Terms of Reference for consultancy on rapid labour market assessment in Coast Region of Kenya


1. About Aga Khan Foundation (AKF)

AKF was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in Switzerland in 1967 and began working in East Africa in 1974. Globally, AKF seeks sustainable solutions to long-term problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and ill-health, with special emphasis on the needs of rural communities in mountainous, coastal, and other resource-poor areas. AKF East Africa (AKFEA) responds to local an regional priorities by developing and implementing effective programming, measuring, and documenting results and sharing its lessons with governments, donors, and development actors to influence policy and practice. In Kenya, AKFEA operates a multi-sectoral portfolio which includes programming in Education, Economic Inclusion, Civil Society Strengthening, Health and Early Childhood Development.

2. Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified many of the challenges already faced by youth in Kenya. In the advent of COVID-19, many of these youth are now at risk of being left behind in education, economic opportunities, health, and wellbeing, with increased risk of psychosocial distress, during a crucial stage of their life. The COVID-19 pandemic is clearly disproportionately affecting vulnerable groups like youth, who now more likely to be left unemployed or are in precarious job contracts and working arrangements without social protection. In addition, social distancing measures debilitate education facilities and hamper on-the-job training opportunities affecting low-skilled, often informal, employment uptake and progression. Disadvantaged and underprivileged youth in rural areas of Kenya are disproportionally affected due to the lack of access to remote learning tools. Additionally, restructuring and prioritising of industry activities may put employee training opportunities at lower priority for the youth. This will widen the skills gap making it critical to explore programmes that increase access to upskilling and linkages to employment opportunities with an emphasis on behavioural and digital skills that target low-skilled and informal workers, vulnerable youth groups, and women.

3. About the Project

The project aims at strengthening mechanisms for delivery of youth friendly livelihood opportunities and life skills. AKF will work with partners to deploy digital platforms in building an enabling environment for youth to livelihood opportunities, employability skills training and life skills with an estimated reach of 3000 youth. Furthermore, AKF and business development services partners will support youth innovators whose ideas bring solutions to identified community problems. AKF will enlist the expertise of BDS partners to accompany promising innovations in response to community needs as they develop their business ideas and sharpen their business acumen. It is anticipated that these strategies will enable the target youth to have opportunities to improve their employability skills for a dignified life and work and become productive members of the society. This approach will not only support youth who may have lost their livelihoods due to COVID-19 pandemic, but many other unemployed youths will acquire valuable skills for entrepreneurship, further enhancing resilience during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Purpose of the rapid labour market assessment

The purpose of this consultancy is to enable AKF to gain deeper insights on the labour markets demand and supply dynamics in the coast region of Kenya with a specific focus on youth employment opportunities. The findings will enable decision making on the most appropriate and practical strategies including partnerships for the delivery of a package of support services in strengthening mechanisms for sustainable support of youth livelihood opportunities in the Coastal Counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu. The support services will focus on employability skills training, entrepreneurship support, and life skills. Overall, the findings will inform the project design and delivery mechanisms.

5. Objectives of the rapid labour market assessment

The main objective of the assessment is to provide realistic and relevant recommendations that inform the project to enable and prepare vulnerable youths 18- 34 years in Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and Mombasa for decent and market-driven job opportunities. The assessment will further inform on the requisite market driven skills the beneficiaries would need to develop to prepare them for sustainable formal or informal employment.

The specific objectives will include:

Demand Side

  • Identify the main economic activities and key labour needs (type and level of skills), and enterprise opportunities in the four counties in Coast (Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Mombasa) region of Kenya.
  • Establish the businesses and sectors with the greatest potential for providing employment opportunities for the youth and the kind / type of employment.
  • Establish the capacities and priorities of private sector institutions as well as their attitudes towards provision of jobs, internships, and apprenticeships to youth.
  • Establish the drivers and barriers for youth engaging and participating in viable economic activities.

Supply Side

  • Identify the youth needs, skills, skills gaps, and expectations with regards to opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
  • Establish the existence or availability of local opportunities for youth economic empowerment by government, private sector, NGOs, and CSOs, among others.
  • Assess available opportunities for skills development, placement, and jobs / employment for the youth, and income generating potential of identified jobs / trades.
  • Establish the key factors influencing the job market and livelihood opportunities / options for youth in Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, and Lamu Counties.

The outcomes of this assessment will help determine and inform viable job/livelihood opportunities for the beneficiary population.

6. Methodology

The consultant/firm is expected to propose an appropriate methodology and tools in their technical proposal for undertaking this rapid labour market assessment. The tools and specific methodological approach will be discussed and agreed upon between AKF and the consultant.

The potential applicants should consider the following main approaches when undertaking the assignment.

  • Conduct extensive desk review to analyse the existing secondary data including project documents, previous labour market surveys, evaluations, research reports, economic forecasts, and government data for select geographies and sectors.
  • Identify data gaps following desk review to inform primary data collection.
  • Conduct key informant interviews and/or focus group discussion with private sector employers, youths, training institutions (e.g., TVETs), relevant Government ministries and departments.
  • Extensive mapping of labour market needs through primary data collection, analysis, interpretation, and recommendations.
  • Any other methods applicable.

7. Expected Deliverables

AKF seeks to engage the services of a consultant to conduct a high-quality rapid labour market assessment on youth employment and entrepreneurial/livelihood opportunities in four counties (Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Mombasa) in the Coast Region of Kenya. The findings thereof will help inform strategies for delivery of the programme. The key deliverables expected from the consultant are:

  • Inception Report: detailing the methodology including research methods, sampling, proposed tools, proposed data source, data collection procedures and analysis, an outline of final report format including dummy tables or graphs as applicable.
  • Initial draft report: incorporating suggestions and recommendations from AKF.
  • Validation Workshop: deliver a validation workshop, presenting the main findings and recommendations to key stakeholders and incorporating the inputs from the workshop participants in the final report.
  • Final Report: submit two copies of the final report, one in PDF format and the other copy in Microsoft Word format
  • Final Raw Dataset: Electronic copy of all final raw datasets (in Microsoft Excel Format) and interview transcripts (in Microsoft Word Format).

8. Competencies and qualifications of the consultant

The consultant will be expected to have:

  • The lead consultant must possess a minimum of a master’s degree in relevant fields including social sciences, Business Administration and Economics, Labour Economics, development studies or international development, among others.
  • A minimum of Five (5) years of demonstrated experience in undertaking quantitative and qualitative research in labour market assessments and youth empowerment programmes in Kenya or East Africa
  • Demonstrable understanding of youth issues, priorities, and programmes in the Coast region of Kenya.
  • Strong understanding of gender issues in Kenya especially in the context of youth programming.
  • Demonstrated ability to design evaluation studies and apply them using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Familiarity with European Commission operations will be an added advantage.

AKF appreciates that all the skill sets required in this rapid labour market assessment may not be available with one individual consultant and therefore encourages firms or teams of consultants to apply.

9. AKF Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct

AKF have a Code of Conduct that aims to ensure that no individuals associated with our organisation in any capacity (staff, volunteers, governance bodies, consultants / external service providers, beneficiaries, or community members) are subjected to any practices that infringe upon human dignity and that activities are conducted in accordance with the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and professionalism. The purpose of the AKF Code of Conduct is to define the values which must underlie the activities of every individual associated with AKF, irrespective of their status or position. The key areas of focus in the Code of Conduct include:

  1. Professional relationships
  2. Compliance with laws and regulations
  3. Compliance with customs and traditions
  4. Speak up policy and procedure
  5. Disciplinary procedures and actions

The code establishes a reporting and protection mechanism designed to ensure the strict application of the described principles. Although the code applies mainly to conduct in the professional sphere, it must be recognised that misconduct beyond AKF in the private domain may also need to be addressed where this comes to light. Criminal or unethical acts committed outside AKF could result in disciplinary action. The successful applicant will be expected to sign a commitment statement for adherence to the AKF Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct

10. Criteria for evaluation of the consultant

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the bids submitted by consultants.

Criteria and Score

Design and methodology – 45 points

Technical capacity (qualifications, experience) – 25 points

Budget – 15 points

Workplan – 15 points

Total 100 points

11. Duration of the consultancy

The consultancy will be for a duration of 35 days spread across June and July 2021 and a final report is expected on or before 31st July 2021.


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