External Consultant – Desfers Project

  • Contract
  • Remote
  • TBD USD / Year
  • Salary: TBD

Plan International


Plan International (hereafter Plan) is a non-profit, international humanitarian and development organization focused on children’s rights, with no religious, political or governmental affiliation. Plan has been working in the Sahel region since the 1980s, carrying out comprehensive programs in health, education, family economic security, child rights advocacy, child participation, risk management and youth economic empowerment. The results have had a positive and lasting impact on the lives of children and their families.

In rural areas of Senegal, Mali and Niger, the role of women in the economic life of their families and communities is essential. Moreover, the socio-cultural and legal conditions of women remain very unfavorable and detrimental to their well-being and that of their families. Their low level of education and lack of vocational training limit their ability to undertake entrepreneurial initiatives in the sustainable energy sector. Indeed, solar photovoltaic energy represents a great new opportunity for women that could enable them to make significant progress in terms of efficiency and competitiveness within their income generating activities (IGA); thus allowing them to emancipate themselves and affirm the key role that these women play within the society to which they belong. The recognition and promotion of women’s participation in the sustainable energy sector is relatively recent. Gender imbalances still exist, particularly in terms of access to resources, including energy. It is therefore a sector where gender equality can be achieved from the outset if it is thought through and implemented with appropriate strategies that aim to remove the constraints that prevent women from socioeconomic development and empowerment.

Therefore, the DESFERS project promotes women’s economic empowerment and the improvement of their social status through sustainable energy development in 4 regions of Senegal (Zanzibar, Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Kinshasa), 4 regions of Mali (Barouéli, Macina, Kita and Niono) and 4 regions of Niger (Maradi, Dosso, Tillabéry and Zinder).

Within this context, Plan is seeking applications from qualified professionals to carry out a Needs Assessment that will focus on the analysis of the context in the various countries, the market situation, and the evolving needs of the project participants in these fluid contexts. In addition, it is expected that this Needs Assessment will contribute to agile adaptations.


1. Re-evaluate the relevance of the DESFERS approach to the needs and priorities of its beneficiaries and to the contexts of intervention, considering the economic and social changes that have occurred since 2020 as a result of the global economic and health crisis.

2. Re-evaluate the sustainability of the project’s proposed interventions (with particular attention to the financial mechanism for providing loans to entrepreneurs’ groups) in view of the changed economic conditions and risk aversion of the beneficiaries, as well as the changed risk assessment methods of the financial institutions involved.

3. Propose a set of operational recommendations to reorient the project approach and objectives, based on the new conditions and priorities identified by the needs assessment.


· MALI (Kita, Baroueli, Niono, Segou)

· NIGER (Tillabery, Dosso, Maradi, Zinder)

· SENEGAL (Ziguinchor, Sedhiou, Kolda, Kaolack)



Logistical aspects to be considered

Outputs for each country

Market analysis to assess the profitability of the productive activities currently pursued by the beneficiary entrepreneurs

Desk analysis of market trends in sectors relevant to the project (energy, agriculture, trade) and consistent with the type and possibilities of the beneficiaries in each of the three countries. Desk analysis data will be triangulated with interviews.

Identification of suitable and possibly profitable economic activities in each target area, based on the stakeholders’ opinion.

Questions to be answered:

  • Are the economic activities on which the project initially focused still relevant and profitable for the beneficiaries?
  • What other economic activities, consistent with the project’s focus on sustainable energy, can attract the beneficiaries’ interest and guarantee them a certain level of profitability?

– The consultant will require the support of local teams/or local consultants to retrieve (and eventually translate) official statistics on market trends.

– 5-6 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and technical experts conducted by the consultant in each country

– 1 workshop (max 4-5 participants) with local business consultants and technical experts in solar panels to be held online

– The consultant will require the support from local teams to translate the questions and select the respondents.

  • A list of sectors and related economic activities that could be done by the beneficiaries using solar panels
  • A scoring of the relevance and profitability of the economic activities on which the project initially focused according to local experts

Analysis of the current sustainability of the business plans developed by beneficiaries, in view of their changed economic conditions and risk aversion.

Re-evaluation of beneficiaries’ willingness and capacity to invest in economic activities through the technical and financial mechanisms offered by the project.

Questions to be answered:

  • Are groups of women entrepreneurs still in the economic conditions to invest in setting up a new business and bear a loan, as envisioned in their business plans?
  • Are groups of women entrepreneurs still interested in the opportunities offered by the project?
  • What, if anything, is hindering beneficiaries to profit successfully from the opportunities offered by the project and to pursue their business plans?

– The task requires the conduction of 4 semi-structured interviews with beneficiaries conducted presentially/online by the consultant + a questionnaire

– The task requires a CAPI survey to a sample of project beneficiaries (approximately 100 people per country). The survey administration should be completed in all countries by local teams, duly trained by the consultant.

  • Data on the difficulties for women to access credit and their relation with the woman’s situation (family, other activities, etc.)
  • Data on the interest of women to access credit
  • Data on the reasons why and conditions under which women ask/don’t ask for credit
  • Data on the profitability of the entrepreneurial activities financed by the project

Evaluation of the appropriateness of the financial mechanism offered by the project and recommendations on how to modify he current mechanism in order to meet the new priorities both from IMF and beneficiaries perspective.

Re-assessment of the appropriateness of the financial mechanism developed ad hoc by the project, in view of the changes that have occurred both in the priorities of the beneficiaries and in the demands of the lending financial institutions.

Questions to be answered:

  • Is the financial mechanism still relevant to the economic capacity of the beneficiaries, their investment preferences and their level of risk aversion? Is the co-financing share still sustainable for them?
  • Are the involved financial institutions still willing to approve the requests for loans based on the requirements defined at the beginning of the project? What changed?

– The task requires the conduction of Key Informant Interviews with project’s staff and representatives of the involved financial institutions in the three counties (approx. 2-3 interviews per country, held in-person/online)

  • Difficulties encountered by MFIs and banks related to the project
  • Needs of MFIs and banks
  • Overall strategy of the MFIs and banks in the current economic situation
  • Identification of possible changes in the current setting in order to provide more support to beneficiaries

Profile: The successful consultant should have the following qualifications and experience:

  • Minimum 5 years of relevant professional experience
  • Working experience with relevant government agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations
  • Skills and experience in analysis, needs assessments, evaluations, etc.
  • Thematic experience in market analysis, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship/self-employment projects.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment and establish harmonious and effective relationships

Documents to be submitted:

Please send the following at least:

  • Technical proposal, including among others:
    • Organization experience if applicable
    • Consultants (team) experience (CVs, etc)
    • Tasks comprehension
    • methodology
    • work development description
    • Support requirements for Plan International (logistics, informations, etc)
    • Timeline/Planning
  • Financial offer
  • Previous similar work implemented with references

Please note all activities from the consultant can be performed remotely in order to reduce the cost of the need assessment and foresee the involvement of the local project teams in:

  • suggesting contacts and facilitating the coordination for interviews and focus groups
  • delivering the questionnaire
  • providing project data and info relevant to the assignment

Final outputs: PLAN will receive for each country a short report (20-30 pages max) and practical recommendations on the three areas of analysis

TOTAL TIME NEEDED for the whole assessment (from contract to report): max 3 months taking into account the support received in the countries

Budget: max 45.000 € including VAT (if applicable) for the three countries

Selection criteria:

  • Proposed methodology (Planning, process/steps, tools, collaboration, participatory – 30%
  • Expertise (Technical background of the team, skills and competencies, professional specific experience) – 30%
  • Financial proposal (Financial proposal amount is within the budget and cost effective) – 25%
  • Understanding of mission (analysis of TORs) – 15%

How to apply

Please send your submission by the 24th of November 2022 by e-mail (please note this is an extension of a previously internally published TOR. Also, as this is a rolling recruitment the right candidates may be identified prior to the submission deadline

Matteo Brigant [email protected];

Carlotta Fiorino [email protected]