Terms of Reference (TOR) for a Qualitative Research Consultant

Irrigation Investments by Humanitarian Organizations in Emergency Situations



Services/Work Description: 
Recruitment of short-term national individual consultant for the IWMI

Project/Program Title: Irrigation investments by humanitarian organizations during emergency situations in Mali

Contract Type: Individual Consultancy (IC)

Duty station/Location: Bamako, Mali

Duration: 6 months

Expected Start Date: Upon signing of contract



Globally we are witnessing increased intensity and frequency of extreme events which combined are directly impacting the food and livelihood security of millions of vulnerable populations. Climate shocks are a compounding effect to already vulnerable regions dealing with political instability. Also, extreme events often disrupt the agricultural input and output supply chains, including seed systems, fertilizer input, fuel disruptions, and farm equipment. Hence it is essential to strengthen the resilience of local food production systems to improve the availability of and access to nutritious food to populations affected by crises. Resilience building requires therefore a systems approach to intervention design and implementation by embedding the solutions within the wider enabling environment.

Furthermore, in such crises, emergency agricultural assistance is a vital part of a short-term adaptation strategy to protect lives and livelihoods during the commencement of a humanitarian crisis. Supporting smallholder farmers to invest in irrigation solutions presents a medium-to long-term adaptation strategy and provides self-reliance for the most vulnerable sections of the population to produce food and secure income while reducing dependency on food assistance programs. Micro-irrigation (i.e. managed by individual households or small groups) of vegetables is a vital component of farmers’ livelihoods and nutrition pathways and income. Therefore, investing in localized, decentralized irrigated agricultural systems is crucial in providing people with a means to cope in humanitarian crisis situations. In particular, vegetable production provides a promising opportunity to sustain food, livelihood, and nutritional security during a humanitarian crisis.


The proposed project will develop a toolkit to support agencies funded by the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) to better target irrigation investments for vegetable production given the prevailing water, land, and socio-economic contexts as well as the compounding effect of natural disasters (e.g., floods and droughts). To support irrigation investments targeting vegetable production during a crisis, we propose developing a scalable approach and an online geospatial portal for humanitarian agencies, their local partners and donor organizations to identify suitable irrigation technologies accompanied with a guideline on best practices. As a proof of concept, the toolkit will be developed and tested for Mali and Ethiopia in Year 1 and scaled to continental Africa in Years 2 and 3.

The proposed project will use a combination of desk-based review, field data collection, geospatial analysis and prediction models using multi-criteria decision making /machine learning approaches. The outcome of which will be a  web-based toolkit which includes the investment maps and best practice guidelines to facilitate the implementation of localized investments on irrigation for vegetables production affected by humanitarian crisis. The project will build upon existing work that IWMI has undertaken recently. The project will work closely with the World Vegetable Center. 

The main objective of this project is to use a data driven, evidence-based approach to develop a Vegetable Irrigation for Climate Resilience Toolkit (VICT) to support humanitarian agencies in the design and implementation of irrigation investments for vegetable production. The project includes three components to develop a toolkit aimed at enhancing the targeting, selection and implementation of suitable irrigation/water management solutions for vegetables. As a proof of concept, the toolkit will be developed and tested for Mali and Ethiopia in Year 1 and scaled to continental Africa in Years 2 and 3. A brief overview of key activities under each component is described below for the first year.

Component 1: Review of irrigation interventions for vegetable production

Component 2: Targeting of suitable irrigation investments for vegetable production

Component 3: Online VICT toolkit, capacity building and training material


1. Services:  

The Data Consultant will be responsible for collecting data as required by IWMI staff/consultants working on this project. The consultant will work under the direct supervision of Petra Schmitter. 

The general tasks of Research Consultant will be to carry out Component 1 activities:

  1. Carry out in-depth key informant interviews and focus group discussions with international humanitarian partners and their local partners carrying out interventions at the national, regional, or community-level in Mali using the developed semi-structured questionnaire by IWMI consultants/staff (Component 1)

  1. Collect information on irrigated vegetable production systems, land and water resources and irrigation technologies using the data collection survey instrument designed by IWMI staff (Component 2)
  2. Collect information on the enabling environment for irrigation technology supply chains and irrigated vegetables to assess opportunities and barriers for irrigation technology investments in emergency context (Component 1)
  3. Assist in planning a stakeholder engagement workshop and hybrid survey (offline/online) to assess learnings from irrigated vegetable activities by humanitarian agencies and other stakeholders (Component 1)
  4. Assist in the co-design of guidelines throughout the project duration

The research consultant’s contract is a full-time role in Bamako. The role may require frequent travel to and days to be spent in the field.

2. Deliverables timeline:

The consultant shall perform services and provide the deliverables in accordance with the following  schedule, tentative timing and terms.

The consultant will be employed for 6 months to carry out the following activities:





Collect data with local international and national humantiarian organizations and implementing partners using the semi-structured questionnaire developed by Radhika

March -May, 2023

Conduct at least 25 interviews

Conduct at least 3 focus group discussions

Transcribe and organize data


Collect geospatial information using data collection protocol developed by Mansoor

March -May, 2023

X number of points

Organize data and send to Mansoor


Assist in collecting data on the overall enabling environment for irrigated vegetable production in close collaboration with Radhika

April - June

Carry out desk research and conduct interviews to collect information and fill in gaps on political, social, economic, environmental and cultural institutions that make up the enabling environment


Assist in designing, planning and implementing stakeholder workshop and hybrid survey

April - June

Identify organizations to send hybrid survey to and invite to workshop

Disseminate survey to relevant organizations


Develop a data base to present collected data that can be used for reference by other team members


Create data base that organizes information collected in Deliverables 1, 3, and 4


Co-develop guidelines for irrigation investments in Mali


Assist in filling out data gaps for the development of guidelines and identify relevant partners to help review guidelines

3. Required Skills and Experiences:  

Bachelor degree in a pertinent field (for example: Emergency & Disaster Management; International Development; Agricultural Development) 

At least 1 to 2 years experience in qualitative research in agricultural or irrigation development, including study design,  data collection, analysis and write up, and knowledge of a range of qualitative research methods

Significant facilitation and interviewing skills

Capacity to understand and analyze information and communication flows within communities in rural  areas.

Experience in coordination with village administrators, community leaders and local NGOs during field research work

Ability to work in team spirit and have good communication skills

Excellent English and Bambara communication skills, oral and written

4. Management: 

The consultant will work under the supervision of Petra Schmitter.

5. Budget: 

The fee for consultant will be disbursed when deliverables are submitted at the end of each month.

Please send your CV to iwmi-ghana@cgiar.org or Nana Ekua N.Awotwi@cgiar.org by 20 February 2023