Collaborating with Innovative partner for research and Innovation

Oxfam in Nepal

Oxfam has been working in Nepal since the early 1980s undertaking various development initiatives addressing the poverty and injustice faced by women and other socially and economically excluded groups. The level of Oxfam's engagement increased substantially after restoration of democracy in 1990 as it became easier for civil society to work in the new political environment. Over the years, Oxfam has worked in partnership with local civil society organisations and the government to promote rural livelihoods, and vulnerable communities' resilience to climatic shocks and disasters. It has also significantly contributed to empowering community people, especially women, to; negotiate with people in power, influence decision making processes, claim rights and essential services to which they are entitled, demand accountability on the part of duty bearers and engage larger masses in advocacy efforts. Oxfam also worked closely with UNHCR in providing assistance to Bhutanese refugees during the 1990s. Oxfam and its long term programme partners believe that the underlying structural causes and drivers of poverty must be addressed if improvements in peoples's lives are to be broad and lasting. Poverty is not one-dimensional; nor is it purely local in its causes and solutions. Therefore, Oxfam's work addresses not only material and technical change, but also the related economic, social, institutional and policy changes which are necessary to end poverty and achieve development and wellbeing. The Oxfam Nepal Vision is: The people of Nepal are empowered and work together to attain a life of dignity with justice and equal rights for all. The Overall Nepal Programme Goal is: to improve the well being of vulnerable people through strengthening their participation in development and governance processes and reducing poverty and suffering.

Detailed Job description / requirements:

Terms of Reference 

Collaborating with Innovative partner for research and Innovation

Background

Oxfam’s vision for Nepal is a just society without poverty, in which all women and men live a life of dignity, enjoy their rights, and assume their responsibilities as active citizens of Nepal. Oxfam country strategy has four clear goals: a) Strengthening women’s leadership; b) Resilient livelihood and financial security c) Increased coping capacity to disaster through localized risk management d) strong governance of water, environment management and climate emergency. Oxfam aims to contribute to reach this goal so that the people we work for gets ultimate benefit of the services that they are entitled to. 

Oxfam has been working with the community for a long period of time. We have understood that there are many local problems that have global solutions but are not just affordable and accessible for public. We are also clear that all problems at the local level may not fit in the global solution. Therefore, these local problems need local investigation and local solutions- and the solution we are looking for is not just technical, but it must be affordable and accessible to the vulnerable population as well. However, proposing solution is not easy. It requires years of investment at the community level, then trial and error in a lab to develop an affordable prototype to solve the local problem. We envision that this developed innovation will then need a strong market to make it a sustainable mainstream solution. All this is not possible through our traditional partnership as this requires deeper testing with material, its functionality, market availability, groups of technical experts and a land to test all hypothesis. This can have a clear deliverable, but the path to the deliverables may not be always clear-it requires a greater number of attempts, but more investments as well to land up on a product that’s finally affordable for all. 

This partnership demands a partner who can provide Oxfam with a technical platform to test their own hypothesis through their staffs and at the same time, also act as a lab for Oxfam where Oxfam can rent/use those machines in their lab to test any hypothesis that came from the project/experience. This will be tested and if worked well the company will roll out to business. 

This research and innovate work will contribute to OCS on effective, appropriate, and strategic partnerships, including those with government, private sector and academia and operationalize the humanitarian hub that is expected to be an effective humanitarian surge mechanism and human resource directory.

The innovation work was initiated for the water supply system where commonly used gate valve was retrofitted with an automated system. This would enable the end-users to control the operation of the valve using simple text messages via their mobile from any location. Hand-wheel mounted on the rear end of the motor was also introduced for the valve to be operable even during the frequent power cuts in Nepal. When the AC power is lost, this hand-wheel will be rotated by the end user to open or close the valve. However, this mechanism has its flaws which were discovered during the field testing which need to be improved in the next phase. The next phase will focus on removing existing flaws of the system and making it more users friendly. 

Objectives

To identify affordable and accessible local solutions to the local problems that is identified in the sector of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

  • To modify and re-test the automated device in Rural Water Supply Scheme for its feasibility and cost effectiveness with the additional features of  
    • Handwheels for emergency and ease-of-use operation
    • Messaging application
    • Detailed Data Logging
    • Battery backup internal system
    • Dust and water-proof enclosure
    • Re-sizing of the product
  • To explore the existing technologies and find one that consumes low power and has a reliable operation practically for water level sensing in storage tank. This sensed data will be used for automatic gate valve mechanism.
  • To develop a prototype for controlling multiple valves remotely

Proposed Research and Prototype Topics:

Following are the research and prototype on the topics below. This will make it easier to scale the product from a single-user decentralized system to a multiple user centralized system. 

  1. Validation of gate value functionality: While testing the current system, there should be enough data to validate the gate valve functionality throughout the testing period. For this, the consultant is expected to set up a reliable data logging system.
  2. Handwheels for emergency and ease-of-use operation: The current system does not provide any clamps in the thread of handwheels. As a result, the operator gets no idea on how long the handwheel must be rotated until the system is closed. The consultant is expected to re-modify the handwheel portion with the thread that lock the piston when the system is closed.  
  3. Data transfer using the internet (mobile data): The current system uses SMS to send and receive the commands. The amount of data that can be sent is limited by the SMS technology so this limits the remotely controlled features such as multiple gate-valve actuations. In this topic, a basic implementation of transferring the recorded data from a remote site to a local server will be tested. Then, a reliability testing for the sent and received data will be done. 
  4. Water level sensing in storage tank: in many scenarios, it may be valuable to know how much water is stored in the tank. Hence, we propose exploring the existing technologies and finding one that consumes low power and has a reliable operation practically. This sensed data will be used for automatic gate valve mechanism. 
  5. Controlling multiple valves remotely: We create a prototype for controlling multiple gate valves remotely. This will be done using a dashboard from which the status of the sites can be observed as well as operated. 

Scope of tasks will include, but may not be limited to the following: 

  1. Work together with Oxfam thematic lead, project manager, technical coordinators and partners engineer to test the developed prototype in the field.
  2. Identify teams working for Testing of the prototype and assign the focal points for regular coordination and follow up.
  3. Provide a clear lists and costs of material required for the testing of the above-mentioned prototype/design and undergo procurement process as per the policy of the organization. 
  4. Capacitate Oxfam and local partner staffs and community with the use of materials/machines as well as provide space when required.
  5. Provide yearlong support to the developed prototype and collect data (at least for a month) to test if it requires any system upgrade or make it more efficient at the ground level. 
  6. Maintain database of the research work with regular monitoring and share it with Oxfam
  7. Any field visits required to test the prototype or verify it at the ground level will be reimbursed by Oxfam.
  8. Provide one pager update on works by mid of each month. 
  9. Test the developed prototype in a special environment under different circumstances to validate its efficiency and share data with Oxfam
  10. Install three prototypes in different locations of Oxfam and validate its efficiency for certain period. The number of project locations and number of prototypes to install may increase in joint agreement with the consultant. 
  11. Re-modify the prototype based on recommendation from Oxfam representative and learning received from the ground. 
  12. Develop a working manual or a demonstrative video 
  13. Support in documenting the research work for process documentation
  14. Share a clear product costing along with production capacity 

Timeframe

The estimated timeline will be 6 months (starting from October 2022 - June 2023) to conduct research/prototype on the proposed topics. A rationale for the timeline proposed as provided below. 

  1. In the first 3 months (weeks 1 -12), the focus should be on building the manual mechanism and a mobile application to control the gate valve. By the end of the first 3 months, there should be the proof of concepts ready for demonstration as well. 
  2. (Please note that even though a fixed time has been allocated for the manual mechanism, this time is subjected to change due to the complexity of the task). 
  3. After the first 3 months, (weeks 13-18), it has been further planned to improvise the system so that it will be viable in the field test. The messaging app and the controller design should be improvised so that there will be scalable electronics hardware to support future feature updates namely- centralized control system.
  4. During the weeks 13-22, the most complicated and important task of manual actuation should be completed, then the research on 3 different topics should be initiated as proposed. Some of the team members will still work on the internal testing of the gate valve and the replication of one more unit for field testing. 
  5. During the weeks 18-21, it should be planned to implement two units in different sites to generate actual usage data. 
  6. Finally, in the final weeks 22-24, data should be collected and analysed from the site as well as document the research conducted. 

Financial  - Budget Breakdown


Terms of Payment: Oxfam will make payment based on the invoice and accepted report (by program team) submitted. Deduction of 1.5% TDS on taxable amount before VAT will be done in each invoice submitted. Initially, 50% advance amount will be provided to consultant after signing the contract and in receiving the inception report, 30% will be provided after submitting one pager of the progress and remaining 20% will be provided after submitting the final report and data of the research. 

Deliverables  

  • Final version of automated valve prototype with additional 6 features tested in three locations
  • Water level sensing in storage tank used for automatic gate valve mechanism
  • Prototype for controlling multiple gate valves remotely
  • One- month data of the research work in the field 
  • Video and process documentary of the research work 

The deliverables of each engagement will be agreed between the Thematic Lead, Project Manager and Technical Coordinators through project specific deliverables and TOR. However, it is understandable that all engagement may not acquire successful deliverables. However, final status of the prototype should be shared with Oxfam along with manual and video documentary if applicable. Since this is an innovation there are spaces for extension of timeline and budget depending upon the need and requirement. 

Profile of the Firm/Consultant

This consultancy will be carried out by an experienced and qualified consultant/firm. We are ideally looking for a lead consultant, who led the whole process and a facilitator, who support the lead consultant during field work in project sites. The consultant/firm will be selected through a competitive and transparent process. The minimum requirement should include: 

  • Availability of the space for research and innovation work
  • Proven prior experience of working for community centric innovations
  • At least 3 years of working experiences in research and innovation on electro- mechanical work and technological development

Documents for Submission

Interested consulting firm or individuals can apply by submitting the following: 

  • A detailed technical proposal including
    • Description of how your skills and experience match the TOR requirements,
    • Your understanding of the assignment
    • Proposed methodology and work plan
    • Evidence of the related work experience 
  • A financial proposal: should include a detailed budget sheet with breakdowns
  • Bio-date of expert, CV of lead consultant or consultants 
  • Profile of the consultancy firm – if applied by consultancy firm
  • VAT Registration Certificate
  • Company registration Certificate and renewal
  • Tax clearance certificate 2077/78
  • Contact detail (Name, designation, organization, email ID and phone no.) of 2 referees 

Evaluation process and Criteria


Ethical Considerations

The Consultant will be required to take all the necessary actions to handle the collected data responsibly (see Oxfam Responsible Data Policy) to ensure data privacy, anonymity, and confidentiality.

The data collection and the survey(s) should include an effective informed consent form that seeks consent from respondents after being informed on the purpose of this data collection, how the data will be stored, used, who will have access to the information and they have to right to remove themselves from the survey at any point in time. A contact number should be communicated to them to do so. The informed consent should be obtained after providing this information in a concise and clear manner and in the most adequate language.

Our Commitment to Safeguarding 

Oxfam is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults and expects all staff, consultants, volunteers to share this commitment. We will do everything possible to ensure that only those who are suitable to work within our values are selected to work for us.  

Confidentiality/ Non-Disclosure 

All material issued in connection with this ToR shall remain the property of Oxfam and shall be used only for the purpose of this procurement exercise. All information provided shall be either returned to Oxfam or securely destroyed by unsuccessful applicants at the conclusion of the procurement exercise. 

During the performance of the assignment or at any time after expiry or termination of the Agreement, the Consultant shall not disclose to any person or otherwise make use of any confidential information which s/he has obtained or may in the course of this agreement relating to partner organization/Oxfam, the respondents or otherwise. 

The consultant will be required to sign a non-disclosure / confidentiality agreement as part of their undertaking of this work.  

Intellectual Property, Copyright and Ownership 

Oxfam shall retain all reference materials provided as background used by the Consultant in the delivery of this assignment.  All arising intellectual property, ideas, materials, processes, or processes formed in contemplation, course of, or as result of this work shall be passed to Oxfam without restriction. 

Copyright of all arising documents, data, information, or reports produced by the Consultant under this agreement shall belong to Oxfam and will be passed to Oxfam without restriction. Such documents, data, information, and reports shall not be used by the Consultant for any other purpose other than in conjunction with this assignment, without the express written permission of Oxfam 

Response

  • The Consulting VAT Registered Firm should submit the technical and financial proposal to Oxfam by 29 September 2022 before 5 pm via mail to consultancy_nepal@oxfam.org.uk, clearly mentioning the title of assignment in the email subject line “Innovative partner for Research and Innovation” and not exceeding 15 MB.

Job Overview

Category Expression of Interest, Development / INGO
Openings 1
Position Type Contract
Experience Please check details below.
Education Please check details below.
Posted Date 08 Sep, 2022
Apply Before 29 Sep, 2022
City Kathmandu, Lalitpur