‘The CAP aims to promote diverse and representative citizen participation in and among impoverished communities throughout Iraq, and will identify and address critical reconstruction and development needs,’ the request for applications (RFA) announcement issued by USAID says. ‘The programme will facilitate the rapid dispersal of USAID resources to 250 communities, and engage citizens in processes vital for effective community/local government partnership.’ The CAP will reach and directly benefit over 5 million Iraqis.

USAID says that the CAP will last 12 months, with the possibility for two one-year extensions. The contracts will be implemented through co-operative agreements issued to about five NGOs or private voluntary organisations, with each responsible for a specific geographic region of the country.

Appointed contractors will help communities to identify key priorities including: possible causes of conflict and sources of tension; facilitating community organisation; providing targeted technical assistance and training; ensuring the technical, economic, and environmental viability of projects; and providing monitoring and oversight.

Plans call for the contracts to be awarded on 19 May and for activities to start on the ground on 16 June. Total funding for the first 12-month programme will be $70 million. USAID says that each option year will be funded at the total level of $70 million, subject to final approval. Only US organisations have been invited to bid, but applicants are being encouraged to form partnerships with local organisations.