Terms of Reference: Consultancy for an Agroecology-based WhatsApp Chatbot Development

  1. Introduction
    Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre (FPC) is registered under the Zimbabwe Institute of
    Permaculture (ZIP) as a local Private Voluntary Organization (PVO number 12/92). FPC was
    established in 1988 as an organization pioneering Permaculture and Agroecology practices. The
    organization facilitated the founding of four other organizations chasing a similar cause viz. the
    Natural Farming Network (NFN); the Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme (SCOPE);
    Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM); African Farmer Organic Research and
    Training (AfFOREST) and several other community-based organizations. Since its inception, the
    centre has paved the path for food, nutrient, and income security through sustainable land use
  2. Scope of work
    FPC is jointly implementing a Gender and Climate Change Programme in 5 districts namely
    Matobo and Insiza in Matabeleland South Province, Makoni in Manicaland Province and Bikita,
    and Gutu Districts in Masvingo Province in a consortium with the following organization: Zimbabwe
    Project Trust (Insiza District), Caritas Masvingo (Bikita and Gutu Districts), Caritas Mutare (Makoni
    District), and Caritas Bulawayo (Matobo District). The project is funded by Irish Aid (Ireland’s Civil
    Society Partnership (ICSP)). Although the programme is guided by four outcomes, FPC’s
    contribution contributes to two outcomes namely:
  • People living in poverty, particularly rural women, and youth, have adopted agroecological
    approaches at household and community levels.
  • People living in poverty, particularly rural women and youth in their households, user groups,
    and communities are collaborating in advocacy initiatives for their rights (e.g., for seed, food,
    budgetary, markets engagement, services – financial, education, technical, information) and
    rights related to the sustainable management and governance of natural resources).
    It is against this background that FPC seeks the services of a consultant/Vendor/service provider
    to develop a WhatsApp chatbot platform that can be used by farmers, lead farmers, and
    Agriculture Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS), officers to automatically get preset
    responses and agroecology related information. The main areas of agroecology to be covered in
    the chatbot are to be derived from the following key strategic areas namely: soil fertility
    management, pest and disease management, water harvesting techniques, cropping systems/
    companion planting and pre-and post-harvest and handling among other thematic areas of
    Agroecology. The contents of the information on these thematic areas will be provided by FPC.
    FPC envisages a platform that works 24/7 and runs multiple conversations with different
    stakeholders, at the same time. The basic requirements of the chatbot include but are not limited
  • Simplicity, performance, and appealing design.
  • Enable farmers and relevant stakeholders to gather agroecology information.
  • Accommodate different languages (English Shona and Ndebele)
  • Compatible with all WhatsApp versions.
  • Accommodates Photographs, videos, fonts, illustrations, etc
  • User-initiated conversations

Expected outputs and Key deliverables.

  • A functional WhatsApp chatbot
  • Design and development-Incorporation and customization of the user-specified features and
    functionalities-(at least 2 options to be submitted for review)
  • Presentation, Review, and Tests by Key Users- the consultant will present the developed
    system to key users who will review, test, and identify any final changes that may need to
    be made.
  • Training of relevant staff on the functions of the developed applications
  • On-going Support – The consultant will provide free online backstopping for the functioning
    of the applications through telephone calls, Anydesk, Email, TeamViewer, etc. Where necessary physical support visits shall be conducted.
  • Post application deployment support report after 3 months from the day of signing off.

Competencies and qualifications

  • A bachelor’s or honours degree in information technology, computer science, or relevant
  • Proven experience, from previous assignments, with chatbot builder that has direct
    integration with WhatsApp (such as ManyChat or Landbot)
  • Proven experience of experience in mobile application development and application life cycle
  • Able to communicate effectively in English plus Ndebele and/or Shona.
  • Strong IOS and Android SDK

Evaluation of the Bids

Technical proposal and methodology40 %
Experience and academic qualifications40 %
Financial proposal/ budget20 %

To apply
Interested and qualified candidates (individuals and teams) should apply including the following:

  • Technical proposal not exceeding 10 pages in pdf format.
  • Financial proposal in excel format.
  • Brief resume with at least three traceable reference organizations where similar services have
    been provided.
  • Link(s) to previous work done by the consultant, related to the assignment.
  • Copies of certificate of registration/incorporation (for firms)
  • Tax Clearance
  • Company profile (for firms)

All applications must be directed to tenders@fambidzanai.org.zw stating “Consultancy for the
development of WhatsApp Chatbot” in the subject line.

Deadline for submission: 4 September 2023.

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