International Republican Institute - Request for bids - Focus Groups Moldova

For all the required certicitations, please see the full RFQ at this link: https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/rfp_eurasia2021mo06o.pdf

Background 

The International Republican Institute (IRI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, organization dedicated toadvancing freedom and democracy worldwide. Since 1983, IRI has worked to develop democraticinstitutions and ideals, carrying out a variety of international programs to promote freedom, selfgovernmentand the rule of law worldwide. IRI provides technical assistance in the areas ofpolitical party strengthening, developing civic institutions and open elections, promotingdemocratic governance and advancing the rule of law.IRI’s work in Moldova is geared toward developing the capacity of political parties—with specificfocus on internal structures and processes, financial compliance and outreach to voters. IRI’sprogramming seeks to strengthen the ability political leaders to organize themselves andeffectively communicate and represent the Moldovan citizens. A key competent of this work is theregular public opinion research that IRI conducts in order to gauge public sentiment and in turn toinform political parties and local stakeholders on issues relevant to constituents.IRI is seeking quotations from qualified research firms for data collection for a series of focusgroups on political and social issues in Moldova.

Period of Performance

Date of signature – March 31, 2022

Statement of Work

Qualitative Research In Moldova

Focus Groups on Political and Social Issues in Moldova

Objectives Of The Research

IRI is seeking to gather insights into various political and social issues in Moldovan society as afollow-up to IRI’s nationwide quantitative public opinion research. These themes may include

:· Youth political participation

  • Perceptions of the justice sector, corruption, and rule of law in Moldova
  • Awareness of and perceptions of government reforms
  • Citizen engagement in politics at the local and national leve

l· Additional or different issues as needed

IRI will provide more detailed informational needs with key research questions to be answered foreach series of focus group discussions.

Methodology

The questions above are best addressed by a focus group study. Depending on the incidence of theCOVID-19 virus in Moldova, IRI and the vendor will work together to determine whether inpersonor remote focus groups will be best.

In Person Discussion Groups: Two series of four discussion groups (eight discussion groups intotal), each lasting approximately 90-120 minutes and attended by 8-10 participants, should takeplace in communities determined in consultation with IRI (with at least one focus group takingplace within Chisinau).

Remote Discussion Groups: Two series of six discussion groups (12 discussion groups in total),each lasting approximately 90-120 minutes and attended by 6-8 participants, should take placeonline with participants from communities determined in consultation with IRI. The onlineplatform used for discussions should be proposed by the Offeror and should be accessible andfamiliar to participants.

Discussions in each series will likely be conducted in Romanian and in Russian (in separatediscussions), depending on IRI’s research needs.

All participants should be:

  • At least 18 years of age and a generally equal gender balance
  • Must be recruited from different neighborhoods or towns within the research locationcommunities
  • Participants in the same focus group session may not know one another.
  • No participants may have participated in a focus group or in-depth interview study in thepast 12 months.

General Responsibilities Of The Offeror

Offeror will be responsible for managing all logistical aspects of the project above and shouldengage local support staff as necessary to complete the following for each of the two series offocus group discussions:

  • Screener. For each series, IRI will provide a draft screening questionnaire based on thespecifications above at least two weeks before the proposed focus group sessions. TheOfferor will review offer edits within three working days of receipt. Following IRIapproval, the Offeror will translate the screener into Romanian and Russian. IRI reservesthe right to review the translation prior to recruitment launch.
  • Recruiting participants. For each series, offeror will recruit all participants according tothe screening criteria listed above. At least one week prior to the start of the first focusgroup session, the Offeror will provide a brief description of the composition of the groupsin terms of age, gender, occupation, etc. For in-person groups, Offeror should recruit 8-10participants for each group as well as 2-3 alternates in case any of the original participantsare unable to participate. For remote groups, Offeror should recruit 6-8 participants foreach group as well as 2-3 alternates in case any of the original participants are unable toparticipate. All participants will be required to give written informed consent to participatein this study. IRI will provide draft informed consent language which may be adjusted bythe bidder in order to conform to any specific legal requirements in the research country

.· Discussion guide. For each series, IRI will provide the draft discussion. Offeror will bewelcome to offer suggestions for improvement and is expected to format and translate thediscussion guide into Romanian and Russian. IRI reserves the right to review thetranslation(s). For the first series, at least one week prior to the first planned session, thediscussion guide will be piloted with a group of 6-10 pilot participants who fit therecruitment criteria. This pilot will be moderated by the same moderator who will moderatethe actual groups. The pilot session(s) will be video (preferred) or audio recorded and therecording will be provided to IRI. The Offeror will prepare a 1-2 page pilot report, basedon a template provided by IRI. Once IRI has reviewed the pilot report, some modificationof the discussion guide may be required.

  • Focus Group Moderator. Offeror will provide a trained and experienced moderator forgroups in each city. The moderators should familiarize him/herself with the topic ofdiscussion prior to the groups. The moderator will participate in a training of up to 4 hourstotal with IRI staff, at IRI’s discretion.· Observation. The Offeror will provide for all groups a facility from which Romanian orRussian-speaking IRI staff may unobtrusively observe. In the case of online groups, theobservation will be remote.
  • · Recording of Focus Group Discussions. Audio and/or video record all aspects ofresearch necessary for full and accurate data collection, transcript generation and inclusionof illustrative samples in the final analytical report. Offeror will film focus groups and filmshould be high quality with clear sound. If participants do not consent to videotaping,audio recordings are acceptable.

Written Summary of Focus Group Discussions. For each series, offeror will provide aWritten Summary of Focus Group Discussions. For each series, offeror will provide a2-3 page written summary of the focus group discussions in idiomatic English within oneweek after the final focus group session. A template will be provided by IRI.

  • Transcripts. The Offeror will provide IRI with full verbatim transcripts in English of eachgroup that will identify each participant speaker by number or first name to link eachcomment to the participant’s gender, exact age, education level, city and occupation
  • Written Analytical Report. For each series, offeror will analyze all discussions, and writeand edit final analytic report (see Deliverables) for review, editing and acceptance by IRIwithin three weeks of the final focus group session. IRI will provide a report template. Thereport is expected to synthesize findings across all participants and all discussion sessions,while noting to any major differences of opinions between participants and sessions. Thereport must present actual analysis (i.e. not mere description) and illustrative quotes fromparticipants.

Deliverables

  • For each series:
  • Finalized discussion guide (incl translation where applicable)
  • Proposed Participant Profile· Written summary as specified above

.· Full transcripts of all discussions as described above.· Video/Audio recordings of the discussions with clear audio.

  • Recording should be delivered to IRI electronically (for example via a file transfer service)or delivered to the local IRI office.
  • Analytic report of 30-50 slides in MS PowerPoint in idiomatic English, which includes aone or two page/slide executive summary, addressing the research needs outlined above.This number can be adjusted downwards in consultation with IRI, but bidders shouldexpect to provide reports with up to 50 slides.

Timing

The focus group discussions will likely be held in November 2021 (series 1) and February 2022(series 2); the exact timing needs to be determined in close consultation with IRI.

Proposal Content

Proposals should address the following points:· List qualitative projects you conducted with similar specifications in this market, includingwhether they were conducted online or in-person· Name and explain the role of subcontractors (if any)· State if you are to comply with all requirements listed on this SOW without alterations. Ifany proposed alterations, explain.Describe recruitment planDescribe recruitment plan· Describe fieldwork quality assurance measures (if any)· Describe analysis plan· Provide proposed moderator(s)/ CV/Resume· Describe platform selected for remote discussions· Describe plan for translation of transcripts· Describe anticipated challenges if any

Technical Proposals

All proposals submitted to IRI must include:1. Information addressing Bidder’s experience in providing each of the services identified inthe above Statement of Work and Bidder’s proposed specific approach for providing thoseservices to IRI under this contract, including sufficient information to determine a cleardefinition of services as it relates to other providers that may be involved.2. The name, address, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the Bidder (and electronicaddress if available). If the Bidder is a firm, name(s) should be provided for individualsauthorized to conduct business on behalf of the firm.3. Bidders may provide a list of up to three references for work performed of a similar natureduring the last three years, along with contact details. IRI may contact the references toevaluate past performance.4. If the Bidder is a U.S. organization/resident, or a foreign organization/resident which hasincome effectively connected with the conduct of activities in the U.S. or has an office ora place of business or a fiscal paying agent in the U.S., the information submitted mustcontain Bidder’s Taxpayer Identification Number.5. Proposals will not exceed 10 pages (pages (excluding sample reports) and bidder shouldinclude in the application information related to past performance, including presentations,reports, etc. IRI will accept bids presented in an email.6. Sample reports to demonstrate past work should preferably be in a slide deck format, butwritten reports are acceptable. Reports may be cleaned of identifying information tomaintain client confidentiality if necessary.

Price Proposals

Bidders must propose a firm-fixed Unit Price for each of the deliverables identified below and inthe format of the table below. The Bidder’s pricing must be valid for at least 60 (sixty) calendardays after the due date for proposal submission. The proposed Unit Price should be fixed andinclusive of all costs to perform, including inspection services, transportation, taxes, import duties(if any), and other levies. To the extent that a Bidder proposed to include any pricing not reflectedin the table below, such pricing must be fully described in the proposal. Proposals must besubmitted in USD, payments under any resulting contract will be made in this currency.

For the pricng table, please see the full RFQ at this link: https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/rfp_eurasia2021mo06o.pdf

All costs to be incurred by the Bidder in completing this work, including any relevant taxes andAll costs to be incurred by the Bidder in completing this work, including any relevant taxes andfees (VAT 0%), should be included in the price.Prices should be quoted in US Dollars (USD). Payments will be made in USD by way of wiretransfer.Prices must be guaranteed through the expiration of this agreement.All pricing tables should be submitted as Microsoft Excel files.

Evaluation and Award Process

1. IRI may contact any Bidder for clarification or additional information, but Bidders areadvised that IRI intends to evaluate the offers based on the written proposals, withoutdiscussions, and reserves the right to make decisions based solely on the informationprovided with the initial proposals. IRI may but is not obligated to conduct additionalnegotiations with the most highly rated Bidders prior to award of a contract, and may at itssole discretion elect to issue contracts to one or more Bidders.2. Mathematical errors will be corrected in the following manner: If a discrepancy existsbetween the total price proposed and the total price resulting from multiplying the unitprice by the corresponding amounts, then the unit price will prevail and the total price willbe corrected. If there is a discrepancy between the numbers written out in words and theamounts in numbers, then the amount expressed in words will prevail. If the Bidder doesnot accept the correction, the offer will be rejected.3. IRI may determine that a proposal is unacceptable if the prices proposed are materiallyunbalanced between line items or sub-line items. Unbalanced pricing exists when, despitean acceptable total evaluated price, the price of one or more contract line items issignificantly overstated or understated as indicated by the application of cost or priceanalysis techniques. A proposal may be rejected if IRI determines that the lack of balanceposes an unacceptable risk

IRI will conduct a source selection based as follows:IRI intends to make an award to the responsible Bidder based on the following evaluationfactors:

a) Technical evaluation, (including technical capabilities, proposed technicala) Technical evaluation, (including technical capabilities, proposed technicalapproach, and personnel qualifications) – 30 percent• Capabilities of moderator(s) as evidenced by CV and proposal details-15 percent• English, Romanian, and Russian language skills of firm and moderator-15 percentb) Past performance and experience in performing similar projects – 40percent• Relevant experience in politically-focused or relevant focus groupresearch in Moldova and/or the Eurasia region as demonstrated by CVand/or list of past projects-25 15 percent• Quality of sample focus group report(s)-1515 percentc) Price – 30 percent

IRI intends to evaluate Bidders’ proposals in accordance with these factors and make an awardIRI intends to evaluate Bidders’ proposals in accordance with these factors and make an awardto the responsible Bidder whose proposal is most advantageous to the program.

5. If a cost realism analysis is performed, cost realism may be considered in evaluating

Deadline

Questions deadline: October 10, 2021

Closing deadline: October 17, 2021

Submission Instructions

Bids must be submitted via email to Teodora Graur, at tgraur@iri.org with the subject line“EURASIA2021MO06o Focus Group Facilitation II” by the deadline listed above.

RFP Terms and Conditions

1. Prospective Bidders are requested to review clauses incorporated by reference in thesection “Notice Listing Contract Clauses Incorporated by Reference”.2. IRI may reject any or all proposals if such is within IRI’s interest.3. Proof of costs incurred, such as but not limited to receipts, pictures and financialdocuments, may be requested during and for up to three years after the end of the contractperiod.4. The Bidder’s initial proposal should contain the Bidder’s best offer.5. Payment will be made upon receipt of invoices and deliverables/services.6. Discussions with Bidders following the receipt of a proposal do not constitute a rejectionor counteroffer by IRI.7. IRI will hold all submissions as confidential and submissions shall not be disclosed to thirdparties. IRI reserves the right to share proposals internally, across divisions, for thepurposes of evaluating the proposals.8. For any currency conversion, the exchange rate to US Dollars listed on oanda.com on theclosing date of this solicitation shall be used.9. Every contract will contain provisions governing termination for cause and termination forconvenience.10. By submitting a proposal, offeror agrees to comply with all terms, conditions, andprovisions included in the solicitation and agreement to the services identified above, andwill specifically identify any disagreement with or exceptions to the terms, conditions, andprovisions.11. Offerors confirm that the prices in the proposal/proposal/application/quote have beenarrived at independently, without any consultation, communication, or agreement with anyother Bidder or competitor for the purpose of restricting competition.

12. By applying to this RFP, applicant is certifying that if it is awarded a contract, none offunds payable under the resulting contract will be used to (1) procure or obtain, extend orrenew a contract to procure or obtain; (2) enter into a contract (or extend or renew acontract) to procure; or (3) obtain the equipment, services, or systems that uses coveredtelecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of anysystem, or as critical technology as part of any system in compliance with the NationalDefense Authorization Act. Covered telecommunications equipment and services meanany of the following:i. Telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company orZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).ii. For the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical securitysurveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, videosurveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by HyteraCommunications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company,or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).iii. Telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by such entities orusing such equipment.iv. Telecommunications or video surveillance equipment or services produced orprovided by an entity that the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with theDirector of the National Intelligence or the Director of the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation, reasonably believes to be an entity owned or controlled by, orotherwise connected to, the government of a covered foreign country. (2 CFR200.216).13. Bidders agree to disclose as part of the proposal submission:o Any close, familial, or financial relationships with IRI staff and agents. Forexample, the Bidder must disclose if a Bidder’s mother conducts volunteer trainingsfor IRI.o Any family or financial relationship with other Bidders submitting proposals. Forexample, if the Bidder’s father owns a company that is submitting another proposal,the Bidder must state this.o Any other action that might be interpreted as potential conflict of interest.

Notice Listing Contract Clauses Incorporated by Reference

IRI is required to make the contractor subject to certain flowdown clauses of the prime award. ThisIRI is required to make the contractor subject to certain flowdown clauses of the prime award. Thisawarded contract will incorporate one or more clauses by reference, with the same force and effectas if they were given in full text. Where “flow-down” to the contractor is applicable, references to“USAID/Department of State” shall be interpreted to mean “IRI”, “Recipient” to mean“Contractor”, and “Subrecipient” to mean “lower-tier subcontractor.” Included by reference arethe applicable provisions contained in Appendix II to 2 CFR Part 200 and USAID StandardProvisions for Non-US Non-governmental Organizations/US Department of State Standard Termsand Conditions.

IRI Obligations

Issuance of this RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of IRI, nor does itcommit IRI to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal or quotation.

Required Certifications

The following certificates need to be signed by all Bidders. These certifications are an integral partof the quotation/proposal. Please print them off and send back to us with your proposal aftersignature on each certificate. They are:· Certification regarding debarment, suspension, ineligibility and voluntary exclusionlower tier covered transactions· Authorized Individuals· Certification Regarding Lobbying

CERTIFICATION REGARDING DEBARMENT, SUSPENSION, INELIGIBILITYAND VOLUNTARY EXCLUSION LOWER TIER COVERED TRANSACTIONS

This certification implements Executive Order 12549, Debarment and Suspension and therequirements set forth in 2.C.F.R. 180, Subpart C.”Copies of the regulations may be obtained by contacting the person to which this proposal issubmitted.1. By signing and submitting this proposal/application/quote, the prospective lower tierparticipant is providing the certification set out below.2. The certification in this clause is a material representation of fact upon which reliance wasplaced when this transaction was entered into. If it is later determined that the prospectivelower tier participant knowingly rendered an erroneous certification, in addition to otherremedies available to the Federal Government, the department or agency with which thistransaction originated may pursue available remedies, including suspension and/ordebarment.3. The prospective lower tier participant shall provide immediate written notice to the personto which this proposal/application/quote is submitted if at any time the prospective lowertier participant learns that its certification was erroneous when submitted or has becomeerroneous by reason of changed circumstances.4. The terms "covered transaction," "debarred," "suspended," "ineligible," "lower tier coveredtransaction," "participant," "person," "primary covered transaction," "principal,""proposal," and "voluntarily excluded," as used in this clause, have the meanings set out inthe Definitions and Coverage sections of the rules implementing Executive Order 12549.5. The prospective lower tier participant agrees by submitting this proposal/application/quotethat, should the proposed covered transaction be entered into, it shall not knowingly enterinto any lower tier covered transaction with a person who is debarred, suspended, declaredineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this covered transaction, unlessauthorized by the IRI.6. The prospective lower tier participant further agrees by submitting thisproposal/application/quote that it will include the clause titled "Certification RegardingDebarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion--Lower Tier CoveredTransactions," without modification, in all lower tier covered transactions and in allsolicitations for lower tier covered transactions.7. A participant in a covered transaction may rely upon a certification of a prospectiveparticipant in a lower tier covered transaction that it is not debarred, suspended, ineligible,or voluntarily excluded from the covered transaction, unless it knows that the certificationis erroneous. A participant may decide the method and frequency by which it determinesthe eligibility of its principals.

Nothing contained in the foregoing shall be construed to require establishment of a systemNothing contained in the foregoing shall be construed to require establishment of a systemof records in order to render in good faith the certification required by this clause. Theknowledge and information of a participant is not required to exceed that which is normallypossessed by a prudent person in the ordinary course of business dealings.9. Except for transactions authorized under paragraph 5 above, if a participant in a coveredtransaction knowingly enters into a lower tier covered transaction with a person who issuspended, debarred, ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in thistransaction, in addition to other remedies available to the Federal Government, thedepartment or agency with which this transaction originated may pursue availableremedies, including suspension and/or debarment.1. The prospective lower tier participant certifies, by submission of this proposal, that neitherit nor its principals are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for disbarment, declaredineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any Federaldepartment or agency.2. Where the prospective lower tier participant is unable to certify to any of the statements inthis certification, such prospective participant shall attach an explanation to this proposal.

Signature: ____________________________Date: ____________________________Name: ____________________________Title/Position: ____________________________Entity Name: ____________________________Address: ___________________

CERTIFICATION REGARDING LOBBYINGCERTIFICATION REGARDING LOBBYING

The undersigned certifies, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, that:The undersigned certifies, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, that:1. No Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid, by or on behalf of theundersigned, to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer oremployee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, oran employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the awarding of any Federalcontract, the making of any Federal Cooperative Agreement, the making of any Federalloan, the entering into of any cooperative agreement, and the extension, continuation,renewal, amendment or modification of any Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperativeagreement.2. If any funds other than Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid to anyperson for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, aMember of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Memberof Congress in connection with this Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperativeagreement, the undersigned must complete and submit Standard Form-LLL, “Disclosureof Lobbying Activities,” in accordance with its instructions.3. The undersigned must require that the language of this certification be included in theaward documents for all subawards at all tiers (including subcontracts, subgrants, andcontracts under grants, loans, and cooperative agreements) and that all subrecipients mustcertify and disclose accordingly.This certification is a material representation of fact upon which reliance was placed when thistransaction was made or entered into. Submission of this certification is a prerequisite for makingor entering into this transaction imposed by section 1352, title 31, United States Code. Any personwho fails to file the required certification will be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000and not more than $100,000 for each such failure.

Signature: ____________________________Date: ____________________________Name: ____________________________Title/Position: ____________________________Entity Name: ____________________________Address: ________________________________________________________

Author: Teodora Graur

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