The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contracted through ZemiTek partnered with CAMRIS International, to recruit and hire qualified individuals for the following position:
Title: Consultant and/or subcontractor for the social analysis project Social Networks and Norms in the VE/CVE Landscape in East Africa
United States Agency for International Development/Bureau of Africa/Office of Sustainability and Development (SD)/ Conflict, Peacebuilding, Governance, Office of Sustainable Development
With more than 30 years’ experience providing information technology (IT) and management consulting services worldwide, Rosa Caldas, formed ZemiTek in 2007. Based in the Washington, DC metro area, ZemiTek delivers solutions to the federal government by supporting agencies such as USAID, US Patent and Trademark Office, US Department of Justice, US Department of Agriculture, and Department of Homeland Security, among others; and internationally to their missions in Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
CAMRIS International is among the top 20 USAID contractors for the third year in a row. CAMRIS realizes innovative solutions to health and development challenges through high-quality, cost-effective programs and research management services. With experience working in more than 80 countries, CAMRIS combines proven systems with today’s most effective, evidence-based best practices to improve the lives of people around the world.
This social analysis will attempt to understand how communities respond to the presence of violent extremist (VE) and counter-violent extremist (CVE) actors, actions, and ideas in their everyday lives. It will examine what factors influence their attitudes, behaviors, and world views with respect to both groups of actors. The research will pay particular attention to the circumstances under which community members interpret VE actors, actions and/or ideas as socially aberrant. It will focus on communities in Kenya that are exposed to both al-Shabaab’s VE activity and efforts by government, security actors, and civil society to counter al-Shabaab. The research thus explores governance dynamics, social dynamics, and security dynamics. The findings will be used to develop a CVE Governance and Communications Strategy Paper (GCSP), which will include broad recommendations for programming and other interventions at the Kenya and East Africa Mission, and at other Missions with CVE programs, particularly those in which governments have developed, or are considering developing, CVE programming. The findings will also help shape a Community Action Strategy (CAS), which will consist of specific recommendations for community-based organizations (CBOs) and other community leaders in target regions in Kenya. This will make the research immediately actionable in particular case study locales.
This research is grounded in the knowledge that complex social and political dynamics, including relations between affected communities and government and non-government actors, inform communities’ responses to VE activity and vulnerability to VE recruitment. As we learn more about how communities respond to the presence of VE and CVE actors and ideas in their everyday lives, USAID will be able to better target our CVE programs to encourage community members to raise alarms about VE activity before it escalates to violence. We will also gain understanding of how CVE activity informs perceptions of government legitimacy and effectiveness, which will help USAID decide how and under what conditions to engage government stakeholders and/or civil society in CVE work.
Using this methodological framework, the research will attempt to answer the following two-part question: How do al-Shabaab actors, actions and ideas impact affected communities’ socially sanctioned attitudes, behaviors, and world views? How do government-initiated CVE activities and messaging impact communities’ perceptions of al-Shabaab, and inform how they share information about the group (e.g., with whom, under what circumstances, using what technologies, and to what ends)?
Objectives of the Analytic Activity:
- Help USAID Missions develop a programming strategy focused on communities that are exposed to both VE and CVE activities and messages, informed by the knowledge of how socially sanctioned beliefs, attitudes, and actions are forged in these environments;
- Help civil society organizations serve as better brokers between community members and local and national government officials on CVE issues, informed by knowledge of how CVE messages and activities are taken up by communities;
- Help USAID identify how local attitudes and grievances that inspire sympathy with al-Shabaab can be channeled towards other non-violent activities that engage with government actors (e.g., building of social movements, incorporation of grievances into civil society priorities);
- Help USAID identify the ways in which DRG approaches that foreground dynamics between communities, civil society actors, and/or local government can be productively integrated into CVE programming, especially in contexts in which there is buy-in from the national government; and
- Produce an actionable strategy for CVE-affected communities on information sharing about VE dynamics, ways to address local grievances, and how to build a counter-brand to al-Shabaab, especially through widely used media (e.g., social media like Instagram).
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
- One research project manager and one to two Kenya-based researchers per community is suggested (communities include Likoni, Tana River, Kilifi, and Kwale). The research project manager will coordinate the work of the research team and will ensure the quality of all research, analysis, and written work; this includes ensuring that the language used in written deliverables is geared towards a policy audience, and that the links between research results and programmatic action are clear. Depending on their research background and skill set, the research project manager may also engage in fieldwork, data analysis and/or writing themselves. The research project manager must have experience executing social science research with fieldwork components.
- One researcher, who does not need to be the project manager, must have demonstrated experience employing Social Network Analysis software in research
- In-country researchers must have strong connections to and established relationships with community members in one or more of the following communities: Likoni, Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale.
- In-country researchers must have extensive experience doing ethnographic research, and experience researching security dynamics, conflict issues and/or violent extremism
Three main products will emerge from this research:
- A CVE Governance and Communications Strategy Paper, which will consist of two sections.
- Part I, which will be 25 - 30 pages, will assist USAID Missions with strategic thinking around VE and CVE issues and will focus especially on how to effectively engage government and civil society actors in community CVE programming. It will also explore how studying social networks and communication decision points within communities can enhance knowledge and provide actionable insights for useful CVE interventions. Some specific issues to be discussed could include how social support networks are formed and maintained, what vocabularies and communication platforms community members utilize and how they utilize them, and how VE and CVE activities are incorporated into community members’ identities and networks (or not). This report will also include an initial analysis of the research methodology used.
- Part II, which will be 20 - 25 pages, will directly answer the main questions posed in the research and be immediately applicable to the USAID/KEA Mission. It will apply the issues discussed above to the specific Kenyan context.
The CVE Governance and Communications Strategy Paper will be disseminated via a virtual briefing to the Peace and Security Sector Council and the DRG Sector Council, which will focus on Part I, as well as via a virtual or in-person briefing at the Kenyan Mission, which will focus on Part II. Other African Missions facing CVE challenges, particularly as they relate to governance issues, may also be briefed.
- A Community Action Strategy, which will be disseminated via a 1 - 2 page written summary and a series of six 1 - 2 page briefs on relevant topics. These briefs can be produced in outline form using headers and bullets rather than narrative paragraphs. It will utilize evidence from the research to identify appropriate local organizations (including NGOs, CBOs, religious groups, women’s groups, youth groups, possibly including local government officials) through which to engage with targeted communities. It will use insights from the research to provide clear, simple recommendations on ways such organizations can interact with parents, teachers, religious leaders, and other influencers, being particularly attuned to vocabulary used to discuss VE and CVE issues, salient access points that shape community norms, and forms of trust-based communication. While much CVE programming targets youth, this Community Action Strategy will focus primarily on local support networks that help inform broader decision-making within communities, and set the social and cultural norms within which all actors, including youth, operate. Some of the topics covered could include: information sharing about VE dynamics, ways to address local grievances using peaceful organizing, locally resonant media campaigns, and methods of building an effective counter-brand to al-Shabaab, especially using social media (this Community Action Strategy may not be for distribution to the GoK). The Community Action Strategy will be oriented towards a 2-day workshop, which will include members of local organizations identified in the document. The goal of the workshop will be to work with local leaders to produce locally resonant audiovisual materials (e.g. Youtube videos geared to audiences mentioned above) with CVE messages that can be operationalized within communities. This workshop will be led by the researchers in coordination with the Mission and Activity Manager. The Community Action Strategy may also be disseminated via a briefing at the Center for CVE Research and Training at the Kenya School of Governance where USAID has already integrated CVE work. This briefing would be addressed to Kenyan civil servants, in particular those working in the security sector.
 If COVID-19 makes an in-person workshop impossible, the Activity Manager will work with the research project manager to transition it to a virtual format.
 The follow-on activity with the Center for CVE Research and Training at the Kenya School of Government was an idea shaped in concert with USAID/KEA.
CERTIFICATIONS, LICENSE, PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS OR OTHER
- Consultant must have a DUNS number before a contract is signed
- Kenyan and Kenya-based researchers required for ethnographic fieldwork
- Required research expertise listed under Roles and Responsibilities above
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