Terms of Reference: Evaluation of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Media Awards (OMAs) and OFAB Journalism Grant


1.1 About African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate sustainable access to agricultural technologies for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. AATF is driven by the vision of a prosperous and food-secure Africa, where the livelihoods of smallholder farmers are transformed through innovative agricultural technologies that deliver results. These efforts, combined with optimal agricultural practices and product value addition, will contribute to agricultural transformation in Africa leading to food security and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

1. 2. About OFAB:

Despite the growing evidence of the potential of agricultural biotechnologies to address Africa’s food and nutrition challenges, widespread use remains limited due to several factors. These factors include controversies surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and lack of adequate enabling policy environment, Insufficient information and knowledge among policymakers, who are sometimes confronted with contradictory sources of information.

The space is also invaded by Anti-GMO activism, whose message is based on propaganda, misinformation, and sometimes sheer ignorance. Policymakers have more often made decisions based on prevailing opinions in the public domain and not on scientific evidence. Even when such information is available, scientific facts are often mixed with social, ethical, and political considerations making decision-making even more complicated. There is a need for policymakers to acquire sufficient evidence-based knowledge on agricultural biotechnology to support their decision.

In 2006, AATF established OFAB as a platform for information and knowledge sharing on agricultural biotechnology to help support the creation of an enabling environment for research, development, and deployment. To date, OFAB has 10 Chapters in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, and Mozambique.

1.3 Background of the assignment: –

One of the flagship activities of the OFAB is the annual Media Awards, created to celebrate the role of media in advocating for biotechnology in the development of Africa. The OFAB Media Awards (OMAs) recognize exemplary journalists that exhibit best practices in credible science reporting that is crucial to better public understanding and acceptance of sciences, technologies, and innovations that are needed to transform African agriculture for food and nutrition security, sustainable development, and poverty eradication.

The award is run at two levels. First, the evidence-based and factual stories in Radio, Television, Print, and Online categories are rewarded at the national level. Secondly, the top winners in each of the categories compete at the continental level where the Africa overall winner is crowned.

Annually, the OMAs promote constructive dialogue on modern biotechnology through responsible, professional, ethical, and effective reporting. OFAB has run the competition since 2016, hence the need to reflect on the work to explore how the activity can be improved. In addition, the consultant will also evaluate the OFAB 2 Journalism Grant, an incentive grant dedicated to the former winners of the OFAB Media Awards.

The assignment aims at evaluating the journey of OFAB Media Awards through in-depth interviews with key beneficiaries, country media councils, journalists, and coordinating teams and through desk research with a view of generating implementable recommendations to improve the current structure and offerings of the OMAs.

1.4 Objectives of the assignment:

  1. Evaluate the OFAB Media Awards framework and processes and generate recommendations for improvement.
  2. Identify OFAB Media Awards success factors at Chapter and Continental levels.
  3. Evaluate similar media awards and explore the possibility of integrating their unique characteristics into the OFAB Media Awards.
  4. Analyze OMAS’ value, achievements, and key lessons to leverage OFAB’s engagement with the media in creating an enabling environment for agricultural biotechnology.
  5. Assess the OFAB Journalism Grant with a view to identify success factors, achievements, and recommendations for improvement.

1.5 Scope of Work:

  1. The consultancy firm’s team must be comprised of qualified experts, with a demonstrated track record in developing quality online learning. The overall experience of the firm should be 5+ years.
  2. The team should have experience developing online learning in low-bandwidth environments and have knowledge of delivering bi-lingual online learning in developing countries.
  3. The firm should have strong project management ability and excellent communication skills.
  4. References and examples of past work are required and should be included in the proposal.

1.6 Deliverables:

A final report with clear proposals on:

I. New model(s) for OFAB Media Awards at national and continental level.
II. New model for OFAB Journalism Grant and a clear way forward.

1.7 Duration:

The period of the assignment is 3 months from the contract start date. Detailed evaluation study plan and timelines for all phases in evaluation with key milestones and deadlines.

1.8 Qualification/ Experience

  • Minimum of ten (10) years’ verifiable experience working in mass media/ strategic communication/development communication.
  • Respectable media personality with ability to interact with media houses and journalists.
  • Ability to operate under strict time limits with high level professionalism.
  • Ability to communicate and conduct interviews in English and French.
  • Track record of successful evaluation of media grants/awards/working with the media.
  • Good knowledge of agricultural biotechnology advocacy and the communication environment in SSA will be an added advantage.
  • Fluency in English. Knowledge of French or Portuguese would be an added advantage.

1.9 Application Criteria

Interested consulting firms or individual consultants should submit the technical and financial proposal.

2.0 Technical Proposal

  • Clear work plan and evaluation proposal in English, describing the proposed direction to undertake this assignment. The proposal should capture previous experience on similar projects.
  • Submit three samples of the previous work samples demonstrating the most relevant to the undertaking.
  • Three references (with contact information) from previous clients.
  • Indicate qualifications of the support team, with CVs and functional responsibilities of the key people to be engaged.

2.1 Financial Proposal

Detailed budget breakdown of all estimated costs, including estimated days of working, travel related costs and disbursements. The budget should have a clear cost structure for the evaluation study.

Please note that all costs, including transport, should be included in the total sum submitted in the proposal.

All applicable taxes should be included. Interested candidate(s) should submit their application to the Procurement Officer through the email procurement@aatf-africa.org by COB March 10 2023 with the subject head “Evaluation of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Media Awards (OMAs) and OFAB Journalism Grant.”

2.2 Terms and Conditions of the Proposal

AATF reserves the right to request new or additional information regarding each service provider and any individual or other persons associated with its project proposal. AATF reserves the right not to make any appointment from the proposals submitted. Service providers shall not make available or disclose details pertaining to their Project proposal with anyone not specifically involved, unless authorized to do so by AATF.

Service providers shall not issue any press release or other public announcement pertaining to details of their project proposal without the prior written approval. AATF Service providers are required to declare any conflict of interest they may have in the transaction for which the tender is submitted or any potential conflict of interest.

AATF reserves the right not to consider further any proposal where such a conflict of interest exists or where such potential conflict of interest may arise.

2.3 Confidentiality Statement

All data and information received from AATF for the purpose of this assignment are to be treated confidential and are only to be used in connection with the execution of these Terms of Reference. All intellectual property rights arising from the execution of these Terms of Reference are assigned to AATF.

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