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Survey Team Leader - Provision of services for RAM/SMART survey comparison study

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Philip McKinney

Nutrition Survey & Research Advisor (Concern)

Normal user

12 Jun 2020, 14:07

1. Background 

Concern Worldwide ( is a nongovernmental, international, humanitarian organisation dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.

Concern Worldwide has been presented with a methodology (Rapid Assessment Methodology – RAM) for the collection of nutrition data that reduces the sample size required to make comparable estimates of acute malnutrition to that of SMART surveys.  The manner in which this is achieved is via the use of PROBIT analysis and bootstrapping to improve the confidence intervals (as a result of the smaller sample size).  The methodology also addresses the requirement to have a prior knowledge of the population size of each of the primary sampling units.  Concern Worldwide is now in the process of gathering data to test some central premises of the methodology.

The RAM/SMART study aims to compare the relative precision and cost of a proposed Rapid Assessment Methodology to that of a standard SMART survey.  These surveys will be conducted in pairs (simultaneously) in three countries (Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan).  Concern Worldwide will provide logistics and administrative support for the planning phase.  The consultant will be responsible for training, supervision, analysis, and reporting.  With the surveys being conducted as part of a study, and both surveys being conducted in parallel, a member of staff from Concern Worldwide head-office will be also be present during the implementation period to provide, support, as well as using the study as a learning opportunity. 

1.1   Contextual caveats

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting on travel and national policies on data collection and internal travel a certain degree of flexibility is required.  In addition, there is a need for the consultant to be aware of the safety concerns of the data collection during a pandemic and assist in integrating local guidelines into the training process.  Concern Worldwide will assist by providing the latest guidance at the country level, assisting with the application of these during the planning phase.  In the event of changes to national policies that directly affect the implementation of the study surveys, Concern Worldwide will have the final say.

2   Purpose of the consultancy 

The purpose of this consultancy is to provide technical management, supervision, and support for the implementation of the surveys in three countries in order to achieve the objectives of the RAM / SMART comparison study. 

2.1  Experience/Qualifications

2.1.1    Essential Qualifications:

The consultant must have the following skills and be subject to:

      1. Availability at the preferred time/during available time window

      2. Willingness to participate in vetting process which may include a self-declaration of criminal record, relevant police check and/or satisfactory references 

     3. Advanced Degree in Nutrition, Epidemiology, or related topic

     4.  Five years of progressive experience in implementing / supervising / coordinating cross-sectional surveys / assessments

     5.  Knowledge and demonstrated implementation of advanced sampling methodologies used in the application of surveys and assessments in challenging environments.

     6.  Demonstrated ability to work to tight time-lines while maintaining quality of training

     7. Strong supervision skills

     8. Strong communication skills in English and French (Fluency in both required).

     9. Strong reporting skills in English

    10. Experience in managing research quality data collection

    11. Experience in implementing SMART surveys as well as other survey methods relevant to the current research (e.g. LQAS)

   12. Experience in the use of the statistical package R (the tool for the analysis of the RAM data) for:

       a.  Analysis of anthropometric data, as well as the indicators outlined in the ToR.

       b.  Post-weighting of sample, PROBIT analysis and Bootstrapping

2.1.2    Desirable Skills: 

It will be of benefit that the consultant have the following skills:

     1.  Good social skills 

     2. Basic knowledge of the countries in which the study will be implemented as well as humanitarian and development principles

     3. Ability to work in a team

    4.  Respectful to local cultures

2.2       Objectives and Specific tasks to be undertaken

The main objective for this consultancy is to complete a maximum of 6 survey pairs of RAM/SMART surveys in three countries.  This will involve participation in planning, training, supervision, analysis, and reporting for RAM and SMART surveys for each of the 6 survey pairs.  

Secondary objectives are to pass on key skills for conducting a RAM survey.  This will include, sampling (drawing the sample, details of how the sampling is applied in theory, and supporting the Concern Worldwide focal point to give a training on RAM sampling for one of the survey pairs).

The following activities will be required from the consultant (assuming each component relates to every survey pair required).  For all of these activities it will be required that the consultant record the time allocated to each (as required by the Cost Efficiency Analysis):

2.2.1    Preparation Phase:

The following tasks will be carried out prior to the first survey being implemented:

      1.   Data Collection Tool (2 days):

          a.   Review tool for data collection and ensure it is ready for field testing (i.e. obvious bugs are eliminated).

          b. Provide a user guide to time of capture anthropometric checks:

                i.   Technical explanation of what the checks are doing, which measurement is used for final calculations etc.

                 ii.   Supervisor & Team Leader notes addressing what actions are required during data collection

                 iii.  Enumerator notes on what actions are required when errors are flagged.

      2.    Refining training materials (French & English) (2 days):

           a.  Trainer notes should also be included (further detail required, resources needed, recommended room layouts, approximate schedule).

           b. Provide online training to Concern Worldwide focal point on conducing a RAM survey

2.2.2    Survey Phase (Tasks required for each Survey Pair):

The following tasks are required during the planning and implementation phase of each survey pair. Preparation – 2.5 days per survey

Concern Worldwide have developed the data collection tools, and will provide the necessary data for localization of the relevant tools for each country.  With the main planning frameworks being provided by Concern Worldwide the consultant will be requested to perform the following tasks:

      3.  Participation in planning meetings, when possible, to make sure that all the requirements are met (1 day – total; spread over 4 weeks prior to survey start)

     4.  Sampling (1 day)

          a. Draw samples for RAM and SMART surveys on at least the first occasion so that it can be replicated by the Concern Worldwide focal point if required

           b. Logistics requirements based on sample size (based on standard template)

     5.  Refining training materials (French & English) (0.5 days)

          a.  Review standard training tools to ensure localizations are made

                    i.  E.g. HDDS foods (if required) Implementation Phase (In-country tasks) – 13 days per survey

During implementation of each of the survey pairs the consultant will be required to carry out the following tasks (at a minimum) to ensure that the surveys are conducted to the highest of standards.  The surveys will be run in parallel, as with the training sessions.  Assistance will be provided by Concern Worldwide Staff.

     6. Training of enumeration staff (3 days)- Provision of training for conducting a RAM and SMART survey

         a. For one of the survey pairs the consultant will support the Concern Worldwide focal point to provide the RAM training as part of the capacity building exercise.

    7. Supervise standardization test (2 days)- recording/analyzing results, making enumerator selection if necessary

    8. Predeparture Preparation (2 days) - Oversight of survey planning, and allocation of teams.

    9. Supervision (6 days)- of the data collection

      a. Ensuring final synchronization of data has been carried out (either by the consultant or via designated Concern Worldwide member of staff Analysis and Reporting (both RAM and SMART surveys) – 10 days per survey

As the surveys conducted within this consultancy contribute to both the broader study aims (including the Cost Efficiency Analysis) both the RAM and SMART surveys will be completed to the standard laid out by the SMART survey reports.  Furthermore, both studies will be provided in the same format and with the same level of detail (recording the amount of time taken for both).

      10. Data cleaning (2 days)

      11. Analysis of data (5 days)

           a. ensuring that all the indicators are analyzed according to the international protocols

      12. Reporting (3 days)

           a. Both RAM and SMART survey reports will reflect the common standard of SMART survey reporting

          b. The format will be provided by Concern Worldwide

         c. Both reports should be submitted within 2 weeks of return to the consultant’s home base.

2.2.3    Study Analysis Phase

The consultant will be expected to share relevant details and insights from the survey implementation phase with the team responsible for the overall study analysis comparing the RAM and SMART methods. This analysis will be guided by a technical steering group and led by a lead analyst. The aim is to ensure that the analytical framework and final analysis reflects the practical experience of data collection in the field.  The consultant will therefore be asked to input 2 days (total) into this process, and if appropriate may be listed as a contributor to the research. 

3  Outputs

The key outputs of this consultancy are survey reports, one for each of the surveys (RAM and SMART) and these are required for all of the three countries in which the surveys are implemented.  These reports shall be completed according to the reporting format provided by Concern Worldwide.  In summary:

          •  RAM survey report (one for each survey round in Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan)

         •  SMART survey report (one for each survey round in Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan)

4   Lines of communication/reporting

During this consultancy the consultant shall report to the Nutrition Survey and Research Advisor working to achieve the objectives by the successful completion of the activities outlined in this TOR to highest possible standards.

5  Timeframe

This consultancy will be conducted, according to the workplan, from 1st November 2020 to 30th September 2021.

This TOR requires a total of 159 days input, with 28 days of travel over the duration of the stated timeframe.

6   Languages required both to effectively conduct the work and to write the final report.

Work will be conducted in English and French, where appropriate. 

Candidates should submit their current CV along with a brief cover letter outlining their relevant experience, and a proposed daily rate (in Euros) along with quote for the total amount for the completion of the task outlined in this TOR, to

Closing date is COB Friday 19th June 2020

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