PROSPECTS Kenya: Implementing Partner for the Operationalization of Digital Job Search Clubs At International Labour Organization

The ILO is seeking to recruit a partner to support the implementation of activities of the ILO PROPSECTS project in Kenya with the goal to operationalize digital job search clubs in Garissa and Turkana counties in Kenya.

Location: Kenya (Garissa and Turkana)

Duration of assignment: 6 months (TBC)

1. Context

1.1 Technical Context

Kenya’s young population continues to face socio-economic pressures as economic growth has not realized a sufficient number of (decent) jobs leading to high youth unemployment. According to the most recent Kenya Population and Housing Census report, youth unemployment in Kenya stood at 38 percent in 2019. Almost one in seven (13.7 percent) young people in Kenya were Neither in Employment, Education, or Training (NEET, SDG Indicator 8.6.1) as of 2016. Further, the report indicates that young women find themselves twice as often (18.2 percent) in this group than young men (9.2 percent). To address the rampant unemployment issue that hinders Kenyan youth’s career progression and deters them from attaining decent livelihoods, development actors have often explored challenges on both the demand and supply sides of labour.

Simultaneously, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement. In recent years, forced displacement has increased in scale and complexity. According to UNHCR , Kenya host at least 500,000 refugees from different nationalities and increase by 5% of the previous year figures. Almost half of the refugees (43%) reside in Dadaab, 41% in Kakuma, and 16% in urban areas (mainly Nairobi), alongside 18,500 stateless persons. Poverty remains a major problem among refugees and their hosting communities and UNHCR estimates unemployment rate among refugees in Kenya to be around 70%. This is significantly higher than the national average unemployment rate in Kenya, which is estimated to be around 40%. While forcibly displaced persons face specific vulnerabilities, including psychological trauma, lack of opportunity, and protection risks, host communities struggle to pursue their development efforts in an environment that has been transformed by a large influx of newcomers. The responses to these challenges are becoming more focused on durable solutions to support more dignified, inclusive, and comprehensive programmes for refugees and the communities that host them.

The digital economy has emerged as a key driver for the creation of decent jobs especially for Kenya’s youth. The country has adopted the Digital Economy Blueprint of 2019 providing a framework to leverage digital government, digital business, infrastructure, innovation-driven entrepreneurship and digital skills and values. This also presents opportunities for refugees and host community members to access jobs in the digital labour market. Fully harnessing these opportunities requires to improve access to quality education and skills development as well as stimulating labour demand and access to digital labour markets within and beyond refugee camps. For young refugees to benefit from the transformative power of information and communication technologies (ICTs), they must be equipped with a range of digital skills and have affordable access to connectivity. In short, there is a need to change towards the digitization of lifelong learning systems through supporting strategy definition, definition of specific needs for each context and recommendation of solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.

As digital inequalities are becoming more ingrained and insidious, they leave those without resources further behind. Digital work can contribute to strong disparities related to geographic location, whereby workers in emerging nations are most affected by uneven Internet connectivity, time zones, language, security, and pay mechanisms. To harness the positive potential of this digital transformation for the future of work and reduce its harmful impact, global action and planning must give more attention to populations that are economically and politically marginalized, such as refugees.

1.2 Operational context of the assignment

In response to the challenges facing both host communities and refugees, a new partnership initiative titled: PROSPECTS Partnership for improving Prospects for host communities and forcibly displaced persons’, has been launched by the Government of the Netherlands that brings together the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.

The overall outcome of the PROSPECTS project in Kenya is “improved sustainable living conditions for women, men, girls, and boys in refugees and host communities in Kenya”. This is to be achieved through “increased number of refugees and host community people with enhanced livelihoods and/or employment in safe/decent work”. The employment pillar will trigger the availability of employment services to support transition to work, as well as the labour market demand that is needed to let refugees and host communities’ transition to various forms of employment, and finally, mechanisms to promote enhanced quality of work. Barriers to business start-ups and scale-ups will be identified and addressed to unlock the entrepreneurial potential that exists in the targeted areas. Young refugees and host communities will be supported in accessing employment opportunities in the digital economy through enhancing and digitising local employment services, provision of vocational and career guidance in schools, capacity development of employment service providers as well as offering youth to youth coaching services.

Employment services can play an important role in connecting job seekers with job opportunities and, more generally, in the collection and dissemination of labour market information, especially administrative statistics resulting from the implementation of active labour market policies. However, their human resource and institutional capacity need to be strengthened. If well equipped, employment services can provide employability services such as job search assistance, guidance and counselling, matching, as well as referring or sign posting jobseekers to relevant services that could help them expedite their integration in the labour market. They could also support job seekers to improve their applications to better align with available positions or refer them to training opportunities to improve their employability. In this regards, ILO is seeking to implement Job Search Clubs (JSC) in Turkana and Garissa Counties in Kenya.

The Job Search Clubs (JSC) is a method employed by the that activates and engages youth in job search activities in a Club set-up. The goal is to help job seekers find an appropriate job in the shortest time possible by forming supportive groups of people with similar needs and providing them with intensive coaching on job search skills. “The Job Club was first conceived as a behaviourally oriented, client-responsible model of job search and placement (Azrin et al., 1975). The JSC approach is based on two main hypotheses:

  • That job seekers can function independently and effectively in their own job search:
  • and that finding employment is in itself a full-time job which is easier done with a group of people.

The Job Club methodology has since been updated to include more recent job search strategies incorporating the latest information and communication (ICT) technologies and other innovations such as social media mechanisms in job finding.”

The Job Club method is based on established principles of learning similar to those used in behavioural therapy. The process of finding a job is viewed as a chain of responses from the initial step of identifying a possible job lead, each of the steps being taught and supervised in a job club session, rehearsed, and put into practice under the coaching/guidance of a job club instructor. Also included are modelling (imitation), self-recording of each of the job seeking behaviour, progress charting and homework assignments for out of session tasks. Given that a behaviouristic approach implies a focus on the reinforcement of actions through peers, including sharing of resources and contacts among young job seekers, the Job Club facilitator is only involved in the initial explanation of positive examples and subsequent follow up. Hence, the facilitator demonstrates activities, but lets the members apply what they have learned. Therefore, the Job Search Clubs programme is aimed at supporting young job seekers to find their way into the labour market and access suitable jobs within the shortest feasible time period by creating supportive groups of individuals who share the same need while receiving intensive coaching on job search-related skills.

1.2.2 JSC Framework

  1. The club members meet daily for 2 weeks (10 days).
  2. Each club member receives follow up for 3 months after the club. The JCS implementation will adopt a blended approach by leveraging on technology where the two weeks are done physically and 3 months mentorship virtually (use of social media platforms, virtual meeting platforms etc) depending on the dynamics of each Club.
  3. Each club is supported by 2 trained facilitators at a time.
  4. Each club is formed by a group of up to 16 young job seekers/members.

1.2.2 JSC Target Beneficiaries

The current call for proposal intends to target youth from refugees and host community in Turkana and Garissa who are job ready but lack the job search skills to navigate the labour market and the ability to showcase their skill set to employers. Job Clubs are intended to support jobseekers to enter the labour market. The criteria for selection for JSCs beneficiaries:

  1. Youth aged 18 to 34 seeking employment.
  2. Lack of adequate job search skills or the ability to market themselves to employers.
  3. Preferably long-term (one-year) unemployed.
  4. Facing specific challenges to enter the labour market
  5. Refugees and or asylum seekers, and host communities (in this case, Kenya Turkana and Garissa). (at least 40% refugee)
  6. TVET graduates or higher Education graduates Male or female (50% female)

1.2.3 JSCs Phases

a. Preparation Phase:

  1. Ensure JSC programme design responds to the JSC facilitators’ manual.
  2. Develop a solid, realistic work plan that will ensure the proper implementation with the designated time frame.
  3. Identify target beneficiaries based on clear criteria (for example, the refugees’ populations, beneficiaries’ criteria of selection identified in each ILO toolkit …etc.). The ILO will provide support and clearance to the selection criteria and the outreach methodology.
  4. Consult and engage other actors in assignment activities as relevant, particularly in reaching out for candidates, and in promoting the workshops, and, also,
  5. Second facilitators to participate in a Training of Trainers workshop by ILO selected lead trainer/s before deployment. The trained facilitators will be the only team that will facilitate the JCS methodology. In the course of implementation, they will be assessed leading to certification.

b. JSC implementation Phase:

  1. Advertise and promote the implementation of the programme.
  2. Facilitate the outreach, interviews, and selection of JSC participants/beneficiaries based on a clear set of criteria.
  3. Oversee the trainers who will conduct the implementation of training workshops, ensuring the provision of relevant technical content as well as the handling of necessary logistical arrangements
  4. Conduct evaluation of JSC and develop evaluation for the participants (this is geared to develop a rating of facilitators and identify future capacity development needs of facilitators).

c. Post-training Phase:

  1. Develop a follow-up scheme after 3 months, for trained beneficiaries aiming to further support them after the JSC delivery.
  2. Refer beneficiaries to other ILO programmes, if further services are needed. this includes programmes as: TVET supported programs, apprenticeship, entrepreneurship training and the employability skills programmes.
  3. Link beneficiaries to employment services (for example, job matching services).

d. Programme Indicators:

  1. Total number of persons guided. Target: 160 (60% host communities, and 40% FDPs), disaggregated by sex, age, disability where feasible, and geographical area.
  2. Total number of JSCs established and conducted, with respect to geographical and target groups’ population distribution. Target: 10
  3. % of beneficiaries who have secured employment (wage or self-employment) after completion of Job Search Clubs. Target 60%

All data reported will be disaggregated by age, sex, nationality, and disability (where applicable).

e. Other supporting activities may include:

  1. Create a sturdy, practical work plan that guarantees efficient execution of the programme within the specified timeline.
  2. Involve other actors as appropriate in project activities, especially when reaching out to the participants and promoting activities.
  3. Reach out to and choose participants based on well-defined criteria
  4. Execute job search club initiatives while providing relevant technical information and handling necessary logistical arrangements.
  5. Make referrals to support continued education and job placement.
  6. Establish a follow-up plan and a clear monitoring and evaluation system that demonstrate how the program is addressing and responding to the needs of participants.

2. JSC Implementation Objectives and Outputs

The objective of this assignment is therefore to operationalise job search clubs’ programme within Garissa and Turkana counties in Kenya. Specifically, the partner will deliver on the following tasks;

  • Make available operational tools: The partner will be tasked at reviewing the existing job search club concept and making available needed operational assets**.** They include but not limited to co-working space, technology set-up, logistic within the area of operation etc.
  • Partner’s facilitators attend JSC TOT: The Partner will be tasked with identifying persons within their team and with core skills in career guidance/counselling to lead the JSC operationalization within Garissa and Turkana. The facilitators will be seconded to attend the JSC TOT to understand delivery aspects, standards and support structures as documented in the existing facilitator guide and the concept note.
  • Operationalization of the JSC: After the ToT, the Partner will be tasked with the mobilization of participants for the JSC within Garissa and Turkana, delivering training and operationalising the JSC program as designed in the concept and as highlighted in section 4 above. The facilitators will use the training manual and the concept note as the reference materials.
  • JSC Monitoring and Evaluation: The Partner will be tasked with all monitoring and Evaluation activities to ensure quality and targeted number of participants are reached. The partner will document lessons learnt, best practice, challenges and opportunities that will be utilized to enhance the training manual and the scale-up of the JSC methodology. Gradual reporting will be expected by ILO from the partner in all aspects of the program including rollout, budgets, risks and progress. ILO will guide on the different reporting aspects so to make plans on any expected intervention.

The ILO will have engaged a Master Trainer experienced in job search club’s implementation to train the selected partner’s facilitators ahead of the roll out. The master trainer will also supervise the work of the facilitators leading to their certification as JSC ToTs.

3. Deliverables and Duration

The partner will work in close collaboration with ILO and other stakeholders including players in the digital economy, Government, NGO’s and independent individuals to deliver on this assignment.

The JSC program will run for a period of at least 6 months targeting 160 persons. The key deliverables for the assignment will be;

Timeline – Output – Deliverables

May 2023 (TBC) – Make available operational tools: Necessary operational tools are available including co-working spaces, technology setup and logistics within the areas of operation.

May 2023 (TBC) – IP facilitators attend JSC TOT: At least 10-15 internal staff (career counsellors) complete JSC TOT.

May – Oct 2023 (TBC) – Operationalization of the JSC:

  1. At least 10 JSC formed with a total membership of not less than 160 participants (of which 50% are female) from both the refugee and host communities.
  2. At least 60% of the participants transition to job opportunities 3 months after JSC.

May – Oct 2023 (TBC) – JSC Monitoring and Evaluation: Quarterly and end of project reports.

Please note that the total level of effort (working days) indicated above should be seen as a guide for
Partners as they develop technical and financial proposals. Deviations from these guidelines are possible and should be justified in the proposal.

During implementation, deviations from these outputs can occur according to the evolution of the assignment; however, any changes observed or anticipated should be consulted with the focal person at the ILO.

4. Payment Term

The ILO will only pay for services that have been performed and for deliverables that are completed to the satisfaction of the ILO. The payments will be made according to the following schedule:

  • The first payment of 30 per cent of the implementation agreement volume will be made upon signature and presentation of the invoice.
  • The second payment of 30 per cent of the implementation agreement volume will be made upon receipt of deliverables 1, 2 and 3 to the satisfaction of the ILO and presentation of the invoice.
  • The third and final payment of 40 per cent of the implementation agreement volume will be made upon receipt of deliverables 4, 5 and 6 to the satisfaction of the ILO and presentation of the invoice.

5. Staffing, Roles, and Reporting

ILO will require from time to time based on agreed timelines comprehensive reports to highlighting work done. Reports will be reviewed to ensure conformance with ILO operations before acceptance.

The Partner will operate under the overall supervision of the ILO Chief Technical Advisor and will report directly to the National Programme Coordinator for Digital Jobs. The ILO Kenya PROSPECTS team will offer technical support and will coordinate closely with the Regional Skills and Employment Specialist of PROSPECTS program, Skills and Employability specialist at HQ, the Youth Employment Officer at the Regional Office for Africa and the Decent Work Skills specialist at Pretoria to facilitate mainstreaming and standardization of the approach across the project.

6. Specific Clauses

Throughout the course of this assignment, the partner will report on a bi- weekly basis to the ILO for coordination and follow–up. All communication to other relevant stakeholders should be coordinated with the ILO. If it appears necessary to modify the tasks of work or exceed the time allocated, the partner must discuss the circumstances with the ILO and obtain prior written approval. ILO may disclose the draft or final documents and/or any related information to any person and for any purpose the ILO may deem appropriate.

7. Required experience and qualifications

  • The Implementing Partner should be a non-profit with a physical presence in Turkana and Garissa and knowledge of local context, operational regulations and the different players in the digital economy. Consortiums of two or more organizations are encouraged.
  • The Partner should have at least 10 years of experience developing and operationalizing youth digital livelihood and employment intervention, career counselling program, and/or labour market intermediation services within the Kenyan context and with strong evidence working with youth in refugee and marginalized areas. The partner will have to strongly showcase how the Digital Job Search Clubs operationalization integrates within their mandate and existing programs and a plan for continuity beyond the ILO support.
  • Demonstrate internal human resource capacity of at least 10-15 qualified career counsellors who will be trained as JSC facilitators.
  • Should have a robust operational team who can comfortably engage in offering solutions based on dynamics in a short time within the digital economy space.
  • Should be legally registered to operate in Kenya with a good standing with all statutory laws and regulations.
  • Strong understanding of the digital economy landscape and the deferent opportunities and regulations that comes with it.
  • Should have a wide network of job platforms, jobs intermediators, crowdsourcing companies, managed workforce organizations, employers’ sectoral forums, individuals and NGOs within the digital economy space

Important Links

  1. https://www.ilo.org/beirut/media-centre/news/WCMS_840501/lang–en/index.htm
  2. https://www.ilo.org/africa/information-resources/publications/WCMS_711863/lang–en/index.htm
  3. https://www.ilo.org/global/programmes-and-projects/prospects/countries/egypt/WCMS_776646/lang–en/index.htm
  4. https://www.unhcr.org/ke/figures-at-a-glance
  5. https://www.unhcr.org/ke/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Kenya-Infographics-31-July-2022.pdf

How to apply

Interested organizations (NGOs, CSOs, and refugee/youth-led organizations) should submit their expression of interest to, E- mail: nboprocurement@ilo.org to reach no later than 6th April 2023 Quoting “Operationalization of digital job search clubs” Consortiums of two or more organizations are encouraged. The application should include:

  • A technical proposal outlining key considerations for operationalizing Job Search Clubs, proposed timelines and sustainability plan beyond the period of support
  • Proof of having conducted youth employment programmes, career guidance programmes or labour intermediation services (recommendations from previous client, sample documents, reports).
  • Financial proposal (budget), clearly outlining all the cost drivers. Financial proposals that can demonstrate additional resource mobilization and cost-sharing will have an advantage.
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