REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR SELECTION OF A CONSULTANT
FOR PROVIDING RESEARCH & CONSULTANCY SERVICES
Though adequate care has been taken in preparation of this Request for Proposal (RFP) document, the Consultant/Consultancy Firm submitting detailed proposals in response to this Request for Proposal (RFP) should satisfy itself that the information provided in the RFP document is complete in all respects.
Aga Khan University reserves the right to withhold or withdraw the process at any stage with intimation to all who submitted the Request for Proposal Application.
Aga Khan University reserves the right, without any obligation or liability, to accept or reject any or all the bids at any stage of the process, to cancel or modify the process or change/modify/amend any or all provisions of this Request for Proposal Document, at any time, without assigning any reason whatsoever.
About the Media Innovation Centre
The Innovation Centre (IC) at Aga Khan University was established in 2019 and is fully funded by the German Development Bank (KfW Entwicklungsbank) within the Futures Project. The key objective of the Futures Project is to strengthen the long-term viability of the media in East Africa, making a demonstrable contribution to the quality of and access to media in East Africa.
The Centre works to support the next generation of media entrepreneurs who are working on unique start-ups within the media industry and tinkering with exciting forms of storytelling. As part of the Futures Project, the Innovation Centre works to incubate, accelerate and support innovations that contribute to a media landscape that is free, independent, innovative, evidence-based, committed to the society and viable.
One of our flagship programs is a one-year residency program, the Innovators in Residence (IiR), which supports members of our community through training, mentorship, coaching and start up grants of up to $20,000 to help them transform their ideas into the next viable media enterprises.
The Innovation Centre promotes an adaptive approach to innovation for media viability and research is very key in creating pathways for innovation in a media landscape that is characterised by an evolving digital world and the inherent disruptions. In such a world, innovations to support media viability have to be alive to the changing behaviours of the 21st century digital natives and migrants, who have grown up with choices that were unheard of less than a decade ago. In essence, the approach by the IC is to explore pathways for media innovations through robust research that builds into a scientific body of knowledge about the media in East Africa.
Working title - Media Consumption in an Evolving Digital World: Millennials and Digital Natives’ Consumption Habits and the Implications for Legacy Media in East Africa.
Background to the Research
The goal of this research is to understand the young media consumers in East Africa, that is, their world and what they are seeking in life as a basis for analysis what role news and the media play in their life. In addition, the research will also investigate the content these young people consume, their media habits and behaviour, the platforms they prefer and their perception of legacy media. The key intervention is to conduct an East African wide research that targets a representative sample of generation Z (18 – 24) and the millennials (25-35).
The data generated from this research will build into a rich scientific capital that will inform gaps and areas of focus in content and consumption habits that media innovators can leverage. The evidence generated from this research will further provide a basis for influencing media innovation pathways, decisions by media houses and the training that are consistent with the content and consumption habits of the target audience, in the case the young consumers.
At the same time, media houses and policy makers would find the evidence from this research useful in understanding the largest demographic of media consumers and a robust basis for adapting their content and programming strategies. Moreover, this study will also enable the media and other stakeholders understand what the world of the millennials and generation-z is and fashion both the media and advertising of commercial content to their ideal of progress and enjoyment. Such understandings would be invaluable in informing policies and innovation pathways that would lead to enhanced audience engagement with content, trust in the media and media viability.
This study has multiple beneficiary groups. The foremost group that would benefit are the media organizations in East Africa. These organizations are grappling with the disruptions occasioned by the evolving digital world and the emergent disruptors like COVID-19 and therefore data on the consumption habits and preferences by the largest group of consumers of media content would be beneficial to this group. Information gathered from generation Z and millennials will provide critical insights on content production, programming and distribution decisions by media houses.
Moreover, Media houses will benefit from the innovation pathways suggested by the evidence from the study. Last but not least, consumers, especially the young consumers would benefit from a much more responsive media that fashions its content on their world and is consistent with their need for enjoyment and progress. Hopefully this kind of a responsive media and the attendant symbiotic relationship between a media ecology that responds to the media and a satisfied audience will lead to trust in the media.
Objective of the RFP
The objective of this research is to provide data that will enable a reliable assessment of the consumption habits of the young consumers of the media in East Africa, that is, their world and what they are seeking in life as a basis for analysis the role that news media plays in their life. To this end, the study will provide an understanding of the young media consumers in East Africa by establishing who these young people are, what they want in life and the role the media plays or can play in what they want in life?
Moreover, the study will seek to establish the consumption habits of young people in East Africa and most importantly determine how legacy media organizations can attract the young generation that has grown up with choices/options, different formats, platforms and the distractions and diversions of digital media.
Through evidence generated from this study, the media managers, content producers and the innovation community can have a basis for focusing their content and media innovations to the content demands, consumption habits and the preferred formats and platforms of these young consumers of the media who present a sizeable market. At the same time, findings will also help media trainers better adapt their curricula and instructional practice in journalism schools around the region and media innovation hubs.
Moreover, this study will enable a clear understanding of what role the media can play in the development of generation Z and millennials in these three East African countries. Such understanding we believe would be invaluable in informing policies and practices that entrench: community engagement; an adaptive approach to evidence-based policy; and media content production and distribution practices that explicitly respond to the disruptions occasioned by technology, shifting change in consumption behaviours and a disrupted media market.
The objective of the RFP is to engage a consultant to conduct a research survey that will comprise following major activities:
Population and Sampling Design
Conduct a stratified multistage sampling that takes into account both the demographic and psychographic dynamics of the generation Z and millennials population in the three East African Countries. We are looking at generalising this study to the youths in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and therefore the stratification should also be geographic to ensure that the sample is representative.
We propose a sample size of 2,401 in each of the three countries for the survey questionnaire. That would be a margin of error of ±2 and a level of confidence of 95%. The total a sample size for the three countries would then be 7,203 which we propose to draw from both rural and urban youths and factor in both the tech savvy youths and the youths who might not be tech savvy or have access to technology.
We would welcome a stratified and representative sampling technique for the three other data collection methods based on the consultant/consultancy firm experience and investment in proprietary tools. The three include: (1) A digital tracking method that will help in gathering data that the respondents will not tell us; (2) Semiotic Analysis of content taken directly from the tracking data to be analysed to ascertain what is at play within different formats, content and tone in a way that people sometimes struggle to articulate; and (3) Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to gather data on what respondents can and do tell about their media consumption.
The four data collection methods will all target young media consumers, categorized into two: generation Z (18 – 24) and the millennials (25-35). Important to note is our proposal to have data from these two reported distinctly, comparatively and aggregately and at both the country and regional level.
Develop and pre-test survey instruments, for all the four methods for both the rural and urban population of the youths. This will be done in close collaboration with the Innovation Centre team led by the Research Associate.
Recruit, train and deploy research teams drawn from the three countries, which collectively and distinctly form the basic geographic unit of analysis. The first iteration of training will bring together lead enumerators and field supervisors in the pre-testing and detailed review of the survey instrument. The second iteration of training will focus on building country level teams, who will be recruited and trained with the support of the lead enumerator and supervisor. The process should be within the COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the government.
Data collection; we propose to conduct digital tracking and the survey surveys simultaneously and then draw questions/topics for the FGD from the preliminary survey findings. Semiotic analysis will definitely be after the digital tracking. As far as possible, the FDG should fill in the gaps by digging deep on the quantitative findings and the consumption habits manifested in the digital tracking and the semiotic analysis.
The quantitative aspect should focus on all the eleven research questions within the five themes as listed in the concept note: Who are the young East Africans media consumers; content; media habits and behaviour; platforms; and perception of Legacy media.
The semiotic analysis and the FGD will focus on and interrogate in-depth five key questions. (1) Who the young East Africans are: status, identity, values, education-career aspirations, social networks, recreation, hobbies/passions); (2) the kind of content these young people in East Africa consume (content, format and tone); (3) the motivations these young East Africans have to consume the content they consume? (4) the platforms on which these young East Africans consume media content? (5) The broader themes of perceptions of legacy media and the media habits and behaviour.
The broad scope of the project can be stated as follows:
Based on the background to the study, the four approaches in data collection and the population and sampling design, formulate questions and design survey and research tools to collect data and elicit engagements and feedback on media consumption habits of the millennials and generation Z consumers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Conduct the data collection, analyse and report the results of the survey in multiple ways, including infographics, animations, charts, videos, and written reports. Analysis at the country level for each country and with some level of comparative analysis and at the East African level.
Consultant requirements for providing research services
The Consultant will develop a plan that includes an approach to the efficient identification and sampling of generation Z (18 – 24) and the millennials (25-35) drawn from both the rural and urban settings;
The Consultant will work closely with the IC staff to develop and design the four data collection instruments for the four different methods: digital tracking; semiotic analysis, FGD and survey questionnaire.
The Consultant will develop a plan for survey design, implementation and data collection; ethics approval should be provided as well as the permits by National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and the equivalent in Tanzania and Uganda.
The Consultant will create an analysis plan to include comparisons of respondents across groups (generation Z/millennials, urban/rural) from within the respective countries and an East African wide analysis and the attendant comparison between countries.
The Consultant will recommend format of presentation of results to diverse audiences; policy makers, civil society, non-technical audiences.
The Consultant will work with the IC/GSMC staff to ensure that the different formats of representation do not compromise the use of the same data in writing academic papers for peer reviewed journals.
PREPARATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSAL
The Technical Proposal shall provide the following information:
A brief description of the firm’s organization and an outline of recent experience on assignments of a similar nature. For each assignment, the outline should indicate inter alia, the profiles of the staff proposed, duration of the assignment, contract amount and firm’s involvement.
Any comments or suggestions on the Terms of Reference, a list of services and facilities to be expected from the Client.
A description of the methodology and work plan for performing the assignment.
The list of the proposed staff team by specialty, the tasks that would be assigned to each staff team member and their timing.
Latest CVs of the proposed professionals. Key information should include the number of years they have worked for the firm/entity and degree of responsibility held in various assignments during the last five (5) years.
Estimates of the total staff input (professional and support staff staff-time) needed to carry out the assignment
A detailed description of the proposed methodology, staffing and monitoring of training and fieldwork.
PREPARATION OF THE FINANCIAL PROPOSAL
In preparing the budgets, consultants are expected to lists all costs associated with the assignment including;
Remuneration for staff (in the field and at headquarters), and;
Reimbursable expenses such as subsistence (per diem, housing), transportation (international and local, for mobilization and demobilization), services and equipment (vehicles, office equipment, furniture, and supplies), office rent, insurance, printing of documents, surveys, and training, if it is a major component of the assignment. If appropriate, these costs should be broken down by activity.
The budget should clearly identify as a separate amount, the local taxes, duties, fees, levies and other charges imposed under the law on the consultants, the sub-consultants and their personnel
Commissions and gratuities, if any, paid or to be paid by consultants and related to the assignment should be listed in the budget.
Application is open to individual consultants and registered research firms. Sub-contracting is not allowed.
The consultants/eligible firms:
Must demonstrate their experience and ability to handle joint projects throughout the East Africa Region. Having handled such said projects within the past six months is an added advantage.
Must have at least 5 years’ cumulative experience in providing social science research services to reputable academic institutions, development partners, government and civil society organizations.
Must have provided social research services in the East African region under at least three contracts each with a budget of not less than $200,000. Those with experience in youth and media related surveys will have an added advantage.
Should have a technical team comprising of individuals with strong competencies:
The team leader should have over 10 year’s significant experience working on complex surveys especially in the context of East/Sub-Saharan Africa. The individual should have strong qualitative and quantitative research skills and experience leading and managing research teams, particularly in the African context. Minimum qualifications; Master’s degree from a recognized university.
The other technical team should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and at least 4 years cumulative experience in social research.
Consultants/firms with permanent staff who are experts in media research, policy analysis and content/semiotic analysis research will have an added advantage.
Should demonstrate experience and ability to provide critical and comparative analysis of the media landscape and content consumption habits among the consumers in East Africa.
Should have at least 3 professionals in the key team who are youth
The Consultant shall provide personnel and any technology or equipment necessary to guarantee that the highest quality of service will be provided. The Consultant shall have the capability to provide the services required, meet all deadlines and submit reports in order for the IC to utilize the data and information to provoke media viability dialogue and initiate evidence based adaptive approaches in the industry and among the media innovation community. All key personnel shall be available to start on the contract start date.
The Consultant and The IC shall jointly manage the project through a joint project management team. The Consultant shall provide a Project Manager who shall be responsible as the Point of Contact (POC) for the IC. The Project Management team shall have adequate authority to make decisions and ensure timely resolution of problems. The Project Manager shall coordinate closely with the IC staff and other consultants working on related aspects of the project.
The Consultant shall, in consultation with the IC, determine the appropriate size of field teams in the selected countries.
QUALITY CONTROL AND QUALITY ASSURANCE PLAN
The Consultant and the IC shall describe their procedures to continually monitor the quality of services with the goal of providing and maintaining the highest standards. These procedures should include:
An internal method for monitoring, identifying and correcting deficiencies in the quality of data and results furnished to the IC; and,
A Quality Service survey form that addresses the services to be furnished under this contract.
The Consultant should describe and outline its procedures to ensure that the rights of the respondents, the integrity of the data collected, the methods used and the information published is beyond reproach.
It is Aga Khan University’s intent to develop Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for this effort. The SLAs will be developed post award and as mutually agreed between the Consultant and the university. The SLAs, once established, may be subject to change as the program progresses and matures.
TYPE OF CONTRACT
This consultancy will be offered on a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) basis. The Consultant shall recommend the labour mix and hours to complete the project by the due date.
The Consultant, at its own expense, shall provide and maintain insurance during the entire period of performance of this contract.
Disclosure, Records and Confidentiality
In consideration for the compensation to be paid to you for the consultancy assignment with Aga Khan University, you agree to the following terms and conditions:
To keep complete, accurate and authentic accounts, note data and records of all inventions, improvements and developments, including biological materials, made, discovered or developed by you in the manner and form required by the Institute. You further agree that all notes, records, images and data records shall remain the property of Aga Khan University and that you shall surrender the same promptly to the university upon its request, or upon termination of your consulting assignment with Aga Khan University.
That you will not improperly disclose to Aga Khan University any confidential and/or proprietary information that you may have acquired as a result of any previous employment and from which you have confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations to a previous employer.
During or after your consulting assignment with Aga Khan University, not to use or disclose to anyone (other than in the course of your consulting assignment with the university) any information of a confidential nature relating to Aga Khan University.