Call for Proposals: Development of ADEA Strategic Plan 2018-2020 & Business Model

NEW Deadline for submissions is Monday 31st July, 2017 at midnight GMT to the following address:


The implementation of ADEA’s next Strategic Plan (2018-2020) is expected to commence in January 2018. The factors that will drive or influence the direction of this Strategic Plan are both external and internal. Some may be similar to those of the previous SMTP but are not necessarily the same. The external factors relate to the post-2015 global and continental agendas (The Sustainable Development Goals) and the outcomes of the policy dialogue by the African Ministers and their partners at the March 2017 ADEA Triennale held in Senegal. Other factors include the continent-wide challenge of youth unemployment, African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA 16-25). The internal factors relate to ADEA’s transformation process, financial sustainability and capacity in the years ahead; and the need to reposition itself to be more relevant to member countries within the context of the internal and external pressures they are facing...

The consulting firm will be required to carry out the following tasks: 

  • Carry out a thorough scan and analysis of the Association’s external environment and internal organization in order to have a clear understanding of the internal weaknesses and external threats facing the Association as well as the opportunities and strengths that could enhance its performance and sustainability during the plan period and beyond. Such a scan is expected to provide a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities in education and training on the continent. 
  • Identify key barriers to raising quality and relevance of education and particularly those constraints limiting transition of young people from the education system to dignified and fulfilling work. 
  • Identify key actors that ADEA needs to work with and the real needs of each of the actors. 
  • Identify key areas of focus that would lead to impactful change in learning outcomes. 
  • Identify ways in which ADEA can strengthen its role as an influencer and how its interventions can address the above-mentioned needs. 
  • Develop a theory of change with a clear goal and that clearly articulates linkages between different activity areas and the overall goal, taking into account the assets at ADEA’s disposal (member countries, development partners, ICQNs, Working Groups) as well as new partnerships to be developed (such as with the private sector and African philanthropy) 
  • Propose key objectives, main activities to be undertaken and high-level results that ADEA should aim at achieving during the three-year period. The strategic objectives and activities should be linked to ADEA’s mission and vision; and realizable within the plan period. Design an outcome-based performance measurement tool or improve the existing one for effectively assessing progress towards achieving strategic objectives and initiatives. The tool would be used for collecting and analyzing data that should help ADEA determine if it is successfully moving towards achieving results at the outcome and impact levels. The current performance monitoring plan has been criticized for “inappropriate indicators”, “ambitious data collection”, “lack of target-setting” and “complexity, size and presentation of results” by the Secretariat. 
  • Identify potential risks in the implementation of the new strategic plan and determine measures to mitigate them in the course of implementation. For instance, the current SMTP could not be effectively implemented for lack of financial resources. 
  • Translate the strategic plan into an operational plan; and estimate annual budgets for its implementation. 
  • Compile the findings into a comprehensive Strategic Plan.


A new business model will be needed to implement the ADEA strategic plan and to adapt to the implementation structure that has evolved in recent years. The business model will also take into account the need to diversify the sources of funding for the Association, particularly in recognition of the growing role of ICQNs and the importance of increasing the contribution of African countries, private sector and other stakeholders.

The need for revising the business model has been recognized and approved at the highest levels of the Association. Based on the outcome of the 2016 independent evaluation report of ADEA, the Steering Committee approved the re-modelling the Association at its 43rd Extra-ordinary Session in Cairo, Egypt from 24th to 25th November, 2016. Among others, the Business model should include of the following new elements: 

  • A knowledge hub that will serve as a facility for curating and disseminating knowledge; a platform for publishing flagship reports and cutting-edge policy briefs; and for coordinating a network of high profile African experts in education; 
  • A platform for the coordination of existing ICQNs, facilitation of the establishment of new ones, transformation of Working Groups into ICQNs or merger of such groups with Inter-Country Quality Nodes; and 
  • A platform for providing professional/technical services to countries in capacity development within a clearly defined regulatory framework. 
  • A mechanism for reaching out to the private sector in Africa as an interested stakeholder in, and beneficiary of, education. 

The assignment is essentially a remodelling of ADEA’s modus operandi. It will entail a mapping of its external environment – stakeholders, actors, needs and opportunities – as well as the resources and capacities the Association will be able to mobilise for sustainability. The consultant will be expected to perform the following tasks: 

  • Clearly articulate ADEA’s core business in order to meet the strategic and pressing needs of African governments and labor market and to deliver value-added service to its stakeholders. This includes the results for which the Association would be held accountable. 
  • Determine the key functions and services that ADEA should perform and the kind of niche it should create for itself in the African education development or transformation landscape. In the past, ADEA’s function was described as “policy dialogue” and the focus of the current strategy (SMTP 2013-2017) is on “educational transformation”. The new business model should define what the main function of the Association must be in order to achieve this transformation. 
  • Re-examine ADEA’s current brand in terms of its continued value-added relevance and attractiveness to stakeholders and propose an improved or alternative brand; provide guidelines for rebranding itself to demonstrate its distinctiveness and desirability as a key player in education development in Africa. 
  • Propose a new funding model, taking into account present day realities about external assistance and one that brings in other potential sources of financing such as the private sector and philanthropies in Africa. The ADEA current business model was based on the assumption that external funders would support activities such as policy dialogue, knowledge sharing, human and institutional capacity development through the Secretariat, Working Groups and ICQNs to enable African leaders to dialogue and reform their education systems. While some donors continue to support this model, others are no longer willing to support it with funding. Their organizational priorities have shifted from supporting ADEA’s model and their interests no longer align with ADEA’s priorities. The new business model must identify the entity that should pay for ADEA’s support and services. 
  • Propose measure to increase ownership of ADEA by African governments. ADEA operates as a vehicle for the priorities of its stakeholders, and has long pursued a broad agenda encompassing all sectors of African education. Some stakeholders appreciated this flexibility and compared it favorably to other actors with set agendas; but others have a preference for a more targeted approach. The task is to determine the activities that will inspire African governments to want to own, invest in or financially sustain ADEA. Ownership means commitment to keep the Association financially solvent and viable to carry out its mandate. 
  • Propose a cost-effective and nimble operating structure, taking into account the emergence of ICQNs and gradual phasing out of Working Groups that have achieved their original goal. The present management model of ADEA consists of a central Secretariat and a set of decentralized entities. The Secretariat provides administrative functions (overall leadership and coordination, finance, M&E, etc.) and plays a coordinating, resource mobilization and representation role. The consultant should define the role of the Secretariat in the new business model in relation to ADEA entities such as the ICQNs and outline a new modus operandi that provides the Secretariat a more active role in coordinating a continent-wide network of ICQNs. Provide a nimble and efficient structure that will have the capacity to deliver on the new functions of the business model but remain, as much as possible, close to the existing structure and staffing levels given ADEA’s current financial constraints. 
  • Examine the modalities of building a knowledge hub that will have the capacity to curate and disseminate evidence-based, innovative knowledge that can enrich decision-making and policy and strategy formulation in education. Additionally, the scope of such a knowledge hub has to be clearly defined. 
  • Ensuring active participation of African Ministers and senior representatives of development partners in ADEA governance structures. Historically, ADEA has been a forum for African Ministers of Education and senior high-level representatives of development cooperation partners. An often cited forte of the Association is its ability to convene ministers. ADEA’s convening power provides guidance that ensures continued and effective policy dialogue as an important and beneficial function and contribution to education transformation on the continent. In recent years, however, ministerial attendance has been low and senior management representatives of partner institutions has been replaced largely by technical experts. There is, therefore, the need to review this unique feature and propose measures in the new business model that will bring back the African Ministers and high-level development representatives to ADEA’s high level meetings. 
  • Explore the sources of financing the new business model in order to ensure sustainability of the Association. In this regard ADEA seeks to provide demand-driven capacity building support services for a fee. Its charges will strictly be to meet its cost of services and products. The consultant will provide guidance that will ensure that the operation of such services does not compromise the Association’s mandate or create a negative perception as a profit-making organization among key stakeholders and, consequently, rob it of future financial support by partners.


The consulting firm will be required to provide the following deliverables: 

  • An inception report within two weeks of signing the contract. It will clearly outline the tasks or activities the consultant will undertake as well as the corresponding timelines, provided in a Gantt chart. It will provide a “road map” and guide the consultants in the design of the strategic plan, data collection and analysis of inter-relationships among the variables. It will also include a format for the final report. 
  • A draft Theory of Change, Strategic Plan and Business Model submitted to the ADEA Executive Committee Task Force and ADEA Secretariat for review and feedback to the consultant. Both entities will provide their respective comments to the consultants. 
  • A revised draft Theory of Change, Strategic Plan and Business Model to be shared with, and virtually presented to, the Executive Committee for feedback. The presentation will have taken into account the comments of the ADEA Executive Committee Task Force and the ADEA Secretariat. 
  • A final draft Theory of Change, Strategic Plan and Business Model presented by the consultant to the ADEA Steering Committee for approval. 
  • A final Theory of Change, Strategic Plan and Business Model submitted to the ADEA Secretariat.


The consultant will report directly to the Executive Secretary of the Association and work closely with the ADEA Secretariat’s Focal Point in charge of the project. 


Technical and financial proposals should be sent to no later than Monday 31st July 2017 at midnight GMT.