Request for Proposal: Knowledge Synthesis for the Supporting Innovation in the Technical and Vocational Education Sector

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)

Terms of Reference for the Knowledge Synthesis for the Supporting Innovation in the Technical and Vocational Education Sector: Towards Productivity and Competitiveness (SITVES) Project

1. Introduction

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) through its office in Nairobi invites proposals for the Knowledge Synthesis for the project ‘Supporting Innovation in the Technical and Vocational Education Sector: Towards Productivity and Competitiveness (SITVES). The findings and lessons learnt from the knowledge synthesis will provide policy recommendations for the Applied Research space in Kenya.

2. Project background

Supporting Innovation in the Technical and Vocational Education Sector: Towards Productivity and Competitiveness (SITVES) is a competitive innovation/research grant initiative funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). SITVES is being implemented in Kenya by CICan (Colleges and Institutes Canada) in collaboration with Linking Industry with Academia Programme Trust (LIWA) and the Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI).

The program seeks to Identify and document best practices that favor the employability of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates and recommend policies to support and scale up applied research within TVET in Kenya. It provides grant funding to 9 Kenyan TVET institutions in Kenya aimed at developing/strengthening applied research, innovation, gender policy and other knowledge generation around TVET in Kenya.

This three-year program focused on three pillars:

  • Pillar 1 – Innovation and Applied Research Hubs: Support applied research initiatives that combine TVET with entrepreneurship using a business development approach through training, mentoring, incubation, learner placement, internships, on-the-job training programs and network access to catalyze economic growth in local communities.
  • Pillar 2 – Gender Equality in TVET: Enhance the capacity of TVET institutions to undertake research with a focus on the analysis of the TVET sector and the emerging labor market from a gender perspective, linkages to the private sector and understanding stakeholder priorities.
  • Pillar 3 – Action Research: Support Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to conduct action-based and industry-oriented research in conjunction with hubs, start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the private sector

3. Knowledge Synthesis purpose and objectives

The aim of the knowledge synthesis piece is to assess the research outputs with a view to commercialization, scale, and sustainability by reviewing and summarizing the evidence and outputs of the research question. It will further look at the market and the viability of the applied or action research, and finally provide policy recommendations for the Applied Research space in Kenya.

4. Scope

The focus of the Knowledge Synthesis will be limited to Pillars 1 and 3 of the SITVES Project. Specifically, the following Research Projects:

Pillar I. Innovation and Applied Research Hubs:

  1. Coast Institute of Technology (CIT): Skills Development for Entrepreneurship Project
  2. Ol’lessos Technical Training Institute (OTTI): Developing Improved Household and Community Multipurpose Cooking Stoves
  3. Nyandarua National Polytechnic (NyNP): Irish Potato Value Addition Project

Pillar 3. Action Research:

  1. Ekerubo Gietai Technical Training Institute (EGTTI): Ekerubo Students and Small Holder Training on Modern Farming Techniques
  2. Nyeri National Polytechnic (NNP): Assessment of Innovation and Skills Gaps in the Micro, Small and Medium Dairy Processing Industries in Nyeri County
  3. Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI): Linking up Slum Dwellers with Market-driven, Agribusiness Innovations and Technologies Developed by RVTTI for Livelihood Improvement

5. Objectives

The specified objectives below should touch the two pillars that this project is focusing on.

General Objective:

Identify conditions that are conducive to research activities at the TVET institution level that could have an impact in the community and markets.

Specific Objectives:

  • Determine if the methodology, research questions, scope and context are appropriate to the local needs and market conditions
  • Analyze all factors that might limit the use of the research findings (e.g., context, resource allocations, etc.) and products proposed
  • Establish the extent to which the research activities and products/outputs proposed are relevant for the labour market, product market (i.e., commercialization) and community
  • Assess the research in terms of structure, content, flow, clarity, and validity of the evidence presented
  • Determine if the policy recommendations align with local, regional, and national TVET initiatives as well as its potential scalability
  • Provide recommendations / suggestions on next steps focussing on commercialisation/ mainstreaming, sustainability, and entrenching lessons learned.

6. Expected Deliverables

The following deliverables are expected.

I). Inception report: The consultant will prepare an inception report which details the consultant’s understanding of the knowledge synthesis and how the knowledge synthesis questions will be addressed. The inception report will include the following:

  • Technical Proposal: which includes a knowledge synthesis matrix summarizing the knowledge synthesis design, methodology, knowledge synthesis questions, data sources and collection analysis tool for each data source and the measure by which each question will be evaluated as well as the scope of work, any other relevant sections, documents, procedures, processes, literature, and references and proposed detailed work plan including a proposed regular discussion/touch down points with CICan staff.
  • Financial Proposal which details the time frame and cost of conducting the knowledge synthesis. This includes daily rates for each team member proposed by the applicant organization. Individual consultants should list their proposed daily rate.

The inception report will be discussed and agreed upon between CICan and the evaluator.

II). Draft Knowledge Synthesis Report: The consultant will prepare a draft Report, which will be submitted to CICan for review and comments. The report will be reviewed to ensure it meets the required quality criteria. CICan will be responsible for ensuring timely arrangement for a program advisory committee meeting for the review and validation of the report. The draft report will include:

  • Executive summary.
  • A brief section on knowledge synthesis main results and methods.
  • A main section on methodologies, policy and capacities and vocational education according to relevant themes.
  • Findings on gender equality in the TVET sector
  • A reflection on the lessons emerging from the use of different methods by the innovations etc.
  • A reflection on gaps that future investments could contribute to and add value within the wider context

III). Final Knowledge Synthesis Report (40 to 50 pages): The consultant will submit a final knowledge synthesis report which will include the comments addressed from the programme stakeholders. The content and the structure of the final evaluation report will be shared by CICan to the successful applicant.

IV. The consultant will submitan accessible and engaging executive summary of the final knowledge synthesis report to be used by IDRC, CICan, TVET agencies and institutions and other external stakeholders for cross learning purposes.

V. The consultant will make a presentation to IDRC, CICan, the Program Advisory Committee and Pillar Leads on the main findings, lessons learnt and recommendations from the knowledge synthesis.

VI. The final knowledge synthesis report is expected to be submitted to CICan by June 30, 2022.

7. Expression of Interest

Interested applicants (individuals and/or organizations) should submit an Expression of Interest of no more than 15 pages detailing and including the following:

i. A technical proposal with the proposed evaluation framework/design, a list of activities and scheduled timeline, and a description of the evaluation team.

ii. The applicant should also provide the following details as part of the application:

a. The CV(s) of proposed staff and consultant(s) listing qualifications and relevant past assignments, experience, and expertise.

b. Names and email addresses of three previous clients/referees who can be contacted to provide references.

iii. A financial proposal which details the time frame and cost of conducting the Knowledge Synthesis. This includes daily rates of each team member proposed by the applicant organization/individual consultant. Individual consultants should list their proposed daily rate. We would like the consultant(s) tendering for this work to propose a budget and a time breakdown that fits the methodology and deliverables proposed.

8. Skills of the consultant / consulting firm

The Evaluator(s) must have the following expertise and qualifications:

  • Applied Research background
  • Commercialization and enterprise knowledge as well as market systems and local community development
  • Have a proven track record of designing, conducting, and delivering high quality evaluations and have strong qualitative, quantitative and /or emerging evaluation methods as well as analytical research skills
  • Expertise/experience in planning for and evaluating sustainability would also be an asset
  • Strong organizational commitment to, expertise and knowledge of the TVET sector
  • At least 10 years of experience in report writing, academic writing, M&E and Research
  • Have worked with international organizations and donors.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English – publication and communications capacity an asset
  • Demonstrated ability to work during COVID-19 context, and readiness to effectively deliver in case this context is extended or recurs.

9. Research Ethics Policies

This assignment has an open access policy, which can be found, that is consistent with the broader movement toward open access, supported by research funders and governments, including the Government of Canada, as a way to increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

10. Permission for Use and Disclosure of Information

By way of submitting an application under this Expression of Interest, the applicant consents to the disclosure of the documents submitted by the applicant to the reviewers involved in the selection process. The applicant further consents to the disclosure of the name of the applicant, the name of the lead researcher and the name of the proposed project, in any announcement of selected proposals.

Applications should be marked “SITVES Project Knowledge Synthesis-Terms of Reference” and be submitted via e-mail to email address The deadline for submission of applications is Friday, May 27 by 5.00pm (EAT).


More Information

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