RFP for Political Economy Analysis, BRAC International
Overview: Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC is a leading development organisation, currently operating in 16 countries across Asia and Africa. BRAC acts as a catalyst, creating opportunities for people living in poverty, to help them realise their potential. BRAC specialises in piloting, perfecting, and scaling innovations. To date, BRAC programmes have served 135 million people across South Asia and Africa.
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Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s youngest region, and it is projected that by 2025 the population will include 436 million young people aged between 10 to 24. Despite this demographic dividend, youth in Africa accounts for 60% of the continent’s unemployment, according to the World Bank. Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) face additional multidimensional challenges compared to boys and young men. According to UNICEF (202Ob), approximately 37 percent of girls in SSA get married by the age of 18. ILO (2020) reported that in SSA, one in every four girls between the ages of 15-19 are not in school, in training or employed.
These circumstances perpetuate a cycle of economic and social marginalisation in the adolescent years that adolescent girls carry into adulthood. In 2022, the Mastercard Foundation and BRAC International (BI) launched the Mastercard Foundation Accelerating Impact for Young Women in partnership with BRAC (AIM) programme to deliver proven, holistic, and scalable social empowerment and economic development interventions for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW). This partnership is aimed to improve the quality of life for 1.2 million AGYW aged 12-35, 1.9 million households and 9.5 million people living across seven countries in Africa over the next five years. The three outcome areas targeted by the project are social empowerment, economic empowerment, and evidence-based advocacy for an enabling environment.
The partnership will adopt an integrated, cross-sectoral approach that addresses the complex multi-dimensional, locally specific needs of AGYW living in poverty, bringing together the strengths of BRAC’s multiple evidence-based interventions, such as the Ultra-Poor Graduation; Microfinance; Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents; Agriculture, Food Security, and Livelihoods Program; Skills Development Program; and the Integrated Development Programme, to develop highly contextualised long term solutions to provide sustainable and resilient livelihoods for AGYW to achieve tangible impact.
Additionally, the program will include
evidence-based advocacy for creating an enabling environment for AGYW.
The partnership will work with a wide variety of actors such as
governments, community based organisations, local leaders and other
national and regional actors to support AGYW to advocate for their
rights. This will be achieved by facilitating AGYW’s
access into decision-making forums through the creation of new platforms and leveraging existing platforms to address the structural and systemic issues that hinder AGYW’s ability to take up decent livelihood options and engage meaningfully in society.
Purpose of the Political Economy Analysis (PEA): The AIM program is seeking a consultant to conduct comprehensive country-level political economy analyses for 5 implementing countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone) to inform a thorough country-engagement strategy that is specifically relevant for BRAC International’s AIM program design, implementation, scale-up, national advocacy, and long term sustainability. One consultant or consultancy firm can apply for multiple countries.
What the PEA should address: The
PEA should clearly explain the ‘lay of the land’ or the operating
context, informal and formal institutions, political institutions and
processes, existing civil society organizations, existing local,
national and regional priorities, programs and policies that are focused
on or relevant to AGYW’s empowerment. The consultant(s) must conduct a
mapping of relevant policies and programs and key actors implementing programming and conducting advocacy related to AGYW’s social and economic empowerment. The key sectors to focus for the policy analyses are – Health, Education, Youth Empowerment, Women Empowerment, Financial inclusion & Poverty reduction. The PEA must not be just the macro
analysis but include micro-level and issue specific analysis to be able to inform programmatic decision-making, in particular the advocacy component of the AIM program. The PEA should address the following key questions for each of the 5 countries:
- Based on identified policy (or policy implementation) gaps and opportunities in the specific national context, what policy change should be pursued, related to AGYW’s empowerment, that will yield maximum impact for them?
- Who are the key actors, influencers, allies, partners and coalitions for this?
- What messaging and policy recommendations will resonate most with this particular government based on its existing national commitments and priorities for AGYW? Is there messaging that is sensitive and should be avoided?
- Are there any entry points/policy windows that should be prioritised?
- Are there additional incentives and obstacles to be mindful of in addition to the ones already mentioned above?
- What are the operational implications of the findings for programmatic decision making and action?
The consultant(s) must work in very close coordination with the AIM team to finalise the design of the PEA and to inform and validate findings. All deliverables must be reviewed and cleared by the AIM team prior to finalisation.
- Has prior experience of conducting similar political economy analysis and is well versed in the African development ecosystem with a strong understanding of government policies and programs and the role that INGOs play in AGYW’s empowerment
- Track record of strong analytical and publication skills and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods
- Demonstrated experience in conducting policy research on key thematic issues related to the national context and facilitating stakeholder interviews and focus group discussions
- Ability to synthesise and analyse complex information to produces program relevant recommendations
- Strong writing and analytical skills required
- Fluency in English required
- Strong preference for African nationals
- Prior experience in advocacy strategy development
- Extensive experience working at multiple levels within the African context preferred, including experience working with government, CSOs, NGOs, INGOs, academics, and/or regional actors
- Familiarity with programming that advances adolescent girls and young women’s economic empowerment is an asset
- Access to in-country resources for key informant interviews, consultations, data collections, etc., in the 5 countries of interest
Duration and Budget of the Consultancy
The Consultant(s) will be working 40 days (320 hrs) maximum in the proposed assignment. The preferred start date for the Consultancy is April 20, 2023 and the end date is June 30, 2023. The maximum budget threshold for each country is USD 12,000 totalling an amount of USD 60,000. BRAC International will deduct any required tax at source according to the applicable national and international law.
Annex I: Consultancy Deliverables and Methodology
Deliverable 1 (suggested time 1 week): Detailed work plan that clearly outlines the key questions that will be addressed, the sources of information, list of proposed stakeholders for consultation and a finalised timeline of activities for the duration of the consultancy. As part of this, also provide a completed list of desk research to be conducted. For stakeholder consultations, include suggested stakeholders, draft interview protocols (i.e., list of suggested questions) for feedback..
Deliverable 2 (suggested time 2-3 weeks): A political economy analysis based on desk research and initial stakeholder interviews, including but not limited to a thorough overview of the following aspects:
Policies & Programs
Overview of existing national policies, programs, commitments and strategies related to AGYW’s empowerment and with particular relevance to the AIM program
- Overview of main opportunities, current or upcoming and challenges/barriers for programs and implementation
- Specific information gaps to prioritise or be cautious of
- Information on the scale of existing AGYW’s empowerment programs
- The expected impact and potential, risk and challenges of rapid scale-up of the program
- Regional and national priorities and global commitments: This section is intended to identify the countries’ regional and global priorities, commitments, and opportunities as it relates to AGYW’s empowerment.
A mapping of key stakeholders and civil society mapping based on desk research and initial stakeholder interviews, including but not limited to an overview of the following:
- Overview of main national stakeholders including government offices/officials with AGYW development mandates, key donors, partners and coalitions, and CSOs, designing, implementing, and advocating for programs similar to AIM.
- Overview of civil society actors, network and coalitions, and the role they play/can play to advance AGYW’s empowerment.
- What is the interest of each stakeholder in the issue, and what is it based on? Why does a specific stakeholder have a particular interest in the issue?
The PEA findings should be used to develop operationally relevant recommendations for the AIM programming, specifically for the program design, implementation, and scale-up. The analysis should be able to particularly inform the advocacy component of the program.
- What are the key conclusions of the analysis?
- What are the main findings (barriers, opportunities, challenges) that relate to AGYW from different contexts?
- What are the implications of these findings for programming?
- What are the priorities that need addressing?
The consultant must be able to provide full transcribed notes and audio files for all interviews, as well as analysis of the interviews to the AIM team upon request. Consultant should have capability to record any interviews done virtually (i.e., Zoom recording access or a similar platform). The consultant must also provide a list of stakeholders interviewed and their contact information.
Deliverable 3 (suggested time 2 weeks): A finalised version of the political economy analysis document and a stakeholder mapping document, informed by a detailed overview of the PEA framework, PEA tools used, the process of key stakeholder interviews with governments, regional actors, CSOs, academics, multilaterals and others as relevant.
The report should include an executive summary of key findings and considerations from the stakeholder mapping, interviews and analysis and the overall political landscape analysis. This report should include an in-depth key stakeholder and civil society mapping, summary of key findings and considerations from stakeholder interviews as well as supplementary materials (interview transcripts, appendices, contact information. The findings should be inputted as a draft strategic engagement plan for the respective country that can be used to inform national advocacy and possible program scale-up in the future.
Before finalisation of the final report, the consultant must lead a presentation of findings to the relevant AIM team members and incorporate any feedback incorporated into the final report. Consultant must prepare and submit a final deck of the PEA conducted for each country.
Annex II: Reporting, performance assessment, and finance
The consultant will report to the Head of AIM program or any assigned person by BRAC International. Consultant’s performance will be assessed along the consultancy duration particularly the quality of research tools and protocols, their timely implementation, time commitment, and meeting the scope and objective of the task. Other conditions like incidental liability, intellectual property, non-disclosure policy, ethical standard and data protection protocol, and safeguarding policy will be applicable as per BRAC’s related policies. Payments will be done in phases upon satisfactory completion of each key deliverables in a pre-agreed manner.
 The consultant will develop the template and seek approval from the AIM team prior to working on it/populating it with information
How to apply
- To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter, and complete technical proposal detailing methodologies to answer the key questions mentioned above.
- If a firm is applying, details of the core team including relevant experiences, qualifications and availability must be provided.
- The proposal should not be more than 8 pages and include the scope of work, key questions to be answered and methodologies, detailed work plan, timeline, and a short writing sample of less than 1,000 words. The writing sample can be an executive summary and methodology of a PEA conducted by the consultant. It can also be a sample that summarises analysis from conducting a series of interviews (key informant interviews, focus group discussions, key stakeholder consultations, etc.), and/or a sample interview protocol guide from a past project Please submit only one.
- The proposal should include the expected total budget including compensation for the consultancy. This should include all expenses related to the assignment..
- Application deadline is received by April 14, 2023
- The complete application package should be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Only soft copy applications will be considered, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
No calls, emails, visits, or recruiters associated with this position, please. Communication or persuasion to influence the selection process in any form will disqualify the candidature for the assignment.