The Parliament of Zimbabwe received a grant from the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to finance two separate projects, that is, (1) the fourth cycle of the Parliamentary Support Programme (PSP) for the Parliament of Zimbabwe (2019-2022) and (2) the Spotlight Initiative. The PSP is based on the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Institutional Strategic Plan and comprises of 3 Project Outcomes aimed at developing an innovative approach to strengthening the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Legislative, Oversight and Representative functions. It emphasizes enhancing accountability, promoting transparency, protecting human rights and democratic governance as outlined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Project aims at achieving the following;
- improved timely passing of laws
- improved compliance and uptake of Parliamentary and Audit recommendations, and
- increased participation of citizens in Parliamentary business.
The Spotlight Initiative is a joint UN & EU global partnership in which Zimbabwe, together with 22 other countries of which 8 are from Africa, is a beneficiary. The project seeks to operationalize some key targets under:
- SDG 5 – Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls,
- SDG 3 – Health and Wellbeing for all ages and
- SDG 16 – Promote Justice, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development
The project endeavours to provide access to Justice for All and contribute to the elimination of sexual & gender-based violence & harmful practices through a broad partnership with civil society, government and the private sector. Given this scope of work, the projects collaborate with the Parliament of Zimbabwe through UNDP in implementing Outcome 1- Laws & Policies, Outcome 2 – Strengthening Institutions, and the Women & Economic Empowerment components in Outcomes 3 & 4.
To effectively implement the two afore mentioned projects, the Parliament of Zimbabwe requires the services of a consultancy firm to design an efficient Parliamentary Knowledge Portal that will increase the knowledge and understanding by Parliamentarians of:
- Parliamentary Rules of Procedure including best practices,
- Execution of law-making on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues,
- economic and policy analysis issues with greater emphasis on enabling Parliament to pass people-driven national budgets,
- Human Rights, and
- Climate Change
The Knowledge Portal will be based on a culture of online learning, knowledge sharing, service orientation and quality assurance. The Portal will be managed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe Information Services Directorate which will have overall access rights to the knowledge portal.
The Knowledge Portal will build on and enhance existing formal and informal avenues for knowledge sharing including global and regional education information and inclusive e-mail discussions by Parliamentarians on thematic issues.
Expected Attributes of the Knowledge Portal
The Knowledge Portal will, among others:
- act as a hub of information and expertise on parliamentary capacity development;
- allow strategic information sharing and strengthened capacity building on thematic and Committee Specific issues by providing a platform for demand driven information sharing and access;
- promote the global streamlining of parliamentary development activities and advocate for parliamentary development in the Zimbabwean context;
- allow engagement with all stakeholders in real-time dialogue and peer learning on various thematic issues that include; SGBV, SRHR, Human Rights, Economic Policy and climate change; and
- provide tools for increasing the effectiveness of Parliamentary debate and articulation of contemporary issues by Parliamentarians, by having a needs-based Knowledge Portal that provides a wide range of information that is not limited to use of pictures, audios, videos and journal papers
The Knowledge Portal will be linked to the Parliament of Zimbabwe website and will be accessed by the target audience (Members of Parliament and Parliament Staff) by way of logging into the web-portal. The Portal will also be linked to other portals producing knowledge material on Parliamentary development as approved by Parliaments. Knowledge products from these likeminded initiatives, platforms and networks will be housed within the Knowledge Portal, as applicable, and automated feed / machine learning techniques will be explored to support this process.
Additionally, the Knowledge Portal will also work as a digital “Pigeon Hole” platform that allows Parliamentarians to receive Parliamentary Information such as Committee reports, minutes and other distributable documents to be accessed by electronic devices. It should be noted that the Parliament through the Institutional Strategic Plan 2018-2023 aims to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the Institution by going “paperless” and at the same time reduce the huge printing costs that it is incurring. In that respect Parliament has sine purchased the enabling tools of the for all Members of Parliament.
Below are the specifications required for the Consultancy firm:
QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
- Strength in web development, Knowledge Management and database management;
- Familiarity with equity issues in the fields of Parliamentary Capacity Development;
- Familiarity with systems of knowledge management;
- At least five (5) years of experience in issues of international education with progressively increasing responsibilities in a developmental organization, including familiarity with Parliamentary capacity building programmes in this area;
- Strong written and verbal communication skills; organized and able to present ideas in a concise and logical format including proven ability to summarize lengthy and complex information into short and simple language;
- Membership with a Professional ICT Board an added advantage;
- Familiarity with the Parliamentary business and Parliament systems an added advantage.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Expected results: (measurable results)
Under the direct supervision of the Director ICT Parliament of Zimbabwe and in consultation with the UNDP ICT Specialist, the Consultant firm is expected to develop a knowledge portal that will allow for systematic information sharing and learning network for Parliamentarians.
Roles of the Consultant firm
The Knowledge Portal Consultant firm shall perform the following;
- Develop and disseminate a fully functional and secure web-based Parliamentary knowledge portal to be shared with the Parliament of Zimbabwe for review and consideration.
- Develop a fully functional mobile application for ease of access to the Portal
- Coach and mentor ICT Department Staff and other selected Parliament representatives to institutionalize/operationalize the knowledge portal.
- Subject to invitation by the Director ICT, maintain and service the knowledge portal
Expectations from the Consultant firm
In executing the duties, the Consultant firm shall:
- Document all meetings, agreements, and other activities related to the development of the portal for Parliament’s perusal and information.
- Ensure timely delivery of expected outputs as agreed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
- Maintain the confidentiality of the documents/reports generated including pre-existing Parliamentary documentation.
ENVISAGED KNOWLEDGE PORTAL FUNCTIONALITY
The section below details the envisaged functionalities for each phase of the Knowledge portal development. The features below are illustrative, and an exhaustive list of functionalities will be developed and discussed during meetings between the Consultant firm and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Phase 1 Functionality
- General information architecture and design developed.
- A web-based portal that is simple and user friendly with Parliament of Zimbabwe logo and branding. The logos of Parliament’s Development Partners will also be included as sponsors to the initiative.
- A link to the Parliament of Zimbabwe website and button for contacting site Administrator.
- Publicly accessible landing page (no log-in required for the general public). Clearly laid-out sitemap and “About” page but with minimum availing of information. The landing page can be used as a platform for advertising Parliament’s upcoming events, gazetted Bills and Acts and other public general information.
- Search functionality for users to easily find site content.
- Integration with Google Analytics (or a similar platform) to ensure analytical tracking to understand who is contributing to the platform and what information is most popular.
- Google Translate embedded to ensure multi-language functionality.
- Platform should be mobile and tablet friendly with the platform having minimum usage of data as much as possible to allow users to access the portal even using mobile data
- Profile system for registered members.
- Ability to create a personal profile (mandatory to post documents or comment). Allow users to use their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn platforms for login at minimum.
- Customizable registration system where base information can be captured when a user registers (e.g. region, stakeholder group, key interests, etc.).
- Master database of users’ emails which allows the site administrators to send targeted emails to all users or sub-sets of users (e.g. the Assistant Clerk of Parliament sending a specific report to the Public Accounts Committee.).
- Button to sign up to mailing list or weekly digest to disseminate news, updates, and resources.
- The profile systems should also be well secured as the platform will also work as a digital pigeon hole for Parliament to share normal to confidential documents with Members of Parliament.
- Space for the site administrator to share featured information on the portal.
- The portal should be designed to take into consideration various information on Parliamentary capacity development that includes SRHR issues, SGBV issues and economic literacy issues. The portal should be well organized to allow site administrators to upload information by category and this includes, pictures, audios, videos, journal documents in PDF/Ms Word/Power Point
- The portal should allow room for identified Parliament Staff such as Senior Parliament Administration to have administrator right to upload content on the portal which will be subject to approval by the Overall Site Administrator. This is to allow for efficiency and convenience in uploading of information.
- The portal should provide a document repository, (intranet) that allows Parliamentary departments to post documents for sharing.
- The portal should allow documents to be indexed and stored according to department that generated the documents for easy retrieval and audit trail purposes
- The portal should site administrators to update, revise and save back documents and include a revised version footnote.
- Featured updates would include news from partner networks, (subject to approval from site administrator).
- The portal should allow Administrators to post content / announce events (pending approval from site overall administrator).
- Development of a dynamic and easily searchable knowledge repository featuring a visual, curated and searchable collection of documents including best practices, policy briefs and analytical work produced by the Parliament of Zimbabwe, its stakeholders and Development Partner initiatives. Access to ‘toolkits’ developed for each Committee or MP of Parliament, including key resources for making their Parliamentary skills more effective.
- Index and store documents according to departments that generated the documents for easy retrieval and audit trail purposes
- Ability to migrate documents currently uploaded on various partners’ platforms without losing the related analytics / number of downloads.
- Migration of relevant technical documents (case studies, policy briefs) from the Parliamentary website.
- Allows for users with specified uploading rights to upload video (micro-learning or longer format), audio, PDF, Ms Word, PPT and Excel files (pending approval from the Overall Site administrator).
- A robust taxonomy capability and mandatory summary functionality, which allows for tagging all content, users and comments accordingly. All news, articles, events, publications, discussions, support opportunities and offers that correspond to a term can be easily found in one place.
- Development of accessible, public guidelines to encourage the sharing of knowledge without redundancies or out-of-scope information.
- Exploration of integrating machine-learning techniques and user-centric design approaches to make the platform truly demand-driven (i.e. automated tagging, summarization and “habit-forming” technology, etc.).
- Spaces for networking and knowledge exchange.
- Group ‘room’ functionality to gather users and content around special interest topics that can be either closed or publicly accessible (e.g. closed working spaces for Portfolio Committees to discuss issues or particular topics in a respectful manner, or organic groups forming around a specific cluster, sector, topic or event).
- Ability to invite external users such as members of the academia or industry into the group environment upon the clearance and approval of the Administration of Parliament
- Group home page that can be customised by the group administrators, featuring the possibility to customise the space with information including a group description, moderators’ names and images, current discussions, twitter / Facebook feed; ability to post documents and start e-discussions.
- Comments should be filtered for profanity and spam.
Phase 2 Functionality
- Space for Parliament of Zimbabwe (publicly accessible) e-discussions.
- Publicly available, real-time consultation forum that allows users to filter by subject and respond to consultations particularly on Bills that allows members of the public to contribute respectfully
- Ability to denote a registered user as the discussion facilitator.
- Comments should be filtered for profanity and spam.
- Information gateway of links to partner organisations’ websites.
- By creating a ‘meta-platform’ that draws information from other existing platforms, the Knowledge Portal will not only avoid unnecessary duplication of content and large upfront costs, but it will also quickly bring a large corpus of knowledge onto one single platform. While many of the knowledge products are expected to be housed on the Portal, the ‘information gateway’ should provide quick and easy access to partner organisations’ websites for access to further resources.
- Webinar / Training Portal.
- Dedicated area for online webinars and training opportunities (hosted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe or in collaboration with external partners including universities, think tanks, etc. who are approved by the Parliament of Zimbabwe).
- Ability to archive past webinars or trainings.
- Expertise centre
- Inclusion of a ‘roster of experts’, which will make it possible for users to contact experts on Parliamentary issues on other contemporary issues.
- Pigeon Hole
- a digital “Pigeon Hole” platform that allows Parliamentarians to receive Parliamentary Information such as Committee reports, minutes and other distributable documents to be accessed by electronic devices.
- the Pigeon Hole must be able to provide an intranet document repository, that allows Parliamentary departments to share documents.
Mobile based application for the Knowledge
- A simple and usable design
- Application should be able to be either i) installed or ii) Downloaded from Google Play or Apple Store
- Compatible to all mobile devices that use Android and IOS
- Should pull down in real-time from the knowledge portal
- Should be able to synchronise in cases where users has been offline
- Allow offline access
- Functions of the mobile application
- Intuitive and easy navigation – minimizing the number of clicks and actions, should be optimised to keep clicks and field entries to an absolute minimum, all without limiting functionality
- Seamless checkin/checkout – does not require logon credentials
The Consultant firm shall place the whole of contract time at the disposal of the Parliament of Zimbabwe as the Employer. The Consultant firm shall serve under the immediate supervision of the Parliamentary ICT Director. The ICT Director shall cause and ensure that a detailed report is developed and that all agreed deliverables are delivered on time for approval by the Clerk of Parliament.
Proposals, together with detailed company profile (with reference and links to similar sites developed), curriculum vitae of proposed experts and copies of certified educational and professional certificates, a motivation letter of not more than 300 words and three contactable referees from organisations who have previously engaged you for your services, should be hand-delivered and / or sent to:
The Clerk of Parliament,
Corner Third Street & Kwame Nkrumah Avenue
P.O. Box CY 298,
Alternatively submissions can be e-mailed to: email@example.com.
The closing date for receiving applications is 10 August 2020