Social Solutions is seeking technical experts to serve as Technical Advisors to review Concept Papers and Grant Applications submitted in support of the 5-year Pacific American Fund (Contract No. 72049220C00004) supporting 12 Pacific Islands Countries. Depending on the capacity building needs of successful grantees, selected Technical Advisors may also provide ongoing technical assistance and capacity building support to individual grantees on relevant grant project activities. The consultancy is home-based. Although travel may be possible as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, no travel is currently envisioned in conducting this consultancy.
Specific sectors of interest (further defined below) are as follows:
- Basic Education
- Waster, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
- Climate Change Adaptation
- Disaster Resilience
- COVID-19 Response and Recovery (Private sector Productivity and Social Assistance)
- Enterprise Development and Economic Growth
- Public Health
- Democratic Governance
The Pacific American Fund (also referred to as “the Fund” below) is a critical new development assistance vehicle funded by the United States Agency for International Development Mission for the Pacific Islands (USAID/Pacific Islands) to respond to the diverse development challenges facing the Pacific Region. Social Solutions International, Inc. (Social Solutions) is responsible for implementing the Pacific American Fund contract on behalf of USAID/Pacific Islands.
The Pacific American Fund’s goals are to improve the quality of life for vulnerable communities and to increase access to services for remote communities in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The principal means by which the Fund supports PICs is through its core grant-making facility and associated capacity building activities. Eligible grant recipients include non-sovereign local, national, and internationally operating civil society organizations (CSOs), which can include private enterprises, non-governmental organizations and institutions, universities, faith-based organizations, and local CSOs. As needed, the Fund provides grant recipients assistance in managing and monitoring grant implementation.
The grant-making facility awards grants through competitive processes addressing: (1) the secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through private sector productivity and social assistance; (2) climate change and disaster resilience; (3) biodiversity conservation and natural resource governance; (4) market-based enterprise development and economic growth; (5) access to quality health care and education, including water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services; and (6) democratic governance. Additional areas of interest include (7) gender equality, female empowerment, gender-based violence, and social inclusion.
Grant sizes can range from less than $150,000 to no more than $3,000,000 and can span 12 to 36 months.
Coordination and Reporting
The Technical Advisors will coordinate efforts with the Pacific American Fund Grants Manager and Regional Fund Managers, report directly to the Chief of Party, and work in coordination with other Pacific American Fund management and staff as required.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of Pacific American Fund Technical Advisors are to provide subject matter expert advice in specific sectors and technical areas within the Pacific American Fund’s scope and specifically addressing the objectives, expected outcomes, and activities of prospective and successful grantees.
Technical Advisors will serve on Technical Evaluation Committees (TECs) to evaluate applications received under the Pacific American Fund’s Year 1 Grants Solicitation—including its current Call for Concept Papers and forthcoming Request for Applications. Technical Advisors will evaluate Concept Papers and Full Applications in accordance with Pacific American Fund’s guidelines and deliver written evaluation recommendations to the Grants Manager and Chief of Party, including ranking scores based on evaluation criteria and descriptions of strengths and weaknesses of each application.
Technical Advisors will also provide targeted technical assistance and capacity building support to selected successful grantees on an ongoing basis.
Technical Areas of Focus
Social Solutions is seeking short-term consultants with expertise in the following sectors and technical areas. Note that Social Solutions will only retain the services of Technical Advisors for this assignment to the extent necessary, i.e., depending on those sectors and technical areas being addressed in grant concept papers, applications, or awarded projects.
Applicants responding to this consulting opportunity must indicate the specific technical area or areas to be supported.
- Basic Education. The aim of activities in this sector is to improve early childhood education, primary education, and secondary education, delivered in formal or non-formal settings. It includes literacy, numeracy, and other basic skills programs for youth and adults. Activities within this sector, for example, can support: pre-academic learning activities; basic and advanced education in reading, writing, mathematics, and problem-solving; alternative education methods; or complementary measures to strengthen education policy, governance, financing, facilities, human resources, and management.
- Environment. The aim of activities in this sector is to ensure that the environment and the natural resources upon which human lives and livelihoods depend are managed in ways that sustain productivity growth, a healthy population, as well as the intrinsic spiritual and cultural value of the environment. Activities can address challenges related to protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable management of natural resources, supporting land tenure and sustainable land management, and fostering clean economic productivity through training, support for communities and households in sustainable natural resource management or biodiversity conservation, public participation in environmental decision-making, or activities that reduce pollution. Activities within this sector can, for example, support: biodiversity conservation and natural resources management, including combating illegal and corrupt exploitation of natural resources and the control of invasive species; natural resources management that promotes productivity, economic growth, and healthy people and ecosystems; improved natural resource governance; integrated water resource management; improved land policy, land tenure, governance, and land use planning; or clean production that reduces health risks and pollution.
- Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). Activities in this sector must work towards ensuring broadly accessible, reliable and economically sustainable water supply and sanitation services for health, security, and prosperity as well as increased practice of handwashing and/or adoption of good hygiene behavior. Activities within this sector can, for example, support: increased access to safe drinking water supply and sanitation services in communities, including sustainable wastewater treatment and reuse as well as fecal sludge management services; improved policy, laws, regulations, tariff-setting, licensing, benchmarking, and performance monitoring for WASH services; increased mobilization of financing; increased efficiency and productive uses of water in domestic and industrial sectors; strengthened scientific, technological, organizational, and information management capacity in WASH service delivery; or strengthened national and local WASH-related health information systems and analysis.
- Climate Change Adaptation. Activities in this Secondary Sectoral Priority work to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change of people, places, and livelihoods. Relevant activities can include, for example: improving access to science and analysis for adaptation decision-making; establishing effective governance systems to address climate-related risks; promoting actions that increase climate resilience by decreasing exposure or sensitivity or by increasing adaptive capacity; improving climate data and predictions, analysis, and decision support tools as well as access these; increasing awareness of and participation in climate change adaptation policy and action; strengthening the capacity of public institutions to integrate climate adaptation into policy and administration and to coordinate on adaptation policy; or supporting practices that increase resilience to climate change.
- COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Private Sector Productivity. This Secondary Sectoral Priority involves effort to improve policies, laws, regulations, and administrative practices affecting the private sector’s ability to compete nationally and internationally, and to improve the capacity of private sector entities to respond and link to markets, including efforts to link the poor to markets through effective and economically sustainable systems and relationships. Activities within this sector can, for example: improve policies, laws, regulations, and administrative practices affecting the private sector that support productivity or competitiveness; improve the capacity of businesses, the self-employed, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and entrepreneurs to start, grow, and integrate into domestic and international markets through improvements in productivity and governance and the use of modern technology and marketing practices; enhance the capacity of businesses and business associations to achieve increased production and marketing of products and services; help businesses adopt efficient production processes, improved labor productivity, environmentally-sound management, and accounting and management systems enhance business competitiveness; or help local firms and associations respond to international markets and create regional alliances.
- COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Social Assistance. This Secondary Sectoral Priority involves direct support to the poor or to those suffering from temporary shocks. Activities within this sector can include, for example: providing technical support to help needy households to maintain survival or to ensure they are able to keep children in school, attend health clinics, or make other desired behavioral changes; subsidizing costs of key services such as water, power, or the provision of basic housing with “lifeline” rates for poor families; providing technical support for programs that provide temporary employment to workers suffering unemployment resulting from the pandemic; or establishing or strengthening the management of national or local information systems for targeted cash or in-kind social assistance.
- Disaster Resilience. This Secondary Sectoral Priority encompasses disaster risk reduction, disaster readiness, and related capacity building, preparedness, and planning. It aims to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters and respond better to humanitarian emergencies. Activities that support this Secondary Sectoral Priority, for example, can: improve the ability to prepare for and mitigate the effects of disasters, such as by enhancing the capacities and readiness of humanitarian assistance providers, national authorities, and local communities to engage in disaster reduction and response activities; support the development and use of standardized and coordinated assessments, monitoring, information sharing, data and situational analysis, joint planning; support the enhancement of coping mechanisms, including adaptation to constantly changing situations on the ground including climate variability and climate change; or support measures that reduce the risks and impacts of shocks.
- Sustainable Market-Driven Enterprise Development and Economic Growth. This Secondary Sectoral Priority encompasses activities that support, for example: agriculture, including the agricultural enabling environment, agricultural sector capacity, and nutrition-sensitive agriculture; development of the financial sector; private sector productivity, including improving business performance, management practices, the business uses of technologies, or other measures that enhance resilience of local private enterprises; workforce development, including systematic and institutional reform, and technical and vocational training for employment; expanded access to modern energy services, including renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies; or expanded access to information and telecommunications (ICT) services and to transportation services in rural and low income areas.
- Improved Access to Quality Health Care Services. This Secondary Sectoral Priority encompasses activities that support, for example: development of health service system and facilities; health advocacy activities led by civil society organizations; compliance with national guidelines and standards for birth-related labor and delivery visits; capacity building for health service providers and administrators and improved health information systems and data management; planning, surveillance, treatment, prevention, and related activities addressing HIV/AIDS, malaria, and pandemic influenza and other emerging threats; or support for improved access and services in maternal and child health, family planning and reproductive health, and nutrition.
- Increased Democratic Governance. This Secondary Sectoral Priority encompasses activities that support, for example: efforts to strengthen the rule of law and good governance, including stronger local government, decentralization, and anti-corruption efforts; efforts to strengthen political competition and consensus-building; support for civil society enabling environments, organizational capacity development, civic education, citizen participation and public accountability, democratic culture, and democratic labor and trade unions; support for an independent media and free flow of information; or support for human rights, including equal rights for marginalized communities.
Additional expertise of Technical Advisors in gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) is an added strength. All Pacific American Fund grants must address GESI issues, such as through activities that include: reducing gender disparities in access to, control over, and benefit from resources, wealth, opportunities, and services; reducing gender-based violence (GBV) and mitigate its harmful effects;
increasing the capability of women and girls to realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, and influence decision making; and ensuring the people with disabilities (PWD) and other vulnerable groups of people are supported in meeting self-determined objectives across all sectors.
Anticipated deliverables include completed evaluation forms for all concept papers and full applications evaluated (in the format requested), participation in Technical Evaluation Committee meetings, ad hoc deliverables tailored to specific grantee needs as well as specific deliverables associated with capacity building activities.
Anticipated Period of Performance and Level of Effort
- Period of Performance: approximately February 1 to May 31, 2021
- Level of Effort: approximately 10-30 days, based on need
Technical Assistance and Capacity Building:
- Period of Performance: approximately July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022
- Level of Effort: approximately 10-60 days, based on need
- Bachelor’s degree (Master’s degree or higher preferred) in a relevant field;
- 5-12 years or more of experience in one or more relevant technical area;
- Demonstrated experience working in or with Pacific Island countries with awareness of local development challenges and opportunities;
- Experience working with an international development organization and knowledge of grant-making processes and procedures;
- Strong skills in technical evaluation, delivering technical assistance, and building capacity of local organizations;
- An ability to exercise independence (both perceived independence from the organizations applying for funding and ability to apply independence in judgment); and
- Strong English writing and verbal communication skills.