Request for Applications to Assist with Implementation of an Organizational Network Analysis in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Measure Evaluation seeks applications from in-country organizations to conduct interviews with men who have sex with men (MSM) and leaders of organizations that provide services for MSM (VCT centers, HIV services, advocacy, etc.). Assistance will include data collection and entry, translation to and from English/Thai, and facilitation of in-country IRB review.

MEASURE Evaluation seeks an organization to provide implementation services for an organizational network analysis of organizations that serve men who have sex with men (MSM) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, focusing (although not exclusively) on voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centers. The study will involve ethnographic interviews, followed by two sequential structured interviews with organization leaders. A one-day meeting with stakeholders to discuss study results will be held at the end of the study. This work will take place over a 7-month period. This request for applications (RFA) covers protocol development beginning in August 2012 through fieldwork, analysis and results dissemination in February 2013. 

The MEASURE Evaluation project is a cooperative agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by Carolina Population Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in partnership with The Futures Group International, ICF International, John Snow, Inc., Management Sciences for Health, and Tulane University. MEASURE Evaluation aims to strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems and build capacity of individuals, organizations and systems to collect, analyze and use data to make decisions that will result in improved health programs and policies.

Introduction

Healthcare systems are composed of multiple organizations that provide services to a patient population.  However, these organizations may operate in an environment where they do not coordinate aspects of patient care, or even know about the existence of one another.  Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) is a methodology that allows for the mapping of one organization’s connections and relationships to others in the same network.  Once these connections are known, organizations can take steps to boost these relationships to build communication channels, share information, and refer clients.

MEASURE Evaluation, with support from USAID/RDMA, will conduct an ONA of organizations that serve MSM in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a particular emphasis on VCT centers.  The aim of this study is to map connections between these organizations and to sensitize network members about resources in the network.  

MEASURE Evaluation will oversee the implementation of research activities by the successful Applicant, providing technical leadership in the areas shown below, and as detailed in this RFA.  

  • Development of study protocol 
  • Translation English/Thai and Thai/English
  • Facilitation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) review
  • Ethnographic data collection
  • ONA data collection
  • Facilitation of results dissemination meeting
  • Ensuring comprehensive documentation of study procedures, sufficient to permit the implementation to be replicated.
 

I. ONA Study Design

The study will be an ONA with two phases.  In the ethnography phase, 15-20 MSM individuals in Chiang Mai will participate in semi-structured interviews to determine A) what organizations provide services specific to MSM needs, including VCT, B) whether MSM have concerns about these organizations (ex. accessibility & acceptability of services, referrals, etc.) , and C) whether these organizations communicate and collaborate with one another.  Interview data will be translated from Thai to English by the subcontractor for analyses conducted by MEASURE Evaluation. 

The ONA Phase will occur following analyses of the ethnographic interviews.  The subcontractor will assist in the development of ONA data collection tools.  During the enumeration period of the ONA phase, the subcontractor will interview representatives of organizations identified in the ethnographic interviews.  MEASURE Evaluation will set geographic and topical boundaries on organizations to be included in the MSM HIV services network.  Each organization will be asked to identify other organizations that provide similar/related services for MSM.  If an organization is named by 2 or more other organizations, that organization will participate in an interview.  This process will continue until no new organizations are identified.

During the second period of the ONA, the subcontractor will conduct a second round of interviews with representatives from the organizations identified in the enumeration period.  Each organization will be asked about their interaction with the other organizations in the network.  The subcontractor will completed translation and data entry.  Following data analyses conducted by MEASURE Evaluation, the subcontractor will assist in the planning and implementation of a results dissemination meeting with stakeholders and organization representatives.

As a first step, MEASURE Evaluation will gather the background information needed to tailor the ONA design to the Chiang Mai context. The particulars of the design proposal will be communicated to the successful Applicant as part of the Scope of Work, timeline and budget negotiation processes.  

II. Institutional Roles and Responsibilities for the Ethnographic Interviews

Data collection for the Ethnographic Interviews and ONA Interviews will be the primary responsibility of the Applicant who is expected to provide general coordination for the interviews, and will be responsible for implementing all phases of the research process, including:

  1. Interview logistics planning
  2. Testing of structured interview questionnaires and other data collection instruments, both quantitative and qualitative 
  3. Coordination of ethics reviews in Thailand
  4. Interviewer and supervisor hiring and training
  5. Recruitment of MSM for ethnographic interviews
  6. Organization and implementation of data collection including recommended measures for quality control
  7. Data collection
  8. Translation Thai/English and English/Thai
  9. Collaboration with MEASURE Evaluation on additional analyses and final report-writing as requested
  10. Coordination of results dissemination event

The Applicant will also be responsible for producing and archiving all interview documentation, including preparation of guidelines and manuals for interviewers and any other documentation required to capture study procedures and data. The Applicant will be responsible for all translation services.

MEASURE Evaluation will obtain and review information on the Chiang Mai context, will facilitate the overall ONA design (both ethnographic and organizational interview components) in preparation for providing the successful Applicant with the below-specified technical assistance. 

MEASURE Evaluation is responsible for the following specific tasks:  

  1. To develop a study protocol and semi-structured interview questionnaires
  2. To review and approve the Applicant’s data collection protocols;
  3. To provide a minimal level of quality control for the successful Applicant’s data collection and processing activities; If resources are available, fieldwork monitoring will also be included;
  4. To conduct analysis of the collected data, including ethnographic interviews and organization representative interviews, both during enumeration period and follow-up interview period, and setting the boundaries on MSM HIV services organization network inclusion criteria following the enumeration period;
  5. To prepare preliminary and final analysis reports;
  6. To provide technical assistance to the Applicant in the documentation of definitions and procedures.
  7. To facilitate a results dissemination event with stakeholders.

The Applicant will submit, according to a negotiated schedule, at least the following deliverables: 

  • Survey materials including final, formatted questionnaires, consent forms, and participant tracking templates
  • A detailed fieldwork schedule with staff assignments
  • Training materials, including interviewer and supervisor guides and information on any pilot or pre-testing plans
  • Recruitment for ethnographic interview participants
  • Daily and weekly fieldwork progress summaries, including the number of interviews completed
  • Final report on interview activities, including approximated response rates for the ethnographic interviews and a narrative describing any unanticipated problems encountered
  • Translated notes from all ethnographic and organizational interviews
 

Timeline 

The following general timeline is subject to negotiation with the successful Applicant, and a more detailed timeline and deliverables schedule may be developed prior to the start of the sub-agreement. However, it should be noted that fieldwork must begin in August 2013. The below illustrative timeline is for Applicant activities only and does not reflect activities managed by MEASURE Evaluation HQ.

Thailand RFA Timeline Table

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION

 

Timeframe

The period of performance for this sub-agreement is expected to be August 1, 2012, through February 29, 2013. Applicants should note that fieldwork must begin in mid-August, 2013.

Application Requirements

Organizations wishing to provide support to MEASURE Evaluation through the implementation of this ONA must submit an application that describes their technical, organization and logistical capacity to do so. The application should include the following:

     1. Technical proposal

The applicant should describe in detail their approach conducting semi-structured interviews with hard-to-reach populations. This section should include information about how the organization will organize the interviews, provide transport, collect data, track data collection activities accurately, and provide translation services. The applicant should also present a timeline for all activities.

     2. Organizational description 

The applicant should describe the organization’s past experience in the implementation semi-structured interviews and provide three references on past performance for data collection, both qualitative and quantitative. The applicant should describe permanent staff and affiliated individuals that will implement the project. The applicant should name a project director to provide technical leadership and oversight. A curriculum vitae (CV) of no more than 3 pages each for all technical staff should accompany the proposal. 

     3. Budget

Funding for the sub-agreement will be for the entire period of performance and subject to the availability of funds from USAID. Applicants should submit a 7-month budget. 

For budgeting purposes, assume the following parameters:

  • Ethnographic interview expectation is 15-20 interviews
  • Interview teams must have two people, one asking questions and one taking notes 
  • Transport
  • Per diem
  • Any relevant fees
  • Translation services
  • Duplication of structured interview questions

Assume that a 3-day training meeting will be held to train interview staff. A budget narrative documenting any other assumptions, a description of line items and other documentation should accompany the budget.

Budgets should contain a section on Personnel naming technical staff, with rates of pay, and time proposed for each. There should be sections on: consultants, supplies, travel including transport and lodging, training, participant recruitment, translation services, documentation of study procedures, and duplication of structured interview questions, consent forms, reports, and other materials as needed

Applicants should budget costs for:

  • Administrative costs
  • Formatting and printing of structured interview questionnaires
  • Study protocol ethics review
  • Recruitment of hard-to-reach populations (MSM)
  • Listing and mapping (staff, transport, drivers, per diems)
  • Advising on data collection protocol
  • Interviewer training including ethics training (duration, staff, venue, allowances, lodging, interviewers)
  • Field work (duration, logistics planning, interviewers, drivers, transport, allowances)
  • Data entry, documentation, and translation
  • Dissemination event (venue, etc.)
 

Budget Format

Please submit budget in the following line item format:

     a. Personnel
     b. Fringe Benefits
     c. Travel
     d. Equipment
     e. Supplies
      f. Contractual
     g. Other Direct Cost
     h. Total Direct Charges
      i. Indirect Charges
      j. Total Estimated Amount

In addition, please submit a budget narrative that explains each line item. Under Personnel, list all staff to be paid, salary, and effort on the project.

Deadline

The proposal must be submitted electronically to measure_RFP@unc.edu no later than 8am EDT on July 9, 2012. 

Application Parameters

The application should be no more than 10 pages, 1.5 spaced with 1 inch margins and 11 point Arial font. Curriculum vitae and the budget will not count against page limits.

Proposal Review and Notification of Intent to Enter into a Sub-agreement

Following receipt of the applications, the MEASURE Evaluation team will review the received application materials and inform the successful applicant (and notify the organizations not selected). Following that, the process of developing a sub-agreement with the successful applicant will begin.

Question Period

Questions about this RFA may be posed to MEASURE Evaluation at the above email address, in English, no later than 5pm on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Answers will be posted on the MEASURE Evaluation website contracts web page.