6. The procurement sourcing and acquisition process

Specific requests to commence procurement for any goods or services must be documented in a purchase requisition order (see section 10.2), which is to be completed by the requesting staff, duly authorised by the appropriate delegate and submitted to the procurement unit. The procurement unit then manages the procurement sourcing and acquisition process in accordance with the following guidelines.

Undertake a rapid market survey of the items required for the emergency interventions, considering local, national and international markets (refer to section 6.2). Check for:

  • quantities available
  • quality
  • pricing
  • source and origin of the items (in particular, check against donor requirements about the origin)
  • technical specifications, including Sphere standards.


  • The market survey can be narrowed down if items and potential suppliers have been pre-identified in the EPP.
  • Check for any donor restrictions (see section 4). In case of funding from United States Government, verify the geographical code and find out if any waivers are required.                                                                                                 

6.2.1 Determining sources of supply

The procurement unit needs to assess which sources (local, national and international) can deliver the right quantity and quality of product the most quickly. As part of the EPP process, the CO may have pre-identified suppliers. Check the EPP first.

The first principle should be to source all commodities locally and in-country, as close to the field as possible to reduce transport time and cost. However, this is often not feasible in emergency contexts due to limited availability or poor quality. Sometimes a combination of sources will be required to achieve the right quantity, quality and speed of delivery.

Note that many CO standard non-emergency procurement policies require procurements over a certain value to be completed by the head office of the CO. Decentralising procurement to sub-offices by increasing their authorisation levels can make the procurement faster if goods are available in sub-office locations (see section 3).

6.2.2 Sourcing supplies internationally

Often, the materials required will not be available locally or nationally in the quantities required. This is particularly common for relief items such as tarpaulins, tents and blankets. In these cases, it is necessary to identify international vendors and/or manufacturers of these supplies.

Procurement restrictions imposed by the donor may require the products to be purchased from the donor country. In this case, the CO would require assistance from the international member in that particular country to help identify sources of supply, and establish links between the CO and the vendor in the donor country.

If international procurement is going to be undertaken, ensure that the CO is aware of all import procedures and costs before proceeding with orders (see section 8). Contact CARE USA Procurement for assistance.

When identifying international sources, check the following information:

  • details of pre-positioned items available at a CARE International level
  • information and contact details of known international suppliers of humanitarian relief items
  • details of vendors who have signed pre-supply agreements with the CO or CARE Members
  • check with other NGOs to find out who they using as their emergency suppliers.

6.2.3 Support for international procurement

Advice and support regarding international procurement or logistics may be obtained by contacting:

CARE USA on Logistics, (EHAT)Rachel Gordon-Roberts rgordon-roberts@care.org; CARE USA on Procurement – Joanne Rivera: rivera@care.org) or the relevant Lead Member

The procurement unit manages the vendor selection process on the basis of requirements defined by the purchase requisition form. Methods for vendor selection include:

  • sole or single sourcing
  • request for quotations
  • sealed bidding process.

6.3.1 Sole or single sourcing

Wherever possible, a competitive selection process must be undertaken for vendor selection through a quotation or tender process. Where the requirements of the emergency are urgent or unique are clearly detailed, sole or single sourcing may be justifiable to speed up the procurement process. Sole or single sourcing must be clearly justified and documented for audit purposes.

6.3.2 Definitions of sole and single sourcing

Sole source: Sole sourcing exists when only one source is available (like a local water company in many cities and towns) or when only one source makes an item that the organisation wants to buy.

Single source: Single sourcing exists when a buying organisation actively selects one supplier although more than one is available.

6.3.3 Request for quotations or sealed bids

  • The requirement for quotes or sealed bids will be determined by the bidding thresholds outlined in CAREs CI Harmonization Procurement Policy. These limits should be increased automatically for the emergency period to help with more rapid procurement (refer to section 3). In the absence of an existing CO procurement policy, refer to the Lead Member for recommended thresholds.
  • The procurement unit should prepare and issue a request for quotation (RFQ) for the goods and services required.
  • RFQs and vendor responses should be tracked using Annex 12.6 Tracking Sheet for Sealed Bids.
  • The procurement unit should coordinate the analysis of bids and selection of vendors.
  • Processes for the review of bids (for example bid committees) should be streamlined for the period of the emergency. Follow CAREs CI Harmonization Procurement Policy.

6.3.4 Vendor screening

When selected as the preferred supplier, vendors must be screened before CARE confirms an order or contract with them. Vendors should be pre-selected and screened during the EPP process. If this is not the case, then:

  • request potential vendors and suppliers to complete a vendor questionnaire (Annex 12.4)
  • check references, preferably from other NGOs
  • screen all potential vendors against the anti-terrorism and debarred listings, for both individuals and organisations. A report of this screening process should be printed and placed in the procurement file. Note in PeopleSoft new vendors are checked by Bridger World Tracker when upon entering them in the system. Vendor is added only after successful clearance in system. CARE USA currently uses the Bridger World Tracker software. Check with your Lead Member for appropriate software.
  • If you do not have a particular software tool, you may request CARE USA in Atlanta for access to CARE USA’s tool. Please contact legal@care.org.