asia and the Near East
2401 E St. NW, Suite L505, SA-1
Washington, D.C. 20522-0105

PRM Field Contacts (for questions and coordination):

Jennifer Johnson
, Deputy Senior Advisor
Ministry of Displacement and Migration
Coalition Provisional Authority
Tel (mobile): 1-914-822-5375 (dial as if you are calling a U.S. number)

Stacy Gilbert, Advisor for Displaced Persons
Coalition Provisional Authority -- North Region

Joan Polaschik
, Refugee Coordinator
U.S. Embassy Amman
Tel: (962)(6)592-6539
Fax: (962)(6)592-0159


Proposals submitted to PRM must be written according to the following format. Proposals that do not follow the format will not be considered. Please include 2 copies along with the original.

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 (e.g., UNHCR or USAID, and your organization) 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 situation, but only as they relate to the proposed project. DO NOT provide a general description of the humanitarian situation in and around Iraq.

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 that they have been displaced from their homes, percentage of beneficiaries who are refugees and demographic characteristics including gender, age, and ethnicity (where political circumstances allow), and any other unique 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 UNHCRís or another IOís coverage of the beneficiary population.

III.  Program Goals, Objectives, and Indicators

A.  Goals
Define the general goals, specific 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. For health projects, NGOs should collect Crude Mortality Rate and Nutritional Status Under Five indicators for their program populations.

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 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 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 initiativeís possible regional (cross-border) implications.

4. Codes of Conduct
Proposals must include a copy of the NGOís Codes of Conduct (which should reflect the IASCís 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 programís management:

1. Describe the organizationís management structure. Describe how this structure will be used to achieve the stated objectives.
2. Provide examples of past performance that demonstrate the organizationís success in implementing similar programs.

B. Security

1.  Describe briefly the current security situation in the region of the programís operation.
2.  Provide details on the organizationís 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 programís progress and indications of what reporting you will provide to PRM and when.
    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 FY2003 funding from PRM should also include an assessment of their programsí 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. Where possible, also break out budget by sector of activity (this should be facilitated by submission of S.F. 424). 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 (e.g., UNHCR and 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.  Identify subgrantees, if applicable, and in the case of health/family planning activities, whether those subgrantees are foreign-based.

    VIII.  Administrative Requirements

    All submissions must include the following:

    • Original proposal in triplicate
    • Copy of the organizationís U.S. Government Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.
    • The following three U.S. Government Certifications (found on www.state.gov/g/prm), signed and dated:
      -- Certification Regarding Lobbying
      -- Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters
      -- Certification Regarding Drug-free Workplace Requirements
      -- Completed S.F. 424 budget breakdown
    • Information in support of any cost-sharing/cost-matching arrangements
    • Information detailing the source of any in-kind contributions (should be part of the budget submission, as noted above) 
    • Details on any sub-agreements associated with the program
    • Copy of the organizationís Code of Conduct, which should reflect the IASCís 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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