Somalia: RE-ADVERT: Terms of Reference for the development and roll out of a customized online digital platform to enhance basic literacy in Somali.

Organization: CARE
Country: Somalia
Closing date: 29 Aug 2019

Re-Advert TOR

Leave No Girl Behind (LNGB)-Adolescent Girls Education Somalia (AGES) Project


June, 2019

Terms of Reference for the development and roll out of a customized online digital platform to enhance basic literacy in Somali (Somali fluency) and basic level numeracy skills amongst students in South Central Somalia.

A- LNGB-AGES project:

The LNGB-AGES is a DFID funded project that is implemented by CARE Somalia in partnership with ADRA INGO and 3 local partners WARDI, UCES and GREDO from September 2018 to December 2021. The project aims to improve access to education, learning outcomes and retention of 42,000 Adolescent girls from some of the poorest, most vulnerable and conflict-affected regions of Jubaland, Banaadir/Mogadishu and South West Administration, and to improve the overall quality of education by building local capacity. LNGB-AGES targets girls from these locations who are aged 10-19 and are out of school. AGES will target the hardest to reach among out-of-school girls, and address barriers that affect girls specifically engaged in child labour, are married and divorced, are internally displaced persons (IDPs), are from minority clans and other excluded groups, and are pastoralists. Most of the targeted girls have never attended school.

It is anticipated that the project will accelerate girls’ learning outcomes and ensure transition into educational or vocational training. The project will help tackle community attitudes and norms which harm girls such as child marriage, early pregnancy, and exclusion through a robust programming design that will promote increased household economic status and financial literacy. Literacy and numeracy skills will be at the core of the knowledge acquisition as the girls interact with the subject content and have opportunities to develop and practice foundational skills.

B- AGES Project Theory of Change:

The project seeks to improve transition rates for out of school learners into ABE, formal education, and life skills courses; from ABE to formal education; or into self-employment. It is expected that exposure to quality learning opportunities will improve literacy and numeracy outcomes as a result of synergy between increased attendance, improved teaching quality and development of girls’ agency, improved financial literacy and community support to education. Acknowledging that learners’ attendance is limited by household chores and other commitments, as well as a pastoralist livelihood, the project will increase exposure time to basic literacy and numeracy through an electronic learning platform, which will boost their opportunities to practice skills acquired in class on their own free time.

C- Innovative usage of the digital content to boost students’ fluency in and interaction with Somali and basic practice of numeracy skills:

The below describes how the online platform will support the teachers in instructional delivery and students to improve their literacy and numeracy outcomes as per the above theory of change.

  • Building fluency in Somali literacy using an interactive, user friendly digital learning platform :

AGES will make use of an innovative e-platform to reinforce literacy skills building upon the model developed for GEC-funded SOMGEP-T and therefore also leveraging existing GEC investment.

The e-platform will allow girls who have limited mobility, such as adolescent wives and mothers and girls living in extremely unstable areas, to practice skills at home on their own time and use an interactive setup.

The customized online digital platform will be user friendly and easily accessible to diverse learners to deliver interactive lessons and related content to support the teaching and learning of Somali literacy to learners in 66 ABE centers and well as to those enrolled in formal education pathways covered by the project across South Central Somalia.

Creating more interaction/practice with basic numeracy skills using interactive games:

AGES will continue to improve numeracy scores through the support to facilitators and teachers to adopt practices such as formative assessments and remedial classes. Additionally, they will receive tailored training to improve teaching of the four number operations, mathematical reasoning, and problem-solving. The project will support teachers to ensure the use of simple problem-solving and logic reasoning games is mainstreamed, including through a digital platform accessed through mobile phones.

D- Purpose of the Terms of reference:

This TOR is developed to inform the procurement of a potential service provider for the development, deployment and management of an interactive, user friendly and adaptable (to the Somali context and realities), digital e-learning platform across South Central Somalia.

E- Purpose of the platform:

CARE Somalia is seeking the services of a qualified service provider to develop, deploy, and manage an integrated, user friendly and contextually adaptable online platform. The AGES e-platform will be designed as a practicing tool on basic literacy and numeracy skills for learners with limited fluencies in foundational reading skills and in number operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and mathematical reasoning. The platform should be geared to the needs of Grade 1 students – those who are nearly innumerate and illiterate. It should allow them to practice basic literacy skills (letter identification, decoding, and letter sound recognition of sounds formed by one, two, and three letters). In addition, the platform should include activities that will provide opportunities to build and practice word recognition skills (e.g., sight words, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness), to grow vocabulary, and to read and write simple texts. The platform will host the content and create access to the content through two versions: via SMS/voice calls/short codes (using feature phones), and basic interactive content supported by graphics and sounds (using smartphones).

Activities will include a lot of repetition of familiar words that include letters and letter sound combinations that have been introduced (for example, using voice messages associated with text) and for those using smartphones, low-res images/ video (and if possible and when relevant, drawings to minimize ‘background noise’ in the images) associated with simple text.

For numeracy, voice messages will be provided with simple word problems on quantity discrimination and allow opportunities to develop and practice skills involving number operations (with responses sent by SMS).

A gamification approach would be preferred as it is more attractive and engaging but should be adapted to the local context in terms of relevance, limited bandwidth requirements and adaptive to the responses of the students.

The content to be uploaded to the digital platform should be very simple – 10 modules to start with, repetitive in structure, to allow for small gains in an incremental manner but also noting that many of the students may have deficiencies in short-term memory and attentional control linked to malnutrition and recurrent stress.

The potential provider should provide technical expertise to develop, manage the system, troubleshoot challenges quickly, and submit monthly user back-end data to analyze usage patterns by students and teachers and to generate reports on students’ performance progress for follow-up support by teachers and administrators.

F- Timeframe: The platform design should start end of July, 2019 with an initial prototype available for testing in September, 2019. Full roll-out should be possible within six months of contract signature.

G- The field testing will begin in August with various pilots as and when the project advances in content development. After roll out, it is expected that the potential provider will provide remote support on the day-to-day management of the platform and generate monthly back end user data until the end of the project in 2021. Exact dates to be agreed upon in the contract.

H- Expectations/Requirements:

The potential successful service provider should be able to comply with the below requirements:

  • Have experience in developing and rolling out interactive learning platforms in fragile contexts for the Education sector.

  • Able to quickly provide technical expertise to develop and roll out the platform

  • Review and provide guidance on the format of the content to be made available by CARE teams in English and Somali.

  • Adapt digital lessons and related content to promote basic levels of fluency in Somali language and numeracy in a user-friendly, easily accessible format

  • Prepare and conduct piloting of the developed prototypes and carry required changes as per results from the pilot

  • Adapt content to promote high levels of interactivity and engagement among learners of diverse ability levels

  • Enable content and related activities to be readily accessible through standard feature phones and smartphones across South Central Somalia, as well as offline content available (thus enabling service in areas with limited connectivity).

  • Generate monthly back-end data to analyze usage patterns by students and teachers; generate reports on student performance progress at the individual and aggregate levels

I- Expected competencies:

  • Have worked on digital learning platforms to promote fluency development among first generation learners

  • Have experience developing engaging online materials for learners to bolster literacy and numeracy fluencies

  • Have sound knowledge of developing and launching effective learning platforms within similar and challenging contexts, including those in fragile settings where infrastructural, compatibility and connectivity issues may affect user accessibility, timely troubleshooting, and regular maintenance

  • Demonstrate proof of the above-mentioned experience by submitting samples of previous successful assignments

  • Provide proof of skills sets, human resources and ownership of the technology required to develop and manage the online digital platform.

J- Expected Deliverables:

  • Technical and financial proposal outlining the suggested design, plans for piloting, teams, and cost estimates. The technical proposal should demonstrate the potential provider’s knowledge and familiarity with the use of technology in contexts similar to Somalia’s as well as the trends of using online learning platforms to bolster academic performance by disadvantaged students.

  • Sample of the prototype based on the discussed and agreed upon specifications for the design

  • Report on results from testing platform with clear recommendations on needed adaptations

  • Final prototype prior to training of trainers

  • Guidance documents for teachers, project staff and students

  • Monitoring and evaluation plan

  • Monthly reports including user back end data

  • Six month reports as well as annual report highlighting progress, challenges and recommendations for the improvement of the platform

  • Regular invoices to accompany the reports

  • Final report highlighting key challenges, successes from the partnership

K- Eligible costs:

The potential supplier should cost for the below items:

Pilot project design and management

Customizing content, surveys, teachers’ guides for in-country use

Database and dashboard set-up, management and technical support

Service delivery costs/Administrative costs

L- Timeline for deployment:

The first prototype of the platform should be ready to be deployed by October 2019.

How to apply:

Please see this link for the full request for the proposals and all interested potential providers should send their proposal response to this email address clearly marking the subject line “D**evelopment and roll out of a customized online digital platform to enhance basic literacy in Somali (Somali fluency) and basic level numeracy skills amongst students in South Central Somalia.”** no later than Thursday, 29th August 2019 12:30PM

Source: NGO Job

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