Near East Foundation – Lebanon
Request for Applications for Conducting a Market Assessment (Local Posting) – DEADLINE EXTENDED
Period of Performance: December 13, 2021 – February 18, 2022
Location of Assignment: Beirut, Lebanon (with Travel to travel to project locations in Tripoli, Halba, Taanayel, Beirut/Mount Lebanon, Saida and relevant communities/geographical areas)
Background: For 100 years, the Near East Foundation (NEF) has worked to build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities in the Middle East, Caucasus, and Africa through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. Working through a network of country offices and local partners, NEF currently has approximately 250 staff members – almost all nationals – and programs in ten countries: Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, Senegal, Sudan, and Syria. Its programs are organized around three themes: peacebuilding and stabilization, Climate-resilient development, and inclusive economic development.
NEF is promoting economic empowerment among vulnerable individuals in Lebanon, including refugees and poor and marginalized women and youth. NEF achieves this through capacity building and support of market-linked skills development, development of new income-generating activities (IGAs) (refugees) and MSMEs (Lebanese), access to services to support growth of existing, high-potential IGAs and MSMEs, and support of struggling businesses that face closure. These efforts are intended to support self-sufficiency and protection among target beneficiaries by expanding their access to economic and social resources. Our methods maintain sensitivity to competition and protection risks, reduce the potential for tension/misunderstanding, and foster social stability between displaced and host populations.
Many factors are important to the success of these economic activities, including access to markets, quality of products (quality inputs, standard production and processing skills), market demand, competitiveness and compatibility, easy availability of raw material/inputs and market trends/polarity, etc. In addition, activities and considerations related to vulnerable groups – e.g., obstacles, risks, and opportunities that are unique to men or women, youth or adults, people with disabilities, and/or other marginalizing characteristics. Thus, a robust market assessment and mapping must be conducted.
Building on the lessons of over five years of experience and taking into account the dynamic economic situation in Lebanon, NEF has launched a sixth phase of this work, providing financial and non-financial services; assisting refugees and marginalized Lebanese develop life and technical skills, access social resources, and engage in IGAs to reduce their social and economic vulnerability while mainstreaming protection in all stages of the project.
This Market Assessment will provide detailed focus on analysis of the (1) current context of the markets (overview on the Lebanese market demands, opportunities, and dynamics), (2) market opportunities and detailed constraints for business expansion, (3) livelihood capacities, and competencies, and (4) key constraints that impact business survival and means for strengthening businesses’ resilience in areas where NEF operates in Tripoli, Halba, Taanayel, Beirut/Mount Lebanon, Saida and other relevant communities/geographical areas. Specific focus of this study will be on Women, Youth and Refugee populations.
This study will aim to provide NEF the needed analysis on how the program can adapt to current and projected market changes by providing a concept of the new market structure in Lebanon, it will support in identifying business/sectors that can endure the current situation in Lebanon.
A detailed analysis is needed, including concrete and practical recommendations in each of the five target regions. This will help inform the tailoring of the current project’s technical assistance activities and inform future projects.
The assessment methodology should include desk analysis and collection of primary data through focus group discussions, business surveys, key informant interviews, and market observations, as detailed in the present Terms of Reference (ToR), NEF’s Market Assessment guidelines (Annexed) and sample template (Annexed). It will also involve review and analysis of relevant policies and dynamics that affect access to economic opportunities, including government policies, access to financial services, access to markets, and transport.
Audience and Use: The key audiences of the study are the Near East Foundation, the donor, and the local Community Based Organizations in the project areas. The study will strengthen NEF’s understanding of local market dynamics and micro-business opportunities and struggles as well as risks, it will support targeting/planning of project activities and strengthening participants’ understanding of the current local market dynamics, opportunities, challenges and risks. Information from the assessment report (or results) will also be shared with potential funding sources and may be shared with other stakeholders such as local decision makers and public policy makers within and outside of Lebanon.
Research Objectives: The assessment has several key objectives, which apply to current and potential geographic areas. Across each objectives, NEF is seeking an evaluation of market demand and opportunities for work and self-employment outside those traditionally offered by livelihoods programming (e.g., bookkeeping, cosmetic services, food preparation).
· Analyze and describe local markets, including current goods, services and employment in demand in the local market
· Identify, describe and assess livelihood opportunities related to these local markets, including promising business niches, potential employment and self-employment opportunities for refugees and vulnerable community members, noting how these opportunities differ for each demographic
· Identify, describe and assess business profiles and sectors related to these local markets, including struggling businesses in need of Business Development Support (BDS) to survive for refugees and vulnerable community members, noting how these differ for each demographic.
· Analyze the challenges faced in the current crisis including adaptation measures, gaps and different sectors or business modalities that can adapt/operate during crises.
· Identify, describe and assess livelihood capacities and competencies among target groups, including skills, resources and specific constraints around income earning opportunities for women and youth.
· Analyze how livelihood opportunities differ between the refugee and local community, including how they related to business creation and business expansion; identify opportunities and provide recommendations for entering into new market niches and for avoiding market saturation by project-supported entrepreneurs.
· Identify market dynamics with a focus on innovative partnerships (including partnership with the private sector) in addition to innovative, impactful delivery methods (e.g., in time of disruption, but also to reach scale, improve inclusivity of programs).
Research Methodology: The methodology and research tools to be employed during the assessment include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Desk Analysis
The consultant will review recent (last 5 years) documents related to the following: (1) existing market assessments in the target areas; (2) market regulatory and price control policies, laws and mechanisms (including those that restrict refugee livelihoods), (3) relevant documents on market trends, where available, especially for Tripoli and surrounding villages, and (4) other relevant documents, resources, and data sources.
· Market Mapping and Value Chain
The consultant will provide a general map of potential local and regional markets in terms of type, size and volume of market, supply chain, women- and youth-led businesses/trades, main access barriers, key trade organizations, and security arrangements, especially for women and youth.
· Interviews with Key Informants and Focus Groups
The consultant will interview key informants in the areas where NEF operates in Tripoli, Halba, Taanayel, Beirut/Mount Lebanon, Saida and other relevant communities/geographical areas; these will include mainly women and youth, beneficiaries of NEF’s current programs, aspiring entrepreneurs, membership bodies (e.g. chamber of commerce, syndicates), suppliers, wholesalers, producers, farmers, vendors, consumers, financial institutions, and other relevant market and policy actors. The consultant also will conduct at least one focus group discussion in each project village involving individuals who are members of the targeted demographic for project beneficiaries: Lebanese and refugee women and youth.
Expected Outputs/Deliverables of the Consultancy: Under the supervision of the Country Representative, and with support from the M&E Department, the Consultant will be required to deliver the following outputs:
· The consultant shall prepare a brief workplan. The workplan should set out the consultant’s approach for conducting research activities for conducting the assessment. The period of consultancy should not exceed 20 working days, starting with the day the agreement is signed.
· A brief inception report (maximum 5 pages), which details the consultant’s understanding of the work and context, methodology and includes a concrete action plan for delivering the outputs and proposed structure for the final report.
· Submission of initial findings by no later than January 5, 2022
· A solid and well-organized draft report in English detailing the methodology, analysis, key findings, lessons learned and in-depth recommendations that will inform current project and future programming, submitted for review and comments to NEF by February 2, 2022, with the possibility of having up to 3 rounds of reviews.
o Collected quantitative and qualitative data and analysis should be annexed.
o At this time, the consultant will also submit a concise (1 page) but detailed executive summary of the market analysis and livelihoods capacity assessment, including key findings, opportunities, constraints, recommendations, and service gaps.
· A 4-hour presentation/debriefing on the report, highlighting key results, lessons learned and recommendations to key NEF staff by February 9, 2022.
· A final version of the market assessment report by February 18, 2022. The report will be written in English and submitted electronically in a MS – Word document. The consultant is responsible for proofreading the final report. The report should consist of:
o Executive Summary (no more than 1,500 words)
o Details of the assignment methodology and analysis
o Conclusions and recommendations
o Lessons learnt from similar programs or initiatives
· Contractual Starting Date: December 13, 2021
· Deadline for Inception Report: December 20, 2021
· Deadline for preliminary data collection phase: January 3, 2022
· Summary of initial data and findings: January 5, 2022
· Deadline for data collection phase: January 19, 2022
· Deadline for the draft report: February 2, 2022
· Deadline for the presentation/debriefing of the draft report: February 9, 2022
· Deadline for the final deliverables: February 18, 2022
NEF will be responsible for:
· Provision of previous and actual project documents for contextual background;
· Provision of previous Market Assessments and External Evaluations conducted;
· Logistics and transportation for the days of field work when applicable.
· The consultant is expected to use his/her own laptop and phone
The payment will be made as 35% in advance, 50% on submission of the draft report and 15% on approval of the final report. NEF will not be responsible for any further expenses incurred by the consultant during the consultancy visits and for any loss and/or damage to him/her.
Skills, experience and selection criteria:
· University degree in relevant field;
· Proven capability and experience in conducting similar assessments;
· Should have a clear vision for how to approach the project subjects and be able to build a trust and rapport with the subjects and communities being profiled;
· Experience in the livelihoods and protection sectors in Lebanon;
· Experience in research methodology;
· Experience in qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques including conducting focus group discussion and key informant interviews;
· Ability to access to data and information sources, including contacts within relevant private sector and government entities;
· Native Arabic speaker;
· Excellent writing and communication skills in Arabic and English;
· Availability and willingness to travel to various areas in Lebanon during weekdays; and,
· Ability to work under strict and demanding timelines.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Near East Foundation by visiting the NEF website at www.neareast.org.