REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) National reach survey of COVID-19 media programming 2021 – Somalia


National reach survey of´COVID-19 media programming 2021

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: 15th of December 2020

This Request for Proposal is to carry out a “National reach survey of COVID-19 media programming

  1. The proposal shall be written in English
  2. The organisation shall complete the deliverables by 15th of December 2020


Proposals in response to this RFP must be priced on a fixed-price, all-inclusive basis, including delivery and all other costs. Pricing must be presented in US Dollar.

Proposal Preparation:

Please e-mail your proposal, including an itemised budget with the names of two references for which your organisation has carried out similar work, to:


Please direct any enquiries to:

Hodan Yassin Ibrahim, Senior Researcher at BBC Media Action Somalia


  1. Background

1.1 BBC Media Action

BBC Media Action uses media and communication to help reduce poverty and contribute to long-term change in some of the world’s poorest countries. To achieve this, we partner with civil society, local media and others to:

  • Produce creative programmes and content in multi-media formats which inform and engage audiences.
  • Strengthen the media sector by building professional capacity and infrastructure.

With our partners we reach millions through creative communication and trusted media, helping people have their say, understand their rights, responsibilities and each other, and take action to transform their lives.

Research underpins every aspect of BBC Media Action’s work, from determining project strategy and key information needs to pre-testing output production and impact evaluation. The research is managed by BBC Media Action’s Research & Learning team based in London and country/project offices across the world.

In Somalia, BBC Media Action has been delivering projects on governance and accountability, female economic empowerment, and child health including childhood vaccination, and recently lifeline communication on COVID-19. Examples of past projects and media outputs can be found at

  • Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC), BBC Media Action Somalia, Unilever PSAs

BBC Media Action is conducting a Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition project in Afghanistan and Somalia, from August 2020 to July 2021.

The overall HBCC aim is to reduce transmission of the coronavirus and COVID-19 in Somalia. This project will contribute to the long-term hand and surface hygiene behaviour change by strengthening understanding, confidence, motivation and collective efficacy, and by shaping desirable norms around hygiene to sustain change.

The project produces and broadcasts visual and audio public service announcements (PSAs)

  • 12 audio PSAs are being broadcast on radio including the BBC Somali Service and 13 partner radio stations across Somalia, aimed at a general audience, with some content specifically targeting the needs of IDPs.
  • 8 videos/films are being produced for Facebook distribution, for a primarily male audience given social media consumption habits in Somalia.

The project aims to contribute to addressing barriers, enablers and drivers to enable take up of the following priority behavioural outcomes:

  • Washing hands with soap and water correctly, frequently and at critical times.
  • Disinfecting high-touch surfaces in the most commonly used parts of a living space or workspace frequently.
  • Catching coughs and sneezes, and not spitting.
  • Physical distancing of at least 1 metre from others and wearing face masks in crowded places.

1.3 Hagaha Nolosha (Life Guidance), COVID-19 focused programming

BBC Media Action is also funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), to broadcast a COVID-19 focused radio programme, called Hagaha Nolosha (Life Guidance). It has been broadcast weekly from the 1 September 2020, on the BBC Somali Service. The 13-minute magazine programme includes a drama segment, Tilmaame (Instructor), and is rebroadcast on seven partner radio stations in the states of Banadir, South West State, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, Puntland and Somaliland.

The key outcomes for the project include:

  • Somali audiences understand how COVID-19 is transmitted, and how and why to prevent transmission including proper use of protective equipment (such as masks)
  • Somali audiences feel able to undertake recommended measures to safely and appropriately prevent transmission of COVID-19 without putting themselves or others at risk of COVID-19 or any other wider health or wellbeing risks (taking into consideration the cultural, social and religious context)
  • Somali audiences feel able to identify mis/disinformation about COVID-19
  • Somali audiences report discussing what they hear in the programme with family and friends

2.1 Research Design

The remit of this RFP is for a research agency to conduct a survey to understand the reach, engagement, and impact of the key media and communication outputs of the projects: audio and visual PSAs and the radio programme Hagaha Nolosha (Life Guidance). It will also aim to collect data around media access and use of different platforms including; radio, TV and social media.

The research team is keen for agencies to propose different options and budgets for data collection.

  1. A telephone only interview survey across all regions of Somaliland, Puntland, South Central. This aim is to get a nationally representative sample. The telephone survey would use a questionnaire that is no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. A mixed survey – with face-to-face interviews in areas that are deemed accessible in terms of security, COVID-19 and travel (Somaliland and Puntland). A telephone survey for inaccessible areas such as South Central. This again would aim to be a nationally representative sample. The face to face survey would be up to 60 minutes long, and a telephone survey would be up to 30 minutes long. 

Agencies are invited to propose either one or both options as this will help us to understand and review the different costs and timings. .

2.2 Research Objective

BBC Media Action is calling for technical and financial proposals from research agencies operating in Somalia (local and /or international) to conduct a quantitative survey with a nationally representative sample.

The overarching objectives of the national research will be to measure:

  • To understand how well the content has reached target audiences
  • To understand the extent to which the content has engaged target audiences
  • To capture audience profiles (broken down by key demographics as well as target audiences)
  • To identify the extent to which output content is impacting knowledge and practice of key health related behaviours.
  • To understand media access and use of different platforms (radio, TV, social media)

2.3 Questionnaire

The survey questionnaire will be designed by BBC Media Action, in consultation with the agency. The agency will be responsible for conducting a comprehensive pilot in order to adjust the questionnaire to ensure clarity and comprehension amongst research respondents.

The questionnaire will need to be translated into Somali by the agency and uploaded onto a digital interface.

Audio stimuli will be used to facilitate respondents’ recall of the PSAs and radio programme which BBC Media Action will provide.

We expect that the agency will demonstrate how they will ensure that the questionnaire is appropriate to the survey context, using the pilot to test this.

2.4 Permission to Conduct Research

The agency will be responsible for obtaining permission from the relevant government ministry to conduct the survey and will also be responsible for obtaining local authority approval to conduct fieldwork in each region.

  • Sampling

BBC Media Action wants the sample of the survey to be representative of Somali’s national population breakdown (urban/rural, male/female, and age) according to Population Estimation Survey of Somalia (PESS) 2014 (conducted by the United Nations Population Fund) or any other credible sources that provides similar population data (reference should be provided in such case). The target population for this work is adults (aged 18 years and over). BBC Media Action intends to have a nationally representative survey that will cover all 18 geographical regions of Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland.

According to UN Migration[1] there are 2.6 million IDPs most living in 2,000 IDP sites in urban and peri-urban areas. We are also interested in hearing research agencies thoughts around the inclusion of Internally Displaced People (IDP) in the sample.

Sample Size

BBC Media Action has calculated the sample size for this survey to be at least 1,500. The estimates and assumptions for this sample size is based on a precision calculation. This assumption can, however, be reviewed and questioned by those submitting proposals.

Furthermore, the agency is invited to advise on the possibility of capturing the views of IDPs in the Somalia, either as part of this sample or as part of a separate booster sample among IDPs.

The research agency should detail where they will get their sampling frame, and respondent selection, in their proposal.

For the telephone only survey the agency should make clear the reliability of the phone lists.

For the mixed survey – both face to face and mobile survey collection, the agency should detail in the sample framework what will be done by phone and what will be done face-to-face. Please note that the final sampling strategy will be decided upon, after discussions between the BBC Media Action sampling experts and the selected agency.

We welcome agencies to include a detailed sampling strategy in their proposal, including any suggested deviations from the above suggested sample (with accompanying rationale) based on previous experience in conducting surveys in Somalia.

  1. Deliverables from the agency

The research agency will be expected to deliver (and the costing and timeline should consider) the following:

  • Pre-tested and piloted final questionnaire (tool) in Somali (including digital interface if it proposes for digital data collection and management)
  • A clean and analysis ready data set provided in SPSS or Excel
  • Tables of descriptive analysis (in Excel) of outcome variables against key demographic variables
  • A project completion report containing detailed methodology, finally achieved sample with detailed breakdown of field operations including challenges faced and limitations during the study
  1. Deliverables from BBC Media Action

BBC Media Action will provide;

  • Stimulus (audio and /or video clips to play while interviews so that respondents can identify programme or channel)
  • Technical oversight or sampling including sample size calculation
  • Support on delivering training to field team
  • A codebook to create framework for data entry
  • Data cleaning checks during data management
  • An analysis plan for descriptive analysis and tables
  1. Quality assurance

BBC Media Action researchers will join (remotely by phone) and support the training session with the local agents who will carry out the data collection.

  • BBC Media Action researchers and the agency’s supervisors should be able to listen in on a selected number of interviews for – interviewer skills, professionalism, and phone manner to be regularly monitored and enhanced, and to check that responses are recorded accurately.
  • Alternatively, a random subset of interviews should be recorded and given to BBC Media Action, so that they can be used for quality monitoring later.
  • If the available software does not allow for listening in or recording interviews, BBC Media Action might regularly call back respondents to obtain information allowing them to spot-check the performance of interviewers. For this purpose, a small random subset of respondents may be phoned.
  • If face-to-face interviews are included in the methodology, then the agency will provide regular field reports, with a breakdown of interviews completed per region, and seek guidance with country staff on how to best resolve any complications with completing interviews that may require revisions to the sampling strategy. The agency will record all unsuccessful visits in a non-response table and enter non-response or failed recruitment into the final dataset, so BBC Media Action is able to look at the characteristics of those who refuse to be interviewed. In the proposal, the agency will provide a detailed timeline for fieldwork, including details on how many teams will be sent into the field, and how the process will be overseen and quality controlled.

The agency will include its own plan for quality control in the proposal to ensure high quality of the data.

  1. Ethical considerations, data protection and safeguarding

Researchers and agencies working with BBC Media Action need to adhere to a strict code of ethics and endeavour to address major concerns around consent, confidentiality, anonymity the safeguarding of vulnerable people, and the potential impact of the research on both those researched and researchers.

In agency proposals a section will be required describing how the agency plans to meet and adhere to ethical protocols and quality control standards including the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This requires a full outline of how agencies will adhere to high quality research protocols with regards to the following stages of the survey:

  • How respondents will be assured of their confidentiality and the anonymity of data
  • How all data will be kept secure
  1. Risks and mitigation strategies

We understand that conducting a national survey in Somalia is challenging due to insecurity and ongoing conflict. COVID-19 has introduced additional challenges. We request the research agency outlines their COVID-19 safety plan for staff and enumerators when conducting phone interviews.

If conducting a face to face survey, then agencies should also propose what additional protective measures they will put in place for fieldwork in relation to COVID-19 and other physical security risks.  This will be to protect both the enumerators and respondents. The agency is responsible for ensuring the safety of its staff when interviewing in potentially dangerous places.

We would request that the research agency outlines other challenges they anticipate during data collection and subsequent mitigation plans.  The proposal should also include a brief section describing how the agency plans to meet and adhere to ethical protocols to the highest standards.

We would ask that the agency share their overall safety protocols and processes. They should review the attached research services template at the end of this document, and review the sections specifically on insurance requirements, and any queries around this area should ideally be raised as early as possible.

  1. Timeline

Approximate timeline for the research project

Task  Tentative dates(2020/2021)   Responsible
Proposal Submission 15th December Research Agency
Selection of agency 6th Jan BBC Media Action
Kick-off meeting with selected agency, including sampling discussion 7th Jan BBC Media Action and Agency
Contract signing 11th Jan BBC Media Action and Agency
Sign-off sampling approach 15th Jan BBC Media Action and Agency
Final Questionnaire in English & Materials sent to agency (or uploaded on digital interface) 15th Jan Agency
Questionnaire translated into Somali on digital interface Agency to provide proposed timings BBC Media Action
Full Fieldwork Team briefing (including supervisors) BBC Media Action and Agency
Fieldwork pilot Agency
Final Post Pilot changes BBC Media Action
Data collection Fieldwork Agency
Daily Quality checks on digital interface Throughout data collection BBC Media Action
Final dataset in excel or SPSS from agency 12th Feb Agency
Tables of descriptive analysis from agency As quickly as possible Agency – to advise on timings
A final completion report 19th Feb Agency

BBC Media Action welcomes any suggestions from agencies for ways to reduce the timeline and have finalised data at an earlier date.

  1. Proposal Requirements

Technical Proposal including, research design and sampling methodology, data collection operation plan and project management plan. Please provide a description of the following:

  • List of sampling plan (including a note on where the agency will get their sampling framework (phone lists) and how sampling points/districts/units will be selected)
  • Description of piloting of survey procedures
  • Details on data collection operations
  • Information on briefing interviewers
  • Information on supervising interviewers
  • Details on digital interface
  • Detailed time plan highlighting survey piloting, data collection, data cleaning and delivery

In addition to the requirements related to each research activity, BBC Media Action invites detailed proposals that include:

  • Details of the support and training needed from BBC Media Action to support the research, including training of moderators, interviewers, project staff and employees
  • Supporting documents showing examples of similar research conducted by the agency including quantitative mobile research examples
  • Areas where the agency suggests we should adapt the research design/ methodology
  • Activities that will be required to gain permission to do research in each region
  • Detailed CVs of the key person(s) involved in the study
  • Name, telephone & e-mail address of one referee each from two client organizations who are authorised to comment on the quality of research conducted for them.
  • Financial proposal-Unit wise detailed budget, project management, data analysis and report preparation costs.
  1. Decision on tenders

BBC Media Action will award this contract competitively and will make our decision on the basis of the following information:

  • Relevant and sufficient previous work experience especially related to research on the areas of peace, conflict, media and communication.
  • A research design which clearly states proposed methodology and sampling strategy, and how the agency will deal with sampling the target population so as to achieve a nationally representative sample of this population
  • A detailed time plan of data collection accompanied by an explanation of how the project will be managed to deliver the data to us on time and to a high standard.
  • Specification of how and where the data will be entered into electronic format. Please specify how many people will be allocated to this task and how you will quality control this process. We are particularly interested in finding out whether your data will be processed locally or whether you intend to send it to an external data processor (given the extent to which this limits our ability to oversee and quality control and as it may cause severe delays). Please address this issue in your proposal. The agency must adhere to GDPR data protection standards.
  • A detailed plan of how quality assurance will be achieved.
  • Complete breakdown of costs by activity for all elements of the research.
  • A detailed outline of what challenges the agency feel they may face in carrying out this research and how they will tackle these issues.
  1. Confidentiality

All documents prepared during the assignment will be treated as BBC Media Action’s Property. The documents or any part, therefore, cannot be sold, used and reproduced in any manner without prior written approval of BBC Media Action. The contracted agency/firm will submit all original documents, materials and data (hard and/or soft copy) to BBC Media Action.



A research services template has been attached to this RFP for agencies to review alongside their RFP application. Please highlight any issues with this template early on. Thank you.

[1] UN Migration

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