Terms of Reference: Exploration of VSO Operations in Madagascar

VSO International
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Saturday, 11 July, 2015
Opportunity type: 


VSO was invited by The British Ambassador in Madagascar. He had worked closely with VSO in the South Pacific and thought the VSO model could be good for Madagascar and wanted us to see whether there might be partnerships for VSO in Madagascar. He had reopened the British Embassy in Madagascar in October 2012 and they had made much progress in reinvigorating development partnership.

Several development organizations have returned to Madagascar since the transition back to a democratically elected government. He suggested that the British Embassy would be keen to support VSO to do a scoping visit to see if we could get involved in Madagascar and he would offer to help create linkages with government, donor community and other NGOs. 
VSO Management team (Regional Director and Head of Funding), visited the Ambassador and met several government, funders and INGOs currently operating in Madagascar in April 2015. Based on that initial visit, the VSO management team submitted a report recommending further exploration in the form of a formal scoping visit and report.  The conclusions was ultimately that now is an opportune time to be engaging in Madagascar both because of where Madagascar is as a county: the 5 year national plans and many related strategies are just coming online. UNDP shared their plans of working with other branches of the UN and civil society to focus on support for economic growth; peaceful governance and rebuilding of basic services and they see a lot of space for VSO involvement and secondly because of where VSO is as an organization, in a period of re-assessment and restructure, with an ambition to maintain and/or grow our geographic footprint.  Other highlights from the initial report include:

  1. There is considerable interest in partnering expressed by local government (particularly Ministry of Health and Education) and NGOs working in Health and WASH
  2. There is close alignment between areas of need and VSO strategic focus areas as well as potentially opportunity to contribute to CSO/NGO coordination platforms and learning exchanges (as well as parliamentarian exchanges)
  3. The operating environment seems rather conducive – challenges manageable.
  4. Even though donor environment is a bit of a mixed bag as the situation normalizes, VSO may very well be able to find some win-wins with UNICEF, UNFPA, Blue Ventures etc.
    1. USAID health funding perhaps accessible via partnerships with their core implementing partners including JPHIEGO
    2. Conversations with EU, JICA, Norway, WB, AfDB, Gates and others still need to be had
    3. Eager to see if donor conference happens in Oct/Nov as a litmus test of how much donor confidence is growing

Suggested way forward

We need to verify these initial findings and gather more detail in a comprehensive report addressing:

  • Programme positioning outlining various options in health (maternal and neonatal health, adolescent sexual and reproductive health), education (inclusive basic education, use of technology in education), disaster risk reduction, livelihoods (youth employment and/or agri-based value chains) and/or integrated models
    •  Strategic partners by thematic area –Gaps in current service provision, policy and capacity of local partners
    • Geographic priorities
    • VSO core contributions in the current landscape (i.e. what is needed and what is VSO’s value add)
    • Previous research into socio-economic issues
  • Operating environments – logistics considerations to effectively carry out proposed programme activities and achieve meaningful impact:
    • political situation,
    • Inflation and currency exchange situations
    •  distances between sites,
    • availability of accommodation in remote locations and capital,
    • transport options,
    •  seasonal implications and accessibility,
    • safety and language,
    •  levels of fraud,
    •  availability of goods locally
    • Banking systems availability and mobile cash transfer
    • Local taxation policies
    • Understanding of volunteer status in country; i.e. would volunteer allowances be taxed?
  • Funding landscape and opportunities – who is funding, what opportunities can VSO position for (in short, medium and long term) and mechanisms for funding; i.e. contracts, tenders, consortia
  • Human resources – what is the staffing candidate pool like and who can we identify to anchor operations in country mapped against required qualifications for ; how many and what volunteer profiles are required to have impact in line with what VSO and potential partners need to delivery high impact programming alongside other resources.
  • High level risk assessment of:
    • Stability of operating environment
    • Financial viability  - how much would we need to start up and for first three years, what are the volunteer costs specific to Madagascar what amount would it take to make an appreciable impact, would VSO be able to increase its leverage with donors and other partners with Madagascar as an additional geographic site
    • Volunteer living and working conditions in country
    • Security considerations around operations
    • Effectiveness – value for money assessment (comparison of the various options)
    • Health and safety considerations and emergency mitigation options

This report should also draw on analysis of, and document:

  • Emerging country and donor strategies
  • Consultation with local implementers (Government ministries, UN agencies, INGOs, NGOs, CBOs, etc.)
  • Focus groups with target beneficiaries
  • Mapping of line Ministry responsibilities relevant to each proposed area of intervention and identification of key representatives that would need to endorse work

Note, report should provide pros and cons of entering in one or more thematic areas, related to all of the above.
Scope of Assignment
By 15 July 2015

  1. Present a detailed implementation plan for the scoping assignment including proposed budget and timeline (including time spent in Madagascar)
  2. Suggest a format for the final report so can be agreed
  3. Gather all existing documentation to date and identify gaps of what still needed

Feedback from VSO will be provided by 17 July 2015.
By end of August (latest)

     4. Submit draft report following site visit and all data collection for feedback, including all detailed notes from meetings and visits conducted.

Feedback from VSO will be provided one week from date of submission.
Within two weeks of feedback

    5. Finalized report addressing all concerns and feedback.

Considered complete based on approval of the Regional Director and the Head of Funding (on behalf of larger VSO team)
Linkages with other initiatives
VSO will also simultaneously commission a risk assessment profile to outline legal registration requirements, etc.  This report will be shared with the core team leading on this piece of programmatic work.
VSO’s health unit will also lead on health and safety assessment and information gathered will be shared – both from this consultancy and with this consultancy team.
VSO’s volunteer team will also be advising on feasibility of volunteer numbers, profiles and proposed recruitment strategies.
VSO funding teams will support on detailed donor mapping, based in part of recommendations of this report but also informing what areas will be financially most feasible.
British Embassy available to support with introductions, in-kind materials and support with logistics.
July 11, 2015 – September 1, 2015 (detailed work plan to be agreed)
Exploratory visits and meetings to be conducted in Madagascar (Antananarivo and other geographic priority sites).
Accountability and reporting
All work will be supervised by the Regional Director, Southern Africa and completed in conjunction with Head of Funding Africa and Head of International Finance.
Payment is contingent on final report being accepted and quality agreed upon by the above.
Key Qualifications of the team

  • 8-10 years in international development in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar specifically
  • French and Malagasy language fluency
  • Experience with programme design and development
  • Expertise in participatory research
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills
  • Excellent judgement and strategic planning skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Strong budgeting and financial analysis skills

 If you’re interested in applying for this role, please follow the link to the VSO website http://vso.force.com/jobopportunities. To submit your application, click on ‘Apply now’ and complete all relevant fields on the online application form.

Applications close on 11 July 2015.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted and invited for interviews.

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