Research Consultancy Research Paper –Mapping of Emerging Grassroots Initiatives in Tripoli
Terms of Reference
Research Paper –Mapping of Emerging Grassroots Initiatives in Tripoli
Lebanon is currently undergoing a multi-faceted and unprecedented crisis at various interconnected and mutually reinforcing levels. The country was stuck in political deadlock for several months following a popular uprising that erupted on October 17, 2019, when a package of indirect taxes was announced by the Government of Lebanon (GoL), and a wave of protests followed, with demands including the resignation of the Cabinet, formation of a neutral government, early parliamentary elections and greater socio-economic reforms and social justice. The ongoing economic and financial crisis is increasingly manifesting its effects and threatening the livelihoods and safety of people in country, with more than one third of the population unemployed nationwide. A survey conducted by InfoPro by the end of June 2020 showed that an estimated 350,000 people have lost their jobs, in addition to 200,000 people in 2019 (estimated by CAS) making the total number of unemployed people reach 550,000 or 30% of a total labor force.
In the last few years, Lebanon has been witnessing a consistent balance of payment deficit for the first time in its history, which was exacerbated during the last year as a result of significant capital outflow, and a shortage of capital deposits primarily from expats. This and the significant negative balance of trade which led to a shortage in USD in the banks, has undermined the currency peg policy where the local currency has lost 80 to 82% of its value to the US Dollar in the black market, massively decreasing the real income of most residents in the country. Although the official exchange rate remains pegged at 1,500 LBP for every dollar by Banque Du Liban, the Lebanese Lira was trading at over 9,000 LBP to 1 USD in the black market by July 2020 and 8,000 until the date of writing in December 2020. As Lebanon heavily relies on imports to meet its needs of food and essential items, the devaluation of the Lebanese pound impacted imports of goods and raw material, causing shortages in essential commodities such as fuel, and leading to prices doubling to tripling in the market. The price inflation threatens ability to meet basic needs of hundreds of thousands of residents who earn their income in LBP.
Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon has been deeply affected by the multiple crises. According to ESCWA, it is estimated that more than half of Tripoli’s population live in deprivation, nearly a third of which suffer from extreme poverty. Oxfam’s protection monitoring reports showed that households and communities are resorting to negative coping strategies to make ends meet such as selling livelihoods assets, skipping meals, cutting meat and dairy, and child labour.
However, rising vulnerabilities have also paved the way for some positive coping strategies adopted by communities, such as the emergence of grassroots and solidarity initiatives. Grassroots initiatives use community-based collective action to affect change at the local and national levels through encouraging community members to contribute and action to support their community. There is a notable emergence of grassroots initiatives in Tripoli that aim to respond to the needs of the targeted urban communities through various interventions. Such initiatives have emerged due to the deteriorating socio-economic context, and the lack of a comprehensive social protection system or adequate social services to support the most vulnerable population.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE ASSIGNMENT
This research will explore how grassroots initiatives operate in Tripoli at the community level and howthis research will be divided into different but interlinked parts. First, we aim at mapping the emerging grassroot initiatives that conduct service provision to understand their mandate, vision, and sustainability. Second, we aim at understanding the perception of key stakeholder in the community surrounding them, including volunteers and those receiving support from the initiatives, on how integrated, reliable, and preferred they find these initiatives to be. Third, we aim to understand if grassroots initiatives want to be better linked to and integrated with existing service providers in Tripoli (other grassroots initiatives, LNGOs/INGOs, SDCs, or Government, for example) and if so, how this can be possible. Finally, we want to understand how grassroots initiatives can be strengthened and supported by other service providers such as the government and NGOs in the long term.
Below is a graph that illustrates the three compartments:
Specific overarching objectives:
- Highlight the rise of grassroots initiatives in Tripoli as a result of the deteriorating situation, the lack of a comprehensive social protection system and adequate service provision in Lebanon to support the most vulnerable population, and the different gaps left by the government.
- Emphasize the joint efforts at the community level to fill gaps left by the government in terms of social service provision and the provision of a solidarity-based safety nets.
- Demonstrate how vulnerable households can be better linked to such initiatives, to meet their immediate needs
- Allow for a better understanding of how much initiatives can be viewed as coping strategies adopted at community level to support the community’s needs and fill the gaps of service provision and to see how sustainable a solution this can be over the longer term.
- Understand the role they play in mitigating or increasing tension within communities looking deeper into targeting and perceptions of targeting and access to services.
- Take into account the possibility of linking such initiatives to NGOs and INGOs, and possibly SDCs for their sustainability and continuity.
- To understand how grassroots initiatives can be supported and made more sustainable over the longer term.
The research aims at answering the following preliminary research questions:
- On the nature(s) of grassroot initiatives:
- In which geographic locations in Tripoli are grassroot initiatives taking place, and why?
- How are grassroots being established, funded, and sustained?
- What services are grassroots initiatives providing, and why?
- Who is being targeted by the initiatives? How are services being monitored? Is there a reporting/complain mechanism in place?
- How are the initiatives advertising their services (outreach strategies)?
- Where do these initiatives see themselves in the future (scaling up to national/collaborating with other agencies/staying local)?
- On stakeholders’ perception towards grassroot initiatives:
- How are stakeholders reacting to the emerging grassroot initiatives?
- Are members of the surrounding communities tending to volunteer/contribute?
- How are members of the community learning about these initiatives?
- Are members of the community being able to easily access services provided by grassroot initiatives? Why or why not?
- How are these initiatives impacting the social strata (ethnic and communal tensions, class solidarity)
- On the aid sector:
- How are INGOs/LNGOs and SDCs activities and interventions different than solidarity initiatives?
- Can grassroots initiatives be linked to local stakeholders (such as SDCs, Municipalities, local communities, civil society actors, Basic Assistance and Protection Working Groups), why or why not? How can better linkages be made?
- How do grassroot initiatives perceive interventions by NGOs/INGOs and SDCs?
- How can grassroots initiatives be better supported and more empowered?
- Can initiatives as such be scaled to national structures? What type of skills/models would initiatives as such bring to national structures (innovation, SE, learning, solidarity)
- SCOPE OF THE MAPPING ACTIVITY AND DRAFT METHODOLOGY
With close collaboration with the Research and Policy Advisor and Project Manager managing Oxfam’s Social Protection project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in close consultation with the Oxfam’s Cash, Protection, and Gender Advisors, the consultant or team of researchers will carry out the following:
- Develop a detailed methodology for the research, including the development of research tools (Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions) and sampling strategy
- Desk review of relevant documents
- Carry out qualitative research including KIIs and FGDs (50-70) with members of the community, members of grassroot initiatives, and key stakeholders in Tripoli, to explore perceptions at the community/scope of work of the grassroots
- Submit drafts of the report, the report should be no more than 30 pages maximum and must include an executive summary 
- Send the report to Oxfam team for revisions (the rounds of revisions will not be set ahead of time, and will depend on the quality of the report)
- Develop the last version of the research report
- Support the dissemination plan for the final report including presentations if requested.
Number of round of revisions depends on the quality of the reports and the feedback of the team
- PROCESS & ACTIVITIES
The consultancy will take place over 10 weeks, beginning January 1st.
Type of deliverable
1. Final research Methodology
A paper which specified the methodology including the data collection, data collection plan,
2. Conduct literature review
6. Develop qualitative research tools (KIIs_
List of tailored semi-structured surveys for the KIIs =
7. Collect qualitative data
Collect data from interviewees depending on the set methodology
8. Analysis of qualitative data
Thematic analysis of the data generated front the KIIs
9. Report of analysis of qualitative data
Slide deck presenting the main themes that were identified from the qualitative research component for feedback and validation
10. First full research draft
A first draft of the research paper that presents the triangulated findings from the three components from the three data sources: desk review, quantitative, and qualitative. Research will be reviewed and discussed with the project team.
11. Revised research drafts
Drafts of the research paper following rounds of revisions
12. Final research report
Final research report in the edited English version
skills, experience and knowledge
We are looking to hire a researcher or team of researchers with the following skills and experience:
- A graduate degree in a relevant discipline such as social science, economics, development studies, or equivalent experience;
- At least 5 years of relevant research experience, including experience in similar topics and perception surveys;
- Demonstrable understanding of gender mainstreaming in service provision and research dsign;
- Good written and spoken Arabic and English are essential;
- Knowledge and experience in Tripoli
- Experience in working and jointly implementing projects and policies involving local authorities, civil society, solidarity initiatives, and/or organizations as implementing partners
- Previous experience in working with Ministry of Social Affairs or National Poverty Targeting Program
HOW TO APPLY
Interested consultants should present their CVs and a brief proposal which includes a top-line methodology and a workplan. The proposal should also include all the estimated costs including, data collection/analysis, report write-up, transportation, communication, training, translation, and editing. Please specify the modality of payment – Fresh USD, Bankers Check, LBP.
How to apply
Interested consultants should present their CVs and a brief proposal which includes a top-line methodology and a workplan. The proposal should also include all the estimated costs including, data collection/analysis, report write-up, transportation, communication, training, translation, and editing. Please specify the modality of payment – Fresh USD, Bankers Check, LBP.Expired