Organizational / Other / Social and Public Policy

Livelihood Improvement Aims To Address Major Systemic Constraints Impeding Women and Youth from Accessing Employment Opportunities and Better Paying Jobs in Addis Ababa City

Research consultancy for Character Referencing among Women

and Youth Job Seekers in Addis Ababa

1. Background

Livelihood Improvement for Women and Youth (LI-WAY) is a five-year program implemented by a consortium of partners, namely SNV /the lead/, Save the Children, Techno Serve, and Mercy Corps with financial support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

The overall objective of the program is to contribute to sustainable poverty reduction and social stability in Addis Ababa through improved livelihoods. The specific objective is to increase the incomes of 200,000 poor people (50% women and 75% youth) through increased access to wage and/or self-employment opportunities. Mercy Corps is a lead agency in the labor sector and facilitating an intervention designed to address systemic constraints identified through a diagnostic process of the labor market system in Addis Ababa City.

2. Rationale/Problem Statement

LI-WAY aims to address major systemic constraints impeding women and youth from accessing employment opportunities and better-paying jobs in Addis Ababa City. According to Central Statistics Agency, 2016, the overall youth unemployment rate in Addis Ababa was 24.4% of which female youth experienced a higher rate of unemployment (29.8%), than males (16.9%).

LI-WAY Diagnosis Study has identified increased transactional costs due to absence and/or lack of access to job matching services, poorly developed exchange infrastructure, domestic duties/risks and referencing as the major systemic constraints, which hindered majority of women and youth job seekers from getting employment opportunities and better paying jobs in Addis Ababa. The issue of character referencing, usually considered as trust, are particular to migrants from rural areas to Addis Ababa for many reasons. This group have no access to the socially accepted form of referencing that allows them access to both formal and informal labor markets. The character references commonly provided by permanent residents with Addis Ababa ID cards and permanent addresses are often not available to migrants and so they find both the quantity and quality of work restricted. Most employer companies’/outsourcing companies requires character reference as a precondition for recruitment. Due to the pervasive challenges in getting character references, women & youth job seekers, particularly migrants were obliged to work as a daily laborer to secure their daily subsistence. It was also reported that majority these job seekers are aware of the importance of insurance services and are willing to use insurance products as a replacement of character referencing if it is readily available.

Thus, in order to propose a business model that fits and best suits LI-WAY target groups (specifically youth and women without Addis Ababa ID) and valuable inputs to influence government policy Mercy Corps through its LI-WAY program called a competent consultancy firm to undertake further detailed market study aimed at developing tailored new insurance product and/or policy

input to address referencing, mainly character referencing, for the program target group.

3. Objective

The main objective of this TOR is to conduct a deep dive study among insurance companies, employers and target groups to identify specific inputs and findings that help to develop tailored new insurance product which will serve as an alternative mechanism for the existing personal/character referencing and provide inputs to influence government policy to address referencing.

Specific objectives

  • To quantify the frequency and severity that employers may suffer when they recruit and hire women & youth job seeker, mainly migrants;
  • To make a professional estimate of pool of jobseekers who couldn’t get employment due to lack of character referencing;
  • To analyze job seekers capacity to pay premiums based on the current payments for reference;
  • To do a basic analysis around private and employment agencies payouts specifically on:Percentage of employees with this problemAverage amount of damage caused by each type of job, and others.
  • To assess the willingness of employer companies to use the new financial product that will work equivalently with character referencing;
  • Conduct an in-depth discussion (key informant interview) with private employment agencies to identify prevailing problems in the current system/practices and understand what motivates them to try insurance services.
  • To define and identify the level of risk/liability-likelihood of happening damages by job seekers.
  • To assess the prevailing legal frameworks which governs the issues of referencing, challenges during the law enforcement processes if any) and indicate ways forwards to improve.

4.Scope of Work

  • Understand how character referencing significantly affects job seekers (women & youth) in getting jobs.
  • An in-depth assessment & understanding of the level of risks associated with LI-WAY target groups (Women and Youth whose income is below 1,500 ETB and actively looking for jobs) in getting character referencing;
  • Understand LI-WAY’s target group financial literacy, ability and willingness to pay if new financial product is designed and developed;
  • Quantify the pool of people/job seekers who are in the LI-WAY target

groups and lack character references;

  • Understand objectively why employers are requiring personal/character referencing and their willingness to use if personal referencing is replaced with new financial product based on market risk transfer system;
  • Quantifying the amount (average) and frequency of damage that these LI-WAY target groups/job seekers can pose to employers;
  • Assessing and understanding insurance company’s willingness to develop new financial product and their preconditions to test the product as a pilot;
  • Assess the legal framework, major challenges/problems and forward possible recommendations as an input to influence policy related to referencing issues;
  • Recommendations on ways of improving existing character referencing services and coming up with new product that can increase the access of the job seekers to employment opportunities;
  • Throughout the process, the consulting firm will consult with LI-WAY team for approval of decisions;
  • The research data collected and presented should be disaggregated by age and gender who are LI-WAY’s target group.


Generally, the consultant/consulting firm will be expected to produce and submit the following deliverables:

  • An inception report outlining the approach & methodology, sampling procedures, study instruments etc.
  • Draft work plan.
  • Debriefing presentation: A debriefing workshop will be organized by Mercy Corps for interactive feedback by key project and Mercy Corps staffs. but facilitated by the consultant (through a PowerPoint Presentation and/or other debriefing materials). Draft Report- Presentation of findings and recommendations not more than 30 pages.
  • Final Report- Well researched and full-fledged study report which should not be longer than 40 pages capturing but not limited to the following sections:Executive summary (1-2 pages) Introduction (Background, Problem Statement & slogMethodology) (7-10 pages) Findings (10 – 15 pages) Conclusion & Recommendations (5 – 10 pages)
  • Submit four copies of full sets of final study report in hardcopy (color, if pictures or different colors used) and soft copy of full report in word & PDF presented in flash with all annexes and TOR on the last page.

Specifically, the consultant/consulting firm is expected to execute and deliver the following key and essential deliverables including but not limited to:

  • Well-synthesized and analyzed problems of character referencing in LIWAY target groups.
  • Structured review of management strategies and tools to manage problems of character referencing.
  • Quantitative estimate of the likelihood/frequency and severity/financial loss in terms of monetary value both to employer and job seekers.
  • Determination of the expected value (probability and severity) to be resulted from absence of character referencing to enable determine appropriate and feasible risk management options-including market based risk transfer-insurance.
  • Quantified estimate of willingness to pay and rough estimate of ability to pay for insurance product/service that can replace character referencing.
  • Readiness and willingness of private insurance companies to partner and pilot test the new product/insurance service proposed.
  • Package of recommendations as an input to influence government policy.


The consulting firm/consultant is expected to undertake the assignment within 45 calendar days.

7. Qualification, skills and Experiences Requirements

Team Composition and Qualification

The consultant needs to mobilize study team consisting of team leader specialized in labor market, insurance product design and development key expert, an actuary for actuarial computation of technical rate, commercial premium rate and the various level of risks and a marketing and sales management expert.

A minimum of bachelor degree in the relevant field of study and 6 years of work experience in the area is required.

Skills and Knowledge

The consultants’ team should have:

  • Skills on conceptual and operations of labor market dynamics and development of Ethiopia.
  • Product design and development preferably on insurance products and skill on synthesis of insurance policy wording using appropriate terminology.
  • Actuarial skill in quantifying risks, premium and loss.
  • Broad knowledge and understanding on Ethiopia’s insurance industry, regulations, proclamations and directives.

8. Application Process:

  • Interested and experienced service providers/consultants are required to send a brief technical proposal, an updated CV/profile of consultants that will actually engage in this task & references and all in English.
  • Bidders should include full package of trade licenses and Tin Certificate.
  • A complete budget breakdown for the mentioned work should be provided separately and in a sealed envelope.
  • The financial proposal should be detailed enough and should include any professional costs, Material costs and relevant administrative and logistic costs related to the work. It should also show the willingness and amount of cost share for the work
  • Technical and financial proposal should be sent separately to tenders@ or sealed in envelope can be submitted in person to Mercy Corps OR can be sent by P. O. Box 14319 to Mercy corps Addis Ababa office; with reference “LI-WAY Research consultancy forCharacter Referencing among Women and Youth Job Seekers”
  • Applications deadline is 12th December 2020 10:00amPlease collect the Tender Package from Mercy corps Addis Ababa office as of 2nd December 2020 or sending request by email

Mercy Corps Ethiopia

Tel: +251-11-110777; Fax +251-11-110707