Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Partnerships for Strengthening Instituitons for Resilience at Mercy Corps - NicheSlide

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Partnerships for Strengthening Instituitons for Resilience at Mercy Corps

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Full Time
Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Yobe
Posted 7 months ago

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action – helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within, now, and for the future.

Applicants are invited for:

Title: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) Partnerships for Strengthening Instituitons for Resilience

Locations: Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe

Background

  • The Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity (RRA or the “Activity”) aims to identify potential partners and innovative approaches that leverage USAID resources to develop practical and market-driven solutions to implement innovative business models targeting Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions, Vocational Training Centres (VTC) and incubation hubs in North eastern Nigeria.
  • 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.

Program Description

  • Through this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), the USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity (RRA or the “Activity”) aims to identify potential partners and innovative approaches that leverage USAID resources to develop practical and market-driven solutions to implement innovative business models targeting Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions, Vocational Training Centres (VTC) and incubation hubs in North eastern Nigeria.
  • 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 are 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 malnutrition and poverty.
  • Through this NOFO, the Activity seeks partnerships with civil society organisation, private sector organizations and vocational knowledge institutions etc. with a presence or interested to permanently expand a presence in some of the 4 States. The Applicants should demonstrate that they can operationalize a profitable business model which contributes to the capacity development of technical and vocational education while leveraging on ICT and communications to bridge learning or connectivity gaps towards employability
  • The Activity seeks to offer opportunities that will yield partnership to a least 20 skills providers in the project locations as a strategy for reactivating their recovery and deepening their resiliency to the impact of conflict. The medium-term impact of these partnership should contribute to the following.
  • Education system (TVET/VTCs/Incubation hubs) is of good quality, relevant and accessible. (SDG 4)
  • Programs designed and finances are accessible, inclusive, and culturally and conflict accessible, inclusive, and culturally and conflict sensitive. (SDG 5)
  • Partnerships between persons and organisations are inclusive and sustainable. (SDG 17)
  • Organizations key to (sectoral) inclusive development of partner countries are strengthened by inflow of enhanced workforce.
  • The NOFO offers interested parties the opportunity to submit grants applications for partnerships. Building on these identified dimensions of institutional development of skills provider. RRA seeks to employ valuable approaches to promote an established demand-driven and market relevant skill development system for sustainable transformation through skills development, improved productivity, and enhanced employability and entrepreneurship; that generate a positive environmental or social change within communities and NEN.
  • Responses to the grants application should identify how actions proposed, with the support of USAID, would build and strengthen the leadership, entrepreneurial, managerial and adaptive capacities of skills providers such as Vocational Training Centres, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres and incubation hubs as it is pivotal to achieving economic and industrial development through the empowerment of youth in the states where the Activity operates (Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno) and any other context.
  • The Activity will select up to 2 – 4 partners to fund under this opportunity. Subject to the availability of funds, the Activity intends to award 2 – 4 grants to eligible companies, as defined in Section D, up to a maximum amount of US $25,000 per award. The expected duration of Rural Resilience Activity 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.

Statement of 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 and market opportunities.
  • The Activity interventions are delivered in line with the market systems development framework placing at the centre the need to unlock bottlenecks that weaken market relationships and limit inclusive profitable participation.
  • The Activity seeks to improve the resilience capacities of insurgent- or conflict-affected households, communities, and market systems using market-led approaches layered with complementary investments in humanitarian assistance in order to contribute to economic recovery and growth.
  • Working closely with public, political civil society and economic actors, the Activity seeks to broaden, and support inclusive and resilient growth through agricultural competitiveness. The Activity objectives include 1) inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth; 2) strengthened resilience among people and systems; and 3) 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’s vision for North Eastern Nigeria is a process by which the region achieves a step-change in scale driven by competitive, inclusive and resilient growth.

The Market Systems Continuum:

  • The Activity encourages private sector firms to adopt innovative business models that leverage technology to reduce transactional costs, improve supply chain management, and support farmers on how to use products and services. Digital platforms and record management will also support transparency and accountability under awards.
  • The Activity anticipates that if the private sector, CSO, faith-based organization and rural households, farmers, and communities in NEN will subsequently adopt improved business models, increase farm productivity, expand economic options and revenues.
  • This intervention leans on building the institutional capacity of skills providers to increase their attractiveness and relevance by adopting a market-oriented mindset.
  • The program approach emphasizes interventions with support strategies towards enhancing skills provider institutions in terms of relevance, outreach, and inclusiveness, characterized by innovations in training offers, learning methodologies, and added value services and TVETs to explore inclusive business options, and establishing systems for absorbing PLWDs, while paying attention to the ethnic, religious, and other status diversities in the communities for enrollment and empowerment

Problem Statement

  • There is a misalignment between the demand and supply of skills in NEN economy. The problem manifest itself in various forms such as skills shortages and skills mismatches. Skills misalignments imply costs for individuals, firms, and the economy. Misalignments in the supply of skills and the demand for skills, is largely driven by the inability of skills providers to be responsive to market demands, both from formal and informal economy.
  • Various surveys on labour market skills demand and employer assessment of the performance of employees across private and public organizations in Nigeria, points to the prevalence of a mismatch between the job skills acquired by employees from academic institutions and the actual skills set needed to execute tasks in the labour market.
  • Development agencies such as GIZ has over the years invested heavily in the skills development system in NEN in areas such as governance and policy formulation – supporting the implementation of a national TVET policy and facilitating cooperation agreements between the public and private sectors. It also assisted with the introduction of a quality assurance and accreditation system for the TVET sector.
  • It also supported private sector engagement.
  • Besides assisting partner organisations to increase the level of private sector representation in decision-making bodies, the GIZ also promoted systematic stakeholder dialogue.
  • Together with other development partners, GIZ also invested in infrastructure required to training. This intervention builds on the past investment by supporting the provision of demand-oriented skills development by promoting training approaches and agreements between training providers and enterprises.
  • This intervention leans on building the institutional capacity of skills providers to increase their attractiveness and relevance by adopting a market-oriented mindset.

Special Grant Requirements

  • Strong institutions are critical for building resilience of an economy. In a context like north eastern Nigeria, institutions play pivotal role in supporting youth and non-farm, non-agriculture-related livelihoods. Analysis of markets and market opportunities highlighted the importance of stronger institutions toward economic recovery.
  • Moreover, a vision for economic transformation and inclusive prosperity for future generations is required to move the Northeast beyond the prior state of vulnerability and fragility that gave space to the current crisis.
  • Formal institution such as TVETs are not well capacitated to offer employable and marketable skills. The illustrative business models here may include:
    • Building institutional capacities of TVETs, VTCs and Incubation hubs.
    • Strengthening skills providers to have their own responsibilities to improve the operation and market positions.
    • Business models proposed by Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs), Vocational centers, business incubators hubs, mentorship, and craftsmen to reduce constraints such as access to technical information, work readiness, entrepreneurship and market information, access to finance, access to market, and other constraints.
    • Build capacity for skill development in critical un-organised sectors (such as the construction sector, where there few opportunities for skill training) and provide pathways for re-skilling and up-skilling workers in these identified sectors, to enable them to transition into formal sector employment.
    • Ensure sufficient, high-quality options for long-term skilling, bench marked to internationally acceptable qualification standards, which will ultimately contribute to the creation of a highly skilled workforce.
    • Leverage existing public infrastructure and industry facilities for scaling up skill training and capacity building efforts.
    • Propagate aspirational value of skilling among youth, by creating social awareness on value of skill training.
  • The Rural Resilience Activity seeks to identify 2 – 4 private sector firms, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, etc. that are already in the business of offering capacity strengthening services to TVET institutions, VTCs and incubation hubs such as the use of ICT, commercialization of production units, providing access to additional source of funding, providing pathways for reskilling an upskilling worker, scaling up skill training and capacity building efforts.
  •  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 the Section 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 January 2022 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 with 2 to 4 partnerships anticipated. Proposals must make business sense for the partner and must demonstrate a significant impact for smallholder farmers and MSMEs.
    • 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 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 August 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 15,000 youths and women groups and enterprises per award. The awardees will specifically be required to provide assorted monitoring and evaluation data to RRA such as:
    • Of youth and women reached through the various activity
    • Names of beneficiaries, their locations, gender, age
    • Type of products purchased/sold including volume and cost
  • This funding opportunity is expected to generate business for the participating private sector companies enabling their recovery from covid induced low commercial activity.
  • This in turn is expected to position the private sector companies and the targeted households and communities to strengthen the development and implementation of their adaptive, responsive and transformative capacities to enhance resiliency.
  • RRA will monitor various parameters to determine companies’ resiliency and adaptation to covid business environment through tracking the following against baseline data:
    • Volume and value of inputs sold on the market
    • Of staff employed by the companies
    • Of embedded services provided by the companies
  • 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.

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, favors, 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.

Eligibility

  • 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. 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 RRA does NOT preclude applicants from participating. Current partners encouraged to apply.

Awards of Grant

  • Subject to the availability of funds, the Activity intends to award 2 – 4 grants to eligible companies, as defined in Section D, up to a maximum amount of US $25,000 per award.

The expected duration of Rural Resilience Activity support or the period of performance is twelve (12) months.

For this Program, this NOFO is Being Issued and Consists of This Cover Letter and the Following:

  • Section A – Statement of Objectives
  • Section B – Requirements
  • Section C – Selection Process
  • Section D –Evaluation Criteria.

Application Closing Date
13th December, 2021.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should download, fill and send their completed Applications Form to: [email protected] using the Title as the subject of the mail.

Click Here to Download the Application Form (MS Word)

Click Here For More Information

General Instructions

  • Please provide information in the space given. Unless indicated in instruction please fill ALL sections
  • Please electronically complete this form. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
  • All answers must be written in English.
  • Submit no more than 12 pages in total.

Job Features

Job CategoryGovernment Establishment

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