Request for Proposals to Serve as Local Implementing Partner for an Impact Evaluation of a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) and Community Engagement Intervention for Health Facility Operation and Management Committees in Nepal

MEASURE Evaluation seeks a research organization to serve as our local partner for the purpose of data collection and management for the quantitative component for the impact evaluation of a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) and community engagement intervention for Health Facility Operation and Management Committees (HFOMC) in Nepal.

I. Introduction

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

MEASURE Evaluation seeks a research organization to serve as our local partner for the purpose of data collection and management for the quantitative component for the impact evaluation of a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) and community engagement intervention for Health Facility Operation and Management Committees (HFOMC) in Nepal. The purpose of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to determine the organization best suited to play this role. The successful applicant will demonstrate the superior technical, logistical, and organizational capacity skills needed to conduct a large-scale, mixed-methods study. If a successful applicant is selected, it will be contracted through MEASURE Evaluation.

 

II. Background and Rationale

With funding from the Asia and Middle East Bureaus (A/ME) of USAID, the Health Policy Project (HPP) and MEASURE Evaluation are jointly undertaking an activity to work with country programs to scale up best practices in the region with attention to gender, policy, and measurement. This partnership, known as the Gender, Policy, and Management Program (GPM), is working with the Suaahara Project in Nepal, a five-year USAID-funded project dedicated to improving the health and nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and children under two years of age. Together, GPM and Suaahara aim to design, implement, and evaluate a scalable capacity strengthening intervention for HFOMCs to ensure GESI-related issues are addressed as part of the delivery of quality health services.

The GPM-Suaahara intervention seeks to increase women’s and disadvantaged group’s use of health services through strengthening capacity within HFOMCs to address gender equity and social inclusion for quality health services. The project seeks to build individual-level knowledge and skills; strengthen the organizational-level processes that make committees more responsive to the needs of women and other marginalized groups; and translate needs into actions that strengthen systems necessary for improving the responsiveness, oversight, and accountability of health facilities. The intervention will be implemented through Suaahara in collaboration with the Government of Nepal and evaluated independently by MEASURE Evaluation.

III. Study Aims and Methods

The key objectives of the project are to:

  • Make HFOMCs inclusive and ensure that women and representatives from disadvantaged groups (DAGs) are empowered to meaningfully participate in committee meetings and the decision-making process;
  • Strengthen the capacity of HFOMCs to lead inclusive and collaborative quality improvement processes for community health services and programs; and,
  • Strengthen the capacity of HFOMCs to hold health providers accountable to meeting the needs of women and disadvantaged groups.

An impact evaluation incorporating mixed-methods will be undertaken to determine the extent to which GESI-related training and community engagement improve HFOMCs’ ability to achieve the abovementioned objectives. Although the overall study will include mixed-methods, the applicant is only responsible for the collection and management of quantitative data. The quantitative component will include data on household demographics, child health, pregnancy and post-natal care, women’s decision making, family planning, and other related topics from three study districts in Nepal: Syangja, Baglung, and Parbat (as the control). More specifically, the survey will obtain information to better understand:

  • The impact of integrating GESI and community engagement processes into capacity-strengthening activities with HFOMCs on the utilization of maternal and child nutrition and health services by disadvantaged groups
  • The impact of integrating GESI and community engagement processes into capacity-strengthening activities with HFOMCs on maternal and child nutrition and health service performance for disadvantaged groups
  • Whether integrating community engagement processes into capacity-strengthening activities with HFOMCs has a higher impact on maternal and child nutrition and health service performance  and/or  utilization for disadvantaged groups than GESI capacity-strengthening activities alone

It is anticipated that the information collected will be used as a baseline against which to measure changes in key indicators resulting from the study interventions. The household survey is to be conducted among a representative sample of ever-married women age 10-49 with children under two years of age living in the intervention and non-intervention comparison areas.

Survey Instruments

The baseline survey will be designed to measure key health-related indicators at the household and individual level. Interviews will be conducted at the community, household, and individual levels in project intervention areas and in suitable comparison areas. The main data for the survey will be collected on ever-married women of reproductive age (10-49). Applicants should prepare their applications assuming the following instruments:

1. Community Questionnaire

This is to be administered to knowledgeable community leaders and key informants in sampled areas at the time of the household listing operation. It is designed to collect information on the location and availability of different health services, presence of health and development activities, and characteristics of the community. The community questionnaire will be completed during the household listing operation and is expected to take 15 minutes on average.

2. Household Schedule and Questionnaire

This is to be administered to the female head of household. It is designed to capture physical, demographic, and socio-economic characteristics of the household. The questionnaire is expected to take 20 minutes.

3. Women’s Questionnaire

The women’s questionnaire is to be administered to all ever-married women aged 10-49 with children under 2 years of age in sampled households. It will capture information on household demographics, child health and nutrition, pregnancy and post-natal care, nutritional knowledge and attitudes, family planning, and other related topics. The questionnaire is expected to take 45 minutes on average. No biomarkers or anthropometric measures will be included. Interviewers of the household and women questionnaires should be female to ensure greater comfort by interviewees and to reduce non-response.

IV. Sampling

The survey will apply multi-stage sampling design to obtain a representative sample of households in one control (Parbat) and two intervention districts (Baglung and Syangja). The sampling method used for this study was based on the outcome of proportion of health facility births the Western Region. A sample of sufficient size will be drawn from both control and intervention groups in order to capture a 5 percent difference between groups at endline for proportion of health facility births. The overall sample will also have sufficient power within a given district (100%) to detect differences between DAG-only and poor-only subgroups. We estimate a sample size of 2,200 women with children under age 2 per District, for a total of 6,600.

 

V. Activities and Responsibilities for the Organization

The successful applicant will be responsible for the following activities:

  • Implement key aspects of the identification of the sampling strategy, including household listing, cartographic updating of selected clusters in the field, and provision of information for sampling weight calculation for both project and non-project comparison groups
  • Prepare and submit protocol to local IRB
  • Participate in the revision and finalization of all questionnaires, including translation of the questionnaire into Nepali
  • Organize and conduct the pre-test of questionnaires
  • Print final questionnaires
  • Organize field work activities
  • Recruit and train the field work team (with the participation of MEASURE Evaluation staff)
  • Provide required ethics/human subject protection training to all staff involved in survey activities
  • Conduct field work with appropriate supervisory and quality check activities
  • Collect GPS coordinates for households
  • Conduct data entry and management
  • Conduct appropriate quality checks at different stages of the field work, data entry, and data management process
  • Produce frequency distributions for datasets
  • Prepare preliminary and final datasets with the appropriate documentation
  • Draft a report describing all data collection and data management procedures, supervisor observations/comments, and limitations/problems encountered
  • Participate in the writing of a preliminary report concerning the results of the study

VI. Deliverables

The successful applicant will be responsible for the following deliverables:

  • Detailed workplan and timeline of activities
  • Final questionnaires (community, household, and individual) in Nepali and English
  • IRB approval
  • Report on questionnaire pre-test
  • Reports on training activities
  • Biweekly reports on field work preparations and progress
  • Biweekly reports on the data entry and management process, including reports of quality check results
  • Reports on supervisor observations/comments and limitations/problems encountered
  • Frequency distributions for survey data (hard copy and on a disc, data may also be submitted electronically)
  • Cleaned and fully labeled dataset (on disc and submitted electronically) in STATA or other agreed upon software
  • A copy of the codebook and any other data documentation
  • Provision of secured storage of all completed questionnaires

VII. Terms of Agreement

The data collected under this SOW will be collected on behalf of MEASURE Evaluation and its sponsor, USAID, and no ownership rights to the data will vest with the sub-recipient. All data collected will be transferred to MEASURE Evaluation at UNC for secure data storage and analysis. If the sub-recipient is interested in conducting data analysis and publication, the terms of the data sharing and publication between MEASURE Evaluation and the sub-recipient will be expressed in a written agreement as part of the sub-award.

The successful application should plan to start activities in November/December 2013. The tentative timeframe for the main survey activities is presented below.

Main Activity

Target Dates

Preparations

November 2013

Household listing

November 2013

Pretesting and interviewer training

November 2013

Production of final questionnaire

November 2013

Fieldwork

December 2013 – March 2014

Data entry

December 2013 – April 2014

Data cleaning and processing

December 2013 – April 2014

Preliminary data tabulations and report

April 2014

VIII. Application Requirements

Organizations wishing to serve as MEASURE Evaluation’s local implementing partner for this impact evaluation in Nepal should submit a full application with the following sections:

1. Cover Letter – The cover letter should clearly identify that the applicant is responding to this RFP and stating the applicant organization’s name, address, phone numbers, URL, and main email address. There should be a contact person listed for any purpose related to this RFP.

2. Organizational description and experience – The applicant should provide a brief description of the overall governance structure of their organization. The applicant should present the proposed organization and governance structure for the implementation of the baseline survey. The applicant should describe the number and roles/responsibilities of the staff that will implement the survey. The applicant should also name the key technical and administrative/financial personnel that will be involved in the activities. It should name at least a Principal Investigator and a Chief Administrative or Financial Officer who will serve as the main technical and financial liaison persons with MEASURE Evaluation. CVs of key staff should be included in the application.

The applicant should describe the organization’s past experience in successfully organizing and conducting large scale, national studies in Nepal. The applicant should provide a description of past projects (up to 5, with no more than 1 page description per project; these pages will not count toward the overall length of the application). The demonstrated capacity to do high quality work will be a crucial consideration. Preference will be given to organizations that have either an institutional review board (IRB) of reference or a Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) formalizing the institution’s commitment to protect human subjects in the course of research.

3. Budget – A detailed line-item budget should be prepared based on the responsibilities, sample size estimates, and expected deliverables included above. Budgets should be supplied in a separate spreadsheet. Costs should be presented in Nepalese Rupees and U.S. Dollars. Please note that final budget will be worked out with the selected applicant once sample sizes are finalized. The budget should include but not be limited to:

  • Personnel costs: List number, daily rate, and number of workdays for each category of staff (e.g. interviewer, supervisor, data entry clerk, statistician, drivers, etc.). Please provide justification and a description of responsibilities for each category of staff.
  • Per diem: List daily rate and number of workdays for each category of staff (e.g. interviewer, supervisor, data entry clerk, statistician, drivers, etc.).
  • Transport: List the number of vehicles and number of days needed, estimated mileage and fuel cost per mile, vehicle maintenance and/or rental costs, if necessary.
  • Materials: Questionnaire production (unit cost per questionnaire * number of printed copies), interviewers’ equipment, other equipment and materials used for data collection and management.
  • Miscellaneous: List any other local costs.

4. Budget Narrative – An accompanying narrative in a separate Word file must be included. Within the narrative, please provide justifications for and descriptions of major tasks and staff responsibilities. Please also include an explanation of how rates, the number of days for household listing/training/field work, and other costs were determined.

5. Financial/accounting structures and practices – The applicant should provide key information related to their financial/accounting procedures. It should submit an explanation of how the applicant calculates any indirect costs (if charged in the budget). The applicant should also describe the accounting software that they employ.

IX. Questions

The question submission period is now over. 

See questions and answers for the RFP.

X. Deadline

The cost proposal must be submitted electronically to measure_RFP@unc.edu by 5pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, August 14, 2013. The submission should include all materials related to the cost proposal.

XI. Proposal Review and Notification of Intent to Enter into a Sub-Agreement

Following the receipt of cost proposals, MEASURE Evaluation will review the received materials and may follow-up with specific questions and may request additional information from the designated applicants. Applications will be reviewed in terms of their financial competitiveness. MEASURE Evaluation will inform the successful applicant (and notify the organizations not selected). The process of developing a sub-agreement with the successful applicant will then begin. Please note that the release of this RFP does not necessitate that an applicant be awarded.