Terms of References Consultancy services for the Agri BDS Network on the legal set ups for a paid service provider function and developing administrative and financial procedures

Terms of References Consultancy services for the Agri BDS Network on the legal set ups for a paid service provider function and developing administrative and financial procedures

Terms of References Consultancy services for the Agri BDS Network on the legal set ups for a paid service provider function and developing administrative and financial procedures

1. Background

Since 2013, Spark is implementing an Economic Empowerment program, the “Cooperative Support Program; CSP” targeting Cooperatives and SMEs across agricultural value chain in Rwanda. In 2015 Spark has conducted a study on Cooperative Supporters Network (CSN) in Rwanda and came out with key recommendations to empower sustainably the Rwanda’s agriculture sector. One of CSN’s study recommendations was to establish a body of Professionals in Agribusiness; enrich them with required skills to develop and market tailor-made services, equip them with capacity to package paid-for Agri BDS and help them to deliver developed services to agricultural cooperatives and SMEs.

In August 2015, backed by SPARK – AgriProFocus partnership, the Agri BDS Network emerged with aim to establish a professional, independent body of Agri BDS Providers. The overall goal of Agri BDS Network is to build a sustainable agriculture business development services; by empowering Agri BDS providers through a collective platform within which Agri BDS professionals can realize their full potential, enhance knowledge exchange and contribute to agricultural transformation.

Agri BDS Network is a professional body gathering different agri BD services providers in Agriculture Value Chains development, agribusiness Projects development and management, Extension services, services Products development, Agriculture finance, ICT for Agriculture, Marketing and much more. Agri BDS Network is an umbrella playing a role of representation, Capacity building, Harmonization, lobbying, advocacy as well as coordinating and ensuring quality of agri BDS.

2. Context analysis

By analysing different legal status, the 1st General assembly of the agri BDS network has opted to register as a “Professional Legal Organisation (PLO)”, which is a legal employer’s organisation. The Agri BDS network made by 31founder members has established its internal regulations, reviewed by the Lawyer and officially authenticated the 1st April 2016 by the Public notary. From its establishment, the network is supposed take up another role/function, move from only networking activities and gradually take up services that would benefit to its members. One of the target options is to become a service provider, take professional assignments from potential clients and manage business / services contracts from which its members should take profit. The network is currently challenged by positioning its self as a collective service provider structure made by independent companies, generate profits to its members and retain their loyalty. One of the burning questions is to know if the network can legally contract business assignments on behalf of its members or if members may be contracted individually and provide commission fees to the network in addition to the membership fees.

In order to sustain, the network needs to start with strong functional basis protected by laws and clear administrative and managerial instruments.

3. Objectives of the assignment

The requested services are aimed at assisting the recently formed agri BDS network to have a legal set up in terms of services provision functions and profits sharing scheme with its members.

The assignment should also assist the network to acquire adapted managerial and administrative instruments which shall guide it to operate in a transparent manner, attract new membership and retain the existing ones with an insured loyalty.

Advisory and guidance should cover practices related to Organizational Structure, services provision, relations with Partners, operational roles and responsibilities for its members and board committees, recruitment procedures, Purchasing management, capital management and much more.

This advice should be legally, practical and be carried by the development of legal, administrative and financial procedures that will allow the network to operate successfully and sustainably.

4. Deliverables

The assignment anticipated deliverables are:
a) Agri BDS Network actions road map focusing on services provisions and profits sharing scheme backed up by laws and clear internal regulations; 
b) Network By-Laws operational manual
c) Agri BDS Network adapted, practical and user friendly administration , financial manual and relevant operational instruments 
d) Provide other relevant strategic and functional recommendations

To provide above deliverables, the consultant should consider the following:
 Conduct meetings with Agri BDS Network Committee, Spark and Agriprofocus for updates and information sharing;
 Review Authenticated Network By-Laws, the 3 year strategic plan and other relevant reference documents for aligning management practices with previous Network structural documents
 Review the Law regulating Professional Legal Organizations in Rwanda 
 Propose a comprehensive and adapted Administrative and Financial and relevant operational tools 
 Provide operational by laws recommendations to the network
 Share final reports and reference documents
 Action plan/road map on how to get legally registered as Agri BDS service providers 
5. Required qualification

SPARK intends to hire an individual consultant or a firm of consultants with following key qualifications:
 University degree in a relevant subject area (Laws, Social, public administration, economic sciences, and connected domains) with a proven experience / expertise on professional networking organizations development and operations. 
 Knowledge and contacts with professional legal organizations and connected public institutions
 Proven Similar assignments conducted in the past 
 Recommendations from at least two last contractors for similar work
 Knowledge of Rwandan policies, strategies and context particularly those focusing on employer’s organizations.
 Advanced analytical advisory and report writing skills;
 Fluent in English (both reading and writing). Understanding French and local language would be an advantage;
 Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

6. Organization

The assignment contract will be managed by Spark Rwanda in collaboration with Agriprofocus and Agri BDS Network committee. The consultancy is expected to take place from 27st February 2017, including preparation, assignment approach design, consultations, report writing and presentation / validation of findings and recommendations to the Agri BDS Network.

7. Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 
 Technical experience and expertise 
 Quality of proposal 
 Cost-effectiveness of proposal 
The consultant(s) shall ensure at all times the confidentiality of data, respect the privacy of all individuals concerned and make all data collected available to SPARK Rwanda in a usable format.

8. Payment

Honoraries: To be discussed within the range accepted by SPARK
Time-span to be available: 2nd half of February and first half of March 2017

9. Application

Interested consultants who fulfill the requirements can submit their CV, technical proposal and financial proposal until 22th February 2017 midnight (Kigali time) to: csp@spark-online.org with a copy to d.mushumba@spark-online.org and m.paauwe@spark-online.org

Only short listed candidates will be contacted.