Terms of Reference for Undertaking Formative Research on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

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Project name: Putting Girls at the Core – Restoring Dignity around Menstrual Hygiene in Somalia

Location of the study: Puntland – Somalia

Organization: CARE International Somalia

Duration: 30 days

Start date: 25 Sept – 25 Oct

  1. Background

CARE is a non-governmental organization committed to working with poor women, men, boys, girls, communities, and institutions to have a significant impact on the underlying causes of poverty. CARE seeks to contribute to economic and social transformation by unleashing the power of the most vulnerable women and girls. CARE has been providing emergency relief and lifesaving assistance to the Somali people since 1981. The main program activities since then have included projects in water and sanitation, sustainable pastoralist activities, civil society and media development, small-scale enterprise development, primary school education, teacher training, adult literacy, and vocational training. CARE works in partnership with Somali and international aid agencies, civil society leaders and local authorities. CARE Somalia is currently operational in the northern regions of Puntland and Somaliland and south and central regions of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwest and Jubaland. The strategy is to adopt a program approach to demonstrate impact and promote organizational learning; reduce the impact of emergencies on vulnerable communities, particularly women and children; improve governance and access to services and resources.

Putting Girls at the Core is a 4-year program funded by the Slaight Family Foundation to empower adolescent girls to take control of their menstrual health through girl-led research and the principles of human centered design to pilot and test new solutions to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). The goal of the project is to improve basic human dignity and good health for adolescent girls in fragile and conflict situations in the Puntland region of Somalia. The project will directly reach 5,000 girls in 20 schools and 400 mothers and affect MHM for thousands more in future scale-up.

CARE works with Girls Empowerment Forums (GEFs) and mentors to implement a participatory monitoring system where GEF members will track research activities and dialogues. The impact of this project will be measured qualitatively, by tracking the changes in attitudes and practices and reported outcomes across girls, boys, teachers, parents and community influencers. Monitoring and evaluation data collected by The Girls Empowerment and Education Project (GEEPS), a Global Affairs Canada funded project, including school-level and household level data will be leveraged for this initiative. This will allow the project to capture the contribution of this intervention to girls’ education outcomes (attendance, retention, and learning); girls’ practices on MHM; and mothers’ attitudes and practices towards girls’ menstruation and activities during menstrual periods.

The projects seeks the following outcomes:

  1. Objective

The GEEPS baseline Survey revealed the need to build strong knowledge around MHM and exploring sustainable sanitary product that will enable adequate sanitary product. Other studies also shows menstruation as a challenge affecting girls’ attendance and retention in schools due to lack of appropriate menstrual hygiene products coupled with social factors including social norms, FGM practices, health related issues, among others.

Overall, the study objective is to undertake formative research on MHM and the connection to FGM related health concerns to better inform its interventions. The study will also help inform the piloting of reusable sanitary products and sanitary kits provided to girls. Part of this study will include an exploration of the use of menstrual cups and whether it would be appropriate for the Puntland-Somalia context. The findings from this research will be disseminated widely across key actors in Somalia to ensure other interventions benefit from the findings.

    1. Specific objectives
  1. To establish evidence on understanding of the MHM knowledge, attitudes, and practices of girls and that of larger community around MHM and its connection to FGM health related concerns;
  2. To assess existing solutions to girls MHM, community awareness raising and dialogues, health and hygiene promotions and WASH support;
  3. To explore reusable sanitary products and their feasibility and appropriateness to the context
  4. To examine the effectiveness of the project-initiated dialogues on MHM and existing opportunities for enhancing, replicating and upscaling similar initiatives; and
  5. To identify and inform specific recommendations and actions on MHM programming, reusable sanitary products and low-cost sanitary products.
  6. Scope of the work

The study to target community level of catchment area, around 10 communities/schools, that will be randomly selected, and it should provide analysis on the following segments:

  • Find out girls and their families, GEFs, school management and CECs understanding and perception of MHM & FGM
  • Determine how girls’ menstrual experiences impact their socio-educational participation, and psychological and physical health
  • Determine adequacy of schools and CEC’s efforts in creating supportive environment
  • Examine acceptability, feasibility, and availability of reusable sanitary pads, exploring context applicable and low-cost sanitary products
  • Identify key national and community stakeholders for coordination and networking
  • How FGM health concerns relate to MHM
  • Provide recommendations and approaches to MHM

Study participants should include WROs, community leaders, school leaders, parents, girls enrolled in the schools, Gender Unit of the Ministry of Education and SOMA Eco pads Company. Both quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (FGDs, KIIs, vignettes) methods are expected to be used.

In particular, the consultant will be expected to:

  1. Desk review of existing studies, reports, guidelines… relevant to the study
  2. Develop qualitative and quantitative tools including the use vignettes exploration techniques
  3. Train enumerators on the tools and pilot test the tools.
  4. Conduct a community level quantitative and qualitative data collection including relevant actors in MHM i.e., Gender Unit and SOMA Eco pads
  5. Review and assess the project level efforts toward existing solutions to MHM, piloting of reusable sanitary products and their provisions
  6. Carry out analysis of the data, reporting findings and provide recommendations
  7. Roles, Responsibilities, and the Study Timeline




Provide list of sample schools


Submit a detailed inception report for the study


Hire enumerators


Train enumerators on the tools


Pilot tools


Provide logistics and accommodations for enumerators during study


Desk review of relevant materials to the study


Develop data collection tools


Data collection including data quality assurance


Data analysis and cleaning


Write research report


Presentation of findings to CARE and key stakeholders

  1. Provide inception report detailing study methodology, approaches and detailed workplan (3 days)
  2. Develop of data collection tools (3 days)
  3. Train enumerators on tools (3 days)
  4. Pilot testing tools (1 day)
  5. Data collection, including data quality assurance (8 days)
  6. Data analysis and cleaning, including verifying data (4 days)
  7. Write research report (7 days)
  8. Presentation of findings to CARE and key stakeholders (1 day)

CARE will be expected to review all deliverables, provide feedback on tools, reports and presentations, conduct a secondary analysis of the data, and attend the training provided to enumerators. CARE will also supervise the data collection and organize logistics around data collection including providing lists of schools.

  1. Deliverables

In reference to the scope of work, the consultant team is expected to submit the following:

  1. An inception report including:
    • Methodology
    • Sampling
    • Draft data collection tools
    • Detailed work plan outlining all tasks to be completed by each of the members of the consultant team
  2. Data collection protocols
  3. Enumerators’ training plans
  4. Complete clean datasets in Excel
  5. An independent report that provides an analysis of the data

CARE will review all deliverables and provide feedback to the consultant within three business days of receiving the deliverable.

  1. Expected duration of the assignment

The consultancy shall be executed within a maximum of 30 days commencing after signing the contract. The proposal should include a detailed schedule.

  1. Budget

The budget prepared by the consultant/s should cover all the activities outlined above, including design, data collection, cleaning, analysis and reporting. This budget is inclusive of all costs covering team member costs, travel, research costs and any other costs associated with the completion of the work including where required costs for reasonable adjustment. The selected consultants are required to organize and fund their own duty of care arrangements as required.

The consultant/s is required to provide a costed proposal in the form of a price schedule that as a minimum should include:

  • Sub-total of fees for the delivery of any task or deliverable;
  • Expenses and overheads broken down by deliverables;
  • Reasonable adjustment costs; and
  • Total costs before and after any taxes that are applicable.

The selected consultant/s are required to provide a payment schedule based on milestone payments for the successful delivery of each deliverable.

Proposals should include the following:

  • Technical proposal –approach to the study; work plan with milestones; how meet qualifications.
  • Financial proposal
  • CVs of all involved persons
  1. Professional Skills and Qualifications

Qualifications: The selected consultant/s is required to clearly identify and provide CVs for all those proposed in the team, clearly stating their roles and responsibilities for the study.

The proposed person or team should include the technical expertise and practical experience required to deliver the scope of work and outputs, in particular, concerning:

  • Design: the team should include skills and expertise required to design, plan and conduct electronic data collection in fragile contexts, including developing qualitative and quantitative tools;
  • Experience with studies and research on MHM for girls in Somalia
  • Relevant subject matter knowledge and experience: at least 5 years of experience required on conducting research with children and adolescents, the education sector, MHM, gender to ensure that the design and methods are as relevant and meaningful as possible given the aims and objectives of the project and the context in which it is being delivered;
  • Data collection management: manage a data collection process from end-to-end;
  • Country experience: it is particularly important that the team has the appropriate country knowledge /experience and ability to interpret findings from a contextual perspective, as required to conduct the research;
  • Data management and data cleaning. Ability to supervise the collection, entry (if required), cleaning and management of large data sets.
  • Safety and ethical considerations: Ensuring the whole process adhere to best practice for research with children including the implementation of child protection policy and procedures to ensure safety of participants.

How to apply

The interested candidates are requested to submit:

  • Technical proposal showing how the consultant intends to carry out the consultancy
  • Financial proposal
  • Qualifications
  • Relevant experience related to the assignment including samples and references of most recent similar work done.

Applications should be submitted to: SOM.Consultant@care.org. no later than 20-September-2022 and clearly indicating the subject line “Formative Research on MHM and FGM”

This job has expired.