Request for Proposals: Development of long-term strategy for Habitat for Humanity in the Middle East (ME) - LOCATION IS REMOTE/FLEXIBLE (CAN BE BASED OUTSIDE OF REGION)

  • Long-term consulting assignment
  • Posted on 16 July 2019

Job Description


Development of long-term strategy for
Habitat for Humanity in the Middle East (ME)

Habitat for Humanity International is seeking the services of a consulting company or a group of consultants (consortium) to provide expert support in developing a comprehensive 5 years strategy (2020-2025).

This strategy development exercise should build on the ongoing Habitat’s initiatives in the region including the humanitarian program in response to the Syrian crisis, the local housing projects for vulnerable groups and the microfinance partnerships.

The strategy should focus on integration of the humanitarian-development nexus and adaptation to the local context of the system approach to incremental housing reflecting the existing Governmental plans for housing sector and donors’ priorities and interests as well.

The strategy should also include a theory of change at country level and indicate the most suitable intervention modalities (to ensure scale and impact) including capacity and supporting systems needed to translate the strategy at programmatic level.

1. Introduction and background

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Since the founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 22 million people meet their affordable housing needs and obtain a safer place to sleep at night, along with the strength, stability and independence to build better lives, in more than 70 countries. In fiscal year 2018, Habitat for Humanity helped more than 8.7 million people worldwide improve their living conditions through new home construction, rehabilitation, incremental improvements, repairs or improved market access to affordable housing. An additional 2.2 million people potentially gained access to improved housing conditions because of our advocacy efforts, and the training in construction and financial management we provide. HFHI works through a broad network of national Habitat organizations and other strategic partners, such as corporations, financial service providers, individuals, non-governmental organizations, foundations, local governments, as well as private and third sector actors.

Overall context
Ten years since the onset of the Arab uprisings, ongoing conflicts continue and latent conflicts deepen further with the potential of some worsening and new ones breaking out. In Iraq, recovery and reconstruction efforts are underway and with support from the international community, Syrian refugees, other refugees and host communities in Lebanon and Jordan continued to show remarkable resilience despite the protracted crisis

HFHI has been present in Lebanon since 2001 and in Jordan since 2002 supporting the most vulnerable families affected by poverty, disability or conflict with housing repairs, construction and upgrades, new house construction, housing micro-finance and WASH projects. Since the start of the Syrian refugee crisis, HFHI has improved host communities and refugees’ access to drinking water and sanitation facilities, upgraded urban shelter and rehabilitated school buildings to expand their capacity to enrol Syrian children. The HFHI Middle East shelter program i methodology emphasizes a long-term vision for all interventions, leading to a solution to the shelter and settlement needs of communities that are as sustainable as possible in the given context.

Currently, HFHI is working to re-define its programmatic focus in the Middle East for several reasons. One of the issues identified is related to the funding shifts (from emergency to longer-term development, regional refocusing, and country level new prioritisation) which require constant review of program. HFHI identified that one of the main blockages for accessing decent affordable housing is the lack of sustainable livelihoods and precarious economic situation of the vulnerable.

Housing is a complex sector and requires a systems perspective if we are aiming to reach sustainability and scale of interventions. This perspective will allow us to look at the totality of the housing problem, to address root causes of exclusion and dysfunction. It also drives us to think relationally to understand the interactions, relationships, power dynamics, leverage opportunities in a dynamic environment that is ever changing.

We are exploring how to translate and contextualise the systems perspective into relevant programs incorporating housing related links to complex humanitarian crises impacting refugees and the local vulnerable hosting communities. We envisage reviewing the full scope of the housing continuum across non-market and market housing types including emergency shelters.

Specific Housing Context and Problems
There is evidence that most countries in the region have made some progress in developing initiatives to increase the supply of affordable housing through targeted programs. Nevertheless, the proportion of sub-standard housing varies from country to country, with slum dwellings forming isolated, marginalized pockets in some countries. In some countries, middle-to-low-income groups tend to live in informal settlements that are of decent quality and infrastructure but lack land title.

Rapid population growth threatens the Middle East’s sustainable development, since the region is faced with the most severe water shortage of any region in the world. Peace and political stability in the region are pre-requisites to enable governments to address some of these challenges, particularly those of refugees. According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees, the Middle East is, home to more than 5 million refugees which is the largest refugee population in the world. Palestinian refugees are the largest and oldest refugee population in the world. In addition to a commitment to peace and political stability, sound environmental, social, and economic policies are needed to address these and a variety of other population-related challenges, such as labour, migration and environmental degradation. The high demand for housing, infrastructure and urban management systems in key cities has stressed the ability of governments to provide serviced land. Despite significant progress in regularizing the informal settlements that had proliferated in the closing decades of the 20th century, there is still a significant shortage of affordable housing in most countries.

While the private sector has taken an increasingly active role in providing housing for households in the upper-income tiers, there is a shortage of affordable units for lower income households due to the high rate of family formation and a lack of housing finance mechanisms for the these lower income households. In addition, the high unemployment contributed greatly along with the growing number of young people.

The construction of affordable housing by the private sector faces two major challenges:

  • Availability of affordable serviced land for greenfield and infill developments but also for in situ housing development through either densification or upgrading.
  • Access to housing finance by both developers and homebuyers (low affordability due to unemployment).

Complementary and integrated government policies to supply affordable serviced land, support mortgage markets and microfinance and more efficient land registration will be critical in leveraging and encouraging the private sector to invest in affordable housing.

While most Middle East governments have prioritized the construction of affordable housing to varying degrees, they have not been able to meet the demand. Furthermore, these initiatives have rarely been integrated into broader policy reforms to address the causes of informal development, one of which is the high price of real estate. Given escalating housing and land prices, a middle-income family in Lebanon for example must save for nine years before it can afford to buy a modest home in a major city, and across the Arab region, the poorest income groups commonly spend 30 to 40 or even 50 per cent of their monthly income on housing.

2. Purpose, objective and audience

HFHI EMEA requires the services of a firm/consultancy that will be tasked with the following:

A. Develop a five years HFHI regional strategy in the context of Lebanon and Jordan.

B. Identify and indicate areas of growth and opportunities for business and program development.

HFHI leadership and key stakeholders is the audience for the results.

3. Scope of work

A combination of the following activities would be confirmed after engagement with the selected consulting entity:

A. Develop a 5 years regional strategy with reference to Lebanon and Jordan, including guidance on the integration of humanitarian-development nexus and adaptation to the local context of Habitat’s systems approach to incremental housing.

  • Analyse overall Governmental plans for the housing sector including short- and long-term sectorial strategies, annual and multiannual housing related programs and budgets, i.e. JRP (Jordan), LCRP (Lebanon), national housing policies, etc. and propose areas of direct engagement for HFHI in alignment with these Governmental plans.
  • Analyse political economy (challenges and opportunities) in the implementation of affordable housing in the region (existing legal frameworks, housing policies and gaps/ bottlenecks).
  • Analyse affordable housing needs (supply and demand), access to finance, land, access to basic services, etc.) with specific focus on recent developments, challenges and opportunities;
  • Analyse and identify where are the relevant big gaps in the housing system such as:
  • Lack of or deficient infrastructure and utilities;
  • Environmental problems, climate change, resilience, natural disasters and health hazards;
  • Lack of social services, particularly schools and health care facilities;
  • Insecure tenure, particularly in squatter areas;
  • Problems of public security due to different reasons and triggers;
  • Analyse the financing and livelihoods, information and other type of housing support services and decision-making processes (participation).
  • Analyse the critical target groups and its related inclusive aspects (vulnerable groups, women’s rights, youth, the elderly, and refugees).
  • Review key HFHI documents and identify strategic directions/ issues especially as related to supports systems thinking and application to humanitarian crisis contexts.
  • Integrate conceptually affordable and incremental housing systems with:
    • market development systems;
    • humanitarian crisis responses, especially in the context of protracted crisis.
  • Analyse, define and indicate the limitations and opportunities related to housing in a protracted context (target groups, legal limitations, industry standards, best practices) in the field of shelter and human settlements within this context
  • Ensure that issues of resilience, climate change and environmental sustainability are adequately and distinctly addressed in the plan.
  • Gender, youth, market access, technologies, are also addressed in the plan as crosscutting issues.
  • Propose an initial implementation plan to be further developed and finalised by HFHI, that should include:
  • Strategic objectives
  • Targets to be achieved
  • Programmatic interventions
  • Activities, time frame
  • Implementing systems and capacity (HFHI units/departments, lead and supporting, partners);
  • Indicative resources required
  • Develop a monitoring and evaluation plan for implementation of the strategy including a theory of change and log frame(s);
  • Propose different possible intervention modalities with advantages and limitations (direct implementation, partnerships, advisory role, facilitator, etc.).
  • Propose sectors and subsectors (energy, livelihoods, WASH, climate resilience, health, education, etc.) to consider for engagement in each country (LBN and JRD) and the niches suitable for Habitat for Humanity.

B. Identify and indicate areas of growth and opportunities for business and program development including areas of potential strong cooperation with national and local governments and funding viability (competition, funding trends, donors’ strategies, etc.).

  • Identify areas of convergence with Governmental and national development plans related to housing and gaps where HFH could facilitate and support to stimulate investment from institutional donors. Indicate overlap and complementarity with HFH mandate.
  • Facilitate HFHI’s competitive advantage in ME housing context.
  • Analyse and identify competitor’s approaches and programs including presence, relevance and operational models (not limited to the humanitarian industry).
  • Identify alliances, coordination mechanisms and other structures where Habitat should be active including cluster system, UN, civil society, interagency, etc.
  • Analyse the funding structure and strategies, which are influencing the affordable housing sector and propose scenarios/ plans for engagement with relevant financial stakeholders (institutional donors, development banks, bilateral, government, etc.).
  • Analyse trends and suggest scenarios of future engagement including risk analysis and potential radical changes in the external environment such as end of the Syria conflict, massive return of the refugees, economic crisis, political disruption, major security incidents, etc.
  • Identify key areas of rapid growth with potential to lead to longer-term areas of sustainable business and program development in direct connection with governmental plans and can influence as well as align with donors’ interest.

C. Methodology and process
The consultant’s recommendations on appropriate methodologies with a final decision made by designated HFHI staff. It will involve in-depth review of HFH’s key documents, key national and sectoral policies and plans, among other documents. Consultations will be undertaken with key stakeholder institutions and individuals consisting of public, private and civil society actors/ representation as well as any other stakeholders as HFH may guide at the onset of this exercise. At least one workshop in Lebanon or Jordan is expected to take place during the assignment. Minimal travel is envisaged within the country.

The assignment will be undertaken through overall coordination of HFHI designated staff. Regular and as needed project management meetings with designated staff will be held.

4. Deliverables, schedule and budget

We will assess recommendations on the project schedule and budget from the consulting entity. Additionally, we will review suggested deliverables and we expect to receive the following:

  • An inception plan with a timeline, covering the three areas of the scope of work. This assignment is expected to start in August and finish in November when the final report should be submitted.
  • A paper documenting an affordable housing methodology based on systems approach,
  • A document describing in detail HFH’s strategic directions and objectives for 2020-2025 period in ME region (Jordan and Lebanon)
  • A document proposing intervention, capacity modelling and presence scenarios for Habitat for Humanity in ME region (Jordan and Lebanon).

5. Competencies and experience


The successful consulting entity will have the following mix of expertise:

  • Experience is conducting similar strategy development exercises.
  • Experience and proven record in applying systems approaches to complex developmental problems.
  • Knowledge in market development approaches.
  • Good understanding of humanitarian and crisis response practices and standards including but not limited to shelter.


Excellent facilitation skills.

  • Broad understanding of the housing sector in Middle East
  • Experience of undertaking assignments in multi-cultural settings in ME
  • Excellent analytical, writing and presentation skills
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English and Arabic.

6. Submission process

Submission guidelines

Habitat for Humanity invites proposals from consulting entities/consortia with the experience and skills described above. Please send the following to Mihai Grigorean at and Susana Rojas Williams at by August 2, 2019. Please limit responses to a maximum of 10 pages (not counting CVs). Consulting entities must submit the following information to be considered:

  • Corporate overview (Legal name, year of incorporation, number of directors, tax compliant certificate, CR12 form etc.),
  • Description of all products and services supplied relevant to this ToR
  • Client references (3)
  • Understanding of this assignment
  • Description of the proposed methodological approach
  • Description of deliverables
  • Estimated budget in USD breakdown and resources required (Costs include, but are not limited to, fixed pricing & deliverables, billable hours, travel expenses, taxes, etc.)
  • Project schedule & work breakdown structure, which identifies timelines, key milestones, project phases, or other project plan information.
  • Annexed to the proposal should be CVs for each team member who would participate in the assignment.

RFP reception

By responding to this RFP, the applicant agrees to be responsible for fully understanding the requirements or other details of the RFP and will ask any questions to ensure such understanding is gained. Habitat for Humanity International retains the right to disqualify consultants who do not demonstrate a clear understanding of our needs. Furthermore, the right to disqualify a consultant extends past the contract award period and HFH will be at no fault, cost, or liability.

Good faith statement

All information provided by HFH is offered in good faith. Specific items are subject to change at any time based on business circumstances. HFH does not guarantee that any particular item is without error. HFH will not be held responsible or liable for use of this information or for any claims asserted therefrom.


Communications shall not be effective, unless a specified employee who is responsible for managing the RFP process formally confirms these communications in writing. In no case shall verbal communication govern over written communications.

7. Selection process and criteria

Phone interviews with eligible candidates will be held the week of August 5, 2019. Final selection will be determined by August 15.

All proposals will be evaluated systematically, based on the following key criteria:

  • Quality of the methodological proposal: aspects that will help us to assess their suitability for that which is proposed in the RFP, quality of the proposal, feasibility, etc.
  • Profile and competencies of the consulting team: knowledge, experience, composition and other necessary competencies.
  • Suitability of the financial proposal: for the activities laid out in the methodology, within the financial possibilities of the project, etc.

Short-list Selection

Consulting entities who have demonstrated their capacity to meet our needs will be contacted via phone and/or email to be notified of their selection to move forward in the RFP process. Consulting entities, who have not been selected, will not be contacted.

8. Other provisions

Waiver Authority
HFH reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to waive minor irregularities in submittal requirements, to request modification of the response, to accept or reject any or all responses received, and/or to cancel all or part of this RFP at any time prior to awards.

This RFP does not commit HFH to award any funds, pay any costs incurred in preparing a response, or procure or contract for services or supplies. HFHI reserves the right to accept or reject any or all responses received, negotiate with all qualified Respondents, cancel or modify the RFP in part or in its entirety, or change the response guidelines, when it is in its best interest.

Changes/Amendments to RFP
This RFP has been distributed electronically using HFH’s email system. This process will communicate any update and/or changes.

Annex1 (see attached for more details).
HFHI Europe Middle East and Africa’s Housing Approach:

  • responds to the main challenges (needs/ demands)
  • supports how most people access the housing: Incrementally (enabling environment)
  • addresses the different elements of housing (what makes housing adequate): housing systems
  • promotes an integrated approach: cross-sectorial, multi-partner and with a geographic focus
  • Is long-term (working towards systemic change) with a common vision developed by partners.
  • Is phased-in, with key investments in points of influence.
  • addresses the context with the biggest challenges: Urban contexts considering the rural urban continuum

About the Organization

Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. The purpose and goal of Habitat for Humanity International is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses in partnership with families in need. Habitat for Humanity has an Administrative Headquarters based in Atlanta, an Operational Headquarters based in Americus, Georgia, and Area Office bases of operations in Manila, Philippines for our Asia and Pacific work, San Jose, Costa Rica for our Latin American and Caribbean work and Bratislava, Slovakia for our Europe, the Middle East and Africa work.

HFHI is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ and assign the best qualified personnel for all our positions in a manner that does not unlawfully discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, gender, marital status, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, veteran/reserve national guard status, or any other status or characteristic protected by law.

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