RFP: Cost Benefit Analysis eLearning Platform At Water.org


Request for Proposals: Cost Benefit Analysis eLearning Platform

Proposal Submission Deadline: May 3, 2024, at 5:00 PM US Central Time

This Request for Proposals has been prepared with the aim to engage a third-party firm or short-term contractor to (i) design and conduct a cost-benefit analysis comparing Water.org’s in-person training methodology, digital (eLearning) training methodology, and hybrid (in-person and digital) training methodology and (ii) train Water.org staff how to administer the cost-benefit analysis so that it can be replicated in future years for ongoing analysis.

The third-party firm or contractor will identify direct and indirect costs associated with each training approach, identify explicit and implicit benefits and quantify them, and conduct an initial analysis comparing the costs of each model and projecting when hybrid and digital-only training costs will be comparable to Water.org’s existing in-person training costs. The analysis must be completed by September 30, 2024, with a maximum budget of $25,000 USD.

About Water.org

Water.org has been at the forefront of developing and delivering solutions to the water and sanitation crisis for more than three decades. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org challenges the traditional approach by pioneering innovative, community-driven, and market-based solutions to ensure all people have access to safe water and sanitation. Water.org has positively transformed the lives of more than 60 million individuals in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean by providing access to safe water and improved sanitation. Water.org’s headquarters is in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Water.org empowers people living in poverty to take actions and deliver solutions that accelerate progress and impact via its WaterCredit model. This innovative model puts microfinance tools to work in the water and sanitation sector. Water.org works in partnership with local non-governmental organizations and finance institutions to develop WaterCredit lending portfolios providing affordable microloans to vulnerable populations.

Training of loan officers is a critical form of technical assistance provided by Water.org to our network of 170+ financial institution partners around the globe as they develop and roll out affordable microloans for water and sanitation improvements. Training ensures that loan officers know how to effectively promote water and sanitation loan products targeting low-income and vulnerable households. To date, training of loan officers has happened in-person, in a classroom setting. While effective, this approach is also resource intense, requiring staff time, travel, classroom space, and careful coordination with our partners and loan officers.

Water.org’s digital Learning Management System (LMS), called ‘Water.org Academy,’ was launched in October 2023, with the goal to offer digital training in water and sanitation financing to our network of financial institution partners.

The eLearning platform is anticipated to:

  • Reduce reliance on cost and resource intensive classroom training and workshops.
  • Lower the cost of content creation for different teams by creating a standard curriculum for all country offices to use, with the added benefit of content customized to country/regional needs.
  • Improve training offerings and keep knowledge levels updated, based on training data (user feedback, course completion rates, assessments, and partner performance reports).
  • Rapidly and directly train a larger cohort of partner staff at the learners’ convenience.
  • Reach large geographic areas and remote branch locations which may be harder to reach due to cost, time, and geographical constraints.
  • Mitigate the impact of high staff turnover on training programs by making the training platform easily available to new staff.

Purpose of Cost Benefit Analysis

The cost benefit analysis (CBA) will identify direct and indirect costs and quantify benefits associated with in-person, digital, and hybrid training methodologies respectively. The CBA will develop a methodology to assess and analyze the costs incurred by each training approach and the correlated benefits, comparing the approaches in effectiveness. Because Water.org Academy is in its preliminary stages of development, an initial analysis will likely indicate that the eLearning platform is more expensive than in-person training. Thus, the cost-benefit analysis must consist of a methodology that can be replicated in future years so that Water.org can continue to analyze the costs and associated benefits of each approach.

The cost benefit analysis should also project and identify a “breakeven point” when the cost of eLearning training and hybrid training is equal to in-person training. This information will help inform Water.org’s short-term funding strategy for the eLearning platform.

This analysis will enable Water.org to make informed decisions regarding how to most efficiently allocate resources to effectively train financial institution staff.

Cost benefit analysis deliverables

The cost benefit analysis will include the following:

  • Develop a framework for identifying, tracking, and assessing direct and indirect costs associated with in-person training, eLearning training, and hybrid training, respectively. The framework should consider fixed and variable costs.
  • Identify correlated explicit and implicit benefits of each training approach and appropriate indicators for quantifying said benefits.
    • Benefits may include number of loans disbursed, learners’ knowledge retention, learners’ confidence in their knowledge of water and sanitation loan products, or other benefits as identified by the third-party firm or contractor.
  • Present to select Water.org staff the developed framework and analysis methodology for comparing the costs and correlated benefits. The methodology must be replicable by Water.org so that analysis can continue in future years as Water.org Academy scales.
  • Preliminary analysis of costs and correlated benefits of in-person training, Water.org Academy training, and hybrid training. The initial analysis should include a projection for when Water.org Academy will have comparable costs to in-person training.
  • Presentation of findings to the eLearning project group, Executive team, and Finance team.
  • Final report to share with key internal and external stakeholders.

Types of data to be analysed

The cost benefit analysis must identify direct and indirect costs associated with each training methodology. To the greatest extent possible, Water.org will provide expenses for each training approach so that direct and indirect costs can be calculated. In some cases, the contractor may need to identify proxies in order to estimate costs.

The cost benefit analysis will also need to identify benefits resulting from the respective training approaches. The benefits must be quantifiable so that an accurate comparison between the training approaches can be made. Water.org is able to provide data such as partner portfolio performance to help assess the benefits of the respective training approaches. Water.org is willing to work with the contractor to identify other data sources that can inform benefits.

Methodological Framework

Water.org leaves it to the contractor or third-party firm to develop the appropriate methodology for the cost benefit analysis. The methodology should take into consideration existing research and practices for analysing the cost effectiveness of digital and in-person training approaches. The methodology must be approved by Water.org before the cost benefit analysis proceeds.

Deliverables and Key Dates

The cost benefit analysis must be complete by September 30, 2024. Water.org understands that activities and timelines may change over the life of the contract; however, an approximate timeline is below:

Timeline

Proposals due to Water.org from third party firms and/or contractors: 3 May 2024

Third party firm and/or contractor selected: 17 May 2024

Contract signed: 31 May 2024

Inception report outlining proposed methodology and data requirements submitted to Water.org: 15 June 2024

Finalized inception report submitted to Water.org: 30 June 2024

Data collection and cost benefit analysis completed: 21 August 2024

Draft report with analysis and projections submitted to Water.org:15 September 2024

Final report with analysis and projections submitted to Water.org: 30 September 2024

Qualifications

Qualified firms or contractor MUST have:

  • Previous experience with cost-benefit analyses or similar evaluations in the public sector, educational sector, and/or non-profit sectors.
  • Experience working with multiple stakeholders, including finance team members and program managers, to identify direct and indirect programmatic costs, proxies, and quantifying benefits.
  • Experience documenting cost-benefit analysis methodology and training stakeholders to conduct future cost-benefit analyses.
  • Experience working with stakeholders based in offices around the globe in various time zones.
  • Desired, but not required: Proven experience in compiling and analysing costs and benefits to assess training effectiveness.

How to apply

Interested third-party firms and/or contractors should submit a proposal containing both technical and budget components for the cost-benefit analysis. The technical component should not exceed 5 pages and should include:

  1. Brief descriptions of the key activities that the third-party or contractor will conduct in order to meet the described deliverables
  2. Proposed methodology and data sources for comparing the costs and benefits of each training approach
  3. Timeline and workplan with key milestones; and
  4. Description of the contractor and/or third-party firm’s qualifications.

A budget component must be included with the bidding contractor’s and/or third-party firm’s submission. All taxes should be included in the budget. The contractor and/or third party shall be responsible for payment of all taxes. The final approved budget shall be fixed and not subject to negotiation.

Proposed budgets should not exceed 25,000 USD.

Submission of Proposals

Complete proposals should be emailed to Sonal Gaurishanker (Head of Alliance Operations) at sgaurishanker@water.org copying to Magdalene Goble (Sr. Manager, Measurement and Impact) mgoble@water.org. Subject line must be “Cost Benefit Analysis eLearning Platform”.

The deadline for submitting proposals is May 3, 2024.

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