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Strategic Communications Firm to provide Public Relations, Media, and Communications Services for Africa Digital Payments Advocacy.
Procurement Process :RFP - Request for proposal
Office :UNCDF - Stateless
Deadline :11-Apr-22
Posted on :27-Mar-22
Reference Number :89509
Link to Atlas Project :
Non-UNDP Project
Documents :
RFP-Strategic Communication Agency Service
RFP-QA Strategic Communications Agency Services
Overview :

1. Project Background

 United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency for the World’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to inclusive finance and investment capital. Established by the General Assembly in 1966 and with headquarters in New York, UNCDF is an autonomous UN organization affiliated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Based at UNCDF, the Better Than Cash Alliance aims to catalyze a global movement from cash to digital payments to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The Alliance has nearly 80 members, including national governments in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, companies, and international organizations committed to digitizing payments.
Billions in cash payments and transfers are made daily in emerging and developing economies, including salaries, social payment of wages, social welfare, payments to suppliers, and remittances. The problems with these cash payments include a lack of transparency, accountability, security, and inefficiency. Individuals who receive cash payments are often part of the 1.7 billion excluded from the formal financial sector, primarily women. This means they are excluded from access to a range of appropriate and affordable financial services to help them save safely, take advantage of economic opportunities, and reduce their vulnerability to risk.

Shifting these payments from cash to digital can improve the lives of low-income people, particularly women while giving governments, the development community, and the private sector a more transparent, time and cost-efficient, and often-safer means of disbursing payments.

The Better Than Cash Alliance Team’s Core Values are the following:

  • Achieving together
  • Striving for excellence
  • Service-oriented
  • Results-oriented

 The Better Than Cash Alliance seeks to partner with a firm to support strategic communications for Africa’s digital financial inclusion champions community.

2. Project Description  

Africa’s digital financial inclusion (DFI) champions initiative aims to identify, build the capacity, and amplify the work of dynamic government, private sector, and civil society leaders to advance digital financial inclusion nationally, continentally, and beyond. 

This will be a community of passionate leaders advocating for digital financial services at home and across Africa through high-level DFI forums, direct community advocacy, and media to increase policy action towards the digital financial inclusion of people in Africa catalyzed by responsible digitization payments. 

The DFI champions initiative is part of the Alliance’s new Africa Advocacy Strategy, which aims at making responsible digital payments and digital financial inclusion part of continental organizations’ agenda, including AfDB, Smart Africa, and AfCFTA Secretariat, and their work with their members, to drive the continent towards building inclusive digital payments ecosystems at a time when the union is moving toward a single digital market. Champion messaging and the African Principles will inform statements for Responsible Digital Payments and great African examples in their implementation and benefit from research underway on small and micro merchant payments digitalization in Africa, considering the current AfCFTA implementations.

The selected partner will develop and support the DFI champions’ communications strategy and help amplify the messages of critical stakeholders working every day towards this mission through media placements, events, and other opportunities.

3. Objectives and Scope of Services, Expected Outputs, and Target Completion

3.1 Initiative Objective

Our objective is to create awareness and enact action towards scaling the reach of digital financial services through this community of committed DFI champions from across Africa. 

Champions will include stakeholders, influential government officials, regulators, industry, civil society, and community leaders.

The selected firm will provide strategic communications support to the Africa team and community of champions as they advocate for policy and regulatory action to grow the reach of digital financial services to every African.  Support includes but is not limited to identifying champions, providing the necessary media/communication training, formulating messaging, identifying engagement opportunities such as high level and community speaking engagements, media platforms, blogs, and more to champions advocacy for action toward scaling digital financial inclusion.  We are building something new, and our goals are solid, but our perspectives on testing, evolving, and aiming for new objectives based on what we learn will be an essential part of this process. That means we need a partner who is happy to be transparent about learnings and change tactics as necessary to achieve our goals.

3.2 Scope of work, responsibilities, and tasks

Develop a communication strategy and project plan for the champions initiative. A social media strategy and strong support for champions are essential elements to amplify champions’ views and connect them. 

  1. Identify the right audience and craft respective messages and channels to best communicate with each audience.
  2. Work with the Better Than Cash Alliance Africa team to coordinate champion’s engagement
  3. Recommend creative engagement opportunities for traditional, digital media, and other channels to increase DFI champions public engagement
  4. Lead media engagement to ensure the proper placement of African’s Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) champions work, including press releases advocacy pieces, among others as needed
  5. Provide adapted media training for identified African’s Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) Champions
  6. Develop creative social media strategy and support for champions specifically to amplify the messages
  7. Conduct integrated campaigns for specific African’s Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) Champions/Better Than Cash Alliance milestones, events, reports releases with significant coverage, i.e., press briefings, interviews, shoots, etc.
  8. Curate and develop high-quality multimedia assets as needed. This could include motion graphic videos, video interviews with champions and users, GIFs, posters, quote cards, short quote videos/GIFs, etc.
  9. Establish a solid and unique branding style that (a) adheres to the Alliance’s Brand Guidelines and (b) adopts a unique and attractive style for multiple templates and formats.
  10. Strengthen existing media, public, and government relations teams/agencies with whom the Better Than Cash Alliance collaborates for advocacy opportunities.
  11. Support communications planning and implementation to events organized by the Alliance for the DFI Champions, including but not limited to technical editing and managing media lists, invites, partnerships, and attendance.
  12. Provide reports on initiative achievements on milestones and timelines agreed upon with the Alliance. 

3.3 Expected Deliverables



Target due date

Communications strategy & work plan

Deliverable 1.1: Public Relations, Media and Communications strategy and work plan involving social media strategy, mass, traditional, niche, and online media and containing at least – activities, key global messages to be adapted locally, target audiences, communication channels, and timelines.






One months after commencement of the work – target date:

31 May 2022


Targeted, sector-specific media lists

Deliverables:  1.2

a) Targeted, sector-specific media lists, consisting of media outlets’ names, journalists’ contacts details like first name, last name, e-mail and phone numbers, media location – ready for the Better Than Cash Alliance to tap into initiative-defined features/releases/exclusives.

b) Line-up of opportunities, i.e., events/promotions, where the Alliance’s collaboration is relevant.

Output 2. Monthly media plan with clear outcome indicators, including anticipated/future critical national and regional events relating to the Alliance key media moments.  Advice on opportunities for seed messages, PRs, interviews, and other initiatives to increase media mileage. Actively deliver media placements each month, depending on core activities each quarter. Deliverables include:


Target date:  sub-deliverables should be completed and reported on monthly basis  

Target dates for monthly sub-deliverables to be delivered on the following dates:

  1. 31 May 2022,
  2. 30 June 2022,
  3. 31 July 2022,
  4. 31 August 2022,
  5. 30 September 2022,
  6. 31 October 2022,
  7. 30 November 2022,
  8. 31 December 2022, etc…

Feature story generation


Deliverable 2.1 Quality media pick-ups (print and online), press releases, and feature stories submitted upon publishing and compiled in monthly reports.

Deliverable 2.2

a) Sector-specific media lists for this initiative to utilize include defined features/releases/exclusives etc. b) Line-up of opportunities, i.e., events/promotions, where the Alliance’s collaboration is relevant.

Speaking Engagements

Deliverable 2.3 Agency-generated speaking engagements every month. More broadly, the development of a pipeline of global and regional opportunities and activities for champions to engage in, number of delivered speaking engagements.

Media training

Deliverable 2.4 Improve the DFI champions capacity in public speaking, through

providing training and prepare each identified DFI champion for media appearances, interviews, and speaking engagements

Indicator: Submit a survey after the training  documenting the trainee feedback and submit the result to BTCA’s focal point.

High-quality multimedia assets

Deliverable 2.5 High-quality multimedia assets Ad-hoc Communication assets per champion - motion graphic videos, video interviews with champions and users, GIFs, posters, quote cards, short quote videos/GIFs, etc.

Deliverable: News coverage in at least two top-tier media platforms (newspapers, radio stations, TV channels, online media outlets)

18 news coverage in 18 months. Three news coverage per quarter.  

Output 3- Quarterly delivery:

Media relations management, public affairs, and government relations for public and legislative advocacies. Support in managing media partnerships


Deliverable 3.1 Quarterly agency-driven press engagement focused on the Better Than Cash Alliance approved thematic issues/events/announcements/reports and appropriate media segments and groups.

Work with the BTCA team in ongoing or upcoming event(s), including but not limited to connecting with media practitioners, journalists, and media organizations for partnerships and collaborations. Quarterly includes, quarterly media forecast/plan with clear outcome indicators; anticipated/future critical national, regional, and pan-African events relating to the Alliance's key media moments.

To be delivered throughout each quarter during this collaboration.



Output 4 – Semi Annual delivery


Deliverable 4- Semi-annual report: with a track record of outcome indicators over the period, analysis of the results, and recommendations moving forward, incl. Communications strategy to be jointly reviewed and updated at least three times during the contract period.

Every Six months

Output 5- Annual delivery


Work with regularly contributing columnists to pitch ideas, stories, and angles for writing columns.

Deliverable 5.1 Op-ed columns published in major newspapers and media outlets.

To be delivered within the first 18 months after this collaboration has started and at the end of the contract period.

Manage/implement and coordinate three banner advocacy messaging, supported by a pre-and post-campaign build-up

Deliverable 5.2 Integrated campaigns for major Better Than Cash Alliance advocacy issues with significant all-out coverage (i.e., press briefings, interviews, shoots, etc.) for one year


Deliverable 5.3 Final report: with a track record of outcome indicators over the period, analysis of the results, and recommendations moving forward, incl. Communications strategy after the final review by the Alliance team and the selected firm

30 days before the end date of the contract.

4. Institutional Arrangement & Location of Work/Duty Station

  1.  The consulting firm’s work will be supervised by the Better Than Cash Alliance’s Head of Africa Advocacy and Partnerships, in close collaboration with communications and advocacy colleagues.
  2.  The consulting firm shall work remotely and hold regular calls for meetings and progress updates with the supervising section.  Field visits and presence on the ground may be required around the continent. Interested firms must ensure that they can travel to these areas and guarantee proper security and insurance for their team.
  3. The consulting firm shall report to the Alliance weekly via Zoom calls and monthly through a brief. The team leader will be the focal point. 
  4. The consulting firm is further expected to work with the identified DFI champions from government, private sector, and civil society organizations in Africa, including drafting of messages and statements, providing media training, and facilitating and realizing media engagement opportunities.

4.1 Duration of the Work

The contract duration will be 18 months, with the possibility of extension based on satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

4.2 Duty Station 

Home-based, however, presence in Africa is required either through an established branch or partner.  If the presence in Africa is through a partner, the offeror must comply with the joint venture requirements and rules stated in the RFP.

5. Qualifications of the Successful Service Provider

 5.1 Minimum Qualifications:

  1. Minimum ten (10) years of institutional capacity experience in handling advocacy and communications campaigns in Africa for institutional clients, clients in the non-profit or public sector, CSRs (Corporate Social Responsibility) for corporate clients, or UN agencies
  2. Proven track record driving successful and impactful communications with senior African Leaders. 
  3. Presence in Africa mandatory.
  4. Proven track record in developing, planning/design, implementing, monitoring PR, Media, Communications, and community engagement strategies, particularly for the non-profit/social development sector in Africa. In addition, campaigns must have integrated monitoring and evaluation metrics built into the project plan for tracking. Work samples from previous accounts/projects may be reviewed for technical evaluation.
  5. Strong copywriting capacities for media and communications materials, including Op-Eds, Press Releases, Profiles.
  6. A good track media track record and proven mainstream media outreach capacity. This includes national, regional, and continental media houses, correspondents, and international media.
  7. Experience working with senior officials in media relations, including media training.
  8. Experience with financial inclusion or related matters is a plus.

5.2 Functional Competencies

  1. All experts deployed for this assignment need to have written and spoken English and French proficiency.
  2. Positive and constructive approaches to work with energy.
  3. Demonstrate openness to change and ability to receive and integrate feedback.
  4. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  5. Strong time management and meeting established timelines.
  6. Training and hands-on experience in the assignment area.
  7. Ability to work under pressure and deliver promptly without compromising quality standards.

5. 3 Language and Other Skills

  1. Fluent command of written and spoken English.  Knowledge of French and another widely used languages in Africa is a plus.
  2. Ability to write reports clearly and concisely, coherent arguments in presentation and group interactions.
  3. Ability to facilitate and communicate with different qualifications and experiences participating in the training.
  4. Capacity for video-shooting, video editing and graphic design (including in-design, Canva) .

For full details, please see the Request for Proposal Document attached