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Urban Poverty Study

Source: Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark - Tue, 24 Dec 2013 09:04 AM
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.


In August 2013, DRC and PIN secured funding from the European Union Food Security Programme for Linking Relief to Rehabilitation and Development in Afghanistan, under the lot for innovative actions in urban settings. As part of this project, DRC and PIN seek to inform humanitarian/ development actors and policy makers on the causes and extent of food insecurity, vulnerability and resilience of Afghanistan’s urban poor through an urban poverty study.

A number of policy documents have been approved by the Afghan government in 2013; among them, the Afghanistan Food Security and Nutrition Agenda and the IDP policy. Their operalization though is still to be formulated. The study will contribute relevant data to the policy debate on issues of urban food insecurity and poverty, displacement and migration in a context of growing urbanization in Afghanistan, and simultaneously provide program recommendations for practitioners in the field.


Scope and Objectives of the Research

The overall scope of the study is to determine levels and causes of poverty/ food insecurity, vulnerability and resilience of urban populations, and explore the difference between the groups of residents, returnees, displaced and migrants.

The study is intended to provide evidence and help influence government policy makers on issues related to food security, urban planning, migration and displacement.


Three main specific objectives can be identified:

1) To investigate issues of poverty/ food insecurity, vulnerability and resilience of the most vulnerable urban populations, including returnees and IDPs, in the urban areas of Kabul, Jalalabad, Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e Sharif.

2) To improve understanding of the gender aspects of these phenomena, at household and community levels, including the impact of traditional practice and behaviors.

3) To Increase awareness of the above issues among policy makers as well as humanitarian and development actors.


Research questions include:

  • What is the profile of urban poor/ food insecure (and maybe also looking into the difference between these two)?

  • Is there any difference between returnees, IDPs, migrants and other urban poor?

  • Is there any difference between returnees from Pakistan and Iran?

  • Is there any difference based on ethnic origins?

  • Is there any difference between men and women, young and elderly?

  • What are the conditions/ determinants of poverty/ food insecurity in urban areas (or conditions by which this can vary – e.g. is it seasonal? What activities is it linked to?)? – for men and women, young and elderly

  • What are the resources (skills, relationships, etc) that people had (e.g. before displacement) or have, which determine their level of resilience to shocks– for men and women, young and elderly.

  • What type of support would help them to increase their level of resilience– for men and women, young and elderly

  • Is displacement/ migration to urban areas a sign of distress or of resilience? What are the conditions for people to move?

  • Are assistance programmes in urban areas (likely to represent) a pull factor for increased migration to urban areas?

The study will include clear and practicable recommendations for people working at both policy and practitioner level.


Context of Research

The security situation in Afghanistan varies by region, but is generally characterized by a summer “fighting season” and relative lull period during the winter months. Overall, security is quite good in the main cities of the countries, where the research will take place. However, it is difficult to predict the situation in 2014 given the nation-wide presidential elections planned in early April and the gradual withdrawal of international forces by the end of 2014. In such a context, the researcher or Consultancy Company is required to maintain a high level of flexibility to adapt to the changing security environment in Afghanistan (or some of the cities) by adjusting its timeline and work schedule.



The exact methodology should be proposed by the consultants in their expression of interest. It should include as a minimum:

  • Secondary data review

  • Qualitative primary data collection through focus group discussions to shed light on the research questions and inform the design of the questionnaire for the survey. Primary data collection (quantitative)


A sub-group of the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) will be involved in the study, providing inputs to its design and support during the implementation on a need basis.

A national level workshop, following the completion of the research, shall be held provide a forum for dissemination of the study results among relevant actors and help influence government policy makers on issues related to food security, urban planning, migration and the IDP policy.


Expected tasks of the Research Consultant/Consultancy Company

  1. Prepare a work plan for the study, with clear deadlines for the deliverables

  2. Desk review of existing relevant data and studies published till date on urban issues, IDPs and returnees

  3. Qualitative primary data collection in Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar-e Sharif

  4. Designing the survey questionnaire (in ODK format, no prior knowledge necessary, training by PIN)

  5. Training enumerators (hired by DRC and PIN) for primary data collection

  6. Overseeing the survey data collection (approximately 1,100 households to be surveyed per city)

  7. Data cleaning

  8. Data analysis (a statistician will be hired to assist)

  9. With the support of DRC and PIN administration team, organizing the national level workshop



Expected Deliverables

  • Short report summarizing the desk review of existing data and studies

  • Presentation to DRC and PIN teams of the findings of the qualitative data collection (field visits) and proposed ideas for the survey questionnaire

  • Presentation to DRC and PIN teams of the survey results

  • Research study report with clear recommendations (in case of independent researcher a digital illustrator will be hired to assist)

  • Presentation of the findings at the national level workshop




Research Consultant or Consultancy company’s Expertise

  • Post-graduate degree in Development or other related subjects;

  • Over 7 years of experience in Development, Urban Poverty, Gender, or IDP/Returnees;

  • Excellent social research skills with a portfolio of previous research in a similar field and context;

  • Excellent English writing skills;

  • Experience in the use of participatory methodologies and developing gender sensitive evaluation methodologies;

  • Experience working in conflict affected contexts;

  • Previous experience working with digital data gathering processes is desirable;

  • Previous experience working in Afghanistan is desirable;

  • Knowledge of Dari and/or Pashto is desirable;

  • Willingness to travel to the field in Afghanistan.


Contractual and Management Arrangements

  • The consultant/ company will be hired under a DRC consultancy contract.

  • The consultant will be line managed by the Programme Director, however for project related management issues the DRC Programme Director will consult with the Programme Manager in PiN.

  • The expected duration of the consultancy is 24 weeks. Each week comprises of 5 working days

  • Starting date: possibly beginning of February 2014

  • The consultant will be expected to obtain their own insurance and visa to Afghanistan as well as the international flight to Kabul.

  • DRC will provide accommodation and transport support whilst in country.

  • The consultant(s) will be paid based on the deliverables: 30% after the presentation of findings from the field, 40% after the presentation of a draft report with the survey results, 30% at the end of the assignment.

  • The consultant will be paid 300 USD / month as a per diem in addition to the agreed fees.

  • The consultant will be entitled to 12 days unpaid leave.

  • The consultant is expected to follow the DRC security framework and travel policies.


How to Apply

Research Consultants or Consulting companies meeting the above criteria are invited to submit proposals by e-mail to no later than 23rd January 2014. Please write “Urban Poverty Study” in the subject line.


Proposals should include the following:

  • Clearly state in the beginning if the application is for an independent researcher or a consultancy company.

  • A brief proposal (no longer than 5 pages), explaining the proposed methodology for the research and structure of the final report.

  • CV(s) of the consultant(s), outlining relevant experience and accomplishments. In case of a consultancy company, CVs of all relevant personnel to prove the capacity to provide a full report (statistician and digital illustrator, etc.)

  • Two work-related references, preferably related to similar assignments.

  • One sample of a similar work assignment/product.

  • Proposed daily rate in US dollars. Or full budget. (Please note DRC/PIN will cover transport, salary of the enumerators, printing, statistical analysis and publication design costs (editing of format)).


Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

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