CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Consultancy – Human Capital Development in Cocoa Farming Communities in Côte d’Ivoire

Bernard van Leer Foundation is Seeking a Consultant

Terms of Reference

Position: Consultant, Ivory Coast partnership

Reports to: Executive Director

Based in: Consultant may be based anywhere. Abidjan is ideal. Otherwise preference for West Africa or Europe. If based outside of Abidjan, +/- 3 trips to Abidjan will be necessary. One trip to Europe may also be needed during the course of the assignment, but this is not yet clear.

Contract: Beginning as soon as possible through end of July 2016. Estimated 50 – 75% time.


Date: 28-02-2016


In the context of our 2016-20 strategic plan, we have decided to shift our geographic focus in sub-Saharan Africa. For the moment, we will pursue a partnership in Ivory Coast with the Swiss-based Jacobs Foundation, an association of major Cocoa industry companies and the government. This partnership will work to improve human capital development (from birth to age 18) in Cocoa farming communities across the country with the aim of reaching at least 200,000 children in the next 5 years. Within this partnership, BvLF will take the lead on incorporating an early childhood development component including providing technical expertise and making an estimated EUR 5 million investment over five years to be matched by the Jacobs Foundation. There is an expectation that this will further leverage investments from the Cocoa companies, the government, other foundations and international organizations. The type of early childhood intervention we plan to promote is called Parents+. Please find an annex to this document with a short description.

Objective of the assignment

Having discussed the broad lines of the partnership with the Jacobs foundation and with our respective boards, we are now at a stage where we would like to finalize the details of the partnership agreement so that it can become operational in the second half of the 2016. In the meantime, we would also like to kick-start the early childhood component of the programme.

Key tasks

  1. Participate in weekly meetings with the Jacobs team in Abidjan to keep track of how the initiative is evolving, give inputs and keep the Van Leer executive director up to date
  2. Finalize negotiations of 3 mini-pilot projects with implementing partners in Ivory Coast, submit relevant materials to Van Leer for internal approval and monitor as they get started
  3. Assess the potential to incorporate research questions into ongoing or planned data collection activities to be implemented by Jacobs or other partners. Where viable negotiate their incorporation and follow-up on implementation. If needed, commission small additional research project to help inform programme design.
  4. Assess opportunities to adapt and test measurement different measurement instruments for early childhood in Ivory Coast. Where viable, negotiate with relevant parties.
  5. Gather and synthesize content at the request of the Van Leer Executive Director to:
    • Assess the viability of different potential platforms in Ivory Coast through which early childhood interventions could be implemented
    • Determine if existing parenting programmes being implemented already in Ivory Coast could be leverage for this initiative
    • Determine the potential and capacity building needs of key partners in Ivory Coast for the early childhood component of this initiative
    • Support planning for events in the fall of 2016 including opportunities to share high performing early childhood models with business and government partners
    • Finalize the partnership agreement with the Jacobs foundation (e.g. governance, fund flow, staffing requirements)
    • Share the potential of the initiative with other funders and the Van Leer board
  6. Ensure a seamless transition of all early childhood activities and knowledge developed during the assignment to the Jacobs foundation team in Abidjan and Van Leer


Very strong French and English speaking and writing skills; experience with multi-stakeholder partnerships; experience in francophone Africa and ideally in Ivory Coast; experience funding/designing/implementing projects in the area of child and youth development – ideally in early childhood development (health, nutrition, learning, protection) and in parenting programmes; experience commissioning/using social science research for programming and advocacy; experience in capacity building for local NGOs, government institutions and the private sector; experience in rural development and in the cocoa sector (or other cash crops)


Bundling services for healthy child development

The way parents nurture babies and toddlers is among the most decisive factors for healthy child development. Modelling good hygiene, encouraging healthy eating, talking, singing, gently calming children when they are upset – interactions like these are critical to early brain development. Unfortunately, many children do not get the kind of nurturing and support they need.

Sometimes the problem is that parents don’t know what they should be doing or may copy what they see in their own family or community, even if this is not the best thing for their children. In other cases the problem may be that parents are too short of money, time or energy to parent the way they themselves would like. Perhaps they are struggling with depression, domestic violence, exhaustion, hunger or illness. A common mistake in these cases is to give parents information when they don’t have the time or mental space to use it, or in a way that feels threatening or judgemental.

Parents+ addresses these problems by bundling opportunities for parents to learn more about child development with existing services that already work to improve the family’s overall well-being. Our aim is to accelerate the spread of good practice in this ‘bundling’ approach by developing further evidence about which bundles are most effective and demonstrating their potential to work at scale through a set of strategic partnerships.


For more information please contact Fabio Segura (



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