Request for proposal for an individual consultant to Development a Flagship Program Promoting Effective Engagement, Participation and Empowerment of the Women and Youth in Agriculture

Terms of Reference

  1. Background

Agriculture remains the mainstay of Malawi’s economy, contributing significantly to employment, economic growth, export earnings, poverty reduction, food security, and nutrition. It also plays a critical role in ensuring sustainable use of natural resources. Agriculture in Malawi is comprised of the smallholder and the estate sub-sectors, with more than 70 percent of agricultural GDP coming from smallholders (NAP 2016). The country is endowed with land suitable for both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture. However, the agricultural sector operates far below its potential and the country faces periodic food shortages (Malawi NAIP 2018). The Malawi Government places highest priority on the agriculture sector due to its critical contri­butions towards socio-economic development and livelihoods of the population.

The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) is the overarching National Development Plan providing a policy and strategic framework to sector policies and strategies. The current MGDS III has five priority areas of: (1) Agriculture, Water Development and Climate Change; (2) Education and Skills Development; (3) Transport and ICT infrastructure; (4) Energy, Industry and Tourism Development and (5) Health and Population. In addition, several cross-cutting areas are identified to be mainstreamed and these include: gender; Women and Youth development; empowerment of persons with disabilities; management of HIV and AIDS and nutrition; environmental management; disaster risk reduction and resilience building; peace, security and good governance.

Government recent­ly (2016) developed the National Agriculture Policy (NAP 2016) to provide clear and comprehensive policy guidance in agriculture development. The policy provides clear direction and guides all players to­wards addressing challenges in the agriculture sec­tor and increasing production, productivity and farm incomes. The NAP is aligned to Malawi’s Vi­sion 2020 and the MGDS III, which are the overarching long-term and medium-term development strategies, respectively.

In line with the MGDS, the Malawi Government developed the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) as the guiding framework for investments in the country’s agricultural sector over the next five years (2018-2021). The NAIP succeeds and builds on the achievements and lessons learned under the 2011-2017 Agricultural Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp). The NAIP translates the policy and strategic provisions in the MGDS, the 2016 National Agricultural Policy (NAP), as well as the African Union CAADP and Malabo Declaration.

According to the 2018 Population and Housing Census, the total population for Malawi is estimated at 17,563,749 (up from 13,029,498 in 2008). The census results show that Malawi’s population is young, with a population of 8,894,534 below the age of 18 representing 51 percent of the total population. It is thus undisputable that the Women and Youth are the majority in terms of the county’s demographic dynamics. Due to their demographic dominance and social roles, youth and women provide most of the labour for agriculture in addition to other household/community socioeconomic activities. However, youth continue to suffer from limited participation in meaningful and profitable economic activities including limited incentives to achieve full and active participation in viable and profitable agribusiness ventures.

The minimal inclusion of youth, women and vulnerable groups in key sectors including the agricultural sector continues to be a constraint to Malawi’s growth and development. Customs and tradition also entail the submission of youth to parents and other adults in communities. As such women and youth do not fully participate in household or community level decision-making processes and their views are unrepresented in wider societal circles.  Consequently, women and youth and younger households tend to be poorer than those headed by older adults due to limited access to assets such as land which often leaves them locked in less profitable activities such as unpaid or subsistence farming.

Women and Youth development and empowerment are priority features of MGDS III and as such policies and programs contributing to rural development are expected to emphasize the youth for effective gender mainstreaming.  In addition, the country has the National Youth Policy of 2013 that aims to stimulate the participation of youth in Malawi’s development. The policy recognizes the role that youth play in rural development and the pressing need to render agriculture attractive to youth.

In the past, a number of initiatives have been implemented to try and address the problems faced by the youth and women. With the help of cooperating partners, financial capital for small and medium scale businesses has been available to the youth and women by government. This has been accompanied with some capacity building initiatives on enterprise development targeting different sectors including agriculture. For example, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDEF) was established to help the youth to access financial capital for small businesses. The Malawi Rural Development Fund (MARDEF) is another financing facility that government put in place to provide financial capital to Malawians intending to start business including the youth. In 2012, Business Consult Africa, a private company, initiated the Entrepreneurship Revolution. The aim was to enhance entrepreneurial skills of identified medium enterprises, targeting not less than one million beneficiaries between years 2012 to 2017, with an emphasis on youth.

The NAIP provides a framework to prioritize, harmonize and coordinate investments by government, development partners, civil society, farmer organizations and the private sector with the view to achieve agricultural transformation. The NAIP comprises four Programs which are translated into 16 Intervention Areas (IAs). The four Programs are:

  1. Policies, institutions and coordination – aimed to improve policy and regulatory environment, stakeholder coordination and accountability
  2. Resilient livelihoods and agricultural systems – aimed to strengthen resilience of livelihoods and natural resource base for agriculture.
  3. Production and productivity – seeking to increase production and productivity of a more diversified agricultural sector
  4. Markets, value addition, trade and finance – aimed to improve market access, value addition, trade, and access to finance

One of the 16 intervention areas is on empowerment of women and youth and enhanced land tenure security. This intervention area seeks to achieve women and youth empowerment and enhanced land tenure security through supporting implementation of the Land Policy reforms and promoting increased participation of women and youth in profitable agricultural value chains and institutions.

In addition to addressing generic constraints facing smallholder farmers, the NAIP also identifies specific measures targeting the needs of vulnerable/disadvantaged sub-groups including measures to close the gender gap in agriculture, support youth employment and entrepreneurship, increase the access of remote areas to infrastructure, markets and support services, and to support labour-constrained households such as those affected by HIV-AIDS.

Through the NAIP the government of Malawi specifically targets increased participation of women and youth in agricultural value chains and institutions. To address this, the government of Malawi seeks to: Establish measures to encourage participation of women in Farmer Organizations;; Promotion of gender and youth responsive extension approaches; Review of the agricultural sector gender and HIV strategy; Gender disaggregated guidelines for disaster response; Training for Government staff in gender and youth mainstreaming; Gender and age disaggregation of all performance targets and indicators; and Targets for gender and youth participation in training programs, and access to financial services.

In the foreword of the NAIP, President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika states that “Successful implementation of the NAIP will entail close coordination and collaboration between stakeholders and proper harmonization of investments and alignment of programming. Govern­ment is committed to provide leadership and coordination in the implementation of this investment plan and will facilitate other stakeholder participation. I therefore urge all stakeholders including farmers and development partners, civil society and private sector to cooperate with the govern­ment in driving the NAIP agenda forward”. This is an important call to all stakeholders in the agricultural space to collaborate, coordinate and align programming accordingly including the interventions relating to youth and women.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) is the lead implementing agency for the NAIP, with other ministries, departments and agencies playing important roles. Key among these are: the Ministry responsible for Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development; Ministry responsible for Education; and Ministry responsible for Gender, Women and Community Development. Some development partners, are already implementing interventions relating to youth such as the African Development Bank (ADB) in addition, the World Bank and IFAD have already earmarked funds to support youth and agriculture initiatives. On the other hand, the MoAWID is implementing the Agriculture commercialization (AGCOM) and Agriculture Infrastructure and Youth in Agribusiness (AIYA) projects which have special focus on youth producer organizations, productive alliances and youth in agribusiness.

2. The Need for a Flagship Program on Increased Participation of Women and Youth in Agricultural Value Chains and Institutions

Despite all the above guiding frameworks and past initiatives, there continues to be limited success in attracting the youth into agriculture as the key sector driving the Malawi economy. This is partly due to design problems and inadequate interventions. Experience from elsewhere also shows that participation of the youth in agriculture is not straight forward and automatic. Thus, any effort to attract them into agriculture requires careful planning, programme design, appropriate incentives and financing facilities, combined with complementary skills development and mentorship. These are necessary conditions, if the greater proportion of the youth in Malawi is to fully develop its potential to contribute to the national sustainable development agenda, as articulated in the MGDS III and Vision 2020.

The minimal inclusion of youth, women and vulnerable groups in the agricultural sector hampers Malawi’s growth. It has been estimated that closing the gender gap may increase crop yields by 7.3% per annum and increase GDP by 1.8% (UN Women, 2015). At the same time a growing population and increasing land scarcity makes it difficult for rural youth to make a start in farming. Empowerment of women, youth and vulnerable people including disabled and people living with HIV and AIDS is, therefore, mainstreamed into the NAIP, especially under Programs B and C. IA6 includes activities to do with organisation and training of groups of women and youth; reviewing strategies, training and extension materials, and sensitising rural households and service providers on gender relations and land tenure. Access to land is tackled from both the tenure security perspective, and the problem of accessing land for larger scale investments.

To address these issues, Youth and Gender mainstreaming is present throughout the NAIP, the investment framework for the agriculture sector which has been endorsed to bring about agricultural growth and transformation in Malawi. In particular, Intervention Area 6: Empowerment and Tenure Security for Women and Youth and Intervention Area 16: Access to a Broader Range of Agri-Financial Services Enhanced have a focus on supporting the Youth in agriculture. However, since supporting Youth and Women is a cross-cutting issue that should be mainstreamed in all areas of agriculture, there are several activities relating to Youth and Women that appear across all 16 Intervention Areas within the NAIP. For a full list of relevant activities please see Annex 1.

NAIP Outputs relating to Youth and Women in IA6: Empowerment and Tenure

NAIP Outputs relating to Youth and Women in IA16: Access to a Broader Range of Agri-Financial Services Enhanced

Whilst the NAIP sets out a roadmap to agricultural transformation in Malawi, comprehensive programmes must be developed and implemented in order to operationalize it and achieve the intended outputs. To specifically address issues on Youth and Women, a comprehensive Flagship programme for Women and Youth is required to support them into becoming successful players within the agriculture sector. It is recognized that Youth and Women have a key role to play in contributing to agriculture transformation in Malawi, at all levels within the agriculture sector. As such, the Flagship programme will integrate Youth and women into selected high value, value chains.

Successful integration of Youth and Women into all levels of the agriculture value chains will require exhaustive consultation with all stakeholders in the youth and women domain. Some of the key stakeholders include the young farmers themselves, women, the National Youth Council, the Ministry responsible for gender issues, the Ministry responsible for Labour and Youth, development partners, Farmers Union of Malawi, NASFAM, CISANET and many other civil society organisations. To ensure adequate representation from across the sector and apart from one on one consultations, some stakeholder consultations will have to clustered in order to get the most from subsector players.

Guided by the NAIP, preparation of this bankable flagship programme will have to substantively go through careful analysis of the constraints facing the youth and women and the root causes underlying such constraints, with a view to coming up with a theory of change that will be responsive to the current plight.

For the above processes to materialize, careful planning, augmented by predictable flow of resources, will be of paramount importance. AGRA has therefore committed to support the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in the development of this flagship program.

In view of the above, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in partnership with AGRA seeks to hire a team of two competent and experienced consultants to facilitate the process of developing a comprehensive bankable flagship programme on increased Women and Youth participation in agricultural value chains and institutions.

3. Scope of the Assignment

Specifically, and in a consultative and participatory way, the consultant will undertake the following key activities:

  1. Develop a five-year flagship component-based programme on increasing participation of youth and women in agriculture. In doing so the consultant will
  2. Analyze the status of Women and Youth participation in agriculture in general and in agribusiness; and about the demographic dynamics and agricultural development trends in Malawi; including identification of drivers, enablers as well as engagement and coordination mechanisms for the Women and Youth. In addition, this will require profiling the roles, interests, and funding levels by different stakeholders by geographical area.
  3. Guided by the NAIP, undertake an in-depth constraints analysis to identify, in great detail, constraints to youth and women engagement in agriculture in Malawi. Exhaustive identification of stakeholders for engagement in this analysis will be key (e.g. government, development partners, the private sector, CSOs and farmer organizations)
  4. Review the available policy frameworks and instruments that foster and/or inhibit an appropriate enabling environment for Women and Youth participation in economic activities in general and in agricultural ventures specifically.
  5. Conduct in-depth Stakeholder consultations to identify root causes of the identified constraints and based on the identified root causes, develop a comprehensive theory of change that includes implementable interventions to address the problem.
  6. Undertake a social, economic, financial and environmental analysis to ascertain viability of the programme.
  7. Analyze and recommend viable implementation pathways and funding mechanisms of selected priority interventions taking close look at the role of public-private partnership arrangements to foster multi-stakeholder participation.
  8. Facilitate validation of the flagship document among key stakeholders (government, development partners, farmer organizations and CSOs including Women and Youth organizations) to secure buy-in among key stakeholders leading to possible funding and implementation support and partnerships.  
  1. Develop a detailed operational plan of the flagship program.
    1. Develop a comprehensive implementation and investment/costing plan (funding requirements) for the 5-year strategic interventions.
    1. Consistent with the main program’s components, propose and mainstream a holistic value chain implementation approach that takes into consideration agro-ecological zones with possible distinct business models as well as, models for expanding the program. This will take into consideration sustainability aspects and long term direction of the program.
    1. Develop a capacity development plan to support efficient implementation of the program components, with clear roles and responsibilities of various players, setting feasible targets to achieve and showing clearly how performance should be tracked and measured.
    1. Propose an elaborate and inclusive institutional framework that will facilitate effective coordination and implementation arrangement (management structure) for the program, considering differentiated roles of both public and private parties in this type of flagship initiative.
    1. Design a robust Monitoring and evaluation framework for the program. This should be linked the broader monitoring frameworks such as the biennial review process and NAMIS.
4.      Approach

Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and a National Task Team (NTT) to be appointed by the Ministry, the development of the flagship program will be led by a Lead Consultant supported by another counter-part (sub-consultant). The NTT will provide guidance, technical information and data for the Lead Expert, identify stakeholders and relevant documents as needed. Specific working groups may also be constituted to work with the consultants on specific pillars of the plan.

5.       Responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture (the Client)
  1. The Ministry of Agriculture will provide leadership of this process and shall:
  1. Appoint a National Task Team (NTT) to oversee the process of developing the flagship Program;
  2. Facilitate access to existing documentation/information held by various public and private actors;
  3. Facilitate the consultation process (e.g. providing an introduction letter);
  4. Facilitate convening of formulation and validations meetings.
6.      Key responsibilities for the Lead Consultant/ Team Leader 

The Lead Consultant/ team leader for this assignment, shall have the overall responsibility for the following: –

NB: The Lead consultant shall be responsible for payment of the fees and expenses of the counterpart consultant considering that the contract will be with the Lead consultant.

7.      Key responsibilities for the Counterpart Consultant 

Working under the leadership of the team leader, the Counterpart Consultant for this assignment, shall have the overall responsibility of providing a supportive role to the entire process of the assignment and ensure all deliverables as specified in Team- Leaders’s role are achieved to the expected quality and timelines. This role will include and not limited to the following;

  1. Documentation of the entire process and participate in the identification and selection of sample stakeholders and the relevant literature
  2. Preparation of interview and data collection formats, while ensuring inclusion of all key stakeholders in the process
  3. Solicit for and participate in the interviews with key stakeholders from the donor, civil society private sector and regional governments and gather all the data and information from the interview process
  4. Contribute in analysis and provide the data gathered and participate in design and development of flagship programs and all other related deliverables as per the TOR
  5. Participate in the discussions and consolidate issues/ input from the stakeholders
  6. Consolidate and synthesize all stakeholder comments and support the drafting of the final flagship proposal and other related deliverables as per the ToR
8.      Duration of the Assignment

The assignment is for a duration of 2 months including consultations, data collection, reporting and validation.

9.      Expected deliverables 
The consulting team for this assignment will be expected to deliver: 
  1. Organisation of in-depth stakeholder consultations including centrally located meetings
  2. A comprehensive constraints analysis, root causes identification and theory of change for the programme 
  3. One comprehensive Malawi Youth and Women Flagship Programme plan. This project plan should include:
  1. A detailed operationalization plan of the flagship program.
  2. Targeted intervention areas and activities to satisfy the theory of change.
  3. A comprehensive implementation and investment/costing plan (funding requirements) for the 5-year strategic interventions
  4. A capacity development plan to support efficient implementation of the program pillars, with clear roles and responsibilities of various players, setting feasible targets to achieve and showing clearly how performance should be tracked and measured.
  5. A coordination and implementation arrangement (management structure) for the flagship program, considering differentiated roles of both public, development partners and private parties.

g. A robust Monitoring and evaluation framework for the program. This should be linked the broader monitoring frameworks such as the biennial review process.

10. Contract Administration and Reporting Arrangements

The Lead Consultant will report to the Principal Secretary (chair) and members of the National Task Team (NTT) throughout the engagement period. The Lead Consultant will also provide a weekly update on progress to the NTT and the AGRA’s Country Manager for Malawi.

11.  Required Qualifications
Qualifications for the Lead Consultant

The lead consultant will serve as the team leader for this assignment and will have the following qualifications: –

  1. A master’s degree in agriculture, rural development, social sciences and development Economics or any other related degree. A Phd in the same area is an added advantage.
  2. Over 15 years’ relevant experience in agriculture and rural development at global, regional and national level
  3. Experience in design and formulation of programs.
  4.  Experience in the following fields:
    1. Inputs markets and input subsidy programs development
    1. Agriculture value chains development
    1. Business modelling
    1. Agricultural financing and agriculture markets development
    1. Monitoring and evaluation 
  5. Strong background working with Ministries of Agriculture in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries ;
  6. Knowledge of agriculture sector in Malawi (including respective policies, strategies and programs) and relevant stakeholders is preferred;
  7. Has strong developmental sector knowledge;
  8. Fluent in English language and writing skills.
  9. Available to start the assignment as soon as possible.
Qualifications for the Counterpart Consultant

Working under the lead consultant, the Counterpart will have the following qualifications: –

  1. A master’s degree in agriculture or any other related degree. A Phd in the same area is an added advantage.
  2. At least 10 years’ relevant experience in agriculture and rural development at national level.
  3. Experience in design and formulation of programs.
  4.  Strong background working with Ministries of Agriculture in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries;
  5. Knowledge of agriculture sector in Malawi (including respective policies, strategies and programs) and relevant stakeholders is preferred;
  6. Fluent in English language and writing skills.
  7. Available to start the assignment as soon as possible.
  1. Proposal Submission

The proposals should comprise of the following:

  • A technical proposal including:
    •  understanding of the assignment, methodology and work-plan for performing the assignment
    • Detailed and updated Curriculum Vitae
    • Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments carried out
    • Confirmation of the availability to carry out the assignment
  • Financial proposal
  • The technical proposal should not exceed 10 pages. Extra information should be provided in annexes.
  1. Evaluation Criteria

The proposal shall be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. General qualifications (general education and training):…………………………….. [10%]
  2. Understanding of the assignment, methodology and work-plan for performing the assignment…………………………………………….………………………………[40%]
  3. Experience in carrying out similar assignments:………………………..…………….[40%]
  4. Language and relevant experience in the region:……………………………………….[10%]

                                                                                    _____                       Total weight: 100%

Procedure for application:

  • Interested group individuals are requested to submit their Technical and Financial Proposals separately to  by 24th August 2019 at 17:00 Hours East Africa Time (GMT +3)
  • Technical and Financial proposals will need to be submitted as separate documents and clearly marked as such. Financial proposals will not be opened until the conclusion of the technical evaluation and only for those proposals that are deemed qualified and responsive to the TORs.
  • The financial proposal – should be in USD indicating the daily rate. The financial proposal MUST be password protected. The password shall be requested from firms that meet the minimum technical score of 75%. A firm will be selected in accordance with quality and cost based selection (QCBS) selection method as set out in the consultants’ guidelines.
  • The subject of the email MUST read “Proposal for Flagship Design Malawi”. AGRA shall not be liable for not opening proposals that are submitted with a different subject.
  • Neither technical nor financial proposals should exceed 10MB.


AGRA reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, number of short-listed participants, the right to withdraw from the proposal process, the right to change this timetable at any time without notice and reserves the right to withdraw this tender at any time, without prior notice and without liability to compensate and/or reimburse any party.

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Annex 1.

NAIP Activities relating to Youth and Women

NAIP Activity NAIP Programme  NAIP Intervention area Outputs Output unit Quantity – Support participation of women and youth in legume production C IA09 400,000 farmers receive annual specialized extension on crops they are producing farmers 2,159,250 – Train women and youth in user friendly technologies such as aquaponics fish production technologies C IA11 50,000 fisherfolk including women and youth trained on improved technologies fishermen 30,000 – Vocational courses for youth in fisheries developed C IA11 50,000 fisherfolk including women and youth trained on improved technologies studies 1 – Support more inclusive public-private dialogue processes by empowering women’s networks and associations D IA15 6 additional commodity value chain platforms established and existing platforms fully functional platforms 10 – Organise SME market forums/buyer-seller meetings targeted women and youth undertaken quarterly D IA15 Undertake annual agribusiness investment and fora and fairs at national and district levels lumpsum 5 – Link youth, women and vulnerable groups to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and markets C IA16 Financial literacy campaigns conducted lumpsum 5 – Facilitate Business mentorship programme for women and youth D IA15 Business mentorship for 2000 youths and women agribusiness entrepreneurs facilitated SMEs 400 – Conduct Agribusiness entrepreneurship training for Women and youth D IA15 300 trainings provided for agribusiness SMEs, women and youth on various technical and business aspects SMEs 400 – Conduct intensive financial literacy and agribusiness training, especially among women and youth C IA16 Farmers, women and youth groups capacitated on financial literacy and management skills groups 600 – Facilitate access to modern information technology (ICT) tools among farmers, youth and agro-businesses in rural communities and households C IA14 Farmers able to access and use market information systems farmers 1,500,000 – Support the establishment of a special capital fund for the youth start-up finance D IA16 140 SMEs (with priority to women and youth) annually receive matching grants for business start-up SMEs 950 – Register land holdings for youth, women and vulnerable groups C IA06 91000 ha of land registered ha 91,000 – Training gender focal persons A IA06 200 Government staff trained as gender focal persons staff 200 – Study technology needs of gender groups A IA06 Agricultural training curricular updated on gender, HIV/AIDS lumpsum 1 – Expose women, youth and vulnerable groups to agro-processing B IA06 2640 Women/youth groups strengthened groups 2,640 – Link youth, women and vulnerable groups  to service providers B IA06 2640 Women/youth groups strengthened groups 2,640 – Review the agriculture sector Gender HIV/AIDS strategy A IA06 Agriculture Sector gender and HIV strategy reviewed strategy 1 – M&E systems audit for ability to capture gender issues A IA01 National level M&E systems improved lumpsum 1 – Undertake specialized training programme for women FO’s B IA02 390 FO’s receive long-term training packages FO’s 390 – Train youth, women and vulnerable groups in:
 (a) Detary diversity
 (b) Food safety and
 (c ) Sanitation environment
 (d) Identification  and management of common pest and diseases of economic importance
C IA06 17030 groups trained groups 17,030

Appendix: Some examples of current youth related initiatives:

  • Agriculture Infrastructure and Youth in Agribusiness Project (AIYAP) – African Development Bank
  • Job creation for youth under the Ministry of Labourand Manpower Development – African Development Bank
  • vocational training institution for training youth in requisite skills required by the market -TEVETA  
  • Initiatives by National Youth Council and ACCADES –youth organizations that are active in youth development and can be leveraged to facilitate youth engagementin agriculture
  • Agribusiness and other youth training initiatives to start cottage industries – LUANAR
  • MHUB initiatives ranging from agriculture, health etcthat are youth related
  • skills technical working group of the National Export Strategy,
  • GIZ supported initiatives facilitating youth to acquire skills demanded by market and placing them in various companies in the agriculture sector and informing the university curriculum under the Oil Seeds Technical working group.
  • Malabo montpellier panel/forum with innovative approaches on irrigation to benefit youth
  • NORAD small scale mechanization project in the Northern region that could be attractive to youth.
  • Refer to the FSN Report of Activity #153 referred to on page 6 above.