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RFP: Local Research Consultant / Research Firm for Pilot Project Assessment in Pakistan

ISSUE DATE: December 6, 2017
SUBMISSION DATE: January 2, 2018

Women’s World Banking seeks a local research consultant (firm or individual) in Pakistan to conduct  a focused assessment of a pilot project for onboarding new women MFS agents between February and March 2018. The project has been designed to onboard women-owned small businesses as mobile financial services agents and increase uptake of mobile accounts by low-income women. The pilot will include up to 100 women entrepreneurs in Punjab, and began operation in October 2017. Under this consultancy, qualitative research will be conducted with the purpose of assessing the success of the pilot project and to inform recommendations for next steps in the project (roll-out or otherwise).

Women’s World Banking is the global leader in women’s financial inclusion. Rooted in our deep understanding of the women’s market, we tackle financial inclusion in three interconnected ways: first, by partnering with financial services providers to develop scalable market-driven solutions; second, through our gender-lens private equity fund; and, finally, because diverse institutions are proven to be stronger, we build institutional capacity through leadership and diversity programs. Through this holistic approach and our global reach of 49 institutions in 32 countries, we accelerate economic opportunity for low-income women and growth for financial service providers in the emerging markets.

Assessment of MFS pilot amongst women small-business owners and consumers
Women’s World Banking is conducting a project entitled “Creating Paths to Inclusive Economies through Digital Financial Services Adoption and Activation among Low-Income Women in Pakistan,” in partnership with one of the leading mobile network operators in Pakistan. For this project, Women’s World Banking seeks a local research consultant (firm or individual) to conduct qualitative research to assess the implementation of a pilot aimed at onboarding and supporting women MFS agents and increasing low-income women’s uptake and usage of mobile accounts. The purpose of the research is to assess the effectiveness of the operating model and training approach, understand consumers’ usage and comfort with the agent MFS model and highlight areas for adjustment or improvement prior to project roll-out. The research may involve women entrepreneurs (agents and those who declined involvement in the pilot), their male counterparts, women and men MFS customers and non-customers, and field staff tasked with implementing the pilot on the ground.

Agents and clients

    • Conduct qualitative interviews with new agents to assess the implementation of the pilot project by understanding if objectives of the model were met. This includes identifying what worked as well as pain points in the onboarding and training process and ongoing support model. Asses satisfaction, effectiveness and comprehension of the key features of the project and identify areas of improvement and non-financial service needs. Recommend key areas to enhance prior to roll out.
    • Conduct interviews with clients and non-clients of agents regarding their experience with and perception of the new MFS agents of the pilot project. Included in the scope of work is recruitment of research participants and coordination of all logistics required to conduct the research (e.g., translator, venues, transportation, communication with participants, etc.).
    • Women’s World Banking will provide lists of agents, but clients will need to be recruited independently. Women’s World Banking will also lead development of the interview guides with input from the selected consultant. Please note, it may not be effective to conduct recruitment via phone, even where phone contact information is available. The consultant will conduct all interviews. The interviews will be in multiple locations in and around Kasur and Sialkot and the consultant should identify comfort and ability to travel to these locations. The Women’s World Banking team may participate in select interviews which will be determined in the project planning phase. The total number of interviews and methodology employed within the interview will be determined in the planning period;
    • Take verbatim notes and audio recordings of each interview and share English transcripts with Women’s World Banking. Transcripts will be shared throughout the research process to ensure that the content is aligned to the expectations of the Women’s World Banking research team. Women’s World Banking and local consultant / research firm will hold regular discussions to ensure alignment with the process and desired content.
    • Analyze interviews according to key objectives of pilot project and through inductive themes analysis. The local consultant / research firm will lead the analytic coding and synthesis of findings with input from the research team. Develop PowerPoint deck detailing key themes and findings, including breakdown by any relevant segments. Provide in-depth analytic content from the analysis; and
    • Collaborate with Women’s World Banking in analyzing research findings and identifying insights to inform the roll-out of the project pilot.

The duration of this consultancy is from February 2018 through March 2018

Consultants / research firms must have deep experience working in rural areas of Pakistan, and be based in Pakistan for the duration of the consultancy. Research will take place in the locations of the pilot project, which will be in remote villages in Punjab. No travel outside Pakistan is necessary.


  • Experience with on-the-ground (interviews and/or focus groups) with low-income women in rural Pakistan;
  • Deep understanding of issues around women’s financial inclusion and women’s lives more broadly in Pakistan;
  • Strong analytical, research, and writing skills required with special focus on expertise in qualitative research data collection and analysis methods;
  • Proactive project management skills with strong attention to detail;
  • Experience working in tight timelines and rigorous schedule of data collection;
  • Experience working in a multilateral and cross-time-zone team to meet deliverables;
  • Commitment to delivering excellent quality results that can have a meaningful impact for women in Pakistan;
  • Fluency in English required;
  • Minimum 5-7 years’ experience in research, particularly in financial inclusion and/or women’s empowerment; and
  • Advanced degree in International Development, Economics, Research, Finance, or related field preferred.

Please submit your application by 11:59 PM EST on January 2, 2017.

Please submit a cover letter and proposal, including but not limited to the following components:

  • Statement describing your capacity to complete this work and relevant experience;
  • Team structure and organization of work (describe the proposed team and how they will be organized, and include CV(s) of senior staff who will lead the work);
  • Brief overview of proposed approach for each component outlined above that includes what the consultant identifies as key issues that would be important to explore with women and stakeholders in Pakistan;
  • Timeline to fulfill each deliverable.
  • Detailed fee proposal; and
  • References (at least three)

Applicants may submit their question(s) in writing until January 2, 2018 to tn@womensworldbanking.org.  Please include in the e-mail subject line “Questions: Local Research Consultant / Research Firm for Pilot Project Assessment in Pakistan.”


This RFP does not guarantee or commit Women’s World Banking to proceeding with the above described work. Due to the overwhelming responses not all candidates will be contacted.

Women’s World Banking is an equal opportunity employer for all regardless of race, color, citizenship, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, veteran or reservist status or any other category protected by federal, state or local law.

Q: What is the total number of interviews expected for agents, clients and non-clients?
A: The research methodology is yet to be determined, but there will be no more than 35 interviews or about 8-10 focus groups in total.

Q: What is the level of effort expected, in terms of number of days for a) conducting interviews, b) for transcribing and report writing. Are the consultants expected to work full time in February & March, or is it okay if they committed a certain number of days.
A: Timelines are also yet to be determined, but we envision the field work to be short and compact, over the course of 1-2 weeks.  The entire project should be concluded in a 6-8 week time period.

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