Consultancy to develop farmer feedback modules
1. About SHIFT Social Impact Solutions and Great Lakes Coffee
SHIFT Social Impact Solutions works with forward-thinking companies, organizations and institutions who seek to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sustainable sourcing strategies that deliver targeted social impact. SHIFT works to implement programs that increase profitability, while creating more effective and sustainable supply chains, that lead to higher incomes and better livelihoods for producers.
SHIFT’s partner Great Lakes Coffee Company (GLC) is a Ugandan company who has been sourcing, milling and exporting green coffee from East Africa for 90 years. With an average annual export volume of 9,561 tons of Arabica, and an average sales turnover of EUR 16 million per year, the company exports 7% of Uganda's Arabica coffee.
2. The Supporting the Sustainable Future of Coffee Farming in Uganda Program
With funding from the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur lnternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and industry partners, SHIFT/GLC are implementing the “Supporting the Sustainable Future of Coffee Farming in Uganda” project.
SHIFT/GLC are implementing this project as part of GLC’s Sustainable Coffee Program (SCP) which has the main aim of addressing the challenges facing sustainable Agriculture development in Uganda. The SCP is rooted in activities centered around three pillars: 1) Price Transparency, 2) Quality, and 3) Traceability and achieving two objectives of More Coffee and Better Coffee.
To support the SCP, GLC has developed an in-house traceability system and sustainability standard titled MaxTRACE. Through MaxTRACE, GLC Farm Inspectors perform social, economic and environmental farm inspections of smallholder coffee farmers annually. During these farm inspections, data is collected digitally on household demographics, coffee productivity, land use, household income, good agronomic practices (GAP) and ethical practices. The data is then consolidated and made accessible through the MaxTRACE software platform.
Sharing feedback from farm inspections with farmers and instituting non-compliance remediation plans is often a challenge with lower literacy farmers. Additionally, the latest Ugandan policy the Data Protection and Privacy Act 2017 requires farmers to have access to their information collected by the system. Furthermore, farmers are often skeptical about sharing their information with outside parties such as GLC, as they do not understand how this will benefit them.
To more efficiently communicate farm inspection results and address the legal requirements and farmers’ concerns, SHIFT/GLC wish to develop a farmer-friendly feedback system, including inspection reports, and farm development plans, which can be used to communicate farm inspection results and guide follow-up activities.
3. Objective of the Consultancy
The purpose of this consultancy is to support SHIFT/GLC with the creation of a process and tools to provide farm inspection feedback to Ugandan coffee farmers. As many smallholder farmers are illiterate, the goal is to create highly visual tools that will be accessible and understandable to these farmers.
Specifically, the consultant(s) is expected to:
- Analyze the current MaxTRACE farmer feedback system.
- Design a farm inspection/farm development plan presentation format that will optimize farmer comprehension and which requires minimal guidance.
- Develop a flexible software system to convert collected data into a farmer-friendly feedback format for easy interpretation by low literacy readers.
- Pilot the system, including presenting the format and process with GLC to farmer communities, and make adjustments as needed to ensure on-the-ground uptake.
4. Methodology, Key Tasks and Deliverables
The consultant is invited to propose a methodology for this assignment that incorporates the following key tasks:
Phase 1: Analysis of current system
- Review the MaxTRACE Standard Documentation, verification approach, inspection checklist and existing tools to understand GLC’s current practices for providing feedback to MaxTRACE farmers.
- Assess the information needs and missing tools to support farm inspection remediation and farm development plans.
- Perform key informant interviews and/or focus group discussions with key stakeholders and intended beneficiaries to understand their expectations and potential use of a revised farmer feedback format.
Phase 2: System development
- Develop the new engagement process for providing feedback to farmers.
- Design the accompanying visual feedback format for the farmer inspection data.
- Generate these feedback formats in the most appropriate software where they can be automatically generated for each farmer with imported MaxTRACE data. Requirements for the software system include:
- The interface of this system should be able to import data from Microsoft Excel, as well be able to communicate with MaxTRACE software through an API interface.
- Ease of use so that future adjustments to the software interface should be made by GLC personnel who have no programming skills.
- Should rely on Tableau, R*, web based interface, etc. with an annual subscription cost of less than 1,500 USD.
Phase 3: Piloting
- Pilot the farmer feedback approach and software with GLC and local communities.
- Pilot generating feedback via the selected software using MaxTRACE data.
- Revise the deliverables based on the piloting experience.
It is expected that the consultant will utilize a participative approach, working alongside GLC and SHIFT to develop the following deliverables:
- The new engagement process for providing feedback to farmers (draft and final versions).
- The visual feedback/farm inspection presentation format for the farmer inspection data (draft and final versions).
- The software system.
The consultancy is expected to be conducted between November 2020 - January 2021. The tentative timeline is below:
1 Month after signing the contract
Status update on key informant interviews / focus group discussions (via email or call).
2 months after signing the contract
The draft engagement process, visual feedback format, and software system.
3 months after signing the contract
The finalized engagement process, visual feedback format, and software system.
SHIFT/GLC are looking for a consultant or consultancy team with the following qualifications:
- Education: University degree or equivalent in agricultural or business related studies
- Data visualization skills with Tableau, R, SPSS, Stata, or another similar platform
- Fluency in English
- Knowledge of the context of the rural environment of Uganda
- Experience with certification schemes (RTA, Fairtrade, etc.) is a plus
- 10 years of experience in adult learning and communication to low literate farmers
- Experience in digital data analytics and reporting
- Previous experience working with international organizations and farmer communities
This opportunity is open to local, national and/or international consultants and firms.
The total price for this consultancy is 9,750 USD. This includes any travel or other expenses.
8. How to apply
Individual service providers or firms who feel that they can meet or exceed the requirements should submit expression of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than November 30, 2020.
Submission should include the following:
1. Updated curriculum vitae of the individual or team, clearly spelling out the relevant qualifications and experiences.
2. A short technical proposal that details your approach and methodology for this assignment, as well as the proposed number of days and timeline. If applying as a team or firm, please explain the different roles of each member for completing this assignment.
3. A financial proposal that provides the daily rate and all other itemized expenses for completing this assignment.
4. At least 2 references from recent organizations where the consultant(s) has worked, and examples of relevant publications, writing samples or work products.
 Data is available in database format (accessible through Microsoft Excel or another software) at the level of the individual farmers. The data has already been cleaned by a GLC officer, but the structure of this database can change occasionally.