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Building FSP Capacity for Data-Driven and Gender-Smart Product Design
Procurement Process :RFP - Request for proposal
Deadline :17-Feb-23
Posted on :24-Jan-23
Reference Number :97470
Link to Atlas Project :
Non-UNDP Project
Documents :
Request for Proposal
Overview :

Project Title

Building Financial Service Providers’ Capacity for Data-Driven and Gender-Smart Product Design


The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and by showing how localized investments—through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance—can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development.

By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs.

Inclusive Digital Economies 

UNCDF manages initiatives to develop inclusive digital finance ecosystems which offer a wide range of financial services especially for low-income vulnerable communities. Specifically, UNCDF provides a mix of policy, technical and financial support to a range of government and private sector actors in each country, as well as invests in research and other public goods to benefit all market actors. By supporting the development of digital finance ecosystems in these countries, UNCDF aims to increase the financial security of low income and rural households through access to appropriate, affordable and secure means to receive, manage and save money.

Recently, UNCDF has formulated its strategy ‘Leaving no one behind in the digital era’ based on over a decade of experience in digital finance in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. UNCDF recognizes that reaching the full potential of digital financial inclusion aligns with the vision of promoting digital economies that leave no one behind. The vision of UNCDF is to empower millions of people by 2024 to use services daily that leverage innovation and technology and contribute to the SDGs. UNCDF will apply a market development approach and continuously seek to address underlying market dysfunctions. For more information, please see:

Data-Driven Gender-Smart Product Design

Many stakeholders in the public and private sectors in Tanzania are committed to developing digitally enabled, data-driven solutions that advance financial inclusion, especially for women. The proliferation of digital products and services, along with digitalization across various sectors of the economy means that data is being generated in many parts of people’s lives. As a result, service providers and policymakers interested in creating evidence-based, gender-smart solutions often have the data required to do so; what they lack is the capacity to turn that data into meaningful information.

For example, many financial service providers (FSPs)--including banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs), and financial technology (fintech) companies) --offer digital financial solutions (DFS) that generate data on product terms, transactions, and consumer experiences. While these data could help FSPs identify ways to better meet customer needs, FSPs lack the technical capacity to do so. Moreover, because this transactional data is more limited for customer segments that transact less, like women, it is even more critical that FSPs to have capacity for gender-intentional lean data analysis. In other cases, a lack of open digital infrastructure prevents data-sharing between ecosystem partners, hindering efforts to develop more robust use-cases for DFS.

UNCDF will be supporting up to 3 FSPs who are currently generating data through their digital solutions, MIS, or CBS to enhance their capacity for data-driven, gender-smart product design (GSPD).

Data is also central to financial sector regulators’ ability to supervise markets, protect consumers, and advance financial inclusion. In parallel to working with the private sector to enhance digital financial solutions, UNCDF will work with the government to design and build solutions to automate the collection, validation, and analysis of data generated through those digital solutions. While the focus of this RFP is working with FSPs on data and GSPD, the scope of work will entail understanding FSPs’ regulatory reporting requirements and identifying any challenges and potential opportunities at the intersection of enhanced data capacity among regulators and GSPD.

Objective of the project and expected Output


UNCDF is looking for a firm that can work directly with selected FSPs to develop and pilot a roadmap for enhancing their capacity for GSPD to increase access to finance and digital inclusion for women. The firm may be a consulting firm, private sector company or a financial technology firm, provided they can demonstrate the ability to achieve deliverables set forth in Scope of Work (SOW).

Specifically, the firm will be responsible for the following:

  • Performing a diagnostic assessment(s) of selected financial service provider (FSP) data systems/management information system (MIS) /core banking system (CBS), and analytical capacity that maps use-cases for interventions that will enhance data-driven gender-smart product design (GSPD).
  • Working with a gender expert to develop an understanding of the intersection of gender and the findings of the data diagnostic and to mainstream gender into the technical assistance and further outputs
  • Providing technical assistance to implement at least one of the opportunities identified in the data diagnostic, incorporating inputs from the gender expert as relevant
  • Drafting a roadmap for the FSPs to further scale data-driven GSPD and creating a toolkit to enable other FSPs to conduct similar diagnostic assessments and roadmaps, incorporating inputs from the gender expert as relevant
  • Supporting UNCDF to disseminate the toolkit and lessons learned to a wider audience through publications, webinars, and workshops with targeted stakeholders.

Expected outputs

  1. Inception report outlining the workplan and methodology for the data diagnostic assessment, defining the concepts, themes, and use-cases that will be explored
  2. Data diagnostic assessment covering key topics defined in Output 1
  3. A report outlining how results of the gender assessment (conducted by the gender expert) will be incorporated in the delivery of technical assistance and way forward
  4. Through delivery of technical assistance, FSPs have increased capacity for data-driven and gender-smart product design
  5. Roadmap for FSPs to further increase capacity for data-driven and gender-smart product design. The report will be grounded in the experience and lessons learned working with FSPs selected for this project, but also be relevant to other similar FSPs in the market.

Scope of work.

Phase 1: Data Diagnostic Assessment

The project will begin with a diagnostic assessment, which will entail discussions with representatives from the selected FSP(s) to understand their existing digital solutions and data systems, and the extent to which data and digital technology are utilized for GSPD. As a secondary objective, the consultant will explore the FSPs’ regulatory reporting requirements with the goal of understanding linkages between regulatory-side enhancements (to data architecture, management, analytical capacity) and women’s financial inclusion from the FSPs’ perspective.

The diagnostic assessment would consider the following topics, though the specific areas of inquiry and methodology will be determined by the consultant:

Focus Area


Gender-Smart, Data-Driven Product Design

Products/services offered

  • What digital product(s)/service(s) are currently offered or in development by the FSP?
  • Is there a clear strategy/objective for reaching women or enhancing women’s empowerment and financial inclusion through these products?

Data generated and analytical processes

  • What transactional data is generated through these digital solutions? Is the data sex-disaggregated?
  • What other data collection and validation processes are in place?
  • What systems/technology, processes, and methods are used to analyze and visualize this data? E.g., how is data shared internally or externally?
  • What are the use-cases for this analysis? E.g., new product design/updates, distribution/marketing, etc.

Regulatory Reporting

Reporting requirements, processes, challenges

  • What are the FSPs’ regulatory reporting requirements? What data is shared with who, at what granularity, frequency, etc.?
  • What is the process for reporting? I.e., is data shared via excel, email, etc.?
  • To what extent do FSPs utilize sector-wide data from regulators to inform decision-making?


Capacity building needs

  • In terms of human resources, what are the major skills gaps /capacity needs for sustaining a data-driven organization


  • TBD by the consultant


The output of the diagnostic assessment will be a report covering these topics. It will conclude with a mapping and prioritization of interventions to strengthen capacity for data driven GSPD to be taken forward in the following phases (i.e., enhancements to MIS vs. data-sharing processes vs. analytical techniques).

Phase 2: Gender Diagnostic Assessment

Under another SOW, UNCDF will engage a gender expert to assess the FSPs’ organizational policies, systems, competencies, and plans to serve the female market. The consultant will work with the gender expert to understand the results of their assessment and ensure alignment on the ways in which a gender-lens can be incorporated into data-focused interventions. The output of Phase 2 will be a report outlining the areas of alignment and way forward.

Note: While UNCDF will be engaging a gender expert to collaborate on this SOW, applicants have the option to an include an in-house gender expert in their proposal, provided the gender expert has the capacity to perform the activities outlined in the Appendix to the TOR and meets the minimum criteria described in the Appendix to the TOR. If the firm chooses to include a gender expert in the technical proposal, two financial proposals must be submitted: one which includes the cost of  the gender expert, and one which excludes the cost of the gender expert. This is because the  CV of the gender expert will be revaluated by the UNCDF team and UNCDF reserves the right to exclude the proposer’s gender expert at the time of the award of the contract.  UNCDF shall also make no preference to firms that will include a gender expert (i.e. applicants who do not include a gender expert will not be penalized)

Phase 3: Gender Diagnostic Assessment

Based on the results of the data diagnostic and gender assessments, the consultant will provide technical assistance to support data driven GSPD. This may include:

  • Delivering a data analytics and product ideation trainings to build FSP staff capacity to analyze sex-disaggregated data for GSPD or to do market research on specific segments of female customers. This training will be theoretical and practical, ideally making use of real transactional data.
  • Supporting lean data surveys (data collection and analysis) with end-users (male and female), ideally linked to the supply-side MIS customer and transactional data to ensure practical application of results.
  • Supporting a pilot of a specific product/service (or product/service enhancement) or operational change geared towards increasing the number of female customers or increasing product usage among female customers

Phase 4: Roadmap for the Future

Recognizing there are multiple use-cases for enhancing data-driven GSPD and that the Phase 3 TA will be limited in scope to one of these, the consultant will develop a roadmap for how the FSP could prioritize and implement additional interventions. This will be in line with the mapping conducted in Phase 1, while also incorporating lessons learned from Phase 3.

In addition to creating a roadmap that is FSP/product-specific, the consultant will also create a toolkit to enable other FSPs to conduct similar self-assessments and roadmaps for their own companies.

Expected Deliverables.

Please refer to the attached RFP document 

Institutional Arrangement

The contractor will be Under the overall direction of the Country Lead for Inclusive Digital Economies Tanzania. The contractor will be directly responsible to, reporting to, seeking approval/acceptance of output from the Research and Insights Specialist, Inclusive Digital Economies Tanzania and the Country Lead for Inclusive Digital Economies Tanzania.

Frequency of Reporting: weekly and as requested by UNCDF

Service Level Arrangements:

  • A kick-off meeting will be conducted at the beginning of the project to agree on the minimum standard of services acceptable. UNCDF must be informed and be part of decision-making if there are any deviations from the proposal. Changes to the team much be requested in writing.
  • The contractor will be asked to organize weekly progress calls with UNCDF.
  • Monitoring of progress shall be measured both per the activities of the contractor as well as the performance of the UNCDF partners involved in the project.
  • Payments will be linked to the approval of deliverables. Should a deliverable not meet the standard agreed, UNCDF will withhold payment and discuss remedial actions with the contractor.

Duration of the work

The service provider is due to carry out this assignment from the date of signing to contract up to twelve (12) months.

  1. Qualification of the service provider

Requirements of the Successful Consulting Firm

  • Successfully conducted similar assignments in Tanzania with proven excellent results.
  • Experience undertaking data reviews, analysis, and capacity building for both financial and non-financial sectors related to digital commerce and financial technology.
  • Experience providing analyses based on findings and advisory services on way forward.
  • Experience drafting playbooks/toolkits for financial sector
  • Experience incorporating gender-lens into data analysis and capacity building preferred

Requirements of the Team leader

  • 10 years of experience in Tanzanian financial services sector, with focus on data and analytics and data-driven product design
  • 5 years of experience in providing advisory services
  • Demonstrated regional experience and exposure (Eastern and Southern Africa)
  • Demonstrated experience leading teams on similar projects
  • Fluent English and Kiswahili

Requirements of the Team members

  • At least 5 years of experience in Tanzanian financial services sector, with focus on data and analytics and data-driven product design
  • At least 5 years of experience in conducting research in Tanzania in similar thematic areas
  • Demonstrated regional experience and exposure (Eastern and Southern Africa)
  • Oral and written proficiency in English and Kiswahili