Thursday, July 7, 2016

Assessment of the growth and Sustainability of Cooperatives Business Performances(a day to go)





Terms of Reference for Consultancy Service
 The Assessment of the growth and Sustainability of Cooperatives Business Performances
  1. Brief Overview of SPARK and the Cooperative Support Programme (CSP)
SPARK Rwanda is coordinating since May 2013 an extensive Cooperative Support Program (CSP) that targets agricultural cooperatives and SMEs operating in Beans, Irish Potato, Maize and Horticulture Value chains with an aim to accelerate agri-business development thus promoting rural economic growth and generating jobs in the agricultural sector, which will altogether contribute to food security and stability.
Since its inception, the CSP Program has implemented two interlinked components namely (i) Supporting agribusiness opportunities in the value chains of the participating cooperatives, and (ii) Capacity Building of Cooperative Supporters Network (Agri BDS providers). The program had by October 2015 indirectly reached out 29,350 members of 99 cooperatives compared to initial target of 14,595 beneficiaries. This was achieved through a combination of targeting cooperatives with higher membership portfolios and by dispatching in relatively big network of Spark agri BDS coaches who were in charge of providing a blended support services (ranging from business skills training to market, access to finance and entrepreneurship skills among others).
According to the Mid Term Review of CSP conducted in August 2015, the program has successfully achieved the following results:
  • 99 agricultural cooperatives (in planned 100) have been trained and coached, while 276 staff/members (in planed 500) have been trained and coached in cooperative management, access to market, agri cops entrepreneurship and organization.
  • 37 cooperatives (in planned 18) were facilitated to access financial services from which 8 have accessed commercial loans for the first time
  • In 4 market analyses conducted, 9 market opportunities have been identified.
In the next 12 months, the Programme will expand its efforts to the component 2 (Capacity building and coaching of the Cooperative Support Network) while combining the reinforcement of the achieved level of professionalism and business performance of the 99 cooperatives with their staged phase out.
2. Context and justification of the Cooperative Business Performance Assessment
The results of the 2015 MTR indicates that CSP has started to show yield especially in the Component 1 where supported cooperatives have increased production, access to financial services and access to new markets. However, the growth trajectory of the 99 cooperative is still weakened by the members' little commitment to the business goal of cooperatives leading to the orientation of cooperative to delivery of social services which impact the economic transformation role of cooperatives to their members. Combined with the relatively new and growing achievement of the component 2 (Capacity building and coaching of the Cooperative Supporters Network) of the program, there is little knowledge about the preliminary business and organizational performance results  and there is an information gap on the business performance growth and sustainability metrics of the target cooperatives that could inform CSP management on the priority in the gradual and phase out / wean off support to the cooperatives and the actions required to bring those cooperative to a sustainable growth path that could ensure SPARK the performance achieved will remain after the program  will have completely phased them out and closed in upcoming 12 months.
In quest for growth and sustainability of business performance emerging from the CSP support to cooperative and in order to ensure a proper plan, budget and monitor the cooperative support phase out strategy, SPARK and Agri BDS coaches need to support the Cooperatives to develop growth and  sustainability plan informed by a rigorous assessment of the business performance using sustainability lenses which could help SPARK group/categorise the 99 cooperatives according to different growth an sustainability stages that will be referred to during the development of different learning trajectories and   support  plans to different categories throughout the phase out strategy. Ideally, CSP intends to exit the support while at least 80% of the cooperatives are in the last/maturity stage and this process will take the form of graduation.
It is in that context that SPARK is planning to commission a growth and sustainability assessment of the supported cooperatives (99) in the beginning of its phase out period to fill the information gap about the level of their business performances focusing on their growth trends and sustainability which information would be used to develop a sustainability plan, identify relevant support with an exit strategy, resources, partnership and time required to achieve it.
3. Objective of the Cooperative Business Performance assessment
The assessment is intended to capture the sustainability of the actual performance of supported cooperatives based on measurable sustainability indicators to inform the process of developing the exit strategy for the cooperatives support.
4. Expected Outcome, Results, Deliverables
4.1. Outcome 1: Cooperative growth and sustainability assessment tool is developed and adapted to the subsectors of interest of SPARK's CSP
 4.1.1. Deliverable: Assessment tool
4.1.2. Deliverable: Agri BDS and Assessors trained on Sustainability assessment methodology and the tool
4.2. Outcome 2: Assessment of Cooperative
4.2.1. Deliverable: Assessment report shows that all 99 cooperatives have been assessed
4.2.2. Deliverable: All 99 cooperatives have been categorised according to their growth performance and sustainability levels
4.2.3. Deliverable: Growth and Sustainability gaps have been identified
4.3. Outcome 3: Growth and Sustainability Strategies plans developed
4.3.1. Deliverable: Growth and Sustainability plans developed for Cooperatives
4.3.2. Deliverable: The Cooperative Coaching Plans and deliverables revisited for/by all Agri-BDS coaches
4.4 Outcome 4: SPARK CSP Phase Out Plan for Cooperatives is developed
4.4.1. Facilitate CSP level Sustainability Strategy
                 Facilitate CSP level Sustainability Strategy
5. Key participants: 12 CSP Agri-BDS Coaches ,  CSP Programme Management,  Agri BDS providers and 99 supported cooperatives
6. Methodology
The detailed methodology will be part of the proposal to be submitted by the Consultants. However, being learning, a baseline and a strategy making process, the Cooperative Business Performance Assessment will involve interactive and participatory approaches where SPARK and its partners will be at the center of the whole process.
7. Timeframe- Duration
The assignment is planned to start on 18thJuly 2016 and will last 35 working days to cover above mentioned deliverables
8. Eligibility/Qualification
The qualified assessment firm should have following relevant qualification, skills and experience:
  • Appropriate team of assessors with at least Second degree in Agricultural Economics/ agribusiness or Strategic management with extensive work experience in agribusiness development projects;
  • Proven experience in agri cooperatives  Knowledge management and monitoring systems;
  • Proven experience ( more than 3 years) in designing cooperatives business performances assessment tools and having at least a track records in using them in Rwanda or EAC 
  • Understanding  Cooperative working environment in Rwanda;
  • Background in consulting/ monitoring and evaluation/ research/business assessment;
  • Proven ability to conduct third party assessment and client growth strategy;
  • Strong and available team with excellent analytical (both quantitative and qualitative), communication and information-gathering skills especially in relevant qualifications;
  • Strong writing/reporting and PowerPoint presentation skills;
  • Past experience in cooperatives/farmer organizations assessment an advantage.
Under the overall supervision and quality control from Spark, the consultants/assessors will be responsible for the technical management of the assignment. SPARK / CSP program management will approve the assessment tools prior to the data collection.
9. Submission
The interested Assessment Firm should submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) not later than Friday 08th  July 2016 at 5:00 PM in an e-mail addressed to PARK Country Manager for Rwanda at csp@spark-online.org  with a copy to d.mushumba@spark-online.org . Clarifications requests on the ToRs can be received until 01st July 2016.
Bidders are required to submit updated CVs and 3 reference of the successfully completed similar work. The offer/Expression of interest must clearly outline the proposed actions, methodology, duration of each action, sample of assessment tools used in the past and cost of the service. The expression of interest should be tailored at least to the context and scope of the assignment as highlighted in sections 2, 3 and 4 of the present ToR.
10. Selection criteria (Technical 60%, Financial 40%)
                  
Criteria
1. Experience of the consultants(s) specifically related to the assignment.
Weight score  
40
  
Criteria
2. Adequacy of the methodology and the proposed work plan in responding to the ToRs
  
Weight score
40
  
Criteria
3. Qualifications and competence of the key staff related to the assignment
  
Weight score
20

SPARK - Rwanda
Programs Management

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