SERVIR-HKH Small Grants Programme

Programme title ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH Small Grants Programme
Announcement type: Request for proposal
Issuance date 16 February 2022
Questions and clarifications Accepted up to 7 March 2022
Deadline for submission of concept papers 25 March 2022
Submit concept papers to

SECTION I – Programme description

Description of the Small Grants Programme

1.1.1 Background

A joint initiative of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and leading regional organizations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, SERVIR partners with countries in these regions to address critical challenges in climate change, food security, water and related disasters, land use, and air quality. Using satellite data and geospatial technology, SERVIR co-develops innovative solutions through a network of regional hubs to improve resilience and sustainable resource management at local, national, and regional scales. Useful resources to find out more about SERVIR’s approach to service planning include the Service Planning Toolkit and SERVIR’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2025.
Implemented by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) as a regional hub, SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) focuses on its member countries. SERVIR-HKH is housed under ICIMOD’s Mountain Environment Regional Information System (MENRIS) Regional Programme, which supports integration and analysis of multidisciplinary data, disseminates specific relevant information through the use of innovative information systems, and supports the effective use of information and knowledge products for the development and environmental decision-making.

1.1.2 About ICIMOD

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge-sharing centre based in Kathmandu, Nepal that serves the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Globalization and climate change have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities while addressing upstream-downstream issues.
We support regional transboundary programmes through partnerships with regional partner institutions, facilitate the exchange of experience, and serve as a regional knowledge hub. We strengthen networking among regional and global centres of excellence. Overall, we are working to develop an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem to improve the living standards of mountain populations and to sustain vital ecosystem services for the billions of people living downstream now, and for the future.

1.1.3 Programme objectives

The objective of the SERVIR-HKH grants programme is to help grow the network of government agencies, universities, and institutions in the HKH region that utilize geospatial tools and information to improve decision-making related to sustainable mountain development with a special focus on climate change and adaptation, vulnerability, or mitigation in relation with agriculture, food security, and disaster risk reduction. The anticipated outcome of the grant activities is to stimulate the innovative use of geospatial tools and information to translate science into decision support systems and practice that addresses the development challenges posed by climate stresses and their impact in the HKH region.

1.1.4 Overview

This RFP invites concept papers to explore innovative approaches and thinking to help relevant organizations speed their transition to climate-resilient, sustainable economic growth through improved policy and practice. Currently, SERVIR-HKH has active services in agriculture and food security, land cover and land use change and ecosystems, water resources and hydro-climatic disasters, weather and climate and air quality. The Regional Drought Monitoring And Outlook System provides current conditions and seasonal outlook of drought to support cropping practices and food security management. The crop mapping service develops in-season crop area assessment for major crops in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. On disaster risk reduction, SERVIR-HKH has active services to provide riverine and flash flood early warning, extreme weather forecasting, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite-based flood inundation monitoring. SERVIR-HKH is also working to develop flood inundation forecasting and crop yield forecasting services.
The SERVIR-HKH programme seeks to broaden its network of organizations that work with geospatial tools and information by funding proposals that can enhance the existing services and focus on the last-mile connectivity of the services. Proposals that leverage existing services to address current development limitations are encouraged. Innovative ideas to extend SERVIR services to integrate socio-economic data to support damage and/or risk assessments would be encouraged.
The proposed project needs to be within the framework of the following themes (Table-1) and must confirm the ‘programme objectives’ (see Section-1.1.3) described in this document.
Table 1: Thematic areas and topics for the grants programme

Theme Examples of topics on geospatial and/or Earth observation-based applications, tools, and methodologies [Please note these are just examples for reference and the applicants are encouraged to select the topic/area based on their competencies, original ideas, and innovations]
Agriculture and food security Innovative ideas to use drought monitoring and warning information; capacity development of farmers and stakeholders; food security management; crop suitability analysis; information and statistics on crops, weather pattern, rangeland, livestock, and other related agricultural resources
Disaster risk reduction and emergency responses Innovative application for flood, flash flood, thunderstorm; lightning impact assessment and use of forecast for mitigation; applications and information systems for flood management and vulnerability assessments; disaster preparedness, disaster management, disaster and hazard risk reduction, and emergency responses

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SECTION II– Award information

2.1 Estimated funding level

ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH may choose to fully fund or incrementally fund the chosen application(s). SERVIR-HKH expects to award 4-5 grants. Individual grants will not exceed USD 30,000. Applicant(s) are encouraged to reflect in-kind or cash contributions to the project implementation. The number of awards and amount of available funding are subject to change and SERVIR-HKH reserves the right to make no awards.
For this call, applications will be accepted from institutions based in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to manage grants or projects in the proposed focus country or region, as well as succeed in addressing the SERVIR-HKH programme’s development goals.

2.2 Anticipated start date and implementation period

ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH anticipates the start date of 16 May 2022 with an implementation period of 24 months and up to two additional months for closeout and final reporting.
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SECTION III– Eligibility information

3.1 Eligible organizations/entities that may apply

This RFP is a public notice to ensure that all interested and qualified organizations have a fair opportunity to submit applications for funding. Eligible organizations must be located within the SERVIR-HKH focused countries – Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. Eligible organizations include governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, research institutions, universities, private organizations, international non-governmental organizations, registered foundations and professional associations, and consortiums of the above. ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH encourages an approach that establishes partnerships with several partner organizations and focuses on long-term project sustainability in the future on their own.
In addition, applicants should:

  • Be legally recognized and registered. Registration documents and statutes must be submitted
  • Not be affiliated with a political party nor engaged in any political activity or activities
  • Not be focused solely on religious activities
  • Accept the financial compliance and grants procedure of ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH
  • Provide further legal documents/tax clearance documents, where applicable during the course of the contract award

Due diligence will be conducted for the successful organization before awarding contracts.

3.2 Potential new partners and team composition

ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH strongly encourages applications from potential new organizations that have not worked with us. Women and marginalised community participation on project teams is highly encouraged.

3.3 Cost sharing

Cost sharing is highly encouraged; where feasible, applicants are encouraged to contribute resources from their own private or local sources for the implementation of this programme.
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SECTION IV– Application and submission information

4.1 Application process

Concept papers must be developed in accordance with the instructions in Section 4.2 and be submitted to the ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH contact person. All concept papers received by the deadline will be reviewed by a technical panel from the ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH team. The short-listed applicants will be requested to submit a full proposal.
An application will be considered for award if the applicant satisfactorily submits the full proposals, in line with the concept paper submitted previously.

4.2 Concept paper

In the first stage, all applicants are required to submit a short technical concept paper no longer than five pages that is specific, complete, and concise. The concept paper should demonstrate the applicant’s capabilities and expertise with respect to achieving the goals of this programme. Concept papers will be reviewed in terms of responsiveness to the RFP, appropriateness of the subject matter, and creativity. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how their proposed work will contribute to sustainable climate change development solutions, particularly within the ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH member states.

4.2.1 Instructions for the concept paper

The concept paper must be submitted in Times New Roman, 12-point font and must include page numbers. Each page must be marked with the RFP number and the name of the organization (in the footer).
Applicants must prepare the application for the concept paper according to the structural format set forth below:
1) Cover page [no more than one (1) page] to be included with the application. The cover page must include:

  • The RFP number and title of the project
  • Name and address of organization (including website)
  • Type of organization (e.g., for-profit, non-profit, university, etc.)
  • Major functional areas of the organization
  • Contact point (lead contact name; relevant telephone, fax, e-mail information)
  • Names of other organizations to which you are submitting and/or have submitted the application and/or who are funding the proposed activity
  • Signature of the authorized representative of the applicant.

2) Technical approach [no more than three (3) pages]: This section should address the programme summary and selected objectives in Section I of this document and should include:

  • Concise title and project summary
  • Problem statement, objectives, and methodology
  • Discussion of the objectives, methodology; description of software, hardware, and data to be used; amount of effort to be employed; and anticipated results.
  • Discussion of how the work will help accomplish ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH’s goal of promoting sustainable development through the use of geospatial tools and information dissemination, including how the proposed work will leverage and/or extend existing services to address current development limitations.
  • Type of support the applicant requests from ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH (funds, facilities, equipment, materials, personnel resources).

3) The concept paper should depict a clear description of final output/deliverables [no more than one (1) page].
Depending on the type of project, the output and deliverables can also vary. Project deliverables can be a combination of the following example outputs/deliverables:

  • Final report (mandatory)
  • Web-based GIS applications demonstrating decision support on the topics of the example thematic areas given in this RFP
  • Scientific article/report, such as, in the case of geospatial tools-based analysis, an article on using various GIS and remote sensing data and revealing interesting and useful findings. The deliverables should also include all the GIS maps, graphs, and data used in the analysis, and a clear description of the steps and methods used in the analysis, etc.
  • ArcGIS online story maps, Google Earth KML, Google Earth Movie or similar products
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Innovative tools and technologies supporting Earth observation and geospatial technologies
  • Impact stories

4) Supporting information (no more than (1) page):
Proposed total estimated cost; brief cost breakdown (e.g., salaries, travel, etc.); proposed optional amount of the applicant’s financial as well as in-kind participation, if applicable; proposed amount of prospective or existing partners’ financial as well as in-kind participation, if applicable; proposed timeline of the activity; and brief description of applicant, as well as prospective or existing partners’ previous work/experience.
5. CVs of the team members and institutional profile to be included in an annex.
ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH will contact the selected applicants to request a full proposal based on the evaluation of the concept paper.

4.2.2 Submission instructions

  • All materials must be in English.
  • The concept paper must be submitted by e-mail to ICIMOD (SERVIR-HKH point of contact mentioned in Section VII) no later than the deadline on the cover page of this RFP or subsequently announced deadlines if additional reviews are announced. All correspondence must include the relevant RFP number and title.
  • Incomplete applications, or those submitted after the deadline, shall not be considered.
  • Applicants will receive receipt confirmation of their application within two weeks after the postmark deadline.

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SECTION V – Application review information

5.1 Evaluation criteria for concept paper

Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how their proposed work will contribute to developing solutions for sustainable mountain development with a special focus on climate vulnerability, mitigation, or adaptation especially within the developing country context. Applicants should note that these criteria: (a) serve as the standard against which all applications will be evaluated, and (b) serve to identify the significant matters that the recipients should address.
The following evaluation criteria will be used to evaluate the applications.

Criteria Maximum score
Innovative ideas and relevance of the issues 15
Technical approach 45
Qualifications of the project team 15
Clear description and creativity in the deliverables 15
Budget breakdown and cost sharing 10

5.1.1 Innovative ideas and relevance of the issues

Application of new and emerging geospatial technologies in solving problems contributing to sustainable climate change development solutions.

5.1.2 Technical approach

The following points will be emphasized:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the subject as indicated in the Background and Overview sections; applicant must also demonstrate how the proposed activities will address the emphasized outcomes using prescribed and illustrative indicators.
  • Degree to which the programme approach and proposed strategies to address sustainable development with a special focus on climate adaptation, vulnerability, or mitigation are creative, innovative, collaborative, and feasible. Collaboration, inclusion, and strengthening of local partners; applications that include local implementing partners and female team members will be considered favourably.
  • Degree to which the proposed work will leverage and/or extend existing SERVIR HKH services to address current development limitations.

5.1.3 Qualification of the project team

The following points will be emphasized:

  • Project management and institutional capacity
  • Institutional capacity to manage (technically, administratively, and financially) a project relevant to sustainable mountain development with a special focus on climate adaptation, vulnerability, or mitigation, especially in addressing sensitive social norms in a culturally appropriate manner.
  • Long-term experience by key staff in capabilities where appropriate
  • Successful institutional presence in at least one geographic region identified in the RFP

5.1.4 Clear description and creativity in the deliverables

Whether the deliverables involve creativity and innovation and whether the deliverables have been clearly described.

5.1.5 Budget breakdown and cost sharing

Whether the budget breakdown gives sufficient and appropriate detail and whether cost sharing is planned.
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SECTION VI – Award and administration information

6.1 Post-selection information

Following the selection of an awardee (refer to Section 4.1), SERVIR-HKH will inform the successful applicant concerning the award. A notice of award signed by SERVIR-HKH’s Chief of Party (or a person designated by them) is the official authorization document and will be provided either electronically or in hard copy to the successful applicant’s main point of contact.
General information on reporting requirements
Programme implementation reporting will be determined based on the outcome of the collaborative finalization of the planned programme and the delineation of roles and responsibilities. A performance monitoring and evaluation plan with measurable targets and indicators will also be agreed upon. Financial reporting will be in accordance with the requirements of the obligating document, using the format given in the Grants Manual (which will be sent to the successful shortlisted applicants).

6.2 Signing the agreement

Selected awardees will need to sign an agreement using the agreement template given in the Grants Manual (sent only to the successful shortlisted applicants). Apart from the obligations to deliver various outputs, the applicants also need to declare and agree upon certain clauses (such as compliance and maintenance of documents required by ICIMOD’s policies, which will be provided in the full proposal) including the following:

6.2.1 Intellectual property rights

Any data or data service, publication, text, methodology or other resources used in the project must be cited and duly acknowledged with complete reference to their original sources. If any of those resources need an Intellectual Rights Permission (IRP) to be used, the grantee must ensure that such permission is being requested in written form (mentioning that SERVIR-HKH might reproduce or publish complete, or part of the resource used in the grants project). Such written consent must accompany the project submission by the grantee at the end of the award.

6.2.2 Unrestricted submission of data, data service, publication text, and other resources

The grantee must submit all data, data service, publication text, programming source codes, and other resources used in the project to SERVIR-HKH in unrestricted form. SERVIR-HKH would have the rights to reproduce or publish complete or part of the resource used in the grant project. In case of such reproduction, SERVIR-HKH will duly acknowledge the original sources of the resources as provided.
Statement on the secondary usage of the data or methodology
If the data, data service, publication, text, and methodology already have been used fully or partially or are intended for use in other projects, by other organizations, or for any other purposes, complete details of such uses need to be clearly mentioned in the full proposal and also in the final report.
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SECTION VII – SERVIR-HKH Project contacts

The points of contact for this RFP and any questions during the RFP process are:

  • Name: SERVIR-HKH Initiative
  • Address: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, G.P.O. Box 3226, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Telephone/Fax Numbers: +977-1- 527-5222/5275239
  • E-mail:

While contacting SERVIR-HKH with any enquiries, please provide the following information at the bottom of your e-mail message:

  • Name of the organization:
  • Type of the organization (non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, research institutions, universities, private organizations etc.)
  • Contact point (name, designation, e-mail, phone):
  • Address of the organization, including website:
  • Major functional areas:

Any prospective applicant desiring an explanation or interpretation of this RFP must request it in writing by the date listed on the cover letter to allow a reply to reach all prospective applicants before the submission of their applications. Oral explanations or instructions given before award of a grant will not be binding. Any information given to a prospective applicant concerning this RFP will be furnished promptly to all other prospective applicants as an amendment of this RFP if that information is necessary in submitting applications or if the lack of it would be prejudicial to any other prospective applicants.
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SECTION VIII – Other information

Issuance of this RFP does not constitute an award or commitment on the part of ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH, nor does it commit ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. ICIMOD/SERVIR-HKH reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted as a result of this RFP.
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Frequently asked questions

Updated: 11 March 2022

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on the queries we have received around our SERVIR-HKH Small Grants Programme.

Please write to if you have additional queries related to the grant.

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