Re-advertised Consultancy : Sustainability Study – Instant Network Schools (INS) Programme

  • Anywhere
Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Closing date: 6 Oct 2021


UNHCR and Vodafone Foundation seek to commission support from a leading Development-Education Economist or Consultancy firm to assist in outlining the financing eco-system for Education Programmes with a focus on Connected Education initiatives, in which the Instant Network Schools (INS) programme is situated. The study seeks to identify options for how to ensure sustainable resourcing is available for all INS country locations to ensure effective continuation of the programme until 2025 and beyond.

This five-month study is designed to explore six country contexts between November and March 2022. The details of which are outlined within the below TOR.

The maximum budget for this short study if 50,000 EURO.

Sustainability Study ToRs:

Purpose: Commission support from a leading Development-Education Economist or Consultancy firm to assist in outlining the financing eco-system for Education Programmes with a focus on Connected Education initiatives, in which the Instant Network Schools (INS) programme is situated. The study will identify options for how to ensure sustainable resourcing is available for each country location – to ensure effective continuation of the programme until 2025 and beyond. For more details on the Instant Network Schools (INS) programme, please refer to Annex 1.

Timeframe: 5-months from commissioning to report (01 November – 31 March)

Geography: The study will focus on 6 countries where INS currently operates. Namely DR Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan. Additional research may be requested in the future to look at 2 additional country contexts: Turkey and Ghana. This would form part of a different engagement.

Budget required: max. EUR 50k

Suggested Approach: Recognizing the paucity of data in many low-to-middle-income countries (LMICs) around the cost of, and financing mechanisms of, education, this report is expected to be a desk-based review of available evidence complemented with key stakeholders’ interviews and engagement. Where data is not available or is significantly out of date, the report should consider the implications of this and point to potential future sources of data.

The analysis will be conducted in one of two ways:

  1. For a select number of countries: a more thorough review with key informant interviews with Government, country-based development actors, UNHCR country staff etc. This approach would provide a stronger picture of both existing and available data but also of forthcoming education-related national plans and activities, and a broader overview of the political economy. UNHCR anticipates that 3 out of 6 focus countries will support this approach.
  2. For the remaining countries (3 out of 6), analysis will involve a desk-review, along with interviews with INS and UNHCR Education team members at a global and country level. In addition, interviews with global and regional partners including the EdTech Hub, WB, UNICEF, other key education funders (incl. private sector) etc. will be used to compliment the desk-review and UNHCR informant interviews.

Desired output:

Deliverables would include:

1. Detailed per-country analysis of the education landscape supporting refugee education and broader and refugee-inclusive connected education programmes, including identification of the potential sustainability opportunities for each of the selected INS countries.

Each country analysis should be a maximum of 5-7 pages including graphs of background data. In particular, the analysis should reflect on the following:

  • Basic outline of the education ecosystem:
  • Overview of policies, funding mechanisms, main actors and responsibilities, key priorities for 2021-2025, etc.
  • Level of support to refugee education within national priorities outlining refugee inclusion policy in education, national and regional development planning and infrastructure development.
  • Strategy, vision and specific initiatives around connected education programmes that are supported by the government (and an assessment of how well these initiatives are perceived, how successful they have been). Note: if scaled connected education programmes are running in-country without formal support from government, these should also be included in the analysis.

Present education funding landscape incl.

  • General Education Budget with a strong focus on secondary-level education:

  • National budget for education (presented as a cost per child disaggregated by level of school; against population enrolled; and per province where possible, linking to refugee-hosting provinces)

  • Identification of main general education funding sources (including communities, development actors, private sector), and a broad overview of the distribution of funds

  • Analysis of the extent to which policy facilitates the use of this in refugee-hosting schools

  • Connected Education programmes Budget:

  • Financing sources being supported at the national, regional and global level (considering cash vs. in-kind – government vs. international organizations vs. private sector)

  • Outline of other potential financing opportunities (national development plans, infrastructure, ICT budgets, in addition to use of Universal service fund type mechanisms).

2. INS investment case for each of the 8 INS countries: One excel spreadsheet per country:

  • Breakdown of INS recurrent costs for each selected country, and a review of where streamlining of certain areas could assist in reducing annual running costs to refine annual investment required on a per country basis.
  • UNHCR and Vodafone Foundation will be able to provide cost assumptions to feed into this analysis.

3. INS sustainability recommendations for each of the 6 INS countries:

  • Based on education sector analysis, develop INS sustainability recommendations for each individual country – identifying top 3-6 options per country that could help ensure the sustainability of the programme. Options should be well articulated and relate to concrete opportunities.

4. Country-level validation workshops with each relevant UNHCR country team to present results, refine scope and prioritise options. Where feasible this may include government engagement.

5. Global validation workshop with UNHCR & Vodafone Foundation, to finalize the priority recommendations based on country reflections. Upon completion of the validation workshops, the consultant/firm would the revise INS sustainability recommendations to document reflections, feedback and priorities outlined by the countries.

6. A summary report of less than 10 pages providing both a global overview, and country-specific, sustainability options:

  • Global summary should provide an overview of the overall context for refugee education and Connected Education.

  • Strategic entry points with the work of GIGA, Broadband Commissions’ Digital – *Education working groups, and the RewirEd Summit.

  • Including a summary list of the prioritized actions (identify during validation workshops).

7. Editable summary slide-deck of the results of the report & related options.

Desired outcome for December

The resulting analysis would present options that could be presented to the Vodafone Foundation Board along with UNHCR Senior Management, to help provide them an understanding of the broader context and potential avenues for further sustainability of the INS. This analysis would also come with UNHCR’s suggested next steps for the coming six months, acknowledging that the options would not yet be presented or accepted by the Government or other actors (for example Development Partners), and would require further time and action by UNHCR to pursue different options. However, by presenting this analysis the Board would have the latest information on sustainability and would be brought into the INS team’s process and thinking on how to sustain the INS passed 2025.

Roles & Responsibilities:

UNHCR & Vodafone Foundation to:

  • Jointly develop the TORs for the desired firm and Scope of Work
  • Jointly advertise the TOR
  • Jointly review and select the chosen firm
  • Provide orientation for the firm on the INS context
  • Conduct bi-monthly check-ins with the firm on their progress (or this could just be UNHCR depended on VF time). Participate in the global validation workshop
  • Review and provide sign-off on work products


  • Confirm with each country the preferred approach (acknowledging their political context)
  • Take initial leadership to draft the TOR o Serve as the primary contact point for the selected firm
  • Provide orientation for the Firm to the refugee education context & strategy and the expectations of the final deliverable
  • Respond to on-going questions or orientation support for the firm
  • Provide introductions to relevant stakeholders in the field (where required)
  • Organize country-level participation in validation workshops

Vodafone Foundation to:

  • Tender the contract with the selected firm
  • Participation in regular catch-up calls
  • Participation in global validation workshops

Annex 1:

INS Background The Instant Network Schools (INS) programme was developed by UNHCR in partnership with Vodafone Foundation, and is one of UNHCR’s core Connected Education programmes. The goal of Connected Education is to utilize innovative approaches to expand and enhance quality education and increase digital literacy for displaced communities and those that host them. The vision of the INS is to ensure that all refugees, and the communities that host them, are able to fully engage in the economic, social, and cultural world of today, and tomorrow through increased access to accredited, quality, and relevant learning opportunities supported by expanded mobile networks and dynamic digital resources. The INS is an integrated platform, which transforms an existing classroom into a multimedia hub. This involves a teacher training programme; curation of digital content aligned to the local curriculum; and creating an enabling multimedia environment complete with a local area network and Internet connectivity. The selected classrooms also benefit from investments in sustainable solar power, teacher display kits (including laptop, speakers and a projector), and a set of educational tablets.

From 2014 to date, the INS programme has established 56 centers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Tanzania. Since the programme’s inception, it is estimated that the INS has reached over 126,000 students and over 1,600 teachers.

By 2025, up to 300 INS schools will be opened across 6 countries (selected from Kenya, Mozambique, Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, DRC and Turkey). Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR are aiming for a staged rollout between 2020 – 2025 to ensure adequate engagement and buy-in at all levels of government and the private sector for long term sustainability and integration into local systems.

By 2025, through the INS centres, 10,000 teachers and 510,000 students will have benefitted from the programme, targeting approximately one million indirect beneficiaries from the students, teachers, parents & community members.

It should be noted, that to-date the majority of INS deployments have taken place in rural low-resource contexts (predominantly within East Africa). Through the expansion, approximately 60% of the INS centers will be deployed in urban areas and 40% in rural zones (which would include refugee camps). In 2020, the first 20 INS centers will be established in Egypt and Mozambique. The majority of Egypt deployments have taken place in an urban setting though Mozambique is rural:

  • In Egypt, 18 secondary schools are benefiting from an INS installation in the greater Cairo area, reaching approximately 18,000 students, 360 teachers, and (indirectly) 54,000 community members.
  • In Mozambique, 2 secondary schools that are benefiting from an INS installation in 2020 in Maratane and Nampula reaching approximately 8,605 students, 216 teachers and 25,815 community members. Maratane Secondary School hosts 712 students (510 refugees) and has 22 teachers (4 of which are refugees) and is the only school in the Maratane refugee camp. Nampula Secondary School hosts 7,893 students (317 refugees) and has 194 teachers, this is one of 14 secondary schools in Nampula District.

How to apply:

Proposals to be submitted to: Oisín Walton ( and Mark Miller (, and copying Jacqueline Strecker ( and Albane Coeurquetin (

Proposal submission timeframe:

· Full proposal submission by 6th October (inclusive)

· Calls with shortlisted organizations week of 11th October

· Project start week of 25th October