FY 2020 Request for Concept Notes for NGO Programs Benefiting Refugees, Displaced Iraqis, and Other Vulnerable Populations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Request for Concept Notes Number: SFOP0006317

Assistance Listing (CFDA) number: 19.519 – Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for Near East

Announcement issuance date: Monday, December 16, 2019 (Updated on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 to add budget summary template below. See Section 10.)

Proposal submission deadline: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. noon EST. Concept notes submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

Funding limits: Program proposals must not be less than the funding floor and not more than the funding ceiling per year or they will be disqualified. See country-specific guidelines for further information.

Anticipated timeframe for notification of selection for full proposal development: PRM anticipates, but does not guarantee, that it will notify NGOs of selection for full proposal development within about one month of receipt of applications.

Anticipated timeframe for award of selected full proposals: Pending the availability of funds, PRM anticipates, but does not guarantee, it will make awards within about four to five months from the full proposal submission deadline.

**ADVISORY: All applicants must submit concept notes through the website Grants.gov (not SAMS Domestic). Applications that are submitted through SAMS Domestic in response to this funding opportunity will be disqualified. PRM strongly recommends submitting your concept note early to allow time to address any technical difficulties that may arise on the Grants.gov website.**

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 “Application Process” 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.

PRM recommends concept notes be submitted in Adobe PDF, as Microsoft Word documents may sometimes produce different page lengths based on software versions and configurations. Exceeding page length limits, including the inclusion of cover pages, will result in disqualification. All concept notes and required documents must be in English.

See below for a concept note template.


Full Text of Notice of Funding Opportunity

1. Program Description

Summary: This solicitation is the first step in a two-part process. After reviewing concept notes and within about one month after submission, PRM will invite selected organizations to expand their submissions into full single-year (15 page) or multi-year (20 page) proposals with objectives, indicators, and detailed budgets for each year of the program. Selected organizations will have 30 calendar days after they are notified of their selection to complete their full proposals.

As part of this NOFO, per the published Notice of Intent, organizations may apply for programs in Iraq as individual organizations or as a consortium. In Iraq, in the education sector only, PRM intends to prioritize funding for proposals submitted by consortia. PRM considers a consortium to be a group of no less than four NGOs that comprise an agreement, combination, or group formed to undertake, or proposing to undertake, an assistance activity beyond the resources of any one member.

This announcement references PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, which contain additional information on PRM’s priorities and NGO funding strategy with which selected organizations must comply. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure your concept note submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that proposed activities are consistent with PRM’s priorities. PRM will not consider concept note submissions that do not reflect the requirements outlined in these guidelines.

A. Concept note activities should primarily support displaced Iraqi and Syrian refugee populations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Proposal activities are restricted to beneficiaries living outside of government or UNHCR-run camps. Because of PRM’s mandate to provide protection, assistance, and sustainable solutions for refugees and victims of conflict, PRM will consider funding only those projects that include a target beneficiary base of at least 50 percent refugees. In Iraq only, the 50 percent target beneficiary base may include IDPs and IDP returnees in addition to, or in lieu of, refugees. Wherever possible, programs should pursue a community-based approach that also benefits host communities. In Turkey, as part of the 50 percent target beneficiary base, PRM will also consider funding activities targeting refugees that are not Syrian or Iraqi, including Afghan refugees, as well as other populations of concern, such as International Protection applicants.

B. Program area: Proposals must support one or more of the following program areas:

i. Humanitarian Protection and Assistance
ii. Interim and Durable Solutions

C. Concept notes must focus on one or more of the following sectors (see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for sector descriptions):

i. Protection
ii. Child Protection
iii. Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response
iv. Health
v. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)
vi. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
vii. Education
viii. Livelihoods
ix. Shelter
x. Core Relief Items/Cash-Based Initiatives
xi. Local Government Capacity-Building

(Note: In order to ensure greater accountability for protection outcomes, all overseas assistance program proposals, regardless of sector, must include the following protection outcome indicator under one of the objectives: Percentage of beneficiaries who report an improved sense of safety and well-being at the end of the program, disaggregated by age and gender.)

(Note: If selected, full proposals will require cash and voucher assistance programs to include one indicator from the selection contained in the NGO Guidelines.)

D. Applicants should submit separate proposals for each country program. No regional or multi-country proposals will be considered. PRM will not entertain multiple proposals from one applicant for the same population in a single country, with an exception related to applicants submitting as a consortium in Iraq (see Iraq guidelines). Upon review, PRM reserves the right to ask that an NGO merge two proposals into a single proposal. Please see country-specific provisions for the maximum number of proposals allowed to be submitted.

E. Country-Specific Guidelines: Proposed activities should primarily support refugee populations (and in the case of Iraq, IDP and/or refugee populations) in targeted countries as identified below. PRM will only review proposals for a target beneficiary base of at least 50 percent refugees or other populations of concern as outlined in the country-specific guidelines below. Programs should, wherever possible, pursue a community-based approach that also benefits host communities.

Iraq Country-Specific Guidelines

General Guidance:

  1. PRM will accept no more than two concept notes per applicant (one per target population, or one for a single population and one for a joint population of both displaced Iraqis and Syrians). However, applications submitted by organizations as part of a consortium, including by the lead applicant, do not count toward an individual organization’s application limit. (Note: NGOs who were approved for a two-year proposal in FY 2019 will be requested to submit the proposal for their second year of funding separately.)
  2. NGO projects should seek to fill gaps in the humanitarian response, not duplicate activities undertaken by other humanitarian organizations or government entities. Proposals must address how the project is linked to the national response and provide a brief timeline for phase-out.
  3. NGO proposals seeking to assist Syrian refugees should be in line with activities in the UN’s 2020 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) Appeal. NGO proposals seeking to assist Iraqi IDPs should be in line with activities in the UN’s 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq.
  4. PRM welcomes submissions from both international and national NGOs. PRM strongly encourages partnerships with women-led organizations when possible.
  5. For projects focusing on IDPs, Iraqi IDPs and returnees must make up more than 50 percent of total beneficiaries, and each of those groups should be substantially represented within this 50 percent. Projects may not focus solely on returnees. For projects focused on assisting Syrian refugees, refugees must make up more than 50 percent of total beneficiaries. Projects assisting both Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDPs/returnees must ensure populations of concern make up more than 50 percent of the target population, with Syrian refugees comprising at least 30 percent of the total. Consortia proposals for Syrian refugees exclusively will not be considered. PRM will give preference to projects providing clear breakdowns of populations to be served. Where feasible, organizations are strongly encouraged to allow for support of other local refugee populations and vulnerable host community members within their projects.
  6. PRM welcomes projects that focus on IDPs located in informal and non-camp settlements, particularly in acute needs areas. When projects include returnees, NGOs are encouraged to include locations identified as hotspots of severity in IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix Returns Index.
  7. Vulnerable members of religious and ethnic minority communities are among the populations PRM seeks to assist, although PRM does not encourage programs that single out such communities to the exclusion of others, due to safety concerns and to maintain the principle of impartiality.
  8. PRM strongly encourages programs that assist Iraqi IDPs and refugees in reaching a durable solution, including return and local integration, as well as those that build the capacity of local authorities and organizations.

Sectors:

Projects for Iraqi IDPs and Returnees: Protection, GBV, MHPSS, Education, and Livelihoods.

Projects for Syrian Refugees: Protection, Child Protection, GBV, Health, Mental Health/PSS, Livelihoods, Education, and Shelter. Projects assisting Syrian refugees may include in-camp activities.

Joint Projects for Iraqi IDPs/Returnees and Syrian Refugees*: Protection, GBV, Child Protection, MHPSS, Education, and Livelihoods.

*Syrian refugees must constitute a minimum of 30 percent of the total target population to be considered a joint proposal.

  1. Projects in all sectors should adhere to the relevant Cluster’s guidance.
  2. Provision of core relief items and/or cash assistance activities will be considered if integrated in a project focused on one or more of the above sectors.
  3. In the education sector, PRM prioritizes support to children to help them prepare for, enter, participate, and succeed in formal education and to assist youth who may be unlikely to participate in the formal education sector to obtain the necessary skills to transition to adulthood. Proposal activities in the education sector may include camp-based interventions.
  4. In the livelihoods sector, PRM will prioritize impact-driven, market-based projects that seek to improve the economic well-being of beneficiaries. Wherever possible, projects should seek to restore or build upon former livelihoods of affected populations. Livelihoods programs should include at least one governorate other than Ninewa and Anbar.
  5. Proposed protection projects for IDPs should focus on longer-term needs of IDPs in order to facilitate safe, voluntary, and dignified returns or local integration, including but not limited to recovery of legal documents and assistance with housing, land, and property rights. PRM will not consider standalone mental health and psychosocial service projects for IDPs; while elements of that sector may be incorporated into broader protection programming, it should not be the focus of the project.
  6. PRM will not fund programs for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of infrastructure, to include schools.
  7. Per the Notice of Intent released in November, PRM will give priority to proposals in the education sector submitted by consortia.

Duration of Activity: 12 or 24 months (24 months preferred)

Funding Levels: Not less than $1 million and not more than $5 million per year (budget summary must include an estimated breakdown of cost per year).

Anticipated Number of Selections for Full Proposal Development: PRM anticipates selecting approximately 20 concept notes to be developed into full proposals through this announcement. PRM further anticipates selecting up to seven proposals to be awarded.

Anticipated Amount to be Awarded Total: PRM anticipates awarding up to a total of $25 million (first year only, if multi-year proposals approved) through the directed NOFO for this country.

Consortia Proposals in Iraq:

As part of this NOFO, organizations may apply for programs in Iraq as individual organizations or consortia in the education sector only. PRM intends to prioritize funding for proposals submitted by consortia in the education sector. Education sector proposals for Iraq should seek to assist Iraqi IDPs, returnees, and vulnerable host community members, as well as Syrian refugees. Please note that consortia proposals targeting Syrian refugees in Iraq exclusively will not be considered.

For consortia, one organization must be designated as the lead applicant at both the concept note and full proposal stage, as applicable. PRM may request to review and approve substantive provisions of proposed sub-awards. Applicants may form consortia in order to bring together organizations with varied expertise to propose a comprehensive program in one proposal. Applications by organizations as part of a consortium do not count toward an individual organization’s application limit. Consortia will be required to provide a description of how the partnership will be organized and how lines of authority and decision-making will be managed across all team members and between the lead applicant and associate awardees.

Duration of Activity: Program plans for two or three years (24 or 36 months) will be considered for consortia proposals.

Funding floor per award: Not less than $5 million per year for consortia proposals

Funding ceiling per award: Not more than $10 million per year for consortia proposals

(Note: Budget summary must include a breakdown of cost per year.)

Consortia proposals should address the following country-specific sectors:

I. Education

Jordan Country-Specific Guidelines

General Guidance:

  1. PRM will accept no more than two concept notes per applicant (one for Syrian refugees and one joint proposal for Iraqi and Syrian refugees).  (Note: NGOs that were approved for a two-year proposal in FY 2019 will be requested to submit the proposal for their second year of funding separately.)
  2. In addition to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, PRM encourages projects that allow for support of vulnerable refugee populations from other nationalities within their projects; however, the primary population of concern for this notice of funding opportunity (Iraqi and/or Syrian refugees) must constitute 50% of the beneficiary population. Please include a breakdown of which nationalities will be supported by program activities.
  3. NGO projects should seek to fill gaps in the humanitarian response, not duplicate activities undertaken by large international organizations or government entities.
  4. PRM welcomes submissions from both international and national NGOs, including women-led organizations.
  5. NGOs should not seek to begin new activities that cannot be sustained absent future U.S. funding.
  6. NGO proposals seeking to assist Syrian refugees should be in line with activities in the UN’s Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) Appeal/Jordan Response Plan and should work within existing coordination structures.
  7. Applicants are strongly encouraged to engage with existing structures to provide services to refugees, including those operated by national or local actors (both governmental and NGO), rather than establishing new, parallel structures.

Sectors: Protection, Child Protection, Gender-based violence prevention and response, Education, Health, Mental Health/PSS, Livelihoods, and Shelter.

  1. Provision of core relief items, cash assistance, and/or capacity development activities will be considered if integrated in a program focused on one or more of the above sectors.
  2. PRM will consider education programming that covers a critical gap for a limited period of time and if integrated in a program focused on one or more of the above sectors.
  3. PRM remains committed to supporting refugees to utilize national health systems where possible and does not support establishing parallel health care systems. PRM’s health care focus is on reaching the least served populations with primary and secondary care, including maternal and child health and preventing non-communicable diseases.
  4. In the livelihoods sector, PRM will prioritize impact-driven, market-based projects that seek to improve the economic well-being of beneficiaries.

Duration of Activity: 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months (24 months preferred but PRM may consider 36 months for well-established organizations with a track record of program success and a concrete sustainability plan.)

Funding Limits:

Programs for Iraqi Refugees must be no less than $750,000 and no more than $1.5 million per year (budget summary must include a breakdown of cost per year).

Programs for Syrian Refugees must be no less than $1 million and not more than $4 million per year (budget summary must include a breakdown of cost per year).

Joint Programs for Iraqi and Syrian Refugees* must be no less than $1 million and not more than $4 million per year (budget summary must include a breakdown of cost per year).

*Iraqis must constitute a minimum of 15 percent of the target population to be considered a joint proposal.

Anticipated Number of Selections for Full Proposal Development: PRM anticipates selecting approximately 15 concept notes to be developed into full proposals through this announcement. PRM further anticipates selecting up to six proposals to be awarded.

Anticipated Amount to be Awarded Total: PRM anticipates awarding up to a total of $15 million (first year only, if multi-year proposals approved) through the directed NOFO for this country.

Lebanon Country-Specific Guidelines

General Guidance:

  1. PRM will accept no more than two concept notes per applicant (one for Syrian refugees and one joint proposal for Iraqi and Syrian refugees).  (Note: NGOs that were approved for a two-year proposal in FY 2019 will be requested to submit the proposal for their second year of funding separately.)
  2. PRM welcomes submissions that support other refugee populations, including African refugees and Palestinian refugees from Syria, and vulnerable Lebanese host community members.
  3. NGO projects should seek to fill gaps in the humanitarian response, not duplicate activities undertaken by large international organizations or government entities. NGO activities should support the national response. If an activity is parallel to the national response, the proposal must address how the project is linked to the national response and provide a brief timeline for phase-out.
  4. NGO proposals seeking to assist Syrian refugees should be in line with activities in the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) Appeal.
  5. PRM welcomes submissions from both international and national NGOs.
  6. PRM looks favorably on programs with the ability to operate in multiple locations and across multiple sectors, provided such work supports an integrated program approach.

Sectors: Protection, Child Protection, GBV prevention and response, WASH, Education, Health, Mental Health/PSS, Livelihoods, and Shelter.

  1. Projects in all sectors should adhere to the relevant Working Group’s guidance.
  2. Provision of core relief items, cash assistance, and/or capacity development activities will be considered if integrated in a program focused on one or more of the above sectors.
  3. Provision of WASH services, namely water trucking and desludging, will be considered if it covers a critical gap for a limited period of time and if integrated in a program focused on one or more of the above sectors.
  4. In the education sector, PRM prioritizes support to help children prepare for, enter, participate, and succeed in formal education and to assist youth who may be unlikely to participate in the formal education sector to obtain the necessary skills to transition to adulthood.
  5. In the livelihoods sector, PRM will prioritize impact-driven, market-based projects that seek to improve the economic well-being of beneficiaries. Wherever possible, projects should seek to restore or build upon former livelihoods of affected populations.

Duration of Activity: 12 or 24 months (24 months preferred)

Funding Limits: For more than 50 percent Syrian refugees and joint proposals for Iraqi and Syrian refugees*, not less than $500,000 and not more than $4,000,000 per year (budget summary must include an estimated breakdown of cost per population).

*Iraqis must constitute a minimum of 15 percent of the target population to be considered a joint proposal.

Anticipated Number of Selections for Full Proposal Development: PRM anticipates selecting approximately 20 concept notes to be developed into full proposals through this announcement. PRM further anticipates selecting up to six proposals to be awarded.

Anticipated Amount to be Awarded Total: PRM anticipates awarding up to a total of $18 million (first year only, if multi-year proposals approved) through the directed NOFO for this country.

Turkey Country-Specific Guidelines

General Guidance:

  1. PRM will accept no more than one concept note per applicant. Please ensure that the profile of target populations (and percentage breakdown per population) is clearly outlined in each proposal.
  2. PRM welcomes submissions that support non-Syrian refugee populations, including Iraqis, Afghans, other International Protection applicants, and vulnerable Turkish host community members as part of the 50 percent target beneficiary base.
  3. NGO projects should seek to fill gaps in the humanitarian response, not duplicate activities undertaken by large international organizations or government entities. NGO activities should support the national response. If an activity is parallel to the national response, the proposal must address how the project is linked to the national response and provide a brief timeline for phase-out.
  4. NGO proposals should be in line with activities in the UN’s Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) Appeal/Turkey Response Plan; all program activities should be consulted with the Government of Turkey.
  5. PRM welcomes submissions from both international and national NGOs. PRM strongly encourages partnerships with women-led organizations when possible.
  6. PRM looks favorably on programs with the ability to operate in multiple locations and across multiple sectors, provided such work supports an integrated program approach.

Sectors: Protection, Livelihoods, Child Protection, GBV, Health, Education, Shelter, MHPSS, and Core Relief Items/Cash-Based Initiatives

  1. Provision of core relief items, cash assistance, and/or capacity development activities will be considered if integrated in a program focused on one or more of the above sectors.
  2. In the education sector, PRM prioritizes support to help refugee children enter, participate, and succeed in formal education, with a particular emphasis on reducing drop-out rates among older youth.
  3. Priority will be given to livelihoods programs that link training to employment opportunities, including vocational training opportunities with employable skills for older youth.
  4. Priority will be given to projects that include social cohesion activities and involve host community members, such as social inclusion programs for persons with disabilities.
  5. PRM’s health care focus in Turkey is on health services not covered by existing programs, as well as Mental Health/PSS.
  6. Priority will be given to projects that pilot innovative practices or that will implement proven methodologies in urban settings to address the specific needs of refugees in protracted crisis.

Length: 12 or 24 months (24 months preferred)

Funding Levels: Not less than $500,000 and not more than $3 million per year (budget summary must include an estimated breakdown of cost per year).

Anticipated Number of Selections for Full Proposal Development: PRM anticipates selecting approximately 20 concept notes to be developed into full proposals through this announcement. PRM further anticipates selecting for award up to six proposals.

Anticipated Amount to be Awarded Total: PRM anticipates awarding up to a total of $10 million (first year only, if multi-year proposals approved) through the directed NOFO for this country.

2. Federal Award Information

A. Proposed program start dates: September 1, 2020

B. Duration of Activity: See country-specific guidelines above. Applicants may submit multi-year proposals with activities and budgets that do not exceed two years from the proposed start date, unless applying as a consortium in Iraq, in which case it should not exceed three years from the start date. Activities and budgets submitted in year one can be revised/updated each year. Continued funding after the initial 12-month period of performance requires the submission of a noncompeting single or multi-year proposal and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. In funding a program one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the program in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term funding possibilities. Please see Multi-Year Funding section below for additional information. Livelihoods programs are encouraged to be multi-year. (Note: A market analysis will be required if selected for full proposal development.)

C. Funding Limits: See country-specific guidelines above.

D. Anticipated Number of Awards: See country-specific guidelines above.

E. Anticipated Amount to be Awarded Total: See country-specific guidelines above.

3. Eligibility Information

A. 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; and (3) International Organizations. International multilateral organizations, such as United Nations agencies, should not submit concept notes through Grants.gov in response to this Notice of Funding Opportunity. Multilateral organizations that are seeking funding for programs relevant to this announcement should contact the PRM Program Officer (as listed below) on or before the closing date of this announcement.

B. Cost Sharing or Matching: Cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not a requirement of an application in response to this funding announcement.

Concept notes and later proposals will be considered that describe the sources and amounts of additional funding that may be utilized to compliment PRM funding, and meet the following criteria:

  • Are not paid by the Federal Government under another Federal award;
  • Are verifiable from the non-Federal entity’s records;
  • Are not included as contributions for any other Federal award; and
  • Are necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives.

Please include this information in the Budget Summary of the concept note submission and separate from the proposed budget.

(Note: Though favorably looked upon, inclusion will not result in a competitive ranking increase when evaluated.)

4. Other

A. Concept notes and eventually full proposals must encompass relevant international standards for humanitarian assistance, especially Sphere Standards. See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for a complete list of sector-specific standards including new guidance on proposals for programs in urban areas.

B. PRM strongly encourages programs that target the needs of vulnerable and underserved groups among the beneficiary population (women; children; adolescents; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; older persons; the sick; persons with disabilities; and other religious, ethnic, or other minorities) and can demonstrate what steps have been taken to meet the specific and unique protection and assistance needs of these vulnerable groups effectively.

C. PRM will accept concept notes from any NGO working in the above-mentioned sectors although, given budgetary constraints, priority will be given to concept notes from organizations that can demonstrate:

  • a working relationship with UNHCR;
  • a proven track record in providing proposed assistance both in the sector and specified location;
  • evidence of coordination with international organizations (IOs) and other NGOs working in the same area or sector as well as – where possible – local authorities;
  • an emphasis on the outcome or impact of program activities. Full objective and indicator tables will only be required if the applicant is invited to submit a full proposal; however, the concept note must generally demonstrate the ability to deliver impact;
  • a strong sustainability plan, involving local capacity building, where feasible, will be required if the applicant is invited to submit a full proposal;
  • where applicable, adherence to PRM’s Principles for Refugee Protection in Urban Areas; and,
  • an understanding of and sensitivity to conflict dynamics in the program location.

5. Application and Submission Instructions

A. Address to Request Application Package: Application packages may be downloaded from the website www.Grants.gov.

B. Content and Form of Application: Please see specific country-specific provisions for the maximum number of proposals allowed to be submitted. Any subsequent submissions received will be disqualified. (Note: Applications by organizations as part of a consortium in Iraq do not count toward an individual organization’s application limit.)

Concept notes must be no more than three pages in length (or four pages if a consortia submission in Iraq for the education sector) submitted in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF, using Times New Roman, 12-point font, with one-inch margins on all sides. Concept notes that are longer than three (3) pages (or four (4) pages if a consortia submission in Iraq for the education sector) will be automatically disqualified. Budget summary and SF-424 documents do not count toward the total page length. (Note: Budget detail and budget narrative documents are not required as part of a concept note submission. However, budget summary documents should be uploaded under the budget narrative section in grants.gov.)

Note:

  • PRM recommends proposals be submitted in Adobe PDF, as Microsoft Word documents may sometimes produce different page lengths based on software versions and configurations.
  • Exceeding page length limits, including through the inclusion of cover pages, will result in disqualification.
  • All proposals, and required documents, must be in English.

1. Concept notes must include the following categories, in any arrangement.

a. Brief problem statement, description of target population with anticipated beneficiary numbers, and vulnerability criteria used to identify beneficiaries
b. Program description, location, and duration
c. Proposed measurable outcomes and impact of the program
d. Summary of the organization(s) and experience doing similar work
e. Organizational point(s) of contact

See below for a concept note template. Or, organizations can request a concept note template by emailing PRM’s NGO Coordinator with the subject line “PRM NGO Templates” (exactly as written, and without quotation marks), and will receive an automatic reply email with the concept note template.

2. Budget summaries must be attached to the concept note and do not fall within the three-page limit (or four pages if a consortia submission in Iraq for the education sector). The budget summary is separate from SF-424, SF-F24A, and SF-424B documents, which are also required and similarly do not fall within the page limit. Budget summaries should be uploaded in grants.gov under the budget narrative section. Budget summaries must include the following categories, and disaggregated by year:

a. Personnel allowances
b. Benefits
c. Travel
d. Program equipment
e. Supplies
f. Contractual
g. Construction
h. Other direct costs
i. Indirect costs
j. Total amount requested

Organizations can request a budget summary template by emailing PRM’s NGO Coordinator with the with the subject line “PRM NGO Templates” (exactly as written, without quotation marks), and will receive an automatic reply email with the budget summary template.

3. There should be no attachments to the initial concept note submission other than the summary budget and SF-424 documents. For selected organizations, PRM will request fully developed, 15-page/20-page, single-year/multi-year proposals with objectives, indicators, and detailed budgets for each year of the program. Organizations that are invited to submit full proposals may attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums to their full-length proposal at that stage.

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

a. three-page concept note (or four-page concept note for consortia in Iraq for the education sector);

  • PRM recommends proposals be submitted in Adobe PDF, as Microsoft Word documents may sometimes produce different page lengths based on software versions and configurations;
  • Exceeding page length limits, including through the inclusion of cover pages, will result in disqualification; and
  • All proposals, and required documents, must be in English.

b. One-page budget summary clearly indicating costs disaggregated by year per year for the program period. The budget summary does not count against the page limit.

c. Signed completed SF-424, SF-424 A, and SF-424 B. These documents are additional, separate documents and do not count against the page limit. Note: Form SF-424B is now required only for those applicants who have neither registered in SAM.gov nor recertified their registration in SAM.gov since February 2, 2019, and have not completed the online representations and certifications.

C. Consortia. Organizations may apply to this call as individual organizations or consortia; however, for consortia, one organization must be designated as the lead applicant at both the concept note and full proposal stage.

PRM considers a consortium to be a group of no less than four NGOs that comprise an agreement, combination, or group formed to undertake, or proposing to undertake, an assistance activity beyond the resources of any one member.

For organizations participating as part of a consortia, the consortia application will count as a single submission only for the organization identified as the prime awardee in the proposal. If the applicant is applying as a consortium or partnership, a description of how the partnership will be organized and how lines of authority and decision-making will be managed across all team members and between the lead applicant and associate awardees should be included in the concept note.

See below for a concept note template. Or, organizations can request a concept note template by emailing PRM’s NGO Coordinator with the with the subject line “PRM NGO Templates” (exactly as written, and without quotation marks), and you will get automatic reply email with the concept note template.

D. Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM).

i. Each applicant is required to:

a. be registered in SAM at (www.sam.gov) before submitting its application;
b. provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and
c. continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active PRM award or an application or plan under consideration by PRM.

No federal award may be made to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the PRM award is ready to be made, PRM may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a PRM award and use that determination as a basis for making a PRM award to another applicant.

E. Concept notes must be submitted via Grants.gov (not via SAMS Domestic). Grants.gov registration requires a DUNS number and active SAM.gov registration. 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 “Application Process” 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 “For Applicants” page on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements.

i. Do not wait until the deadline 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 receive required registration numbers). We also 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.

ii. When registering with Grants.gov, organizations must designate points of contact and Authorized Organization Representatives (AORs). Organizations based outside the United States must also request and receive an NCAGE (https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx) code prior to registering with SAM.gov. Applicants experiencing technical difficulties with the SAM registration process should contact the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online or at 1-866-606-8220 (U.S.) and 1-334-206-7828 (International).

iii. Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.

iv. 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.

v. 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;
  • had a service request opened to research the problem;

may contact the relevant PRM Program Officer before the submission deadline to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.

F. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure the appropriate registrations are in place and active. Failure to have the appropriate organizational registrations in place is not considered a technical difficulty and is not justification for an alternate means of submission.

G. 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.

H. The list of certifications and assurances is available upon request by emailing PRMNGOCoordinator@state.gov with the subject line, “PRM NGO Templates”.

i. Submission Dates and Times.
ii. Announcement issuance date: December 16, 2019
iii. Proposal submission deadline: January 22, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. noon EST. Concept Notes submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

This solicitation is the first step in a two-part process. After reviewing concept notes, PRM will invite selected organizations to expand their submissions into full-length proposals with detailed budgets. Selected organizations will have 30 calendar days after they are notified of their selection to complete their full proposals.

I. Intergovernmental Review – Not Applicable.

J. Funding Restrictions. Federal awards will not allow reimbursement of Federal Award costs without prior authorization by PRM.

K. Other Submission Requirements.

i. Branding and Marking Strategy

The following provisions will be included whenever assistance is awarded:

The Recipient shall recognize the United States Government’s funding for activities specified under this award at the project site with a graphic of the U.S. flag accompanied by one of the following two phrases based on the level of funding for the award:

Fully funded by the award: “Gift of the United States Government”
Partially funded by the award: “Funding provided by the United States Government”

PRM highly encourages recognition of U.S. government funding on social media and website platforms to be included in proposals’ branding and marking strategy. Recipients should tag PRM’s Twitter account @StatePRM and/or Facebook account @State.PRM (rather than using hashtags). Additionally, the relevant U.S. Embassy should be tagged as well.

Updates of actions taken to fulfill this requirement must be included in quarterly program reports to PRM.

All programs, projects, assistance, activities, and public communications to foreign audiences, partially or fully funded by the Department, should be marked appropriately overseas with the standard U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity. The requirement does not apply to the Recipient’s own corporate communications or in the United States.

The Recipient should ensure that all publicity and promotional materials underscore the sponsorship by or partnership with the U.S. government or the U.S. embassy. The Recipient may continue to use existing logos or project materials; however, a standard rectangular U.S. flag must be used in conjunction with such logos.

Do not use the Department of State seal without the express written approval from PRM.

Sub non-Federal entities (sub-awardees) and subsequent tier sub-award agreements are subject to the marking requirements and the non-Federal entity shall include a provision in the sub non-Federal entity agreement indicating that the standard, rectangular U.S. flag is a requirement. Exemptions from this requirement may be allowable but must be agreed to in writing by the Grants Officer. (Note: An exemption refers to the complete or partial cessation of branding, not use of alternative branding). Requests should be initiated with the Grants Officer and Grants Officer Representative. Waivers issued are applied only to the exemptions requested through the Recipient’s proposal for funding and any subsequent negotiated revisions.

In the event the non-Federal entity 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 with the non-Federal entity.

ii. Assistance Award Provision – SPOT: The following provisions will be included in the Bureau specific component of the Notice of Award for performance in a designated combat area (Iraq and Afghanistan). Recipients are required to include this provision in any sub-grant awards or agreements.

RECIPIENT PERFORMANCE IN A DESIGNATED AREA OF COMBAT OPERATIONS (IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN)
(Revised March 2015)

Federal Assistance Awards deploying personnel under an assistance award, in a designated area of combat operations or future contingency operation, over $150,000 or performance over 30 calendar days, must be registered in the Department of Defense maintained Synchronized Pre-deployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) system.

For Federal Assistance Awards deploying personnel in a designated area of combat operations or future contingency operation that do not involve personnel performing security functions or needing access to government installations, the Grants Officer or his/her designee should account for personnel within the SPOT system anonymously through the use of the aggregate count functionality, reporting all personnel (U.S. Citizens, Third Country Nationals, and Local Nationals) on a quarterly basis.

For assistance awards that meet the aggregate count functionality criteria, the Grants Officer or the recipient SPOT administrator should send total numbers of individuals working under a grant on a quarterly basis to the SPOT program office. Further guidance on the formatting of SPOT reporting will be provided in the Federal Assistance Award document. The SPOT program office will load these numbers on behalf of the Grants officer and the recipient to the SPOT administrator. The SPOT program office can be reached at AQMOps@state.gov.

Assistance Awards deploying personnel in a designated area of combat operations or future contingency operation that utilize personnel who are performing a private security function; or require access to U.S. facilities, services, or support, the Grants Officer or his/her designee must have personnel funded under that award entered into SPOT individually with all required personal information. Recipients utilizing armed private security personnel, whether employed directly or via contract, are required to adhere to post policies and procedures regarding private security contractors.

iii. Applicant Vetting as a Condition of Award (Iraq): 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 16, Specific 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.

6. Application Review Information

A. Criteria. Eligible submissions will be those that comply with the criteria and requirements included in this announcement. In addition, the review panel will evaluate the concept notes based on the following criteria, in addition to a ranking of High/Medium/Low priority:

  • Quality of program idea (10 points)
  • Appropriate identification of beneficiary population, including vulnerable populations (10 points)
  • Program feasibility/ability to achieve objectives (10 points)
  • Organization’s experience and capacity (10 points)
  • Cost effectiveness (10 points)

PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all concept notes submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel of at least three people will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced programmatic criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.

After reviewing the concept notes, selected organizations will be invited to submit full proposals. PRM will provide formal notifications to all NGO applicants of final decisions within 90 days after the closing date of this announcement. Selected organizations will have 30 calendar days from notification to submit full proposals, with detailed budgets, and attachments as applicable (refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for general proposal formatting and submission guidance for single-year/multi-year programs).

7. Federal Award Administration Information

A. Federal Award Administration. A successful applicant can expect to receive a separate notice from PRM stating that an application has been selected before PRM actually makes the federal award. That notice is not an authorization to begin performance. Only the notice of award signed by the grants officer is the authorizing document. Unsuccessful applicants will only be notified following completion of the selection and award process.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. PRM awards are made consistent with the following provisions in the following order of precedence: (a) applicable laws and statutes of the United States, including any specific legislative provisions mandated in the statutory authority for the award; (b) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); (c) Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions of the award; (d) the award’s specific requirements; and (e) other documents and attachments to the award.

C. Reporting. Successful applicants will be required to submit:

i. Program Reports: PRM requires program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. A program report is required within thirty (30) days following the end of each three-month period of performance during the validity period of the agreement. The final program report is due ninety (90) days following the end of the agreement. The submission dates for program reports will be written into the cooperative agreement. Partners receiving multi-year awards should follow this same reporting schedule and should still submit a final program report at the end of each year that summarizes the NGO’s performance during the previous year.

The Bureau suggests that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended quarterly program report template. The suggested PRM NGO reporting template is designed to ease the reporting requirements while ensuring that all required elements are addressed. The Quarterly Program Report Template can be requested by sending an email with only the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” (without the quotation marks) in the subject line, to PRMNGOCoordinator@state.gov.

ii. 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 (January 30th, April 30th, July 30th, October 30th). The final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement. For agreements containing indirect costs, final financial reports are due within sixty (60) days of the finalization of the applicable negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA).

Reports reflecting expenditures for the recipient’s overseas and United States offices should be completed in accordance with the Federal Financial Report (FFR SF-425) and submitted electronically in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Payment Management System (HHS/PMS) and in accordance with other award specific requirements. Detailed information pertaining to the Federal Financial Report including due dates, instruction manuals and access forms, is provided on the HHS/PMS website.

iii. Audit Reports: When a recipient-contracted audit is not required because the Federal award amount is less than the $750,000 threshold, the Department may determine that an audit must be performed and the audit report must be submitted to the responsible grants office(r) for review, dissemination, and resolution as appropriate. The cost of audits required under this policy may be charged either as an allowable direct cost to the award or included in the organizations established indirect costs in the award’s detailed budget.

8. PRM Contacts

A. Applicants with technical questions related to this announcement should contact the PRM staff listed below prior to submission. Please note that responses to technical questions from PRM do not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.

Iraq

Jordan

  • PRM Program Officer: Aamir Alavi, AlaviA@state.gov, 202-453-9281, Washington, D.C.
  • Senior Regional Refugee Coordinator: Anjana Modi, ModiAJ@state.gov, Embassy Amman, Jordan

Lebanon

Turkey

Disclaimer: External websites linked above may not be supported or accessible by all web browsers. If you are unable to link to a referenced website, please try using a different browser or update to a more recent one. If you continue to experience difficulties to reach external resources, please contact the PRMNGOCoordinator.

9. Concept Note Template

NGO Name  

Concept Note for PRM Funding for:

Consortia:
If yes see Section 6.


Instructions and Information:

Note: Concept notes must not exceed a maximum of three pages (or four pages for consortia applications in Iraq for the education sector) using this template in length using Times New Roman, 12-point font, with oneinch margins on all sides. Do not include a cover page, page limits are strictly adhered to, and may result in disqualification. PRM recommends that applicants submit proposals in Adobe PDF format, as Microsoft Word page lengths vary under certain settings and could look different to PRM reviewers. Additionally, all documents and attachments must be submitted in English.

1. Brief problem statement, description of target population with anticipated beneficiary numbers, and vulnerability criteria used to identify beneficiaries:

Briefly describe the current or anticipated needs that this program seeks to address. Provide specific evidence based on assessments, including any protection risk analysis, that have been conducted and other relevant background information collected to identify the needs of the target population, including dates and sources of information.

Describe the anticipated beneficiary population for this program including the process of beneficiary targeting and selection; how refugees, returnees, host community members will be identified; and what actions you would take to ensure that potentially vulnerable and underserved groups are included. Clearly demonstrate that refugees, returnees, and/or other persons of concern as described in the relevant NOFO will constitute a minimum of 50 percent of the beneficiary population. Using the most recent data available and citing sources, provide the anticipated demographic profile of the beneficiaries including the numbers of refugees, IDPs, returnees, host country nationals, etc., as well as locations, gender, age, and any other unique factors or vulnerabilities.

2. Program description, duration, and location:

Provide a description of the program including key activities, implementation plan, and any implementing partners, including their role in the program. Explain how this program responds to the needs identified and the targeted beneficiaries and expected outcomes. Identify goods or services to be provided. Provide assessment and analysis of how the proposed program will uphold Sphere Protection Principles and mitigate potential protection risks as a result of proposed activities. If the standards differ from Sphere’s Core Humanitarian Standards, provide a justification for the variance.

Explain why multi-year funding is necessary for this program to succeed and how the proposed activities in year one will contribute to outcomes and impacts in years two and/or three.

List the specific locations – including the names of camps, provinces, districts, villages, neighborhoods, temporary accommodation centers, etc. – of proposed activities. Provide GPS coordinates, where available. If the locations are not yet known, explain how the sites would be chosen.

3. Proposed measurable outcomes and impact of the program:

PRM requires a minimum of one objective with at least two indicators per objective. Each objective should have at least one outcome or impact indicator that can be measured by the end of a twelve-month timeframe. Additionally, multi-year programs are encouraged to include an impact indicator that can be measured over the full program duration. In instances where an indicator does not change between years, the target number should be broken down by year, and a total number of beneficiaries for all years provided. (See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for additional information regarding developing objectives and indicators and for guidance on using PRM’s standardized indicators.) You may attach any unique logical frameworks, work plans, etc., that your organization uses to guide program implementation.

4. Summary of the organization(s) and experience doing similar work:

Describe the organization’s relevant experience working in the proposed location and sector.

5. Organizational point(s) of contact:

Provide details on the organization’s management structure, including specific management plans for the proposed program.

6. Consortia concept notes only:

If the applicant is applying as a consortium or partnership, a description of how the partnership will be organized and how lines of authority and decision-making will be managed across all team members and between the lead applicant and associate awardees should be included in the concept note.

Organizations must submit the following documents with their application:

Note: All documents must be in English.

  • Completed concept note that does not exceed the three-page limit (or four pages if a consortia submission in Iraq for the education sector).
  • Completed budget summary, disaggregated by year for every year of the program period.
  • Completed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms. PRM requires that Box 21 of the SF-424 be checked. Please note that 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 is available upon request by emailing PRMNGOCoordinator@state.gov with the subject line, “PRM NGO Templates” (exactly written, and without the quotation marks).

10. Concept Note Budget Summary Template

(Note: This is a recommended template and is not required. Recommended format is in Microsoft Excel.)

NGO Name, Project Name, and Location

Year 1

TOTAL COSTS

Costs PRM Cost Cost Share Total Cost
SUMMARY
PERSONNEL
FRINGE BENEFITS
TRAVEL
EQUIPMENT
SUPPLIES
CONTRACTUAL
CONSTRUCTION
OTHER DIRECT COSTS
TOTAL DIRECT COSTS
INDIRECT COSTS (X%)
TOTAL COSTS
OF WHICH, ESTIMATED COSTS FOR GBV
Year 2 (If Applicable)

Year 2

TOTAL COSTS

Costs PRM Cost Cost Share Total Cost
SUMMARY
PERSONNEL
FRINGE BENEFITS
TRAVEL
EQUIPMENT
SUPPLIES
CONTRACTUAL
CONSTRUCTION
OTHER DIRECT COSTS
TOTAL DIRECT COSTS
INDIRECT COSTS (X%)
TOTAL COSTS
OF WHICH, ESTIMATED COSTS FOR GBV
Year 3 (If Applicable)

Year 3

TOTAL COSTS

Costs PRM Cost Cost Share Total Cost
SUMMARY
PERSONNEL
FRINGE BENEFITS
TRAVEL
EQUIPMENT
SUPPLIES
CONTRACTUAL
CONSTRUCTION
OTHER DIRECT COSTS
TOTAL DIRECT COSTS
INDIRECT COSTS (X%)
TOTAL COSTS
OF WHICH, ESTIMATED COSTS FOR GBV

 

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    For over a decade, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom (UK) have developed and implemented national approaches—including strategies, laws, and policies—to support family caregivers, according to experts GAO interviewed. Specifically, experts noted that these efforts could help caregivers maintain workforce attachment, supplement lost income, and save for retirement. As a result, their retirement security could improve. For example, experts said: Care leave allows employees to take time away from work for caregiving responsibilities. Australia's and Germany's policies allow for paid leave (10 days per year of work or instance of caregiving need, respectively), and all three countries allow for unpaid leave though the duration varies. Caregivers can receive income for time spent caregiving. Australia and the UK provide direct payments to those who qualify. Germany provides indirect payments, whereby the care recipient receives an allowance, which they can pass on to their caregiver. Other Countries' Policies to Support Caregivers Experts in all three countries cited some challenges with caregiver support policies. For example, paid leave is not available to all workers in Germany, such as those who work for small firms. In Australia and the UK, experts said eligibility requirements for direct payments (e.g., limits on hours worked or earnings) can make it difficult for someone to work outside their caregiving role. Experts in all three countries said caregivers may be unaware of available supports. For example, identifying caregivers is a challenge in Australia and the UK. As required under the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened the Family Caregiving Advisory Council (FCAC)—a stakeholder group that is to jointly develop a national family caregiving strategy. As of July 2020, HHS and the FCAC reported limited information on other countries' approaches, and neither entity had concrete plans to collect more. In September 2020, HHS officials provided sources they recently reviewed on selected policies in other countries, and they further noted that HHS staff, FCAC members, and collaborating partners have subject-matter expertise and bring perspectives about other countries' efforts into their discussions. Family caregivers play a critical role in supporting the elderly population, which is growing at a rapid rate worldwide. However, those who provide eldercare may risk their own long-term financial security. Other countries have implemented policies to support caregivers. In recognition of challenges caregivers face in the United States, Congress directed HHS, in consultation with other federal entities, to develop a national family caregiving strategy. GAO was asked to provide information about other countries' efforts that could improve the retirement security of parental and spousal caregivers. This report examines (1) other countries' approaches to support family members who provide eldercare, (2) challenges of these approaches, and (3) the status of HHS' efforts to develop a national family caregiving strategy. GAO conducted case studies of three countries—Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom—selected based on factors including rates of informal care (i.e., help provided to older family members or friends) and the types of policies they have that could improve caregivers' retirement security. GAO interviewed government officials and experts and reviewed relevant federal laws, research, and documents. GAO's draft report recommended that HHS collect additional information about other countries' experiences. In response, in September 2020, HHS provided an update on its efforts to do so. As a result, GAO removed the recommendation and modified the report accordingly. For more information, contact Tranchau (Kris) T. Nguyen at or nguyentt@gao.gov.
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  • Justice Department Alleges Conditions at Iowa Institution for Individuals with Disabilities Violate the Constitution
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today concluded an investigation into conditions at the Glenwood Resource Center (Glenwood), an institution for individuals with intellectual disabilities operated by the State of Iowa in Glenwood, Iowa.
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  • Three Foreign Nationals Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that three Sri Lankan citizens have been charged with terrorism offenses, including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS).  The men were part of a group of ISIS supporters which called itself “ISIS in Sri Lanka.”  That group is responsible for the 2019 Easter attacks in the South Asian nation of Sri Lanka, which killed 268 people, including five U.S. citizens, and injured over 500 others, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed today.
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  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At the Mining, Agriculture, and Construction Protocol Signing Ceremony
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. Agrees to Pay $179.7 Million to Resolve Overpayments from the Department of Veterans Affairs
    In Crime News
    TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. has agreed to pay the United States $179,700,000 to resolve claims that it received overpayments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in connection with its administration of certain VA health care programs, the Department of Justice announced today.
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  • State Department Designates Two Senior Al-Shabaab Leaders as Terrorists
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Operators of California Charity Scam Sentenced to Prison for Mail Fraud Conspiracy and Tax Evasion
    In Crime News
    Geraldine Hill and Clayton Hill, a California couple who operated a charity that purported to provide goods to the needy, were sentenced to prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax evasion. Geraldine Hill was sentenced to 15 months in in prison, and Clayton Hill was sentenced to 9 months in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr. for the Southern District of California.
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  • San Antonio Return Preparer Pleads Guilty in Tax Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A San Antonio, Texas, tax return preparer pleaded guilty today to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer of the Western District of Texas.
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  • U.S.-India Joint Statement on Launching the “U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership”
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Release and Departure of U.S. Citizen Vitali Shkliarov from Belarus
    In Crime Control and Security News
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    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • New Jersey Man Indicted for Promoting Tax Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Pemberton, New Jersey, man appeared in court yesterday on a federal grand jury indictment charging him with conspiring to defraud the United States, assisting in the filing of false tax returns, obstructing the internal revenue laws, and failing to file a tax return, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. The Sept. 2, 2020 indictment was unsealed following the court appearance.
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  • Florida Man Charged with COVID Relief Fraud, Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering
    In Crime News
    A Florida man has been charged regarding allegations that he fraudulently obtained a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and that he orchestrated a conspiracy to submit false and fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare and CareCredit, and to defraud his own patients by charging them thousands of dollars for chiropractic services under false pretenses.
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  • Designation of Iraqi Militia Leader in Connection with Serious Human Rights Abuse
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • The Department of Justice Alleges Conditions at Cumberland County Jail Violate the Constitution
    In Crime News
    Today, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions at the Cumberland County Jail in Bridgeton, New Jersey violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
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  • Iran Threatening to Expel UN Investigators
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime Charges for Attempting to Kill Two Children Because of their Race and National Origin
    In Crime News
    An Iowa woman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to hate crime charges for attempting to kill two children because of their race and national origin.
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    In Travel
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  • Turkish Businessman Arrested in Austria on Charges that He Allegedly Laundered Over $133 Million in Fraud Proceeds
    In Crime News
    A Turkish businessman was arrested in Austria on June 19, at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. This arrest followed a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 28, which was unsealed today. The superseding indictment charged Sezgin Baran Korkmaz with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
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  • Foreign Assistance: State Department Should Better Assess Results of Efforts to Improve Financial and Some Program Data
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of State has implemented most of the Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR) plan to improve the tracking and reporting of its foreign assistance data. According to State officials, they began developing the FADR plan in 2014 and focused on modifying State's existing agency-wide data systems to improve financial and related programmatic data for foreign assistance. As of December 2020, State had completed most of the activities detailed in the FADR plan, except for some FADR-related training initiatives that will continue in 2021. For example, State created the FADR Data Dictionary, which standardizes foreign assistance budget terminology and definitions across the agency, and added two data fields—benefitting country and program area—to its data systems. Other activities included updating system design; conducting integration testing between source systems and financial systems; and developing training materials. State's FADR plan generally or partially addressed key elements of sound planning. GAO evaluated the FADR plan against nine key elements of sound planning it identified as relevant to implementation plans. GAO found that the plan generally addressed four elements and partially addressed five (see figure). Evaluation of the Department of State's Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR) Plan by Key Elements of Sound Planning Identified by GAO Element Did the FADR plan address the element? Purpose and scope ● Desired results ● Hierarchy of goals and subordinate objectives ● Activities to achieve results ● Roles and responsibilities ◓ Intra-agency coordination mechanisms ◓ Resources to implement the plan ◓ Milestones and performance indicators ◓ Monitoring and evaluation ◓ Legend: ● Generally addressed ◓Partially addressed ○ Did not address Source: GAO analysis of Department of State documentation. | GAO-21-373 Since State has nearly completed implementation of its FADR plan, the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) component is the most critical remaining element of the partially addressed elements. GAO found that the M&E component of the plan was not well developed. The plan identifies some performance indicators and monitoring activities, but it does not clearly link those indicators to the desired results. The M&E component also does not identify how State plans to evaluate and use the monitoring data, such as better identification of benefiting country. Nor does it provide information on timeframes associated with the performance targets for the identified indicators. Identifying how the performance indicators link to desired results and the timeframes associated with performance targets, and periodically evaluating its monitoring data would help State assess the plan's effectiveness. Why GAO Did This Study Members of Congress, the State Inspector General, and GAO have raised concerns about State's ability to adequately track and report its foreign assistance data. These concerns include State's ability to retrieve timely and accurate data necessary to provide central oversight, meet statutory and regulatory reporting requirements, manage resources strategically, and assess program performance. In response, State began an initiative in 2014 to improve the quality and availability of foreign assistance data. GAO was asked to review State's plan to improve the tracking and reporting of its foreign assistance data. This report assesses (1) the status of State's plan to improve the tracking and reporting of its foreign assistance data and (2) the extent to which State's plan adheres to sound planning practices. GAO reviewed State documents on the plan to improve the tracking and reporting of its foreign assistance data. GAO reviewed implementation of the State plan against specific milestones in the plan. GAO also evaluated if the plan included key elements for sound management and strategic planning. In addition, GAO interviewed State officials in Washington, D.C.
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    In Travel
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  • Man Sentenced for Operating Multi-Million Dollar International Money Laundering Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Ukrainian man was sentenced today to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $98,751.64 in restitution after pleading guilty to committing wire fraud, stemming from his participation in a scheme to launder funds for Eastern European cybercriminals who hacked into and stole funds from online bank accounts of U.S. businesses.
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  • Offshore Oil and Gas: Updated Regulations Needed to Improve Pipeline Oversight and Decommissioning
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) does not have a robust oversight process for ensuring the integrity of approximately 8,600 miles of active offshore oil and gas pipelines located on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, BSEE does not generally conduct or require any subsea inspections of active pipelines. Instead, the bureau relies on monthly surface observations and pressure sensors to detect leaks. However, officials told us that these methods and technologies are not always reliable for detecting ruptures. In response to a pair of significant oil leaks in 2016 and 2017, BSEE partnered with industry to improve subsea leak detection, but the technologies identified remain relatively new and cannot be retrofitted to a majority of pipelines. According to BSEE, the bureau's regulations are outdated and do not address how pipelines should be inspected, the complexities of deep water pipeline operations, and changes in technological standards. BSEE has long recognized the need to improve its pipeline regulations, and in 2007 issued a proposed rule that cited the need to enhance safety and protect the environment, but this effort stalled. The 2007 proposed rule addressed offshore pipeline integrity, including new requirements regarding pipeline inspection and subsea leak detection technologies. Since 2013, BSEE has noted plans to update its pipeline regulations but has made limited progress in the interim. Without taking actions to develop, finalize, and implement updated regulations to address identified oversight gaps, BSEE will continue to be limited in its ability to ensure the integrity of active pipelines. BSEE does not have a robust process to address the environmental and safety risks posed by leaving decommissioned pipelines in place on the seafloor due to the cumulative effects of oversight gaps before, during, and after the decommissioning process. First, BSEE does not thoroughly account for such risks during the review of decommissioning applications. This has contributed to BSEE and its predecessors authorizing industry to leave over 97 percent (about 18,000 miles) of all decommissioned pipeline mileage on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor since the 1960s. Generally, pipelines must be removed from the seafloor. BSEE, however, may allow pipelines to be decommissioned-in-place if certain criteria are met. Such a high rate of approval indicates that this is not an exception, however, but rather that decommissioning-in-place has been the norm for decades. Second, BSEE does not ensure that operators meet decommissioning standards, such as cleaning pipelines, because they do not observe any pipeline decommissioning activities, inspect pipelines after their decommissioning, or verify most of the pipeline decommissioning evidence submitted. Third, BSEE does not monitor the condition and location of pipelines following their decommissioning-in-place, which reduces its ability to mitigate any long-term risks, such as pipeline exposure or movement. Additionally, if pipelines decommissioned-in-place are later found to pose risks, there is no funding source for removal. As discussed above, BSEE has made limited progress in updating what it acknowledges are outdated pipeline regulations. Without taking actions to develop, finalize, and implement updated pipeline regulations, BSEE will continue to be limited in its ability to ensure that its pipeline decommissioning process addresses environmental and safety risks. Why GAO Did This Study The offshore oil and gas industry has installed approximately 40,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in federal offshore waters since the 1940s. BSEE is responsible for enforcing standards and regulations for oil and gas operations—including the oversight of active pipelines and their decommissioning—to enhance environmental protection and safety. As pipelines age, they are more susceptible to damage from corrosion, mudslides, and seafloor erosion, which can result in leakage of oil and gas into the ocean. Additionally, hurricanes can move pipelines extensive distances, which may damage subsea habitat, impede access to sediment resources, and create navigational and trawling hazards. GAO was asked to review BSEE's management of offshore oil and gas pipelines. This report examines BSEE's processes for (1) ensuring active pipeline integrity and (2) addressing safety and environmental risks posed by decommissioning. GAO reviewed regulations, procedures, and other documents and data related to BSEE's pipeline management processes. GAO also interviewed BSEE officials and those from other agencies with offshore responsibilities.
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