Call for Proposals: Baseline Assessment of Early Literacy in Petsana Community

Save the Children
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Monday, 25 June, 2012
Opportunity type: 
Call for proposals

Save the Children is the leading independent organisation creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Recognised for its commitment to accountability, innovation and collaboration, our work takes us into the heart of communities, where we help children and families help themselves. It works other organisations, governments, nonprofits and a variety of local partners while maintaining its own independence without political agenda or religious orientation.

Save the Children is seeking a suitably qualified consultant to conduct a baseline assessment of early literacy in Nketoane Municipality, Free State. The assessment will look into knowledge, attitudes and practices within the Petsana community specifically with regard to early literacy, and will gather necessary information for the design of the monitoring and evaluation framework for the early literacy project.


The goal of the Education Bid 2012 project is to increase access to early literacy services for children in pre-school years in Nketoana local municipality, Free State. Only 20 percent of children under the age of five have access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in South Africa. The remaining 80 percent experience early learning only through home and community sites, which often lack early stimulation to support readiness for learning to read and write. Lack of access to quality early learning impedes school readiness and acquisition of emergent literacy skills. Save the Children aims to close this existing gap by taking early literacy services to the home and the community, thus reaching some of the 80 percent not accessing this service, and simultaneously building the capacity of parents to be actively involved in the early learning of their young children.
The project will contribute towards the following outcomes in 2012:

  • Improved quality of early learning at home and in community sites for children aged 0-5 not accessing ECD centres in Petsana;
  • Increased involvement of parents and other primary caregivers in early and family literacy practices. 

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the baseline assessment is to determine the nature of knowledge, attitudes and practices within the Petsana community with regard to early literacy.
The specific objectives of the assessment are:

  • To collect data that will enable Save the Children to determine the direct, visible changes that the project has effected by the end of 2012;
  • o inform the monitoring and evaluation process during project implementation;
  • To offer technical guidance on realistic and viable indicators for the project goal, objectives and outputs (in alignment with Save the Children’s QLE [Quality Learning Environment] criteria).

Scope of the Baseline Assessment

The consultant will conduct a baseline assessment of early literacy knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) amongst parents and other primary caregivers in the Petsana school community.
 The scope of the assessment will include (but may not be limited to):

  • Existing knowledge amongst parents and primary caregivers on how to promote early learning in home environments;
  • Prevailing attitudes of parents and primary caregivers on the importance of early learning for children aged 0-5;
  • The early literacy practices of parents and primary caregivers at home.
  • The degree of involvement of parents and primary caregivers in promoting early literacy at home;
  • The language development of a sample of 0-2 year olds as per expected milestones for that age; and the phonological awareness and narrative skills of a sample of 3-5 year olds as per expected cognitive milestone. The condition of the learning environments at home, in selected ECD centres and primary schools at Petsana;
  • The degree of parental awareness of readily available materials at home and in the neighbourhood as a resource for promoting early literacy.


The consultant will be expected to design and apply tools which will produce valid and reliable data for use as indicated above. This will include but may not be limited to:

  • Review key documents on the situation of early literacy for children under age five in South Africa;
  • Utilise both qualitative and quantitative methods, including surveys, interviews, focus group discussions as appropriate, to collect and analyse data on the status of early literacy in Petsana;
  • Make use of child-friendly research tools to collect data from children;
  • Conduct research in an ethical manner, protecting participants’ right to anonymity, confidentiality and  autonomy (e.g. right to voluntary participation and to withdraw etc).

Required Outputs:

  • Baseline assessment design (including data collection methods and tools);
  • Detailed action plan with related timeframe and deadlines;
  • Leading field work and data collection and analysis;
  • Initial draft report for review by the team at Save the Children, where any further improvements shall be made by the consultant at no further cost;
  • Final report and recommendations, including a guidance note under the recommendations section on monitoring and evaluation against project objectives and outputs;
  • Presentation/debriefing for the Save the Children Education team and other staff members and stakeholders, as relevant.

Project Management

The consultant is responsible for overall management of the project, including designing and conducting the baseline assessment, drafting the final report and debriefing the project team and key stakeholders. The consultant will liaise with the Save the Children Education team throughout the process, providing regular updates on the design and implementation of the baseline assessment, and seeking their input and advice where necessary. The consultant will report to the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) manager, with additional contact to the ECD advisory focal point and programme director.
Save the Children is responsible for overseeing the consultant by managing the consultancy contract; monitoring adherence to specified deadlines; facilitating access to required information, resources and contacts; providing feedback on drafts of the baseline assessment tool and final report; sharing the finalised report with all relevant stakeholders not in attendance at the debriefing. On request, the project team will also provide coordination and support to activities, including transportation and interpretation/translation during field visits, provided that these visits are planned in advance and approved by the project team.
Required skills and experience of the prospective consultant

The consultant should possess the following as a minimum:

  • Relevant degree in  the social sciences or development studies;
  • A good understanding of early childhood cognitive development and early learning programmes;
  • Familiarity with early literacy;
  • Proven research experience;
  • Experience in working with children will be an added advantage;
  • Ability to conduct baseline assessments, including designing and employing   both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and tools;
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills;
  • Ability to work in diverse cultural backgrounds and respect for  different viewpoints on what constitutes knowledge;
  • Ability to speak or understand  Sesotho is desirable but not essential
  • Willingness to sign and abide by Save the Children’s child safeguarding code of conduct.

Duration of the Assignment and Fees

The suggested overall duration of the consultancy is 2-3 weeks. The maximum consultancy fee is R49 300.
Submission and Evaluation of Proposals

All proposals should be submitted by e-mail to by close-of-business on 25 June 2012.  Ensure the e-mail subject-line states ‘Proposal – Early Literacy Baseline.’
Proposals must include the following:

  • Proposed approach and outline design of the baseline assessment;
  • Project work plan reflecting the key outputs/deliverables and proposed timeframe;
  • CV and references;
  • Outline budget.                                                                      

Selection of the Consultant will be based on:

  • How well the proposal meets the requirements set out in the terms of reference
  • Relevant skills and experience;
  • Value for money.

For more about Save the Children, refer to

To view other opportunities, visit

NGO Services

NGO Services