Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education

Willy Thorpe Place Building, Banjul

The Gambia







Country: The Republic of The Gambia

Project Titles:  Results for Education Achievement and Development (READ)

Sector:  Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE)

Consultancy Services: Development of Communication Strategy for Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education (MoBSE).

Project ID:  P133978


Expressions of interest

The Government of The Gambia has received financing amounting to USD18.8 million from the World Bank towards the cost of the READ projects and intends to apply part of the proceeds for consultant services. Development of Communication Strategy for Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education (MoBSE).


The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education now invites eligible firms to indicate their interest in providing the services. Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (description of similar assignments, experience in similar contracts, availability of appropriate skills among staff, etc.). Consultants may associate to enhance their qualifications.


A consultant will be selected in accordance with the procedures set out in the World Bank’s Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants by World Bank Borrowers (current edition).


Interested eligible consultants may obtain further information from the Projects Coordination Unit, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Willy Thorpe Place Building, Banjul, The Gambia.















The Gambia is located in West Africa and is bordered on three sides by Senegal. It has an estimated population of about 1.8 million (the last population census was carried out in 2003) of which more than 60 percent are below the age of 24.


The overall poverty headcount index is estimated at 48.4 percent (upper poverty line: US$1.25 a day),[1]and 36.7 percent (lower poverty line: US$1.00) although the poverty headcount index declined between 2003 and 2010, income inequality has not and is likely to increase.  In 2010, the poorest quintile of the population consumed only 5.6 percent of overall expenditures, while the wealthiest quintile was consuming 46.5 percent.  Unemployment primarily affects those who are young, urban, female, and better educated – reflecting the weakness and lack of sophistication of the country’s formal economy[2].


In the education sector, external financing comprised more than 35 percent of total education budget in 2009 thus showing a strong reliance on foreign aid. The development partners (DPs) also played a key role in mitigating the impact of last year’s drought on vulnerable families and providing support to farmers. In addition to an economic rebound and boosting growth, development will necessarily have to include sound investments in education, health, and social protection.


The new ESSP II 2014 – 2022 provides a common platform with a strategic direction towards the implementation of the revised education policy for basic and secondary education and the new policy for tertiary and higher education from 2013 and beyond. The Government has also completed a medium term plan (2014-2017) anchored within the ESSP II to spell out the distinct priorities to be implemented in the short and medium terms.


The new strategy proposes a programmatic shift from programs based mainly on cycles of education (basic education, secondary education, tertiary education, technical vocational education and training (TVET), quality assurance and sector management) to a more results-oriented programming with emphasis on implementable interventions within priority areas. The new programs are as follows: Access & Equity, Quality and Relevance, Research & Development, Science, Technology & Innovation and Sector Management. Each of these programs has policy priority areas that are linked to corresponding indicators, outputs and results.


The traditional gender disparities have been eliminated in the early grades, and since 2006 girls have outnumbered boys in intake to grade 1 (50.8:49.2).  However boys perform slightly better and are more likely to progress through the system. At the upper basic level, the GER stands at 68.9 percent for boys and 67.3 percent for girls, and the completion rate stands at 66.3 percent for boys and 63.2 percent for girls. In a recent early grade reading assessment (EGRA), the consolidated score for girls was 48.5 percent, compared with 51.9 percent for boys.


In lower basic education, the GER is 110 percent in region 1, but only 58 percent in region 5.  Disparities are also observed across socio-economic status with wealthier students outperforming their poorer peers in the EGRA, with consolidated scores of 59.1 and 48.5 respectively. In addition, the wealthiest students consume eight times more public education resources than the poorest.


Enrollment in senior secondary education has increased substantially since 2004, bringing the GER from 22 percent to 39 percent in 2013.  However access remains constrained by the availability of places. Enrollment of boys is higher than that of girls (41.3 percent compared with 36.8 percent). Family income is strongly related to access to senior secondary education, as only 3 percent of the poorest quintile enroll, compared to 50 percent of the wealthiest quintile.


The share households contribute is particularly high at the upper basic, senior secondary and TVET levels. At the lower basic level, 46 percent of education costs are covered by households despite a school fee abolition policy in lower basic education. Even in public schools, private expenditures are high with informal levies including charges for registration fees and instructional materials. These informal costs of education form a barrier in terms of access to schooling, particularly for the poorest families.


The MOBSE through its dynamic leadership capacity has gained support for its education reforms. This is reflected in openness to external scrutiny, and in involving Teacher Unions, external partners and other stakeholders.


The education development partners are meeting with Government on a semi-annual basis to review progress towards the achievement of objectives as laid out in the national education strategy. This provides for a strong exchange and discussion of sectoral challenges, results achieved, and recommendations for improvement,


The Government is also carrying out regular visits to discuss with parents, communities, and education stakeholders through the CCMs that are being held every two months in a different region of the country. A system of  school report cards has been introduced to provide an opportunity to provide feedback from grassroots levels –the report card is a simple way to assess the satisfaction levels of beneficiaries in terms of education service delivery and is suitable for an illiterate population as it involves pictograms and corresponding case checking. The Government also organizes traditional round tables during which sensitive discussions are taking place and for which buy-in at all levels is being though-one such circle was held to sensitize teachers to take part in the in-service teacher training program after having been evaluated.


The two Ministries of Education (MOBSE and MOHERST), collaboration and coordination have been strengthened over the past year through the regular inter-ministerial senior management meetings and CCMs to discuss sector wide issues. 


Until now and despite all the achievements, communication has been ad hoc, and a cohesive communication strategy is required for more effective communication with all constituents. The strategy is expected to address both internal and external elements (TV, radio, newsletters, documentary, and website) as well as attempt to build and improve upon strategic partnerships with external players who can support MOBSE’s work. The communication strategy will also encompass dissemination strategies involving community/opinion leaders to influence behavior changes. 





The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE) seeks to develop a strong communication strategy to positively impact visibility and public outreach, behaviors and attitudes, and enhance stakeholder engagement about MOBSE’s work.This includes the sharing of best practices across regions, as well as communication campaigns for new/updated initiatives as well various programs. It will also provide opportunities for a bottom-up approach, ensuring opportunities for constituents to voice their opinions through feedback mechanisms.


Scope of Work:


The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE) is seeking the services of a Communication Consultant who will provide initial thinking, advice, and inputs to develop a comprehensive communication program for MOBSE. The Consultant will primarily spearhead the development of a Strategic Communication Program (SCP) including its architecture and a roadmap that will be the basis for the elaboration and implementation of a systematic communication intervention during the implementation of the project. The Consultant, as part of the design of the SCP, will also advise on building capacity (if and as necessary) in the country so that the communication program is implemented professionally with greater effectiveness.




The Consultant is expected to implement the assignment in TWO PHASES. The Consultant is expected to undertake, but not limited to, the following key activities in each phase:


Phase ONE: 15 days


1.      Communication Needs Assessment (CNA): The Communication Consultant will undertake a diagnostic of the overall communication and information environment relevant to MoBSE. Following are some of the major elements of this exercise:


-                Map different stakeholders and identify their level of influence - positive and negative, interests, and how to effectively communicate them;

-                Analyze the media and communication channels that will be critical to  sharing information, build consensus and support the project objectives;

-                Assess the existing communication dynamics – such as how the stakeholders receive and process information, traditional forms of information dissemination practices, new media and technology, social interaction, etc.

-                Evaluate the communication capacity of the relevant institutions – both Government and non-government – that are involved in the implementation and/or managing the implementation of the MoBSE communication program;

-                Identify strategic approach for engaging stakeholders including institutions through various communication channels in order to build a climate conducive to promoting the key project issues;

-                Review of existing communication activities (if there is any) on these issues;

-                Identify the linkages between the other information dissemination activities and the READ Strategic Communication Program;

-                Identify the linkages and areas of collaboration with other relevant ongoing or upcoming development projects/programs.


2.      Data Collection/Research: The project plans to conduct qualitative and quantitative research in order to gauge the level of knowledge and understanding of the key stakeholders, their attitudes, and perceptions with respect to the key project issues. The Communication Consultant is expected to lead and work with qualified personnel in the preparation and implementation of this research activity. Once the research is completed, the Consultant will analyze the results of the research and use the findings to incorporate them into the development of the project’s Strategic Communication Program.


Phase TWO: 30 days


3.      Develop a Strategic Communication Program: The project’s Strategic Communication Program will primarily be based on the findings of the CNA and the Research findings.


The Communication Program will consist of, but not limited to, the following major elements:

(i) A Communication Strategy that will set a vision, identify challenges, and elaborate a plan of action to achieve the communication objectives contributing to the successful implementation of the MOBSE’s communication strategy.  It is important to discuss with MOBSE throughout the development of the strategy so that it will be successfully implementable. Also, it will consider to establish a communication unit in MOBSE;

(ii) A Communication Action Plan that will have specific communication objectives, internal and external audiences, messages, communication channels, type of media, frequency, evaluation, etc;

(iii) A Monitoring and Evaluation System that will include opinion research, tracking system, media monitoring, focus groups, and evaluation of major communication activities to be identified and listed on the Communication Action Plan.


(iv) A Capacity-Building and Knowledge Management Plan will include the types of skills training, institutional arrangements, knowledge creation and sharing activities that would be required to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders including Government and non-government institutions to design and manage the implementation of a Strategic Communication program.


(v) An Implementation planwill describe how the communication strategy is going to be implemented.  It will include a tentative budget for each activity after discussing with the government how much is available.



Deliverables and Timeline for PHASE ONE





1.      A brief Inception Report outlining the concept and proposed timeline of specific activities for:

(a) Project  Communication Program;

(b) Communication Needs Assessment (CNA) exercise.

3 days

This report will be very brief (2-3 pages).

2.      A Draft Communication Based Assessment -- CNA Report

12 days

The report should be focused on the specific points and issues that would provide major inputs in the design of the project’s communication program and NOT focus on the theoretical and conceptual discussions on communication.


Deliverables and Timeline for PHASE TWO





3.      A Draft Communication Program document that consists of: (i) Vision and Objectives; (ii) Communication Strategy; (iii) Communication Action Plan; (iv) Monitoring & Evaluation Mechanism; (v) Capacity building plan.

3 weeks


4.      Technical working sessions to discuss strategy and action plan

1 or 2 days

MOBSE, academia, LEG, WB, other stakeholders

5.      A Final Communication Program document

1.5 weeks

The final communication program document will include the comments and suggestions from the reviewers.



Period of Performance and the Conditions of Work:


A total maximum: 45 days


This consultancy will involve a contract of maximum 15 days for implementing Phase-1 of the assignment.


The contract may be extended for implementing Phase-2 based on the performance in Phase-1 and readiness for the implementation of the second phase. The Phase-2 is expected to involve another 30 days of services of the Consultant.


Reporting Requirements:


The Consultant will work under the leadership ofDPS Programs, Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education MOBSE. The Consultants will coordinate closely with the key Government departments and organizations as advised. 


Selection Criteria:


The successful candidate will be a senior communication professional with a minimum of 10-12 years of experience in the field of communication and development projects/programs. S/he will have the ability to interact effectively across socio-political, economic, and cultural affiliations.


In addition, the candidate is expected to have the following qualifications:


  • Proven experience in designing and managing public communication programs;
  • Solid understanding of and ability to apply communication tools and techniques, including the ability to analyze and use research data;
  • Strong management skills in planning and financial management of communication work;
  • Educational background in communication, journalism, social sciences, public affairs, political science, and international relations;
  • Knowledge and understanding of socio-political, economic, and cultural background of the country and the region;

·         Excellent writing and presentation skills in English language;

·         Demonstrated interpersonal and diplomatic skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders and to present ideas clearly and effectively; proven ability to work in a collaborative and multi-stakeholder team environment;

·         Regional and international experience in similar work would be an added advantage.









Expressions of interest must be delivered to the address below by the 15th July, 2015.


The Project Manager

Projects Coordination Unit (PCU)

Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education

Willy Thorpe Place

Banjul, The Gambia

Tel; (220) 4228522/4225841

Email; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





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