Request for Proposal for Supporting Gender-Sensitive Implementation of the VPs and Increasing Initiative Capacity to Address the Needs of Other Vulnerable Groups
AMENDED Deadline for Submission of Expression of Interest: September 9, 2020
AMENDED Proposal Closing Date: September 30, 2020 (CLOSED)
The Voluntary Principles Association completed this RFP process in early 2021. We received a variety of excellent bids from around the world. In the end, our evaluation team unanimously selected a joint proposal from Stratos Inc. and IMPACT.
RFP # VPSHR20-2 – Revised version posted August 21, 2020
The complete RFP and instructions for submitting are available here.
For questions and answers related to this Request for Proposal, please see the bottom of this page.
Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative (VPI) is an initiative by Governments, NGOs, and Companies that provides guidance to companies on maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The VPI provides a platform for members to engage in dialogue and discussion related to best practice and lessons learned regarding security and human rights, especially in the natural resources sector. The VPI is governed by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from the three membership Pillars: Governments, NGOs, and Companies. The VPI is governed by the Governance rules and the Steering Committee.
For additional information, please visit: http://www.voluntaryprinciples.org/
The VPA is governed by the Articles of Association and the Board of Directors. The Secretariat, located in Ottawa, Canada, is responsible for the day-to-day business of both the VPI and the VPA and as such will act as a regular point of contact for the selected Bidder. The Secretariat services are currently contracted out to Compass Consulting International Ltd. The Secretariat will be administering this request for proposal on behalf of VPA.
In early 2020, the Government of Canada approved funding to the Voluntary Principles Association for a project titled “Enhancing Gender Equality through the Voluntary Principles” to be completed over 3 years. The purpose of the project is to address gender inequalities and promote greater accountability for the protection of the rights of women and girls, Indigenous peoples, human rights defenders, and other vulnerable groups in the securing of company staff, operations, assets and work sites, including in conflict-affected settings. The project will also seek to promote greater inclusion of women and other human rights and advocacy organizations in the in-country working groups. The consulting team will implement this project under the supervision of the VPI and Secretariat.
The purpose of this consultancy is to support the Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI) to address gender inequality and for responding to the unique human rights risks faced by vulnerable groups including Indigenous peoples by: 1) Undertaking an analysis of the Principles, VPI policies and guidelines, and related VPI tools for integration of gender equality considerations and responsiveness to the unique human rights risks facing vulnerable groups; and 2) Working with VPI members to develop tools and resources to support members to address issues affecting women, girls and vulnerable groups such as Indigenous peoples arising in the context of securing business operations.
Questions and Answers
Q1. In reference to Appendix A: Scope of Work, Part 1 – Point 1, how many policies and tools will be reviewed? Do they include others beyond those available publicly via the VoluntaryPrinciples.org website and the UNICEF Childs Rights tools? If so, is there a list of the titles of any not publicly available documents in order to understand the scope of the review work?
A1. The core documents to be reviewed include the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights themselves, the Implementation Guidance Tools, and the Voluntary Principles training course (all are available at voluntaryprinciples.org). As stated in the RFP, the consultant team should also review the existing thematic guidance on children developed by UNICEF (also available on the VPI website). A small number of additional hours may be required for reviewing other documents (6 hours maximum). Also, approximately 1.5 hours should be allocated for viewing a webinar featuring VPI members/observers talking about gender and vulnerable groups.
Q2. In refence to Appendix A: Scope of Work, Part 1 – Point 2, we understand the survey of members to include all VPI members – meaning 32 corporations, 10 countries, and 14 NGOs. Is this correct?
A2. Yes, the survey should be sent to all current VPI members from all three Pillars (NGOs, Governments, Corporate) as well as 9 Observers. The Secretariat will facilitate contact between the consulting team and the VPI membership/Observers. The list of current members and Observers can be found on the Voluntary Principles website (https://www.voluntaryprinciples.org/).
Q3. In reference to Appendix A: Scope of Work, Part 1 – Point 3, we understand that the surveys are to be given to VPI in-country secretariats – how many secretariats are there in each country?
A3. There are currently 3 VPI In-country working groups (Nigeria, Ghana, Myanmar) and one secretariat for each, which is housed in an NGO operating in-country (in one case there are two NGOs operating as the Secretariat — therefore, 4 organizations to be surveyed). There is a possibility that (no more than) 1-2 additional groups will be identified/created during the project to be surveyed/interviewed. Each working group is multi-stakeholder, meaning that companies, NGOs and in some cases, government officials (both host country as well as representatives of other governments) participate. Therefore, it would be good to interview members from at least 2 of the 3 or ideally 3 out of 3 stakeholder categories in-country. The Secretariat will facilitate contact between the consulting team and the working groups.
Q4. In reference to Appendix A: Scope of Work, Part 1 – Points 2&3, is there any other distinction between points 2 and 3 than that?
A4. There is no other distinction. The survey to be sent to members and working groups will be the same. It should be noted that there will likely be overlap between the WG members and VPI members, especially among companies. However, working group members to be interviewed are those on the ground, attending the WG meetings (for example, employees of a multinational in country operations who attend the working group meetings, not HQ employees which are the main contact point for the VPI).
Q5. In reference to Appendix A: Scope of Work, Parts 1 & 2, there seems to be overlap in Task 5 of Part 1 and Task 7 in Part 2. Could you please provide some clarification of the requirement for recommendations for updating and improving existing tools in Part 1 and Part 2?
A5. Appendix A: Scope of Work Part 1 is an analytical/review exercise where issues/gaps are identified, whereas Part 2 is about responding with new tools and concrete proposals for updating existing guidance/tools.
Q6. In refence to Appendix A: Scope of Work, Part 2, our understanding is that upon completion of the Part 1 tasks (if done to the satisfaction of the VPI) the successful bidder would automatically be asked to submit a proposal to perform the Tasks in Part 2 (i.e. right of first refusal). If the VPI was not satisfied with the proposal for Part 2, they might then ask other groups to submit a proposal. Is this understanding correct?
A6. Yes, this is correct. We fully expect the successful bidder to perform both Parts 1&2 but reserve the right to select a different partner for Part 2 if Part 1 is not satisfactory.
Q7. With respect to the timeline for the project, noting the anticipated start date of January 2021, is there a preferred timeline for this project (i.e. what is the expectation for when this will be completed)? Is there a firm deadline?
A7. The entire project, including parts 1 & 2 should be completed by March 31, 2022 at the latest, however we hope and expect that that team may be able to complete it significantly earlier.
Q8. Is the $90,000 maximum bid that is listed in the RFP per year or for the entirety of the three-year project?
A8. The USD $90,000 maximum bid is for the entirety of the contract.
A9. All costs and overhead should be reflected in the Bidder’s Financial Proposal. There is no specific Voluntary Principles Association policy on institutional overhead, however, it is recommended that bidders do not exceed a 12 percent overhead rate without justification.
Q10. With respect to RFP section 4.1 Proposal Responses, reading of the RFP is that the proposal is to cover the tasks outlined in Part 1 of Appendix A, not the tasks in Part 2. Could this be confirmed?
A10. The Financial proposal should cover the entirety of the Scope of Work as described in Appendix A (including Part 1 and Part 2). The Technical proposal should cover the entirety of the Scope of Work (Part 1 and Part 2) as described in Appendix A including methodology and relevant experience/expertise. However, it is understood that certain details regarding Part 2 of the contract and the specific training/tools proposed will only be available once Part 1 is completed. Upon satisfactory performance of Part 1 of the contract, the consulting team will be required to prepare an outline of the proposed tools/training for VPA endorsement prior to beginning Part 2.
Q11. The RFP is focused on VPI tools for promoting gender equality, but also for addressing concerns faced by other vulnerable groups. Tools for addressing gender disparity, though, may not necessarily transfer to addressing concerns among other vulnerable groups. Would proposals that focus explicitly on gender with a nod to how these might transfer (or not) be considered, or must proposals explicitly address both?
A11. Proposals should address both gender equality and provisionally identify other vulnerable groups facing unique human rights and security risks requiring dedicated tools for a more tailored assessment of risks and response. The VPI membership has already identified Indigenous Peoples as one such group which should be included in the project. We anticipate that the desk-top research and surveys of members in Part 1 will help identify with greater precision vulnerable groups to be included in addition to gender and Indigenous Peoples, if any. For example, the consultants may decide that children are adequately covered by the existing tools developed by UNICEF cited in the RFP or, conversely, decide that additional guidance is required to supplement the existing materials. We agree that guidance for the treatment of women will not be transferrable to other groups and each will need their own dedicated tool/guidance. The consulting team should also consider and highlight the intersectionality between gender and other identities.
Q12. Are there restrictions as to what researchers can do with the data once they have completed the project?
A12. Consultants will be required to sign confidentiality agreements and keep all information gathered in confidence by VPI members and Working Group members (survey results and interviews) strictly confidential, including aggregated data. That said, non-confidential information gathered by the consultants in the project can be used for the consultant’s own research and writing and other purposes.
Any tools/guidance/training created by the consulting team will become the intellectual property of the VPA. However, all attributions will be made to the authors, and the tools/guidance will be made freely available to the public.
Q13. With regard to the tool(s)/toolkit and training, we understand that is to be delivered to the working groups “as appropriate.” Is there more information on the working groups you are thinking about or would that be determined by the study?
A13. The consultant is expected to present the tools/toolkit developed to the VPI members and in-country working groups. The consultant will have the option of proposing a more specialized training for members and/or in-country working groups if the consultant has determined that this would enhance member capacity to identify and respond to gender equality issues and the unique human rights risks facing other vulnerable groups and that there is sufficient budget available to do so.
Q14. If it were an eLearning training would the contractor be responsible just for the content or would they expected to develop it in a format that is adapted for, and uploaded to, an online learning platform?
A14. Where possible, any resulting training should be in a format that can be made available to VPI members and in-country working groups with minimal intervention. Where this is not possible, provision of adaptable training content is acceptable.
Q15. Regarding a possible toolkit, could you provide more granularity on the scope and approximate number of pages you would be expecting?
A15. The length of the final toolkit will be influenced by the number of topics and tools that are determined appropriate to meet the objectives of the contract, based on the survey/interview results and available remaining budget. The tools are expected to be operational and accessible and the length should reflect this. Bidders may wish to refer to the UNICEF Child Rights and Security Handbook and accompanying checklist available on the VPI website as a useful example.
A16. The Secretariat declines to answer this question.
A17. The Secretariat declines to answer this question.