Terms of Reference for the development of AMCOW Youth, Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy


1.    Background

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) is an intergovernmental, Pan-African, non-budgetary institution working under the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARDWE) of the African Union (AU). AMCOW is mandated to advance the development of water and sanitation sector in Africa through political leadership and policy direction. Over the years, AMCOW has worked to achieve its mandate by aligning its strategic priorities with the Africa Water Vision 2025, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want”. For more information, refer to https://amcow-online.org/

Youth comprises over 50% of the population in many African countries. Unfortunately, they also make up the largest cohort of the unemployed. African women and girls are still disproportionately affected by the lack of access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. There are also over 300 million people living with disability in Africa with a majority of this population deprived from personal and career development opportunities owing to systemic weaknesses. There is also a group of persons who have been forcefully displaced due to protracted conflicts or owing to natural catastrophes such as desertification in specific regions of the continent. This adds into the category of disadvantaged groups across Africa with lack of access to safe and affordable drinking water, and adequate sanitation and hygiene services.


In 2017, AMCOW developed its 2018-2030 Strategy to guide its programmes and activities toward achieving its objectives, with the 4th cross-cutting priority of the strategy aimed at Strengthening Gender Equality and Youth Empowerment in Water and Sanitation sector. Prior to that in 2011 and 2013, AMCOW developed its Gender Policy and Youth Strategy, respectively, to mainstream active engagement and participation of youth and women in water and sanitation sector development. BY elevating youth, gender and social inclusion into its priority menu, AMCOW recognizes the invaluable role that women and girls, youth, and other marginalised groups can play in promoting water resources management, and greater access to water and sanitation. AMCOW also acknowledges their unique contribution as change agents and rights’ holders, especially in their capacity for creativity and innovation, their dedication, energy, and ability to raise awareness and influence behaviour change mobilization of peers and integrated networking.

While AMCOW had previously developed standalone gender and youth policy and strategy in 2011 and 2013, respectively, the development of 2018 – 2030 Strategy means that the gender and youth related strategic documents needs to be aligned with the current strategy for a coordinated implementation and a meaningful impact.


It is in respect to this reality that AMCOW seek to  develop a comprehensive youth, gender and social inclusion strategy to enhance capacity development, greater engagement and participation of women and girls, youth and  disadvantaged persons in the national, sub-regional and regional initiatives and programmes, and to ensure  their involvement in decision making by taking into due consideration their perspectives, capabilities and needs.


2.    Objective of the Assignment

To develop a synthesis strategy for youth, gender, and social inclusion in the water and sanitation sector that will guide AMCOW and its Member States’ in their programming approach for youths, women, girls, and marginalized people in Africa.

3.    Strategy Formulation Process

AMCOW prefers a sequence wise approach in developing the Youth, Gender, and Social Inclusion strategy. The selected consultant will therefore be encouraged to have a good understanding of the rationale and objective of this task; the engagement process with AMCOW Secretariat and its Organs, including Member States; and to ensure involvement of relevant stakeholders, partnerships and collaborations in the formulation process. The following steps are therefore anticipated in developing AMCOW youth, gender and social inclusion strategy:

a.       Inception meeting with AMCOW Secretariat

b.       Review of previous AMCOW youth and gender strategy

c.       Review of cross-cutting priority 4 of the AMCOW 2018 – 2030 strategy

d.       Develop an outline of the Youth, Gender and Social Inclusion strategy

e.       Review other Youth, Gender and Social Inclusion strategies from similar organisations, including that of the African Union Commission

f.        Develop a draft synthesis strategy

g.       Stakeholder and Partner engagement

h.       Finalization of draft strategy    


Inception meeting with AMCOW Secretariat – An inception virtual meeting with AMCOW Secretariat team will aim to have a common understanding of the scope, approach, specific requirements, and timeframe for the consultancy. Following the inception meeting, routine check-ins would be organised for regular updates on the strategy development process.

Review of previous AMCOW Youth and Gender Strategy: The AMCOW Youth Strategy and Gender Policy are two separate documents, with the Youth Strategy being redundant. Both documents should be critically reviewed to identify areas of relevant interest that should be improved upon, and sections that may be discarded. This process is very important in formulating the required quality of the synthesis report that will be developed.

Developing of Draft Synthesis Strategy: From the findings and outcome of item a, and b above, the consultant will be required to develop the first draft of AMCOW youth, gender, and social inclusion strategy document, which will be reviewed by AMCOW Secretariat team for possible alignment with other relevant strategies and plans. 

-          Cross-cutting priority 4 of the AMCOW 2018 – 2030 strategy: review the current AMCOW 2018 – 2030 particularly the CCP4 section to understand the objective and identify relevant actions to be included in the AYGS strategy

-          Cascaded Strategic Operations Plan 2020-2024: review to ensure the priority gender, youth and social inclusion aspects are carried along into the new strategy development efforts  

-          Outline of the Youth, Gender and Social Inclusion strategy: based on the reviews conducted, the consultant would be required to develop a comprehensive outline of the AYGS strategy and present to AMCOW for review

-          Other Youth, Gender and Social Inclusion strategies: review other strategies from similar organisations, including that of the African Union Commission. The consultant would be required to scope relevant sector documents to understand the trend of activities and reflect those in the AYGS strategy

Stakeholders and Partner Engagement with the support of AMCOW, the consultant will engage with member countries’ youth sector coordinators, youth networks and key stakeholders and partners of AMCOW as a means of identifying their priorities and gathering inputs to enrich the draft strategy and promote ownership.

Finalization of draft Strategy:  In the course of the development process, the draft strategy will be reviewed a couple of times by AMCOW Secretariat and by various groups to be jointly identified between AMCOW Secretariat and the consultant. The final review will include content, copy editing and proof reading. The document will be regarded as finalized when it is approved by AMCOW by the authorised contract signee.


4.    Scope of Work

The consultant will be expected to develop a comprehensive but synthesized strategy that covers three different sections in one document on youth, gender, and the social inclusion elements.

The detailed scope is as follows:

§  Specific focus should be placed on the demographic profile, political and economic context, governance, and financing in close relation to youth empowerment, gender inequalities and gender gaps.


§  Identify key stakeholders and institutions advancing youth, gender, social inclusion agenda, and assess the alignment of these institutions’ policies and mandates with AMCOW Strategy and the Strategic Operations Plan, including the review of their ability to work in partnership with AMCOW and other government agencies and institutions on gender, youth development, and social inclusion issues at the national, regional, continental and global scales, respectively. 


§  Critical analysis of the three key thematic areas and ensuring all seven factors of inclusion are integrated as part of each strategic focus (access, attitude, choice, partnerships, communication, policy and opportunities) and drafting of an actionable plan with clear milestones and potential funding sources for:

-          youth engagement and empowerment;

-          gender, gender gaps and inequality;  

-          social inclusion in the sector for persons who are disadvantaged on the basis of disability, displacement, and race or origin.

Note: all three sections should be captured in specific thematic chapters not exceeding 15 pages.


§  Design and develop implementation approach, responsibilities of the different stakeholders, actors, and partners, as well as a monitoring and reporting (M&E) framework to ensure periodic measurement of progress of the strategy implementation. 


5.    Methodology

Purposively taking into consideration the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions on travels, the implementation of this work with be virtual. A desk review of the relevant documents and strategies will be conducted. Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) will also form part of the methods of collecting information on relevant interventions. It is anticipated that prospective consultants will detail in the proposals a breakdown of how these different methods will be executed, which documents will be reviewed, which Key Informants will be interviewed and any other task appropriate methodologies. The development of the strategy will require participatory and consultative methodologies and will be informed by the findings and recommendations from the contextual analysis report.

6.    Key Deliverables

In the course of the assignment, the Consultant will present the following to AMCOW Secretariat team;

1.       An interim report – including execution plan, gender sensitive methodology, results obtained, difficulties encountered, and proposition for better solution.

2.       Draft AMCOW Youth, Gender, and Social Inclusion (AYGS) Strategy.

3.       Final AMCOW Youth, Gender, and Social Inclusion (AYGS) Strategy.

4.       Annexes to the report should contain: a list of agencies (and individuals within these agencies) consulted, along with their contact information; the profiled institutions’ mandates and policies relating to the issues addressed by the project; and other relevant information.


7.    Qualifications and Experience

§  A highly qualified Consultant with advanced degree in Economics, Development Studies, International Development and or related disciplines.

§  Extensive experience (at least 7 years) in Youth empowerment, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion.

§  Proven understanding of the challenges faced by young water and sanitation professionals, women, girls and disadvantaged people in Africa.

§  An understanding of the current African Governance Architecture, the African Union Youth and Gender Charters, and economic empowerment interventions by state and non-state actors, with good practices and learnings.

§  Experience in building partnerships and collaborations, preferably at the regional, continental and global levels

§  Understanding of global, regional and national policy environment, legislative, advocacy and influencing initiatives around youth and gender.

§  Understanding of devolution and experience working with the devolved governments in any of the African countries.


8.    Start Date and Duration

This is a short-term consultancy with a maximum of twenty (20) working days. The consultant will commence work immediately upon contract negotiation, with the latest deliverables due date of March 15, 2021.


9.    Submissions of Applications

Female candidates with required qualifications are strongly encouraged to apply. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Interested candidates for this task are encouraged to send in their proposals electronically, to include technical and financial bid, and other relevant documents not later than 12:00 (Noon) on Friday January 29, 2021 to:


The Executive Secretary 

African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) 

No. 11, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro District Abuja, Nigeria. 

Email:  info@amcow-online.org