Design and Development of an Online Ecosystem Platform for Communities of Practice (CoP) in the Animal Resources Sector

  • Added Date: Monday, 10 August 2020
  • Deadline Date: Friday, 28 August 2020

Introduction

The African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is a specialized technical Office of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission (AUC). AU-IBAR's mandate is to support and coordinate the utilization of livestock, fisheries and wildlife as a resource for both human wellbeing and economic development in the Member States of the African Union (AU). The mission of AU-IBAR is to provide leadership in the development of animal resources in Africa through supporting and empowering AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). AU-IBAR was founded on an important principle that guides everything we do, i.e. the principle of subsidiarity; animal resources-related activities should be undertaken at the most local level possible, with AU-IBAR assuming responsibility for those areas that national and regional bodies are unable to address, or for which AU-IBAR enjoys a clear comparative and strategic advantage.

With an objective of unifying Africa to drive a more dynamic and inclusive animal resources sector for a prosperous future, AU-IBAR has facilitated the formation of a several continental Communities of Practice (CoP) that have brought together women, the youth, knowledge generation and policy practitioners in the animal resources sector. It is envisaged that the existence of these networks would enhance inclusiveness, innovation, coherence and convergence of approaches; as well as improve the welfare, working conditions and incomes of women and youth agripreneurs.

Some of the continental platforms include:

  1. Association of Veterinary Education Establishments (2A2E-V);
  2. Association of African Veterinary Statutory Bodies (2AVSB);
  3. African youth in livestock, fisheries and aquaculture incubation network (AYL-FAIN);
  4. African women in animal resources farming and agribusiness network (AWARFA-N) and
  5. Africa Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF)
  6. African platform for regional institutions in fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic systems (APRIFAAS)
  7. Africa Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM)
  8. Africa woman fish traders and processors network (AWfishNet)
  9. Policy Research Network for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa (PRNFAA)
  10. Africa Apiculture Platform

In addition to the above, a number of working groups and consortiums are in place driving the implementation of several animal resources strategies and frameworks.

Background

Following the establishment and launch of the various networks at continental, regional and country level, members of the communities have undertaken a few face to face activities, with minimal online joint activities to promote learning and information sharing. This has been due to the absence of available and suitable tools to facilitate information sharing at regional level. A handful of the networks have been engaged via WhatsApp, Twitter and LinkedIn, which are not designed for collaborative networking and knowledge sharing.

Stakeholder engagement consultations held between AU-IBAR and stakeholders in 2019 highlighted existing gaps in knowledge sharing and information flow between livestock value chain actors. Some of the other reasons given are the disintegrated information systems in place that are unsuitable for use for the regional livestock value chains, and the unavailability of just-in-time content.

Rationale to the Development of the Online Platform

From the identified gaps in existing information and knowledge sharing processes, it is evident that there is a need to strengthen existing patterns of knowledge sharing despite the efforts which have been expended to enable seamless transmission of information to the final recipients.

The development of an online integrated platform arises from the need for efficient knowledge sharing across the livestock value chains. It is clear that the strengthening of information flows among all the stakeholders could realise several benefits. Chiefly would be the contribution towards the implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA), with the vision of transforming the Africa Livestock sector. The LiDeSA is one of the continental frameworks under Agenda 2063 and aims to enhance contribution to socio-economic development and equitable growth.

The motivation for the online platform would be to promote regionalisation as a means by which:

  • Information needs for the various components of the regional livestock value chains (Production, inputs and services (Animal health and technologies), trade and marketing and consumption) are met;
  • Open cross-collaboration, learning and competitiveness between livestock value chain actors, incubators, accelerators, policy makers and stakeholders is highly encouraged to ensure growth of the animal resources sector at all levels;
  • A space for information sharing and dissemination among individuals, consortiums, and institutions mandated to either drive the implementation of various strategies/ or practices in the animal resources sector is available for the management of knowledge;
  • Profiling and marketing of livestock value chain actors and their respective activities or/and agribusiness activities is enhanced;
  • Gender and youth inclusion promoting empowerment of women and youth livestock value chain actors.

Objectives of the Consultancy

AU-IBAR is seeking the services of a multi-disciplinary team of consultants with experience and skills in designing and developing an enterprise online Community of Practice platform, including providing orientation to network members and AU-IBAR staff, in order to contribute towards open cross-collaboration and competitiveness between livestock value chain actors, incubators, accelerators, policy makers and stakeholders is highly encouraged to ensure growth of the animal resources sector.

Specific Objectives

  • Balance the roles of existing CoPs and Livestock value chain actorsโ€™ ability to interact, learn, identify and solve problems, explore joint opportunities, and promote agricultural innovation along the targeted Regional Livestock Value Chains.
  • Support information and knowledge sharing, professional development, policy based advocacy, and action-based learning practices among actors in various working groups, organisations, and networks.
  • Promote profiling and enhance marketing of livestock value chain actors and their respective activities/ or and agribusiness activities.
  • Promote open information sharing, learning and linkages among incubators, accelerators, livestock value chain actors and stakeholders in the animal resources sector at country, regional and continental level
  • Promote adoption of digital applications serving various components of the livestock value chains (Production, inputs and services, trade and marketing and consumption)

Scope of Work

The service provider will be required to undertake the following tasks;

Task 1: Implementation of the Community of Practice Framework

The implementation of the Community of Practice Framework will involve providing support in the finalisation of online community canvasses, design and development of the online platform, with 6 communities and 2 working groups; piloting the communities and working groups; and providing recommendations and support in hosting and sustainability of the online platform.

Task 2: Facilitate Training of Trainers (TOTs) Virtual Workshops

Prior to the development of the platform, the consultant(s) will be expected to spend a day providing guidance on the completion of an Online Community Canvass for each CoP and working group. This will involve working with the core network members and AU-IBAR in the completion of each network canvass to ensure that the developed platform corresponds to community needs. Each Vision, Community Roles and activities will be examined in order to guide the design process.

After the development phase, the consultants will provide a Training of Trainers for 10 AU-IBAR staff and 10 members of the 6 communities and 2 working groups. The training will involve providing practical skills on the administration of the online platforms;

Task 3: Design and Development:

The online platform will be built by taking into consideration the community needs and strategies that will be highlighted in each community canvass.

Proposed Navigation Structure(s)

The communities of practises platform structure should be able to promote open linkages and collaboration across the livestock value chains and associated categories as follows:

  • Regional Livestock Value Chains on Poultry, (further divided into thematic segments โ€“ Production, Inputs and Services (Animal health and technologies), Processing, Market and Trade, Transportation and distribution)
  • Livestock value chains Actors (sub-divided by categories โ€“ farmers, breeders, input suppliers etc.)
  • Agri-Businesses (divided/ and linked to the livestock value chain categories and profiles of livestock value chain actors)
  • Organizations (networks, organisations, Regional Economic Communities, Government Departments, NGOs, Cooperating Partners, funders/ linked to profiles)
  • Geographical location (Member State Countries linked to respective networks/ groups/ and profiles)
  • Groups (Working Groups/ Management Groups and Committees linked to respective profiles)
  • Themes (this will depend on the type of community. Working groups for instance will be structured according to their information needs)

Proposed Online Platform Features

The envisaged online platform features should support:

  • Blogging and Journaling, and task management
  • Community feedback and input
  • Issue management and tracking
  • Private member engagement and back channel communication
  • Analysing community participation and health (participation data and network analysis)
  • Knowledge resources repositories
  • Search functionalities and tagging
  • Privacy levels and permissions
  • Profiling of community members
  • System Interoperability
  • Usability (GUI, mobile version, language versions
  • GIS location mapping

Task 4: Facilitation and/or advice on hosting

The consultant(s) will be expected to engage with AU-IBAR on issues and guidance relating to premium domain name registration, security licensing, and hosting of the platform.

Task 5: Piloting of COP Prototype

Six (6) online communities and 2 working groups will be piloted for 3 months in order to nurture communities and increase ownership, and to prepare members to launch their online communities in an effort to on-board additional members. This will involve providing guidance where necessary to core community members that will play key roles in the management of the community. The pilot stage will also be used by AU-IBAR to get feedback from member states and revise the COP accordingly.

Task 6: Development of sustainability framework for the COPs

At the end of the pilot stage, the consultant(s) will provide guidance in sustainability and growth of the online communities. This will include providing steps towards the integration of platform features that could be considered in future.

Deliverables

  • Online Community Canvasses for the piloted 6 online communities and 2 working groups finalised;
  • Trained core community managers from the six communities, two working groups, and AU-IBAR staff;
  • An enterprise platform with six online Communities of Practice, and 2 working groups functional and online at least a month after development;
  • An Operation manual for the online enterprise platform developed for administrators and managers;
  • Sustainability strategy/ guidelines developed.

Inception Report (IcTR)

An Inception Report (IcTR) within 2 weeks of commencing duty. The IcTR of not more than 10 pages should include the proposed methodology, the timeline/calendar and programme of activities and an outline of the contents of the Final Technical Report.

Progress Reports

  • The progress reports must be submitted bi-weekly to the senior knowledge management officer.
    Interim Technical Report (InTR)
  • The interim Technical Report is perceived to be the First Draft of the Final Technical Report (FTR), before a final clean copy of the FTR is formally and officially submitted to and for acceptance by AU-IBAR

Final Technical Report (FTR)

The Final Technical Report (FTR) which includes the COP operation manuals and sustainability guidelines that take into account contributions and comments from the relevant stakeholders and AU-IBAR. The draft final report must be submitted at the end of the period of implementation of the tasks.

Qualifications

The multi-disciplinary team of consultants or consortium that will undertake this assignment will be expected to have the following mix of consultants:

  1. Masterโ€™s degree or equivalent in Software engineering/ or Information Systems
  2. Masterโ€™s degree or equivalent in Knowledge Management, or Information Science or Communications
  3. PhD in either degree will be an added advantage

Functional Competencies

Information Systems Competencies:

  • Over 15 years substantive experience in the development of enterprise platforms, with a focus on collaborative platforms;
  • Highly knowledgeable of software development processes and methodologies
  • Knowledge of practical techniques to elicit and express software requirements from client interactions.
  • Technical understanding and implementation of platform migration and hosting issues

Knowledge Management and Communications Competencies:

  • Over 15 years substantive knowledge and experience of โ€˜Community of Practiceโ€™ and/or โ€˜Collaborative Activismโ€™ subject matter and strategy development;
  • Strong skills in networking, knowledge sharing, collaboration and online facilitation and in-person events;
  • Excellent familiarity with web content management and other online tools for collaboration, knowledge sharing and communication;
  • Ability to manage/ host subscription services for online community platforms
  • Experience in developing and implementing content curation strategies

Other Attributes

  • Proficiency in English with ability to write reports is required. Working knowledge of French is an asset. Knowledge of one or more of the other AU working languages would be an added advantage.
  • Ability to communicate fluently with different stakeholders (civil society, government authorities, local communities, from different African countries).
  • Familiarity with agribusiness and/or agriculture or the animal resources sector
  • Excellent organizational skills and proven ability to deliver projects within assigned deadlines.
  • Strong critical and creativity skills

Duration for the Consultancy and Duty Station

The assignment will be conducted for a period of 100 (100) working days spread over 4 months.. The first month will be dedicated to the development of the platform, with 3 months dedicated for training, orientation and piloting of the communities.
The Consultant will be home-based.

Financial Consideration and Method of Payment

Payment will be in three instalments:

  • An initial payment of 20% will be made upon signing of the contract by both parties.
  • A second payment of 30% will be made after the development of the platform and submission of the platform operation guidelines for the administrators
  • A final payment of 50% will be made upon satisfactory completion and approval of the expected outputs and deliverables to AU-IBAR including piloting

Supervision

The consultants will work under the overall supervision of the Director, AU-IBAR, and will report to the Senior Knowledge Management Officer. The consultants will also engage with AU-IBAR Technical staff and various stakeholders that will form the core members of online communities.

Tax and Medical Obligations

The consultants will be responsible for their tax obligations, medical and life insurance cover during the assignment.

Evaluation Criteria

Technical Scoring

The evaluation of the Technical Proposal will weigh 80% of the total rating and will be evaluated against the following criteria:

Educational Qualifications of key team members(i) Postgraduate qualification or equivalent in Software engineering/ or Information Systems(ii) Postgraduate qualifications in Knowledge Management/ Information Science or Communications/ Journalism**Functional Competencies**Specific Experience in Information Systems with a focus in the development of enterprise platforms, with a focus on collaborative platformsSpecific Experience in Knowledge Management/ Communications, with substantive knowledge and experience of โ€˜Community of Practiceโ€™ and/or โ€˜Collaborative Activismโ€™ subject matter and strategy development**Other Attributes**Good understanding of sustainable development, with particular reference to agribusiness and/or agriculture or the animal resources sector.Excellent organizational skills and proven ability to deliver projects within assigned deadlines.Capacity to communicate fluently with different stakeholders (civil society, government authorities, local communities, from different African countries.)Language Requirement - Native or bilingual level proficiency (verbal and written) in English is essential. Knowledge of a second language (French, Arabic or Portuguese) is desirable.**Methodology**Clarity of proposal for implementing the assignment (including key work stages and timelines; and features of online platform)

Financial Evaluation

The financial proposal will weigh 20 percent of the total rating. The financial proposal will be evaluated on the basis of total cost, cost realism and used in combination with the assessment of the technical quality to determine the best value.

This vacancy is archived.

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