Tender: efficiency analysis from a sustainable food systems perspective

Tender: efficiency analysis from a sustainable food systems perspective

03/07/2020
in Jobs

1. Context

Rikolto is an international NGO with more than 40 years’ experience in partnering farmer organisations and food chain stakeholders across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Rikolto runs programmes in 16 countries worldwide through seven regional offices. We’re a close-knit network of accessible and knowledgeable colleagues, willing to share experience and eager to inspire others. This network of Rikolto offices is supported by a global support team, which fulfils key advisory roles and offers shared services such as finance, monitoring & evaluation, people & organisation, communication and fundraising.

1.1 Overall evaluation framework

Rikolto wishes to evaluate its impact on three levels:

  1. Improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers (m/f);
  2. Improved business and organisational capacities of targeted farmer organisations;
  3. Improved institutional environment (public/private policies, regulations, etc.).

All Rikolto interventions have frameworks in which pathways of change are described along with relevant outcome indicators, which are updated on a yearly basis. These form the basis for half-yearly strategic reflections within each regional office and with partner organisations, which result in updates to the intervention strategies and target values.

Complementing these regular monitoring data and practices, Rikolto has developed a farmer survey to obtain more insight into the livelihood of farmers, such as production, commercialization and income figures, environmental sustainability practices, participation in the value chain, etc. At the level of farmer organisations, Rikolto uses SCOPEinsight assessments to measure every 18-24 months their business and organisational capacities.

The current global impact measurement framework of Rikolto covers the five-year period (2017-2021) in which most of its interventions are inscribed:

In the last two years of the current programme-period, Rikolto seeks to conduct the following two evaluation processes:

  • September 2020-March 2021: Efficiency/cost-benefit analysis of its work from a systems perspective, building on the 2019 Mid-Term Review (accompanied self-assessment), which should deliver a practical and easily replicable methodology.
  • April-December 2021: End-line impact assessment of its work, with an emphasis on the potential of attained results to contribute towards global impact through commodity and sustainable cities platforms.

Since tackling the efficiency question within the end-line evaluation would risk overburdening both our teams and the team of evaluators, we have decided to turn the efficiency analysis into a separate process prior to the end-line evaluation. These two evaluation processes are therefore tendered separately, although they are closely connected. We understand that the efficiency analysis may deliver inconclusive results that need to be complemented with data from the end-line assessment. The methodology and results of the efficiency analysis will therefore have to be taken into account during the end-line assessment to make sure it can be nourished with relevant data for conclusive results.

1.2 Efficiency evaluation

Tackling the efficiency question within the end-line evaluation would risk overburdening both our teams and the team of evaluators. Therefore, we have decided to turn the efficiency analysis into a separate process prior to the end-line evaluation. These two evaluation processes are tendered separately, although we understand that the efficiency analysis may deliver inconclusive results that need to be complemented with data from the end-line assessment.

The present terms of reference detail the scope of work for the efficiency analysis. This assessment takes place as Rikolto is consolidating a strategic shift from the value-chain approach to that of the food system, using CIAT’s Sustainable Food System to frame our strategies.

Several of our interventions already reflect this systems approach, leaving us with the question how to measure the efficiency of such interventions. From a systems perspective, the more traditional “investment cost per impact return unit per beneficiary” calculation leaves a large realm of our work out of the picture. Being able to express this wider return on investment is essential in our ambition to scale our work and attract investments from businesses and impact investors.

2. Scope of work

2.1 Calculation of the return on investment for 3-4 flagship interventions

2.1.1 Research question

How many resources do we have to invest to obtain a certain (set of) outcome(s)? Or, put differently, which outcomes can investors or donors expect upon investing x amount of money in a Rikolto intervention?

2.1.2 Research method

We are open to any research method that can analyse our work in view of the research question and that responds to the following two criteria:

  • Comprehensiveness: the research method should encompass the systemic return on investment, addressing the diverse areas that Rikolto’s interventions touch in the food system (e.g. value chain relations; environmentally and socially sustainable production processes; producer livelihoods; business development service provision; inclusive business models; sector policies; access to sustainable and healthy food; …).
  • Replicability: the research method should allow for hands-on replication by our own teams (or through light collaboration with local researchers) for other interventions.

2.1.3 Shortlisted cases

Overview of cases (out of which 3-4 need to be selected) for the efficiency analysis:

2.1.4 Evaluability study

At the start of the assessment, the evaluator should assess which cases will allow for a smooth implementation of the proposed research method. We propose the following set of selection criteria:

-Data availability:

  • Solid Mid-Term Review analysis
  • Reliable monitoring data
  • Clear overview of invested human and financial resources

-Reflection of the diversity of Rikolto’s work:

  • Strategies: sustainable crop production, inclusive business (IB) relations and enabling environment
  • Topics: rice, cocoa, coffee and Food Smart Cities
  • Geography: Latin America, West Africa, East Africa, South-East Asia and Europe

-Key outcome units for which we want to do an efficiency analysis (to be determined in collaboration with the selected consultant).

Furthermore, the consultant is expected to create a list with additional data requirements. It shall be the responsibility of the consultant’s team to collect the additional data. The support offered be each regional office shall be determined during the inception phase. The overall idea, however, is for the consultant’s team to take the burden for all remaining data collection and triangulation efforts, as the regional teams have been involved in a heavy mid-term self-assessment.

2.1.5 Information sources

Overview of sources to be consulted (to be refined during the inception phase):

2.2 Hands-on methodology to replicate efficiency analyses from a food system perspective

Test the suitability of the chosen evaluation method for replication:

  • Most likely, the evaluator shall need to customise existing research methods to the scope of Rikolto’s interventions in the food system.
  • Furthermore, the evaluator may need to propose adaptations to allow Rikolto’s own teams to replicate the research method cost-efficiently (or with light support from local researchers) on future occasions and in different contexts.

Develop guidelines for the replication of the efficiency evaluation methodology, detailing for each implementation step:

  • expected output (accompanied by concrete examples);
  • guiding questions;
  • important methodological considerations and/or tools that need to be used;
  • templates for data collection and calculations; and
  • relevant background materials.

2.3 Practical tool for pre-intervention efficiency calculations

The opportunity to conduct this efficiency analysis generated a lot of interest from our colleagues to also explore forward looking tools to assess the efficiency of new interventions.

Based on the work carried out as described under point 2.1, Rikolto requests the consultant to propose a relevant template and accompanying guidelines to assess the most cost-efficient (mix of) intervention(s) that will deliver the desired outcome.

Teams from one or two regional offices shall test the utility of the proposed templates and guidelines.

2.4 Roles and responsibilities

The following list of actors and their roles & responsibilities is to be finetuned during the inception phase of the evaluation, in collaboration with the consultant:

  • Rikolto’s evaluation committee (Executive Director, Inclusive Business Manager, 1 Regional Director and 2 Global PLA Advisors – point of contact: Tom Van den Steen): briefing of the global organisational context; provides relevant documentation available at global level; ensures alignment of the evaluation with the organisational goals and needs; validates the inception report; approves evaluation products.
  • PLA team (composed of all regional M&E focal points and 2 global PLA advisors – point of contact: Tom van den Steen): practical coordination and accompaniment of the evaluation process; first point of contact for questions, to validate evaluation process and to address bottlenecks or stumbling blocks.
  • Regional teams of selected cases (composed of Regional Director, relevant programme and support staff – point of contact: regional PLA focal point): provide context, programme briefing and available documentation of the selected cases; validation of the list of actors to be consulted and the additional data collection needs; facilitate contact with actors to be consulted; participate in the assessment at agreed-upon moments; validate the pertinence of the evaluation results; validate the utility of guidelines and templates (cfr. 2.2 & 2.3).
  • Lead consultant: coordinate the overall evaluation; ensure alignment of local evaluation teams with the evaluation method, comprehension of the evaluation task and direct line of methodological problem-solving; main spokesperson throughout the evaluation; accountable for all evaluation products; ensure timely implementation of all steps, allowing for adequate participation of involved Rikolto staff and partners during the sense-making process and validation of results.
  • Local evaluation team (composed of local evaluator(s) and support researchers if needed for additional data collection): coordinate the evaluation for the selected case assigned to the local evaluation team; adapt the global research methodology to the context of each case; responsible for additional data collection, triangulation and sense-making for the assigned case; and any other evaluation duties as agreed upon with the lead consultant.

3. Expected results

  1. Inception study that assesses the evaluability of suggested cases and supports the selection 3-4 cases to be evaluated.
  2. Confirmation of composition of local evaluation teams for selected cases.
  3. Inception meetings of local evaluation teams with local Rikolto teams to gain insight in local context and implementation dynamics, finetune list of stakeholders to be consulted and identify additional data needs.
  4. Collection of additional data as needed for each case.
  5. Sense-making workshops with participation of relevant Rikolto staff and partners.
  6. Efficiency analyses for selected cases validated by the regional teams and Rikolto’s evaluation committee.
  7. Validated methodological toolkit for replication of the efficiency analysis, including the content mentioned in point 2.2.
  8. Validated template and guidelines for pre-intervention efficiency analysis.

Rikolto acknowledges that the result of the efficiency analysis could be inconclusive, in the sense that some calculations would require updates based on the data and outcomes of the end-line evaluation.

4. End users and usage of the evaluation products

Efficiency evaluation of selected cases

  • Rikolto programme staff: gain insight into efficiency of selected strategies in relation to key outcome areas; adjust future implementations focusing on more resource-efficient strategies
  • Rikolto management and board of directors: gain insight into efficiency of selected strategies in relation to key outcome areas; support strategy prioritisation and decision-making based on demonstrated returns on investment
  • DGD: gain insight into efficiency of selected strategies in relation to key outcome areas; gain insight into efficiency calculation methodology for food system interventions
  • Potential donors and investors: gain insight into efficiency of selected strategies in relation to key outcome areas; optimise funding/investment decisions in the food system

Methodological toolkit to assess the efficiency of implemented interventions

  • Rikolto programme staff: calculate the systemic return on investment for selected outcome areas of their work

Template and guidelines for pre-intervention efficiency analysis

  • Rikolto programme staff: assess the efficiency of proposed interventions in the project design stage to prioritise high-efficiency strategies

5. Required profile

Rikolto seeks to strengthen local evaluation capacity, embed the evaluation work in the local context dynamics and reduce our environmental footprint. Therefore, we seek to work with an international evaluation team composed of a lead evaluator in charge of the overall evaluation methodology and coordination, and local evaluators in charge of conducting the assessments on the ground.

The lead evaluator shall propose a team of local evaluators (1 for each case; preferably based in the case’s country). This proposition shall be subject to validation of the regional offices. Should the lead evaluator have no leads on suitable local consultants, the regional office can suggest candidates or facilitate contacts to identify this local consultant.

5.1 Lead evaluator

  • Expertise with efficiency analysis that accounts for the systemic return on investment, preferably in food systems (min. 5 years)
  • Solid understanding of change dynamics in food systems, agricultural value chains and farmer organisation capacity development (min. 5 years)
  • Proven experience tailoring research methods to the needs and reality of clients to promote ownership and replicability
  • Ability to write clear, realistic and relevant recommendations
  • Ability to develop and write clear and practical templates and guidelines
  • Professional fluency in English; at least a good passive dominion of French and Spanish
  • Methodological affinity with Rikolto’s impact assessment framework

5.2 Local evaluator

  • Expertise with efficiency analysis that accounts for the systemic return on investment, preferably in food systems (min. 3 years)
  • Solid understanding of change dynamics in food systems, agricultural value chains and farmer organisation capacity development (min. 5 years), with proven experience in the areas of the proposed cases
  • Proven experience tailoring the implementation of research methods to the needs and reality of clients to promote ownership and replicability
  • Ability to write clear, realistic and relevant recommendations
  • Professional fluency in the working language of the selected cases
  • Methodological affinity with Rikolto’s impact assessment framework

6. Tenders

6.1 Information to be included in the tender

Tenderers' attention is drawn to the general principles of Articles 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11 of the Law of 17 June 2016, which apply to this placement procedure. The tender and the annexes to the tender form shall be drawn up in English. The tenderer shall clearly indicate in his tender which information is confidential and/or relates to technical or commercial secrets and must not therefore be divulged by the contracting authority.

The following information shall be included in the tender:

  • proposed methodology and implementation timeline (max. 5 pages);
  • relevant experience of the lead and local evaluators in relation to the described project;
  • estimated working days for each of the consultancy’s aspects, disaggregated for the lead and local evaluators;
  • daily fee rate and total amount of fees (incl. VAT) for the lead evaluator;
  • estimated evaluation costs for the local evaluation team;
  • the total amount of the offer (excl. VAT);
  • the amount of VAT;
  • the total amount of the offer (incl. VAT);
  • the signature of the submission report of the authorised or mandated person(s), as the case may be, to bind the tenderer;
  • the capacity of the person or persons, as the case may be, signing the offer(s); and
  • the full registration number of the subscriber with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (for Belgian subscribers).

6.2 Prices

This is an order at a global price which means that the global price is fixed. The contractor shall be deemed to have included in his unit price all possible costs weighing on the services, with the exception of VAT.

The exact prices of those parts of the assignment that cover local work on the selected cases, shall be fixed upon agreeing on the case selection and upon validating the local consultants by the regional offices. The local work should fit within the global available budget.

6.3 Period of validity of the tender

Tenderers shall remain bound by their tenders for a period of 60 calendar days commencing the day after the final date for the receipt of tenders.

7. Application procedure

Because of the budget of the assignment, Rikolto is obliged to publish this call for tender both on the European and Belgian e-procurement platforms. You can find the respective links here:

All communication and information exchange between Rikolto and potential applicants, including electronic submission and receipt of tenders, should be carried out using electronic means of communication at all stages of the procurement procedure. For this we will use the Belgian e-procurement platform exclusively. Tenders must reach Rikolto via this platform by the 16th of August 2020 at 23:59 CET and include the filled European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) for this assignment (see below), which guarantees compliance with the conditions laid down in Article 14, §6 and §7 of the Act of 17 June 2016. A tender sent by e-mail does not meet these conditions and will therefore be disregarded for the selection process.