SIDA/HELVETAS is seeking out Implementing partners (facilitators) to support the implementation of a new inclusive economic development programme in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans

Implementing partners (facilitators) to support the implementation of a new inclusive economic development programme in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans

I. About the Programme

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has a long-standing commitment to the growth and prosperity of Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.  As part of this commitment, Sida is currently in the process of planning a new regional inclusive economic development programme in partnership with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation.

The overarching objective of the programme is to enable women and men, particularly young people, and those from disadvantaged and excluded groups to benefit from economic opportunities by increasing their income and taking up decent employment/self-employment.  The programme has a 22-month Inception Phase, which will prepare the ground for a 5-year main phase (or ‘scaling-up’ phase) with a total timeline up to 2026 or mid-2027.

The programme will be focused on three broad workstreams:   

  • Workstream 1: The programme aims to address widespread skills mismatches – the gap between an individual’s job skills and the demands of the job market – in the region.  The focus will be on improving formal and non-training offers as well as strengthening labour marker information and intermediation services.   
  • Workstream 2: The programme aims to support to private sector development through promoting new and improved business and financial services and public-private coordination, stimulating enterprise investment, growth, invest and ultimately the creation of more employment and income-earning opportunities.
  • Workstream 3: The programme will support advocacy (policy/regulatory/legislative/administrative improvements) so that target groups and private enterprises increase their participation and voice, and hence access better economic opportunities.

The programme implementation will be guided by the market systems development (MSD) approach. Central to the application of the MSD approach will be working through a variety of market actors (both public and private) and supporting behaviour changes which will lead to long-term improvements in their performance, ultimately resulting in long-term benefits for the programme’s target group, particularly young jobseekers and budding entrepreneurs.  The programme will, therefore, play a facilitative role in this process, acting as an external agent stimulating improvements in the way in which market actors within the system perform their functions.  Working in this way will ensure the changes and benefits which the programme contributes to sustainable impact at large numbers.

In this regard, Sida/Helvetas is seeking out organisations interested in acting as facilitators in this process and supporting the implementation of the programme in the coming years. The facilitator’s activities will be focused on the first two workstreams mentioned above for the six countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, N. Macedonia & Serbia).

Broadly, the role of the facilitator will involve:

  • Participating in the design of programme initiatives or interventions which will promote changes and improvements in the behaviour and performance of market actors within the skills development and private sector support workstreams described above. Ideas for supporting the transition to a green economy and the mainstreaming of gender and social inclusion are critical.  
  • Supporting the identification and negotiation of agreements with the market actors (or partners) who will lead the change process for each intervention  
  • Overseeing and monitoring the performance of partner market actors, particularly the regular reviewing of partnership progress to inform decision-making and adjustments to partnerships
  • Overseeing data collection to demonstrate intervention impact
  • Contributing to reporting as well as knowledge management and learning

II. Application Procedure

Interested organisations should submit a short application or proposal in the following structure:

Technical Proposal (5 pages per workstream)

The technical proposal should be structured around the two workstreams which will be the focus of the facilitator’s activities. the programme has a strong regional value addition benefitting several or all countries. Therefore, the proposal should focus on ideas that will have regional added values to inclusive economic development.

Under workstream 1, the following questions should act as a guide:

  • What are the key skills shortages or deficiencies in your country (or across the region in general)?
  • Why are skills development providers (both public and private, formal and informal) unable to respond to the requirements of the market/employers? 
  • Do labour market information and intermediation systems work well in your country (or across the region in general).  If not, why not?
  • What should the programme do to improve the performance of market actors involved in the provision of labour market skills, information, and intermediation services?  Propose three intervention ideas     

Under workstream 2 the following questions should act as a guide:

  • What are the main barriers or constraints to private sector growth in your country or across the region in general?
  • How do you explain the continued existence of these constraints?  Why have solutions not emerged?
  • Which of these constraints should the programme prioritise?  Which are key to unlocking private sector growth and job creation?
  • How should the programme go about tackling these constraints?  Propose three intervention ideas.   

Capability Statement (2 pages)

This should include details of previous project experience demonstrating the following capabilities:

  • Experience supporting economic development programmes, particularly ones supporting skills and private sector development
  • Familiarity with the MSD approach
  • Experience managing and accounting for funding
  • Experience of working across multiple countries in the region (i.e. regional experience of working in more than one country)

 III.  Timeline

  • Call release date: 16 June 2020
  • Application submission deadline: 3 July 2020
  • Submission: Applications should be submitted to Helvetas Eastern Europe [email protected]
  • Applications will be evaluated by the programme’s planning committee and applicants can expect to receive a decision on their proposal by 10 July 2020