Call for Proposals Psychosocial Support Services and Social Cohesion Initiatives for Cross-border Traders and Porters in Rusizi (Rwanda) and Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo) at International Organization for Migration (IOM): (Deadline 8 March 2021)

Call for Proposals Psychosocial Support Services and Social Cohesion Initiatives for Cross-border Traders and Porters in Rusizi (Rwanda) and Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo) at International Organization for Migration (IOM): (Deadline 8 March 2021)

Call for Proposals Psychosocial Support Services and Social Cohesion Initiatives for Cross-border Traders and Porters in Rusizi (Rwanda) and Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo) at International Organization for Migration (IOM): (Deadline 8 March 2021)

Psychosocial Support Services and Social Cohesion Initiatives for Cross-border Traders and Porters in Rusizi (Rwanda) and Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo)


Cross-Border Trade (CBT) represents a vital source of livelihood and food security for African border communities, enhancing potentials for regional economic integration and political stability in the Great Lakes Region in particular. In the last two decades, informal CBT (ICBT) has been increasingly under the lens of research institutes and international organizations for its flexibility to adapt to fast political, economic, military, and environmental changes. However, despite many efforts to regularize CBT, the sector remains largely informal, partially regulated by simplified trade regimes, and massively operated by female small-scale traders.

Therefore, along with potential economic development and relevant political dimensions of the trade, there are crucial aspects related to women’s welfare and social cohesion in the communities across the borders to be considered in a more comprehensive perspective. The border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) might simultaneously represent an area of economic opportunities and a space of multiple threats to many women who literally “carry” on with their business on daily basis. Despair, frustration, and fear are easily found among the psychosocial outcomes for women who mainly depend on this source of income for their survival and that of their children and family members.

The International Organization for Migration in Rwanda (IOM), through the support of the European Union (EU), is implementing a 3-year cross-border project – “Secure cross-border social, economic and commercial activities in the Great Lakes Region” – aimed at improving trading relations among the bordering communities of Rusizi (Rwanda) and Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC), enhancing women’s welfare and social cohesion initiatives. Under this operational framework, IOM launched a survey in Rusizi and Bukavu to assess psychosocial needs and social cohesion resources in the bordering communities between October 2019 and March 2020.

The present Call for Proposals is part of the operational plan developed by IOM on the basis of the results of the action-research and measures suggested by the study to enhance women’s welfare and cross-border trade in Rusizi and Bukavu. This plan envisages the engagement of two implementing partners, one in each side of the border, to implement community-based activities, awareness campaigns and mediation initiatives between cross-border traders and borders authorities, in coordination with IOM Staff and Social Cohesion Mobile Team in Rusizi and Bukavu.

Scope of the Call for Proposals

IOM Rwanda is seeking applications from eligible Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Rwanda and DRC, with experience in delivering conflict mitigation and social cohesion initiatives, protection and psychosocial services, in bordering communities of Rusizi in Rwanda and Bukavu in DRC.

The overall goal of this Call for Proposals is to enhance women’s welfare and protection services to vulnerable cross-border traders and porters in the bordering communities of Rusizi (Rwanda) and Bukavu (DRC). This objective should be achieved through the direct provision of psychosocial support activities and social cohesion initiatives, access to cross-border markets and credit schemes, business enhancement and trade expertise, inclusion in professional networks, and cohesive communities.

Specific objectives of the Call for Proposals are:

A. Provision of community-based psychosocial and protection initiatives in favour of vulnerable cross-border traders and porters, including their children, family members, close relatives, friends, and neighbours.

B. Facilitateaccess of vulnerable cross-border traders and porters to social, learning and commercial services such as education, health, housing, vocational training courses and credit institutions, trade associations and cooperatives, legal services and professional consultancies.

C. Promotion of awareness campaigns on women’s welfare and cross-border trade, highlighting threats, challenges, and opportunities across the borders and coordination between cooperatives and trade associations of both countries.

D.Establishment or strengthening of existing consultative platforms and mediation initiatives between customs authorities and representatives of cross-border traders, cooperatives, trade associations, NGOs and CSOs.

Project Proposals should address at least two of the four specific objectives of the Call for Proposals, clearly indicating implementing modalities, synergies among activities, theory of change, selection criteria for beneficiaries, benchmarks and output/outcome indicators. Partnership among NGOs and CSOs are eligible, provided that each partner is clearly tasked with project activities and managerial responsibilities within the consortium.

Guidelines for Submitting Applications

1.    Project Duration

The proposed projects might last between a minimum of six months and a maximum of eight months, starting  in March, 2021 and be completed not later than October 31, 2021.

2.    Beneficiaries

Proposed projects should target vulnerable cross-border traders and porters, their professional organizations, families and communities.

3.    Geographical Coverage

The proposed projects should cover at least three neighborhoods in Rusizi and Bukavu where the economic relevance of cross-border trade is high (proximity to the border, presence of marketplaces, cooperatives, stores) and the socio-relational impact of the business on families and groups is negatively perceived (domestic violence, abusive communication, lack of trust, stigma).

4.    Type of Activities

Thematic areas to be covered by the successful candidate are, but not limited to, the following:

  • Joint initiatives with the other successful candidate of this Call for Proposal to promote conflict prevention and mediation activities between cross-border traders in Rusizi and Bukavu.
  • Psychosocial wellbeing, professional and relational capacities of vulnerable cross-border traders and porters, following holistic and multidisciplinary approaches.
  • Protection and resilience of destitute women and survivors of violence among cross-border traders and porters, including the establishment of self-help groups or legal services.
  • Social cohesion, respect, and mutual trust between cross-borders traders and porters across the borders, including recreational activities and celebration of public events.
  • Alternative livelihood opportunities for cross-border traders and porters who have been marginalized or are not able to engage in the business anymore.
  • Training initiatives to enhance leadership, life-skills, and professional capabilities for women engaged in cross-border trading.
  • Awareness on human rights, social cohesion, and protection with particular references to girls, single mothers, persons with disabilities, person affected by mental health disorders or substances abuse.
  • Conflict prevention and mediation initiatives to set-up channels of communication and agreed procedures across the border to address unfair competitions, abuses of power, and dangerous practices.
  • Coordination with customs authorities, regional organizations, and provincial/district institutions.

Evaluation Criteria

IOM shall evaluate Project Proposals on the basis of their responsiveness to the above mentioned thematic areas and compliance with overall goal and specific objectives of this Call for Proposals. Project Proposals will be ranked according to a scoring point system. Each Proposal shall be given a technical score by the review committee nominated by IOM. IOM will reserve the right to conduct due diligence on any organization that would be short-listed, which may include a verification visit to the headquarters and request of additional documentation.

i)    Experience in  working with cross-borders traders (max. 30 points)

The candidate needs to send a table with previous experience of similar interventions to the one proposed, by outlining:

  • Title of project
  • Duration of project activities
  • Project objectives
  • Main activities
  • Beneficiaries selection criteria (include the targeted number of beneficiaries)
  • Partnerships, if any.

ii)    Clear and cost-effective budget (max. 15 points)

The cost application should include a detailed overview of all costs against activities as per the attached budget template. Please draft the budget as realistic and competitive as possible (i.e. cost-benefits and effectiveness).

iii)    Organization Capacity (max. 15 points)

Candidate should demonstrate both physical capacity (e.g. physical presence human resource capacity, financial conditions) and technical knowledge and expertise. Candidate should also have experience working with vulnerable categories of individuals such as persons with disabilities, women, and children.

iv)    Quality of proposal (max. 15)

The proposal should be clear and in line with the IOM Call for Proposals’ expected objectives. Target groups and indicators should be realistic and measurable. A proposal which contravenes fundamental ethical principles such as “do not harm” principle, gender inclusion, and respect for diversity, or fails to comply with relevant security procedures shall not be selected.

Eligible Institutions

National and local associations such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) legally registered in their respective countries. The successful candidate should demonstrate to have:

  • Working experience in similar interventions.
  • Financial capacity to pre-finance the 20% of the activities.
  • Adequate and qualified staff in relation to the activities.
  • Be legally registered to operate in Rwanda or DRC.
  • Applicants must have established outreach capabilities with linkages to the beneficiary groups identified in the program description.

Reporting Requirement

The successful organization will need to provide IOM with interim and final narrative reports at, as well as interim and final financial reports no later than a month after the completion of the project. Disbursement will happen in three installment: 50% at the inception of the project; 30% after interim reports; 20% after final reports.

Duration of Assignment

The successful candidate would be engaged by IOM for a minimum of 6-month and a maximum of 8-month period. Following a review of services rendered and project’s achievements, IOM may consider extending the contract for an additional period of time.

Financial Resources

Financial ceiling for each Project Proposal will be 20,000 USD (Twenty Thousand United States Dollars).

Please note that Staff & Office Costs should not exceed 15% of the total budget, while operational staff (i.e. project coordinator, trainers, social workers, nurses, drivers) can be included in the Activities budget lines.

How to apply

The candidate organization is required to submit a Project Proposal, including:

  • Technical Application (max. 6 pages) as per template in Annex A ;
  • Financial Application as per budget breakdown in Annex B;
  • Organization’s profile;
  • Copy of government registration as NGO or CSO;
  • List of relevant past projects in a table (max 2 pages).

Applications should be accompanied by a covering letter from the applying organization, with a signature of the official representative and official stamp of the organization.

Applications can be written in English or in French languages and must be submitted electronically at [email protected]

Deadline: applications should be sent to IOM by the 8th of March 2021.

An on-line meeting will take place on the 1st March 2021 from 10 to 11 AM (Rwanda time) in view of providing further clarifications on the call and requirements for applicants. In order to attend, interested applicants should manifest their interest by addressing an email to KAREGE Herve [email protected]

Any request for additional information must be addressed at least one week before the deadline for submissions.


Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *