Serbia + 1 more

FY 2000 Guidelines for NGO Proposals: Serbia and Montenegro

Released by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
U.S. Department of State

The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) values its cooperation with non-governmental organization (NGO) partners worldwide. In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, NGOs have played a key role in assisting refugees and other war victims over the past 8 years, and they continue to do so today.

PRM recognizes that clear communication enhances cooperation and that NGOs can plan more easily when they understand donors' objectives. With these factors in mind, PRM has developed the following description of the activities it will consider for funding in Serbia and Montenegro in Fiscal Year 2000.

This description is not a binding list of activities; rather it presents general guidance about the types of programs PRM considers appropriate under prevailing circumstances for its direct funding of NGOs. PRM has drawn on input from its partners in the field and its own observation of operations in devising this strategy.

PRM relies on UN agencies and international organizations (IOs) to provide the basic framework of assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons (DPs) throughout the region. The Bureau funds NGOs indirectly through contributions to IOs, which use NGOs as implementing partners. It also funds them directly for activities that are particularly high priorities for the U.S. Government. This approach reflects both PRM's policy objectives and its budget reality, as most PRM money is designated for assistance to IOs and a lesser amount is available for NGO projects.

In this document, "old caseload" refers to refugees, DPs, and other vulnerable individuals affected by the 1991-95 wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. "New caseload" refers to refugees, DPs, and other vulnerable individuals affected by the conflict in Kosovo (including host families). When people classified as both old and new caseload live in the same community, NGOs may provide assistance to both groups in a single project, if appropriate.

For old caseload refugees, PRM is interested in funding projects in which the primary goal is to promote the return and reintegration of refugees and DPs who come from areas in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina where their ethnic group currently is in the minority. PRM will favor projects that increase and support cross-border returns, from the FRY to both Croatia and Bosnia. For the new caseload IDPs, returns are constrained by the fact that the UNHCR does not yet consider the situation in Kosovo as secure for all.



In Serbia and Montenegro, PRM will not be able to meet all requirements, so we will give priority to proposals for essential humanitarian relief for the new caseload in the following areas:

  • Emergency humanitarian relief
  • Food (coordinated with USAID/Food for Peace)
  • Hygiene kits
  • Medicines
  • Health
  • Psycho-social counseling
  • Mobile health clinics
  • Reproductive health, including safe motherhood, family planning, response to and prevention of sexual violence, and control and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS
  • Education
  • Refugee and adolescent children
  • Adult education and training
  • Emergency shelter and winterization assistance for IDPs and refugees

We will coordinate project proposals we are considering with the UNHCR, OFDA and other USAID offices, to avoid duplication with their activities. However, PRM will have chief responsibility for funding NGO projects in Serbia.

The U.S. Government is precluded from funding projects for the reconstruction of Serbia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, so long as Slobodan Milosevic is in power. Projects should be designed so that they do not provide reconstruction assistance.


The principal beneficiaries of each project should be refugees or displaced persons. Host families for refugees and displaced may also receive PRM-funded assistance. PRM grants should provide services that complement those of UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations providing assistance. Finally, the Bureau will consider funding for projects that assist, in part and especially in Montenegro, "affected communities," that is, communities that have been generous in hosting and that are substantially impacted by refugees and displaced persons. For example, the Bureau might fund the rehabilitation of a community center that has been used as a collective center by the ethnic Albanians displaced from Kosovo into Montenegro in February though June 1999, even though the immediate beneficiaries would be the present community rather than departed refugees. By targeting each of these groups in a given area, the entire community can see and feel the project's combined benefits. In addition, in order to avoid resentment and out of a sense of justice, the Bureau would assist host communities so that the level of commodities and services provided to refugees does not exceed the level of the host community.

PRM would not generally fund projects in which the principal beneficiaries are "social cases," that is people, no matter how needy, in the host population whose plight has no connection to refugees or displaced persons.

To the extent possible, projects should reinforce and develop local health and social service capacities so as to increase the chances that project activities are sustainable beyond the emergency phase and transition smoothly to local responsible groups. NGOs should coordinate closely with each other and with UNHCR in order to avoid duplication and to obtain support that UNHCR may be able to provide.

Distribution Networks

PRM will give priority in projects for Serbia and Montenegro to those that seek to build local capacity by developing distribution networks for relief commodities and services. This would include the empowering of local NGOs and associations, independent trade unions, religious organizations, and other groups that assist refugees and IDPs.

In general, PRM welcomes proposals that promote repatriation. It also will consider projects that provide humanitarian or economic self-help assistance to the most vulnerable old caseload refugees. Because the needs of the refugees exceed the amount of assistance available, PRM wants to direct its aid to those people who may suffer extreme hardship without additional aid. Proposals for humanitarian/economic assistance should explain why the NGO believes the identified beneficiaries are the most needy. They should describe the assistance the proposed beneficiaries receive from the host government, UNHCR, the Red Cross movement, and other sources. They should list other organizations to which the NGO has submitted similar proposals. They should discuss a clear strategy for phasing out the assistance and how assistance can be assumed by local authorities or groups.


PRM recognizes that refugees and DPs need accurate and timely information in order to make informed choices about return or other durable solutions, if appropriate. NGOs can help refugees and DPs obtain the information they require by sharing information among themselves.

The fact that the United States does not have diplomatic or development assistance presence in the FRY constrains communication between the field and PRM. In order to facilitate such information sharing, PRM will request fuller and more frequent reporting from implementing agencies than is normally the case. This communication may include direct e-mail (with copies to keep everyone in the loop) as well as more traditional, more formal reporting channels. In these circumstances, coordination with UNHCR assumes heightened importance. PRM will also be seeking third parties that can perform a monitoring role for projects we fund.

In addition, for the first grants to be awarded for projects in Serbia, PRM will restrict awards to implementing partners which are already established in Serbia and operational on the ground.

Security Concerns

PRM recognizes that there are particular security concerns involved in working in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, since the U.S. has no diplomatic presence in the FRY, the Bureau and the Department of State can take no responsibility and have limited ability to intervene should NGO personnel be threatened.


In Serbia, PRM will give priority to projects in areas where the refugee and IDP numbers are the greatest and to those areas that are underserved by the FRY government and international agencies. Specifically, we will give priority to projects that benefit refugees and displaced persons in the southern part of the republic. A disproportionate share of the newly displaced are in the larger, industrial towns of the south, largely in collective centers, with a conscious effort to keep them out of Belgrade.


The people and government of the republic of Montenegro have proved most generous through three refugee/DP crises: the old caseload refugees from Croatia and Bosnia; the primarily ethnic Albanian displaced from Kosovo from February to June 1999; and the Serbs, Roma, and others displaced from Kosovo after the departure of Serbian security forces in June 1999. PRM has earmarked money in its contribution to UNHCR for NGO-implemented projects in Montenegro. In addition, PRM will provide direct funding to NGO proposals for vulnerable refugees and DPs in this republic. PRM will be launching a special assessment mission to Montenegro ascertain requirements for additional humanitarian assistance there.


Each proposal should include a one-page summary and a section defining the project's goal and objectives. That section should list clear and measurable indicators for assessing the accomplishment of objectives. In all return projects - even those that do not involve shelter repair - indicators should show the project's impact on return. For example, they might report the number of minorities in a community before the beginning of the project and after its completion and explain how the project contributed to this change.

Proposals should be no more than 7-10 pages. Descriptions of background information should be succinct. They should not include a general description of the conflicts in the region. Proposals should only provide information on the NGO's activities in past years or other locations if that information is relevant to this proposal. If NGOs wish to provide additional information about their operations and activities, they may submit it separately.

PRM will consider how NGO proposals fit into the U.S. Government's overall assistance in these areas and UNHCR's framework for assistance in the region. Proposals should report the views of UNHCR and local implementing partners on the proposed activities. In addition, proposals should clearly identify related activities performed by UNHCR and other agencies in the designated geographic area.

PRM encourages NGOs to share concept papers with PRM staff in Washington. PRM will consider a proposal official only when the organization submits an original, with letters of certification, to the Washington office. NGOs may send proposals to Policy and Program Officer Rod Mackler at:

Department of State
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
2401 E Street NW, Suite L505
Washington, DC 20522-0105

All Proposals

Each official submission to PRM should include a signed, dated cover letter on official letterhead and the three required certifications (attached). Signatures on each document must be original. Photocopies and faxes are not acceptable for official purposes. The budget for the program should show not only the PRM-funded portions, but also those funded by UNHCR or other donors, if applicable. It should follow the sample format attached. Funding level for proposals should be in the range of $100,000 to $1.5 million.

PRM supports all UNHCR guidelines, including those on the protection of refugee women and children. NGOs should design activities that adhere to these guidelines. Specifically, proposals should describe the measures that will ensure that women will have access to the program and that the needs of vulnerable groups (elderly, widows, and single-parent households) will be addressed. Proposals for health-related activities should explain how they incorporate reproductive health elements, where possible.

In the development and planning of projects, PRM strongly encourages the inclusion of local populations: returnees, refugees/DPs, and local resident groups. PRM will favor projects that work with and build the capacity of local organizations.

PRM will consider proposals from NGOs that have a clear track record and established programs in the country in which they intend to work. PRM will take into consideration each NGO's experience working in the particular location(s) where it proposes to implement activities and in working with PRM or other U.S. Government agencies.


The winter months will be the most critical for the refugee and displaced populations in Serbia and Montenegro. PRM aims to process proposals as quickly as possible to assure that the agreements are in place and NGOs can begin work expeditiously. NGOs should submit proposals as soon as possible and be prepared to commence operations as soon as feasible. PRM will approve them and notify NGOs as quickly as possible so that work may begin. PRM plans to make selection and notify NGOs by early January 2000. Proposals should have starting dates no later than March 1, 2000, but we expect most to begin well before that date.

USAID/OFDA is presently conducting a needs assessment in Serbia and Montenegro, and PRM will also be sending an assessment mission to Montenegro. PRM may modify the terms and timing of the guidelines based upon the findings of those assessments. PRM may consider accepting additional proposals at a later date if circumstances change significantly on the ground or if funding remains available.


Each proposal should:

  • Include a section defining the project's goal and objectives.
  • Explain the steps for achieving the objectives.
  • List indicators for assessing the accomplishment of objectives.
  • Explain why the NGO selected the beneficiaries identified in the proposal.
  • Note related activities of UNHCR and other agencies in the designated geographic area(s).
  • Explain the involvement of refugees/DPs and the local population in planning and developing the program, if applicable.
  • State how the project reinforces and develops local capacity.
  • Describe the measures the NGO will use to ensure that women have access to the program and that the needs of vulnerable groups are addressed.
  • (For health projects) Explain how the activities incorporate reproductive health elements, where possible. In addition, each proposal for assistance should:
  • Include a one-page summary.
  • Be no more than 7-10 pages.
  • Report comments of representatives of the local UNHCR office about how the proposed activities are coordinated with overall refugee/IDP assistance.
  • (If the proposal identifies locations for operation) Explain how the identified locations meet the criteria listed in these guidelines.
  • (If the proposal does not identify locations for operation) Explain how the NGO intends to select locations and to determine the specific components of assistance packages for designated municipalities.
  • (For humanitarian assistance projects) Include a clearly defined phase-out strategy.

Each official submission should:

  • Be an original document.
  • Include a dated cover letter on official letterhead and PRM's three required certifications, each with original signatures.
  • Include a budget that follows the sample format and indicates the financial contributions of other donors, as applicable.

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