Terms of Reference

Needs Assessment digital platform on Adult Learning and Education

DVV International

1. Introduction

DVV International (DVV I) is the Institute for International Cooperation of the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V. (DVV), the German Adult Education Association. DVV represents the interests of the approximately 900 adult education centres (Volkshochschulen) and their state associations, the largest further education providers in Germany. DVV International provides worldwide support for the establishment and development of sustainable structures for Youth and Adult Education. As the leading professional organization in the field of adult education and development cooperation, DVV International has committed itself to supporting lifelong learning for more than 50 years.

DVV International’s vision is to fight poverty through education, lifelong learning and support to development. As a globally acting professional organization for adult learning and education (ALE), DVV International builds a sustainable system for further education, along with citizens, educational non-governmental organizations and governments. In order to achieve this, one of DVV International’s key interventions is to facilitate and enhance exchange and learning in the area of ALE among professionals and relevant stakeholders.


2. Background of the project

In Africa, DVV International operates in the African regions: West, Southern, and Eastern Africa. Through its regional offices in Bamako, Lilongwe, and Addis Ababa, it manages its programmes in eight African countries including Mali, Togo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The national programmes are financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The current funding period is from 2020 to 2022.

To support exchange among ALE professionals, programme staff and decision makers in ALE and non-formal education in sub-Sahara Africa, a digital exchange and learning platform will be developed in close cooperation with one of our partners in South Africa, Nelson Mandela University; specifically, the Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET), which will be hosting the digital platform.

Recent studies show that digital technologies are underutilized in the ALE sector, and at the same time have high potential to expand the reach of existing approaches. Although the sector has achieved considerable success in recent years with limited resources, these are too often limited in their reach. Although DVV International actively promotes national and regional exchange among ALE actors, available resources are often insufficient to ensure continuous and regular exchange on the latest developments and trends. With the establishment of the online platform, ALE stakeholders across the sub-Sahara African region will have mechanism for continuous exchange and learning.

Although the platform will be set up and maintained in South Africa, a sub-Saharan reach is envisaged. It is planned to involve and engage local partner organizations of DVV International from the African partner countries (mentioned above) in the content development of the platform in order to address the needs and interests of ALE professionals and decision makers across sub-Sahara Africa in a participatory way.

Although the platform will be set up and maintained in South Africa, a sub-Saharan reach is envisaged. It is planned to involve and engage local partner organizations of DVV International from the African partner countries (mentioned above) in the content development of the platform in order to address the needs and interests of ALE professionals and decision makers across sub-Sahara Africa in a participatory way.

Target group of the digital platform:

ALE professionals, programme staff, decision makers in in DVV International’s partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa as mentioned above

Objectives of the digital platform are:

-to help establish African networks and cooperation between ALE professionals, programme staff, decision-makers supra-regionally, regionally and nationally;

-to provide target groups with access to adult learning resources and technical expertise;

-to help develop skills and competencies of target groups through an open, interactive information and exchange platform;

-to support exchange and learning on systematic and cross-sectoral approaches (e.g. system-building approach to ALE, recognition of non-formal education and prior learning, etc.).

The findings of the needs assessment will inform the content and design of the digital platform, which will be launched in the second half of 2020.


3. Purpose of the needs assessment

The needs assessment will support DVV International to:

- define the characteristics of the target group(s) in the respective countries;

- identify the needs and interests of the target groups in relation to exchange and learning on ALE (through digital solutions);

- determine the competences of target groups in accessing and using digital media and formats;

- identify and explore existing digital platforms and formats for ALE (in Africa), and

- provide recommendations for the content and design of the platform, as well as for proposals for its continuous development through participatory processes.

For this, the needs assessment should take all possible sources (secondary and primary) of information into account and triangulate them to achieve high quality and verifiable data. This data will enable the consultant(s) to provide evidence-based conclusions and feasible and realistic recommendations for the content and design of the platform.

The time period for the assignment is until May 2020.


4. Some guiding questions for the assessment



Target group

-What are the needs and interests of the target groups for enhanced exchange on ALE through digital media? (nationally, regionally and supra-regionally)

-In which thematic areas would the target groups wish to have access to more information and learning through digital media?

-What kind of digital media/resources are currently being accessed and used by the target groups to support their work/ learning?

-What are commonly used means of communication?

-Which media and digital formats are preferred for further learning and exchange by the target groups?

-What are some of the limitations and challenges of the target group in using digital media?

-What local, national, regional or international networks (digital or otherwise) do people currently use to exchange and learn for ALE?

-How often do members of the target groups access digital media for ALE purposes (and what kind of media or apps)?


Market assessment

-What kind of digital platforms / digital resources for ALE already exist and which service providers / actors/ organisations are offering these services?

-What thematic areas in ALE are covered though the existing digital offers and which digital formats are used?

-When comparing results on needs and interests of the target groups with currently available digital offers, what gaps have been identified?

-How can this digital platform contribute to fill these gaps?

-What are the major limitations on accessing digital media in the different national contexts? (e.g. cost, electricity supply, network coverage, etc.)


Content & Design

-What are the recommendations for the concept and design of the platform?

-Which digital formats are most suited to which type of content and objectives?

-How can CIPSET’s specific areas of work contribute to content development?

-How can the products/contents of former DVV International’s Information and Communication project contribute to the platform?

-What overlap will/can the platform have with DVV International’s existing websites and platform? How will this platform be different from the existing formats?

-What needs to be considered to support the active use of the platform?

-What structures need to be in place to make sure that the interests of the target groups are sufficiently addressed?

-Which stakeholders in respective countries should be encouraged and invited to participate in content development of the platform?


Technical requirements

-What are key requirements for the content management system of the platform?

-Who are potential service providers in South Africa?

-What are the main hardware and software needs for the platform?

-What are costs, resources to be considered?


5. Expected Input / Financial Proposal

The indicative number of working days foreseen is up to 30 Working Days:

-Two (2) days of briefing and debriefing;

-Five (5) days of document/ internet review;

-Five (5) days of online interviews/ study research;

-Eight (8) days of mission preparation and field mission to South Africa;

-Five (5) days of report drafting;

-Five (5) days of report drafting;

-Two (2) days of report finalization;

-Three (3) days of validation meeting in South Africa.

The indicative distribution of working days can be taken into account when developing the study methodology. Travel arrangements will be made directly by the contracting authority. Accommodation and per diem rates will be paid according to DVV International rates which are based on BMZ (German government) official rates. Therefore, in your proposal don’t include costs for accommodation, meals and travel.


6. Methodological approach

A combination of primary data collection and secondary data review is expected during the assessment. Secondary data sources will be made available to the contractor. A mixed methodology, combining and triangulating qualitative and quantitative data, is expected. The following documents will be provided by DVV:

- Programme proposal

- Annual project plans

- Documents related to former DVV International Information and Communication project, including document of external evaluation.

- List of DVV international key partner organizations in respective African countries, including contact details

- List of contact person at DVV International country offices and HQ

- Other.


To collect information from primary data sources, interviews with key stakeholders are recommended:


DVV International:

- Regional directors (4),

- Country directors/ project managers / staff in DVV International country offices (list will be provided)

- Senior desk officers, management in the head office (3)


Partner Organisations:

- Directors/ senior management/ project managers of DVV International partner organisations (list will be provided);


Due to the timeframe and geographical locations of offices, the consultants should consider the use of standardized quantitative (online) study approaches to provide information and recommendation based on guiding questions as stated above (online surveys, Skype, etc.).


7. Right of use

The Principal (DVV International) has the exclusive and unlimited right to use the results provided by the contractor. The transfer of this Right of Use is complete with the payment made to the Contractor.

The Contractor has Right of Use permission strictly limited for personal non-commercial purposes. Transfer of the Right of Use to third parties is excluded.


8. Contractual Conditions

The legal basis for this contract is provided by the „General terms and conditions for the implementation of Services" (VOL/B). These general terms and conditions are not attached to this contract; however, an exemplary service contract is part of these Terms of Reference for perusal.


9. Indicative Timetable

The indicative timetable for the evaluation is foreseen as follows:

The advertisements for consultants will take place 12th February 2020 with the deadline for submission of proposals by 1st March 2020. The selection process of consultants will be concluded by the 16th March 2020.

Briefing meeting and finalization of the inception report will be scheduled for the week of 6th April. The actual assessment in terms of review of secondary data, finalization of study methodology and field work as well as drafting of the report will take place during the month of April 2020. The final report should be submitted by 18th May 2020.


10. Tasks of the consultant(s)

The consultant(s) will be required to fulfil the following tasks:

- To design and plan the methodology of the assessment in close communication with DVV International;

- Submit a detailed budget for the assignment;

- To conduct a desk study of relevant project documentation, internet and digital sources as mentioned above;

- To design primary data collection instruments;

- To prepare the inception report;

- If necessary, to organise and conduct field visit to RSA with participation and involvement of all relevant stakeholders;

- To compile an initial draft report including findings, recommendations, and a list of digital offerings and respective providers;

- To finalise the report based on comments and feedback from DVV International;

- De-briefing session in country of assessment and/or Bonn, Germany.


11. Deliverables

The following deliverables are expected:

- Inception report: The consultant(s) will present a report giving detailed information about their interpretation of the ToRs, proposed study methods and specified research questions. This report will be presented to DVV International, discussed and, if needed, adjusted. It will form the basis for further development of the study methodology.

- Design of study methodology: As per the ToRs, this has to be approved by DVV International before the consultant(s) start the field work phase. It is understood that the review of secondary data may influence and modify the design of the field work.

- Draft assessment report: After the conclusion of the secondary data review and primarily data collection, the consultant(s) are expected to analyse the data and come to conclusions and recommendations. These recommendations and findings have tobe presented as a first draft report to DVV International and CIPSET. DVV International will provide the consultant(s) with written and oral feedback (during the debriefing).be presented as a first draft report to DVV International and CIPSET. DVV International will provide the consultant(s) with written and oral feedback (during the debriefing).

- Debriefing: the consultant(s) will present the results of the assessment and will document the discussion, which will form part of the final report.

- Final report: The final report will address comments and feedback by DVV International and CIPSET and will present all results and recommendations.

- Validation meeting: The consultant(s) will be requested to present findings and recommendations to wider stakeholder group in South Africa.

All reports should be produced in English and submitted to DVV International electronically.


12. Responsible persons at DVV International and logistics

DVV International will be contracting authority for this assessment. The main contact persons will be

The Senior Desk Officer for Southern Africa and East/Horn of Africa region of DVV International in Bonn, Frauke Heinze: heinze@dvv-international.de

The Regional Director for Southern Africa, David Harrington, harrington@dvv-international.de

The DVV International country offices and HQ will provide all relevant documents and support the consultant(s) where necessary, for instance arranging interviews and field visits, etc. The final report will be accepted by the Senior Desk Officer for Southern Africa in Bonn in close cooperation with the Regional Director for Southern Africa.


13. Qualifications of the Consultant(s)

The consultant(s) should have the following qualifications and experience:

- at least 5-years’ experience in relevant and related fields (please, provide proof of this experience);

- demonstrate sound knowledge of research methodologies and instruments;

- be experienced in the field of adult education and online content development;

- experience in working with or (ideally) assessing digital programmes;

- excellent analytical and writing skills;

- previous working experience in Africa with a sound understanding of the digital context and structures in the countries mentioned above;

- fluency in English and proven French language skills.


14. Quality Standards

The candidates should propose a suitable design and methodology for the assessment, well adapted to the project objectives and ToRs in order to meet the assessment’s goals and objectives.


15. Application

All candidates who would like to participate in the tender for this assessment must submit the following documents:

a) CV(s) of person(s) to be involved in the assignment

b) Technical proposal covering the following aspects (maximum of 8 pages):

a. Understanding of the task and ToRs

b. Detailed study methodology/ approach

c. Detailed work plan with steps of implementation and timeline. Consideration of specific requirements of the assessment

d. Internal Quality Management measures to be applied

c) Financial proposal (please use attached template).


Please find relevant contract documents and template of financial plan for tender “Needs Assessment digital platform on Adult Learning and Education” on the DVV International website:


Interested candidates should send their proposals in pdf until midnight (German time) on 1st March 2020 to the following e-mail addresses:

Frauke Heinze (Senior Desk Officer for Southern and East Africa Region at DVV International Headquarters in Bonn) e-mail address: Heinze@dvv-international.de, with copy to David Harrington (Regional Director Southern Africa) harrington@dvv-international.de

Late submissions or submissions sent via any other channels will not be accepted.

Note: Consultants should be licensed and not employed by any other organisation such as NGOs or government offices. They should be fully available for the consultancy period as per the indicated schedule. Failure to comply with this requirement may lead to immediate cancellation of the contract.


16. Evaluation Criteria for Proposals

The proposals will be assessed according to the following criteria:

- Qualification of consultant(s) - counts one third based on criteria mentioned above;

- Technical proposal - counts one third based on criteria mentioned above;

- Financial proposal - counts one third (best price-service relation).


17. Request for Clarification

If you should have questions concerning this tender, please send your questions to the above mentioned contact persons. The latest date for submitting questions is 25th February 2020. The answers to the questions will be published on our website (https://www.dvv-international.de/dvv-international/stellenangebote/) for all interested parties the following day.