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Sustainable Agriculture and Innovation Consultant

The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization working to build a future in which nature is protected and biodiversity flourishes, where farmers, workers, and communities prosper, and where sustainable land use and responsible business practices are the norm. We envision a world where people and nature thrive in harmony. In January 2018, the Rainforest Alliance merged with UTZ, a global program and label for sustainable farming.

The Rainforest Alliance seeks to transform agriculture into a sustainable activity that conserves biodiversity and promotes the wellbeing of farmers and their families. Currently 1.3 million tea producers are certified worldwide, of which 600,000 are members of KTDA. RA is using a digital application (app) to train thousands of producers worldwide on standards, policies and best practices. This project will take the app to the next level, building in a digital internal management system (IMS) to capture data from the internal inspection process. The aim is to help farmers become more profitable and environmentally and socially sustainable. The digitalization of the IMS will help to improve farm-level data tracking and analysis of farm practices. The farm group management will also be strengthened since the IMS team will be able to support producers in the planning of improvements based on actual data analysis at farm level. The collection of digital internal management data will help producers and producer groups make standard compliance much easier and impactful. With the support of the group administrator whose role is to focus on continuous improvement practices, producers will be able to use data to better understand how a certain good practice helps them increase their income, empowering them to make informed decisions about how to improve the management of their farm. Group administrators will be able to consolidate the data of their producers, identify recurrent unsustainable practices and easily elaborate an improvement plan.

By demonstrating how technology can increase efficiencies in supporting smallholders to improve their livelihoods, the project will offer an innovative and scalable solution that can be used to track and report on the contributions of smallholder farmers regionally and help to improve efficiencies within the internal management processes and certification compliance for KTDA.

Project Outputs

The project will have an initial set-up phase entailing holding a kick-off meeting, building buy-in from KTDA’s management board around the project’s objections which will then be followed by the creation of a workplan, and identifying key stakeholders within KTDA. Activities following the set-up phase are:

Output 1

A Digital IMS system has been designed and developed according to the specific requirements of KTDA and the farmer groups it sources from.

Output 2

At least 200 lead farmers are trained and supported to collect data and with the support of 24 data analysts are engaged to consolidate and analyze data on the digital data platform. The approach is rolled out with a subset of farms and scaled up for data collection from 60,000 smallholders.

Output 3

Training is disseminated by group administrators to certified smallholder tea producers, with data being used to empower them to improve their production systems.

Consultancy Objectives

In coordination with RA Sustainable Agriculture Senior Associate for East and Southern Africa and RA Innovation Manager support the design of a custom Digital Internal Management system using Commcare platform (consultant will be trained on CommCare system), develop a good relationship with stakeholders within KTDA to ensure the platform meets their needs, support general project implementation and the delivery of a series of stakeholder workshops and trainings for different stakeholders within KTDA (from farmers to group administrators and technical staff)and assist with project reporting including the design and delivery of a baseline and endline survey to assess project progress. The final output of the project will include a report that outlines various scale-up options to ensure sustainability of the project intervention.

The consultant will work closely with RA Sustainable Agriculture Senior Associate for East and Southern Africa and RA Innovation Manager as well as select personnel from KTDA and Dimagi project manager (the technology service provider). The consultant will be based in Nairobi and frequently travel to the field covering selected 12 sites/factories within Kenya, managed by the KTDA. Local transport within Kenya will be covered by project.

Scope of work

The following activities and deliverables should be addressed as part of the objective of this consultancy:




Baseline on IMS capacity and structure

  • Target audience of lead farmers, group administrators and project stakeholders identified
  • Baseline survey designed and deployed in coordination with project manager and technical lead
  • Finalized group of project participants identified
  • Baseline survey conducted

Development of Custom Digital IMS Space for use by KTDA

  • Undergo detailed training on CommCare, ArcGIS and other existing Rainforest Alliance First Mile tools
  • In close coordination with KTDA stakeholders and Rainforest Alliance project manager and technical lead, develop and approve modified scope for Digital IMS mobile reporting application
  • In close coordination with KTDA stakeholders, Rainforest Alliance First Mile and M&E Officers, develop work flow for easy data reporting (either via exporting or API between KTDA system and CommCare)
  • Quality testing and quality control is conducted on the mobile and backend data systems and the application
  • Key local staff are trained and can navigate and build of mobile application for data collection for internal auditing purposes, data analysis to support external audit preparations and continuous improvement as well as offer backend support to KTDA throughout the implementation of the project
  • Approved soft version of specs and changes needed to customize CommCare space finalized
  • Approved soft version changes executed in CommCare HQ, rigorous QA&QC conducted at desk and in field with lead farmers, application deployed to mobile devices

Train lead farmers in data collection and creations of farm improvement plans

  • Facilitate training of over 200 lead farmers selected from 12 KTDA managed factories on digital data collection, SAS internal auditing and effective corrective action
  • Facilitate training of lead farmers to support the Group members in developing their own farm improvement plans
  • Lead farmers effectively trained and prepared for digital data collection using CommCare;
  • Lead farmers knowledge to offer farm members agronomic input around corrective actions needed


Train group administrators in data analysis and using data to drive decision making

Facilitate training of group administrators in data exporting via CommCare HQ, data analysis using Excel and ArcGIS and techniques for data-driven decision making at group and farm level

Group administrators can export, analyze and disseminate data collected via farmer field schools

Final report (including follow up survey) and business plan creation

  • In coordination with project manager and technical lead, a follow up survey post-implementation is deployed to key stakeholders to assess the success of the project, improvements on IMS structure and capacity
  • A final report around lessons learned and case study which outlines business case and costing for KTDA to absorb cost of IMS platform and tooling to extend project beyond pilot to their full group of farm members
  • Document results of the financial implications of adopting this system vs the manual one, i.e savings made thereof to be reinvested in farm improvement activities.
  • Follow up survey deployed and analyzed
  • Final report and business case/case study published and shared with relevant stakeholders

Selection Criteria

If Consultant Firm, a dedicated staff person with the following qualifications is required, if consultant is an individual, the following demonstrated skills and knowledge are required:

  • Relevant studies in a related discipline – agronomics or socio-economics. Advanced degree is preferred.
  • At least 7 years relevant experience of working in farmer capacity building/community development
  • Proven ability and experience to work as liaison of project (experience working in Kenya is preferred)
  • Experience working with data collection software (e.g. Kobo Tool Box, Commcare, ODK) is preferred
  • Working experience in sustainable farming environment is desirable
  • Having experience with the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard is preferred.
  • Knowledge of local language is an advantage
  • Required to work and travel to remote area within Kenya
  • Eligibility to work in Kenya

Selection of the consultant is based on the following criteria

  • Relevant Studies/Education: 20%
  • Relevant Technical expertise: 70%
  • Availability: 10%

Under direction of:

Senior Associate, Sustainable Agriculture, East and Southern Africa

Proposal Process and Format

Please send the following documentation to: Senior Associate Sustainable Agriculture East and South Africa and Innovation Manager, no later than November 30th, 2018. Proposals should include:

  • List of previous engagements that addresses the above experience desired
  • Daily rate; include basis for costing e.g. previous rates
  • Current C.V.(S)
  • Contact details (email and phone number) of 2 recent references