Closed: May 25,2020
Type: partner


1.8 billion people have access to electricity but still cook with traditional biomass. Load shedding, weak grids, affordability of electricity, accessibility of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), tradition, perceptions, and a lack of suitable cooking appliances all act as barriers to scaling up the use of electricity or gas for cooking – clean cooking.

We already know that increasing access through renewable energy generation is becoming more affordable and opening new windows of opportunity; new business models and smart monitoring are improving the reliability of LPG distribution; appliances can be made more energy efficient but still cook favourite foods so they taste right; and cooking with electricity can reach an affordable price point whilst still maintaining reliability and sustainability We want to capitalise on this and new knowledge emerging from the MECS programme to break out of business-asusual approaches and rapidly accelerate the transition from biomass to clean cooking on a global scale.

The Institutional work stream leverages learning from the MECS programme to transition from biomass to clean cooking in institutional settings which may include but not limited to schools, health care centres, prisons, care homes, child care institutions, other welfare institutions and places of worship in both urban and rural locations in sub-Sahara Africa, South and South-east Asia. The work stream seeks to enhance the energy resilience of institutions and understand if adoption by institutions can drive wider household uptake.


MECS has issued this request for proposal to 1) evaluate existing institutional cooking services and the level of readiness for the widespread adoption of modern energy cooking (i.e. electric or gas cooking) in sub-Sahara Africa and South, South-east Asia and to 2) support the development of a strategic, evidence-based action plan for the transition from biomass to modern energy cooking in institutional settings. Developing the action plan is not included in the scope of this assignment.

Scope of Work

MECS are looking for a consultant or consultancy team to conduct desk-based research on the question of ‘what are the key drivers and constraints for MECS in institutional settings?’. The following tasks should be addressed:

1) Create a database of cooking and energy access in institutional settings literature – i.e. identify key reports/data sources/projects/programmes/technologies/national energy and/or cooking policy on the topic and a short synthesis of each reference item.

2) Literature review to identify drivers and constraints in institutional cooking settings. This should include;

a) Roles of different stakeholders:

i) Who is doing what in the institutional cooking sector and how are the services being delivered?

ii) How are different stakeholders in the institutional cooking sector articulating their contribution to the SDG goals?

iii) What other development programmes are involved in the institutional cooking eco-system (e.g. school feeding and broader food production sector (e.g. WFP Energising School Feeding1), local agriculture sector, health and nutrition programmes (e.g. IDRC study on precooked beans2), livelihood programmes, national energy policies, multi-stakeholder networks (e.g. Global Plan of Action (GPA), Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE), Health and Energy Platform of Action (HEPA))?

iv) What are the opportunities for MECS to fit into the overall institutional cooking eco-system?

b) Technological requirements for foods cooked in institutional settings:

i) What foods are typically cooked for institutional settings?

ii) What is are the technological challenges to enabling efficient cooking of these meals?

iii) When and how long is the required cooking period?

iv) Are there alternative technologies that would allow cooking to be done in larger volumes (e.g. heating water for rice/porridge/legumes)?

v) How could we transition towards a cleaner cooking stack in institutional settings?

c) Delivery of services:

i) What are the opportunities for different ways of delivering food services in institutional settings (e.g. factory produced pre-cooked foods)?

d) Financial models and policies for modern energy cooking services:

i) What are the current funding models for institutional cooking (e.g. grant funding, government funding, utility funded model (e.g. pay-as-you-go), user funded – either financially or in kind)?

ii) What are current policy frameworks of private-public sector partnership models for energy access and/or cooking services in institutions?

iii) How can these models be leveraged for the MECS programme?

The literature review is likely to consist of a combination of academic and grey literature and should draw out good examples or case studies of particular approaches where possible.


The expected deliverables of this consultancy are as follows:

1. Database of literature (both academic and grey) - reports, data sources, projects, programmes, technologies, national electricity and gas policies, cooking policies. The database should be presented in a widely accessible format (paid for platforms requiring a subscription or those only available to academics are not suitable).

2. A narrative report on the landscape analysis of modern energy institutional cooking covering all the questions listed in points 2a-2d. Ideally the narrative report will link to the literature included in the database. The review should include a methodology section, an analysis of the key drivers and constraints, gaps in the knowledge, and implications for the MECS programme. The report is intended to be published online on the MECS website subject to a quality assessment.

Application Time Frame

Deliverables / Due Date: 

  • Proposal due 25 May 2020, 23:59 GMT
  • Consultant(s) selected and notified via email 28 May 2020
  • Project start date By 8 June 2020
  • Project completion date 31 July 2020

The level of effort anticipated for the assignment is in the region of 25 person days which will cover all the activities and tasks required for the successful completion and delivery of the consultancy. All deliverables should be completed by 31 July 2020.

Submission of Applications

Applications must include the following (10 pages maximum as a PDF):

a) Capability statement providing relevant experience and evidence of undertaking similar projects in the energy access, cooking and/or institutional settings

b) Understanding of the assignment

c) Methodology for undertaking the project and achieving the objectives

d) Work plan (dated) and associated budget (in GBP) with milestones indicating effort for each activity and involvement of each proposed consultant (person days) if working as a team 

e) CV of consultant(s)

Applications should be submitted by email no later than Monday 25 May 2020 at 23:59 GMT. The email should be copied to and with subject heading “RFP Proposal Institutional – [Name]”. Questions regarding the application process should be emailed to Dr Tran directly.

Submission Criteria

The proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Quality of the proposal
  • Substantial knowledge of the energy access and/or modern energy cooking sector in institutional settings
  • Proven skills in completing work of the same or similar nature
  • Appropriateness of proposed work plan and budget (value for money)
  • Demonstrated ability to complete deliverables within the specified timeframe 

​Budget and Contract Management

The work is to be undertaken at the consultants’ normal place of residence, travel is not required. This contract will be managed by Dr Anh Tran, MECS International Liaison Manager. All deliverables should be emailed to Dr Tran on or before the date required. MECS reserves the right to request the consultant(s) to revise the deliverables if they do not meet the required quality. The consultant(s) will be required to make these revisions at no additional cost to Loughborough University or the MECS programme. Appointments to discuss the overall progress against the contract will be agreed at mutually convenient times to the consultant, Dr Tran and the MECS project manager.


1 WFP 2019 Energising School Feeding

2 IDRC 2019 Scaling up the supply of precooked beans to improve food and nutrition security

MECS is funded by UK Aid through the Department of International Development. It is a partnership between researchers, innovators, policy makers, and ESMAP drawing on their expertise and relevant work from around the world to co-construct new knowledge with practitioners and the private sector. It is led by Loughborough University, UK. 


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