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Request for Proposals
Central Asia Health Systems Strengthening (CAHSS) QUALITATIVE AND GENDER ASSESSMENT
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is a private not-for profit, non-denominational development agency that works to improve the quality of life of communities in remote and resource poor areas. AKF is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of international development agencies, institutions and programmes that work primarily in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia. In Central Asia, AKF works to improve health outcomes of women of reproductive age and children under 5.
AKF is in its final year of a five-year project, and is seeking a qualified consultant(s) to lead the design and analysis of a qualitative and gender assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to design and coordinate a qualitative study and gender assessment in order to get an in-depth understanding of project contributions towards gender equality and other key objectives within the project’s Performance Measurement Framework (PMF). The assessment will provide clarification on the gendered dimensions of access to and control over resources, decision-making, social norms and perceptions and practices related to access and use of MNCH and other health services in target communities in the four countries. The assessment will provide information on the effectiveness and gender responsiveness of project interventions, and will also support design and implementation of future interventions
The Global Consultant will serve as the technical lead of this multi-country study (Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan and Tajikistan) and will work closely with the project’s coordination unit (PCU) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) on all matters pertaining to this RfP.
2. Background of Project
CAHSS is a $31 million, five-year project implemented by Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) and co- funded by Global Affairs Canada.
CAHSS is designed to improve the health of 655,557 people, including 376,771 women, and 19,298 children under five in target areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyz Republic, particularly for reproductive-aged women, newborns and children under five. The overall goal of CAHSS is to Strengthen health systems to improve the health of men and women in target areas of Central Asia, especially women of reproductive age, newborns and children under five. CAHSS is designed to intervene at the primary (community), secondary (district) and tertiary (provincial and national) levels of the health system.
To address health system gaps and weaknesses, and strengthen the ability of systems to contribute to improved health in the target areas of Central Asia, the project plans to 1) strengthen service delivery; 2)
foster professional development; 3) promote community health; and 4) promote learning. Specifically the
project’s outcomes are:
• Increased availability of quality care provided by project supported health facilities
• Improved capacities of female and male health professionals to manage and provide quality care
• Enhanced awareness of male and female community members on health promoting and disease preventing behaviours
• Improved awareness of targeted healthy behaviours among male and female community members
• Enhanced knowledge of key stakeholders to inform and improve the functioning of the health system in Central Asia
3. Scope and Target Population
The qualitative study will be carried out in 8 active districts across four countries (2 districts per country), including Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, using purposeful sampling for the selection of sites based on relevant criteria. It is expected that approximately 40 focus group discussions and approximately 20 key informant interviews with key stakeholders will be conducted across the four countries.
4. Purpose of Mandate
The Consultant will serve as the lead Global Coordinator for the multi-country study and be responsible for overall design, sampling strategy, quality control of data, analysis and report writing. Specifically, the main objectives of the consultancy are to:
1. Act as lead technical coordinator for the qualitative and gender assessment with focus on validation of the design1, development of sampling strategies in each country, development and revision of tools, coding and analysis of all data and information and report writing. The latter, will include one report detailing findings from each of the four countries. AKF will provide a suggested outline for this report in advance.
2. Implement facilitator and note taker training in each country, tool translation and piloting, and ensure quality control is maintained during data collection, translations and transcriptions. It is envisioned that in-person orientation workshops will take place (regional or per country).
3. Coordinate with CAHSS M&E and Gender Leads throughout the duration of the study.
5. Scope of Study
The study will include two main components:
• Document review and analysis of secondary sources from the project’s reports, national policies, laws and data, and other relevant information, as well as other data collected through the project’s monitoring system.
1 A qualitative design and plan has been developed by AKFC and PCU and it is expected that the consultant will review and validate the design, as well as provide recommendations for improvement. It is also expected that the consultant will develop tools based on this plan.
• Collection of qualitative information through Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions with health facility staff and management, local leaders and influencers, community and health facility governance committees, women, men and adolescents and other target groups as identified
Participatory approaches (e.g. ranking and other Participatory Rural Appraisal type approaches) are essential and should be integrated into the FGDs to ensure effective engagement and contributions of participants.
The following areas of enquiry are of particular interest:
• How does access to and control over resources and decision-making of women influence their ability to access and utilize health services?
• How do social and gender norms affect women’s access to and use of health services?
• How has women’s access and mobility to health services changed over the past five years?
• How satisfied are men and women with health facilities and services?
• How do (or could) communities and health facilities address gender inequalities around decision- making, participation, access and use of services?
For each of these domains, a series of sub-questions will also be addressed.
In addition, the following indicators should be collected during this assessment:
• Degree to which training curricula and health facility clinical protocols/SOPs are gender-sensitive
• Degree to which men are engaged in supporting female family members to access and use health services
• Level of women’s active participation in community and facility level health committee decision making
• Degree to which women have decision-making ability related to health-seeking for children and self, including family planning
• Degree of support for women by their spouse/partner and/or family members in accessing and using health services
• Level of knowledge of health facility personnel and community health workers on gender responsive health service delivery
6. Key Activities and Deliverables
The key deliverables expected from the Consultant(s) for this assignment are as follows:
• Review all relevant documents, studies and other data sources regarding health issues relevant CAHSS in each of the countries. Prior to the commencement of the assessment, an inception meeting via Skype with the PCU will be carried out to clarify mandate.
• Revise and finalize Study Plan2: a detailed study plan is to be finalized including the following elements:
o Assessment design and sampling strategy for qualitative components
o Detailed work plan that includes all tasks by the Consultant and team members and incorporating the overall timelines3
o Level of effort of each team member
o An analysis plan for the data collected
o Detailed budget including professional fees, expected reimbursables, etc.
• Develop and revise data collection tools: develop the set of data collection tools and revise according to AKFC, PCU and country unit feedback.
• Orientation for each country team through an in-person workshop prior to facilitator training is recommended.
• Develop facilitator and note taker guidelines and forms for data collection.
• Train facilitators and note takers following a detailed agenda and outlining assessment methods and tools.
• Ensure quality of information collected
• Ensure transcription and translation of all information collected through field work conducted.
• Coding and Analysis of qualitative data and other relevant information, based on the analysis approach in the study plan.
• Draft and finalize Assessment Report including Executive Summary and Full Report. The final Report is to be submitted in both Word and PDF versions with all annexes included. A suggested Table of Contents (ToC) will be provided by AKF.
• Copies of translated transcripts¸ coding framework and all data including any field notes are to be submitted to the PCU and AKFC with the draft report.
The Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) will make available all relevant documents and information during the inception phase.
7. Time Frame and Level of Effort
The period of the contract is estimated to be from June 19, 2017 to October 31, 2017 with an expected contribution of approximately 67 working days over this period. The consultant is expected to carry out all the preparation required to roll out the study as per the suggested time frame below.
8. Qualifications of Consultant(s)
• Minimum of 10 years of experience in conducting qualitative research and gender assessments, preferably for international non-profit organizations or multilateral agencies and multi-country studies
• Demonstrated experience in designing qualitative studies and assessments, including proven experience in sampling, tool development, facilitator training, etc.
• Demonstrated experience in qualitative analysis and using qualitative analysis software
• Experience managing multi-country studies
• Extensive knowledge and experience in gender equality issues required
• Specialization in maternal and child health, policies and services systems in Central Asia;
• Fluency in English is mandatory. Additional Central Asian languages is an asset
• Ability to produce high quality work under tight timeframes
9. Application Packages and Procedures
Qualified and interested parties are asked to submit the following:
1. Letter of interest, including the names and contact information of two previous clients who can be contacted regarding relevant experience
2. Detailed technical proposal of not more than 8 pages clearly demonstrating a thorough understanding of this request for proposals and including the following:
i. Description of study/assessment approach and methodology
ii. Demonstrated previous experience in gender and qualitative assessments and other
qualifications outlined in this RFP
iii. Proposed sampling strategy and analysis plan
iv. A proposed timeframe detailing activities and a schedule/work plan (including a Gantt chart)
v. A proposed training approach and schedule for facilitators
vi. Team composition and level of effort of each proposed team member, including country teams
vii. Curriculum Vitae(s) of all proposed staff outlining relevant experience (annexed to technical proposal)
3. A financial proposal with a detailed breakdown of costs for the study i. Itemized consultancy fees/costs
ii. Itemized field data collection expenses iii. Itemized administrative expenses
iv. Expected payment plan and method
4. A copy of a previous report of similar work undertaken on: a) gender analysis or assessment; OR b) qualitative study
5. A Consulting Firm profile (if applicable).
10. Evaluation Criteria
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following set of criteria:
Criteria Maximum Score
Demonstrated experience in conducting similar assessments 20
Education and Technical Experience of Team 15
Proposed Methodology and Approach 20
Gender Equality experience and proposed approach 15
Total Technical Component 70
Realistic Costs for proposed work 15
All relevant costs included to carry out proposed work 15
Total Financial Component 30
Proposals will be evaluated only if the complete package as outlined above is received.
Complete applications should be submitted electronically to:
AKFC, c/o AKFC MERL Manager, Health Program at email@example.com with the subject line of: ‘CAHSS Qualitative and Gender Assessment Application’.
Closing date for submission of the application package is end of business day EST on May 15, 2017.
12. Management and Reporting
The successful candidate(s) will work closely with AKF’s Project Coordination Unit (PCU) located in Islamabad, Pakistan, and all country M&E leads. The consultant will be directly accountable to AKF Canada on all matters related to the contract.
13. Disclosure of Information
It is understood and agreed that the Consultant(s) shall, during and after the effective period of the
contract, treat as confidential and not divulge, unless authorized in writing by AKF, any information obtained in the course of the performance of the Contract. Information will be made available for the consultants on a need-to-know basis. Any necessary field visits will be facilitated by AKF. The selected consultant will commit to respect AKF Policies.
Organisation Aga Khan Foundation Canada