Consultancy: Development of a Sustainability Strategy Plan for the International Platform under the Malawi Digital Plant Health Project

  • Contract
  • Malawi
  • TBD USD / Year

Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International

About CABI

By sharing knowledge and science, CABI tackles global issues like poverty, hunger, education, equality, sustainability, climate change and biodiversity. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting natural habitats from invasive species, and improving access to scientific knowledge.

CABI is an international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. Our approach involves putting information, skills and tools into people’s hands. CABI’s 49 Member Countries guide and influence our work which is delivered by scientific staff based in our global network of centres.

CABI is committed to making a difference, playing its part in creating a brighter, more equitable and sustainable future.

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Description of the MaDiPHS Project

The Malawi Digital Plant Health Service (MaDiPHS) is a 5-year (July 2022 – July 2027) project led by the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The project aims to establish an agricultural plant health service at a national level in Malawi, based on the coordination of internationally developed digital systems. The main goal of MaDiPHS is to establish a decision support service that can be of assistance in the management of pests and diseases affecting maize, tomato, cassava, groundnuts, and banana in Malawi. This will be achieved through different work packages (WP). i.e. WP1: Communication and Extension will ensure user interaction and capacity building by use of a co-production approach to define outputs of high relevance to the Malawi users: WP2: Data Organization and Management will identify nationally and internationally relevant data, tools, and services to be adapted for local conditions. WP3: International Integration Platform will establish an International Platform for integration and coordinated access to data from multiple existing digital systems. WP4: National Digital Client and Sustainability will establish a national digital plant health service tailored to fit Malawi users, that is hosted and managed by a national government institution and WP 5: Pest Risk Models for use at Farm level will develop and validate decision support systems targeted at key pests and diseases in Malawi.

1.2 WP 3: International Integration Platform

WP3 will focus on developing an International Platform that will integrate and coordinate access to data from multiple existing systems. The International Platform will offer a set of web services that include: i) Catalogue services for discovery of relevant MaDiPHS resources, such as Decision Support Systems (DSS), models, weather/climate data sources, field observation databases/services and ii) Metadata, standards, and protocols to enable quick and easy consumption of the services for all national clients. The International Platform will be based upon experience and developments related to the H2020 Project IPM Decisions[1] where a common platform was developed to give farmers and advisers access to a large range of existing DSS and weather data for their regional conditions. The technology developed in H2020 IPM Decisions project can be easily transferred and expanded to suit the needs of MaDiPHS project.

CABI is leading the sustainability component of the International Platform in WP3. The long-term strategies and development of a business model are crucial to ensure the sustainability (funding and maintenance) of the International Portal.

CABI intends to hire the services of eligible consultants, to proffer solutions that will ensure the effectiveness and financial sustainability of the International Platform developed in WP3.

The Assignment

Objective of the assignment

The main activities under this assignment include:

  • Development of a Sustainability Strategy Plan that will provide a set of recommendations covering well-considered solutions, processes, activities, and commercial models that will ensure the continuous and effective ownership, operation, and overall, financially sustainable management of the International Platform
    • Identification of the appropriate financial model to financial sustainability of the International Platform
    • Documenting the needs of maintenance, updates and improvements of the technologies and underlying processes of the International Platform

Scope of work

To meet the objective of the TOR, the scope of the assignment includes, inter alia, the following activities:

Activity 1: Discovery Phase (Q1/Q2, 2024)

The discovery phase will provide a clear direction on the requirements for the sustainability of the International Platform. It will involve, inter alia, having technical discussions with technical and program leads in NIBIO, Malawi and the other partners to get an understanding of the sustainability of the Platform and any assumptions and research into sustainability of existing Platforms.

  1. Develop a clear understanding of the International Platform and Financial models. i.e. (i) what it is, (ii) what the likely operational costs are (iii) the financial models to operate such Platforms/co-funding requirements and (iv) who the likely funders / stakeholders are. This activity will also include discussion with key stakeholders to obtain practical ideas concerning how they believe the International Platform can be sustainable.
  2. Conduct research on other Platforms/projects that exists, sustainability measures applied to similar existing projects (sharing ideas/lessons seen in other projects), which are or were successful. Examples of systems/projects to review include: District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2) and The IPM Decisions Platform etc.

Activity 2: Execution Phase (Q2, 2024)

This phase will focus on the development of a Sustainability Strategy Plan for the International Platform based on reality and not assumptions.

Develop a Sustainability Strategy Plan that will provide a set of recommendations covering well-considered solutions, processes, activities, and commercial models that will ensure the continuous and effective ownership, operation, and overall, financially sustainable management of the International Platform.

Please refer to for additional information on the deliverables and timelines.

Note: In addition to the above deliverables, the Consultant shall submit monthly progress report until the completion of the assignment**.**

All written documentation is to be submitted in English using Microsoft Word in soft copy. The main body of all reports should be written in simple, non-technical language, with any technical material to be presented in annexes.
Management and Implementation Responsibilities

The Consultant shall be responsible for:

  • Designing and implementation plan, including developing a detailed methodology
  • Regular progress reporting to CABI, including responding to any comments or technical inputs within the agreed timeframe.
  • Producing deliverables within agreed timelines, and in accordance with quality requirements from the project management team.
  • Seeking comments and feedback from CABI

CABI shall provide:

  • Guidance and technical support as required throughout the analysis.
  • Review, comments, and feedback on, and approval of all deliverables, within agreed timelines.


Ideally, this assignment requires a competent consultant, that possesses:

  • Advanced University degree; Masters/M. Phil or PhD in the relevant field.
  • At least six (6) years of experience in the preparation of Business Model Sustainability Plans, Policy development/ Policy research, Data sharing policies, and any mix of these.
  • Experience working around a sector-wide global approach; and developing business model sustainability plans will be an added value.
  • Good strategic visioning, critical and strategic thinking, and ability to develop strategic partnerships
  • Familiarity with the working of the government partners, especially agricultural sector partners, Development Partners, private sector, NGO and civil societies. Experience working with these partners as a consultant, or staff directly or through development partners will be an advantage.
  • Technical expertise in conducting research, designing questionnaires, analytical skills and writing skills evident by high-quality publications in agriculture.
  • Ability to conduct stakeholders’ workshops/interviews at national and sub-national levels
  • Demonstrated experience in technical reviews


  • Excellent oral and written communication and writing skills in English.
  • Knowledge and ability to use the computer for research and report writing.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment.
  • High standard of ethical conduct and exhibit honesty and integrity.
  • Respect for diversity and inclusion.

How to apply

Proposal for Assignment

Interested individuals must submit the following documents/information:

  1. CV, indicating all previous experience from similar assignments, as well as the contact details (e-mail and telephone number) of the candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  2. Technical proposal, specifying the candidate’s qualifications and relevant experiences, and preferably attach sample(s) of accredited publication(s).
  3. Financial proposal, specifying the professional fees for this assignment.
  4. Duration of Assignment
  5. The duration of the assignment shall not exceed 4 months and is envisaged to commence on 23rd February 2024 and to be completed by 23rd June 2024, with the Consultant expected to take 20 working days over four months (from the day of contracting to complete the assignment)
  6. How to apply

Interested individuals must submit the aforementioned documents to CABI procurement through email ID: [email protected] by close of business on 16th February 2024.

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Deadline: 16-Feb-24