Monday, April 30, 2012
EMPLOYMENT: OXFAM Research Consultancies in Tanzania, Ghana, and Zambia
1. Context and Background
Over the last three years there has been an unprecedented increase in global investment interest in farm land. Foreign investment in land is not a new phenomenon, what is particularly new is the complex array of drivers for investment. Investments are driven by amongst other factors: i) the demand for agro-fuels as oil prices rise, ii) the need to secure food in the aftermath of the dramatic food price increases that took place in the year 2007-2008, iii) increased demand for food associated with rapid urbanization and population growth and iv) the concurrent financial crisis resulting in a rush for ‘safer’ investment opportunities in developing countries. Rising demand for food is now outstripping increases in agricultural output and food prices continue to be high and volatile.
Globally the continent that has become the major focus of this demand is Africa, which is seen as having large amounts of underutilized land after decades of underinvestment in agriculture. These new demands come on top of existing uses of large tracts of African land by domestic and international investors for purposes such as tourism, conservation, and mining. Investors from industrialized and some of the fast industrializing nations are adding land to the list of natural resources that they need, cheaply if possible, from Africa.
The rising demand for farm land threatens the customary based land rights of African local communities, as these rights are poorly recognized in law and practice. African women are major land users and food producers, but in the context of the current dominant customary land systems, they are marginalized regarding access and ownership of land. Given the existing weak land rights of women and the frequently different nature of women’s rights to land, this new demand for land is likely to have particular risks for women. The particular relationship that women have to land in different contexts has to be understood, such as the common situation of women having informal gathering and user rights on land that may be seen as belonging to others. The access rights of women to associated natural resources such as fire wood, medicinal plants, and water resources, also need to be taken into consideration. Fundamentally patriarchy puts women in a weaker position in terms of their rights and the likelihood of them getting equitable results out of any negotiations around investment in land.
The important contribution of women to agriculture and food security in Africa adds further reason for the rights of women to be defended and enhanced. In responses to investments in land so far the specific impacts on women’s rights and therefore any specific responses to defend women’s rights have generally been neglected. To be able to respond to foreign investment in land in a way that does defend women’s rights and perhaps brings some benefit to women it is imperative to understand and give particular attention to the position of women.
Increasing demand for agricultural products that can be produced in Africa could be an opportunity for African women food producers yet the competition for land and related resources already seems to be a threat. The challenge is to ensure that Africa’s resources of arable land and water are utilized to the long term benefit of African women, building rather than undermining their rights, skills and access to productive assets.
2. Consultant Terms of Reference
AS a member of a small team of country-based researchers, the field researcher will work closely with the research coordinator to deliver timely, fact-based and first-hand experiential findings on the impacts of large-scale land deals on rural women. Each field researcher will be required to:
a) commit to participating in and contributing to a research team meeting in May (venue to be confirmed) to determine and agree upon conceptual framework of research, research methodology, potential challenges and solutions, and effective ways to amplify and articulate women’s voices and perspectives. The outcome of the workshop will include a consensus view on how to proceed with the field research, identification of survey questions at the practical, political and policy levels, agreement on time frame and deliverables and communications with research coordinator, and a generic framework for each field report;
b) visit an identified case study to examine in detail. Information and first- hand perspectives and experiences gathered from rural women will include an assessment of how much they know, how they have been affected, and what their own recommendations might be. This may involve research on:
- Investment details, including where available land investment contract documents (the team may determine how these documents could be shared with the women affected by these investments to assess their response and reactions to these investments)
- When and how women first became aware of the land deal, what consultative processes took place, what information was made available and how women engaged in assessing the land deal;
- How the land deal impacts the community of women, in the immediate and in the long term – in terms of the access to public commons, use of time for alternate livelihoods, implications for farming for food and other factors to be determined at the initial research methodology workshop;
- If there are grievances, where the women have or could turn to for recourse and action;
- What the risks, challenges, opportunities and realities are for women in communities impacted by the investment.
c) supplement the above data-compilation with contextual analysis including:
- Household contexts, e.g. current level of food and water security as they impact women;
- Country context, in economic, social and political terms, especially relevant to women’s economic and social security
- Relevant international terms and criteria that determine climate for land and foreign investments
- Other factors as determined at the initial research methodology workshop.
d) Each case study will also review and outline a set of solutions as articulated by rural women and their representative organisations including:
- Enabling policy environment required for gender equality and women’s resilience, participation and empowerment in the context of land grab;
- Capacity building of social capital and solidarity movements among women and community groups to withstand the increasing pressure on and demand for natural resources;
- Conclusions and recommendations for further action by Governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, including the UN and the International Financial Institutions, civil society and the private sector.
3. Duration of the consultancy
Final dates for delivery to be negotiated, but work needs to start in June and be completed in July so consultants must have availability from early June.
4. Location of assignment
The consultant will undertake the research in country and complete the writing of the report off-site. It is expected that the consultant will have country-specific knowledge or experience.
5. Expected outputs and deliverables
- Annotated outline of paper, methodology and approach prior to initial research team meeting
- Complete transcript of one-to-one interviews with a representative sample of women in the community, including women who are ‘invisible’ or ‘unheard’
- Complete transcripts of one-to-one or group interviews with other members of communities, plantation labourers, other service employees and local government representatives;
- Complete transcripts of one-to-one interviews with company / investor /middle agents;
- First draft paper with policy recommendations and executive summary for research coordinators’ review, comments, inputs and suggestions;
- Second draft incorporating comments and suggestions received;
6. Requirements and qualifications
- Expertise and knowledge on gender and sustainable development, relevant to the country in question
- An understanding of foreign direct investment and/or private sector development in the region
- Strong analytical, organizational, reporting and writing abilities
- Commitment to plan, prioritize and deliver tasks on time and to collaborate virtually with research coordinator
- Familiarity with conducting participatory field research both at the rural community level and with senior executives (of private or public sector)
- Openness to change and ability to receive/integrate feedback
- Ability to work as a team member with dependable electronic connectivity and receptivity
- Advanced university degree in economics, social and/or environmental sciences
- Five to ten years of progressively responsible experience on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the context of sustainable development.
- An understanding of land use issues on the African continent and women’s status in land access
- Excellent English written skills for diverse audiences (demonstrated through publication record).
- Excellent conceptual, writing and presentation skills; Fluency in oral and written English is required.
Selection criteria: The candidates will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: (i) educational background and work experience (based on the CV); (ii) cover letter; (iii) phone interview; and (iv) financial proposal.
Interested Applicants should send the following:
- Cover letter expression of interest specifying for which country, what key issues you would address and why you are the most suitable candidate for undertaking this consultancy
- Contact details for three referees
- Comprehensive resume
- Indication of time availability and number of days
- Daily fee and lump sum in USD (all research related expenses covered by Oxfam)
Nidhi Tandon at Nidhi@networkedintelligence.com
(pls copy Shannon@networkedintelligence.com)
Networked Intelligence for Development
461 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON M6R 2N4
Deadline: May 10, 2012