Call for Proposals – CSO Partnership for Strengthening Children’s Resilience and Learning Continuity Project Amidst Covid Disruptions

Closing date:

About us

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is an Agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational development agencies that share a mission to improve the living conditions and opportunities for marginalized communities across some target countries in Africa and Asia. AKF was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in Switzerland in 1967 and AKF work in East Africa started in 1974. In Uganda, AKF operates a multi-sectoral portfolio that includes programming in Education, Economic Inclusion, Civil Society, Health and Early Childhood Development predominantly in the Central and West Nile Regions.

Project Summary

AKF is implementing the Strengthening children’s resilience and learning continuity project Amidst COVID-19 disruptions with support from LEGO Foundation. In Uganda, the 18-months project is being implemented in the districts of Arua and Yumbe to leverage and amplify evidence-based solutions to strengthen the resilience of schools, families, and children against further disruptions to children’s learning due to COVID-related uncertainty and shocks. Within this, the objective of the project is to drive a culture of reading and a culture of authorship. The latter is critical for driving developed stories into the hands of children to further influence reading. To achieve this, AKF proposed interventions, include: Home learning Packs for children aged 3-10 (constituting ‘Let’s make a Toy’ and AKF’s Play kits), Community Listening Libraries for early years and primary (These include Listening Library Starter Kits consisting of a Yoto Player and preloaded content, introductory guidance on how to use the Yoto Player, introductory guidance and ideas for creating a vibrant library, supplementary materials such as make a Toy and Play kits, physical story books, and any other materials as deemed relevant during the piloting processes.

About the Core Interventions:

1) Distribute ‘Let’s Make a Toy Play Boxes’ to households with children aged 3-6.

Developed under the 2020 COVID response partnership with the LEGO Foundation, this activity reached over 12,500 children in Central Uganda during the first delivery cycle. Currently, AKF is working with the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme (MECP) to further test (with 500 households in West Nile to iterate the approach and make it more intuitive, incorporate play and game ideas for parents and children to do with the toys. The solution will enable children and parents to build toys and engage in diverse play activities and games to support children’s learning and provide the opportunity to strengthen parent-child relationship, critical to physio-emotional wellbeing, through play.

2) Learning pods for pre-primary children

In Uganda, the prolonged previous school closure of preschools has elevated the importance of providing alternative group learning opportunities. Learning pods have grown organically in Uganda as a community solution to continue learning for diverse age-groups over the past 18-months. Based on these realities, AKF proposes to establish a system whereby pre-primary learning pods can apply for further support which will include ‘Let’s Build a Toy Play Box’ and activities as well as a Yoto Player. (The Yoto Player is a simple online-offline digital device that can enable learning pods, schools among others to access and control both curricula and supplementary materials at times convenient to them. Any new material can be added centrally and will upload to the player when it is next online.) AKF will support uploading existing approved curricula audio material onto the players as well as other supplementary audio learning including games and songs to increase access in West Nile project communities to amplify impact.

3) Community Listening Libraries for early years and primary

Building from AKF’s evidence-based Reading for Children community libraries, AKF is proposing Community Listening Libraries. Communities will apply for a ‘Listening Library Kit’ which will include existing curricula and supplementary audio resources (on Yoto cards), locally authored, vetted, and age-appropriate books, a Yoto Player with story cards that can be updated centrally to continue to feed new content to the libraries at no distribution cost, and Play Kits d. These Play Kits would be adapted to meet the needs of parents more effectively, not teachers, based on the findings and recommendations from the rapid assessment conducted in West Nile by AKF. These community listening libraries would enable children to access fun learning spaces to supplement in-school learning and, with the Yoto player and games, provide a steady stream of new content to maintain the interest and motivation to continue returning.

Scope of work

AKF is seeking to partner with Two credible likeminded Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Arua and Yumbe to jointly implement the project. It is expected that the selected CSO will:

  • Support processes for identifying partner school communities and other actors as may be needed to successfully implement planned project activities
  • Work with AKF to jointly develop strategies for ensuring that the project is driven by demand for services by the communities and encourages active participation of all relevant stakeholders
  • Support distribution of learning kits and ensure sustainable mechanisms are in place for effective utilization of the learning kits
  • Coordinate all community partners to set up spaces that enable children to access fun learning materials to supplement in-school learning. This will focus on reading for enjoyment NOT curriculum aligned materials
  • Support other community partners to use existing locally available spaces e.g community centres, religious centres and existing libraries among others to establish strategies that ensure such learning spaces meet the needs of parents and children
  • Organise district events aimed at popularizing and soliciting feedback from the local government leadership, partnerships and building support for the project
  • Prepare activity budgets, workplans (including procurement plans) and ensure implementation of corresponding activities in line with the approved budgets and work plan.
  • Take responsibility for providing budget variance explanations on quarterly basis

Key Requirements

  • Only CSOs that are fully registered, have offices and already working in Arua and Yumbe are encouraged to apply most especially Community Based Organisations
  • Must have operated for at least 03 years working with school communities on education and Early Childhood initiatives
  • Demonstration of current or previous implementation of similar education and early childhood projects
  • Should have functional management systems that are transparent and compliant to donor requirements
  • Must be committed to safeguarding of vulnerable groups especially women, children, people with disabilities all others

Criteria for selection

All submissions will be assessed on the following criteria

  • Technical proposal 40%
  • Core team members experience relevant to scope 30%
  • Number of school communities already served by the CBO 30%
  • Submission of a workplan and estimated budget for implementing the stated activities

Duration of the partnership

The partnership will be for an initial period of Eleven months year from 1stMay 2022 – 31st March 2023.

How to apply

Organisations interested in this opportunity with AKF should submit:

  • A cover letter and three pages (maximum) technical concept on how you intend to rollout the activities stated in the scope
  • Estimated budget for implementing activities including a workplan
  • Reference of other like-minded partners that you have worked with over the last 3 years.
  • CVs of core staff to be allocated to the project

Submissions must be received by AKF no later than Monday 31st March 2022. E-mail these documents to with ‘CSO Partnership Arua, Yumbe: Strengthening Children’s Resilience and Continuity Project’ in the subject line. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AKF is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is Committed to Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children and Vulnerable Adults and Expects all Staff and Partners to Share this Commitment.

The Aga Khan Foundation is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (

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