Individual Consultant - Conduct an assessment of agricultural, water and energy practices promoted under ZRBF

Location : Harare, ZIMBABWE
Application Deadline :23-Apr-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :90 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :90 working days

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


As a key partner in the Resilience debate in Zimbabwe, UNDP has in partnership with a number of donors and Government of Zimbabwe developed the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF). ZRBF strives to ensure that at risk, households, communities and systems anticipate, cushion, adapt, bounce back better and move on from the effects of shocks and hazards in a manner that protects livelihoods and recovery gains and supports sustainable transformation.  The overall objective of the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund is to contribute to increased capacities of communities to protect development gains and achieve improved well-being outcomes in the face of shocks and stresses. This will be achieved through three interlinked components:

  • Creating a body of evidence and building capacity for increased application of evidence-based policy making;
  • Improving the absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities of at-risk communities; and
  • Setting up a crisis modifier mechanism which will provide appropriate, predictable, coordinated and timely response to risk and shocks from a resilience perspective.  

The problems Zimbabwe is facing in the agricultural sector largely stem from climate change. Climatologically, the country has an extremely variable rainfall distribution, which has been exacerbated by climate change. The frequency and length of dry spells during the rainy season have increased in recent years—the consequences of which include increased heat and water stress on natural ecosystems, agricultural crops and livestock, which result in low agricultural output and productivity, and food and nutrition insecurity . This poses a threat to agriculture, economic growth and development as the climate continues to change. Seventy percent of Zimbabweans reside in rural areas where they rely on rain-fed agriculture for their food and livelihoods , with only about 200,000 hectares of crop production under irrigation against a potential of five million hectares , posing a serious threat to food and livestock production. It has been predicted that climate change and variability will accelerate food insecurity, which is gaining traction insidiously in Zimbabwe. Increasing temperatures will result in more frequent occurrences of heat stress and increased infestations of pests and outbreaks of diseases, thus eroding the productivity of crops and livestock, as well as increasing expenditure on pesticides, herbicides and veterinary drugs. In addition, there are likely to be shifts of the onset and cessation of the rainy season (Mugabe, 2013, Lesolle, 2012). This implies shifts in planting and harvesting dates, as well as changes to the length of the growing season and to the types of crops and livestock that are suitable to these changes.

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) was defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as agriculture that i) sustainably increases productivity and incomes, ii) enhances adaptation and resilience to climate change of livelihoods and ecosystems, iii) reduces and/or removes greenhouse gases (GHGs) and iv) enhances the achievement of national food security and development goals . The CSA concept reflects the ambition of further integrating agricultural development and climate responsiveness. The concept is aimed at achieving food security and broader development goals in circumstances of a changing climate and increasing food demand. CSA strategies include, but are not limited to mulching, intercropping, conservation agriculture, production of high yielding short season drought tolerant varieties, crop rotation, integrated crop-livestock management, agroforestry, improved grazing and improved water management. CSA should not be seen as a set of practices but should be approached more systemically – agroecology, ecosystem and landscape approaches and integrated food-energy systems are useful tools. It also involves the introduction of innovative practices such as more dependable weather forecasting, early-warning systems, climate risk finance and many agricultural practices currently used by farmers in different parts of the country to cope with various production risks.

Agroecology in particular is a very relevant approach to smallholder farming and food systems in the current Zimbabwean context, in which farmers may find appropriate agrichemicals and hybrid seeds hard to obtain and have to deal with pests, weeds and challenging weather conditions with locally available resources.

Part of CSA which is currently critical for Zimbabwe’s rural farmers is Water-Smart Agriculture (WaSA). WaSA focusses on those innovations that specifically address water related aspects of climate smart agriculture, resilience building, and poor access to water (through lack of infrastructure and physical scarcity of water). It is an approach to efficiently harvest, store, access and utilize water throughout the year . These approaches cover water management for agriculture in a broad sense, integrating soil and water conservation, conservation agriculture practices, rainwater harvesting, groundwater abstraction, and irrigation water to increase agricultural productivity . WaSA brings agriculture and water sectors together to manage water for agriculture sustainably and more productively to enhance food security, countering the effects of dry spells, water scarcity, poor access to water for food production, and land degradation. It helps farmers optimize balance of rain-fed agriculture, irrigation, and soil moisture preservation via conservation agriculture for sustainably increased food production .

Another part of CSA is ‘energy-smart food’. This concept was developed by FAO and revolves around three objectives of improved energy access, energy efficiency and production and use of renewable energy in agri-food systems.  It is also important to consider water and energy in an integrated fashion with agriculture/land use/food systems in the context of climate change: this notion is encapsulated in the food-energy-water, climate-land-energy-water and other ‘nexus’ approaches.

Climate change means that future weather/climate patterns and events will be increasingly volatile and extreme, with an increased risk of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts (IPCC AR5, 2014). Since impacts of climate change are complex and far-reaching, especially for the agriculture sector, it can be extremely difficult to foresee exactly what the consequences will be, and how they will affect different contexts, regions and sectors (CCAFS). Hence the need to undertake regular assessments of agricultural, water management and energy practices.

In addition to climate risks, Zimbabwean farmers face a wide array of other risks, principally pests and diseases and market/economic shocks and stresses. Agriculture, water and energy practices must also be resilient to these risks, which are interlinked with climate risk.

The ZRBF consortia have been implementing different agricultural and water management practices, some of which are identified as CSA practices, across the 18 targeted districts with different levels of success since the last quarter of 2016. Since successful adaptation requires a continuous process of review, anticipation of uncertainty of the future climate, and flexibility to respond to changes as they occur, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the ZRBF would like to contract a service provider (e.g. team of consultants, research institute, NGO or consortium) to carry out an assessment of agricultural, water management and energy practices promoted across the 18 ZRBF targeted districts.

Duties and Responsibilities

The following are the objectives of the assessment. Prospective candidates are advised to visit the link for full details of the Terms of Reference:

  • Identify and provide an overview of agricultural, water management (for agriculture) and energy production and consumption practices being promoted across the 18 ZRBF targeted districts under ZRBF;
  •  Assess the contribution of these practices to the three core CSA objectives (sustainable increases in productivity and incomes, adaptation and resilience to climate change, and climate change mitigation), the broader food and nutrition security objective (focusing on stable access to food and dietary diversification), resilience to major non-climate risks, and, for energy practices, to the three dimensions of energy-smart food (energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy production and use);
  •  Assess the appropriateness of the selected interventions to achieve the stated objectives in the local context;
  • Analyse available evidence that each agricultural, water management and energy-related practice is effective or impactful and factors that are supporting and undermining adoption of promising options;
  • Assess the perception of sustainability of the practices by beneficiaries, government and implementers;
  • Provide recommendations on how to ensure adoption of good agricultural, water management and energy practices for resilience building and CSA objectives based on findings to improve future interventions; 
  • Give recommendations to support up-scaling and institutionalisation of effective agricultural, water management and energy practices.

Scope of Work
ZRBF is implementing resilience projects across 18 districts (Nkayi, Mbire, Umzingwane, Bubi, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Kariba, Binga, Mbire, Zvishavane, Mberengwa, Mudzi, Mutoko, Beitbridge, Nyanga, Insiza, Lupane and Matobo) and the assessment should cover all the districts. The study will focus on the agricultural, water management (for agriculture) and energy practices selected and implemented by the different consortia, categorising if they were done under the main ZRBF projects or Crisis Modifier.

Water management practices and approaches should include in situ and ex situ water harvesting technologies and address farm, watershed and administrative area levels. The scope does not include water for domestic use, but only for agriculture and associated value chain activities.

Energy practices have not been prioritised in ZRBF: the assessment should look at practices that are being implemented or that could usefully be implemented with regard to decentralised renewable energy production for and from agriculture, as well as for food processing, storage and preparation at domestic and enterprise levels.

The study should address the objectives set out in Part B above, exploring the success of the implementation of agricultural, water management and energy practices in a range of selected contexts and by different actors, the variations made in the process, and reasons for these variations/similarities in order to assess the critical components/good practices and success factors. The assessment should unravel what is working well and what is not working well with regard to agricultural, water management and energy practices, technologies and approaches that aim to contribute to resilience building and CSA. What are the success factors and barriers in different contexts? It should show the evidence of the contribution to resilience building and CSA of the implemented practices in different places/contexts; the extent to which the different practices contribute to sustainably, increased production and productivity and income gains, adaptation and resilience of communities and their livelihoods to climate change and resilience to other major risks (e.g. market/economic shocks and stresses, pests and diseases), improvements in water, energy and other natural resource management in the face of climate variability and change; evidence of sustainability of practices in different places/contexts, level of uptake and adoption (or progress along an adoption pathway); the key learning points and what is emerging as new and innovative. For learning purposes important in this regard to highlight when and how good practices and lessons learned from different Consortia can be applied and further disseminated among other ZRBF partners and beyond.

Given the timeframe for this assessment, primary data on the contribution of the practices to the stated objectives is not expected for all of the objectives (e.g. climate change mitigation). Where such data cannot be obtained, activity data relating to the specific practices being promoted or implemented in each study area should be combined with context-relevant data from the literature to provide estimates of such impacts. For example, activity data could be combined with emissions factors from the literature to assess mitigation impacts.

Evidence of differentiated impacts of implemented practices with respect to gender, location (agroecological and socioeconomic context) and geographic scale (e.g. farm, community, watershed) considerations, should be well illustrated. The assessment should culminate in empirically based recommendations on the best individual or combinations of practices, technologies and approaches to use in different contexts, to inform further innovation and development of farmer-friendly practices for resilience and CSA.

The assessment will be jointly supervised by the ZRBF PMU, The Resilience Knowledge Hub (RKH) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.

The service provider deliverables will include:
An inception report including an overview of agricultural, water management (for agriculture) and energy practices promoted across the 18 ZRBF targeted districts under ZRBF and the potential resilience building and CSA objectives or benefits of these practices, an assessment framework, detailed methodology (including proposals for stakeholder engagement and assessment of gender responsiveness of practices and approaches), work  plan, and outline of draft report. The methodology should clarify the assessment method to be used and the work plan should include a breakdown of the time and budget for the following major components of the study, including traveling costs:

  • Desk work
  • Field Work
  • Report Writing

Presentation of initial findings to be shared for validation

Draft report
Final report to include:

  • Standalone executive summary;
  • The assessment method and analytical tools;
  • Findings by district and in line with TOR purpose, objectives and scope of work;
  • Brief case studies which illustrate the findings and their meaning;
  • Comparative analysis of good practices and lessons learnt developed in all 18 Districts for further recommendation and dissemination purposes;
  • Recommendations for successful agricultural, water management (for agriculture) and energy practices and approaches for resilience building and CSA, as well as associated plans (e.g. watershed or district level water management plans) and policies, opportunities to pursue;
  • Suggestions for overcoming barriers;
  • Framework for participatory monitoring of progress towards adoption of agricultural, water management (for agriculture) and energy practices that contribute to resilience building and CSA;
  • Annexes including: final itinerary, evaluation framework and methodology used (including any manuals, models, research tools used), list of persons met/interviews made, list of documents reviewed, further information gathered, visuals and other material produced;
  • The final outline of the report will be agreed by the service provider team and the ZRBF PMU.


  • Understanding of organizational structures, operations and policies of large organizations;
  • Appreciation of the challenges and limitations as well as opportunities of within organizations to promote gender equality and inclusion;
  • Strong facilitation skills and hands-on experience of working in participatory ways with staff groups, partners and communities;
  • Strong gender analytical skills and knowledge/experience of different gender tools;
  • Ability to create non-threatening environment for open and frank discussions on difficult issues
  • Strong understanding of inclusion issues in organizational set-up and experience of using tools to elicit information pertaining to inclusion;
  • The ability to select the best approach/methodology for different groups and audiences;
  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection skills;
  • Openness to listen, learn and accurately record the findings;
  • Good report-writing skills are essential;
  • An ability to present challenging findings from the assessments with actionable propositions to move forward.

Required Skills and Experience


Team Leader

  • A Masters in Climate change adaptation, Geography, Agriculture, Agricultural or rural Development.


  • At least 5 years of relevant experience and proven expertise with delivering and researching in climate change adaptation, resilience, sustainable or climate-smart agriculture training, project implementation or evaluations;
  • Proven technical expertise in climate change adaption/climate agriculture issues;
  • Proven experience and excellent networking and partnership skills with government departments in Zimbabwe;
  • An understanding of and ability to abide by the core values of the United Nations.



  • Fluency in written and spoken English and local language.


Team Members. CVs of at least three team members should be submitted for evaluation.

  • At least a BSc or BA in Agriculture, Geography, Agriculture, or Rural Development;
  • A Master’s degree in the specified fields will be an added advantage.


  • At least 5 years practical experience of working with smallholders to support adoption of agricultural, water management, energy as well as good food security and nutrition practices for resilience building, climate change adaptation and sustainable development in rural Zimbabwe;
  • Demonstrable academic and practical experience in resilience, CSA, sustainability or similar assessments in the agricultural sector;
  • Proven ability to collaborate with the relevant government departments at different levels in delivering trainings;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, teamwork and adept at working with people of diverse cultural and social backgrounds.


  • Fluency in written and spoken English and local language. Team members should be proficient in at least one of Shona, Ndebele, Tonga, Venda and Shangani.

Application Proceedure

Applicants are requested to upload copies of:

  • Latest CV highlighting the relevant experience;
  • Updated P11 Form template of which can be downloaded from this website -
  • A detailed technical proposal on undertaking the tasks and evidence of previous work;
  • Letter Indicating the role applied for;

Please group all your documents (CV, P11, Technical Proposal and certificates) into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document. Incomplete applications will not be given consideration. Applicants must reply to the mandatory questions asked by the system when submitting the application. Please note that only applicants who are short-listed will be contacted.

Evaluation criteria:

The Consultants will be evaluated based on qualifications and the years of experience, as outlined in the qualifications/requirements section of the ToR.  In addition, the Consultant will also be evaluated on the following methodology:
Technical Criteria weight: 70%;
Financial Criteria weight: 30%;
The award of the contract shall be made to the Consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as: Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the Terms of Reference.

UNDP is committed to gender equality in its mandate and its staff, and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Well qualified candidates, particularly women and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

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