TOR – Consultancy: Managing and mitigating the risks associated with social media for humanitarian operations
The digital age offers new opportunities, and risks, for humanitarian operations and advocacy. Technology holds the potential to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, reach and impact of aid. For these reasons, the aid industry is actively exploring new approaches to data-driven interventions and communications – including an increased presence on, and use of, social media.
Aid agencies have largely embraced the use of social media to share donor visibility messages about their programmes, and raise awareness around emergency contexts. Yet they are still navigating the real-world risk that accompany a presence on social media. Indeed, humanitarian aid, its messages, principles and approaches have been slow to adapt to, and understand, the dynamics that accompany social media. The industry’s top-down ‘broadcasting’ approach of communication, is interacting with the more diffused, organic, bottom-up model of social media communications that is increasingly being defined by a populist distrust of authority, experts, scientific-consensus, or even the notion of accepted facts.
Added to which, while the weaponization of social media in eroding social cohesion, driving conflict or ethnic tensions has been identified, there has been less attention given to the impact of social media in developing and spreading messages that directly impact humanitarian agencies and their work. From concerted and focused attempts to provide counter-narratives to UN and aid agency messaging on humanitarian contexts, to questioning the intentions and purpose of humanitarian aid, the mechanisms of disinformation that thrive on social media create a fundamental challenge to humanitarian operations. Moreover, the UN and aid agencies are also increasingly becoming integrated into false narratives or drawn into parallel conflicts by one side or the other in the online wars that often accompany political crisis and conflict.
- NRC Activities & Presence
NRC’s 2022 – 25 global strategy has the global ambition: “NRC works to ensure that by 2030, those forced to flee are safer and can exercise their rights, quickly access the services needed to regain control of their lives and are able to become self-reliant and find solutions.” Global objectives include: “Displacement affected people can access quality services and protection” and “Displaced people secure durable solutions”. NRC’s regional office (RO) for the greater Horn of Africa includes country offices (CO) in the following countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen. NRC’s Head Office (HO) is based in Oslo, Norway.
The NRC EA&Y RO is located in Nairobi, Kenya. NRC EA&Y implements activities in six “core competencies” (CCs): Livelihoods and Food Security (LFS), WASH, Camp Management, Education, Shelter and Settlements and, Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA).
- Purpose of Outputs & Intended Use
This project presents an opportunity to examine social media – and its associated disinformation and manipulation of information – as an element within the broader political, conflict, and humanitarian system in which aid agencies operate. As such, this project will seek to identify gaps in INGO risk analysis around their own communications, as well as rapidly evolving social media narratives that have real impact on the political, conflict or humanitarian contexts in which agencies operate.
- Expected Outputs
Successful consultant will be expected to produce the following outputs:
- Host roundtable discussion and validation workshop.
- Training presentation on tools and guidelines for NRC Regional Management Team.
- Produce a final report that addresses (at minimum) the following objectives:
Overview. Provide a broad systems perspective overview of the scale of the problem, relevant trends, and risks for operational humanitarian agencies.
Tracking. Identify practical mechanisms/approaches for tracking social media narratives and trends that relate to humanitarian operations, principles or approaches in relevant contexts.
Indicators. Develop criteria or indicators that can be used to evaluate the associated risks.
Tools. Identify and develop risk mitigation tools for organizational resilience and mitigation of impact.
Guidelines. Develop guidelines for NRC communication through social media in contexts of particular risk.
- How Outputs Will be used & By Who
The outputs will be used internally by NRC.
- Methodology, Scale & Scope
The project will rely largely on desk research, and key informant interviews where necessary. The consultant will be expected to draw on experience in the fields of social media analysis and analytics as well as an understanding of the humanitarian industry.
- Management of Planned Work
The project will be managed by the Regional Head of Advocacy Media & Communication, and will be the primary focal point for the consultancy.
A Steering Committee will be established by NRC, which will oversee administration and overall coordination of the consultancy, including monitoring progress. The main functions of the Steering team will be:
- Select consultant(s);
- Review and finalise the Terms of Reference with the consultant(s);
- Support access to country offices and senior management staff;
- Review and comment on agreed project milestones;
- Review and input towards final report.
- Time Frame
The project is expected to take 22 days with completion before end of July 2022.
NRC seeks expressions of interest from consultants with the following skills/qualifications:
- Evidenced experience in strategic communications and communications policy development.
- Evidenced experience in social media analysis and analytics.
- Knowledge of humanitarian sector advocacy and communications.
- Understanding of humanitarian sector operations and risk management protocols.
- Understanding of humanitarian principles, standards, codes of conduct.
- Strong remote/ virtual group facilitation and presentation skills.
- Very high standard of spoken and written English.
- Minimum 5 years’ experience of communications policy at a strategic level
- Experience in undertaking similar projects, and producing written reports of a high standard.
Working in a collaborative and participatory manner with diverse groups of people.
Interested consultant(s) should submit a bid, which must include the following:
- Proposal of maximum 2- 4 pages in length, including outline of approach and methods to be applied, proposed time frame, work plan and any comments on the TOR.
- Outline of consultant(s) experience in similar work.
- Cost proposal.
- CVs of core team proposed.
- At least 2 examples of similar work undertaken.
Application Deadline: 31st May 2022
Send application to: firstname.lastname@example.org
When applying, include as subject area “Social Media Management & Mitigation Consultancy”
How to apply
Eligible service providers to request for the complete tender documents using the following email address email@example.com
Completed tender documents submitted by hand shall be sealed and marked as stated in the tender document and be dropped in the Tender Box at NRC East Africa & Yemen Regional Office in Nairobi or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submission is 10:00Am on 31st May 2022. The tender shall be opened on the same day at 2:30Pm.
Enquiries to be sent to: email@example.com