Request for Proposals - Consultant services for exploring options for political and economic district council sustainability (Ref #: SSFMR-036-C01)

  • Added Date: Friday, 26 February 2021
  • Deadline Date: Friday, 19 March 2021


The Somalia Stability Fund (SSF) is a multi-donor fund working towards a peaceful, secure, and stable Somalia. It offers Somali stakeholders a source of multi-year funding that can respond to local needs and opportunities.

The Stability Fund aims to contribute to enhancing stability in Somalia through the following programmatic outputs:

  1. Fault-lines for political conflict (FGS-FMS, inter & intra state) are identified and appropriately addressed

  2. Enhanced popular participation in governance, particularly for women and excluded communities

  3. Increased government visibility and community engagement

  4. Reduced community vulnerability to conflict

  5. Throughout 2021, SSF will prioritise three broad areas; sub-national democratisation, district council formation, and reconciliation

SSF invites eligible and qualified entities (โ€œBiddersโ€) to submit proposals in response to this RFP for the Provision of Consultant services for exploring options for political and economic district council sustainability (Ref #: SSFMR-036-C01)


The Federal Government of Somalia's (FGS) Wadajir Framework (WF) for Local Governance stresses a bottom-up approach to developing governance structures at the local level with a critical emphasis on community participation. The FGS aims to create a more representative local governance system through the roll-out of District Council Formation (DCF) that builds up from the bottom, breaks down social barriers, mends the social divide, and re-energizes the spirit of working together for the common good.

SSF performed an assessment of DCF in 2020 and drew a number of lessons learning regarding their formation and performance. A significant finding was that DCF frequently occurs in places which may lack the potential for long term sustainability especially if there is a limited formal taxation base (Category C locations). Conversely, FMS have been reluctant to support DCF in places with higher revenue potential (Category A and B locations) as they may come into conflict with existing local interests and ways in which local authority and revenue is managed/determined. Nonetheless, while DCF has taken place often in places with limited revenue generation prospects and in turn no opposition from a FMS, plans should be made as to how to tackle DCF in areas where FMS may be reluctant to relinquish control over district administration and subsequent control over revenue.

There is a need to understand the extent to which nascent district councils may be perceived as a threat to the control or influence of either the FMS or existing local authorities by way of disrupting existing distributions of political power, introducing new forms of accountability and changing revenue generation and budgetary demands. Parallel initiatives such as Public Resource Management in Somalia (PREMiS) have been advancing fiscal decentralisation to the FMS level and has been establishing mechanisms for revenue generation, budgeting and oversight. Although advancements in this arena have taken place via JPLG in Puntland and Somaliland, in southern parts of Somalia, there has been significantly less focus to date on revenue management capabilities or budget and financial disbursement mechanisms. For example, there has been a lack of clarity over revenue assignment at sub-national level or the necessity of inter-governmental fiscal transfers (IGFTs) to support local service delivery.

Nonetheless, if newly established districts lack a revenue source, they may rapidly become defunct, citizen-state trust may erode, and the longer time passes, the need to invest new rounds of funding to re-establish defunct/disbanded district councils would be required


To assess the political and economic risks, opportunities and challenges for district council sustainability.

Effective and sustainable DCF is contingent upon political and economic support from federal member states as well as technical capacities to undertake revenue generation and budget management. Changes to revenue collection and disbursement may introduce new forms of conflict between nascent district authorities and FMS and may exacerbate existing fault lines or may create barriers to effective DCF. Managed well however, it could enhance FMS revenue collection, strengthen local governance and service delivery, enhancing trust in government.

Approach and Methodology

Research will specifically look at the following issues:


ยท Depending on the type of relationship that existed between previous pre-DCF de-facto authorities and state-level capitals, what are the challenges and opportunities for nascent district councils. What should be done to overcome the perceived risks that FMSs may see from the emergence of new district authorities who may have greater legitimacy in the eyes of local communities and security stakeholders or who may undermine pre-existing forms of political control. Case study political economy analysis of district council formation should be undertaken in a targeted location to help tease out issues specific to that location, but that are also likely to emerge elsewhere.

Financial sustainability:

ยท What kind of models for fiscal decentralisation at the district level exist? Is there an emerging consensus around a particular one? What are the political, legislative and technical next steps in operationalising this?

ยท Are there any lessons learnt from successful or unsuccessful revenue generation mechanisms in other parts of Somalia โ€“ notably Somaliland and Puntland, or in other fragile and conflict affected states with nascent institutions that may be applicable in the Somali context?

ยท What are the potential risks, opportunities and challenges for the financial sustainability of local districts? How may this affect aforementioned relationships with FMS and Federal authorities. What are the potential sources of revenue generation that could be feasible given the aforementioned risks and challenges related to FMS relationships? What are the possibilities for service-orientated revenue generation as opposed to general taxation? Are there revenue generation mechanisms that could reduce the risk of disputes between district and FMS units whilst being cognisant of the need to collect the revenue and maintain popular support?

Sequencing and harmonization

ยท Are there issues regarding the sequencing of sustainability within Wadajir Framework processes? At what point should sustainability planning be introduced? Is there a concurrent need to revise the Wadajir Framework approach in any way such as re-assessing the core components, sequencing, contextual adaptation, time required and resources dedicated to the different components etc., that may be relevant to the pursuit of sustainability of the nascent District Councils?

ยท How can DCF and fiscal support programmes such as PREMiS, JPLG and World Bank initiatives better complement each other and intersect in mutually enhancing ways?

The research should consider the experiences of Wadajir Framework Implementation and district council formation for different implementing agencies, not only limited to the Somalia Stability Fund, and be cognisant of parallel initiatives around state formation and revenue generation, management and distribution efforts via initiatives such as Public Resource Management in Somalia (PREMiS), JPLG and the World Bank.

The research should be cognisant of the differences between decentralisation, de-concentration and devolution from a fiscal perspective and how this may relate to how district council formation and sustainability may be effectively established.

The research should be mindful of gender and social inclusion considerations, and so should integrate reflections on whether issues of decentralisation may impact already marginalised groups adversely and when making recommendations, be cognisant of this and do-no-harm considerations and conflict risks.

It is envisaged that the research should be completed within six months of contract signature. As the final research materials will be SSF branded (with full citation/recognition of the authors/research supplier), this timeline should include sufficient time for review, copy-editing, design, typesetting and printing. SSF will reserve the right to request the authors to undertake any necessary revisions.

Key Deliverables

i. Assessment framework, research plan and research tools.

ii. Literature review that sets out the existing challenges, problem context, types of fiscal decentralisation to be considered and frames of analysis that will be applied.

iii. Final Report โ€“ Analysis of the ways in which regional and gulf states involvement in Somalia manifest in political instability and options for mediation of this and/or mitigation mechanisms.

iv. Recommendations for if, whether and how foreign engagement in Somalia can be encouraged to be more conflict sensitive, mindful of political instability and escalations in violent conflict or can be mediated in ways that have reduced impact on political instability.

Key Personnel

The following personnel and associated skill sets are required for the task. Additional personnel can be proposed (e.g., a Somali advisor or additional field personnel). What is most important is that the team combination adequately covers all necessary knowledge, skills and experience requirements.

Local governance and fiscal policy expert:

ยท Higher level academic qualifications (Masters level of equivalent) in the area of political science, international development, governance, public policy, economic policy or similar.

ยท Five years post qualification experience specialising in local governance, revenue generation, taxation and inter-governmental relations with a specific focus on fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS) preferably Somalia.

ยท Demonstrable understanding of the interests, objectives and concerns of political stakeholders at the national, sub-national and local levels and how these may sit in competition or maybe harnessed for mutually beneficial pursuits.

ยท Demonstrable experience and understanding of revenue generation, local governance revenue management, inter-governmental fiscal transfers and policies and how these relate to state building in FCAS.

Somali Advisor:

ยท A preference for higher level qualification (degree or equivalent) in peacebuilding, international development, law, security studies or similar, although equivalent professional experience may be considered.

ยท Strong understanding of Somaliaโ€™s contemporary social and political context.

ยท Strong understanding of governance at federal, FMS and district levels and how these relate to each other.

ยท A minimum of five yearsโ€™ experience working on issues of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, political reconciliation, social reconciliation or similar initiatives.

ยท Experience conducting research and analysis and using qualitative research approaches.

Location of Duration of Assignment

The assignment is expected to take approximately 20 weeks, taking into consideration SSF feedback and review timelines. The work should be fully completed no later than the 30th September 2021. As the final research materials will be SSF branded (with full citation/recognition of the authors/research supplier), this timeline should include sufficient time for review, copy-editing, design, typesetting and printing. SSF will reserve the right to request the authors to undertake any necessary revisions.

This vacancy is archived.

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