Request for Proposals – Zambia Primary Data Collection for the Tobacco Control Data Initiative

  • Contract
  • Zambia
  • July 15, 2022

Website Development Gateway, Inc.

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Request for Proposals

Zambia Primary Data Collection for the Tobacco Control Data Initiative

Project Overview

The Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI), implemented by Development Gateway in partnership with the University of Cape Town and funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a project that aims to supply Sub-Saharan African (SSA) governments with improved access to country-specific data that will inform better tobacco control policy design and implementation. This project aims to design and develop national online websites that contain data and research related to tobacco control.

This information is showcased to meet the needs of government stakeholders, as well as civil society and academia. The dashboard will be informed by data from primary sources (either primary data collected during our project or existing secondary data made publicly available) as well as secondary sources (such as papers published in peer-reviewed journals). The purpose of this RFP is to identify a data collection firm to collect primary quantitative and qualitative data on the trade in the illicit cigarette market in Zambia.

Company Background

Development Gateway (DG) is an international nonprofit organization that creates innovative information management and data visualization technology, implements data-focused programs, and conducts research and evaluation to further sustainable development. DG supports public and private sector actors in collecting, analyzing and using data in the health sector for policymakers and development agencies to make more effective decisions and to improve service delivery. Our partners in this work include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, USAID, and MCC. DG is headquartered in Washington, DC, and is exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A more complete overview of DG can be viewed at

For the TCDI project, Development Gateway is partnering with the University of Cape Town’s Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP), an accredited research unit within the School of Economics. REEP focuses on supporting public health through rigorous research in tobacco, alcohol and sweetened beverages.

Scope of Work

The objective of this consultancy is to conduct both qualitative and quantitative data collection on the illicit cigarette market in Zambia. In this section, we discuss the anticipated work to be included in this consultancy. Please note that this section discusses expectations around the work itself – and not information requested for the proposal.

Research Questions

Both the quantitative and qualitative data collected in this study will aim to answer the following questions:

What is the extent of illicit cigarette trade in Zambia?

More specifically through this study we would like to address the following research questions for the illicit tobacco trade in Zambia:

I. What proportion of cigarettes consumed in Zambia are illicit?
II. What is the extent of tax evasion in Zambia?

Research Approach

In order to derive the most policy-relevant and actionable data from this study, we propose an observational study as the primary approach. Certain characteristics of tobacco packs (e.g. an authentic tax stamp, textual health warning, price paid, etc) and their sources (e.g., a duty-free store) are good indicators of tax evasion. Such data can be collected directly by inspecting cigarette packs.

Zambia is one of the countries where single-stick selling of cigarettes is still not illegal. The International Tobacco Control (ITC) survey reported that 49% of surveyed smokers had purchased a single-stick cigarette at their most recent purchase. Single-stick cigarettes are sold at a premium and therefore it makes it difficult to use the price paid as an indicator of an illicit product. This rules out the use of consumer surveys and reported price as an identifier of an illicit product.

This study therefore intends to replicate the approach developed by John and Ross (2018) to measure the extent of illicit cigarette consumption by studying empty cigarette packs. This method has also been used by Abdullah et. al. (2020) in Bangladesh. It involves collecting cigarette packs over a period of time and classifying them as legal or illegal based on pack characteristics. Cigarette packs will be collected from three sources: (a) empty packs resulted from loose or single-stick selling from the randomly selected retailers (John and Ross, 2018), (b) littered packs from the randomly selected streets surrounding the retailers (John and Ross, 2018), and (c) littered packs from trash market (Abdullah et. al., 2020). The information from packs will be complemented by information from retailers using structured questionnaires to gather information on prices of cigarettes (including illicit cigarettes, and the supply channels for these cigarettes).

The selected firm is expected to work closely with Development Gateway and University of Cape Town teams (“the TCDI team”) to develop the sampling framework, the sampling methodology, pretest the methodology, collect and clean the data, and deliver both the field report and the results report.

Requirements/characteristics of the Sample for the Data Collection Process

Applicant firms should use a multi-stage random sampling technique to obtain a nationally representative sample of retailers. The sample of retailers should be stratified across the following two dimensions: 1. urban/rural location, and 2. border/inland location. Upon a firm being selected for data collection, the firm will develop the sampling plan, recruit surveyors, prepare and execute training for them, provide details on the uploading and testing of the questionnaire on relevant survey software, test the interview guide for data collection; execute data collection, implement the data management plan, secure data privacy and data security, execute data cleaning, calculate sampling weights, present results, integrate feedback from the TCDI team, deliver the final report including the field report. The study protocol will also include a work plan and schedule, appropriate sampling techniques, and expected sample size. Both the survey instrument(s) and interview guides will be field tested during the pilot and may require some revisions as needed.

Requirements for all Data Collection Efforts within the Consultancy

  • Develop and implement a sampling strategy that includes a detailed explanation of how you will source packs and contact information for recruiting retailers, as well as procedures on informed consent and data privacy and protection.
  • Translate and back translate the data collection tools, as needed.
  • Obtain ethical approval of the study from all relevant governing bodies.
  • Field test / pilot test the data collection protocol, the interview guide(s) and survey instrument(s)
  • Provide logistical and administrative support to survey teams during field work; this will include any transportation, communication allowance, internet connection, etc., as necessary.
  • Ensure data collection is of high quality through verification and validation procedures during and post data collection. The company must document and consistently carry out data quality checks during fieldwork and when entering and transferring data.
  • Provide necessary security and emergency services to data collection teams doing in-person work and necessary digital security for online work.
  • Data cleaning and data analysis of the collected data
  • Calculate sample weights that take into account the design weights, non-response weights and post-stratification weights, etc. Provide the formulas for calculation to the TCDI team for comments and verification.


Proposal Timeline

  • Request for proposal issued: Friday, June 17th, 2022
  • Submission of completed proposal due by 11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time, GMT – 5) on Friday, July 15th, 2022
  • Review of proposals will take place from Monday, July 18, 2022 to Friday July 22, 2022 . Firms may be contacted for follow-on questions as necessary during this period.

Notification and Contract Dates

  • The successful firm will be notified the week of Monday, July 25th, 2022
  • Contract negotiations will take place following notification, and continue as needed

Schedule for Contract

  • Contract will be finalized by early August 2022

Work is estimated to be initiated early August and continue as needed with an estimated completion date of January 2023.

Proposal Submission Instructions

Development Gateway invites data collection companies (or consortiums) to submit a proposal that develops a data collection methodology in accordance with the instructions in this proposal. The successful company/consortium will have the capacity to:

1) target eligible retailers for data collection
2) comment on the study protocol, survey questionnaire(s) and the interview guide(s) developed by the TCDI team
3) conduct cigarette pack collection and capture the data from those packs
4) conduct qualitative interviews
5) analyze the data obtained from the cigarette pack and from interviews
6) produce detailed data analysis, field report and summary results reports, and
7) address successfully substantive comments from independent experts
8) present high-level findings to the TCDI team and address substantive comments

Firms should make use of existing technologies and any relevant datasets where applicable. The prescribed methodology for the study is a replication of the modified approach developed by John and Ross (2018) to measure the extent of illicit cigarette consumption in India which exhibits some similar market characteristics to Zambia. Abdullah et. al. (2020) also used a similar approach in Bangladesh. Modifications to this approach are acceptable inasmuch as they help to answer the research questions identified above. Cigarette packs can be collected from three sources: (a) empty packs resulted from loose selling from the retailers (John and Ross, 2018), (b) littered packs from the popular streets surrounding the retailers (John and Ross, 2018), and (c) littered packs from trash market (Abdullah et. al., 2020). The final methodology may be adjusted based on conversations between the TCDI team and the vendor.

The successful firm will also have the required qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience leading large-scale, targeted data collection efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa, with experience in Zambia strongly preferred. Where the firm is not local, a consortium that includes a local Zambian data collection firm with previous experience in large-scale efforts will be preferred
  • Previous experience conducting a mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) research study
  • No previous experience working with the tobacco industry
  • Demonstrated experience with developing sampling frame and sampling calculations
  • Prior experience in designing and conducting qualitative interviews
  • Experience analyzing qualitative and quantitative data
  • Extensive experience in collecting, uploading, cleaning, and compiling phone/tablet-based data for data analysis
  • Experience translating and back-translating surveys
  • Demonstrated capacity to deliver in the agreed-upon timeframe
  • Standards and procedures for informed consent and data protection/privacy

The following capabilities are also valued, but not mandatory:

  • Knowledge of geo-spatial/GIS analysis techniques for assessment areas, including real-time mapping of assessor movements (for on-the-ground data collection)
  • Capacity to provide financial incentives (likely through phones) to targeted retailers
  • Access to any data on tobacco product vendors relevant for stratification, including their size and location.
  • Prior experience in collecting and protecting sensitive / protected data

Instructions for submitting the proposal are included below. Information about your company’s required lead time, if you receive this assignment, should also be included. All proposals should be submitted in English.

The following material is to be received by close of business July 15th 2022 for your proposal to be considered:

1. Technical Approach, not to exceed 10 pages in length
2. Technical Qualifications (Attachment I); not to exceed 5 pages in length
3. Budget (Attachment II)
4. Sample Field Reports or Executive Summaries (Attachment III); not to exceed 6 pages in length

The instructions for each of these four sections are included in the below sections.

Please email your proposal to Noreen Mdege at [email protected] and Mbaita Maka at [email protected], with the subject line “RFP for TCDI Zambia Data Collection”.

Questions may also be sent to Noreen and Mbaita at any time before Friday, July 4th, 2022.

Answers to questions will be shared with all respondents by Friday, July 8th, 2022.

Technical Approach

Your technical approach, mentioned above, should respond in detail to the scope of work in line with the instructions below:

Technical capacity overview, which includes:

  • Capacity statement describing the organization’s structure and experience, with examples of past similar projects.
  • A data management plan, including details of the plan for data storage, access, cleaning, transfer (if applicable), and archiving and preservation.
  • A data analysis plan specifically outlining the methods and processes that will be used to analyze cigarette packs and to aggregate and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data from interviews with retailers.
  • Suggested process for how you would manage logistics to hire, train assessors, make field visits, collect data, and create procedures for instant upload of data. Include a summary of procedures in case of adverse events that may occur as a result of data collection on the ground, and contingency plans.
  • Information about your data verification and validation procedures, during data collection as well as post data collection, and during the data cleaning process.
  • A summary of your data confidentiality/security procedures

A detailed description of the sampling frame you propose to use, including:

  • A detailed account that clearly describes the criteria or process by which retailers are included in the sample frame. This narrative account should describe the representativeness of the frame and consider who is excluded from or under-represented in the frame. Applicants should also describe procedures to ensure that cigarette packs from retailers are collected in a manner that allows them to be distinguished from those collected from the street and those from trash markets or dumpsites.
  • In addition to the collection of cigarette packs from retailers, the applicant will also collect discarded packs from streets. Applicants should clearly describe the basis of selecting locations from which to collect packs and the frequency of collection during the data collection period. Applicants should also describe procedures to ensure that discarded cigarette packs are collected in a manner that allows them to be distinguished from those collected from retailers and those from trash markets or dumpsites.
  • It is also proposed that applicants consider collecting packs from trash markets or dumpsites if it is feasible and determined to be beneficial to the robustness of the study. Applicants should clearly describe the basis of selecting the sites and the frequency of collection during the data collection period. Applicants should also describe procedures to ensure that discarded cigarette packs are collected in a manner that allows them to be distinguished from those collected from retailers and those from the street.
  • Estimated total response rate. Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of reaching a nationally representative sample size.

A full list of variables (e.g. border/inland location, urban/rural etc.) available in the sampling frame that will allow appropriate stratification of the selected sample:

  • Two mandatory dimensions for stratification of retailers are stipulated, i.e. urban/rural location and border/inland location. Applicants are permitted to include other dimensions if determined to be beneficial to the robustness of the study. Please provide a list of all variables for your proposed sample frame and a justification why these variables will be used for stratification. Please note that the list should indicate the quality of each variable in terms of completeness, accuracy, recentness and any known issues.
  • The level of each variable should also be indicated (e.g. retailer versus enumerator area).

Information on response rates:

  • Estimates of response rates in general and for any specific groups of interest, if applicable.
  • Strategies for improving response rates.
  • Proposed adjustments for non-response.

Description of your post-stratification approach to reduce coverage bias.

  • This description should include an assessment of the variables referred to in the stratification section above in terms of their usefulness in post-stratification.

Screening procedure:

  • Provide a detailed proposal for screening that gives due consideration to bias and the representivity of the sample. The screening method must not introduce bias while still allowing one to make adjustments for, or at least say something about, the representivity of the sample.

Technical Qualifications (Attachment I)

  • Provide an affirmative statement that the firm is independent of the TCDI team.
  • Provide an affirmative statement that the firm has never received money from the tobacco industry, or any of the tobacco industry’s affiliate organizations.
  • State the size of the firm, the size of the firm’s technical staff, the location of the office from which the work on this project will be performed
  • The names and qualifications/contributions of the individuals to be employed on this project and the anticipated level of effort of key personnel required.
  • Provide a list of references for cited work relevant to this proposal including the names and telephone numbers of these clients who may be contacted for references.
  • A copy of your corporate business registration and evidence of any necessary insurance for key personnel as well as the company’s plan to provide insurance coverage for individuals who will be hired for data collection

The company that is hired will be responsible for all necessary insurance for all staff contracted to work on this assignment – evidence should be noted in the contract. The contract will require agreement to indemnify DG against any and all medical and ancillary costs that DG may incur on your behalf in any form.

Budget (Attachment II)

In this attachment, please include a budget for the activities proposed in the technical approach. This should include a summary of expenses for personnel and any travel costs. Identify all pricing information broken down by activity in USD. The value and transparency in the budget proposal is worth 10% of the proposal’s evaluation score.

Sample Field Reports or Executive Summaries

In the attachment, provide up to two sample field reports, or executive summaries, etc. of previous surveys conducted (as allowed by previous contractual agreements). Do not submit more than 6 pages for this section.

Evaluation Process

During the evaluation process, DG reserves the right to request additional information and/or clarification or to allow corrections of errors or omissions. A firm may be disqualified from further consideration upon failure to respond in a timely fashion to DG with the requested information (e.g. within 5 business days). At the discretion of DG, firms submitting proposals may be requested to make oral presentations as part of the evaluation process.


Proposals will be evaluated by the members of the TCDI Project. The final decision for selection of the successful firm(s) will be made by the week of July 25th, 2022 and all applicants will be notified of their status.

Firm Selection

The award will be made to a responsible company whose offer strictly adheres to the instructions within this RFP, meets or exceeds the minimum required specifications of the project, and whose offer is judged to be technically acceptable. Firms that have previously been hired by or received funds from the tobacco industry or largely tobacco industry-funded organizations are ineligible for selection. If you are unsure if you qualify, please feel free to reach out to the DG contacts.

DG reserves the right to negotiate the exact terms of the contract. Both parties agree to negotiate in good faith to reach a mutual agreement. It is anticipated that a contract will be executed between both parties by early August 2022.

DG is an equal opportunity employer and expects those we work with to prioritize equity in recruiting — as much as possible — women/other marginalized groups.

The RFPs will be scored based on a review of the strength of each proposal across the following topics:

Topic Area and Total Maximum Points for Area:

Proposed sampling & recruitment methodology 55

Surveyor/interview training and support 10

Interview and survey development 21

Data collection plan 25

Data analysis plan 17

Prior experience 22

Budget 15

Total Overall Points 150

Right to Reject Proposals

DG reserves the right to refuse any or all proposals and to provide to each participating firm their award status only, without further explanation of evaluation.


Given the sensitive nature of the data and information to be shared with the successful applicant, care should be taken to protect such information. This information submitted to DG and its partner, REEP, will not be communicated by DG/REEP to any other party.

Intellectual Property/Licensing

Upon completion of the project, the raw datasets that are generated will become the property of Development Gateway, with the provision that the datasets be made available to the public for unrestricted access and reuse. This approach is consistent with the Open Access Policy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Price, Terms and Conditions

By submitting its proposal, the firm certifies that:

1. The prices in its proposal have been arrived at independently, without consultation, communications, or agreement for the purpose of restricting competition as to any matter relating to such prices with any other firm submitting a proposal or with any competitor;
2. Unless otherwise required by law, the prices quoted in the proposal have not been knowingly disclosed prior to the due date for proposals, directly or indirectly, to any other firm or to any competitor unless that other firm is part of a consortium; and
3. No attempt has been made or will be made to induce any other person or firm to submit a proposal or to take or refrain from any action for the purpose of restricting competition.

Please note that DG will not be responsible for expenses incurred in preparing the proposal. Such costs should not be included in the proposal. If it should become necessary for DG to request the contractor to render any additional services to either supplement the services requested in this RFP or to perform additional work as a result of the specific recommendations included in any report issued on this engagement, the additional work shall be performed only if set forth in an addendum to the contract between DG and the firm. If the firm identifies additional services or costs needed to complete the agreed-upon scope of work in the contract, the firm cannot charge for such additional work without first obtaining approval from DG in writing.

The final price of the services and payment schedule will be agreed upon prior to contract execution.

The anticipated payment schedule will be structured as follows:

  • 20% at contract signing.
  • 15% upon delivery of Deliverable 1: Study protocol or implementation plan detailing design, methods, procedures –sampling and stratification strategy, implementation procedures and security/confidentiality protocols, plans for data quality, proposed verification/validation procedures, timeline, upload schedule.
  • 20% upon delivery of Deliverable 2: Quantitative survey data analysis and report. This should include details of any deviations from the original study protocol with justification, challenges and resolution of issues.
  • 20% upon delivery of Deliverable 3: Qualitative data analysis and report. This should also include any deviations from the original study protocol with justification, challenges and resolution of issues.
  • 15% upon delivery of Deliverable 4: Complete/cleaned dataset of survey results that must be in a widely accepted format, e.g., Excel, that can be imported for data analysis. Original dataset will also need to be submitted. Code used in cleaning the data also required (e.g. Stata or R code)
  • 10% upon delivery of Deliverable 5: Presentation of high-level findings in PowerPoint format to the TCDI team and their key stakeholders.

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