Request for Proposals: Research Company for Justice Barometer in Somalia

Country: Somalia
Organization: American Bar Association
Closing date: 20 May 2021

Table of Contents

Bid Timetable [2]

1.0 General Bid Information [2]

2.0 Proposal Requirements [5]

3.0 Criteria for Selection [6]

4.0 Objectives and Methodology [6]

Page Break

Bid Timetable. The ABA will make every effort to adhere to the following schedule:




RFP submitted for posting on the ABA website and distributed via e-mail to selected bidders.


30 April, 2021

Deadline to submit clarifying questions via e-mail to Ruta Hadgu,

Bidders; Unsolicited Bidders

10 May, 2021

Deadline to answer clarifying questions


15 May, 2021

Proposals must be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM EST.


20 May, 2021

Review is completed and finalists are notified


1 June, 2021

1.0 General Information

1.1 Purpose. The Expanding Access to Justice (EAJ) Program is a five-year associate award (2018–2023), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) via the Freedom House-led Human Rights Support Mechanism (HRSM) and implemented in partnership between Pact and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), that aims to improve access to justice and mechanisms to address grievances in Somalia and Somaliland.

The EAJ Program seeks a research company that can implement a longitudinal research on justice in Lower Shabelle, Mogadishu and Baidoa, establish a baseline report as well as quarterly updates.

This RFP is to provide to those companies interested in submitting proposals (“Bidders”) sufficient information to respond.

1.2 Issuing Department. The Rule of Law Initiative has issued this RFP on behalf of the American Bar Association. The sole point of contact in the ABA for this RFP shall be:

Ruta Hadgu

American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative

1.3 Type of Goods Required

ABA is seeking a research organization, which can deliver the following tasks:

  1. Develop a detailed research protocol;

  2. Provide a research team leader with excellent knowledge of qualitative field research and with excellent knowledge and experience in quantitative surveys, and provide additional researchers as needed;

  3. Develop indicators and survey questions around the six AJAT core thematic areas;

  4. Embed metrics for each question to allow for measurement of issues that have no numerical constant;

  5. Conduct a baseline study with the key research questions, including field research and allowing for indicator tracking in follow report;

  6. Report on a quarterly basis on changes in the perception metrics;

  7. Design and maintain an online dashboard;

  8. Deliver end line findings

1.4 Type of Contract. The contract needs to comply with the ABA Contract Policy and will be reviewed by the ABA’s General Counsel’s Office. ABA entities do not have separate legal standing to enter into oral or written contracts in their own names. All contracts are entered into on behalf of the American Bar Association. ABA ROLI, in its sole discretion, may undertake negotiations with Bidders whose proposal, in its’ judgment, show them to be qualified, responsible and capable of performing the project or providing the goods. ABA ROLI has the right to select the number of final bidders and the right to use one or more companies to meet its requirements. Only staff authorized by the ABA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer has authority to execute contractual agreements on behalf of the ABA.

1.5 Rejection of Proposals. The American Bar Association reserves the right, in their sole and complete discretion, to reject any proposal received in response to this RFP. ABA reserves the right to reject all offers, to waive technicalities, and to pursue procurement in a manner that is in the best interests of the organization.

1.6 Incurring Costs. The ABA is not liable for any costs the Bidder incurs in preparation and submission of its proposal, in participating in the RFP process or in anticipation of the award of the contract.

1.7 Pre-proposal Conference. There will be no pre-proposal conference.

1.8 Questions & Answers. If a Bidder has any questions regarding this RFP, the Bidder must submit the questions by email to the issuing employee named in Section 1.2 of the RFP. Questions should be submitted no later than the date indicated on the Bid Timetable. The Bidder shall not attempt to contact the issuing employee by any other means.

1.9 Response Date. To be considered for selection, electronic submissions must arrive to the issuing employee on the date specified in the RFP Bid Timetable. Bidders who send proposals by mail or other delivery service should allow sufficient delivery time to ensure timely receipt of their proposals.

1.10 Proposals. To be considered, Bidders should submit a complete and exact electronic response to this RFP via e-mail, according to the Proposal Requirements in Section 2.0. Paper submissions will not be considered. The Bidder shall make no other distribution of its proposal to any other Bidder or ABA employee or ABA consultant. An official authorized to bind the Bidder to its provisions must sign the proposal. For this RFP, the proposal must remain valid for 45 days taking into consideration time required for evaluation of proposals and processing of the contract or until a contract is fully executed. If the Issuing employee selects the Bidder’s proposal for award, the contents of the selected Bidder’s proposal will become, except to the extent the contents are changed through Best and Final Offers or negotiations, contractual obligations.

1.11 Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Information: The ABA encourages participation by minority, women, and small disadvantaged and disabled veteran businesses as prime contractors, joint ventures, and subcontractors/suppliers. MWBE Businesses are businesses that are owned or controlled by a Minority and Women owned business that have a 51% ownership. The Bidder must provide documentation from a certifying agency, state and federal certification that they are a certified minority or women owned business.

1.12 Discussions for Clarification. Bidders may be required to make an oral or written clarification of their proposals to the issuing employee to ensure thorough mutual understanding and Bidder responsiveness to the solicitation requirements. The issuing employee will initiate requests for clarification.

1.13 Prime Contractor Responsibilities. The contract will require the selected Bidder to assume responsibility for all services offered in its proposal whether it produces them itself or by subcontract. The issuing employee will consider the selected Bidder to be the sole point of contact with regard to contractual matters.

1.14 Proposal Contents. Bidders should not label proposal submissions as confidential or proprietary. The issuing employee will hold all proposals in confidence and will not reveal or discuss any proposal with competitors for the contract, unless disclosure is required:

a. Under the provisions of any State or United States statute or regulation; or

b. By rule or order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

All material submitted with the proposal becomes the property of the ABA and may be returned only at the issuing employee’s option. The issuing employee, in its sole discretion, may include any person other than competing Bidders on its proposal evaluation committee. The issuing employee has the right to use any or all ideas presented in any proposal regardless of whether the proposal becomes part of a contract.

1.15 Best and Final Offers. The issuing employee reserves the right to conduct discussions with Bidders for obtaining “best and final offers.” To obtain best and final offers from Bidders, the issuing department may do one or more of the following: enter into pre-selection negotiations, including schedule oral presentations and request revised proposals.

1.16 Term of Contract. The term of the contract will be determined upon review of eligible proposals. The issuing employee will set the effective date after the contract has been fully executed by the selected Bidder and by the ABA. The selected Bidder shall not start the performance of any work prior to the effective date of the executed contract and the ABA shall not be liable to pay the selected Bidder for any service or work performed or expenses incurred before the effective date of the contract.

The contract is not considered approved until the terms have been reviewed and approved by the Office of General Counsel. An “American Bar Association Office of General Counsel” approval stamp will appear on the contract with the signature of the attorney approving the terms of the contract.

1.17 Use of Electronic Versions of this RFP. This RFP is being made available by electronic means. If a Bidder electronically accepts the RFP, the Bidder acknowledges and accepts full responsibility to ensure that no changes are made to the RFP.

2.0 Proposal Requirements

Somalia-based research companies are encouraged to respond to this RFP. Bidders must submit their brief technical and cost proposals to the Issuing Employee named in Section 1.2 in the format outlined in Sections 2.1 - 2.4. To be considered, proposals must provide the Bidder name, mailing address, website (if available), the name of a Bidder Contact Person, Contact Person’s email address, and Contact Person’s phone number. Failure to provide this information may result in the rejection of the bidder’s proposal.

2.1 Statement of the Problem or Goods Required. Briefly state your understanding of the problem presented, services required by this RFP and any unique capabilities that your company has to deliver these services.

2.2 Proposed Solution and Approach. Briefly describe your solution for accomplishing the work as specified in Section 4.0 of this document. Please include CVs for the lead field researcher (one or two persons).

2.3 Cost Proposal. Bidders must submit a budget with their cost estimate for the field research to be carried out. Cost Proposals should:

  1. Include General Overhead Expenses in the quote.

  2. Include an itemized list of any and all additional costs (including materials or supplies needed to conduct the work) that may be applied. ABA reserves the right to refuse approvals for additional costs, including materials and supplies.

2.4 Past Performance. Bidders must submit evidence of previous similar research assignments and their outcomes. Please provide names, phone numbers, and/or emails of three client references that we may contact.

3.0 Criteria for Selection

3.1 Mandatory Responsiveness Requirements. To be eligible for selection, a proposal must:

  1. Be received according to dates set in the Bid Timetable;

  2. Be properly signed by a representative of the Bidder who is eligible to bind them in contract with the ABA;

  3. Be in accordance with all instructions as set forth in Sections 1 and 2.

3.2 Criteria for Selection. The following criteria will be used, in no particular order, in evaluating each proposal:

  • Soundness of research methodology and technical proposal;

  • Bidder qualifications;

  • Overall costs to the American Bar Association.

4.0 Objectives and Methodology

4.1 Objectives

Key objectives of the Justice Barometer are threefold:

  1. create enhanced understanding of the key conditions that promote Access to Justice considering the six core AJAT elements

  2. improve contextual understanding of key conditions for Access to Justice that may impact EAJ program objectives and operations

  3. increase understanding of program progress towards its key three objectives along with quality and efficacy of approaches and operations

4.2. Tracking People’s Perceptions

Upon the request from USAID, the EAJ Program redesigned its programmatic approach in Year 2 and narrowed its programmatic focus in Year 3. The revised Year 3 Work Plan reflects the evolution of the program’s approaches and practices based upon 2.5 years of implementation and learning. Leveraging these accumulated capabilities, Year 3 approaches are directed at accelerating service delivery and expanding impact across EAJ’s implementation areas. EAJ plans to achieve broad and significant impact by maintaining the approach set out in the 2020 Program Description with respect to its goal, objectives, and theory of change. EAJ also affirms the continuing relevance of its Access to Justice conceptual framework and previous analysis of the Somali stabilization continuum, along which the entirety of the program’s work takes place.

To that extend, EAJ’s conceptual framework is still based on the six ‘Access to Justice Assessment (AJAT)’ elements:

  1. Legal and Policy Framework

  2. Legal Knowledge and Confidence

  3. Citizens can obtain Advice and Representation

  4. Citizens not impeded from accessing Justice Forums

  5. Justice Mechanisms address Grievances Efficiently and Fairly

  6. Solutions are Enforceable

In 2019/20, the EAJ had conducted a Baseline Assessment in selected locations in Benadir, South West State and Jubaland. The assessment consisted of qualitative and quantitative data collection assessing the status of the six core AJAT areas in different locations. The study formed part of EAJ’s monitoring activities for one of its goal indicators. While the assessment captured people’s perceptions in regards to the these six areas, it also conducted case studies aiming to understand the behavior people display when attempting to access justice.

Given EAJ’s current upscaling of implementation, the Program plans to track changes in people’s perception on a more regular basis, including to track potential effectiveness of program approaches. The Justice Barometer will therefore build on the previously conducted Baseline Assessment, its key research questions, and its findings. It will focus on fewer selected areas, however, concentrating on districts in which the EAJ Program currently implements, and track citizen’s perceptions stratified along the six AJAT areas on a longitudinal basis.

4.3. EAJ Approaches

The three complementary core lines of effort in EAJ’s Justice Solutions & Assistance approach include:

  1. Model Courts

EAJ will continue to strengthen the capacity of state justice personnel to deliver results by continuing to establish Somalia’s first ever Model Courts. In Year 1, EAJ started with the Wadajir District Court, and will now roll out this initiative to the Afgooye District and Regional Court. Herein, EAJ programming has been complemented by the TIS+ funding of physical court infrastructure, as well as investments into strengthening the systems and practices of court personnel, including through a Judges’ Forum. It will further focus on training judges in Shari’ah jurisprudence that will enhance Access to Justice for women and vulnerable groups.

The EAJ Program will support the development of court standards, policies, and technical practices to improve the operation, consistency, and effectiveness of state court adjudications. Model Court interventions will be created, applied, monitored, and refined, to inform their possible roll-out to additional courts. Shari’ah experts will train judges at the model courts as well as justice sub-committee and Peace and Security Committee members in Lower Shabelle to encourage the application of Shari’ah jurisprudence that allows vulnerable groups access to individual-based rights and can provide a type of justice that is contextual and rooted in Somali culture and religion.

  1. Inclusive Forums (Court User Committees)

In tandem with the establishment of Model Courts, EAJ will continue to support the creation of Somalia’s first ever Court User Committees (CUCs) as forums where communities can articulate local needs, hold justice actors accountable, and be a part of generating solutions. The committees will include community members (religious leaders, clan elders, women, youth, and minority groups) in addition to court, police, and legal aid organization [LAO] representatives. CUCs are planned for the Wadajir District Court and the Afgooye District and Regional Court. The Afgooye CUC will build on lessons learned and best practices demonstrated by the Wadajir District Court pilot project.

The introduction of a CUC will facilitate community engagement and foster trust in establishing expectations and accountability for court operations. The CUC also strengthens coordination throughout the extended justice chain, including community leaders and representatives, statutory justice actors such as the police, prosecutors, custodial services, and LAOs, and other district-based redress mechanisms that constitute Somalia’s plural justice environment. They will allow their respective courts to better service local communities’ unique needs as a one-stop-shop for justice by increasing access to court, police, prosecutorial division, legal aid, and mediation services. Collectively, these actors will participate in setting court priorities and expectations, and help hold courts accountable, which is a crucial first step in instilling confidence in statutory justice institutions among disaffected communities.

  1. Justice Promoters

EAJ will fund Somali-led organizations to train, deploy, and supervise Somalia’s first ever network of Justice Promoters (a type of community-based paralegal). These community volunteers are equipped to help individuals identify their optimal pathway between different available justice institutions and authorities – and in consideration of the local socio-political context – as they seek solutions to their justice needs. Justice Promoters and the organizations that support them work closely with EAJ-supported law school legal aid clinics to provide advice and assistance in resolving individual cases through engagement with relevant justice authorities. Some of EAJ’s partners will be supported to operate legal aid call centers, as well as host call-in radio and TV shows around legal rights and justice options.

The Justice Promoters framework is a key component of EAJ’s plan to sustainably anchor both localization and individual empowerment in Somalia’s procedural justice system. EAJ especially aims to do this for underserved communities. These communities have often had little to no exposure to statutory justice institutions in decades of state collapse and civil war. Even today, fledgling courts and police are limited in number and capacity, leaving new arrivals, large parts of Somalia’s less educated or illiterate population, and rural communities with little understanding of the pluralist justice landscape.


Justice Promoters can accompany a female domestic violence survivor to receive medical attention, obtain the necessary documentation at a police station, and approach justice providers, thereby respecting the cultural expectation that women not address a justice institution without accompaniment, while also ensuring that justice is not placed out of her reach.

The Justice Promoter approach will seek to establish Justice Promoters as a first port of call for justice seekers and dedicated resources for vulnerable individuals within their communities. Justice Promoters will support individuals in navigating xeer and shari’ah forums, state courts, and peace committees that bridge these institutions. By exploring their clients’ interests and evaluating likely benefits and costs of varied justice assistance venues, as well as possible outcomes of different strategies, Justice Promoters will not only address immediate justice needs, but will also enhance understanding of justice services and thereby empower individual justice seekers. In each community, Justice Promoters will be selected from community members with good social-standing and in-depth knowledge of local socio-political structures. This will be done in consultation with community members.

The Justice Promoter model will leverage this pre-existing social capital. EAJ’s local partners will ensure that, in communities with different sub-clans, Justice Promoters will be representative of the different social groups in the community.

EAJ will work with LAO staff to train Justice Promoters and will emphasize an in-depth understanding of the legally plural justice landscape, which requires the ability of navigating xeer, shari’ah, and state courts. In cases in which an aggrieved party decides that they wish to address a state court, the Justice Promoter will work closely with local LAOs, which can provide legal assistance via a lawyer, and can offer support bringing the case to court. The Justice Promotor framework and methodology will be institutionalized at Mogadishu University and City University’s legal clinics. This, in addition to the voluntary nature of the Justice Promoter model, will promote the sustainability of the program’s impact beyond the conclusion of funding support through EAJ.

4.4. The Justice Barometer

In order to assess the effectiveness of these approaches and their scale, the EAJ proposes to measure changes in the program locations through a regular justice user perception survey. While tracking progress of EAJ interventions, the Justice Barometer will also provide general in-depth understanding of changing community-level conditions that can help adjust programming strategies where necessary.

Geographic priorities: The Justice Barometer will be implemented in the key operational locations of the EAJ, namely:

  • Wadajir District in Mogadishu

  • Afgoye in Lower Shabelle

  • Merka in Lower Shabelle

  • Baidoa in South West State

Timeline: The Justice Barometer will be implemented over one year with the possibility of extending into another year. It will track the questions and report on results on a quarterly basis.

Indicators: It will be centered around pre-established indicators, which will allow the EAJ to track change over time, but also indicate if specific corrective measures are required for programming.

Findings: Findings will be shared with the EAJ internally and will be used as a base for the team’s quarterly Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) sessions. In these sessions, the team will discuss effectiveness and efficiency of EAJ approaches and operation and decide on adjustments to the program where necessary. Findings will also allow the team to understand potential unintended outcomes of its interventions, which may call for necessary adjustments.

The EAJ team will further undertake a comparative analysis of the potential fluctuations in the indicators tracked along a timeline of political, security and justice-related events. Analysis will also be informed by EAJ’s data on Applied Political Economy Analysis, which is collected through ‘Regional Experts’ in Benadir, Lower Shabelle and Baidoa on a continued basis. It will be collated with monthly reports on actual justice and security events in Lower Shabelle, which EAJ receives on a regular basis from its security risk management provider, Vates.

Findings will be shared with the USAID Team, to help inform USG strategies and approaches.

Research Team: The research company will track the responses to a set of key perception questions provided by the EAJ, quantifying their metrics using pre-established indicators through a mixed-method and longitudinal approach. The research company should have long-term experience in implementing research in Somalia, with a country office in place, and with a track record in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including for the purposes of impact evaluations, opinion polling, and program evaluations, desirably in the justice or security sector. The research company needs to be fully registered in Somalia.

4.5. Methodology

Indicators and Survey Questions: Indicators will be developed around the six AJAT elements, and largely based on already existing questions from the previous EAJ Baseline Assessment:

  1. Legal and Policy Framework

  2. Legal Knowledge and Confidence

  3. Citizens can obtain Advice and Representation

  4. Citizens not impeded from Justice Forums

  5. Justice Mechanisms address Grievances Efficiently and Fairly

  6. Solutions are Enforceable

Given the qualitative nature of the questions, metrics will be embedded into each key research question, which will allow the measurement of issues that have no numerical constant. The research company will establish a Justice Barometer baseline, carry out field research, indicator tracking, and report on a quarterly basis on changes in the perception metrices (indicators/variables), design and maintain an online dashboard (Ona), and deliver endline findings.

Justice Barometer Baseline. The baseline will have three objectives:

  1. Establish baseline values for EAJ’s metrics of access to justice and establish where communities are in regards to the 6 core AJAT elements on Access to Justice

  2. Assist in understanding Access to Justice trends in the different geographical areas by focusing on existing justice dynamics, justice institutions and justice actors

  3. Provide samples that can be tracked longitudinally throughout the year

The Justice Barometer Baseline will be based on a minimum sample size of 400 respondents, defined by their residence location, clan and sub-clan identity, gender and age. This baseline will be used for the development of indicators, operationalization of research questions, and the development of indices.

Quarterly Reporting: The research company will provide data on short- and medium-term trends and community perceptions in regards to Access to Justice. This will allow the EAJ to monitor changes over time in the specific locations, in which it implements activities. The perception survey trends will be extended through media monitoring on justice issues, as well as qualitative interviews to produce more qualitative explanation to some of the observed trends in perceptions. The quarterly reporting will build on the baseline, as survey respondents and qualitative interviewees will be re-contacted every quarter. The research company will aim to contact the same 400 respondents as during the baseline, with the following minimum numbers at each location: 100 in Baidoa; 100 in Wadajir District; 100 in Afgooye and 100 in Merka. Interviews and the survey will be conducted through a call center by telephone.

Data will be disaggregated by location, gender, age, and kin background of the respondent.

Justice Barometer Endline: The endline will build on the same methods but will allow the drawing of conclusions about the efficiency and impacts of programme implementation. In the endline, the research company will compare endline data to the baseline data and produce insights into changes, especially where they can be connected to program activities. The endline will further provide insights - based on a year of regular longitudinal data collection - into how specific local events can shape perceptions, how those effects are amplified and how different types of events interact with specific contexts in yielding outcomes.

4.6. Timeline for research activities:

Joint finalization of indicators

15 June 2021

Research Company submits final research design

30 June 2021

Submission of baseline findings to EAJ

30 September 2021

Submission of Quarterly Reporting

31 January 2022

31 April 2022

30 July 2022

Submission of endline report to EAJ

31 November 2022

EAJ Analysis of trends – quarterly / EAJ Team to discuss trends / submission of results to USAID

20 November 2022

How to apply:

The Proposals need to be submitted to electronically by 11:59 PM EST on May 20, 2021.

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