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Notice Date
Notice Type
237110 — Water and Sewer Line and Related Structures Construction
Contracting Office
Agency for International Development, Washington D.C., USAID/Washington, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 7.10-006, Washington, District of Columbia, 20523
ZIP Code
Solicitation Number
Archive Date
Point of Contact
AlfredaWilson - Thomas,, Phone: 202-712-1202, Georgia G. Fuller,, Phone: 202-712-0551
E-Mail Address
athomas@usaid.gov, gfuller@usaid.gov
Small Business Set-Aside
SUSTAINABLE WATER & SANITATION ACTIVITY IN AFRICA (SUWASA) STATEMENT OF WORK A.PROGRAM SUMMARY USAID intends to solicit proposals seeking a contractor to strengthen water and sanitation utility governance, reform, and finance as a necessary precondition to expand and improve water services, particularly for the poor. Building on the success of on-going water reform initiatives within the region, the Sustainable Water & Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) activity will demonstrate the effectiveness of commercially viable innovations to expand water and sanitation services on a sustainable basis into underserved communities. The activity will run for four years with an option to extend for two one-year increments. USAID’s Africa Bureau; Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade Bureau; and, Missions will make up to $20 million available for the complete program period of performance of this regional program. The activity will provide technical assistance, commodities, and small capital grants to support specific reform initiatives that improve management, delivery and finance of water and sanitation services. All USAID presence countries in Africa will eligible for reform support under this contract. The activity will also support innovative approaches to (1) expand water and sanitation services into slum and peri-urban areas and (2) provide for stronger institutional and financing frameworks for water and sanitation services in rural villages. In addition, SUWASA may also help to establish sustainable financing mechanisms for the water sector by assisting to develop water revolving funds in countries that have credible plans for the development of such funds. Partnerships with the private sector will be encouraged during technical assistance under this contract, and will be critical to the success of this program. B.PROGRAM OBJECTIVE USAID is bringing the “blue revolution” to sub-Saharan Africa by implementing a comprehensive approach to improving water and sanitation services. USAID aims to build stronger water and sanitation utilities, improve the regulatory environment, build capacity for integrated water resources management, and develop innovative methods to spur local investment. In addition, programs can address transboundary management issues and use water as an entrée point to build local capacity to mitigate and manage conflict. The objective of the SUWASA activity is to promote the development and transfer of innovative practices in water and sanitation utility reform, and to demonstrate sustainable business models for expanding services to poor consumers. C.BACKGROUND Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) target of halving the proportion of people living without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. The region is experiencing the highest rates of urban growth in the world with most of that growth occurring in slums with no access to basic environmental services. A burgeoning population, limited financing and capacity at the national and local levels combined with conflicts throughout the region are stressing already weak systems. Meanwhile, countries struggle to find sustainable models to provide water and sanitation systems for their population remaining in traditional villages. While the overall picture may be grim, some countries in sub-Saharan Africa have made great strides in developing the necessary policy and governance frameworks to improve the performance of basic water and sanitation services, the reforms are just beginning to show larger scale increases in access to improved services. Experience is showing that countries that adopt well designed water utility reform plans are substantially improving access to services, financial capacity to sustain and expand services, and the quality of services provided. Examples such as Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Zambia show that reform works. Of particular note, reformed utilities have shown dramatic ability to expand quality water and sanitation services to the poor. The types of reforms that have been demonstrated to be successful in “fixing” troubled water and sanitation utilities include: •Corporatization and introduction of improved procedures and mechanisms for corporate governance; •Use of operating contracts between the utility and the public agency responsible for supervising water companies; •Introduction of incentives for employees that directly tie bonuses to performance improvements; •Introduction of improved commercial systems, including metering and metered billing; •Introduction of effective economic regulation; and •Models for delivering services to poor consumers that are financially sustainable and tailored to local needs. There are also a number of associations, initiatives, capacity building programs and capital investment projects in the region that can serve as partner organizations to support reform efforts. These include the African Water Utility Operators Partnership, the African Water Association, the Water & Sanitation Program, and the International Water Association. In addition many donors in partnership with NGOs have sought to create sustainable models for community-based systems in rural villages. While a number of successful models have been demonstrated, long-term sustainability and access to capital remain significant challenges to expanding these models to greater parts of rural Africa. D.STATEMENT OF WORK D.1.Overview There have been remarkable and well documented successes in improving water supply and sanitation services in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of utility reforms. Good examples include Uganda, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Mozambique. However, many countries in Africa have not yet embarked on reforms, or if they have, some have run into implementation problems. Clearly, at this time, there are immediate opportunities to build on successes in countries like Uganda and Senegal, and to spread these effective innovations to other African countries. There is an opportunity to work with countries – and individual utilities – to introduce the reforms that have proven to be effective in expanding access to water and sanitation services. In addition, where reforms have been implemented at the sector and utility level, there are opportunities to develop sustainable financing mechanisms, such as revolving funds, to finance infrastructure investments. The SUWASA activity will support up to 15 local reform initiatives either at the utility level on specific management or service delivery issues or at the national level on sector reforms such as financing in five or more countries. The activity will use the existing Africa-wide water organizations as a platform to identify specific reform initiatives, and then will provide assistance to design and implement reform initiatives that have succeeded in other countries. The contractor may also assist Missions in designing activities to be implemented through other mechanisms. The regional water organizations will also be used to showcase successful models and transfer knowledge and practices to other places committed to reform. While there have been fewer efforts directed at improving sanitation services to date, the public health benefits and the related impacts on economic productivity from access to proper sanitation warrants greater attention. For those utilities that have responsibility for both water and sewerage, the SUWASA activity may help reforming utilities expand sanitation services to cities and towns (5,000 to 300,000 residents) in addition to improving access to water. A variety of approaches to improving sanitation that are cheaper than large scale wastewater treatment systems can be implemented, including sanitary drainage, improved latrines and community toilets. The SUWASA utility governance and reform efforts will build on experiences developed through USAID’s EcoAsia (Annex 2) and Blue Revolution (Annex 3) programs. SUWASA will include reform activities that demonstrate solutions to key water and sanitation issues and a regional learning network to share lessons learned. The regional focus will be addressed through developing sub-Saharan utility leadership forums and providing opportunities for technical twinning partnerships or internships to transfer knowledge and good practices from one utility to another. It is anticipated that SUWASA will concentrate on supporting specific water and sanitation utility reform initiatives as outlined above. USAID Missions may fund parallel activities designed to expand services in slum and peri-urban areas covered by utilities that are in the reform process. This will ensure that the new services in slum and peri-urban areas are being delivered by utilities that are able to sustain the infrastructure and maintain services after completion of the SUWASA activity. These Mission-funded slum and peri-urban expansion activities may be carried either through a transfer of funds to SUWASA, or through a grant or project activity that is developed parallel to SUWASA’s reform activity. D.2.Technical Direction While USAID has supported water and sanitation utility reform efforts in other regions, there have been few projects to address water utility reform in sub-Saharan Africa. Few Missions have technical staff equipped to address utility reform issues. More importantly, as Missions address water and sanitation reform issues (or change the mix of activities they implement) it will be important for Missions to know what are the best approaches and lessons learned. Due to the limited technical knowledge or experience of field staff, this program will be managed by USAID/Washington. The Contract will be managed by the Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade Bureau (EGAT) with policy direction and substantial involvement from the Bureau for Africa, Office of Sustainable Development. Country Task Managers from USAID Missions will provide monitoring and evaluation oversight. D.3.Geographic Scope As a regional program, SUWASA will demonstrate successful interventions for water and sanitation, improve African organizations’ capacity to implement such, and complement national efforts through a regional platform. This contract will support at least fifteen reform activities in sub-Saharan Africa in at least five countries. Priority countries include Angola, Benin, Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. D.4.Tasks Under SUWASA, the Contractor will identify, promote, and transfer good practice in water utility reform and governance within sub-Saharan Africa in order to improve and expand the delivery of water and sanitation services in urban, peri-urban or rural settings. Working through local partners and networks, the Contractor will support reform initiatives in at least five of the priority water countries. The Contractor will provide assistance directly to at least fifteen utilities. The results of these reform initiatives will be documented and shared with national governments, local governments, and other utilities through existing regional associations. At the end of the four years, the Contractor will develop a range of models that can be adapted and implemented in places committed to reform. As a specific priority, SUWASA will demonstrate how utility reform and improvements in governance and management link with and complement efforts to access innovative financing for new investments in infrastructure. The Contractor will assist with the development of water revolving funds in countries that have a credible plan for establishing such a fund in order to demonstrate the viability of market-based financing in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, priority will be given to developing effective models for expanding and improving services for the poor. Another priority for the activity will be to develop and implement partnerships with the private sector to advance SUWASA objectives. Task 1:Training/Socialization The Contractor will organize up to three introductory regional training sessions to introduce the SUWASA activity and the key concepts promoted by the program. These training sessions will be completed within six (6) months after award date or as approved by the CTO. The purpose of these training sessions is not only to raise general awareness and understanding of key innovations in water and sanitation utility governance and reform including Environmental Impact Assessments, but to identify partners for the reform activities. The regional training sessions will include representatives from the utility sector, central or local government, USAID, other donors, and associations of water utilities. The training session will (1) introduce potential partners to the types of reforms and approaches that are being successfully applied in sub-Saharan Africa (see illustrative list below); (2) explain the objective and general approach of the SUWASA activity; and (3) identify initial partners. The Contractor will work with USAID to identify and invite participants. Attendees will include senior managers from reforming utilities in the priority countries, representatives from associations such as the African Water Utility Operators Partnership (AWUOP), regulators, and central and/or local government officials. As establishing strategic partnerships will be important to the success of the program, invitees should also include USAID mission staff, donors working in the water sector, and other potential partners. It is expected that up to three regional events will be necessary to facilitate maximum participation. The USAID CTO will provide final approval for the location and timing of each event. The Contractor will work closely with the bilateral USAID mission, as appropriate, on issues related to the implementation of the events. Examples of potential reform initiatives include: •Mozambique: Water utility corporate governance reform and regulation: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will be investing in smaller utilities with weak corporate governance and management. In return, the Mozambique Water Regulation Agency (CRA), a leading water regulatory agency in sub-Saharan Africa, has asked for assistance from USAID to address reforms in corporate governance of water utilities to complement the MCC program. •Nigeria: Introduction of pro-poor service delivery models in Lagos; support for a lease contract in Plateau State or another state that commits to reform. •Zambia: Working with individual utilities that are introducing reforms driven by the well-established nationwide water utility regulatory framework. •The World Bank has also identified Angola, Ethiopia, and Madagascar as places where commitment to utility and/or regulation reform is strong and where a USG investment could make a significant contribution. Output-based Aid (OBA) activities expanding service to the poor in Kampala. •Uganda: National Water & Sanitation Corporation (NWSC) has been successful in turning around the national utility and now serves as a model for other countries. NWCS is already providing technical assistance to utilities in Zambia and elsewhere. The SUWASA activity may provide assistance in establishing a water investment revolving fund to lend to the country’s private water operators. Task 2:Reform Work Plans Based on the outcomes of the training sessions, the Contractor will refine the list of potential partners for participation in SUWASA along with a brief description of opportunities. The list will be submitted to USAID for approval along with the criteria utilized to prioritize the potential partners. USAID will have final approval of the short-list of partners to be engaged in the reform activities. The USAID Cognizant Technical Officer (CTO) will take the lead in obtaining USAID Mission approval for the activities at the country level. For each reform activity, the Contractor will negotiate a Reform Work Plan (RWP) which details the commitments of all parties over the period of the reform support activities. Each of the RWPs should cover a period of no more than twenty-four months and will clearly delineate the assistance to be provided under SUWASA, including training and consulting services and any grants for capital expenditures or commodities. The responsibilities and commitment of the participating water utility, water regulator, national or local government will also be laid out in the Reform Work Plan, including a signature block for the participant to indicate their willingness to participate in the ways outlined in the RWP. Therefore in additional identifying potential USAID support, the, the RWP should clearly state the commitments of the reforming partner. In particular, the RWP shall state the staff resources available to implement the reform activity, commitment to continuing and expanding the activities, other budget resources contributing to the successful implementation of the activity. The Contractor will work closely with the relevant bilateral USAID Mission to keep them informed of the RWP development and to ensure that activities are complementary to any bilateral programs on water and sanitation. Bilateral Missions will also be asked to approve the RWPs for activities in their respective countries. Task 3:Technical Assistance for Reform Activities Based on the individual Reform Work Plan for each reform activity, SUWASA will provide technical assistance and support to carry out specific reforms that will lead to improvements in management and in-service delivery. The time frame for the reform activities may vary but will be approximately twenty four months of assistance. Reform activities might include the introduction of improved corporate governance procedures and mechanisms such as new board composition, bonus schemes for management and staff, and corporate bylaws that require commercialized operation, environmental assessments, support for corporatization and design of operating contracts, design of staff incentive schemes, and development of services for poor customers that are commercially viable. At the sector level, the development of a non-leveraged water revolving fund is an example of an innovation in finance. In addition to providing direct technical assistance and training through short and long-term advisors, the SUWASA Contractor will facilitate technical twinning partnerships and “internships” for technical staff as well as policy-makers as a way to transfer knowledge and best practice. There are examples of well-run utilities in the region and these institutions should serve as resources to others. For example, staff from utilities in Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya might carry out internships with utilities in Uganda or South Africa. Peer-to-peer learning opportunities that include hands-on job training experiences and using practitioners to provide technical assistance can be a powerful tool. This also builds local capacity to provide on-going technical support beyond the life of the activity. The Contractor will work with AfWA, AWUOP and other regional associations to implement these activities as this kind of best practice transfer program could be developed in to a viable member service thereby increasing the likelihood of sustaining the results of the SUWASA activity. Task 4: Sub-Grants Program for Demonstration Projects and Slum/Peri-Urban Services Expansion (Grants Under Contract) The SUWASA Activity will be responsible for managing a sub-grant component (not to exceed $3.25 million over the first four year base period) to support the reform activities through demonstration projects and expansion of service connections in slum and peri-urban areas. On a limited basis, pilot activities shall incorporate limited support (up to $250,000) for capital expenditures to demonstrate the viability of expanding services to the poor, or to support small capital investment requirements associated with reforms. Examples might include establishing community standpipes for slum communities in combination with community education and awareness programs to improve hygiene practices and to establish a Water User Group to maintain the community resources and to engage with the utility. Capital grants can also be provided for specific reform-related expenditures, such as purchase of new billing and collection systems, bulk meters, and metering systems that are being tested on a trial basis. Environmental Assessments must be completed before committing to support of capital expenditure projects. The Contractor shall develop uniform criteria for reviewing and awarding grants including Environmental Impact Assessments. The Contractor will consult with USAID to approve and finalize the criteria for grants prior to discussing this option with reform partners and development of the Reform Work Plans. The Contractor is required to submit a “Grants Manual” to the CTO and Contracting Officer for approval prior to any grants being issued. Task 5: Provision of Commodities to Support Implementation of Reforms The Contractor will procure commodities that will be used to implement reforms in specific utilities. The commodities will be provided under a grant agreement with a local, regional or national government agency responsible for water and sanitation services. Types of commodities will include meters, billing and collection systems and information technology for analyzing and optimizing hydraulic operations, leak detection equipment, and materials for establishing sectorized and zonal management systems. The Contractor will ensure that the commodities provided by the project are specifically related to implementation of reform activities, and that they are actually used for these purposes. Task 6: Showcase Results Throughout the activity, the SUWASA Contractor will carefully monitor and document implementation of the reform activities and the final results. At the conclusion of the reform activities, the Contractor will organize a regional event for water utility operators, national government officials, etc. to give successful reformers an opportunity to showcase their challenges and successes. The showcase event should be coordinated with one of the existing regional associations. The purpose of the final showcase event should not be limited to sharing best practice but should focus on the transfer of that knowledge and good practices to other countries and utilities. The closing event should also allocate time for developing an action plan of next steps for local partners to implement with their own resources to continue the work initiated under the program. E.DELIVERABLES E.1Work Plans – The Contractor shall submit a draft work plan for the first year of the SUWASA activity, describing in reasonable detail plans for carrying out the initial training sessions, identification of the reform activities and completion of the Reform Work Plans, within forty five (45) days after the of the signing of the contract for SUWASA. Following review and comment by USAID, the Contractor shall prepare a final work plan for CTO approval. Subsequent draft annual work plans shall be due no later than the 11th month of the prior year for submission to USAID for review and approval. E.2Performance Monitoring Plan – The Contractor shall submit a draft performance monitoring plan (PMP) to USAID no later than ninety (90) days after the contract has been signed. After review and comment by USAID, the Contractor shall finalize the PMP. Reporting on performance will be incorporated in the Quarterly Reports. E.3Reform Work Plans – The Contractor shall negotiate a work plan with each local partner (e.g. local or national water utility, water regulator, NGO, local government, etc) for the reform activities and prepare and submit to USAID an assistance work plan for each reform activity. The Reform Work Plans shall describe the work plan goals, technical assistance to be provided as well as any limited capital investments, together with delineation of the timing and duration of such activities, the approximate resources required, the personnel responsible, and the expected results. In addition to detailing the commitments of assistance resources by SUWASA, the Reform Work Plans shall described the commitments made by the local partner in terms of resources, and the goals to which the local partner is committed to achieving with SUWASA support. Reform Work Plans shall be reviewed and approved by USAID before being signed by the reforming partner. E.4Criteria for Grants Program – The Contractor shall prepare and submit to USAID for approval, criteria for evaluating and finalizing sub-grants for capital expenditures for demonstration purposes. The required “Grants Manual” must be approved in writing by the CTO and Contracting Officer prior to any grants being issued. The Grants manual will be submitted within 90 days after signing E.5Quarterly Reports – The Contractor shall prepare and submit to USAID/Washington CTO and copies to participating Mission quarterly reports on SUWASA activities, issues, constraints, progress toward goals, and achievements. Quarterly reports shall be submitted no later than two weeks following the end of each quarter of the contract for SUWASA. E.6Final Report – The Contractor shall prepare and submit to USAID a final report summarizing the results of the program. The Final Report will include the findings and all materials from the Showcase Event. The Contractor shall provide recommendations in the Final Report for next steps to be taken by local partners in each of the pilot activity sites. F.LEVEL OF EFFORT In its proposal, the Contractor should provide a detailed description of their proposed staffing pattern and set out the level of effort by staff to implement SUWASA over the four-year period. Two Key Personnel have been identified. The requirements for the Chief of Party position is described in detail below. Bidders should note that their proposed staffing pattern and level of effort will be evaluated (see Section K. Evaluation Criteria). USAID encourages the use of local professionals to the greatest extent possible; reliance on resident expatriate advisors should be minimized. Two Key Personnel: 1. Chief of Party – The Contractor will provide a resident Chief of Party for the duration of the contract, to whom adequate authority has been delegated to make all SUWASA implementation decisions. The Chief of Party shall be responsible for all reporting to USAID and is expected to play a lead role interacting with senior Government officials, water utility officials, officials of local governments, non-governmental organizations, other donors, and community-based groups. The Chief of Party has the following minimum qualifications: •A minimum of 10 years experience with successful water and sewerage utility reforms in developing countries. •Demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following reform approaches: utility corporatization, development of performance-based contracts for water utilities, utility regulation, and benchmarking. •Prior experience as a project director or Chief of Party for similar work. •Excellent interpersonal and written communication skills. •Able to speak and correspond in English 2. Deputy Chief of Party G.IMPLEMENTATION OF SUWASA The Contractor shall establish a central office in the region for implementation of SUWASA within the first six months of the activity. A small centrally located team will travel to provide short-term assistance to the reform activities. It is expected that local institutions and partners will be used to the maximum extent to provide technical assistance under the guidance and oversight of the Chief of Party. H.PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE The contract performance period will be for four years (48 months) from the effective date of the signed award with two one-year options.. I.REPORTING REQUIREMENTS The Contractor will receive technical direction from, and report to the USAID Cognizant Technical Officer. It is mandatory that the Contractor provide: •Activity Annual Work Plans, as specified in Section E. The Plan must be approved in writing by the CTO. •Quarterly Progress Reports to include Grants reporting, as specified in Section E. •Reform Work Plans as specified in Section E. J. GENERAL APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS USAID will consider only applications conforming to the structural format prescribed below. Proposals must be submitted no later than the date and time indicated on the cover page of this RFP. Applications which are submitted late or are substantially incomplete will not being considered. Bidders should retain for their records a copy of the proposal and all enclosures that accompany it. Erasures or other changes must be initialed by the person signing the proposal. Proposals should include a single Cover Page; Executive Summary; Technical Approach; Personnel, Mobilization and Implementation Plan; and Annexes. Cover Page: The Cover Page should include the names of the organizations/institutions involved in the proposal. Any proposed alliance/consortia members and sub-awardees are to be listed separately in an annex, including a brief narrative describing the unique capacities/ skills being brought to the program by each. The Cover Page should include information about a contact person for the prime Contractor, including this individual’s name (both typed and his/her signature), title or position with the organization/institution, address and telephone and fax numbers. Bidders are to acknowledge whether the contact person is the person with authority to contract, and if not, that person should also be listed. Technical Approach: The Technical Approach shall include an Executive Summary and a detailed explanation of the Bidder’s strategy, approach and implementation plan. The Executive Summary shall not exceed one page and should summarize the key elements of the technical approach. The technical approach narrative itself shall not exceed fifteen (15) pages (excluding the Cover Page, Executive Summary and any Annexes) and should describe (1) the technical strategy, approach and plan for implementation (2) the Bidder’s plan for building the capacity of and working with African organizations, and (3) general description of the key water and sanitation sector reforms relevant to Sub-Saharan Africa and the approach to selecting reform initiatives to be supported under the activity. More specifically, the technical approach should address the following: •Approaches and strategies for program implementation and sustainability, including but not limited to partnering with regional and local institutions working on water utility reform in sub-Saharan Africa. •Description of the key reform challenges and opportunities related to water and sanitation reform in sub-Saharan Africa and the Contractor’s approach to supporting reforms, promoting scaling-up of pilots, and transferring lessons learned. •Allocation of resources across the tasks identified in the SOW in chart form that sets out clearly the percentage of total SUWASA resources the Contractor would allocate to each of the tasks described in the RFP. Personnel, Mobilization and Implementation Plan: The Personnel, Mobilization and Implementation Plan shall be no more than five pages and should provide a description of the management structure for implementing the SUWASA program and a time plan for how resources will be mobilized. The Contractor will describe how staff will be dedicated to carry out the different tasks in the SOW, and in particular will explain how the team will provide technical direction and supervision to reform initiatives in multiple countries as well as how reporting and communications will be handled. The Personnel, Mobilization and Implementation Plan should also describe plans for start-up by providing a brief explanation of how the team will be mobilized and priority actions for the first six months of activity as described in the Statement of Work. Past Performance and Institutional Capability: This part of the proposal should provide relevant documentation of performance on similar past awards, particularly the Contractor’s experience with implementing water and sanitation reform programs in similar countries. The past performance and institutional capability narrative should be no more than 2 pages with additional details provided in the Annexes. This documentation should demonstrate the Contractor’s ability to recruit and retain personnel, promote policy reform, partner and build the capacity of local and regional institutions, and operate a large program in multiple countries across a large region. The documentation should also demonstrate the Contractor’s success in similar work to the satisfaction of previous clients. Annexes should consist of information on the Contractor, the proposed team, institutional capacity and past performance references to include contract or agreement number(s) and points of contact name, address, phone number and/or email address.. Page limitations are specified below for each section; applications must be on 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper, (210mm by 297mm paper), single spaced, Times New Roman 12, and have at least one inch margins on the top, bottom and both sides. K.EVALUATION CRITERIA Technical Approach 45 points Mobilization and Implementation Plan 30 points Past Performance 25 points Proposals will be evaluated for technical merit, cost, personnel, and other factors as described below. 1.Technical Approach (45 points) – Quality of the proposed implementation approach for achieving objectives and deliverables. Consideration will be given to utilizing partnerships with African organizations to implement the technical assistance activities. The Contractor should explain how they will work with existing multilateral initiatives such as the African Water Utilities Partnership and the African Water Utilities Association, as well as linkage to other USAID and donor activities, particularly the World Bank and African Development Bank, supporting the water and sanitation sector in sub-Saharan Africa. 2.Personnel, Mobilization and Implementation Plan (30 points) – Evaluation of the mobilization and implementation plan will include the proposed personnel, rate and realism of start-up, appropriateness of the management plan to provide leadership and oversight to activities in multiple countries, and ability to develop strong local partnerships. Personnel will be evaluated on the factors of “qualifications” and “experience relevant to the scope of this contract” of the Bidder’s key personnel, other long-term advisors and short-term experts available for to the program. Individuals proposed will be evaluated for their demonstrated experience with water utility reform in developing countries, demonstrated, education and prior work experience; technical and management skills. Experience working on water supply, sanitation and utility reform projects in sub-Saharan Africa are important evaluation factors. 3.Past Performance and Institutional Capability (25 points) – Demonstrated: a.success in providing similar services on past contracts, including satisfaction of past clients with the r Contractor's services and/or products. b.past experience with the implementation of water and sanitation utility reform projects in developing countries. c.ability to recruit and retain qualified U.S., local and expatriate professional staff. d.ability to establish and maintain an extensive operation involving U.S., expatriate and local staff operating on a regional basis in developing countries. ANNEX 1 1.The Challenge Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) target of halving the proportion of people living without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. The region is experiencing the highest rates of urban growth in the world with most of that growth occurring in slums with no access to basic environmental services. A burgeoning population, limited financing and capacity at the national and local levels combined with conflicts throughout the region are stressing already weak systems. Rather than increasing access, in many countries per capita water access is declining For example, a study conducted by UN HABITAT noted that in many urban sites in East Africa over the past 30 years, water supplies have actually become significantly worse over the past 30 years due to lack of maintenance and deterioration of infrastructure. The UN HABITAT report went on to stress the failure of institutions that provide water in towns and cities in Africa, stating: “…deficiencies in water and sanitation provision in cities are often as much a result of inadequacies in the institutions with responsibilities for providing water and sanitation, and governance structures within which they operate, as a lack of funds. This makes the task of improving provision more difficult. This helps explain why progress has been so limited.” Although some countries in sub-Saharan Africa have made great strides in developing the necessary policy and governance frameworks to improve the performance of basic water and sanitation services, the reforms are just beginning to show larger scale increases in access to improved services. Experience is showing that countries that adopt well designed water utility reform plans are substantially improving access to services, financial capacity to sustain and expand services, and the quality of services provided. Examples such as Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Zambia show that reform works. However, in the majority of sub-Saharan countries, broad utility reforms that lead to sustainable services for the poor are either just beginning, or have yet to start. In addition, local capacity to plan for and manage services is very limited; without strong support from the national level, local government institutions often cannot fulfill their obligations to deliver services. In urban and peri-urban areas, water utilities generally serve the higher income sections of the town or city, leaving poor and marginalized populations unserved. The result is that the poor generally pay high prices to vendors and other informal networks compared to the tariffs charged by utilities for piped water. Expanding water services to poor urban communities can be cost effective and can have considerable impact on achieving the MDG targets. However, it is necessary in most countries to undertake utility reforms to expand services into poor areas on a sustainable basis. Improving sanitation services is even more challenging. Where water utilities face financial difficulties in providing and maintaining a service for which there is relatively high willingness to pay, there rarely exists the ability to systematically improve network sanitation services. The local governments typically mandated with providing such services struggle with a relatively low level of household willingness to pay for sanitation services and the expensive capital and maintenance costs associated with traditional waterborne sewage systems. Even the ability to build and maintain alternative technologies lower cost technologies, like community latrines, is often beyond their capacity. A final issue that remains a serious constraint is the limited level of financing available for investment to improve or expand service delivery. Cash-strapped central governments do not have sufficient resources available in the national budget to meet the capital investment needs nor do donors such as the World Bank or Africa Development Bank. Reliance on limited capital grants or concessional lending creates dependency and is a disincentive to performance. With weakly managed utilities and distortions to the market created by the prevalence of grants and donor lending, domestic capital markets are under-developed and not providing much needed resources for the water sector. 2.Utility Reform and Governance Poorly managed utilities are characterized by high levels of non-revenue water due to poorly managed and maintained systems, weak investment planning, non-commercial practices, limited consumer orientation, and insufficient attention to the poor. The absence of good corporate governance and management means that utilities have limited or no access to new sources of capital financing and their ability to invest in even routine repairs is minimal, this leads to a cycle of decline and ever poorer levels of service. The World Bank has recently issued several major studies, including cases from sub-Saharan Africa, that address characteristics of good water utilities; service models for the poor; innovative financing models; the challenge of financing sanitation; water pricing, regulation, and cost recovery; and the transition to bankability. USAID has also conducted a number of studies recently that support similar conclusions, emphasizing the importance of corporate governance and utility reform. The evidence is clear that bankrupt, poorly managed utilities rarely can serve poor consumers sustainably, while reformed utilities have shown dramatic ability to expand quality water and sanitation services to the poor. The combination of water sector reform and improvements of utility-level management and governance can turn this situation around. While the a utility’s transition to good performance may take several years, the world wide conditions for good utility performance are well understood and are relevant to utilities in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the building blocks for reform are generally known among African water sector personnel. What is needed is support for specific reforms. In many cases, the support that is needed is technical assistance and policy dialogue, not large amounts of new capital investment. In general, funds for capital rehabilitation, for installation of new, improved systems, and for expansion into poor neighborhoods can be obtained once donors see that real progress in reform is occurring. In addition, there are numerous examples of utilities that have first reformed, and due to the improvements, they become able to pay a significant part of their capital financing needs through internally generated earnings. The types of reforms that have been demonstrated to be successful in “fixing” troubled water and sanitation utilities include: •Corporatization and introduction of improved procedures and mechanisms for corporate governance; •Use of operating contracts between the utility and the public agency responsible for supervising water companies; •Introduction of incentives for employees that directly tie bonuses to performance improvements; •Introduction of improved commercial systems, including metering and metered billing; •Introduction of effective economic regulation; and •Models for delivering services to poor consumers that are financially sustainable and tailored to local needs. There is a major opportunity to help reforming water and sanitation service providers introduce new service models for poor consumers. In many cases, these “sustainable” service models for the poor require that the utility be able to charge customers a water tariff that is close or equal to the cost of delivering service. In addition, it is often essential to allow the utility to establish new types of service connections, payment arrangements, and service norms. However, it can be extremely challenging for utilities to broker such innovative arrangements with poor consumers. To overcome these challenges, a growing number of water service providers have found ways to effectively partner with civil society organizations adept at mobilizing community participation and commitment to pay for services. Such partnerships also hold promise in supporting implementation of wide-scale sanitation improvements where technology selection and implementation needs to be tailored to specific community level demand. Moving away from a strict reliance on donor funds or capital grants from the central government towards more market-based financing also requires that utilities are well managed. Simply put, bankrupt utilities are not viewed as attractive borrowers. There are a variety of financing options that can serve “bankable” utilities, ranging from commercial loans, to the establishment of revolving funds, pooled financing or bonds. National and sub-national governments need to utilize scarce government and donor resources more effectively and where possible access private sector resources. Utility reform and governance lays the foundation not only for improved operations and financial viability but is a necessary first step to accessing the domestic capital markets. 3.Local Initiatives and Resources There are a number of associations, initiatives, capacity building programs and capital investment projects in the region that can serve as partner organizations for the USAID SUWASA Project. These include the African Water Utility Operators Partnership, the African Water Association, the Water & Sanitation Program, and the International Water Association. In addition, several leading donor organizations, including the World Bank, WSP, UNDP, EU Water Initiative, and the African Council of Ministers Water Initiative have established a MDG Action Plan with specific plans for 16 sub-Saharan countries. The SUWASA project will work alongside these organizations and initiatives to identify and assist specific water utility reforms that are aimed at achieving the MDGs related to water and sanitation. For example, the African Water Association (AfWA) headquartered in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire aims to be a pan-African organization bringing together all utilities in Africa. AfWA is a member organization which is successfully sustained by member dues. To date, AfWA is most active in West Africa with some activity in the other regions. Major activities include scientific committee meetings working on technical aspects of utility services; regional conferences and events; and, a website and monthly newsletter. The International Water Association (IWA), which is a global association, has strong membership participation through the East and Southern Africa (ESAR) regional association as well as from individual members in other parts of the continent. IWA has been involved in developing training materials and supporting workshops related to water and sanitation utility reform and performance improvement with a strong emphasis on the development of Water Safety Plans. Another potential resource is the African Water Utility Operators Partnership (AWUOP), a joint program initiated by the Union of African Water Suppliers (UAWS), the Regional Centre for Low Cost Water and Sanitation (CREPA), and the Centre for Training, Research and Networking for Development (TREND). Launched in 1996 with the support of the World Bank, AWUOP aims to build a partnership among African water supply and sanitation utilities and other key sector institutions to create opportunities for information sharing and capacity building. AWUOP emphasizes the need for utility reform including promotion of regulatory frameworks, benchmarking of utilities, development of tools for better utility management and reduction of unaccounted for water and promoting utilities to engage in providing services to the urban poor as well as working with other secondary suppliers such as small scale providers. Organizations like this will be a mechanism for identification of specific reform initiatives that will be supported by the SUWASA project.
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