Call for Proposals: Research Firm to Conduct Quantitative Research for Agent Networks in DRC
Experience
10-15
Location
The Democratic Republic of Congo
Job type
Project based
Job Summary

MSC calls for proposals for quantitative research to be conducted in the DRC (mid 2019), from data collection research firms that have experience enumerating quantitative digital data collection with hand held devices such as employing android based mobile survey software and strong field experience in the region. Partnerships/joint proposals are encouraged where and when relevant, but should demonstrate a history of a strong relationship working together.

Essential Skills

See the description below

Description

Request for Proposal
Quantitative Research for Agent Networks

MSC calls for proposals for quantitative research to be conducted in the DRC (mid 2019), from data collection research firms that have experience enumerating quantitative digital data collection with hand held devices such as employing android based mobile survey software and strong field experience in the region. Partnerships/joint proposals are encouraged where and when relevant, but should demonstrate a history of a strong relationship working together.

Project Background

MSC is an international financial inclusion consulting firm operating in eleven offices across Asia and Africa. Our mission is to build the capacity of institutions to deliver market led, scalable financial, economic, and social inclusion in the digital age through strategy, policy, and action. • We strive to build a world in which all people have access to high-quality, affordable market-led financial, economic and social services. • We believe that only by identifying the true needs of consumers, and the limitations of markets serving them, can we deliver to our consulting clients and their customers.

The purpose of our action is to develop favorable, adapted and comprehensive ecosystems, actionable strategic advice, as well as operational assistance. We have designed and implemented a variety of financial inclusion models. We collaborate with decision-makers and influencers among financial service providers, such as banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs), mobile operators (MNOs), governments, donors, and other stakeholders. regulators, central banks and industrial networks that contribute to financial inclusion.

In partnership with the Gates Foundation, The International Finance Corporation (IFC), and The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), MSC has founded the Helix Institute of Digital Finance, which conducts research and training on strategic operations for banks and telecoms involved in digital finance across francophone countries.

The biggest barrier preventing poor people from accessing digital financial services is the cost and complexity of building and managing a sustainable cash-in/cash-out (CICO) agent network across a broad geography. A related challenge is that there is no systematic data assessing the design and performance of agent networks around the world. This makes it difficult to identify the factors responsible for the success or failure of a particular agent network and how these factors vary by deployment type (e.g. bank-led vs. telecom-led) and country context (e.g. regulatory regime, population density, branch penetration).

The Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) Research Programme is the largest research project on agent networks in the world. Through the research project the MSC has carried research in 10 countries, conducting over 40,000 agent interviews with 40 elite digital finance deployments.

The Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) research is designed to increase global understanding of how to build and manage sustainable CICO networks in poor communities. The ANA project analyses more than 25 agent networks in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan and was extended to Zambia, Senegal, and Benin under UNCDF funding. In 2018, the MSC also completed a qualitative strategic assessment of the state of agent networks in the DRC which can be reviewed here for further information.

The expected impact areas of ANA are the following:
⦁ Improve user experience and help build and manage sustainable agent networks.
⦁ Develop appropriate liquidity management systems.
⦁ Optimize monitoring management and marketing of financial products.
⦁ Conduct agent network assessment surveys.

About the Project

MSC is submitting a proposal to conduct ANA research in DRC and for this purpose we seek to collaborate with a research firm(s). Subject to approval from the client and awarding of the contract to MSC, we will subcontract the research firm. Role of the research firm will be to administer quantitative survey of a nationally representative number of mobile money agents through face-to-face interviews with these agents across the DRC in later in 2019 and we expect to achieve national geographic coverage.

Outline of Research Project

Phase One (Roughly two weeks): Sampling and Survey Adaptation

The following metrics must be met for the study:
1. Nationally representative of mobile money and agency banking agents.
2. Representative at the rural and urban level;
3. Representative of selected leading agent networks (both Bank led and Mobile Network Operator led providers in the DRC – currently about 5 to 6 providers). This may include conducting booster samples for those networks that have less than 20% of market share and thus do not meet the minimum number of required interviews (350) from the nationally representative survey.

It is important to note that two stratifications will be required that affect sample size. The two stratifications will be that one to two agent networks (e.g. Orange Money) will be predetermined as Agent Network Managers (ANM) leaders in the DRC. An agent network with at least 20% of the national share shall be considered by an ANM leader. The sample will need to include enough power to do statistically robust tests on each of these networks. Generally, we consider a sample of 350 agents per network sufficient for this. Further, for each network there will have to be stratifications for agents that are urban versus rural.

The bidding firm is required to provide its own calculations for sample size for this bid. If it is outside the given range, a justification must also be included.

For this nationwide study, we expect to conduct interviews in all main provinces of the DRC, unless detailed explanations are provided for exclusion of any regions. In other ANA studies across Asia and Africa, we have employed stratified cluster random sampling. The Primary Sampling Unit for ANA should be advised by the research firm.

The ANA survey only interviews active agents—i.e. agents that have conducted at least one transaction in the last month for a provider they serve. Dormant agents will be considered incomplete interviews; however, dormancy data is still captured in the ANA survey. Agents are identified through their branding at their outlets. The ANA survey mandates that the minimum number of visits required for an agent who is either busy or not at his/her outlet is three visits.

In general, random route methodology will be favored; however, due to low densities of agents in particular rural regions, certain adjustments may be required. These final determinations will have to be made on a case by case basis once more initial data is collected, closer to the roll-out dates. A maximum margin of error of +/- 5% with a confidence level of 95% will be used, and a response rate of about 80% can be assumed (sample size estimates should therefore include this 20% non-response).

The bidding firm will be required to provide:
⦁ Their sample sizes, with justifications. If a sampling strategy does not meet any of the above objectives for any reason it must be clearly stated in the proposal. Sampling strategies will be finalized with successful bidders and therefore this submission can be seen as a draft.
⦁ A relevant sampling strategy for reaching the agreed upon sample, which is detailed enough to allow for random auditing by MSC staff (i.e. Includes supervisor, team lead and enumerator planned locations, contact information, and planned regional roll-out dates and targets).

Quantitative Survey Adaptation

MSC will provide the survey instrument (questionnaire) for the DRC. It involves technical knowledge of digital finance, and specifically building and managing agent networks. MSC will train survey supervisors, project manager, team leads and enumerators on this technical knowledge. It is approximately 60 questions in length, and involves multiple skip patterns so takes a trained enumerator about 45 minutes to administer. MSC has already employed this tool in Asia and Africa. The Bidding firm will be required to:

⦁ Translate the surveys into French and other local languages (to be advised). The translations will be checked and finally approved by MSC, in particular DFS technical terms.
⦁ Assist MSC/supporting firm to verify the uploaded translated version of the ANA questionnaire on handheld device.
⦁ Test the uploaded version on handheld device in French and any other local language and provide feedback on the script testing.
⦁ Obtain the physical handheld devices as per the requirements from MSC.

Phase Two (Roughly three to four weeks): Preparation for Data Collection

Bidding firm will be required to:

⦁ Compile /finalize the enumeration team. MSC would prefer to work with no more than 20 enumerators for the entire study. This does not include the field manager, regional coordinators and supervisors.
⦁ Submit CVs of onsite supervisors, team leads, enumerators and all field teams to be used to train, monitor and administer the enumeration. The Supervisors should have a University degree and at least five years of experience in administering surveys in the DRC. It would be preferable if enumerators also have University degrees or are in their last year of University and have a basic understanding of English.
⦁ Co-facilitate a training and pilot with MSC for the quantitative enumerators (ten days including pilot whereby each enumerator conducts at least three interviews, one day of an interview with an agent at the training location so that enumerators practice using the handheld device, half a day of field work practicing sampling methodology, and one to two days post-pilot to incorporate changes in questionnaire and re-training enumerators).
⦁ Ensure the Project Manager is the key point of contact for training and assists MSC in conducting session on questionnaire review and mock exercises. The Project Manager should be trained on the sampling method and structure and reporting lines of the team. The firm will also convey during the training that the focus will be on the quality of the interviews and emphasize that MSC employs an incentive scheme on high quality.
⦁ Review all pilot feedback and ensure proper changes are made to solve problems identified; this includes re-training enumerators on specific questions or concepts, as well as ensuring changes to the questionnaire.
⦁ Organize logistics for the 10 day training, pilot, and test interview with a mobile money agent at the training venue. All enumerators will be required to attend the training sessions.
⦁ Submit training modules for the training sampling methods and roles and responsibilities of the teams to MSC for approval.
⦁ Submit a detailed sampling strategy noting which enumerators will administer surveys in which areas, with a timeline, and monitoring strategy
⦁ Supervisors/team leads will be trained by MSC and/or partner on the MSC reporting templates required of them.
⦁ Research firm will submit a fieldwork route plan three days before field work so that MSCg can design its independent monitors’ fieldwork observation route plan.

Phase Three (Timing TDB): Data Collection

Bidding firm will be required to:
⦁ Execute the enumeration (administer the surveys).
⦁ Conduct internal data quality checks as it is collected- i.e. spot checks/accompaniment (25% of interviews), back checks (up to 10% of all interviews)
⦁ Report to MSC and its research partner on any challenges faced in the field, as well as enumerators/data quality issues.
⦁ Fill our reporting and update templates (that provide regular fieldwork updates and identify challenges and quality issues) designed by MSC and submitted to MSC and/or its research partner.
⦁ Conduct call backs. Call backs identified by MSC staff. Data will be sent to MSC and/or its research partner.
⦁ Re-train enumerators that are identified as weak or making consistent errors.

Phase Four (Roughly one week): Finalize Call Backs

Bidding firm will be required to:

⦁ Deliver raw data formatted in SPSS and Excel for MSC database
⦁ Compile and deliver all callbacks performed during fieldwork

Summary of Required Deliverables for Survey Implementation:

The selected firm must deliver the following:
⦁ Sample size calculations with justifications.
⦁ A detailed sampling strategy noting which enumerators will administer surveys in which areas, with a timeline, and monitoring strategy.
⦁ Training module on sampling methodology and team structure.
⦁ Translated survey uploaded and thoroughly tested on technology selected for enumeration.
⦁ CVs of onsite supervisors, Project Manager, and other members to be used to train, monitor and administer the enumeration before each country roll-out.
⦁ CVs of enumerators.
⦁ Daily/weekly reporting updates on field challenges and data quality issues. Reporting as per MSC template instructions provided.
⦁ A briefing document explaining how data was collected, and from where samples were taken, noting any departures from submitted sampling strategy
⦁ A document for clearly noting lessons learned in terms of best practices for future roll-outs, challenges faced during fieldwork, and also pitfalls to be avoided for future research.
⦁ Procedures that will be put in place to ensure respondent confidentiality & respondent reassurances, data protection & information security requirements.

Project Timeline:
Ideally MSC would like to start this work in August 2019. MSC aims to start training in the last week of August for two weeks. The research must be completed by the end of October 2019.

Instructions for Submission:

MSC invites suitable research firms to submit a full proposal consisting of:

A. A completed proposal (guidelines below)
B. A competed Project Cost Form (included Excel spread sheet)
C. All Relevant CVs of key personnel
D. Any other information the firm would like to submit

The proposal is to be submitted in soft form via e-mail to Sidra Butt-Mughal at sidra@microsave.net , Djitaba Patel-Sackho at djitaba.sackho@microsave.net , Business development team at bdsupport @microsave.net and Madeleine Sonko at madeleine.sonko@microsave.net . The last date for submission is 10th May 2019 (proposals submitted after 12am, Dakar time shall not be considered). If you require additional information, please send an e-mail to madeleine.sonko@microsave.net.

Quantitative Research Firm Proposal Guide

Due to the complex nature of this project, and the large amount of proposals we receive, we use this guide as well as the an excel spread sheet to ensure that we are collecting all the requisite data we need in proposals, and also that it is organised in a way that makes it easy to compare proposals across applicants. Therefore, if you have your own template for submitting proposals, you are free to submit that as well, but please also ensure that you use the ones provided here to adequately answer the following questions. BULLET POINTS ARE FINE.

MSC divides the required tasks for this project into four sequential phases. Phase 1 (preparatory phase), involves hiring enumerators, and finalizing the sampling strategy, and Phase 2 (piloting and training) involves piloting research tools and training enumerators. Phase 3 (execution), encompasses the actual enumeration in the field, and Phase 4 (analysis), refers to the call backs and reporting required the complete the project.

Broad Level Budget Guideline

Fixed Costs of survey administration in USD
Variable costs per survey in USD
Cost Breakdown by:
⦁ Project set up
⦁ Project management / administration costs
⦁ Training & Piloting
⦁ Fieldwork
⦁ Transportation
⦁ Data Processing
Total in USD

Proposal Format

1. Organizational profile & Staff Structures:
⦁ Lead Contact for the project with contact details
⦁ If there are regional offices in the DRC and the number of staff in each office
2. Description of Relevant Past Experience:
⦁ Past Research in digital finance, mobile money, microfinance, financial inclusion
⦁ Experience conducting enumeration of a national scale including training, logistics, cross-regional coordination)
3. Enumeration Strategy
⦁ Identifying and hiring enumerators (they must have a university degree or be enrolled towards one)
⦁ Note: MSC runs a parallel independent quality control monitoring strategy. Therefore, it’s important to understand your communication channels, enumeration strategy, and staffing structure.
4. Sampling Strategy
⦁ Determining which agents to sample
⦁ General strategy for locating agents, contacting them, and doing follow-up work, especially in rural areas
5. Training and fieldwork logistics
⦁ Suggested training program and schedule, including location
⦁ Fieldwork schedule and planning
6. Questionnaire preparation
⦁ Scripting and testing
⦁ Translations
⦁ Any other relevant information
7. Monitoring & Evaluation
⦁ General strategy for resolving challenges in the field (mode of communication used, lines of communication, etc.)
⦁ Processes for auditing quality
⦁ Standards of accuracy
⦁ Communicating survey monitoring update reports to MSC
8. Other Relevant Information

Note: Kindly note that we are in the process of submitting a proposal to our client. Sub-contract with the selected research firm will be subject to approval of the proposal and terms and conditions of the main contract with the client.

Document Size should be less than 2MB. Accepted formats are .pdf, .doc, .docx