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We invites applications for:
Title: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – Facilitating Multi-Stakeholders’ Platforms in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe States, North Eastern Nigeria
Job ref.: 72062020CA00002RFA03
Locations: Makurdi – Benue, Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe
Reference: Issued Under USAID Feed the Future/Nigeria #72062019RFA00006
Subject: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity
- Through this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), the USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity (or the “Activity”) aims to identify Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) or private sector players to facilitate establishment and capacity strengthening of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) in four states in North Eastern Nigeria.
- MSPs are (structured) processes that are used to ensure participation on a specific issue. Based on a set of principles, sometimes inspired by the rights-based approach to development, they aim to ensure participatory equity, accountability and transparency, and the creation of partnerships and networks amongst different stakeholders for improved dialogue and decision-making in all stages of planning and implementation.
- This NOFO is a call for business advisors to provide tailored multi-stakeholders platforms (MSPs) which bring together representatives from different interest groups to discuss shared challenges, opportunities, policy actions and advocacy strategies.
- The Rural Resilience Activity is a Feed the Future initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by Mercy Corps in partnership with Save the Children International (SCI) and International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC).
- The goal of the Rural Resilience Activity is to ‘facilitate and protect economic recovery and growth in vulnerable, conflict-affected areas and sustainably move people out of chronic vulnerability and poverty via expanded opportunities’.
- This goal will be achieved through the following four major components. The Activity seeks to increase incomes, improve the livelihood and resilience of households through market-led growth in 4 States in North-Eastern Nigeria.
- Layered on the principles of broadened and inclusive growth through agricultural competitiveness; the Activity objectives of a) inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth; b) strengthened resilience among people and systems; and c) a well-nourished population, especially women and children, thereby contributing to sustainable reductions in global hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
- The Activity seeks to offer opportunities to empower community service organizations (CSOs), faith-based organisations or private sector organizations to engage with decision-makers, by providing sound arguments and a solid evidence base, backing the proposed changes in their country.
- The Activity will enhance the capacities of CSOs and/or the private sector in leadership, the use of evidence and thematic knowledge, advocacy skills, and organizational sustainability. MSPs can help to bring actors operating directly or indirectly in the chain together and realize common objectives through dialogue and cooperation. These dialogues and cooperation yield relationships that build increased trust, transparency, and accountability necessary for resilience capacities for North Eastern Nigeria (NEN).
- The NOFO offers interested parties the opportunity to submit grants applications for implementation. The responses should provide evidence of the need to initiate a multi-stakeholder platform where actors from different sectors (private sector, government, and civil society – NGOs) meet and work together to better link smallholder producers and processors to (international) markets. The need for collaboration in a multi-stakeholder platform to tackle the problems in each sector and to create change in the whole NEN.
- Subject to the availability of funds, RRA intends to award 1 – 2 grants to eligible CSO or companies, as defined in Section D, up to a maximum amount of US $60,000 per award. Amounts above this value may be approved if one applicant works in more than one state. The expected duration of RRA support or the period of performance is twelve (12) months. Mercy Corps, as the primary implementer of the Feed the Future/Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, reserves the right to fund any or none of the proposals submitted.
Section A: Statement of FtF Rural Resilience Activity Objectives
- The Rural Resilience Activity aims to increase smallholder household incomes and reduce poverty in North-Eastern Nigeria through their improved participation in inclusive agribusiness value chains.
- The Activity interventions are delivered in line with the market systems development framework placing at the centre the need to unlock bottlenecks which weaken market relationships and limit inclusive profitable participation.
Figure 1 Simplified Vision of the Rural Resilience Activity:
- The Activity seeks to promote an enabling environment for business defined by supportive rules, regulations and complimentary supporting functions. Working closely with public, political civil society and economic actors, seeks to broaden, and support inclusive and resilient growth through agricultural competitiveness.
- The Activity objectives include:
- Inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth;
- Strengthened resilience among people and systems; and
- A well-nourished population, especially women and children, thereby contributing to sustainable reductions in global hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
- The Activity seeks to reinforce practices that move away from dependency on non-market driven initiatives. In addition, Activity seeks to facilitate the growth of firms that are committed to investing in inclusive agricultural business models and support services in the areas of finance and provision of agri-enterprise related interconnected services in North eastern Nigeria.
- The Activity approach seeks to address systemic barriers to women and youths’ participation in the inclusive markets. The Activity takes a gender-responsive approach to sustainable livelihoods development that requires that the needs and realities of both men and women are recognized and adequately addressed in the design and application of inclusive interventions.
- The program approach emphasizes interventions that promote equity rather than mere equality. Interventions that merely focus on gender equality without attention to the need to promote equity continue to propagate differences in the market opportunities that men and women secure.
- In this respect, the Activity supported interventions seek to support women’s leadership and enabling policies at the firm level, position women and youth beyond production as inclusive agents and lead farmers as well as promote inclusive marketing strategies which target marginalized groups: women, youth and communities for instance in IDPs and host communities as customers.
- In the context of North Eastern Nigeria, social capital, social cohesion, aspirations, and empowerment are critical sources of resilience, especially in the context of the Northeast where people’s relationships, sense of trust, reciprocity, agency, and future orientation have eroded.
- Evidence on sustainable economic recovery and managing recurrent crises makes it abundantly clear that social and psychological factors are as important to building resilience at the individual, household, and community levels as is the focus on increasing incomes and building assets.
- The erosion of these capacities – which extend beyond material deprivation – provided armed opposition groups with the space to not only recruit but be welcomed into communities. Approaches for strengthening social capital, dispute resolution, social cohesion, aspirations, and empowerment should be embedded in economic recovery programming.
- A multistakeholder platform (MSP) is an action-oriented collaboration between multiple private and public stakeholders, and possibly civil society members. MSPs seek sustainable solutions to complex and systemic challenges which no one party can achieve alone, catalysing multiple effects on a long-term or open-ended time horizon.
- MSPs are increasingly used in dealing with complex development questions, particularly in terms of sustainability, to strengthen capacities for engagement, effective participation, and joint implementation of priority development actions by different stakeholder groups.
- They help create the conditions for confidence building and trust between different actors and serve as a mechanism for providing mutually acceptable solutions and win-win situations.
- The inclusive and participatory nature of the processes creates a greater sense of ownership over its outcomes, and consequently, strengthens its sustainability.
- MSPs also promote transparent and inclusive decision-making, strengthened stakeholder networks, and a sense of empowerment, thereby contributing to good governance. Illustrative models include:
- Ensure participatory equity, accountability and transparency, and to develop partnerships and networks amongst different stakeholders.
- Creating the conditions for confidence building and trust between different actors and serve as a mechanism for providing mutually acceptable solutions and win-win situations. The inclusive and participatory nature of the processes promotes a greater sense of ownership over its outcomes, and consequently, strengthens its sustainability.
- Stimulating transparent and inclusive decision-making, strengthened stakeholder networks, accountability, and a sense of empowerment, thereby contributing to improved governance.
- Supporting more effective use of multi-stakeholder approaches in national and local level policy formulation and implementation. The Applicants are expected to move beyond the “stakeholder consultations” techniques around already stated plans and programmes, to ensuring serious engagement of different groups to help articulate those very plans and programmes to begin with, so that they are framed in multi-sectoral development content and processes.
- Capacity strengthening of key stakeholders – especially local leaders and CSOs – to engage effectively in MSPs. This may include provision of training in participatory methods, communication and leadership skills, access to knowledge on the issues at hand, and sharing of good practices of MSPs serves this end.
Section B: Special Grant Requirements
- The Activity grant aims to support agri-businesses and smallholder farmers to build a sustainable opportunity to engage in exchange of goods and services. Specifically, this funding opportunity seeks to leverage networks of rural households served by private sector firms such as input distributors or buyers under out-grower schemes to:
- Enable CSO or private sector players to innovate a business model that offers mutual benefit between them and members of MSPs in NEN.
- Support MSPs in an action-oriented collaboration between multiple private and public stakeholders, and possibly civil society members. MSPs seek sustainable solutions to complex and systemic challenges which no one party can achieve alone, catalysing multiple effects on a long-term or open-ended time horizon.
- Strengthen capacities for engagement, effective participation, and joint implementation of priority development actions by different stakeholder groups.
The Activity seeks to identify 1 – 2 CSOs or private sector firms to create the conditions for confidence building and trust between different actors and serve as a mechanism for providing mutually acceptable solutions and win-win situations.The inclusive and participatory nature of the processes creates a greater sense of ownership over its outcomes, and consequently, strengthens its sustainability.
MSPs also promote transparent and inclusive decision-making, strengthened stakeholder networks, and a sense of empowerment, thereby contributing to good governance.The Activity seeks to reduce market distortions arising from the infusion of grant funds. Care should be taken to ensure that the structure of the promotion or discount does not negatively affect long-term market sustainability.
- The award will be directly managed by the Rural Resilience Activity with USAID support. This solicitation intends to enter into a business metric-based milestone agreement that includes interventions that fit the evaluation criteria outlined in Section D below.
- The number of partnerships available will be determined based on interest, funding available, and quality of proposals. The proposed projects are anticipated to begin by September 2021 and end on or before September 2022. However, proposals could be submitted for multi-year activities over multi-year phases, with phase 1 to cover a maximum of one year.
- The total value of each award from the Rural Resilience Activity for this solicitation is estimated to range from US$25,000 – US$60,000 with 1 to 2 partnerships anticipated. In the ideal scenario, this benefits all three categories of stakeholders involved: those who make the decisions, those who implement them, and those who are affected by them.
- But this requires that all parties have the relevant capacities, knowledge and experience, as well as valid perspectives, to engage effectively.
- In addition, evidence from case experiences suggests that MSPs also require strong leadership and motivation to engage in a MSP, a facilitating environment with conducive formal and informal institutions, and balanced power relations between stakeholders
- As the amount of an award is subject to negotiation, a negotiated award amount may or may not fall within this range. Furthermore, the Rural Resilience Activity is not obligated to issue awards/an award up to the number of funds available. Grantees may be required to cover and create leverage of minimum over the next one year of 30% of the total cost.
- Application reviews will take place in August and September 2021. All applicants will be notified of their application status at this time. Note that immediate negotiations and site visits will occur with successful applicants around September 2021.
- Site visits and other engagements requiring physical interactions will take into consideration relevant COVID-19 guidelines from the Federal and targeted State Governments in Nigeria. Please make sure the proposed project manager and a decision-maker will be available at that time since negotiations and site visits are required steps in the award process for selected applications.
Award Performance Management:
- The Activity will work with the awardees to establish reporting and traceability requirements to track the details of all rural households/individuals doing business with the Applicant in North eastern Nigeria. It is anticipated that the Activity can reach at least 50 members of MSP.
The awardees will specifically be required to provide assorted monitoring and evaluation data to the Activity such as:
- Number of stakeholders participating in the MSPs
- Type of technical advisory services provided to the MSPs members
- Number of employees contracted by each beneficiary MSP member
- Revenue and profit levels of beneficiary agribusiness companies
- Type of services provided to smallholder farmers by the beneficiary agribusiness companies
- Number of smallholder farmers serviced by the beneficiary agribusiness companies
- Beneficiary agribusiness companies’ satisfaction level with the technical advisory services provided
- Smallholder farmers’ satisfaction level with quality of service provided by agribusiness companies receiving advisory services
- Awards under this NOFO will be time-bound and monitored to keep track of the promotional and discount offers provided to farmers. Awardees will have a deadline, after which time they will be required to engage with the farmers without further discounts.
Section C: Selection Process
- Within ten (10) working days of the deadline for submitting expressions of interest, a technical review panel will convene.
- The Activity shall take steps to ensure that members of the review panel do not have any conflicts of interest or the appearance of such with regard to the organizations whose applicants are under review.
- An individual shall be considered to have the appearance of a conflict of interest if that person, or that person’s spouse, partner, child, a close friend or relative works for or is negotiating to work for, or has a financial interest (including being an unpaid member of a Board of Directors) in any organization that applied currently under the panel’s review.
- Members of the panel shall neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favours, or anything of monetary value from parties to the awards.
- The status of the EOIs received, whether accepted or rejected, shall be communicated to all applicants within thirty (30) days. All Applications that meet the NOFO requirements will be reviewed by the review panel.
- For this Call for Applications, the Rural Resilience Activity is interested in partnering with: for-profit private sector companies foreign organizations (referred to as non-U.S. NGOs): either non-profit or for-profit organizations that meet the definition in 2 CFR 200.47 can apply as part of a consortium. However, the lead applicant must be legally registered in Nigeria.
- Applicants must have a DUNS number (a nine-digit identification number required for all procurement- related activities). A DUNS number is not required for application, but will be required for receipt of award.
- Social enterprises such as community-based organizations with commercial business models are encouraged to apply.
- Applicants must be Nigerian licensed and legal private input companies, business organizations/associations/cooperatives working in Nigeria. Individual consultants will not be considered for this NOFO.
- Previous or ongoing work with the Rural Resilience Activity does NOT preclude applicants from participating. Current partners encouraged to apply.
Section D: Evaluation Criteria
Upon submission, the Activity Team will evaluate all Concept Note applications using the following criteria:
- Business Case: Applicants will be evaluated on how the proposed partnership will meet business goals and objectives while engaging and supporting MSP members. Applicants should introduce the proposed MSP and present a clear business case for it. Applicants should explain how the proposed activities of the MSP complements and aligns with Rural Resilience Activity Objectives.
- MSP Governance Structure: Proposed new or existing governance and coordination structures will be evaluated for effectiveness including the presence of a decision-making body (e.g., a Steering or Executive and an Advisory Committee), a coordination node, often called a Secretariat, and sometimes working groups.
- Commercial viability and funding sustainability: Applicants will be evaluated on the potential for growth and scale of the MSP as well as funding for its medium to long term operations.
- The market opportunity should be explained, including any market constraints faced by the businesses and stakeholders to be on boarded or who are already a part of the MSP.
- Confirmation of long-term commitment of the MSP members to engaging smallholder farmers in business operations should be provided.
- Applicants will be evaluated on how the MSP will continue to scale post-funding by the Rural Resilience Activity. Applicants should provide a five-year projection of revenue, costs, and net income.
- Resilience Impact: MSPs will be evaluated on the perceived level of impact on smallholder farmers and microenterprises especially women and youth.
- Applicants must indicate the number of smallholder farmers and microenterprises MSP partners could potentially reach and how the MSP will expand market opportunities, improve nutrition, strengthen resilience and increase incomes for these groups.
- For this funding opportunity, smallholders are defined as farmers who cultivate less than five hectares and micro enterprises are defined as businesses that employ 1-9 employees including the business owner.
Application Closing Date
27th August, 2021.
Method of Application
Interested and qualified applicants should send an email requesting interest to participate in an information meeting to: firstname.lastname@example.org and a meeting will be organized for applicants individually or as a group and as appropriate.
- The information meeting will provide an opportunity for interested applicants to learn more about the opportunity and the process. Attendance at the information meeting is an optional requirement by applicants.
Important Information and Notice
- Award will be made to the responsible applicant(s) whose application(s) offers the best value for money.
- Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Rural Resilience Activity, nor does it commit the Activity to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Applications are submitted at the risk of the applicant. All preparation and submission costs are at the applicant’s expense.
- Any questions concerning this NOFO should be submitted in writing not later than ten (10) days prior to the closing date shown above to: email@example.com. Applicants should retain for their records one copy of all enclosures which accompany their application.
- Thank you for your interest in Feed the Future/Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity activities.