Closed: Jun 17,2021
Type: alliance

Request for Proposals: A Framework for Monetizing the Gendered Time Use and Productivity Benefits of Clean Cookstove Adoption in sub-Saharan Africa


The United Nation Foundation’s Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) is accepting proposals for a multi-country study in sub-Saharan Africa that quantifies and values gendered time use and productivity benefits from improved biomass stove interventions. One output of the research will be a robust methodology for Gold Standard, or another certification body, to monetize time savings and productivity benefits, which will help unlock new sources of results-based finance for the sector seeking to promote clean cooking solutions.

CCA is releasing this RFP to solicit proposals to 1) research the impact of improved biomass stove interventions on livelihoods improvement, especially as it relates to easing time burdens associated with traditional fuel use and collection; 2) understand how eventual welfare outcomes for beneficiaries relate to opportunities and constraints; and 3) incorporate the research findings into a Gold Standard (or other certifying body) methodology to quantify, value, monitor, and verify the time use and productivity benefits from improved biomass stove interventions.

Proposals should deploy rigorous study designs relying on experimental or quasi-experimental impact evaluation methods to causally identify time savings and productivity benefits from improved biomass stove interventions for multiple sub-Saharan African countries and should leverage partnerships with in-country organizations deploying these technologies at scale. To be considered for this call, proposals must include substantial co-funding from partner organizations. Special consideration will be given to applicants overseeing ongoing clean cooking research in sub-Saharan African countries. 

Background of Organization

CCA works with a global network of partners to build an inclusive industry that makes clean cooking accessible to the three billion people who live each day without it. Established in 2010, CCA is driving consumer demand, mobilizing investment to build a pipeline of scalable businesses, and fostering an enabling environment that allows the sector to thrive. Clean cooking transforms lives by improving health, protecting the climate and the environment, empowering women, and helping families save time and money.


Achieving universal access to clean fuels and technologies by 2030 requires the development and application of innovative financing tools. Carbon finance has been leveraged to provide end-users with affordable access to clean cooking solutions but largely focuses on the CO2 mitigation benefits while overlooking sizeable livelihood impacts, such as time savings and reallocation for women.[1] Understanding, quantifying and valuing the gendered time-use and productivity benefits generated by clean cooking interventions could unlock a marketable sustainable development unit. Despite this potentially promising idea, evaluation challenges have led to a lack of quantitative research on the impacts of clean cooking interventions on time use and reallocation.

As a result, CCA is commissioning this research to fill a critical knowledge gap surrounding the livelihood improvement impacts of improved biomass stove interventions and to provide a basis for establishing incentives that would deliver time savings to women, and potentially improve household productivity and income. While a large range of clean cooking interventions deliver time-use and productivity benefits, this research focuses on improved biomass stoves that have the potential to reach the most remote, poorest and vulnerable population segments, and promote inclusive energy expansion efforts. The intent of this project is to utilize these research results as input into the development of a robust Gold Standard (or other certifying body) methodology to be adopted by the certifying body for expanding access to clean cooking solutions for the rural poor.

Scope of Work and Deliverables

Three billion people around the world lack access to affordable and reliable clean cooking energy.[2] The case for clean energy has been built around health and environmental benefits.[3],[4] This narrative has neglected potentially sizeable benefit(s): when women have clean energy, they can save time and reduce drudgery.1 Existing development finance instruments have largely ignored such benefits, but designing and implementing policy and investment instruments that recognize, value, and respond to energy poverty and asymmetric burdens are key to achieving SDGs related to both gender equality (SDG 5) and access to clean energy (SDG 7). Realizing this, organizations such as SEforALL (2020), International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA, 2020), Practical Action (2019), and the Clean Cooking Alliance have underscored the energy access and gender nexus in their current programming agendas. Nonetheless, affordability for households of improved technology remains a major challenge.[5],[6] As a result, innovative financing mechanisms are needed to accelerate access to affordable, clean cooking solutions.

In addition to certifying carbon offsets generated by clean cooking interventions, Gold Standard and other certifying bodies enable project developers to certify SDG impacts, such as gender equality benefits. As a result, the gendered time-use benefits of clean cooking solution adoption represent a marketable sustainable development unit. The time-use benefits could work in tandem with the carbon credits generated by a given project by adding additional value or generating value independently. Outcome funders interested in advancing gender and income generation goals would commit resources (and perhaps performance incentives such as results-based financing) to investors providing finance to implementing organizations promoting improved cooking solutions in the field and at scale. These implementers would use the additional capital to reduce technology costs and enhance affordability of solutions to scale their delivery more rapidly.  In return, the certification of gendered time-use benefits would increase the confidence of funders and investors in this process and the value it creates.

Despite this potentially promising idea, there is no standard objective methodology for quantifying and valuing time use and productivity benefits related to the adoption of clean cooking solutions, due to major evaluation challenges. CCA is releasing this RFP to solicit proposals to 1) research the impact of improved biomass stove interventions on livelihoods improvement, especially as it relates to easing time burdens associated with traditional fuel use and collection; 2) understand how eventual welfare outcomes for beneficiaries relate to opportunities and constraints; and 3) incorporate the research findings into a Gold Standard (or other certifying body) methodology to quantify, value, monitor, and verify the time use and productivity benefits from improved biomass stove interventions. The RFP focuses on improved biomass stoves because they have the potential to reach low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to clean cooking and where access to clean fuels like LPG is not affordable or available yet.

Proposals should deploy rigorous study designs relying on experimental or quasi-experimental impact evaluation methods that allow causal identification of the time savings from improved biomass stove interventions for multiple sub-Saharan African countries and should leverage partnerships with organizations deploying these technologies at scale. In addition, proposals should include substantial co-funding from partner organizations. Special consideration will be given to applicants with ongoing clean cooking work in sub-Saharan African countries.

Proposals should carry out systematic testing and comparative assessment of various methods for measuring time savings in quantitative terms, experimenting with different survey-based techniques such as direct questioning and time diaries,[7],[8] and comparing them with indirect observational methods as deployed in several recent household energy studies.[9],[10] Proposals should also apply an economic framework,[11],[12] and deploy nonmarket valuation—stated and revealed[13],[14]—methods (a) to characterize the conceptually correct way to measure how women (and others in clean cookstove owning households) benefit when they use clean energy and (b) to identify and measure the parameters needed to reasonably calculate how much women benefit from clean cookstove use. Proposals should examine how improved biomass stove interventions are complementary with other efforts aimed at enhancing the productivity of women and their households. Lastly, proposals should describe how the research results will be translated into a methodology for organizations creating standards (e.g., Gold Standard, VERRA) for this new finance instrument, and how the research team will engage key stakeholders to ensure the methodology is both adopted by the standards organization and easily usable for project developers.

The following deliverables are expected throughout and at the end of the research period:

  • Detailed work plan including methodologies, a clear timeline of activities, and a budget to be delivered within ten business days of the start of the contract;
  • Interim report on study findings on gendered time-use and productivity benefits;
  • Mid-term presentation of results;
  • Final lay executive summary of the report;
  • Final technical report including detailed objectives, data collection method, analysis, results, and significance;
  • A methodology for Gold Standard or other certifying body that outlines how to quantify, value, monitory, and verity the time use and productivity benefits from improved biomass stove interventions;
  • Infographic summarizing the Gold Standard methodology;
  • Policy brief, explaining how the Gold Standard methodology could be applied for policymaking;
  • Summary of study results and certifying body methodology in a PowerPoint presentation; and
  • Webinar on the study results and Gold Standard methodology for relevant stakeholders.

Tentative Deliverable Timeline



July 15, 2021

Detailed workplan and timeline of activities

March 1, 2022

Mid-term review report and presentation of results

June 1, 2022

Livelihoods methodology submitted to The Gold Standard or other certifying body

February 1, 2022

Infographic on Gold Standard (or other certifying body) methodology

February 15, 2022

Policy brief on Gold Standard (or other certifying body) methodology

March 1, 2023

Final technical report and executive summary

March 15, 2023

Presentation & webinar on the study results / Gold Standard (or other certifying body) methodology














Project Period of Performance

This research will commence in Q3 of 2021 fiscal year and conclude in Q1 of 2023 fiscal year. All research deliverables will be completed within this period. The methodology will be completed by the end of Q2 2022 fiscal year.

Technical Requirements

The research organization must showcase relevant expertise, experience, and capacity to accomplish the defined research objective(s) in a timely manner. Applying research organizations should include researchers from universities located in countries that are most affected by access to clean cooking (or the lack thereof).

RFP Timeline




Proposals due


As applicable, calls with applicants and follow up questions


As applicable, in-person meetings/interview process


Consultant(s) selected and notified via email


Kickoff meeting with selected Consultant(s)


A total budget of up to $400,000 is available to support research related to this RFP. A detailed budget in US Dollars must be submitted with the proposal. Budget should include both pre-tax and net of tax values. The budget should include direct costs (Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Travel, Sub-Agreements, Equipment, Supplies, etc.), as well as indirect costs (overhead). Overhead costs must be reasonable and appropriate, not exceeding 20%. For indirect costs, please indicate a list of expenses covered by the indirect rate. For all direct cost, please include assumptions that were made to arrive at line item costs (e.g. 2 trips @ $1,500/trip = $3,000 or 20 staff hours @ $40/hour = $800).

If a bid has a mathematical discrepancy, CCA may correct the discrepancy and notify the Consultant of the adjustment. In such circumstances, the Consultant may choose to withdraw their bid.

Evaluation process

CCA will review all written proposals and may request a phone or in-person interview and/or updated submission to address questions or provide clarification. CCA will use the following criteria in our evaluation.

Evaluation Criteria



Approach: the analytical framework and methodology answering the project’s key questions and deliverables



Relevance: scientific merit of the proposed research



Subject matter expertise: relevant experience in the fields of household energy, gender, economics, public policy, carbon finance, or other relevant fields



Project management: achievable action plan that will deliver the project on time and on budget



Capabilities and experience: demonstrated relevant expertise; experience working with local partners and capacity (e.g., infrastructure and network) in the study area



Cost: the proposed pricing is within budget



Value: the proposed pricing demonstrates a competitive price and good value for the money






Intent and disclaimer

This RFP is made with the intent to identify a Consultant to deliver results as described in this RFP. UNF/CCA will rely on the Consultant’s representations to be truthful and as described. CCA assumes it can be confident in the Consultant’s ability to deliver the product(s) and/or service(s) proposed in response to this RFP.

If CCA amends the RFP, copies of any such amendments will be sent to all respondents to the proposal.

Proposal Guidelines and Requirements

  • The proposal should be no longer than 10 pages in length (excluding Sections F-H) and include the following sections:
    • Section A. Background and Objectives (1-2 pages)
    • Section B. Significance of Research (1 page)
    • Section C. Description of Investigative Team (1 page); Include Organizational Qualifications as Relevant
    • Section D. Related Previous Studies (1 page)
    • Section E. Research Plan and Methods (not to exceed 5 pages)
    • Section F. Literature Cited
    • Section G. Detailed Budget
    • Section H. Detailed Gantt Chart
  • This RFP is open to multiple partners and is a competitive process.
  • Proposals received after 6/17/2021 at 11:59 EDT will not be considered.
  • The price provided should be in US dollars, and should contain both pre-tax and net of tax values. If the process excludes certain fees or charges, the applicant must provide a detailed list of excluded fees with a complete explanation of the nature of those fees.
  • CCA prefers a single point of contact who manages deliverables. If the execution of work to be performed by the Consultant requires the hiring of sub-contractors, the Consultant must clearly state this in the proposal. Sub-contractors must be identified and the work they will perform must be defined. Subcontractors are subject to vetting and approval of UNF/CCA.
  • CCA will not refuse a proposal based upon the use of subcontractors; however, we retain the right to refuse the sub-contractors you have selected.
  • Provisions of this RFP and the contents of the successful responses are considered available for inclusion in final contractual obligations.

Format for Proposals

Proposals must include applicant signature as well as a signed declaration form. Proposals must include the full legal name of applicant, as well as legal formation and ownership structure (e.g. incorporation certification, tax status and ID, etc.).

Contracting and Compliance

CCA will negotiate contract terms upon selection. A copy of the contract terms and conditions will be provided upon selection. All contracts are subject to review by the UN Foundation’s Business Services and Budget Reporting team. The project will start upon the complete execution of the contract. The contract will outline terms and conditions, scope, budget, and applicable flow down terms. Selected recipient(s) must comply with CCA, United Nations Foundation, and funder compliance requirements. The selected recipient(s) must also undergo detailed legal, financial, and commercial due diligence.


The Consultant understands that CCA has chosen to solicit an RFP for consulting services, and that the Consultant’s response does not guarantee that CCA will enter into a new contract with the Consultant or continue any current contract(s) with the Consultant.

The Consultant agrees that CCA may, at its sole discretion:

  • Amend or cancel the RFP, in whole or in part, at any time
  • Extend the deadline for submitting responses
  • Determine whether a response does or does not substantially comply with the requirements of the RFP
  • Waive any minor irregularity, informality or nonconformance with the provisions or procedures of the RFP
  • Negotiate with all Consultants UNF deems acceptable
  • Issue multiple awards
  • Photocopy the responses for evaluation/review

This RFP is not an offer to contract. CCA assumes no responsibility for Consultant’s cost to respond to this RFP. All responses become the property of CCA

The Consultant, by submitting a response to this RFP, waives all right to protest or seek any legal remedies whatsoever regarding any aspect of this RFP. 

The Consultant represents that it has responded to the RFP with complete honesty and accuracy. If facts provided in the Consultant’s response change, the Consultant agrees to supplement its response in writing with any deletions, additions, or changes within ten (10) days of the changes. The Consultant will do this, as necessary, throughout the selection process.

The Consultant understands it may receive proprietary and confidential information from CCA during the RFP process (“Confidential Information”). The Consultant and CCA agree to not use Confidential Information for any purpose other than the Consultant’s participation in the RFP process, and to not reveal Confidential Information directly or indirectly to any other person, entity, or organization without the prior written consent of the other party. The Consultant and CCA further agree to exercise all reasonable precautions to maintain the proprietary and confidential nature of Confidential Information where it can best demonstrate its value and capacity to delivery ecosystem-wide, meaningful value. 

Grounds for Exclusion

Material misrepresentations, including omissions, may disqualify the Consultant from a contract award.

Submissions will be rejected in CCA’s sole discretion if it finds that the Consultant has engaged in any illegal or corrupt practices in connection with the award.

The Consultant will be excluded from participation for the reasons below. By submitting a proposal in response to the RFP, the Consultant confirms that none of the below circumstances apply:

  • The Consultant is bankrupt or being wound up, is having their affairs administered by the courts, has entered into an arrangement with creditors, has suspended business activities, is subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations.
  • The Consultant or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over them have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a final judgment.
  • The Consultant has been found guilty of grave professional misconduct; proven by any means which CCA can justify.
  • The Consultant has not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established, or within the United States of America, or those of the country where the contract is to be performed.
  • The Consultant or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over them have been convicted for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organization or money laundering by a final judgment.
  • The Consultant makes use of child labor or forced labor and/or practice discrimination, and/or do not respect the right to freedom of association and the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining pursuant to the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Principal Point of Contact

Questions should be sent by email to and by 6/4/2021 at 11:59 EDT. Responses will be posted to by 6/9/2021 at 11:59 EDT.

Submission details

The application should be submitted as a PDF to CCA by email with the subject line ‘Gold Standard Framework RFP – [Grantee name]’ to and


[1] Barnes, D. F., & Samad, H. (2018). Measuring the Benefits of Energy Access: A Handbook for Development Practitioners. Inter-American Development Bank.

[2] The United Nations. (2016). UN Sustainable Development Goal 7. Retrieved from last accessed on 6 February 2020.

[3] Martin, W. J., Hollingsworth, J. W., & Ramanathan, V. (2014). Household air pollution from cookstoves: impacts on health and climate. In Global Climate Change and Public Health (pp. 237-255). Humana Press, New York, NY.

[4] Forouzanfar, M. H., Afshin, A., Alexander, L. T., Anderson, H. R., Bhutta, Z. A., Biryukov, S., ... & Cohen, A. J. (2016). Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The lancet388(10053), 1659-1724.

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[6] Thakur, M., van Schayck, C. P., & Boudewijns, E. A. (2019). ICSs in low-resource settings: a spur to successful implementation strategies. NPJ primary care respiratory medicine, 29(1), 1-3.

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[8] Jeuland, M. A., Pattanayak, S. K., Samaddar, S., Shah, R., & Vora, M. (2020). Adoption and impacts of improved biomass cookstoves in rural Rajasthan. Energy for Sustainable Development, 57, 149-159.

[9] Burwen, J., & Levine, D. I. (2012). A rapid assessment randomized-controlled trial of ICSs in rural Ghana. Energy for Sustainable Development, 16(3), 328-338.

[10] Jagoe, K., Rossanese, M., Charron, D., Rouse, J., Waweru, F., Waruguru, M., ... & Ipe, J. (2020). Sharing the burden: Shifts in family time use, agency and gender dynamics after introduction of new cookstoves in rural Kenya. Energy Research & Social Science, 64, 101413.

[11] Jeuland, M., Pattanayak, S. K., & Bluffstone, R. (2015). The economics of household air pollution. Annu. Rev. Resour. Econ., 7(1), 81-108.

[12] Krishnapriya P. P., Chandrasekaran, M., Jeuland, M. A. & Pattanayak, S. K. (2021). Do ICSs save time and improve gender outcomes? Evidence from six developing countries. In review.

[13] Tseng, Y. Y., & Verhoef, E. T. (2008). Value of time by time of day: A stated-preference study. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 42(7-8), 607-618.

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