UNHCR: Call for Expression of Interest

Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Sunday, 28 February, 2021
Opportunity type: 
Call for proposals


Project title and Identification:
Project Location:
Refugee Integration, Assistance and Livelihood Project Eswatini
Brief Background of the Project:
The purpose of this Call for Expression of Interest is to identify a prospective partner to implement a comprehensive project that satisfies the basic needs of persons of concern (PoCs), in the Kingdom of Eswatini. This is particularly through improving livelihoods through social cohesion and economic inclusion activities.
The Kingdom of Eswatini has for many years been host to asylum-seekers and refugees. The UNHCR established itself in Eswatini in 1978 to help the Kingdom with an influx of refugees who were fleeing apartheid in South Africa. In the 1980s the UNHCR continued to respond to the Mozambicans fleeing from civil war.
In 2005, the UNHCR handed over the entire refugee program to the government of Eswatini. Today, Eswatini is host to 2048 persons of concern, both asylum-seekers and refugees, predominantly from the Great Lakes Region, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The majority of  the population reside in the urban areas while some reside in the Malindza Refugee Reception Center (MRRC) in Lubombo region to the east of the Kingdom, bordering  Mozambique.
The asylum-seekers and refugees rely primarily on the government for key services. While the government continues to express its strong willingness and commitment to host and support persons of concern, Eswatini has a small economy. There is a high rate of unemployment, and while persons of concern  can pursue jobs, finding jobs is a struggle to become self-reliant.They may not  know how to go about searching for a job and navigating the opportunities in Eswatini, nor do they have the savings and assets necessary to start a business. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated Eswatini´s economy and loss of livelihoods is one of the deep and hard-hitting impacts inflicted on refugees and asylum-seekers, subsequently presenting greater challenges in their protection and well-being.
Agricultural / Agribusiness project in Ndzevane

The envisaged project draws on a pledge made at the December 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF), a two-day high Ministerial level meeting on refugees in Geneva co-hosted by UNHCR and Switzerland and co-convened by Turkey, Germany, Ethiopia and Costa Rica. The GRF resulted globally in 900 pledges for collective action for better protection, refugee inclusion, education and jobs. Eswatini made a pledge in the focus area of jobs and livelihoods to make available “400 hectares to be given to refugees for agriculture (fish farming, aloe vera, red pepper, sugar cane, maize etc.)” in Ndzevane.
The vast majority of the population in Eswatini is  dependent on subsistence farming for their livelihoods, which has drastically been handicapped by a struggling economy and climate change. The sources of livelihoods such as farming are limited and have recently been restricted due to competition for resources between the local population and refugees. Thirteen (13)  refugee households in the Malindza Refugee Reception Center are now into agricultural production. They cultivate tomatoes, lettuce and spinach for the kitchen at the center on a farmland measuring 4.2 hectares.

The urban refugees do not work as much with agriculture because they live in rentals and have limited access to land for agricultural production. The few that are active in agricultural production are commercial farmers who cultivate  some land for commercial purposes sweet potatoes, vegetables and maize. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the social and economic rights of the most vulnerable in society who all too often depend on the informal economy. 90% of the person of concern population in Eswatini are involved in the selling of second-hand clothing, often traveling to neighbouring Mozambique for the selling and buying of additional stocks. With the COVID-19 related border closure, many have lost their livelihoods.
UNHCR envisages to support the agricultural use of the land on a commercial basis for the promotion of economic inclusion. The project, centered around agribusiness, intends to support the refugees in their socio-economic recovery, acknowledging that economic inclusion (access to labour markets, finance, entrepreneurship and economic opportunities for all) is a key component of achieving protection and solutions outcomes for refugees. The overall objective is to enhance refugee resilience and self-reliance subsequently enabling them to contribute to the host society by being proactive agents of change in the communities where they live.
Population in MRRC

Eswatini has no encampment policy. New arrivals are provided shelter and basic assistance at MRRC for three months before they are required to locally integrate. The Lubombo region, where the MRRC is located, is the poorest of the Kingdom´s four regions and employment opportunities are scarce. In some instances, refugees leave the MRRC before the three months come to end in order to search for opportunities that generate quick income. The project aims to, in the three months spent at MRRC, equip refugees  with the adequate skills required to successfully compete in the job market, for sustainable, long-term employment /self-employment opportunities as opposed to opportunities that generate fast income and only address their immediate needs.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the partial lockdown and other related restrictive measures, refugees lost their livelihoods abruptly and they had little to no savings to sustain themselves throughout the crisis. The aims of the project are therefore informed by one of the lessons learnt from COVID-19, namely the importance of livelihoods that can sustain one throughout a crisis. Possible activities are training the refugees in the area of agriculture using the 4.2 hectares land available at MRRC, as well as including them in other vocational programs intended to support the refugees in finding gainful employment.  
Population in urban areas

Regarding the Urban refugees, they too require initiatives aimed at increasing their access to employment. These may include, but are not exclusive to, vocational trainings of various types, outreach programs for the development of entrepreneurship skills, financial literacy, job placement and apprenticeship schemes. Additionally, engagement with potential employers and advocacy to employ refugees is required.

Goal/Objective, Expected Outcome and Main Activities:
Objective 1: Self-reliance and livelihoods improved
Output 1: Access to self-employment / business facilitated,
Output 2: Increased access to employment.

Output 3: Improved skills in financial literacy, marketing skills and business management.

Main activities: Agricultural project /Agribusiness in Ndzevane on the 400 hectares made available for PoCs. Build capacity of refugees in financial literacy, business management and marketing skills via mentorship programs ultimately addressing the issue of unemployment. Participate in awareness and sensitization campaigns and workshops as well as engageme with influential partners and stakeholders (government departments and ministries, pastors, artists, politicians, media influencers). Advocacy both at local and national level, promoting awareness and educating on the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees, subsequently advocating for their integration.   

Intended Population of Concern:
Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Southern Africa
Project Period [estimated start and end dates of project]: 1 April - 31 Dec 2021
Submission Deadline: Date Decision Results to be Communicated to Applicants:
28 February 2021 26 March 2021
Selection Criteria
Choose relevant criteria Criteria Description Assigned Weighting (optional)
  Sector expertise and experience: the required specific skills, sector specialists, knowledge and human resources. 30%
  Project management: ability to deliver project objectives, accountability mechanisms and sound financial management, taking into account the audit results of the previous UNHCR-funded projects, past performance and the external audit of partners’ financial statements, where applicable. 25%
  Partner’s capacity to undertake procurement: Ability to undertake large scale procurement, prior procurement experiences and value of procurement.  Functioning procurement unit in the country of operation. Established effective internal-controls and PQP status (when procurement is US$100K and above). 10%
  Local experience and presence: ongoing programme in the area of operation; local knowledge; engaging refugees and other persons of concern; trust from local communities; local presence; partner policy on community relations; complaint mechanisms for persons of concern; self-organized groups of persons of concern; and other factors that would facilitate access to and better understanding of the persons of concern and that would reduce administrative difficulties. 20%
  Contribution of resources: evidenced and documented contribution of resources to the Project in cash or in-kind (e.g. human resources, supplies and/or equipment) by the partner that are presently available (or potentially mobilized by the partner) in order to supplement UNHCR resources. 5%
  Experience working with UNHCR: global and/or local partnerships including knowledge of UNHCR policies, practices and programmes, including an understanding of and ability to work within UNHCR’s funding limitations and associated inherent risks. Partners that have three consecutive qualified audit opinions for UNHCR-funded projects may not be considered. 10%
  Other: as required by the UNHCR Office for any specific project (specify)  
  Other information (optional)  

For more information contact:
Vongaishe Mujuru via email: MUJURU@unhcr.org

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