Request for Proposal for
NATURE of SERVICES: Market study to characterize market food environment in zone of interest of USAID-funded Yalwa project, Niger
CONTRACTING ENTITY: Helen Keller International
Helen Keller International is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition and diseases of poverty. Co-founded by Helen Keller – and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential – the organization delivers life-changing health and food security solutions to build resilience of vulnerable families where the need is great but access to care is limited. In the US, Africa, and Asia, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people to create opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change.
PLACE of PERFORMANCE: Flexible.
Selected consultant should expect to accommodate time zone variations to meet with Helen Keller staff and consultants working on the project.
DURATION: 75 days.
The consultant will conduct a study to characterize food environments in markets of the Yalwa project intervention areas. The results of this study will help inform the selection of nutrient-rich safe foods and food products that may be supported as part of the project. The consultant will co-develop a research protocol with Helen Keller International to assess the availability, price, as well as the vendor and product characteristics of relevant foods. While there should be special attention given to the Feed the Future-supported value chains of cowpeas, poultry and small ruminants, the study should include other economically viable nutritious food products found in the markets as well.
The consultancy will be one of three formative research studies to be performed under the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Markets and Nutrition Activity, known as USAID Yalwa (“fulfillment” or “blossoming” in Hausa), which targets zones of influence (ZOI) in the regions of Maradi, Tillabéri, and Zinder. USAID Yalwa is designed to support the objectives of the Regional Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) II initiative. For the RISE II nutrition outcomes, USAID Yalwa’s unique contribution is to prioritize a market-based approach to enhance the market availability and local purchase of nutritious, safe foods. As such, USAID Yalwa will expand and improve market linkages for nutrient-rich foods ; build individual and institutional capacities to produce, promote and sell these products; encourage vulnerable populations to buy and consume these foods; and engage processors and traders to profitably meet increased demand. USAID Yalwa will train and mentor a cadre of service providers who can provide market actors with high-quality services to support the growth of nutrient-rich, safe products in the rural markets of the ZOI. While three value chains will be prioritized – livestock, poultry, and cowpea – the production, processing, promotion, supply, and demand of other promising nutrient-rich products will also be supported. New market linkages and better services will be developed to increase the organizational, financial, and risk-management capacity of farmer organizations, livestock market management committees, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – agro-dealers, traders, processors – and generate increased sales and incomes. Special strategies will be pursued to expand the participation of women and young entrepreneurs in these markets.
Three studies are planned sequentially to (a) understand the factors that drive consumer food choice and better define the gap between the nutritional needs of households, (b) map out impact pathways at the market system and individual household levels to fill nutrition gaps, and (c) determine supply and demand interventions along those pathways to improve the availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability, and consumption of diverse nutritious safe foods in the project’s ZOI, especially among pregnant and lactating women and children under 2. Thus the three studies will be guided by a conceptual framework proposed by Turner et. al. (Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework from Turner, et. al. (2018)
The second phase of research is the subject of this request for services: a study of the market food environment to determine what foods are available, their price, and what the characteristics of vendors and available foods are. The first phase of the formative research included a review of the existing literature on markets and food supply, nutrient gaps, and possible interventions to overcome them in the ZOIs. The review will serve as an input into the design of the market study. Key findings of the review are in Annex 1. The market study will inform the third phase of formative research, which will include a study of consumer practices, preferences and the most important influences on food purchases.
The objectives of the market study are to:
(i) Determine the availability of foods, price of foods, as well as the characteristics of vendors and foods (e.g. packaging, quality, marketing) in a representative set of food retail locations in the USAID Yalwa ZOI.
(ii) Identify high-impact nutritious foods potentially available and accessible that USAID Yalwa could promote to improve nutritional status for targeted beneficiaries.
While the focus of the intervention will be on cowpea, small ruminants, and poultry, the study will seek to characterize the market food environment as a whole. The study will: (a) assess the current availability of high-impact nutritious food or food products in the market; (b) determine the price and units of sale of the most common foods of interest and assess affordability; and (c) assess objective measures of product characteristics such as marketing, quality, safety, packaging, and convenience.
One possible methodology for the study would be an adaptation of the nutrition environment measurement survey . However, the lead consultant will be responsible for helping to develop the most appropriate study design and methodology to address the objectives. The proposed approach will be reviewed, amended as necessary, and approved by the Yalwa implementing team. The lead consultant will also contribute to recruiting, training and supervising a team of enumerators to collect the primary data required. The consultant and the Yalwa team will determine together the types of retail spaces to be included (e.g. wet markets; kiosks; semi-permanent vendor structures).
1. Draft study protocol to be submitted by day 5, remote workshop held on work day 6 to provide feedback from Yalwa team on study design and approach, and final study protocol to be submitted by work day 10
2. Draft data collection tools to be submitted by day 15 for review and feedback by Yalwa team. Final study tools to be submitted by day 20
3. Training of data enumerators and field testing, adjustment of tools completed by day 20.
4. Collection of primary data completed by day 50
5. Preliminary results summarized and submitted to Yalwa team in PowerPoint format day 60
6. Participation in remote workshop (via Zoom or other online platform) to share key findings with Yalwa reviewers and discuss feedback and recommendations on additions/revisions o/a day 65 and feedback/additional analyses incorporated into revised draft by day 70.
7. Final survey report and recommendations submitted by the end of day 75.
Please see our website to view main findings from Study 1 on the Yalwa Project.
US & International Jobs – Helen Keller International (hki.org) : Consultants
- Experience conducting quantitative market surveys in developing countries in West Africa, preferably including Niger.
- Experience developing rigorous research protocols and conducting quantitative data analysis.
- Technical expertise in nutrition and food systems work
- Ability to recruit, train and supervise a local enumerator team with appropriate data collection and local language skills for research zones within the Yalwa ZOI.
- Ability to lead design meetings and work well with other professionals of varied cultural and technical backgrounds.
- Ability to compose clear, compelling written documents in English.
- Relevant academic qualifications, such as master’s in business administration, public health or economics.
- Specific technical knowledge of analysis and field experience in international nutrition in low income countries.
- Speaking fluency in French and English
- Your CV
- Three references who may be contacted by Helen Keller Intl. These references should be should be clients or employers for whom you have provided similar services.
- Pricing/Price Sheet: a pricing list for the services that you/your company is interested and able to offer based on the activities listed above.