Request for Proposal (RFP) at the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) invites interested and qualified firms / companies to express interest by tendering RFP documents for the following works:

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) – The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 46 least developed countries.

Applications are invited for:

Title: Request for Proposal (RFP) – Strategic Communications Firm to Provide Public Relations, Media, and Communications Services for Africa Digital Payments Advocacy

Reference No:

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.

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.

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

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.
  • Identify the right audience and craft respective messages and channels to best communicate with each audience.
  • Work with the Better Than Cash Alliance Africa team to coordinate champion’s engagement
  • Recommend creative engagement opportunities for traditional, digital media, and other channels to increase DFI champions public engagement
  • 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
  • Provide adapted media training for identified African’s Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) Champions
  • Develop creative social media strategy and support for champions specifically to amplify the messages
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Strengthen existing media, public, and government relations teams/agencies with whom the Better Than Cash Alliance collaborates for advocacy opportunities.
  • 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.
  • Provide reports on initiative achievements on milestones and timelines agreed upon with the Alliance.

Institutional Arrangement & Location of Work/Duty Station

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

Duration of the Work:Duty Station:Qualifications of the Successful Service Provider
Minimum Qualifications:

  • 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
  • Proven track record driving successful and impactful communications with senior African Leaders.
  • Presence in Africa mandatory.
  • 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.
  • Strong copywriting capacities for media and communications materials, including Op-Eds, Press Releases, Profiles.
  • A good track media track record and proven mainstream media outreach capacity. This includes national, regional, and continental media houses, correspondents, and international media.
  • Experience working with senior officials in media relations, including media training.
  • Experience with financial inclusion or related matters is a plus.

Functional Competencies:

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

Language and Other Skills:

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

Application Closing Date
23:59 (New York time zone), 11th April, 2022.

Submission of Documents

Proposals should be submitted via email to: [email protected] copy [email protected]


  • Format: PDF files only
  • File names must be maximum 60 characters long and must not contain any letter or special character other than from Latin alphabet/keyboard.
  • All files must be free of viruses and not corrupted.
  • Password for technical proposal must not be provided to UNCDF until the date as indicated in No. 14 (for email submission only)
  • Password for financial proposal must not be provided to UNCDF until requested by UNCDF
  • Max. File Size per transmission: 35 MB
  • Mandatory subject of email:105525 – Strategic Communications Agency Services

Click Here for a detailed description of the RFP (Ms Word).