Consultancy Services for Planning, Design, and Baseline Surveys Job in Nigeria

 Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action - helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within, now, and for the future.

We invite applications for:

Title: Consultancy Services for Planning, Design, and Baseline Surveys

Locations: Otamiri in Owerri North LGA Egbeada in Mbaitoli LGA in Imo, Uriaria in Aba North LGA Ubakala in Umuahia LGA in Abi Abia,  and Delta
Employment Type: Contract

Purpose, Methodology and Assessment Question

  • The baseline assessment is crucial for establishing a benchmark for the STWASH Activity and its performance data. It will be utilized to evaluate the overall progress, impact, effectiveness, successes, and learning throughout the implementation of the activity in the targeted communities. The assessment findings will guide the Activity in setting targets for performance indicators. These targets will be instrumental in measuring the effectiveness of its approaches and successes. Continuous tracking of the number of participants gaining new access to safely managed water attributable to STWASH will be a key focus. The set target will be used to track performance indicators and assess the Activity’s effects among a sample of the target population. This will include measuring behavior change and perceptions of water user fees and WASH services. Additionally, the results of the baseline assessment will contribute to monitoring performance indicators and identifying changes resulting from project interventions.
  • Through this process, the generated evidence will be synthesized and applied to enhance the implementation approach, project result measurement, and overall performance. It will also inform project adaptations. Given the centrality of learning to the USAID CLA approach, the baseline assessment process will focus on generating evidence to support learning and adaptation throughout the remaining duration of the Activity. This will be context-specific and involve direct measurement of core elements of the Activity's theory of change/results framework. These elements encompass capacity-building, increased knowledge, quality of service mechanisms, successful advocacy, stakeholders' engagement, and policy development.

In summary, the baseline assessment will contribute to the following general objectives:

  • Establish an understanding of the Initial situation in the project implementation sites (Abia, Delta, and Imo states) to assess the current conditions, circumstances, and status of the target population or area of interest before interventions or changes take place.
  • Set benchmarks to establish baseline indicators and measure progress and impact over time. This will help evaluate the effectiveness of STWASH’s interventions and determine the project’s performance and whether it meets its goals.
  • Inform program design to provide crucial information for designing, planning, and implementing projects or programs. Understanding the baseline conditions helps tailor interventions to the specific needs and challenges of the target population.
  • Facilitate targeted interventions for the STWASH team by identifying specific groups or areas within the target population in the southern states that may require more specialized interventions. This ensures the Activity directs resources where they are most needed based on informed needs that cater to diverse groups.
  • Serve as a foundation for monitoring and evaluating STWASH’s progress and impact over time. By comparing the baseline to data collected in subsequent surveys, STWASH can measure changes and adjust strategies accordingly and promptly. The baseline assessment findings will enable STWASH to make informed decisions that translate to effective monitoring and evaluation.
  • Enhance accountability by transparently recording the initial situation in the southern states, which can be used to demonstrate STWASH’s impact on stakeholders. Additionally, the baseline surveys contribute to organizational learning, helping teams understand what works and what doesn't work contextually. The STWASH team can also identify challenges and opportunities for WASH interventions.
  • Contribute to providing data for informing policy development or advocacy efforts by the STWASH team on issues related to improving WASH services and the Activity's goals.
  • To support the delivery of the baseline survey objectives, Mercy Corps is seeking a strong consulting firm to design and implement the objectives of this baseline survey for the STWASH Activity. The firm will utilize and build on Mercy Corps-developed tools and approaches through rigorous and thoughtful analysis. The consulting firm will draw on existing information sources collected by the Activity as well as secondary data and lead new data collection as needed to complement existing sources. Additionally, the consulting firm will lead and document a reflection process involving STWASH team members, participants, partners, and other stakeholders. This process aims to interpret emerging survey findings during implementation and assess the Activity’s sustainability after completion.


  • The baseline survey will cover communities across 5 LGAs in Abia, Delta, and Imo States in southeastern Nigeria, drawing on survey data from an agreed cross-selection of potential beneficiaries in the Activity sites. These are Otamiri in Owerri North LGA Egbeada in Mbaitoli LGA in Imo state, Uriaria in Aba North LGA Ubakala in Umuahia LGA in Abia state, and Ugwashi-uku in Aniocha LGA in Delta state.

Proposed Survey Methodology

  • The survey will be undertaken by the Activity’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning team, PaQ unit, and with the support of an independent consulting firm. The survey process will be consultative to deploy participatory approaches that engage a range of program stakeholders who will include direct program participants, adults, and youths, Activity partners, ministries departments and agencies (MDAs), and staff, among others during the survey process.
  • The survey will employ a mixed-methods approach that combines quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques to gather and analyze existing data where needed. The survey would use data triangulation with existing reports, when available. The consulting firm will be expected to propose an analysis approach (including sampling plans and a data analysis plan), as well as a proposal for how the various analyses will be triangulated to help ensure the findings’ credibility and validity. The proposed methodology will be reviewed and approved by the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Advisor in consultation with the Country level Program Performance and Quality (PAQ) team, the Chief of Party and Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU), and Research and Learning Team (RLT).
  • The consulting firm is expected to submit an inception report outlining the process and methodologies to address the survey questions. This involves conducting a desk review of relevant project documents and performing secondary analysis to enhance the interpretation of results.

Additionally, the firm will design the survey methodology according to the following standards:

  • Design Quantitative& Qualitative Data Framework - The external consulting firm is expected to survey with tools developed by the Mercy Corp MEL team. The consulting firm may need to modify the tools as per the context in the southern states. Data collection shall involve visits to all program locations, meetings with program partners through household (HH) surveys, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and site visits with targeted participants and other key stakeholders. A detailed Data Analysis plan is required to inform and guide how to analyze primary & secondary data collected.
  • The external consulting firm will supervise and lead the sample frame design and fieldwork in collaboration with the STWASH consortium.
  • The consulting firm will develop an inception report detailing the process and methodologies to be employed in gathering responses to the survey questions.
  • At inception, the consulting firm is expected to work with the Activity implementation team to refine and expand on the following proposed components:

Key Components of the Baseline Assessment:
Set a benchmark against the Activity outcomes that will be measured:

  • The collected data will be analyzed and used to establish a benchmark for relevant performance indicators. These indicators will be used to measure project outputs and outcomes throughout the Life of the Project (LoP), assessing their impacts on project participants at both household and institutional levels.
  • Outputs and outcomes will be measured to assess both immediate and future effects of the tangible results and benefits of the STWASH Activity.
  • This includes access to services, such as the number of people with access to safely managed drinking water service (disaggregated by sex, age, and locality), and the number of training and capacity-building activities conducted for government stakeholders on governance, operations, and maintenance of water schemes.
  • The survey will capture existing conditions to inform planning, resource mobilization, program design, and implementation strategy. This approach will be appropriately tailored for the context and will guide subsequent project adaptation, as well as collaboration, learning, and adapting frameworks for the STWASH Activity and other stakeholders in the WASH sector.

Assess a baseline for STWASH's cross-cutting themes to guide how the Activity will address and integrate them throughout the Life of the Project:

  • The findings of the baseline survey will be used to assess Gender Equality, Diversity, and Social Inclusion, (GEDSI) as well as Mercy Corps’ Community Accountability Reporting Mechanism (CARM). These assessments are essential for holistic project implementation, focusing on data collected through interviews with diverse groups using methods such as FGDs, KIIs, and integration into household survey questionnaires. The aim is to understand trends related to beliefs, perceptions, access to WASH services, decision-making and control, and policies. This exploration considers the unique context and impacts on diverse groups within communities. Efforts to foster accountability to participants, stakeholders, and donors in compliance with the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) will involve data collection from stakeholders. This data will establish a communication mechanism that ensures safety for all participants, is context-appropriate, employs a participatory approach, and integrates Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) to ensure the STWASH Activity avoids harm, promotes inclusivity of diverse groups, and adapts iteratively. The survey’s findings will further inform implementation, review of STWASH GEDSI strategy, and guide how the project and subsequent assessments will examine things like GEDSI and CARM. The dimensions of diversity in this study include gender, age, and disability.

Conduct an Institutional Capacity Assessment to evaluate the capacity of local institutions involved in WASH activities:

  • The baseline findings will provide a basis to establish a benchmark to measure results from the Activity’s efforts to strengthen WASH institutions.
  • This refers to how STWASH interventions will persist during and after the LOP, including WASH facility operation and maintenance. Simultaneously, it tests the assumption of how strengthened small-town water governance and management capacity relates to effective WASH service and facility management.
  • Improved access to safely managed water for the community serves as an indicator of these facilities’ sustainability. Measuring this indicator will contribute to testing the sustainability plan for STWASH, and reviewing it as necessary.

Identify key lessons learned and best practices for adaptation:

  • The baseline survey findings will illuminate existing conditions, providing a basis for further data analyses, indicator trends, and defining best practices for participant and stakeholder engagement. It will identify key lessons learned, both positive and negative, during the LOP and contribute to developing learning and information frameworks and effective Monitoring, Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting. The baseline survey will also present opportunities to identify best practices to replicate throughout the LOP, offering insights for scale or learning for WASH stakeholders interested in designing future programs.
  • The consulting firm will be responsible for designing a methodology that answers the research questions. This approach ensures the project effectively harnesses lessons learned, and best practices, and measures key performance indicators with high confidence levels. The methodology should be robust and flexible. The survey should also be designed to detect statistically significant changes in estimates for key indicators from baseline to endline.

Required Sources of Information:

  • The required information, sources of information, procedures for collecting data to ensure validity and credibility, and the method of analysis (including a Data Analysis Plan), interpretation, and synthesis.
  • This will be an iterative process at the inception stage between the survey and project teams.
  • This process will also anchor the review of the SoW’s original survey questions when designing the criteria and standards for data required to answer them. This will help refine and finalize the learning evaluation questions.
  • Additionally, the Activity implementation team will provide recommended information sources. The Activity results framework and work plans will be made available to facilitate the extraction of additional learning questions for in-depth analysis.

The following data sources include both existing and new program information sources:
Existing Sources of Information:

  • Program proposal
  • Results Framework
  • Annual work plans
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan
  • Gender assessment report
  • Program reports and associated data.

New Sources of Information:

  • Data from participants in the field.

Survey Findings Primary Users:
The primary intended users and use of the survey’s findings will include:

  • USAID – STWASH hopes the donor will use the survey findings to decide if and how to further support similar WASH and collaboration efforts in Nigeria.
  • Mercy Corps Nigeria – The survey findings will be relevant for establishing targets as benchmarks for tracking performance indicators. They will aid in reviewing project design, developing detailed implementation and sustainability plans, and refining key project documents including the Activity Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Plan (AMELP), results framework, Theory of Change (ToC), and performance indicators and tools. Additionally, the findings will contribute to strengthening the Activity’s learning and evaluation strategies, informing the development of the next funding strategy, and cultivating relationships with funders.
  • Other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and implementing partners –STWASH hopes these findings will be useful for other NGOs and implanting partners implementing similar WASH interventions in the Southern States in assessing their role in designing and implementing similar projects or interventions.
  • Additionally, STWASH hopes that the survey's findings will serve as a learning experience. The process of generating answers to the proposed survey questions will provide the Activity and implementation team with a new understanding of the Activity's achievements. This will inform an effective implementation strategy for the remaining LOP.

Consultancy Key Tasks, Outputs, and Deliverables:

  • Mercy Corps will establish a survey team to oversee all baseline survey process-related tasks. The successful consulting firm will work closely with the Activity MEL Advisor, Chief of Party, Country MEL Manager, and PAQ team to design and conduct this survey and develop post-survey workshop deliverables. The STWASH MEL Advisor will be responsible for the overall coordination of all tasks.

The Consulting firm will be expected to:

  • Attend an initial kick-off meeting for the survey to validate the survey assignment’s purpose, outputs, and deliverables.
  • Review program documents, updated work plans, program reports, and all other relevant documents to inform a comprehensive survey methodology and matrix to be presented in a detailed inception report.
  • Review Quarterly (October-Dec 2023) and Annual progress and performance reports and/or recurrent monitoring data and other relevant documents.
  • Review any data or information used to monitor the quality of the program’s key services and interventions, such as CARM data.
  • Prepare and present the survey plan at a 1-day workshop for the survey team and program staff.
  • Suggest an appropriate sample size and sampling methodology for both quantitative and qualitative data collection.
  • Manage translation of tools into local languages (i.e., Igbo or pidgin) as appropriate.
  • Finalize and test data collection tools as appropriate.
  • Train survey enumerators
  • Support Mercy Corps in training data collectors on data collection tools, overseeing comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data collection, and daily field activities in Abia, Imo, and Delta States. Due to contextual peculiarities, such as the volatile security situation and unofficial sit-at-home days in the south, the consulting firm will be expected to work on weekends, early in the day, and during the evening as required.
  • Encode and analyze data collected through quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches.
  • Prepare and present preliminary results and analysis as a Word document and PowerPoint presentation to the STWASH team as well as other stakeholders (if required) through a virtual round table workshop.
  • Submit timely and high-quality deliverables outlined below with feedback from Mercy Corps:
  • Bear all costs of logistics like feeding, accommodation, and transportation.

Mercy Corps will be Responsible for the following tasks:

  • Share all necessary documents with the consulting firm to finalize the baseline survey methodology and data collection tools.
  • Provide input for survey methodology, data collection tools, and relevant reports/documents.
  • Provide workspace for the consulting firm while in Owerri, Umuahia, and Asaba.
  • Be accountable for the entire process, including supporting the coordination of field activities, including data collection where applicable.
  • Recruit facilitators and enumerators.
  • Facilitate training for FGD and KII facilitators and note takers as well as enumerators where applicable.
  • Monitor consulting firms in training enumerators.
  • Closely monitor the data collection process, ensuring quality control, holding daily data validation briefings, and holding the consulting firm to proposed timelines.
  • Inform the sampled audience about their involvement in the survey and set specific dates for the survey field schedule.
  • Approve the inception report before data collection.
  • Approve draft and final baseline reports.
  • Provide a template for both inception and baseline reports.
  • Organize all logistics for baseline survey activities, including consultations, participatory workshops, accommodation, and transportation for enumerators where necessary.
  • Provide any other required support aligned with the delivery of the baseline survey tasks.

Consulting Firm’s Outputs and Key Deliverables
The Consulting firm will provide the following deliverables during their contract:

  • Draft and finalize an inception report with a comprehensive survey plan, including:
    • Survey design, methodologies used, and sampling design/criteria, frame, and size(s) for the data collection.
    • The Data Analysis Plan (DAP) for the survey.
  • Suggested improvements to the survey scope.
  • Revised survey timeline.
  • Data quality and assurance plan, ethical considerations, limitations, and mitigation strategies.
  • Conduct a 1-day workshop to present the survey plan including the training agenda to key staff.
  • Develop survey instruments with one round of anticipated revisions.
  • Conduct a 2-day training of enumerators.
  • Conduct 7-12 days of data field data collection (depending on the participant population in the community being assessed).
  • Compile a brief report (max 2 pages) on field implementation, to be shared within five days of completing field activities.
  • Conduct a 2-round presentation of preliminary results and analysis workshop for validation with the STWASH Consortium.
  • Develop qualitative and quantitative data sets, data analysis tools code books, and syntax, etc.

Write a final survey report following the below structure:

  • Cover Page
  • List of Acronyms
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary: Provide essential contents from the survey report, including a summary of major findings, lessons learned, and recommendations.
  • Methodology: This section should provide the methodology adopted for collecting quantitative and qualitative data including sample size calculation, and sampling methodology, and data quality assurance during fieldwork.
  • Limitations and mitigation strategies: This should address the methodology’s constraints and limitations, as well as the implications of these limitations for the findings. This should include if any survey findings are inconclusive and why.
  • Survey Results: Demonstrate the current state in the communities regarding availability and access to safe drinking water. Assess progress concerning indicators, objectives, and survey questions. Should reference program logic, theory of change, and any other relevant resources.
  • Synthesis, Recommendations, and Lessons Learned: Analyze data and results, making concrete recommendations for current or future program improvements. Extract organizational lessons learned and provide comments on data and results. Everything presented in this section should be directly linked back to the information presented in the Survey Results section.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Discloses any conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest, including the interest of program staff in having a successful program.

These should include:

  • Complete the file of data collection instruments in English any necessary translations
  • List of stakeholder groups with the number and type of interactions.
  • Protocol developed and used,
  • Quantitative and qualitative data sets (can be provided in electronic format)
  • Optional: any photos taken during fieldwork, or other documents collected during the study.

Time Frame:

  • Although the baseline survey is scheduled within very strict timelines by considering all the practical concerns, interested candidates are encouraged to develop a work plan in the proposal to speed up the process.
  • Survey Implementation Work Plan and Timelines
  • The Activity Chief of the Party, the MEL Advisor, the program team, and the PaQ team will manage the survey process in coordination with the consulting firm to provide technical support in the refinement of the survey methodology and - in the case of data collection tools, inputs, and all supporting documents - to guide design and finalization of the survey methodology and data collection instruments.
  • The consulting firm should be able to undertake some of the tasks concurrently to fit within the planned time frame, without compromising the quality expected, this includes conducting training simultaneously across Imo, Abia, and Delta States within the given timeframe and contract period.
  • The Consultancy will run for 45 days between July 1, 2024, and mid-August 2024. The duration/level of effort included must not be altered.

Estimated durations and activities are outlined below:



Person Responsible

1 Day

Review the draft survey SOW with the External Evaluator to clarify the timeframe and available budget.


Consulting firm, CoP, STWASH team, MEL Advisor, MEL Team, PaQ


3 Days

Undertake desk review of the relevant program documents that include the proposal, implementation plans, revised program design and timelines, program implementation reports, Mercy Corps strategy documents, Gender assessment report, and any other relevant documents.

Consulting firm

2 Days

Provide feedback to the inception report and tools for the External Evaluator to incorporate (feedback will be consolidated from all reviewers before returning to the External Evaluator)

Consulting firm, CoP, STWASH team, MEL

Advisor, MEL Team, PaQ, and USAID

3 Days

External evaluator submits a complete draft of the data analysis plan (DAP) to Mercy Corps’ POC (a complete draft includes dummy tables, placeholders for charts/graphs/images, description of how data triangulation/synthesis will be conducted, how data will be analyzed, etc)

Consulting firm

2 Days

With input from the Mercy Corps Programs team and MEL teams, refine data collection tools.

Consulting firm, CoP, STWASH team, MEL

Advisor, MEL Team, PaQ, and USAID

2 Days

Support planning and training of enumerators/ surveyors; pre-test data collection instruments, Pilot of tools, review and sign off of tools.


Consulting firm, STWASH MEL

7-12 Days

Conduct and oversee data collection

Consulting firm, STWASH


5 Days

Analysis and prepare a draft survey report

Consulting firm


7 Days

Provide detailed feedback to draft report.



Advisor, MEL Team, PaQ, and USAID.

1 Day

Internal reflections and validation of the final report

Consulting firm, CoP, STWASH team, MEL

Advisor, MEL Team, PaQ, and USAID.

3 Days

Finalize the report, produce a presentation of findings, and share it back with MC (not more than 30 pages – all other additions can be included as annexes)

Consulting firm

1 Day

After the donor review of the report, incorporate any feedback from a donor for the final donor-reviewed version.

Consulting firm

1 Day

Data sets, code books, syntax, etc are delivered to Mercy Corps’ POC

Consulting firm

Note: Consulting firm must NOT exceed the allocated 45 days.

Limitations and proposed mitigation strategies:

  • Time and access to certain places may pose a significant limitation for survey processes in specific contexts, such as Abia, Delta, and the United States. This often makes it challenging to strictly adhere to a set agenda. Additionally, standing restrictions on movement (sit-at-home), insecurity in some LGAs, and heightened suspicion or reception of outsiders asking questions may further limit movements and access to some areas.
  • This has the potential to slow down the ability of the consulting firm, enumerators, and other Survey Team members to complete the survey on time. To address this issue, Mercy Corps has included extra overflow days for field data collection in the mock work plan.
  • Mercy Corps will also work closely with state and LGA authorities and community leaders to ensure the data collection process is conducted at the most appropriate time and under acceptable conditions for all.


  • The invoice for survey services rendered by the consulting firm should be provided to Mercy Corps based on a time and material contractual agreement and pegged to deliverables. Final payment will be made immediately after the delivery of the final survey report. The budget for this project will cover the consulting firm’s professional fees, including withholding tax.


  • The consultant will report to the STWASH MEL Advisor with support from the Mercy Corps Country MEL Manager and PaQ Director. The consulting firm will work closely with the STWASH Chief of Party, MEL Focal Points, PaQ Manager, Grants and Reporting Manager, and Program Staff, among others.

Required Skills & Experience
Successful applicants should possess the following qualifications and experience:

  • Strong and documented experience of more than 5 years in conducting participatory mixed-method assessments or studies related to WASH or community-driven development projects.
  • Strong research experience conducting major research exercises, preferably in WASH, in challenging operational environments, with a preference for previous experience in southeast Nigeria.
  • A strong approach to ensuring quality assurance of collected data.
  • A strong ethical approach to data collection.
  • Demonstrated experience in training in mixed method data collection tools including entry templates.
  • Demonstrated experience in designing survey methodology, data collection tools, processing, and analysis of data.
  • Knowledge of strategic and operational management of humanitarian and developmental operations with proven ability to provide strategic recommendations to key stakeholders.
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to synthesize and present findings, draw practical conclusions, make recommendations, and prepare well-written reports on time.
  • Data visualization skills are highly desirable.
  • Strong skills in designing survey forms for mobile data collection (ODK, Ona, or Commcare)
  • Experience, knowledge, and clear understanding of Nigeria’s humanitarian and developmental context, standards, and timelines.
  • Experience assessing USAID-funded projects.
  • Strong people skills and understanding of cultural sensitivities.
  • Readiness to travel to Abia, Delta, and Imo to conduct standard survey activities and field visits to program sites. Presence in Nigeria is essential.
  • Excellent English verbal and written communication skills required.
  • Experience conducting WASH baseline assessments in Nigeria, particularly in Abia, Delta, and Imo States.
  • Knowledge of local context and familiarity with WASH issues.

Required Documents for Proposals
Qualified consulting firms should submit the following documentation as part of a proposal package:
Summarized Concept Note:

  • Technical and Financial proposal demonstrating a thorough understanding of this Scope of Work, including:
    • Description of proposed methodology
    • Description of demonstrated previous experience in similar assignments and qualifications as outlined in the Scope of Work
    • Proposed data management plan, including data collection, processing, and analysis.
    • Proposed timeframe detailing activities and a work plan.
    • Team composition and level of effort of each proposed team member (include CVs), noting identified roles and team lead.
    • Proposed detailed budget aligned with the consulting firm’s role or roles.
  • At least three samples of similar assignments, such as samples of studies or assessments conducted. Samples from the Southern Nigerian context are preferred.

Application Closing Date
20th May, 2024.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should send their Applications, Credentials and CV to: using the job title as the subject of the email

Note: Qualified females are strongly encouraged to apply.